Steeleye Span

A Stack of Steeleye Span (1973-1975)

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What makes Steeleye Span stand out among other traditional folk-rock bands is their integration of keyboards and relatively modern beats and rhythms to a vocal style that still emanates with a deep-rooted Irish and British feel. A Stack of Steeleye Span speaks volumes for three of their sturdiest years, 1973 to 1975, and is a gratifying hits collection. Former member of Fairport Convention Ashley Hutchings gathered vocalist Maddy Prior and guitarist Tim Hart shortly after his departure, and his masterful bass playing punctuates a good number of their songs. Prior's voice is both charming and enchanting, wisping through tracks like "The Blacksmith" and "Dark Eyed Sailor" with shimmering precision. Both "Boys of Bedlam" and "Four Nights Drunk" harbor the merry sound of the time-honored old English ditty, complete with jangly guitar and dulcimer. Best of all, Steeleye Span's pure, established sound comes across as genuine and true to form, with decorative instrumentation surrounding the music's peripheral, careful not to inject too much of a contemporary air into the work. Ending with the upbeat flow of "Dowd's Favourite/10 Pound Float/The Morning Dew" and then the ticklish "Wee Weaver," A Stack of Steeleye Span stands as a firm set of some of their best material.

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