Spriguns

Revel, Weird and Wild

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1976 must have been a tough year for a British folk-rock group to get respect. Just ask Steeleye Span, whose Rocket Cottage was roundly blasted by the music press, and Fairport Convention, whose Gottle o' Geer was essentially ignored. Albion Country Band's Battle of the Field was belatedly released to an indifferent press who improperly regarded them as a grade-B rendition of Steeleye and Fairport. The growing buzz concerning the onslaught of punk rock didn't bode well even for the established folk-rock acts, much less those just getting started. So despite Spriguns' unfortunate timing (who released Jack With a Feather in 1975 as Spriguns of Tolgus) they held true to the style popularized by their more successful predecessors, particularly Steeleye Span, as songs like "Outlandish Knight" and "Sir Colvin" will reveal. That was due in part to producer Tim Hart's belief in the band and also to vocalist Mandy Morton, whose resemblance to Maddy Prior is noteworthy. Spriguns included more piano in their music than Steeleye ever did, but the work of fiddler Tom Ling and electric guitarist Dick Powell paralleled that of their elder counterparts to a tee.

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