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All Around My Hat

38 customer reviews

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Amazon's Steeleye Span Store

Music

Image of album by Steeleye Span

Photos

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Biography

Steeleye Span are an English folk-rock band, formed in 1969 and remaining active today. Along with Fairport Convention they are amongst the best known acts of the British folk revival, and were among the most commercially successful, thanks to their hit singles "Gaudete" and "All Around My Hat". They had 3 top 40 albums. They achieved a certified "gold" record ... Read more in Amazon's Steeleye Span Store

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Label: CHRYSALIS (ZCHR 1091)
  • ASIN: B000U1XZLU
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,785,856 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

SIDE ONE: BLACK JACK DAVY, HARD TIMES OF OLD ENGLAND, CADGWITH ANTHEM, SUM WAVES, THE WIFE OF USHER'S WELL SIDE TWO: GAMBLE GOLD/ROBIN HOOD, ALL AROUND MY HAT, DANCE WITH ME, BATCHELOR'S HALL

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Mar. 2004
Format: Audio CD
This was Steeleye Span’s biggest selling album and it’s easy to see why, as it’s full of jolly tunes and lively arrangements. There may be nothing on it that reaches the heights of Steeleye classics like “Thomas the Rhymer” or “Long Lankin”, but the songs are all of good quality, and there is a general consistency throughout. Also, the usual strengths are there - Maddy Prior’s fine vocals, and good musicianship, especially Peter Knight’s fiddle playing.
Amongst the highlights: “Cadgwith Anthem”, a beautiful song with some of Steeleye’s best unaccompanied harmony singing.
"Sum Waves" is an unusual instrumental: folky, rocky, and slightly strange at the same time. "The Wife of Ushers Well" is a ghost story that again boasts some nice harmonies in the chorus, while "Black Jack Davey", and of course the "Hat" song itself, still feature in the bands live set to this day.
When Steeleye first started, Tim Hart said that the idea was to present traditional music in a way that would be acceptable to rock audiences. With "All Around My Hat", they certainly achieved that aim.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Feb. 2003
Format: Audio CD
Okay, this album is certainly more "commercial"(by 1970`s standards) than preceding albums, but that fact is academic at this point in time. Listening to the album now, any comparisons with "pop" music are irrelevant because pop music has changed so much since 1975 that the tracks on All Around My Hat sound pleasingly "old-fashioned"(for want of a better phrase).
All nine of the tracks are adaptations of traditional songs and tunes. I suspect that the problem the dissenters have with it is the fact that the album is so accessible, with some catchy songs that grow on you very quickly.
I took to the album on first hearing it, but that`s not to say that I subsequently tired of it, because I didn`t. I still listen to All Around My Hat(the whole album) regularly and I rate it highly.
In its defence, it contains nine genuine trad./rock tracks, with no silly gimmicks, which is more than can be said for the oft-praised Now We Are Six and Commoners Crown which fans consider to be vastly superior to the "Hat" album. Well, they may be superior in some ways, but what about the two nursery rhyme tracks on Now We Are Six, with the band members imitating a school choir!? Gratuitously silly, boring, unfunny, pointless, and a waste of valuable album space. On the same album, there is also a cover of a completely incongruous To Know Him is To Love Him, with David Bowie(!) guesting on alto sax. Crass commercialism, or just a misguided gimmick? On Commoners Crown, there was another pointless guest appearance, Peter Sellers this time, playing "acoustic"(ha-ha-very witty)ukelele, and contributing some of his "Goons" gibberish on the track "New York Girls". What was the point of that? Were the band just trying to impress us with the fact that they actually KNEW these "celebrities"?
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Caton on 2 May 2009
Format: Audio CD
There's too many anonymous reviews here for my liking... I bought the LP when it came out (I wonder if the BBC will ever release "Steeleye Span in Frankensteins Castle" with Stanley Unwin and Rita Webb that was broadcast in December '75?) loved every track and got the CD when I saw it at HMV...
All Around My Hat is a very commercial album as is evinced by EMI issuing it on the Music For Pleasure label at one time.... Not Folk, not out and out Pop, it's a collection of good tracks that can be listened to again and again without tiring. It's what introduced me to Maddy Priors voice and to Steeleye Span and I'd give it 5 stars for that benison alone!
BUY IT IT'S WORTH EVERY PENNY
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. McAleese on 27 May 2008
Format: Audio CD
All Around My Hat is Steeleye's best-known album by far. Perhaps it was the input from Mike Batt that so firmly established this album as a winner and put Steeleye Span on the map, and this has led a suprising number of people to turn against Mike Batt and to label All Around My Hat as a 2nd class album boosted only by its fame. I say that this is unfair!
What people have to bear in mind is that this album, while maybe not their best, shows Steeleye Span at their peak; it's just an all round great album. The title track is without doubt one that sticks in your head, its main flaw is probably the fact that fans of Steeleye Span will have heard it so often that it's rather lost its appeal. Is this a problem? No!
Black Jack Davey is definitely one of Steeleye Spans most memorable songs. Its cool lyrics and catchy tune make it a damn good song.
The deity-among-songs that is The Hard Times Of Old England remains to this day one of Steeleye's most popular songs, so much so they came to re-release it with a totally different tune.
Cadgwith Anthem, though a great display of the band's vocal abilities, is probably the weak spot of the album. It simply lacks the death or passion to make it one you'd want to hit the repeat button on.
I still can't make my mind up about the instrumental, Sum Waves. While Steeleye Span generally sneak in instrumentals in the form of jigs or reels, this is an odd almost fusion-style blast. I purchased at great expense the sheet music for this album (I play the violin) and can vouch for the fact that Sum Waves is quite tough to play! Never-the-less, it's catchy, but not what Steeleye Span are famous for when it comes to instrumentals.
Then comes what is easily one of my favourite Steeleye Span songs: The Wife of Ushers Well.
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