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.