This was the first Steeleye album I bought, back in the early seventies, and I was captivated. This early line up preceded the classic grouping of Prior/Knight/Kemp/Johnson/Hart/Pegrum, and intriguingly blended the hitherto acoustic talents of Tim Hart, Maddy Prior, and Peter Knight, with Martin Carthy playing electric, and Ashley Hutchins, who went on to form the Albion Band. The sound is less punchy than some of the later stuff, (lacking a drum, and Carthy's superb guitar technique sounding a bit ponderous on the electric instrument), but it's interesting to hear some of the sounds that were to become typical here in embryonic form.
For me, the outstanding track is "The female drummer", lifted straight from the Watersons, but with a superb arrangement full of what rock critics call "riffage"! For fans of Steeleye's unaccompanied harmony singing, there is the charming Christmas song, "The King", now resurrected on their "Present" album.
The development of musicians' style is something I find endlessly interesting, and it is on this album that you can first detect the influence of Maddy Prior's singing on Martin Carthy's vocal style.
All in all, this is a little gem. Perhaps a tad heavy-handed compared with the sublime music that Steeleye went on to produce, but full of the excitement of being on the brink of something wonderful. Definitely the best of the early work, much better than "Hark the Village Wait".