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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to Basics, 19 Mar. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Horkstow Grange (Audio CD)
Steeleye Span's first album without Maddy Prior was always going to be a bit different. Not only Maddy, but they had also parted company with drummer Liam Genocky and long time manager Adrian Hopkins. "Horkstow Grange" has a stripped down, semi-acoustic sound, and is their folkiest sounding album since "Ten Man Mop".
Those who like the rockier side of things may be a bit disappointed at first. The electric instruments are mostly used to add spice to the songs rather than rhythmic power. Just three tracks feature drums (courtesy of Dave Mattacks), and of these, only "I Wish That I Never Was Wed" shows them really letting rip. This is a jokey song about a woman who is rather disenchanted with married life, and features Gay Woods attacking the lyrics as only she can. It makes an interesting contrast to "Old Maid in the Garrett" on their previous album "Time". The other two, "The Old Turf Fire" and "Lord Randall" have somewhat restrained treatments. "Lord Randall" is in many ways a typical Bob Johnson murder ballad, but doesn't reach its full potential. I can't help thinking that with a more aggressive arrangement it could have been another barnstormer like "Sir James the Rose".
However, there is much that is worthwhile on this album. Many Steeleye Span trademarks are still there, including fine vocal work and excellent musicianship. Highlights include the title track, from which Steeleye took their name. This is given a stirring, hymn-like tune coupled with superb harmonies. "The Tricks of London" sets children's rhymes to an attractive melody written by Bob. One of the best tracks on the album is "Bonny Birdy". This is one of those songs that grow on you slowly, and has tongue-twisting lyrics in a heavy Scots dialect, ably performed by Peter Knight. Elsewhere, "One True Love", "Bonny Irish Boy", and "The Parting Glass" are all highly atmospheric songs. "One True Love" has bass and keyboard player Tim Harries taking lead vocals for the first time, and handling them well. Gay gives highly charged performances on both "Bonny Irish Boy" and "The Parting Glass", the latter closing the album in fine style.
I may be wrong, but I get the sense that making "Horkstow Grange" was a therapeutic process for Steeleye. That, after the loss of Maddy in particular, they had pulled up the drawbridge to regroup, until they emerged again with an album that was unexpected in style, but showed them to be back on an even keel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Steeleye's more overlooked albums, 7 Jun. 2008
By 
Hugh Evans - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Horkstow Grange (Audio CD)
Many people might think that without Maddy Prior, Steeleye Span would struggle to survive. However, Horkstow Grange provides the other members, especially the men, to prove exactly how valuable they are. Horkstow Grange effectively has Steeleye's smallest line up since records began, yet Tim Harries, Bob Johnson, Peter Knight and Gay Woods have produced a stunning album.

Each of the songs makes up a valuable part of the album: most notable are The Tricks of London - a light, jolly riddle; Lord Randall - a traditional Bob Johnson-esque murder ballad; Bonny Birdy - a fantastic Scottish tale of betrayal and revenge sung to perfecton by Peter Knight; I Wish That I Never Was Wed - for the title, this is a heavy, bouncy, fun tune sung by Gay Woods and One True Love - a beautiful, mournful piece sung by Tim Harries.

The 1990s may not have held much for Steeleye Span, but if you want to sample the fruits of their labour from that period, buy this album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as ever, 8 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Horkstow Grange (Audio CD)
Steeleye Span were always more interesting than Fairport Convention-who may have sown the seeds for the U K folk song revival but always sounded like a rock band.
With Steeleye Span-whoever sang lead vocals-there was always a sense of folk music history.Maddy Prior may have left the building but she was there for nearly 18 albums and her work with Tim Hart such as the Nursery Rhymes collections and her solo work reviving ancient church music and Christmas carols will stand forever.
And here in the title song is where the name Steeleye Span came from
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very easy recommendation, 1 Feb. 2015
By 
Mr. Christopher Harris "Chris in Brum" (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Horkstow Grange (Audio CD)
The songs on the album are not the most famous ones associated with Steeleye Span but they are excellent folk tunes and they are performed simply wonderfully. A very easy recommendation to anybody who likes this type of music.
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Horkstow Grange
Horkstow Grange by Steeleye Span (Audio CD - 2008)
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