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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic albums restored in superb sound
These early Steeleye Span albums are absolute gems, full of brilliantly conceived arrangements and really involving performances. Until now they have never received the CD releases that they thoroughly deserve, so good on EMI for having them remastered so beautifully. The whole package works extremely well and its much better value than having to buy each album...
Published on 4 Nov 2009 by M. Ash

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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Touch too much electric
Early Steeleye Span (up to 1973) is magical with a touch of electric bringing a new dimension to traditional songs. Later on, they over-egged it and ruined an excellent idea. If I wanted rock (and I do) there are better bands- electric guitar drowns multi-part vocal harmonies. I will not be getting the later collection. I will give a gold star however to their song with...
Published 23 months ago by GRAHAM COLES


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic albums restored in superb sound, 4 Nov 2009
By 
M. Ash (Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
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These early Steeleye Span albums are absolute gems, full of brilliantly conceived arrangements and really involving performances. Until now they have never received the CD releases that they thoroughly deserve, so good on EMI for having them remastered so beautifully. The whole package works extremely well and its much better value than having to buy each album individually.

There isn't a weak album here - even the more commercial Mike Batt produced 'All Around My Hat' is a collection of hugely enjoyable and well performed songs - but my personal favourites are 'Below The Salt' and 'Commoners Crown'. The latter includes Steeleye's take on 'Long Lankin' which is about as perfect an example of folk-rock as you could possibly find. Peter Knight's fiddle playing is wonderful here, as it is throughout the entire set.

Whether you are a long term fan or new to the band, this set is an essential purchase.
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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value package - but no Rocket Cottage!, 17 Oct 2009
By 
James B. Spink "Jim" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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Although Steeleye Span never quite achieved the same status or cult following as fellow-travellers Fairport Convention, they ploughed their own traditional furrow and were extremely successful in their seventies heyday. A Parcel of Steeleye Span gathers together the first five albums the band released on the Chrysalis label, albums four to eight in release order; the first three albums (the Mooncrest reissues) have been previously released as The Lark in the Morning compilation on Sanctuary Records.

There is very little to criticise about a Parcel of Steeleye Span - for around the price of one of the previously released CDs of each single album you now get five complete albums and a sprinkling of bonus tracks. The tracks on this collection have been remastered for this release and sound better than ever. The set is presented in a double CD jewel case with disc one and the booklet in the first half, and discs two and three in the second half. The albums and bonus material run in chronological order, but because of CD time constraints the album a Parcel of Rogues ends up split across CD1 and CD2.

Tim Chacksfield compiled and co-ordinated - always a good credit on any CD reissue, and David Suff, of Fledg'ling Records, provided the cover illustration. The booklet is rather thin and only provides basic information on each album's original release. My only small niggle is Rocket Cottage not being included - one of my favourites and now hard to find on CD. Still, maybe a Steeleye volume two will follow with the Live one and Storm Force Ten as well? And more bonus material!

A Parcel of Steeleye Span is a good value, no frills package that will enable fans of the band to extend their CD collections without breaking the bank; as would the purchase of the earlier release on Sanctuary Records. The first eight albums for less than twenty quid - bargain! Let's hope this set sells well enough for a volume two to be considered by EMI.

12/01/10 - Sadly I have just learnt that Tim Hart passed away on Christmas Eve at his home in the Canary Isles of lung cancer. One of British folk's finest in his heyday, this set is now all the more important and timely.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nearly perfect parcel, 12 Jan 2010
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A Parcel of Steeleye Span does as it says: It combines their first five Chrysalis albums - Below the Salt (1972), Parcel of Rogues (1973), Now We Are Six (1974), Commoner's Crown (1975), and All Around My Hat (1975) (chronologically, the band's fourth through eighth albums overall) - into one nicely remastered package. Also included are a few stray dogs related to the albums, including the single version of "Gaudete" (which, unlike the LP track, does not fade in at the beginning but comes from a cold start) and a live recording of "The Wife of Usher's Well" from 1974, predating the track's inclusion on All Around My Hat.

Of the five, my favourite albums are Below the Salt and Parcel of Rogues, the last ones to feature Steeleye as a drummerless band; all the rhythm is provided by Rick Kemp's bass playing. Nigel Pegrum joined the band for Now We Are Six, my least favourite of this set - not for Pegrum's membership (indeed, the drums put Steeleye on more of an even keel with their closest rivals, Fairport Convention), but more for the rather twee tone of the children's songs included (the title cut and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"). Commoner's Crown rebounds a bit from its uneven predecessor, but still not terribly memorable to me. All Around My Hat has Steeleye finding their new feet and kicking away in full folk-rock plumage; the title cut remains one of my favourite Steeleye tracks, along with "Hard Times of Old England."

A good remastering job done properly by EMI; downsides? Recording info is a bit scant, and no liner notes, which would have given the listener some insight into what was going on with the band at the time, hence this set is docked a star.

Lastly, RIP Tim Hart, who passed away in late December of 2009. You'll be missed, friend.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a misty moisty pair of eyes, 21 Oct 2009
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This takes me back to listening to the tape of Original Masters on the schoolrun. Nearly all the tracks from that tape are here plus many more from the five albums. I can only agree with the other reviewers that if you love this stuff then this is the moment to upgrade. I also agree with the others that compared with the Fairport reissues, and for example No Roses, the booklet is disappointing. There is so much which could be written about where these songs came from and how the group electrified so many songs so well in four years (the naff ratio is pretty small), also who really did what. Is there a history out there?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars parcel of steeleye span, 17 Sep 2010
I bought this CD recently - partly because it was cheap - and partly because I remember borrowing a steeleye complilation from a folky friend way back 30 yrs ago. The amazon bargain page allowed me to click on each track to sample it, and it sounded good. So now I have it - I have to say it's pretty darned good. It includes the hits - 'All Around My Hat' & 'Gaudete' - but there's a lot more besides. Haunting songs like : Parcel of Rogues; Misty Moisty Morning; Batchelor's Hall & The Hard Times of Old England, to name a few. I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool folky type - and I dont like every song on this equally - but there's plenty to entertain here. I love the combination of Maddy Prior's pure voice; the vocal harmonies that the other guys create; and the rock-style electric guitaring. It makes for an ageless, exciting sound. The Hard Times of Old England is a great example - it's a beaty, foot-tapping classic with an infectious tune. For me at least, Maddy Prior's soaring vocals and the simple lyrics somehow pluck a patriotic chord in my soul - this song about simple tradesmen suffering, as England suffers hard times - it's quite moving. It's almost like an anthem for today - for Britain in recession, but maybe I am just getting too poetic! - but I love that song - it's excellent - it stirs me.
There is a cracking version of The Holly and The Ivy - it's beautiful ! - a great song to have ready for Christmas Eve ! I guess that many of the songs on here are traditional - songs about : peasants, farmers, poachers, Kings, elves & witches - that sort of thing - so if u like your folk music to be English, traditional and rural u wont be disappointed. Priced at about a fiver, I think this is a bargain - I'm glad I bought it. John.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is great!, 24 Dec 2009
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I bought these albums as a teenager in the '70s, and paid a lot more for them then - and those 1970's pounds were worth a lot more than they are now! IN fact, I think this is the fourth time I've bought "Below The Salt".

There are no particular extras, but the sound is excellent and the value can't be beat. I never liked "Now We Are Six" before as the album sounded like it was recorded at the bottom of a well. The remix really brings it to life for the first time.

Whether you're a completist or just have a passing interest, this set is well worth having.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT BOX SET, 16 Oct 2009
By 
P. F. Matthews "Paul Matthews" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This cd box set is a must for all Steeleye fans, it caputures their most prolific period of recording 72-75. I did buy all the albums on vinyl when they first came out, but I must say with the 2009 re-mastering you can hear instruments and vocals previously not so prominent in the mix. My only criticism is that there could have been a little more information and pages in the booklet, plus take out the picture from the 1980 'Sails of Silver' period which is not relevant to the period covered. Other that that I am extremely pleased with the quality of the music. Maybe in the future the same will be achieved with 'Rocket Cottage', 'Storm Force Ten', Live At Last' and 'Sails of Silver'
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a parcel of steeleye span, 10 Aug 2010
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I found this on amazon and could not resist it! It took me back years(not saying how many) It was wonderful to listen to the music that I thought that I had lost. A real orgy of retro for me. well worth a visit for younger folk lovers as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Parcel Of Steeleye Span, 22 Dec 2009
By 
Joseph Rao (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
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Absolutely brilliant. They got it just right. The extra tracks are essential and thank goodness for "Bonny Moorhen". One of Steeleye's finest tracks and not available since "Original Masters". A personal bonus for me, and take note future "package" makers of previously released albums ... it's always nice to get original colour images of the album covers in the booklet ... this has happened here ... fabulous. It didn't happen with the "Lark In The Morning" set as brilliant as it was, it was a short fall in that set for me. I think that it is just nice to have the images. It completes the packaging. The sound is great. Saw the band in New York City in September. As brilliant as ever. Enjoy !!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost all you could wish for for almost no cash!, 9 Aug 2010
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Exactly as it says on the box. I'd expected a cardboard folder at this price, but it's all packaged in a proper double jewel case. The remastering is evident but the recordings are otherwise untampered with. Until very recently, the individual albums would have set you back £10 each, so at less than 6, this is magnificent value and space-saving to boot. A bit of background in the booklet would have been nice, but I sense that I'm looking for something to complain about...

Indispensable material from the band's most fertile and prolific period.
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