Top positive review
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It`s a steal, aye! (sorry)
on 9 September 2003
This is the definitive compilation of early Steeleye Span. The two CDs comprise the first three albums, Hark! The Village Wait, Please To See the King, Ten Man Mop, in their entirety, and in the correct track order. Also included are two bonus tracks, an a capella cover of Buddy Holly`s "Rave On"(what you might call a `novelty` track, but nicely sung), and the rousing General Taylor(the singing here is reminiscent of the Watersons, I think), which was previously only ever available on the compilation "Individually and Collectively"(originally released in 1972).
At not much more than a quarter of the price of these three albums on separate CDs, it`s a steal! It`s nicely enough packaged, too, and unlike other budget compilations of this material which often have the wrong band line-up pictured on the cover, the inlay booklet contains some interesting comments from the different musicians concerned, and there are some nice sepia and black and white photos of the two line-ups(Hart, Prior, Hutchings, Woods, Woods on the first album; Hart, Prior, Hutchings, Carthy, Knight on the other two).
For neophytes, it should be pointed out that these three albums are the most traditional-sounding of the Steeleye Span back catalogue, and the band`s sound changed quite markedly after 1971 when Carthy and Hutchings were replaced by Rick Kemp on bass and Bob Johnson on guitar, both of whom came from more rock-orientated musical backgrounds. The first two albums with Kemp and Johnson in the band(Below the Salt, 1972, Parcel of Rogues, 1973) are regarded by most, if not all, Steeleye fans as being classics.