4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
48TH REVIEW..AND FOUR STARS,
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This review is from: Wintersmith (Audio CD)
Very slow off the mark here and preceded by 47 reviews, I decided to live with the new album for a while and see the band performing some of it during Peter Knight's final tour with them.
"Wintersmith" works well and you don't need to be familiar with Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" books to appreciate it.
I felt that for a while, Steeleye albums (excluding the excellent " Cogs Wheels and Lovers"), became less homogenous than in former days, but this is a " band album" and the songs really fit together well as they relate the story of the Winter smith's attempts to conquer and rule. Lots of dark and shade contrasting with warmth and light and happily the good wins...because no matter what we're made of, if we don't have "strength enough to build a home, time enough to hold a child or love enough to break a heart"(The Making of a Man") we will be forever dancing " The Dark Morris".
Peter Knight's songs are gentle and poignant,with "We shall wear Midnight"surely a fitting epitaph to his 40 and further years with Steeleye. Else where, Maddy provides the fabulous (and funny) "Band of Teachers"which gives way to Bob Johnson's first of two songs. Although just a "guest writer", his vocals can be heard on "Wee Free Men", a great song which includes a lively burst of " The flowers of Edinburgh". As ever, Rick Kemp delivers the dark and threatening, here to be found in the title track and "Crown of Ice" (performed on the Nov/Dec 2013 tour) while latest band member Julian Littman, who has a very interesting and varied background, offers two excellent songs: "You" and the uplifting "Summer lady" demonstrating what a fine singer and lead guitarist he is.
The album seems to be selling better than any Steeleye album since 1976's " Rocket cottage" which for a band at this stage in their career is quite special.
It is sad that Peter has chosen to leave the band at such a successful time, but as he has more freedom to develop his own projects including the wonderful "Gigspanner", we would hope that rather than call it a day, the band will regroup and capitalise on their current strengths.
Of course, we all want that " bus" to keep on travelling, but whatever Steeleye Span should decide to do, their efforts with "Wintersmith" have paid off and they should be justly proud.