45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Have a Folk-Rock Christmas!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Winter (Audio CD)There are some concepts that just seem fundamentally right, and a Christmas album from Steeleye Span is one of them. Even though few of their songs before this have been directly connected to Christmas, there has always been something about their music that seems to lend itself to the autumn/winter time of year.
'Winter' comprises mostly traditional carols, some well known and some more obscure, plus a few new compositions. It works well as both a legitimate Steeleye Span album and as a Christmas album. The unmistakable Steeleye sound is much in evidence on fine versions of "The First Nowell" (as it's spelt on the album), "Hark The Herald Angels Sing", and "See Amid The Winter's Snow". There are a couple of evocative songs by Ken Nichol, "Unconquered Sun" and "Mistletoe Bough", and Peter Knight contributes the title track, a gentle instrumental piece. Liam Genocky's drums provide the sole backing for Maddy Prior on the effective "Blow Your Trumpet Gabriel", as do Peter's multi-tracked violins on a suitably reverent performance of "In The Bleak Midwinter". This last track contrasts nicely with the souped up, good-time version of "Good King Wenceslas" that precedes it,
Steeleye are a versatile bunch who can be everything from rock band to unaccompanied folk group to quasi-classical, as this album demonstrates. With Maddy's fine vocals to the fore, along with strong harmonies and excellent musicianship (particularly Ken Nichol's guitar work), this album is strongly recommended to fans of Steeleye Span and lovers of Christmas music alike.