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Great value package - but no Rocket Cottage!
on 17 October 2009
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.