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Folk Rock Pioneers In Concert

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Album Review

Steeleye are indeed folk-rock pioneers, and it's a testament not only to the songs, but also the genre, that they retain a popularity 35 years after their formation. This double-disc live set from 2004 shows a band that's older and grayer now, but far from just going through the motions. The core of the heyday — Maddy Prior, Rick Kemp and Peter Knight — is as solid as ever, while the most recent members, drummer Liam Genocky and guitarist Ken Nicol, are well bedded in. The focus is on the older material, the classics, as it were, but with a smattering of the recent, as with "They Call Her Babylon." Whether it was necessary to include a drum solo is debatable, but otherwise there's a real sharpness to the sound, and, more remarkably, they still sound fresh in the way they jump into the material. There's nothing substantially new or different, but it's still a pleasure to hear, and the record does capture the live atmosphere. A couple of bonus tracks fill everything out. It won't change the world, but it's nice to hear.


Formed: 1970

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Aside from Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span was the most successful and enduring British folk-rock band. The parallels between the bands are numerous: both updated traditional British folk material with rock arrangements, both featured an excellent female lead singer (Sandy Denny for Fairport, Maddy Prior for Steeleye Span), both frequently employed multi-part harmonies, and both mixed original and traditional songs. Although Fairport was more innovative in its early days, Steeleye Span was arguably...
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