Most Steeleye Span compilations are budget-priced collections that cover only a fraction of this long-lived and prolific band's enormous output. 1995's SPANNING THE YEARS is definitely not one of these. This two-disc, 35-track collection covers all of the British folk-rock collective's studio releases from 1970's HARK! THE VILLAGE WAIT to 1989's TEMPTED AND TRIED, along with a generous sampling of previously-released live tracks.
Even this expansive selection isn't enough to do more than hit the highest points--almost all of Steeleye Span's albums are classics of British folk-rock. But the well-chosen list of songs provides a balanced overview of the band's many strengths, from the angelic harmonies of Maddy Prior and Tim Hart and the sterling fiddle playing of Peter Knight to the important contributions of such occasional bandmembers as Ashley Hutchings, Martin Carthy and Gay Woods. There are no rarities or previously-unreleased tracks, but this is a near-perfect introduction these icons of folk-rock.