Rolling Stone - 1/18/73, p.54
"...polished, authentic sounding..."
Though it still contains the rock influence that permeates all the band's work, 1972's BELOW THE SALT is one of Steeleye Span's most traditional folk albums. This is a folkie's delight, containing excellent, thoughtful interpretations of eight classic English folk tunes chosen with a historian's eye and a fan's heart by singers Maddy Prior and Tim Hart, plus a dazzling pair of spirited jigs, "The Bride's Favourite" and "Tansey's Fancy," starring fiddler Peter Knight.
The spellbinding "Gaudette," an unaccompanied vocal hymn, is the album's most stunning track, but a simple version of the standard "John Barleycorn" sung by Hart--which simply shred's Traffic's contemporaneous version--is nearly as excellent. Prior's best showcase is the closing "Saucy Sailor," which remained a stage favorite for decades. The modest album title refers to the servants' place at table during medieval times, but at this time, Steeleye Span was second only to Fairport Convention in the world of British folk-rock.