Q - 2/93, p.923 Stars
- Good - "...possibly the most commercial British folk/rock album ever...there are enough pleasant tunes, cheering rhythms and inspiring harmonies here to please everyone..."
Personnel: Tim Hart (vocals, guitar, dulcimer); Bob Johnson (vocals, guitar); Peter Knight (vocals, violin, keyboards); Maddy Prior, Rick Kemp (vocals); Nigel Pegrum (flute, drums).
Liner Note Author: John Tobler.
Recording information: AIR Studios.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Maddy Prior; Tim Hart ; Bob Johnson.
Arrangers: Peter Knight; Prior; Bob Johnson.
Steeleye Span's eighth album, 1975's ALL AROUND MY HAT, is a fan favorite, up there with PLEASE TO SEE THE KING as one of the band's most beloved records. It's a superlative piece of folk-rock, where both halves of that genre come into equal play. Produced by Mike Batt, best known for his bubblegum singles with British children's show stars The Wombles, the results, while undeniably commercial--several songs have orchestral strings and brass supporting the fiddles--are crisp and inviting. It's not surprising that this is Steeleye Span's best-selling album.
Besides the lovely title track, highlights include an excellent version of the standard "Black Jack Davy," the gloomy "Hard Times of Old England" and the beautiful, unaccompanied "Cadgwith Anthem." If you're a pop fan with little knowledge of English folk music, this may be Steeleye Span's most immediately accessible and rewarding album.