Recording Now We are 6 (and in Dec '73)
19th: John Peel Session. See 'BBC sessions' page for more details. Aired on the 26th.
20th Bob Harris BBC Session. See 'BBC sessions' page for more details. Aired on the 11th March.
Album becomes the biggest hit so far and reaches No. 13 on the UK Charts on the 23rd March. The debut of Nigel Pegrum on drums and it famously features David Bowie on Sax on 'To Know Him is to Love Him'. Although seemingly out of place the song reflects the 'Rockers Encore' that the band was playing at the time. The US LP version of 'Thomas the Ryhmer' is a 3:14 (radio friendly) version with the BGO CD reissue now including the 6:44 version. Ian Anderson (Tull) helped with production having got to know the band when Steeleye supported Tull in America. Anderson later worked with Maddy extensively on a solo album. It was through Anderson that they reportedly managed to get Bowie, who did not take any payment.
6th Cork, Savoy Cinema
7th Limerick, Savoy Cinema
8th Dublin Stadium
Tour to support 'Yes' for final week fell through. And then a US
Tour which was to come after the Support also fell through.
17th BBC Radio 'Sounds on Sunday'
March / April
BBC TV Series ' Electric Folk: Steeleye Span".
Series of 3 episodes (35 minutes each) of the band playing concerts in Stately homes. There was a second series in 1975. This series helped Steeleye become well known in the UK and remains the best visual record of the band in the 70s, sadly only one show has been shown since, which is Pensurst below. However, at the 2005 Folk Awards a clip was shown from Thoresby Hall and Raby House so they still exist and hopefully will be shown one day.
1/ 20th March: Thoresby Great Hall, Notts. (pictured above) Re-Broadcast in 1975. Audio Bootlegs exist. Gaudete played over the opening titles One Misty Moisty Morning; Hares on the Mountain; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Alison Gross; Two Magicians; Musical Priest/Silver Spear; Saucy Sailor; Gaudete.
2/ 27th March: Warwick Castle. Never re-broadcast. Rogues in a Nation; Thomas the Rhymer; Drink Down the Moon; Mooncoin Jig; Sheepcrook and Black Dog; Royal Forester.
3/ 3rd April: Penshurst Place: Re-broadcast in 1975 and BBC4 on 21st November 2008 straight after Maddy Prior at the Electric Proms. There appears to be miming in places but apparently the whole episode involved numerous re-takes. Summer is A Coming In; Seven Hundred Elves; Long-a-Growing; Edwin; Morris Tunes with the Albion Morris Men'Little Sir Hugh; Peascod Time.
Tour of Switzerland/Germany
16th Westfalenhalle, Dortmund, Germany
?? dates missing
May / June
Spring UK Tour - Introduction of 'Mummers Play' . support: Gryphon
Mummers are masked individuals who paraded the streets dancing or playing games during festivals. But they performed in silence. The Steeleye play was about St George who fights an 'infidel' until one is dead, with the loser being reincarnated.
12th Manchester Free Trade Hall
13th Sheffield City Hall
14th Liverpool Empire
15th Edinburgh Usher Hall
16th Hull City Hall
17th Glasgow Apollo. With Gryphon. Date added later. £1.25 (up from £1.20 in '73!)
18th Newcastle City Hall
20th Albert Hall. Included Mummers Play (poster above). Mummers' Play, Alison Gross, Cam Ye O'er Frae France, John Barleycorn, Little Sir Hugh, Summer Is A-Coming In, Gaudete, Two Magicians, Edwin, 700 Elves, Drink Down The Moon, Thomas The Rhymer, Sea Medley (Encore) (NME Review)
21st Albert Hall. Added after 1st sold out quickly
22nd Cardiff Capitol
23rd Portsmouth Guildhall
24th Bristol Colston Hall
25th Brighton Dome
26th Coventy Theatre
27th Birmingham Hippodrome
29th Bournmouth Winter Gardens
31st Eastbourne Congressdate added later
1st Bradford St George's Hall
3rd PinkPop Festival, Birmingham Town Hall Included Status Quo, Steve Harley, Rory Gallagher
Holland "week in Holland straight after British tour" per article.
3rd: Rotterdam De Lautern (is the Dutch leg of a PinkPop concert tour??)
June / July
US Now We Are Six Tour (6 weeks).
After 'successful' tours in 1973, although noted by Tim in an article that they had cost the band $45,000 , and after a Spring tour was cancelled, the Band return to the US for another successful and long tour, this time they were mainly headlining, got featured in a number of newspaper articles and had a Press party in NY for the first time, and so were hoping would actually make some money, or at least break even according to Tim, who described the tour as "a real gamble, you lay out a lot of money. If audiences don't like you, you lose. But if you break America, the rewards are much bigger". He said Headlining was the potential difference between $5k fee and $750 from supporting.
The tour included Mummers
Play. Unfortunately official live recordings of concerts by the Band in the 70's are non existent. Even 'unofficial' recordings are very rare and of dubious quality. This tour provides one of the few opportunities (along with Oct 1976 & 1973) to hear the band at their 'peak' via these unofficial recordings.
14th June Stampede Corral, Calgary, Canada.Included James Gang, Goose Creek
18th Performance Center @ The Garage in Harvard Square, Cambridge,MA. $6 tickets.
?th Berklee College of Music, Boston (on this tour but may not sure of date)
21st Academy of Music, Broad and Locust Streets, Phili.
22nd Penn State University Recreation Hall, University Park, PA. Plus Rainbow Canyon. $2.50
27th Kennedy Centre, Washington. Support to King Crimson
30th Palace Theatre, Providence. Support to King Crimson.
1st July Ebbet's Field, Denver; We Beg Your Leave; Tunes; Alison Gross; Cam Ye; John Barleycorn; Little Sir Hugh; Drink Down the Moon/The Cuckoo; Two Magicians; Robbery with Violins; Summer is a Comin In; Staines Morris; One Misty Moisty Morning; Gaudete; Thomas the Rhymer; The Musicial Priest; Sea Shanties; The Royal Forester; The Mason's Apron.
2nd New York, Bottom Line. Early Show
3rd New York, Bottom Line. Early Show
4th New York, Bottom Line. Early Show; Broadcast on WNYU FM. Beg Your Leave; Jigs; Alison Gross; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; John Barleycorn; Little Sir Hugh; Two Magicians; Saucy Sailor; Robbery with Violins; Summer is a Comin In; Staines Morris; One Misty Moisty Morning; Gaudete; Thomas the Rhymer; Jigs; Nautical Medley; Royal Forester; Jigs.
6th Music Inn, Stockbridge, MA. Part of a 'Twilight Concerts on the Lawn' Headlined by Doc Watson. 2,500 people.
6th Lenox, MA, The Music Inn. Clash of dates with above but not sure which one right.
7th Denver, Ebbets Field Club
10th-13th Richard Club, Denver Residency. Not 100% sure on exact dates.
17th Richard's, Atlanta, Georgia. [Thanks Mark Edward Askren!]
18th Richard's Atlanta, Georgia
19th Richard's, Atlanta, Georgia
16th - 20th Ebbets Field, Denver. This clashes with above dates but is from an advert in the Colorado Springs Gazette on the 14th July so would seem to be bone-fide. Will investigate.
?? New York Central Park, Wollman Memorial Park
?? The Music Inn, Lenox, MA
?? Philadelphia. Bootleg exists from 'WMMR Philly' radio show: The Moonvoin Jig; Long-A-Growing; Cam Ye O'er France; Alison Gross; Two Magicians; Gaudete; Two Magicians; Gaudete.
1st Aug Santa Monica, Civic Auditorium. In a review they 'wowed' the audience with a two hour show full of costume changes and had encore after encore We Beg Your Leave; Alison Gross; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; John Barleycorn; Little Sir Hugh; Drink Down the Moon; The Cuckoo; Two Magicians; Robbery With Violins; Summer Is Acumen In; Staines Morris; One Misty Moisty Morning; Gaudete; Thomas the Rhymer; The Musical Priest; Sea Shanties; Royal Forester; The Mason's Apron
Australian 'Now We are Six' Tour. Steeleye's First tour of Australia.
Included Mummers Play and Bob was hospitalised at some point on the tour.
10th Town Hall, Sydney
12th Festival Theatre, Adelaide. Exerts of this concert was shown on 'GTK' (Australian music TV programme on ABC): Episode 894, aired 20th Aug '74 - 'Gaudete'; Ep. 903, 3rd Sept '74 - 'A Mummers Play' (see below); Ep. 949, 25th Nov '74 - 'Two Magicians'; Ep. 925, 14th Oct '74: 'Unknown song'. Buster Brown appeared on this same episode and can be found on YouTube which gives hope that this performance, and maybe the whole concert may surface one day. A B&W clip of the Mummers play episode does exist from this concert which is shown below.
13th Festival Hall, Melbourne.
14th Town Hall, Christchurch
16th Town Hall, Wellington
17th Town Hall, Aukland
20th Festival Hall, Brisbane
23rd Canberra Theatre. In a very favourable review the theatre was said to be full and the band finished with elements of the Rockers encore which included 'Long Tall Sally' and others 'of it's ilk'. "At What they do there a few bands in the World better". Maddy's voice got an unusual description: 'clean yet devious in its melodic path. She can curl the hairs on your neck with the cutting tone and she roars with the best of them'
24th Concert Hall, Perth
September / October
Recording Sessions for Commoners Crown. Peter Sellers recorded on the 19th October. Some fun working titles for the album were 'Over The Top' and 'Poor But Famous'.
6th Oct Cockpit Theatre, London. "being filmed for a 'short Cinema feature'
Unknown Date'BBC Concert'. Bootleg exists but no information. It is looking like it a mixture of tracks from the 'Electric Folk' series rather than a separate concert. One Misty Moisty Morning; Hares on the Mountain; Thomas the Rhymer; Drink Down the Moon; Mooncoin Jig; Long-a-Growing; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Alison Gross; Two Magicians; Staines Morris; Royal Forester.
2nd Nov: USA TV: 'Don Kirshner Rock Concert'
Actually broadcast across various dates in Oct/Nov depending on network and repeated a few times in 1975. No further details or recordings have emerged although the footage does exist and potentially available to license. Said to have been filmed at Long Beach Auditorium, LA but not confirmed and seen different set lists. Gaudete; Gamble Gold; Two Magicians; Royal Forester (?)/Tunes (?)
British and N Irish tour (29 dates).
The Mummers Play is performed again, this billed A 'New' Mummers Play'. Support: R Digance
8th Nov Norwich, East Anglia Uni. Late addition to tour. Was Loughborough which was moved
9th Portsmouth, Guildhall
10th Ipswich, Gaumont
12th Southampton Gaumont
13th Cork Uni
14th Cardiff Capitol
15th Bristol Colston Hall. New York Girls with Peter Sellers recorded again here.
16th Loughborough Uni. This is the rearranged one
17th Nottingham Theatre Royal
18th Croydon Fairfield Hall. Included the 'Ups and Downs' and 'You Beautiful Doll'
19th Oxford New Theatre
20th Southport Theatre
21st Manchester Free Trade Hall
22nd Leeds Town Hall
24th Newcastle Upon Tyne City Hall
26th Seffield City Hall
28th London Rainbow Theatre. Awarded silver discs for first 3 Chrysalis albums after this 'sell-out' concert. Peter Sellers was meant to appear and reportedly did join them on stage. The show included a "Bold Poachers Film" extract that had been made about the folk song which featured the Steeleye version. , 'Band walk on for an Instrumental before Maddy joined them for Ups And Downs', Demon Lover, Wife Of Ushers Well, Two Magicians, Misty Moisty Morning, Mummers Play, Reels ('Maddy changes'), Little Sir Hugh, Cam Ye O'er Frae France (last song), Encore: Jigs. (CSS picture)
29th London Rainbow Theatre. It was from one these Rainbow shows that 'Wife Of Ushers Well was recorded and included on Original Masters, probably the 28th. Which means that a high quality recording of the whole concert may still exist in the Chrysalis Archives.
1st Peterborough ABC
2nd Brighton the Don
4th Liverpool Empire Theatre
5th Edinburgh Usher Hall
6th Glasgow Apollo.
7th Chester ABC
8th Birmingham Hippodrome
9th Leicester Demontford Hall
11th Uxbridge Bruenl Uni. Extra date. 'Final date in this country for a year'
13th Cork City Hall
14th Dublin Stadium
15th Dublin University (not sure on date but makes sense to be this day)
Jo Lustig (Manager) leaves.
Was considered to be a major setback in the press. The band however hinted after that they made very little money in 73/74 so perhaps they felt he was not maximising their revenue potential. Given what Tony Secunda managed to achieve within 6 months of starting then there is some merit in this view.
SEVENTH ALBUM: Commoners Crown (Chrysalis)
SINGLE: New York Girls / Two Magicians
Album reached 21 in UK Charts. The single 'New York Girls' featured Peter Sellers on the Ukulele. It is the album that never toured. As it was followed up so soon by 'Hat' then this album never got its own proper run out, although Little Sir Hugh was being played in previous tours and Long Lankin and Demon Lover featured during '75. The intention was to tour it but Jo Lustig leaving meant that a 'quiet' few months was needed while his contract finished. This change in management almost certainly sped up the progress of the next album as the new manager would want to make his mark.
January to April
Tim Hart in a 'Sounds' Interview (March) said the first few months would be a 'rest period' waiting for the termination of Lustig's contract, which proved to be quite disruptive.
Cancelled European Tour. (Jan) They were due to have their first Euro tour but looks like it fell foul of the Jo Lustig removal. Looks like it got moved to June and never took place.
Cancelled US Spring Tour. (March) Per cutting due to take place (Written Oct 74) but dd no seem to happen. (5th March New York Philharmonic Hall was due to be first date. and would run for 4 weeks). Given again that Jo Lustig left after the article was written, and that the 1976 US tour was billed as 1st for 2 years it seems certain this tour never took place.
Cancelled Australian tour? (April) Same as above, per article tour starts in early April straight after late Feb US tour.
24th Hastings Pier Pavilion
26th April Hammersmith, Odeon. Guests of the 'William Younger Tartan Brewery Student National Rock and Folk Contest Finals'. Performed Bachelor's Hall, Long Lankin, Cam Ye O'er Frame France, Encore: Spotted Cow (Reggae).
This 'Reggae' version of Spotted Cow' stayed in the set until at least the 2nd series of Electric Folk. Maddy has highlighted as an example of their willingness to experiment over the years - although she later commented ' "We did try a reggae 'Spotted Cow' and we weren't terribly convinced by it, so we stopped doing it." !
May / June
Tony Secunda becomes manager.
Tony helps secure Mike Batt as producer for next album which was seen a major step to potential commercial success with a crossover folk/pop sound. Tim Hart had heard the Wombles album and thought he would be an ideal producer for Steeleye, although the band took some convincing.
Filming 2nd Series of 'Electric Folk' . See September below.
12th May: Manchester Free Trade Hall. (per Steve Hardy)
20th Brussels (per poster)
7th June: Garden Party 7, Crystal Palace Concert Bowl. Steve Harley Headlining. The stage was next to the Lake and Maddy got on a boat during the concert and was singing while being rowed across the lake! (Per www.UKrockfestivals.com)
Spring European Tour. (Dates Missing)
15th June Hamburger Open Air Folk Festival
22nd June. Kalvoyafestivalen.
24th June: TV Appearance on 'Rockpalast' . WDR TV Studio-L Köln. Germany
This is a 'made for TV' live concert lasting nearly an hour recorded at the WDR TV studios for the 'Rockpalast' TV series that ran for many years. The Broadcast version seems to be lost but if available would be an amazing visual record of the band at their peak (along with the rest of the Electric Folk Series). Note this is not connected to the 'German TV' appearance that is on Youtube for 'All Around My Hat' (Which was from 'Musikladen' aired 6th March 1975)
Sum Waves/Devil's Dream; Royal Forester; Little Sir Hugh; Long Lankin; Demon Lover; Gaudete; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Thomas the Rhymer; Musical Priest/jigs
6th July. Blackpool Festival (w. Roy Harper). All Around My Hat almost certainly played for 1st time, depending on the dates of the York and Wellington Concert. Played Bachelor's Hall, Dance With Me and Spotted Cow (Reggae) as well.
12th July Cardiff Castle Charity concert with 10cc, Thin Lizzy. The festival was almost a wash out, although 15,000 did still attend. Apparently it only stopped raining at the start of Steeleye's set! They played All Around my Hat again. However, the audience complained that Steeleye were not loud enough and there were some sound problems.
?? York Uni 'Central Hall. ('summer' and played All Around My Hat')
??? Wellington Town Hall
Recording Of All Around My Hat Album
(1st Album with Mike Batt producing - pictured below)
Appearing as the Wombles on Top of the Pops. (24th July)
STEELEYE SPAN BECOME THE WOMBLES FOR A DAY
From Mike Batt's unpublished autobiog, and posted on his FB page:
I was working on “All Around My Hat” with Steeleye Span, at the time the "Superwomble" single was released. In those days, to be on Top Of The Pops you had to mime, (it was technically easier for the show if you did, and in any case we Wombles had no option, - we didn’t have mouths!) - but to satisfy the Musicians’ Union you had to remake the entire record the night before your appearance, - in other words you were not allowed to mime to the record itself, but you were allowed to mime to a specially made track for the show. I could spend two pages explaining why, but trust me, that’s how it was.
So I’m in Air Studios with Steeleye Span when the message comes through that the Wombles are on Top Of The Pops the following day, with no time to go and make a bloody backing track, - I was busy with Steeleye. So I ask Steeleye if they’d mind playing the TV remake of “Superwomble", because the bloke from the Musicians’ Union was about to show up and “witness” that it was indeed being remade, and they sportingly agreed to do it. I taught them the track and we played it while the infamous Don Smith from the Musicians’ Union (known, as I have said earlier, as “Doctor Death” because of his miserable demeanour and intransigent attitude) watched from the control room. After the session, Don asked for everybody’s name. “Why do you want them?” I asked. “Because the people who play the track have to be the same people who are on the show tomorrow” says Don. This was a new one on me. But that’s what had to happen. Don left the studio and I sheepishly asked the guys if they’d wear the costumes the next day, and perform “Superwomble” on the show. Of course the whole thing would have to be a total secret – it wouldn’t have been cool for a serious band like Steeleye to be caught being the Wombles. They thought it was a fantastic idea, and so we arranged for them to meet the following evening, - the night of the show - at the Kensington Hilton Hotel, get into the costumes and be taken by blacked-out limo to the TV Centre in Wood Lane, five minutes away. We managed to get them in, do the show and then get them out again without anyone realising it had been them inside the Womble costumes.
Australian Tour 'Play it again Span' . Included Mummers Play.
It was on this tour that the bands manager promised a 'night of love' to the winner of a publicity stunt which gave rise to some negative press. luckily embarrassment was saved when the winner brought along her boyfriend to a harmless after concert dinner.
5th Melbourne Festival Hall
6th Sydney Horden Pavillion
8th Brisbane Festival Hall
11th Canberra Theatre. 1,200 crowd. The concert went well but the lack of dancing made Peter shout out " come on you lazy buggers' as one point!
14th Christchurch town Hall
15th Wellington Town Hall5 encores
16th Aukland Town Hall
20th Adelaide Thebarton Town Hall
22nd Perth Concert Hall
September / October
3rd Oct: EIGHTH ALBUM: All Around My Hat (Chrysalis) .
NOV: SINGLE All Around My Hat (Black Jack Davy)
The Album and single that made the band a Household name, The first album produced by Mike Batt who took the band in a 'Folk Pop' direction and into the top ten of the Album and singles charts. Album reached No.7. It was a triumphant mix of folk and pop sensibilities that has never before or since successfully been achieved by any other band.
1.Black Jack Davy 2.Hard Times of Old England 3.Cadgwith Anthem 4.Sum Waves 5.Wife of Ushers Well 6.Gamble Gold 7.All Around My Hat 8.Dance With Me 9.Bachelor's Hall
'All Around My Hat' UK Tour .
1st British Tour since Nov. 1974. Support: Cajun Moon
5th Oct ABC, Chester. Review in RM article. Sum Waves/Royal Forester, Black Jack Davy, Bachelor's Hall, Cadgwith Anthem, I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles, Gamble Gold(Robin Hood), Dance With Me, Little Sir Hugh, Hard Times Of Old England, Encore: You Won't See Me
6th Glasgow Apollo. £1.50, up from £1.25 in '74!
7th Endingburgh Usher Hall
8th Aberden Capital
10th Salford Uni
11th York Uni
13th Brighton Dome
14th Oxford New Theatre
15th Reading Uni
16th Cambrige Uni
19th Coventry Theatre
20th Newcastle Town Hall (£1.75)
21st Peteborough ABC
23rd Portsmouth Guildhall cancelled as Maddy had flu and held on 7th Nov
25th Cardiff Capital
26th Bristol Colston Hall
27th Leicester De Montfort w.Allan Taylor
28th Hammersmith Odeon - Played Spotted Cow (Reggae) and Blowing Bubbles per Review. Also Maddy said Bob and Peter have a 'project' on at the moment' which could be the start of King Of Elflands Daughter (Album they completed in '77) as Bob did not get involved in any other significant music projects outside Steeleye apart from this one.
29th Hammersmith Odeon
31st Sheffield Uni
1st Nov Manchester Trade hall
2nd Birmingham Odeon
3rd Liverpool Odeon: Sum Waves/Royal Forester, Black Jack Davy, Bachelor's Hall, Two Magicians, Long Lankin, Spotted Cow, I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles, All Around My Hat, Wife Of Ushers Well, Dance With Me, Hard Times Of Old England, Reels: Black Joke/Sligo Maid, Encore: You Won't See Me, Mason's Apron, When Will I Be Loved
4th Abersytwyth Uni
5th Swansea Brangwyn Hall
7th Portsmouth Guildhall
15th Nov: All Around My Hat reaches No. 5 on the official UK SINGLES Chart.
On some charts it got to Number 3. Promo video below
19th/20th. Maddy in Brussels Recording with Jethro Tull. Starts to indicate solo work (along with Bob and Peter's project) that band members had started doing outside the band. And ultimately led them to break up the band for a while why they explored other musical interests.
November / December
Halden - Norway. Nigel became ill during gig. they play All Around My Hat, Long Lankin, Hard Times Of Old England, Spotted Cow (Reggae) but drop Dance With Me and Ushers Well
German leg of tour- cancelled as Nigel had sever gastro
1st Dec Colston Hall, Bristol
27th: BBC Radio: 'The Mad Modern Mummers' or 'Dr. Frankenstein meets the SS' (aka Steeleye Span)
"The Mad, Modern Mummers in spectacular stereophonic, seasonal entertainment, (or is alliteration going out of fashion?) with Maddy Prior, Tim Hart, Robert Johnson, Rick Kemp, Peter Knight, Nigel Pegram as themselves and featuring Stanley Unwin, Rita Webb, Paul Burnett and Tim Burge in a variety of parts." Written by David Mckellar. Devised and produced by Johnny Beerling.
The musical highlight is a good quality playing of the rare track 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles'. The play was thought lost but found a few years ago. And if you can cope with the dated humour, you can find here, Thanks to Jonathan Taylor who originally found it and posted it with an interview with the band at the end - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot-cMdbWQx0&feature=c4-overview&list=UUEiAbKogV4kodg_TazlCWu...
Year starts with various TV performances but the pressure of constant Touring and the heavy promoting of 'All Around My Hat'was starting to tell and follow up singles to 'Hat' fail to chart. A harder year to get clear concert dates/confirmations - music press getting 'bored' by folk?
January - March
Various TV appearances to support 'All Around my Hat' single.
9th TV: 'All Around my Hat' on Crackerjack (1st video below)
10th: DUTCH TV: 'TOPPOP' Live performance of 'All Around My Hat' (2nd video below)
14th: TV: 'All Around my Hat' on 'Nana Mouskouri Show'
6th March German TV , MusikLaden. (3rd video below) Lip synced
Tour of Holland
In addition to the dates listed there is also a feature/Interview on Steeleye in a Dutch Newspaper in Feb just before this tour. If anyone wants to contact me to read it/translate it then feel free!
11th: Enschede, Netherlands
12th Amsterdam, Netherlands
13th Njmegen, Netherlands
15th Sittard, Netherlands
16th Rotterdam, Netherlands
SINGLE: Hard Times of Old England. (Cadgwith Anthem, and later, Sum Waves)
This followed up single failed to be anywhere near as successful as 'Hat'. This could be when the band started to realise that, commercially at least, they could not get any bigger.
NME AWARDS: Commoner's Crown wins 'Best Designed British Album Sleeve'
The original Crown made for the album!
UK Tour. Only 6 dates so far
17th March Friars at Vale Hall, Aylesbury.
With 'Unicorn. The band practised and played (as an encore) 'The Up's and Downs' especially for the concert as the Town is the 'home' of the song. Some interesting articles and pictures about the concert are on this LINK.
Instrumental Opener, All Around My Hat, Thomas The Rhymer, Two Magicians, Wife Of Ushers Well, Black Jack Davy, First Encore: Ups And Downs
18th Wolverhampton Civic Hall
19th Gaumont Theatre Ipswich. (£1.50)
21st Easbourne, Congress Theatre
22nd Albert Hall, Nottingham
23rd City Hall, Sheffield
'Silly Sisters' (Maddy Prior and June Tabor) Album and Tour
On 4th April Maddy embarked on a 10 date tour with June Tabor. They were billed as the 'Silly Sisters' which was the name of this first album . Is this a first hint that the band were starting to look outside of Steeleye, this along with Bob and Pete starting to work on 'Elflands' and Tim Hart producing the 'Spriguns' Album suggests that this could be the case. This Silly Sisters album was followed up with another album in 1988 'No More to the Dance'
"During late April and May Steeleye Span will play a series of concerts and TV shows in Scandinavia, Holland, Belgium, Germany and France" (Silly Sisters Press Release). Only dates so far are from the Finland leg.
29th Apr Turun Konsertisali, Turku, Finland
30th Finlandia-talo, Helsinki,Finland
1st May Kalannissa, Finland.
13th: Birmingham Odoen. This was an extra date to replace a planned 2nd concert here in the last tour. W. R.Digance
Rehearsed and recorded Rocket Cottage at Frans Peters Studios, Hilversum, Holland (For Tax reasons).
This was the month that the band were meant to be touring Russia but which was cancelled earlier in the year.
20th Newcastle City Hall, with Five Hand Reel. Part of Newcastle Festival.
Headlining at a series of European Summer Festivals (programme notes)
3rd July Roskilde Festival, Roskilde, Denmark. 2nd Headline behind Dr Hook. Played SLigo Maid
13th Aug Jazz-Bilzen , Bilzen, Belgium
Australia & Far East tour planned but did not happen. Per cutting they 'kick off 6 months off with a tour of 'Far East & Australia'. Whilst this never took place, Maddy did tour Australia with June Tabor as 'Silly Sisters'
Europe tour? Per programme "European tour in September"
SINGLE: London (Sligo Maid).
Failed to be as successful as 'Hat' probably due to music at the time moving in a new direction. A Liverpool Echo reviewer said: "The band look set for a certain Number One with their inventive and Melodic treatment of the traditional song London". Ah well, nice thought. It was written by Rick as a potential single because the Record Label had said 'We'll have another one of those, please'
Original 'London' promo video
24th NINTH ALBUM: Rocket Cottage (Chrysalis).
A follow up to All Around My Hat was always going to be difficult. The album is not a Hat clone and quite experimental in places, but the failure to find a single, different style and a sense of it being rushed all meant it did not do well and 'only' got to No.41 in the charts. All the songs are traditional arrangements once again accept for London which, although using bits of traditional lyrics is basically a Rick Kemp composition.
1.London 2.The Bosnian Hornpipes 3.Orfeo/Nathan's Reel 4.The Twelve Witches 5.The Brown Girl 6.Fighting for Strangers 7.Sligo Maid 8.Sir James the Rose 9.The Drunkard
3rd October Appearance on Iltatahti, a music TV Show in Finland (TV2)
The band played a live concert during an afternoon in front of a what appears to be a small audience. They broadcast 'Black Jack Davy' and 'Cam Ye o'er Frae France' on this show. It certainly looks like a longer concert was performed/recorded so maybe the full footage will exist somewhere. It could well be that this date is just the broadcast of a concert recorded earlier in the year, see some Finnish dates in April above when this could have been recorded.
Below is the footage of 'Cam Ye' and 'Black Jack Davy', believed to be from that show. A very rare glimpse of the band live at their peak.
NME: 'After 9 months of negotiation...Russian Tour has fallen through'
October: 'Rocket Cottage' World Tour: USA.
5th US tour in 4 years and the first for 2 years. A shorter tour than 1974 and seemed to get less press attention, another symptom of the music industry move to newer Rock/Punk music. They were described as 'having been around for a while and producing soft, funky Rock'. but also as being 'England's premier folk band, far outdistancing such groups as Fairport Convention and Pentangle' It does give a rare opportunity to hear the band in the 70s via unofficial recordings but the quality is not great.
4th-7th Oct. Boarding House, San Francisco. (US newspaper archive). Featured Black Jack Davy; The Brown Girl; Sir James the Rose; London; Bosnian Hornpipe; I'm forever blowing Bubbles' ; Cam ye; Gaudete; Royal Forester; medley of jigs.
8th Oct Roxy Club, Los Angeles
9th Roxy Club, Los Angeles
10th Roxy Club, Los Angeles
13th : The Backdoor @ San Diego State Uni
15th Berkeley Performance Centre, Boston MA. It is believed that 8 tracks from the show are on the 'Sunken Meadows' Bootleg listed as 'Christmas Special 1976', although unless it was a Radio showed aired again there is no reason to call it that. This show is also likely to be the Bootleg known as the 'Cambridge Tape'.
Set List: London, Orfeo/Nathan's Reel, Hard Times Of Old England, Cam Ye, 12 Witches, Black Jack Davy, Gaudete, Brown Girl, Wife Of Ushers Well, Sir James The Rose, Royal Forester, All Around My Hat
20th Appearance on Mike Douglas TV Show. Bosnian Hornpipes and London
16th Tower Theatre, Upper Darby, PA
26th Lisner Theatre, Washington: Bootleg: London;Orfeo; Hard Times of Old England; Black Jack Davy; Wife of Ushers Well; Gaudete; 12 Witches; The Brown Girl; I'm forever Blowing Bubbles; Cam Ye O'er Frae France' Sir James the Rose; Devil's Dream; Royal Forester; The Black Joke/Sligo Maid; All Around My Hat; The Mason's Apron.
??? Boston - Berkeley Performance Centre
29th-31st Oct (3 dates). Bottom Line, NYC with Ken Bloom. Devil's Dream, Royal Forester, Orfeo/Nathan's Reel, Gaudete, London, Brown Girl, Song For Germany, Wife Of Ushers Well, All Around My Hat, Cam Ye, Black Joke/Sligo Maid, Hard Times Of Old England, Bosnian Hornpipes, Mason's Apron.
SINGLE: Fighting for Strangers (Mooncoin Jig)
'Rocket Cottage' World Tour: UK
At the Hammersmith Gig an entire nights takings, £8,500 was stuffed down through the ceiling and given away to the audience as a publicity stunt, which worked as it made many papers, including the Daily Mirror, page 3. They were going to repeat it the next night but Council refused. Interestingly in one newspaper article it said that one of the concerts on this tour was to be filmed by the BBC with the intention of showing 'a one hour special' in the new year. Obviously either the filming or the showing never happened. The tour opened with 'London' and mainly tracks from 'Hat' and Rocket Cottage.
12th Newcastle City Hall
13th Edingburgh Usher Hall
14th Aberdeen Capitol
15th Glasgow Apollo. With martin Simpson.
16th Chester ABC
17th Birmingham Odeon. Included Sir James The Rose, Black Jack Davy, London, Hard Times Of Old England, Cam Ye O'er Frae France
19th Manchester Free Trade Hall
20th Sheffield City Hall
21st Liverpool Empire (2000 people)
22nd Leicester De Montford
24th London Hammersmith. Crowd 4,000. See above.
25th London Hammersmith. 2nd date added after virtual sell out on the 24th concert..
27th Cardiff Capitol
28th Oxford New Theatre
29th Bristol Colston Hall
1st Peterbrough ABC
2nd Portsmouth Guildhall
3rd Bournemouth Winter Gardens
5th Coventry Theatre
6th Brighton Dome
8th Bradford St Georges Hall
10th Gaumont, Southampton
January - May
Band had a pre-planned "6 months off" after so many years of recording and touring. Tim went to Norway, Nigel worked on his record label, Maddy 'disappeared' to the Lake District whilst Peter and Bob worked on their new concept album.
Bob Johnston (Guitar) Leaves the Band
Peter Knight (Fiddle) Leave the Band
There are different reports as to why Bob and Peter left, the most popular, official, and oft repeated since is that they wanted to go off record an album together ("The King of Elflands Daughter"). Tim Hart in his 'Complete Steeleye Span' booklet says that when they got back together after 6 months off, Peter and Bob announced they were leaving. Although it was also later said that they were annoyed that Chrysalis pulled out of releasing their concept album which had been promised before Rocket Cottage. It would appear however, that the PR ,as usual, was not quite in line with the reality..... In Peter's words:
"For the record, Bob and I didn’t leave Steeleye to record ‘Elfland’. In the true nature of band behaviour, Maddy announced that she was leaving, and Rick said that he would leave too. Bob and I thought that we might as well go in that case, and so we did, but Rick and Maddy didn’t. That sort of thing is typical of how things work in bands. It’s all normal stuff. Publicly different reasons were given, because the truth can work against bums on seats. But the truth is always more interesting than false declarations. By that time I had had enough anyway. With hits and success came TV cameras, vanity and everything that has nothing to do with music."
28th May. Steeleye Span Murals appear, painted in Shephards Bush and Opposite Kensington Hilton.
The band changes meant a cancelled Irish tour (14th - 18th) in addition to planned Australian and American tours all being cancelled. It showed that this line up really was only going to fulfil its commitments to the record company. An RM article at the time said the cancelling of the tours was due to making time for Band Rehearsals.
British Tour (13 dates).
Warm up tour at mainly smaller Venues. 'Love's a Plum Pudding' was played, a Morris tune by John Kirkpatrick. The reception was not great and reviews very mixed. They did not seem like a tight band ,with members coming and going from the stage depending on the song. Partial set list from NME review:
Jigs and Reels, Saucy Sailor, Love's A Plum Pudding (Kirkpatrick Morris Dance with just Martin on stage with him), Some Rival (Rick acoustic guitar, Tim on Banjo), Treadmill Song, Sword Dance, Awake Awake, Cam Ye O'er Frae France, Encore: Rave On
9th Taunton Odeon
10th Portsmouth Guildhall
11th Oxford New Theatre
12th Ipswich (£2.5, up from £1.50 in '76)
14th Great Yarmouth
15th Hull New Theatre
17th Swansea Brangwyn Hall
19th Harrogate Royal Hall
20th Stockport Davenport Theatre
24th Torquay, Town Hall
25th Truro Plaza
September / October
Storm Force 10 recorded in Holland in the run up to the European tour that they were embarking on. The Album was recorded in a matter of weeks. The Board Head Carol single, which does not appear on the Album was recorded in Holland during the tour.
EU Tour. 6 countries in 4 weeks.
27th Musikhalle, Hamburg, Germany
28th Neue Welt, Berlin, Germany
29th Stadthalle , Bremen, Germany
30th Schloss Kiel, Kiel, Germany
2nd Stadthalle, Heidelberg, Germany
3rd Philippshalle, Dusseldorf, Germany
4th Sartorisaal, Cologne, Germany
5th Kurfurstl Schloss, Mainz-Finthen
6th Kongresshalle, Boblingen, Germany
8th Philipshalle POC, Eindhoven, Holland. Concert Recorded for use in a 'Live Album'
9th Doulen, Rotterdam, Holland. Live recording of Concert
10th Twentseschouwburg, Enschede. Live recording of Concert
11th Tivoli, Utrecht
Vooruit Theatre, Gent
14th Ancien Belgigue, Brussells. Encore of 'Down in the Valley to Pray"
16th Ivraettens Haus, Vejle
18th Chateau Neurf, Oslo
19th Concert Haus, Gothenberg
20th Olympen, Lund
21st Stakladen Uni, Arhus
22nd Tivoli, Copenhagen
24th Goetalejon, Stockholm
28th: TENTH ALBUM: Storm Force Ten (Chrysalis)
With contractual arrangements to fill and with Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick in the band, along with Mike Batt moving on, then this, the 10th album inevitably takes a turn towards the more traditional 'Electric Folk / Dance' feel. But this was against the tide of both popular music and a move away from the sound that went down so well in America. It was recorded quickly with very little post production or over dubbing. With only 8 tracks its unlikely there any outtakes that will surface. It failed to chart, the first since Ten Man Mop.1.Awake Awake 2.Sweep, Chimney Sweep 3.The Wife of the Soldier 4.The Victory 5.The Black Freighter 6.Some Rival 7.Treadmill Song 8.Seventeen Come Sunday.
November / December
Recorded 'Boars Head Carol' in Amsterdam
14th Nov Liverpool Docks
The tour marked the bands debut in Northern Ireland
15th Nov Rialto Cinema, Londonderry
16th Grosvenor Hall, Belfast. Encore was Rave On and a 2nd encore was needed and they did 'Down in the Valley' with just a tambourine for accompaniment.
17th Grosvenor Hall, Belfast
18th November Dublin. 1,700 fans. reviewed in NME. False Knight on the Road; Awake Awake; Black Freighter; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Boards Head Carol; The Treadmill Song; The Victory; Athol Highlander/Blue Bonnets; The Maid and the Palmer; 17 Come Sunday; Encore: Rave On.
19th LeisureLand, Galway
SINGLE: Boars Head Carol (Gaudete/Some Rival).
An attempt at another Christmas hit, no doubt under more pressure from Chrysalis. A secular Carol, in this case arranged by John Kirkpatrick. It has continued to be sung by Maddy with the Carnival Band and solo. It was recorded in Holland back in November whilst on tour. Does not appear on Storm Force 10 or Live at Last but now appears on various collections.
10th Amnesty International Rally, London, Played at end of rally starting at 4:40 following inter-denominational Carol singing.
12th Dec: Passage 44, Brussels, Belgium. Broadcast on BRT2 Radio (a few days later).
Support act Paul van Suetendael. 'Down in the Valley' played as encore and set included the new single, 'The Boar's Head Carol' (Thanks Johan for all information on this concert!!) as well as the previously unheard song 'Sweet Swansea' as part of a 'Prison' Medley with 'The Treadmill Song'. It was a special one off concert organised by the above Radio Station for their 10th Birthday. It was a late decision to organise and they Radio went through a lot of trouble to get it organised in time. Steeleye was possibly chosen because the Station's folk programme had the 'Mooncoin Jig' as their opening tune. Luckily they did as it provides a very rare opportunity to hear this line up live apart from the 'Live at Last' Album. Interestingly, as has been reported in the press around this time, the audience once again called for 'All Around My Hat' at the encore and Maddy has to explain that 'the Band don't know that one'!
The False Knight on the Road; The Wife of the Soldier; Awake Awake; Saucy Sailor/The Black Freighter; Hunt The Wren; Sweep Chimney Sweep;The Galtee Farmer; The Maid and The Palmer; Sweet Swansea/The Treadmill song;
The Victory (not broadcast so not sure of position) ;The Atholl Highlanders / Walter Bulwer's Polka; Cam Ye All O'er Frae France ; The Boar's Head Carol ; Seventeen Come Sunday; Encore - Rave On/ 2 Tunes/Down in the Valley
15th Bath Pavillion, Warm up to xmas concert at Hammersmith
17th Hammersmith Odeon, London debut for new band. Opener: False Knight, Awake Awake, Saucy Sailor, Black Freighter, Morris Dance, Sweep Chimney Sweep, Wife Of The Soldier, Victory, Cam Ye, Closer: Seventeen Come Sunday, 3 encores (NME)
February:4th Feb BBC TV: 'Jim'll' Fix It. Jim fixes it for Rebecca Dunham and Celia Millett to have a Medieval Banquet with Steeleye Span. Features the Band singing 'Board Head Carol'
February / March
UK 'Farewell' Tour (31 dates).
Officially its the 'Storm Force Ten' Tour. Support: Tannahil Weavers (part of the tour). In the programme Tim Hart remarks that "the problem with Steeleye is that we've done it all"
False Knight on the Road; Galtee Farmer; Awake Awake; The Victory; Montrose; The Atholl Highlanders / Walter Bulwer's Polka; Saucy Sailor/Black Freighter; Treadmill Song; Hunting the Wren; Bonnets So Blue; Sweep Chimney Sweep; Seventeen Come Sunday; Boars Head Carol; T he Maid and the Palmer; Encore: Cam Ye O'er Frae France: Rave On / Jigs / Down in the Valley (5 part harmony gospel song)
4th Harrogate Royal Hall
5th Liverpool Philharmonic
6th Chester ABC
7th Free Trade Hall, Manchester
8th Sheffield City Hall
9th Birmingham Odeon
11th Leicester De Montford Hall
12th Oxford New Theatre
13th Bristol Colston Hall
14th Cardiff Uni Late addition
15th Swansea Brangwyn Hall
17th Hammersmith Odeon
18th Hammersmith Odeon
19th Coventry Theatre
20th Kent Uni
21st Portsmouth Guildhall
22nd Brighton Dome
23rd Hull Uni
24th Newcastle City Hall
25th Edingburgh Usher Hall
26th Glasgow Apollo. £1.50. No change from '75.
27th Aberdeen 'Capital'
1st Middlesborugh Town Hall
2nd Bradfors ST Georges Hall
4th Peterbrough ABC
5th Painton Festival Theatre late addition
6th Southampton Gaumont
7th Bournemouth Winter Gardens Live At Last recorded
9th Wolverhampton City Hall
10th Stockport Davenport Theatre
12th Ipswich Gaumont
15th Sheffield City Hall (duplicate of Sheffield performance on 8th Feb?)
BAND BREAKS UP AFTER THE TOUR
Maddy Prior Solo Album: 'Woman in the Wings' (Chrysalis). plus UK Tour.
Maddy's first proper solo album has most of Jethro Tull playing on it and Ian Anderson producing it, a relationship that goes back to when Steeleye supported Tull in America. Plus Tim Hart was Maddy's manager. The desire to do a solo album would have been one of the many contributing factors to the band breaking up. However, the Tour to accompany it was described as a 'disastrous' , which must refer to ticket sales. The possible future implications of this are discussed below.
Single: Rag Doll (Saucy Sailor) See Live at Last below for details.
'The Complete Steeleye Span' Book
Tim Hart publishes a 'booklet', written by Robin Denselow, called 'The Complete Steeleye Span' which is a great written history of the Band in Tim's words. He says that they had got through 724 gigs, 3 managers, 3 record companies, 1 gold, 4 silver albums. Tours of Europe, Australia & America. I have not found 724 gigs yet in this period but I'm getting close! The best place to read it is on the Chris Kellett archive website HERE.
11th ALBUM (Live) : 'Live at Last'
Recorded on the 7th March on the Farewell Tour. With so many new tracks it is only fair to include this in any main Steeleye Discography. The US release dropped the very English Morris Dance, 'Bonnets So Blue' and replaced it with a studio recording of 'Rag Doll' which would have been a more familiar song to US fans who saw them live in 73-76. 'Rag Doll' was recorded in 1972 while the Band was touring the US. it included Session drummer 'Hal Blaine'. It was released as a single in August '78 in the UK and has appeared on a few collections since.
1/ The Atholl Highlanders / Walter Bulwer's Polks 2/ Saucy Sailor/Black Freighter 3/ The Maid and the Palmer 4/ Hunting the Wren 5/Montrose 6/ Bonnets so Blue 7/ The False Knight on the Road 7/ Rag Doll (Us Version )
2nd July Maddy Prior Solo Album: 'Changing Winds' (Chrysalis)
Recorded with a different set of musicians to the first solo album, but again featuring original compositions, and now heavily featuring new husband Rick Kemp, this second Album, hot on the heels of Woman in the Wings, was clearly not a success in terms of sales, at least not in the eyes of the Record Label. Off the back of this, and the unsuccessful tour Chrysalis dropped Maddy as a solo artist in 1979. Maybe they had agreed a two album deal initially. This bad news can only helped sow the seeds for the 1980 Reunion of Steeleye Span. Although Maddy continued to tour and record as a solo artist, initially as the 'Maddy Prior Band' in the early 80's, there is probably no doubt that if these first two albums had been successful, and had Tim's album also been successful, then the chances of a Steeleye return would have been lower.
April / May
1st Tim Hart Solo Album 'Tim Hart' (Chrysalis)
Single: 'Overseas / Hillman Avenger'
Tim's first solo album was all original songs apart from 'Come to My Window'. It featured Nigel Pegrum on drums, plus Rick Kemp on a couple of tracks and Maddy Backing Vocals. How serious an attempt at a solo career this was is not clear but Tim said the Record Label wanted him to do it, so he did. It is hard to measure whether it was 'successful' but in pure sales terms, probably unlikely given the music tastes of the time.