The initial idea for a band that would explore the electrification of traditional music from the British Isles started after discussions at the '69 Keele folk festival in the Summer between Ashley Hutching's; Maddy Prior & Tim Hart and Bob & Carole Pegg. They discussed their dissatisfaction of the isolationist nature of the British Folk scene and an unwillingness to consider an 'electric' approach from within the scene. Ashley was already exploring the use of traditional music in Rock setting with Fairport Convention, which culminated in 'Liege and Lief' in Dec 1969. But even before that album was released Ashley left Fairport wanting to continue the 'Folk Rock' experiment whilst the remaining members saw it merely as a one off.
Ashley wanted to form a band with Sweeney's
Men (Irvine, Moynihan and Woods). The band rehearsed for a couple of weeks but Irvine and Moynihan left after a falling out, leaving Ashley with only Terry Woods (and his wife Gay who had come from Ireland to join Terry) . With the Pegg's exploring a different experimental direction, and an unsuccessful approach to the Dransfield brothers, Ashley then called upon Maddy and Tim, recalling their discussions in the Summer. According to Maddy, Ashley and Woods happened to be staying with them at the time of the Sweeney's men splitting up so it was the obvious thing to do to her and Tim to join. Tim and Maddy were at a point where they were to keen to expand their own sound having been successful on the club scene. The band got together for rehearsals at Tim and Maddy's flat in the last few weeks of 1969.
Ashley Hutchings; Terry Woods; Gay Woods; Tim Hart; Maddy Prior.
January / February
With Ashley's success from Fairport Convention the band were able to get Sandy Roberston aboard quickly as their manager, and thanks to his connections they get a record contract with RCA. This gave them the funds and the equipment they needed to go and live together in the Country, practising in Berwick St James for 3 months 'getting it together’. Later described by Ashley as 'Two couples and a referee' and although they all found the music inspiring, living so close created a strain amongst the five and ultimately 3 months of living this way proved too much.....
One week late in March - Recorded the debut album.
31st March : BBC Session (aired 11th April 1970). The only appearance of original band while they were recording the first album, but it has never Surfaced. It was noted on 'The Journey' sleeve notes that the recording was lost. Full details are available on the 'BBC Sessions' page.
Gay & Terry Woods leave.
The recording of the new album was fractious with the living arrangements spilling over into the recording sessions, and with one song still to finish Gay and Terry left. However, as far as they were concerned there was an agreement that if anyone left, the band split up and they didn't expect the remaining members to continue using the name "Steeleye Span". This 'betrayal' almost certainly accounted for Terry Woods never appearing with the band again, including the 1995 big Reunion concert where he was the only member to not appear.
April / May
Martin Carthy (Guitar) Joins the band
The band had effectively split up when the Wood's left. Ashley went off to pursue a project with Bob and Carole Pegg. However, Tim Hart was keen to continue the project and called up Martin Carthy to see if he would be interested, who having seen his partner Dave Swarbrick join Fairport was happy to give it a go. This encouraged Ashley to come back and try again. These 4 practised for 2 months at the Vicarage, St Albans (Tim's Parents) but soon realised they needed another multi-instrumentalist as they were too guitar heavy.
FIRST ALBUM: Hark! The Village Wait (RCA Records) Released.
Released after the band split up and after Martin had joined, this debut album was all traditional material apart from the opener - 'A Calling-On Song' which was written by Ashley based on an old tune. As became the accepted way for a Steeleye album, all the members brought different songs to the recording sessions.
The album had guest drummers Gerry Conway and Dave Mattacks, both of whom performed later with the band in the 90's. No outtakes have ever appeared from these sessions but it was recorded in one week so it is likely all the material was released. A 'Wait' is a Tudor village/town band or musician.
Peter Knight (Fiddle) Joins the band.
Peter Knight had been seen playing in the folk clubs, particularly the Irish Folk scene in London, so was known to Ashley, Tim and Maddy. He had also done some gig with Bob Johnson. Peter was classically trained which appealed to Martin and Tim as they had a good musical knowledge themselves and wanted to explore more complex arrangements. This then completed the first Steeleye Line up that went out and played live and produced two classic Electric Folk Albums.
Maddy Prior/Martin Carthy/Ashley Hutchings/Peter Knight/Tim Hart
23rd June: BBC Radio John Peel Session (aired 27th June as a 'Top Gear' episode).
This is almost certainly the first performance of the new band. Full details of this, and all the BBC sessions that are references in the timeline, are on the 'BBC Sessions' page which has track listings, availability and other information. The tracks are available on 2006 Re-issue of 'Please to see the King' and is often repeated by the BBC in better quality.
As rare as live recordings of the band are, it is fortunate that what I now believe to be the very first appearance of this line up, was recorded and is still available.
11th July: BBC 2 TV (Disco 2). 11.35pm with Alan Brown, Justine and Steeleye. 25 minute show so probably only one or two songs from Steeleye, but is almost certainly their first TV appearance and has not been seen since.
16th July: BBC Session (Sounds of the 70's, Aired 23rd July) Some tracks are on 2006 Re-issue of 'Please to see the King'. Full track and session details are on the 'BBC Sessions' page.
Unsure on date: ATV Birmingham television programme 'The Music Room'.
Lark in the Morning; The Lark in the Morning; The King; Prince Charlie Stuart; Hitler's Downfall/The Hag With The Money; The Blacksmith
This is mentioned by Tim Hart in his later book as the "first ever public appearance" of the band. These tracks (except for Prince Charlie Stuart) are available on the 2009 Castle CD Reissue of 'Please to see the King', the tracks are not in order though and listed incorrectly in places on the CD (i.e. Lark in the Morning as TopGear). Note that [thanks to info from Simon Jones and Chris Haines] the performance below on YouTube is listed as being from a 1971 'Top Gear' session, but it is this Music Room appearance. No one is certain of the actual date of recording. I have seen the broadcast listed as 18th October 1970 a couple of times so that is the best bet for the broadcast, but the recording date is unknown. Judging by comments it was almost certainly in July around the same time as the two sessions above.
It is a truly remarkable early performance of Steeleye and hopefully the full show will be made available one day. The programme was actually in part about how to make your own Dulcimer, and Tim's was shown extensively, hence the keen interest the presenter, Sean Davis, has in watching Tim! He used to run the recording studio at Cecil Sharp House in the 60’s and 70’s. The man in the armchair on the left is John Pearse, singer, guitar/bouzouki teacher. It has been said that the session took place in his flat. He also interviews the band in the show (the picture below) and a clip is available 'here' on this programme about Martin Carthy, its about 8.26m in. Only this track, the Lark in the Morning, has surfaced so far on video, below.
31st July – 2nd Aug Cambridge Folk Festival - Live Debut of the band.
Played in the 'Club tent' included 'Rave On' but reportedly only played 2 songs.
13th: Appeared on Sounds of the 70's with Pete Drummond. No track details. Could be a repeat.
September / October / November
FIRST UK Tour - Mainly British Universities
30th Sept Saltford University . 1st Proper Concert for the band.
2nd Oct Southampton uni
3rd Colchester, Sussex Uni
4th Epping Tech College
8th Belsize Park Country Club
9th London Cecil Sharp House
10th London Central Poly
11th Southall Farx Club
15th Bristol Uni
24th Manchester Uni. w. Trees
1st Nov: Little Theatre, Newport Folk Club, Newport. [Thanks Stephen!]
5th Watford Town Hall
6th Plymouth Van Dyke
7th London Uni College
8th Leeds Poly
17th: BBC Radio 'Folk On One' Session. (recorded 29th Sept). Most tracks appear on 'Please to See the King' Re-Issue CD and some on Ashley Hutchings 'The Guv'nor Vol 1'. Full Session details are on the 'BBC Sessions' page.
Oct: London Royal Court Theatre: Performance watched by Keith Dewhurst. Carthy was going to contribute the music to Pirates but he was too busy. Tim and Maddy therefore helped out and drove overnight to Sunderland to rehearse the production the next morning, impressing Dewhurst so much that he scripted an entire play around Steeleye (Corunna)
5th Watford Town Hall. With the Strawbs & Al Stewart.
7th London University College. (Fotheringay Support)
28th London Black Bull.
6th Havestock Hill Country Club.
13th: Play 'Pirates'.
One night only at the Royal Court, a play by Keith Dewhurst. Songs arranged by Martin Carthy, Sung by Steeleye Span.
19th Signed to B&C. In the midst of recording Please to see the King (started in March)
22nd Cheltenham Town Hall.
26th Sang Carol's at St Saviour's Church, St Albans. Per article the group were going to Manchester to record Carols for Granada TV.
31st Plymouth, Van Dyke.
7th Grimsby Town Hall
10th Wawick Uni. Review say Steeleye are 'one of the brightest prospects for 1971..' and that after the performance 'the most hardened traditionalists cannot fail to be won over'.
13th Bounds Green Folk Club. w.Peelers, Bonded Book & June Tabor
15th Hampstead Country Club. w. Paladin
16th Manchester UMIST
25th Oxford Town Hall
2nd Southampon Uniw. w.Tir na Nog
4th: BBC Radio 1: Sounds of the 70's. Recorded 21st Jan. Tracks Appear on 2006 re-issue of 'Please to the See the King'. Full details on the 'BBC Sessions' page.
18th: Mountford Hall, Liverpool. w. Dransfields & Mr Fox
25th: BBC Radio 1: Sounds of the 70's with Steeleye and Shirely Kent. No other details other than Radio Times listing.
Spring UK Tour (supporting Jethro Tull)
26th Feb London, Gaumont State Theatre
27th London, LSE. w.Principle Edwards, not a Tull Concert
28th London, Gaumont State Theatre; False Knight on the Road; Lark in the Morning; The King; Reels; Cold Haily Windy Night; Bright Morning Star; Rave On; Female Drummer.
3rd Mch Brighton Dome
5th Bournemouth Winter gardens
7th Plymouth Guild Hall (2 shows)
11TH Leeds Town Hall
12th Stoke Victoria Guildhall
13th Liverpool Mountfield Hall (2 shows)
14th Blackpool Opera House
19th Edinbugh Empire
20th Sunderland Empire (2 Shows)
1st: SECOND ALBUM 'Please to see the King' (B&C Records)
With changes in the band a second album was quickly needed and the result was a very dense, unique heavy 'electric-folk' album with no drums and was a sound that would define the bands early years before moving on in a 'folk-Rock' direction. It reached No.45 in the charts and became widely regarded as an electric folk masterpiece which attracted the attention of critics and influential Radio DJ's like John Peel.
The cover to the original LP was in a lovely hessian material. All songs are traditional and a later castle CD reissue (2003) included a series of Off-air recordings of BBC sessions. Produced by Sandy Robertson and released on B&C records. The title is a reference to the 'Cutty Wren' ceremony where a Wren is paraded like a King on 26th Dec.
27th: BBC Radio 'Top Gear'. Recorded 16th March. Some tracks available on 2006 Re-issue of 'Please to see the King'. Full details are on the 'BBC Sessions' page
19th Bradford University: Steeleye Span, John Martyn, Dr Strangely Strange.
24th Charity Concert at Great Ormonds Street Hospital
4th Inverness Town Hall Folk Festival; False Knight on the Road; Wee Weaver; General Taylor; Lark in the Morning; Female Drummer; Lovely on the Water; Rave On.
9th London, Hampstead County Club
10th (or 11th) Rocky Road Nightclub. Coventry. Advert in Coventry Evening Telegraph on the 10th.
12th Birmingham Town Hall. w.Tir Na Nog
25th ReddCar jazz club
6th Uni OF Essex, Colchester. Gower Wassail; General Taylor; Captain Coulston; Female Drummer; Skewball; Rave On; Jigs.
7th Nottignham Trent Polly
8th London Uni College
17th & 18th London Royal Court Theatre; Per article sang When I was on Horseback; 'Mountains of Spain' 'Johnny Trap's Lullaby' (probably as a warm up for Carunna)
19th - 23rd First Performances of the play 'Corunna' at Royal Court Theatre (upstairs).
There was plans to move the show to the 'Young Vic' but Ashley was not keen and fought against it.
29th London QEH w.Keith Christmas
4th June: Tim Hart and Maddy Prior Album: Summer Solstice (B&C).
With Tim and Maddy continuing to tour they took the opportunity to release a 3rd album as a duo, but the first after Steeleye had started. This time it was recorded under B&C which gave them the opportunity to take more time to produce a more full sounding record with guest musicians and using multi track production techniques and overdubbing which they were unable to afford on their first two albums.
As was accepted with this line up, the band members all had other musical interests that they carried on pursuing alongside Band commitments.
Corunna British Tour.
The tour included the play 'Corunna'. It was written especially for Steeleye and told the story of soldiers and camp-followers travelling across Spain during the Napoleonic Wars.
1st June Cantebury, Kent Uni
2nd Hornsey Town Hall
3rd Croydon, Fairefield
4th Liverpool ST George
5th Liverpool St George
6th Harrogate Opera HouseAshton Gardner & Dyke
7th Bedford Uni
8th Southampton UNi
11th Manchester Uni
? London Country Club
2nd - 4th Loughborough Folk Festival [Keele Folk Festival debate" regarding amplification of Folk].
When I was on Horseback; Lark in the Morning; Gower Wassail; General Taylor
13th: ITV: 'Out Front'. Ainsdale Beach, Southport. Recorded on 30th June.
With Fairport Convention. Was meant to be a small 'made for TV' concert advertised locally as a 'Free Beach Party' where people were encouraged to 'Do Your Thing'. But people heard there was a free 'Festival' so turned up in their hundreds and then thousands. The crew had only expected a few locals so had to set up new speakers so everyone could hear it. The bands did some additional songs to keep the crowd happy but when they finished more and more were still turning up and apparently burned down the stage in protest of their not actually being a festival! A unique chance to see this line up in a live gig. Videos Below.
The Lark in the Morning; Reels; The Female Drummer.
16th Lewisham Concert Hall. w.Lindisfarne & Al Stewart
17th London Festival Hall In "The greatest folk event ever". Review in NME. 20 minute set including Lark in the Morning & Female Drummer.
24th Lincoln 'Tupholme' Festival "Concert Of Contemporary & Traditional Folk Music"
One day festival with an estimated 60,000! Incredible String Band, Pentangle; Sandy Denny and The Byrds all attended. Apparently Tim and Maddy did a couple on their own before the Steeleye set, which it's thought included Maddy Prior singing 'The Dying Soldier'.
30th July - 1st Aug Cambridge Folk Festival
6th Plymouth, Van Dikes
14th 'Feast of Folk Festival. Syon Park, Brentford "Folk song and dance festival"
25th The Stables, Higham w.Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra & The Songwainers
26th The Sportsman's Club, Accrington
31st Pipers Tuesday Folk ConcertSt Johns hall Penzance.
Recorded Ten Man Mop and the following sessions at the same time.
15th (aired 26th) : BBC Radio 1 'John Peel's Sunday Concert'.
The most extensive BBC Radio Session by the band. Appears almost in full on 2006 Re-issue of 'Ten Man Mop' but a much better quality recording exists as a Bootleg. Full details are available on the 'BBC Sessions' page.
22nd: BBC Radio: Sounds of the 70s with Pete Drummond. [aired 30th Sept]. Peter Knight was ill for this session which gave it a more unique set list and feel. Full details available on the 'BBC Sessions' Page.
1st: SINGLE: 'Rave-On' (B&C records). Maxi single with Female Drummer/Reels.
Long before the band started introducing the 'Rockers Encore' they recorded this single for a 'bit of fun' which their manager thought may do well as a novelty single. Apparently Tim and Maddy were singing it in the car, mainly to annoy Ashley, but he actually commented that it sounded quite good - which led to a release. Although a surprising single from a set of folkies, it actually got plenty of airplay but no real chart success.
UK TOUR. First Proper Headlining British Tour. Support by Andy Roberts
Up to this point the band had played on a rather ad-hoc basis, reflecting that they were still a relatively small niche band, as well as the fact that they were fitting in gigs around the existing commitments of the members. The set list also seemed to reflect this with quite a few songs brought from the solo repertoire of the band members.
Based on Manchester: Four Nights Drunk, Jigs, We Beg your Leave ('Pace Egging song'), Gower Wassail, Lark In The Morning, Hornpipes (Pete & Maddy), Handsome Polly-O (Martin), I Live Not Where I Love (Tim & Maddy), Jigs, When I Was On Horseback, We Poor Labouring Men, Maddy's Poem 'The Hoop', Cold Haily Windy Night, Encore: Female Drummer, Rave On, Uncle Tom Cobbley
3rd Bristol Colston Hall
4th Southampton Guildhall
7th Leeds Uni
12th Free Trade Hall, Manchester
13th Abersytwyth Uni
14th Wawick Uni
15th Liverpool ST George
16th Leicester Uni
17th Birmingham Town Hall
18th Sheffield City Hall
19th Birmingham Town Hall. Review mentions these songs: 'We poor Labouring Folk; 'Egg Pacing' & Sweep Chimney Sweep'. The latter of course Martin would bring back in '77.
20th Barnsley Civic Centre
21st Newcastle City Hall
24th Croydon Greyhound
26th Norwich St Andrews Hall
27th Bournmouth Winter Garderns. 'Rag Folk' Festival
28th BBC Radio Sounds of the 70s with Pete Drummond. Per Radio Times synopsis:
Radio 2's VHF channels join Radio 1 for two hours of progressive pop With Steeleye Span, Lindisfarme, Uriah Heep; Heads, Hands And Feet.
The second and final album from the Mk II line up and it was similar to the last one with traditional material in an 'Electric Folk' style. 'Easier to listen to....much neater' as Ashley put it, but for him not as interesting as 'Please to see the King' so he felt that he had done what he had set out to achieve - part of his reason for leaving the band. The incredible luxury packaging of the original LP, coupled with a lack of chart success compared to the last one meant the band did not make any money on the Album, again a possible reason for the upcoming break up.
Interestingly very little from this album was heard live, the few gigs after its released still focused on the existing set list rather than introducing many new songs
For the record, a 'Mop' is a hiring fair and 'Reservoir Butler' was a traditional singer of one of the songs on the album. 'General Taylor' is an outtake from the recording sessions and appears on various collections.
5th Salford Uni: Four Nights Drunk, Jigs, Pace Egging Song, We Poor Labouring Men, When I Was On Horseback, Bring Em Down/Haul On The Bowline, Jigs, Gower Wassail, Lark In The Morning, Hornpipes (Pete & Maddy), My Johnny Was A shoemaker (Martin), Female Drummer, Encore: Jigs
6th London L.S.E
9th Guilford Civic Hall; Cold Haily Windy Night (opener), Pace Egging Song (Ashley solo vocal with Pete and Martin on Banjo!), We Poor Labouring Men, Sweep Chimney Sweep, Handsome Polly O, Tim & Maddy - Medley of 3 unaccompanied short songs
11th Cantebury, Kent Uni
20th Cardiff Cory
Sat ? Leas Cliff Hall, Folkstone. A Saturday in November. Gig details thanks to Clive Pilcher.
26th Brighton College of Education; Per 'Sounds' this was Tyger's last gig
27th Hull Uni; The Wren, Pace Egging Song, Jigs, Saucy Sailor, We Poor Labouring Men, False Knight On The Road, Sweep Chimney Sweep, Dancing At Whitsun (Pete & Tim), Jigs, Maddy's Poem 'Hydranger', Rab Noake's song, Female Drummer, Encore: Uncle Tom Cobbley
BAND CHANGES: Ashley Hutchings and Martin Carthy Leave the band replaced by Bob Johnson and Rick Kemp.
The exact dates are not clear but it seems that Ashley Hutchings announced he is leaving the Band internally before or during the October Tour. Maddy and Tim said it was because he didn't want to continue with the play 'Corunna' (A tour had been lined up for the Autumn) and because he didn't want to fly to America. Carthy says it was because Ashley thought the music was becoming too 'Irish'. Ashley himself has indicated since that he just felt he had finished what he set out to achieve and the band had run its course, he felt the 3rd album was too 'safe' and not as experimental. It may have been as simple as him wanting to record material with his new wife Shirley Collins. His announcement was almost certainly in November, probably just before 27th (RM Article). Rick Kemp was asked to replace Ashley by Sandy Robertson, who knew Rick well, and agrees assuming that he would get the chance to play with Martin Carthy. It is believed that this this line up did one experimental gig, which could possibly be the 4th of December show below.
Subsequently however Martin Carthy also announces he is leaving, (5th Dec announced in NME that he is leaving at end of the year). Carthy made it clear it was amicable and suggested it was because for him the 'balance' of the band was not right after Hutchings left. Subsequently it was confirmed that it was mainly because he did not want a Bass player to replace Ashley, but rather wanted a Multi Instrumentalist to explore different sounds. Peter Knight then suggests Bob Johnson as a replacement for Martin, with whom he worked with as a duo. The public announcements of Carthy leaving and Rick and Bob joining were made at the same time. Not 100% if Rick then did some further dates in December after the 'experimental' one with Carthy, but a review in Birmingham Daily post suggests he did, although articles when Carthy left suggested Rick and Bob would join after rehearsals in January. It was also announced that Maddy and Tim would stop taking Folk Club bookings as a duo to focus on the new line up as they and the other members decided to be a full time band.
3rd Dec Stockport College of Technology
4th Dec Birmingham Town Hall. Birmingham Daily post says the band are still 'numbed' by recent departure of Ashley, and the 'imminent departure of Martin' It also says "Rick Kemp, Ashley's replacement was 'introduced' so this, or the night before, could be the experimental' gig that this line up did with Rick and Martin.
16th London College of Printing . Included Sweep Chimney Sweep, Wee Weaver & Saucy Sailor.
17th Little Theatre Middlesbrough. Almost certainly Martin Carthy's last gig with this line up.
unknown date in December: Leyton Town Hall - "almost Steeleye" line up of Maddy Prior, Tim Hart & Rick Kemp
American Jo Lustig becomes the Band's manager and signs them up to Chrysalis Records.
A further sign of the bands clear intent to become full time.
Band Practices in the 'Irish Club', Deaton Square, London
31st: BBC 'Top Gear' (John Peel Session): See 'BBC Sessions' for full details.
First Tour debuting the new line up.
28th Bath w.Dando Shaft
29th Winter Gardens, Weston Super Mare.
3rd Durham Uni (Dundee per MS)
4th Edinburgh Caley
5th Stockport College of Tchnology
10th Trowbridge Town Hall
11th Lancaster UniMorgan/Keith Christmas
18th Hornsey Town Hal.
The tour was in the midst of 3 hour Power cuts that were occurring at the time due to the Miner's Strike. This particular show was brought forward to try and finish before the 9pm cut. However, the cut came early, so under Emergency lighting the band stayed on stage, holding candles singing unaccompanied for the least few songs! Thanks to Clive Pilcher for his fantastic memories of the concert.
19th Hatfield Poly
23rd Manchester Uni
24th Birmingham University Guild
25th Cardiff Uni
26th Exeter UniDando Shaft
3rd Mch Southampton Uni
4th Reading Uni
7th Liverpool Uni. Additional date per NME
9th Oxford Poly
10th London Queen Elizabeth Hall. Additional tour date per NME
11th Sheffield Uni. Additional tour date per NME
21st Feb: BBC Radio 1 'Friday Night is Boogie Night' (John Peel Session). See 'BBC sessions' for full details.
17th London Central Poly
24th Farnborough Technical CollegeSwastika & Ben
1st Boston Starlight
9th Croydon Fairfield HallAmazing Blondell
12th Birmgham Town Hall Town Hall
Recording of 'Below the Salt' at 'Sound Techniques. Chelsea.
5th May Newcastle Mayfair
6th Norwich City College
12th London Noth East Poly. Clash of dates on Marmalade Skies
12th London Livingstone House w. Patto. Clash of dates on Marmalade Skies
13th St Albans City Hall
19th Brighton Uni of Essex
20th London City UniDando Shaft
23rd Oxford Town Hall
26th Lacock Folk Festival
27th Northampton Square Bandstand, London
May??Cecil Sharpe House
31st Port Madoc Criccieth Memorial Hall
1st: BBC Radio Session: 'Sounds of the 70's' (recorded 17th May). See 'BBC Sessions' for full details.
UK Tour or just one off dates?
13th Cambridge St John's College. w.Al Stewart
17th Bradford Uni.
18th Swindon Wyvern Theatre
23rd Reading Town Hall. Jigs (opener), Spotted Cow, Rosebud In June, John Barleycorn, Black And White Rag, King Henry, False Knight On The Road, Gaudete, Singing The Travels(?), Ups And Downs, Royal Forester, Encore: Reels, General Taylor
26th Dublin National Theatre. Part of Tour? "first visit to Ireland" Rosebud In June, Spotted Cow, King Henry, Black & White Rag, Ups And Downs
4th: BBC Radio 1 'Friday Night is Boogie Night' (John Peel Session). Full details on 'BBC Sessions' page.
European Dates? Per 'Tim Hart's Complete Steeleye Span Story' there should be some.
3rd-17th Play: Edinburgh, Lyceum Theatre. 'Kidnapped', another Keith Dewhurst play.
Musical adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Kidnapped'. Jo Lustig suggested a West End run in the Spring but it never happened in the end. Ran for 2 weeks per NME. See Review below. During the press photocall the band played Rag Doll. Included the songs: General Taylor, Rosebud In June, Cam Ye O'er Frae France, Parcel Of Rogues, Young Neil My Darling, Bonny Moorhen. Ended with Jacobite Rock ('an hilarious vocal from Kemp'), Jigs.
18th London, Lyceum Theatre. A 'normal concert performance
19th London, Lyceum Theatre. Final two Kidnapped performances.
26th /27th August. Festival, Chelmsford Agricultural Showground
15th FOURTH ALBUM: Below the Salt (1st for Chrysalis)
A new record Company, new band members, a new Manager and a new direction. All the tracks are traditional but some have a more rock sound feel to them and in King Henry start Bob's record of introducing the 'Big Child Ballads' with very 70's Rock arrangements. If you ate 'below' the salt at the dinner table it meant you were poor. The album returned the band to the charts reaching No.43. The album was produced by the band as they didn't have anyone to come after Sandy Roberton left. Songs were chosen by Maddy and Tim mainly with Pete adding the jigs and Bob 'King Henry' and 'Gaudete' which of course became a big hit later.
1/Spotted Cow 2/Rosebud in June 3/Jigs: The Bride's Favourite/Tansey's Fancy 4/Sheepcrook and Blackdog 5/Royal Forester 6/King Henry 7/Gaudete 8/John Barleycorn 9/Saucy Sailor
21st SINGLE John Barleycorn (date of NME review)
23rd Sept. Grangemouth Festival, Scotland. With Jeff Beck Status Quo & Lindisfarne. 12k people at a damp 1 day festival. Steeleye were third last before Status Quo and Jeff Beck. Compare was John Peel.
September / October
Autumn UK 'Below The Salt' Tour. Support from Amazing Blondel
Set list combined Manchester, Bradford & one other, so not every song played each night: Spotted Cow and/or The Ups and Down; Cam Ye O'er Frae France, Gaudete, Rogues In A Nation (or John Barleycorn), Bride's Favourite/Tansey's Fancy, (Or Bank O f Ireland) The Weaver, Sheep-crook & Black Dog, King Henry, Gaudete, Wee Weaver, Truck Drivin' Man (also called 'Cup of Coffee' with Tim on Mandolin and Peter playing Bluegrass fiddle) , Royal Forester, John Barleycorn, Encore: Rag Doll, Reels: Oak Tree/Pigeon
30th Sept Royal
Festival Hall, London
1st Oct Uni of Wawick
5th Uni of Cardiff
6th Loughborough Uni
12th Town Hall Oxford
13th Free Trade Hall, Manchester
14th Leeds Uni
17th Birmingham Town Hall. Sang 'Weaver and the 'Tailor'; Parcel of Rogues, Gaudete.
18th Univ of Aberystwith
19th Fairfield Hall, Croydon
20th Victoria Halls, Stoke upon Trent
21st Liverpool Stadium
22nd St George's Hall Bradford
23rd City Hall, Sheffield
24th Town Hall, Middlesbrough
26th City Hall, Newcastle. Bootleg: Spotted Cow; The Ups and Downs; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; John Barleycorn; Bride's Favourite/Tansey's Fancy; King Henry; Wee Weaver, Reels; Gaudete; Royal Forester; Rag Doll; Jigs.
27th Univ. of Strasthclyde
28th Caird Hall, Dundee
29th Oct Leave for America (per article)
15th Oct BBC Radio 1 ' Sounds on Sunday'. (Recorded 19th Sept) Whole hour on Steeleye Span. See 'BBC Sessions' for details.
24th Oct John Peel Session. (Recorded 2nd Oct) See 'BBC Sessions' for full details.
FIRST US Tour, Mostly Supporting Procul Harum (+ Tir Na Nog ) plus a series of solo dates
This tour was alongside the launch of the Chrysalis label in the US, which was distributed by Warner Brothers. The initial album release to support the tour was Below the Salt. The tour went well with some reviews saying Steeleye outshone Procul who repeated their set list from a previous visit.
In a US newspaper article after the tour (written in Feb 1973) it said about this US Tour that Steeleye travelled 20,000 miles and gave 84 performances in 77 days, which suggests a few double performances and some additional dates to what is listed above. Which does suggest, as said below that the tour was extended for a series of solo/club dates (not with Procul) that extended into December. The only confirmed UK date in December was 30th so this could have easily been the case.
Based on Brown Uni and Washington, incomplete: King Henry, Black & White Rag, Three Drunken Maidens, Reels: Bank Of Ireland, Cam Ye, Gaudete, Ups & Downs, Royal Forester, Truck Driving Man, Spotted Cow; Reels: Mason's Apron, Rag Doll
1st Syracuse Loew's State Theatre
2nd Palace Theatre, Albany, New York.
3rd Meehan Auditorium, Brown Uni, Providence, Rhode Island.
4th Buffalo, NY Kleinhan's
5th Boston Aquarius Theatre. Write up on Procol site: Steeleye 'played a lively set to generous applause"
6th New York Queens College.
7th Washington DC George Wash uni
8th Alumnae Hall, Brown Uni, Providence, Rhode Island. Steeleye back to Headline.
?th New York Academy of music. Not sure if Steeleye there.
10th Fieldhouse, Denver Colorado.
12th LA Santa Monica Civic
15th Detroit Ford Theatre
17th John Carrol Uni Gym, Cleveland, Ohio.
18th McGonigle Hall. Temple Uni, Philadelphia/
19th Baltimore Lyric theatre
20th Hartford Yale Uni
21st-25th (unsure exact dates) Ash Grove Theatre, Los Angeles. Not with Procol (Loudon Wainright III). Probable residency as shown as appearing on 25th in local newspaper.
24th November : SINGLE: Holly and the Ivy/Gaudete. Interesting release as it was the first, yet 'unsuccessful' attempt to release Gaudete. It was not until a re-release in 1973 that hit became a hit.
27th Nov: BBC Radio 'Sounds of the 70's' with Bob Harris. (recorded 11th Oct) Full details on the 'BBC Sessions' page.
Per a cutting, the 'tour' (? The US one?) extended to December 13th with a series of 'club dates' with Loudon Wainwright. This makes sense given the newspaper article above.
8th Dec: Alumnae Hall, Brown Uni, Providence, RI, USA (mistaken for one above?)
30th Dec: Royal Festival Hall, London w.Amazing Blondell
(120 appearances!) The busiest year for the band in all their 50 years. 2 long tours in the US, including supporting Jethro Tull creates Front page media interest in the UK. New Album, lots of UK appearances and a Christmas Hit!
16th: John Peel Session. (aired 6th Feb) See 'BBC Sessions' for full details & Track listing.
27th NME article: 'Group are to be featured in a film documentary which Anglo-EMI Productions are making about Radio 1'. There was a clip of Steeleye singing 'Hello Mary Lou'
3rd March ITV: Russell Harty Plus (11.30pm) with Shirley Bassey and Joe Bugner.
British Tour. Support: Planxty on some dates.
2nd Feb Brighton Poly
6th Leeds Uni
15th Leicester De Montford Hall
16th Portsmouth Poly
17th London Kingston Poly
24th Eastbourne Congress Theatre
27th Bristol Colston Hall. Included en core of 'Rag Doll' and 'Truck Driving Man'
2nd March St Andrews, Norwich
3rd City Hall, Newcastle. 60p with Pete Scott & Derek Brimstone. Bootleg: One Misty Moisty Morning; The Ups and Downs; Sheepcrook and BlackDog; Jigs- The Old Oak Tree-Pigeon on the Gate; Three Drunken Maidens; The Bold Poachers; Alison Gross; The Black and White Rag ('Pot Black'); Spotted Cow; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Robbery with Violins; Gaudete; Royal Forester; Encore: Rag Doll; Jigs; Truck Driving Man
4th Crucible, Sheffield
9th Royal Court, Liverpool
10th Free Trade Hall, Manchester. Turned away 1,000 people per SOUNDS article. Only mention of a song/tune called 'Four Poster Bed' in the encore, which I assume was a 'Rockers Encore' as it followed Rag Doll. Misty Moisty Morning, Three Drunken Maidens, Ups And Downs, Spotted Cow, Alison Gross, Bold Poachers, Saucy Sailor, Oak Tree/Jenny's Chickens, Cam Ye O'er Frae France, Bank Of Ireland, Royal Forester, Gaudete, Encore: Rag Doll, Four Poster Bed
12th College, Worcester
13th Town Hall, Birmingham. Included 'Truck Driving Man'
14th Guild Hall, Plymouth
16th Hull Uni
19th Usher Hall, Edinburgh
20th City Hall, Glasgow
This second album for Chrysalis made the top 30 and further developed the heavier and varied sound of the band. It also cemented the theme of most members of the band bringing more complete songs/ideas into rehearsals. Rick Kemp played drums on 'Wee Wee Man'/'Cam Ye and initially Alison Gross but that mix was dropped. Bonny Moorhen was recorded during the sessions and released on 'Original Masters' - Apparently there were too many 'Scottish' songs on the album according to Chrysalis. Alison Gross originally had Tim singing it but was ill when recorded. Rogues in a Nation/ Cam Ye O'er Frae France had been in the play 'Kidnapped'
1/One Misty Moisty Morning 2/Alison Gross 3/The Bold Poachers 4/The Ups and Downs 5/Robbery with Violins 6/The Wee Wee Man 7/The Weaver and the Factory Maid 8/Rogues in a Nation 9/Cam Ye O'er Frae France 10/Hares on the Mountain
April / May
April 12th: BBC2 TV - "In Concert" .
30 minutes of Steeleye in concert. Per Radio Times listing but no further performance details. Episode was wiped by the BBC
2nd US Tour: 'Parcel Of Rogues Tour'.
Some dates are supporting Procol Harum. 'A very chaotic tour by all accounts with a very demanding and badly planned itinerary with lots of travelling. 'All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go' appeared as an encore, all part of the 'rockers encore' that the band frequently did at the time. According to NME they could command 4 times the fee of last year due to rising popularity. A good chance to hear 3 of these concerts on off-air Radio recordings. One day would be nice if the Master Tapes were found and officially released to hear them in great quality.
1st April: Massachusetts. This was the start of the Procul tour but its not 100% known whether Steeleye was at this one.
5th Hartford Uni, Conn. With Procol Harum. Hello Mary Lou and Gaudete sung.
8th Ash Grove in Los Angeles California
10th Masonic Auditorium, Detroit. Guests of Procul Harum. (thanks Karl!)
11th Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. With Procol Harum. (not 100% that they were there supporting Procul)
13th Folk Festival , Penn State Recreational Hall, University Park, PA, USA
15th Muhlenberg Memorial Hall,
Allentown, Pennsylvania. Supporting B.B. King.
16th Music Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio. With Procol Harum. (Thanks Karl for the correction here!)
17th Main Point, Bryn Mawr, PA. Listed as 'Sigma Sound Studios' on some bootlegs 2 shows Live Broadcast Ups & Downs, Oak Tree/Pigeon, Weaver, Spotted Cow, Saucy Sailor, Robbery With Violins, Cam Ye, Gaudete, Royal Forester, Truck Driving Man, Reels
18th Main Point, Bryn Mawr, PA. 2 shows (could also be the show that was broadcast & recorded off air on bootlegs)
19th The Dome, CW Post College, Greenvale, Long Island NY. With Procol Harum. Bootleg: One Misty Moisty Morning; Oak Tree/Pigeon on the Gate; Up's and Downs; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Alison Gross; Robbery With Violins; Spotted Cow; Gaudete; Royal Forester; All Dressed Up and Nowhere to go; The Masons Apron.
20th Tower Theatre, Philadelphia, NY. With Blood Sweat and Tears. Note clash with date below. I think this one is correct.
20th My Fathers Place, Roslyn, NY. Broadcast on WLIR-FM - Long Island. Some tracks on a famous Bootleg - 'Sunken Meadows', The rest on a separate Bootleg: One Misty Moisty Morning; Up's and Downs; Oak Tree/Pigeon on the Gate; Sheep Crook & Blackdog; Spotted Cow; Jigs/Reel; Rouges in a Nation; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Alison Gross; Robbery With Violins; Gaudete; Royal Forester; The Masons Apron.
?? 23rd ish: 2 shows in San Francisco at 'Winterland' venue. w.Sha Na Na (per 'Complete Steeleye Span Book'). This is now disputed. It appears that Steeleye did not play these gigs with Sha Na Na. But, they did at some point play with them, possibly Stamford California around the same time - one cutting has a review, seemingly from 20th April (but could be 13th) in Stamford California with ShaNaNa.
22nd Carnegie Hall, New York supporting 'Blood Sweat and Tears' (per 'Complete Steeleye Span Book')
26th Supporting Beach Boys, Regis College, Denver, CO
29th San Diego (per article original end date of the tour)
1st May Majestic Theatre Dallas Tx. (As Gentle Giant Support)
4th Armadillo World HQ, Austin Tx (As Gentle Giant Support)
6th: Santa Rosa Theatre, Houston. (per Newspaper Archive). With Gentle Giant.
8th Ash Grove Theatre Los Angeles
11th Ash Grove Theatre Los Angeles ('Weeks residency')
12th Ash Grove Theatre Los Angeles . It is assumed 'Rag Doll' was recorded while in LA at this time
13th Ash Grove Theatre Los Angeles (Per NME the band return from US and spend next 4 weeks rehearsing)
23rd-27th: Ash Grove, LA. One Week Residency. (newspaper). Further residency dates. This comes from a newspaper archive site so reputable. This residency fits in with further hints in articles about a further solo US Tour dates with Sha Na Na but no exact details found. Later this tour was said to have been 7 weeks so these dates all do work out.
1st June BBC Radio - 'Speakeasy'. Very few details exist - see 'BBC Sessions'
Nigel Pegrum (Drums) joins band
Joins '2 weeks before US tour'. (NME) The band, after touring the US , and with another upcoming US tour supporting Jethro Tull in big stadiums knew they had to beef up the sound of the live band. Per Record Collector he joined 'half way through US tour', but that doesn't stack up with NME.
In a US newspaper article Peter said about adding a drummer: "It wasn't our image to have one, but the music needed one. The music was slightly stale, slightly stagnant, Nigel is a very tasteful drummer, out of all the ones we auditioned he was the best".
The 'Classic' Steeleye Line up
British dates (incl ireland)
15th June Nottingham Trent Uni. Nigel's first gig per MS review as well as NME.
16th Bristol Colston Hall. Lyke Wake Dirge (first time?) into Robbery With Violins/Jigs, Misty Moisty Morning, Weaver And Factory Maid, Sheepcrook And Black Dog, Alison Gross, Wee Wee Man, Cam Ye O'er Frae France, Gaudete, Royal Forester, Musical Priest, Long Tall Sally (Rick singing) (NME Article).
19th Cork - Savoy
20th Limerick - Savoy
21st Dublin State Hall. A TV show also recorded in Dublin per MS article
22nd Dun Laoghaire Pavillion, Dublin
23rd Oxford Uni x2 Uni Balls the same evening w.Spencer Davis Group
3rd US Tour (Supporting Jethro Tull).
Coming off the back of a '7 week tour' in the US, Steeleye came back to support Tull as the 'offer was too good to refuse' and the 'great opportunity for such vast exposure'. (newspaper article). However, the fee they received was not enough 'to pay for the airfares and hotel bills' but as Rick said: ' There were bands that would pay money to be on this tour'.
Audiences were shocked by Steeleye who came on dressed in Cassocks with tall hats and ribbons, singing 'Lyke Wake Dirge' which is a lamentation at a vigil of a deceased person before they are buried. The shows were very visual with dancing and a dramatic light show, which tied in well with the 'Passion Play' which Tull were touring with. As an English folk band playing to an American Rock audience, they made an impressive impact, often comments are made that it was this tour that got the band so many lifetime American fans. The bands got on well and Ian Anderson worked on the next Steeleye album.
Maddy Prior: "Touring America to any English band must be a revelation. Americans are spontaneous and make great audiences. They freed us from more constraints. It has been a long road losing those English inhibitions. Five nights at the LA forum with Jethro Tull, 18,000 seats. We were opening our set with the Lyke Wake Dirge, a grim piece of music from Yorkshire concerning purgatory and we all dressed in dramatic mummers ribbons with tall hats. The effect was stunning. Five gaunt figures in line across the front of the stage, lit from below casting huge shadows, intoning this insistent dirge alarmed some members of the audience whose reality was already tampered with by 70s substances. It was most satisfying.”
??'Onondaga War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse, NY
3rd Pershing Centre, Loncoln, NE. Crowd of 7,500
4th Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, MO
8th University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM. Crowd of 15,000 which gave Steeleye a standing ovation.
9th County Civic Centre, El Paso, Texas, 6,300 crowd.
12th Tarrant County Convention Centre, Fort Wrth, Texas
13th Convention Centre ArenaSan Antonio, Tx
18th LA Forum (added night due to demand)
19th Sports Arena, San Diego
20th LA Forum
21st LA Forum
22nd LA Forum
23rd LA Forum. Assumed 5th night that is often quoted as how many nights were played there, but this date has never been confirmed.
23rd Coliseum, Oakland, Ca,
28th Cambridge Folk Festival, Headliners.
Straight after US Tour. They opened with Lyke Wake Dirge and did the 'Rockers Encore'. The concert, coming off the back of the US Tour and introducing the bigger band to a large UK Folk audience, has often been identified as a crucial moment for the band, when Steeleye truly became a fully fledged 'Rock' band. The heavier sound and theatricals alienated many of the 'pure' folkies at the festival but introduced them to a new bigger audience.
28th July US TV: KCET PBS-TV. Ch. 28. Los Angeles.
Aired 28th July and repeated 30th July as a half hour special. It was also shown on 2nd Sept (repeated 8th sept) because the original airing was postponed due to news coverage, but this may have only been in some regions. Repeated again on Ch7 14th Oct. Unknown where the performance was recorded but if it was US, then almost certainly on the Spring tour rather than supporting Tull. One preview says it was 'taped at KCET' and from available pictures (copyrighted) then it looks in a studio to me. Another article suggested that it was taped in England! One track, 'Cam Ye.' was repeated on the NBC 'Midnight Special' show on 30th Nov '73. The show was repeated a year later. A video recording has never turned up but decent audio bootlegs are easy to find. One Misty Moisty Morning; The Oak Tree/Pigeon on the gate; Sheep Crook & Blackdog; Parcel of Rogues; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Gaudete; Robbery with Violins; Tune collected by 'Sally Grodpile'.
1st 'London Music Festival' Alexander Palace with Incredible String Band. Included the Rockers Encore (including the dressing up). They played Da Doo Ron Ron, Long Tall Sally and Sing Something Simple.
11th Harrogate Royal Hall - Harrogate Arts Festival. Headline with Bridget St John.
31st Free Trade hall, Manchester
1st Blackburn ST Georges Hall
3rd Edinburgh Empire Festival with Planxty
16th White City, London
18th BBC TV
-Recorded a spot on 'Mostly Country'
29th Festival Theatre Chichister
30th Leicester De Montford Hall
8th Albert Hall, London. Included Rockers Encore 'as usual' at this time.
Lyke Wake Dirge, Misty Moisty Morning, Alison Gross, Sheep Crook And Black Dog, Cam Ye O'er Frae France, Thomas The Rhymer, Lark In The Morning (the song), Drink Down The Moon, Gaudete, To Know Him Is To Love Him, Doo Ron Ron, Long Tall Sally, and ended with a 'C&W number' (Truck Driving Man (?)) (NME Review).
19th Oct: University of Houston. "Steeleye Span Fan Club" ..!
Will be meeting at 1pm to run through plans to watch the repeat viewing of the 'One of a Kind' concert (KYW-TV repeat of the above KCET performance) and a brief informal discussion of the lyrics to 'Cam Ye 'Oer Frae France'. They then met on teh 20th Nov to discuss plans for an excursion to Austin to meet with the LA branch. It finished with 'bring your own spoons'..!!
How very very cool, I had to include this! They seemed to keep meeting during 1974.
October / November / December
Recording sessions for Now We are Six in the run up to next tour, Ian Anderson helped with mixing and got David Bowie to play saxophone, although Maddy said later that Rick had asked Bowie via a friend. Anderson said he helped make Thomas the Rhymer sound more commercial.
27 date British Tour
Interestingly an article on CashBox, US Trade mag, referred to this as a 'record breaking tour' and 'breaking box-office records previously held by such 'Heavies' as Pink Floyd'
Incomplete Set list, based on Hove and Manchester : Lyke Wake Dirge, The Weaver and the Factory Maid; Three Drunken Maidens; Drink Down The Moon, Two Magicians, Mooncoin Jig, Thomas The Rhymer, Gaudete, Alison Gross, To Know Him Is To Love Him, Doo Ron Ron, Long Tall Sally or Truck Driving Man (costume change) Reels
Lancaster Uni. Provisional first date after Albert Hall
27th York Uni
28th Newcastle City Hall
30th Bradford Uni
1st Nov Portsmouth South Parade
2nd Southampton Uni
3rd Leicester Uni
6th Hove Town Hall
9th Fairfield Halls, Croydon. w.Harvey Andrews
10th Exeter Uni. w.Horslips
11th Bristol Colston Hall. w.Horslips
12th Plymouth Guildhall. w.Horslips
15th Glasgow Apollo. w.Mike Maran. £1.20
16th Aberdeen Music Hall
17th Edingburgh Usher Hall. w.Mike Maran
18th Birmingham Town Hall. w.Alan Stivell
19th Oxford New Theatre
20th Swansea Brangwyn Hall. w.Harvey Andrews
21st Derby Kings Hall
23rd Sheffield Uni. w.Dave Burand
24th Liverpool Empire. w.Alan Stivell
25th Manchester Opera House. w.Alan Stivell
27th Preston Guildhall. w.Planxty
28th Newcastle City Hall. w.Planxty
30th Bradford Uni. w.Planxty
1st Dec Leeds Uni. w.Planxty
2nd Norwich City Hall. w.Richard/Linda Thompson
Nov/Dec Filming of Electric Folk Series
9th Nov SINGLE: Gaudete single/Holy & the Ivy
This time a successful release of the single Gaudete, helped by being a Christmas song and was BBC Radio 1's 'Single of the Week'.
7th BBC2 - George Hamilton IV TV show.
Probably 1 track (Gaudete?) judging by length of programme and guests.
10th: In Concert on Capital Radio.
No record of this found but was on Tour Advert above.