Now We are 6, Now our own BBC TV Series, Now we are famous! Another year of over 100 appearances.
Finish recording 'Now We are Six' (started in Dec '73) at Morgan Studios, Willesden, London.
8th Feb SINGLE: Thomas The Rhymer . (b side: Mooncoin Jigs)
19th Feb: John Peel Session. See 'BBC sessions' page for more details. Aired on the 26th.
20th Feb Bob Harris BBC Session. See 'BBC sessions' page for more details. Aired on the 11th March.
27th Feb: 1st Annual Steeleye Span Invitational Darts Tournament !
There was also a US running of the event and a second in 1975 but we don't know the date of that one. For the record Peter Knight was the keen darts player in the band! The event was also used to promote the forthcoming album - Now We are Six. The same event was run in America and Australia as well with Steeleye winning every time.
1st March: SIXTH ALBUM: Now we are 6.
Arguably the bands breakthrough Album as it becomes the biggest hit so far. Reaches 13 on the UK Charts on the 23rd March.
It has the debut of Nigel Pegrum on drums and famously features David Bowie on Sax on 'To Know Him is to Love Him', reportedly the idea of Tim Hart. Although seemingly out of place the song reflects the 'Rockers Encore' that the band was playing at the time. See below on how it came about. The US LP version of 'Thomas the Rhymer' is a 3:14 (radio friendly) version with the BGO CD reissue now including the 6:44 version. Produced by Steeleye/Robin Black, it was mixed by Ian Anderson (a small role per Ian)having got to know the band when Steeleye supported Tull in the UK/America. Anderson later worked with Maddy extensively on a solo album. Bob arranged and wrote the music for 'Thomas the Rhymer', one of only two tracks Ian Anderson said he had much impact on, and 'Seven Hundred Elves' while it was Maddy responsible for the two much maligned 'silly' tracks!
David Bowie on Sax, the story of how it happened by Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) :
In 1974 I was asked by British folk group Steeleye Span to try to get David Bowie to play alto saxophone on a track I was producing for them. Somehow, although we didn’t know each other, I managed to get his phone number and he agreed to come to the session. In prompt and professional fashion he executed the desired solo lines and went on his way with the recorded words, “I’ll see you later.”
Many years later in 1997, I managed to push my way past minder heavies into his dressing room at a big German TV show we were both appearing on. I thanked him for playing on the Steeleye song and, more importantly, for serving as a role model to me in regard to offering the gift of music with no fee or royalty for performing on other artists’ records, something I have always done since.
He looked at me thoughtfully and said, “I’d forgotten about that. I suppose it’s too late to send in an invoice?” This while smiling a dazzling smile with his new and perfect teeth.
March : Irish Tour
6th Mch: 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 Mch: 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 on 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.
April: Tour of Switzerland/Germany
16th Westfalenhalle, Dortmund, Germany
?? dates missing
May / June
Spring 'NOW WE ARE SIX 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. The 'play' took around 10 minutes in the set and was written by Tim. A video of it is further down.
The new album was represented with 4/5 songs in the set, all of which had been introduced in the 'Electric Folk' TV series. Most of the rest of the set list had also featured in the TV series, including 'Little Sir Hugh' which maybe didn't make the album cut and had to wait until the next album where it does appear. The success of the series seemed to also set the band up for playing in bigger venues. Set list for the tour is based on Newcastle, although '700 Elves' was also in the set list for some venues and Blackleg Miner was played at the Albert Hall when once again Ted Heath was watching Steeleye!
I beg Your Leave; The Bride's Favourite-Tansey's Fancy; Alison Gross; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; John Barleycorn; Little Sir Hugh; Drink Down the Moon; Two Magicians; Edwin; Saucy Sailor; Robbery With Violins; 'Pastoral Medley'-Summer Is A-Coming-In - Staines Morris -In Peasecod Time-Remember You're a Womble (Tune); One Misty Moisty Morning; Gaudete; Thomas the Rhymer; The Musical Priest-The Silver Spear.
The big Albert Hall gig included an encore of a selection of patriotic songs ("Sea Medley") including Hearts of Oak and Rule Brittania. The band dressed up for the encore with Maddy as a Nurse, Pete a soldier, Bob a Vicar, Nigel as a Boy Scout and Tim as a deep sea diver! The medley would appear for a while in the set, especially on the following US tour.
12th May 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. Set List above. From bootleg (The only Non-USA one available for '74).
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 very 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 June Bradford St George's Hall
June: CashBox (US Trade) Newspaper article (15th June): Steeleye have filmed 'ABC-TV In Concert' segments at the Rainbow Theatre, London.. "for showing later this Summer on the "Wide World of Entertainment Series. The Steeleye show will be seen while the group are touring the States". No other details and not sure when this could have been filmed (unless it was a made for TV concert) based on tour dates in 73' & '74.
Dutch Tour -"a week in Holland straight after British tour" per article.
3rd: Geleen, Limburg, Holland : PinkPopFestival 1974
With Status Quo, Steve Harley, Rory Gallagher. It appears that it was shown on TV or Radio in Holland but no recording has been heard. There are some short clips of Steeleye on Youtube from a home video but with no sound. Listed as playing at 4pm, after Status Quo and before Rory Callagher who headlined. 32,200 attended. Poster and photos below. They performed Mummers Play. Pictures below.
4th June: De Lantaren, Rotterdam. 8.30pm 2nd appearance the next day on their own (Dutch newspaper archive)
6th Groningen (from Dutch Newspaper Archive)
1st July: The US Edition of the 'Steeleye Span Invitational Darts Tournament' !
Held on the tour below!
June / July
4th US Tour: Now We Are Six US Tour (7 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 probably their most successful and longest tour of the US. 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 in some venues. Unfortunately official live recordings of concerts by the Band in the 70's are non existent. Even 'unofficial' recordings are 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.
12th/14th?? Shubert Theatre, Philadelphia. An article mentioned that their first date (and another article on the 18th May one said 14th, and named the theatre so I think is accurate) would be here on 12th.
14th June Stampede Corral, Calgary, Canada.Included James Gang, Goose Creek. I don't think this one happened and was replaced with the concert above but can't be sure.
17th & 18th Performance Center @ The Garage in Harvard Square, Cambridge,MA. $6 tickets.
19th Woolman Ice Rink, Central Park, NY. (Thanks Karl). This part of the 'Schaefer Festival. Steeleye stepped in for the ill John Sebastian and a review said that Steeleye, "acting out a Mummer play in the middle of the set" were "exceptionally entertaining"
?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
24th Roxy Theatre, Northampton
26th 'The Joint in the Woods' (!) , Parsippany New Jersey
27th Kennedy Centre, Washington. Support to King Crimson
30th Palace Theatre, Providence. Support to King Crimson.
1st July Ebbet's Field, Denver; Bootleg. 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. Off-air recordings are around. 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 Lenox, MA, The Music Inn. MA
Part of a 'Twilight Concerts "On the Lawn" Headlined by Doc Watson. 2,500 people. Bootleg (seems to be off-air radio Broadcast). We Beg Your Leave-Tunes; Alison Gross;
Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Little Sir Hugh; Two Magicians; Robbery With Violins; Mummers Play (part); Gaudete; Jigs; Royal Forester; The Masons Apron.
7th Denver, Ebbets Field Club
10th-13th Richards' Club, Atlanta Residency. Dates per article
16th 'thru' 20th. Ebbets Field, Denver. Dates per advert. Return for a residency.
22nd & 23rd 'The Medium' Club, Chicago. There is a 30 minute 'WXRT Chicago' Radio broadcast that is available as a pretty good off-air recording which seems to have been recorded at this venue. Dates and venue confirmed by cutting. We Beg Your Leave/Jigs; Alison Gross; John Barleycorn; Little Sir Hugh; Gaudete; Thomas the Rhymer; The Musical Priest; Sea Shanties; Royal Forester; The Mason's Apron
?? New York Central Park, Wollman Memorial Park
?? 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
Australian 'Now We are Six' Tour. Steeleye's First tour of Australia.
Included Mummers Play. The tour was very busy and chaotic but with great press and TV coverage. As soon as they landed they had a full scale press conference followed by interviews and and TV show. During the tour Rick dislocated his shoulder, Jo Lustig went home ill and Bob was hospitalised for a week in Perth. There was talk about going to Japan after Australia but never seemed to materialise, maybe because they were all shattered after a round the world tour.
10th Aug 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
'Selected US Dates' .
'On their way back from Australia'? No other mentions apart from All Around My Hat programme
September / October
After continuous touring since early May the band took a well deserved rest in Sept/Oct but still managed to find time to record 'Commoners Crown' at Morgan Studios in London. Peter Sellers recorded on the 19th October. Some fun working titles for the album were 'Over The Top' and 'Poor But Famous'.
17th Sept: De Lantaren, Rotterdam? (seen an advert for it back in June '74 but don't know if took place, I assume it is the same concert as below, or was replaced by it)
6th Oct Cockpit Theatre, London. "being filmed for a 'short Cinema feature'
29th Oct: De Lantaren, Rotterdam. Listed in a Dutch newspaper on this same day so assume took place.
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 recordings have emerged although the footage does exist and is available to license. Said to have been filmed at Long Beach Auditorium, LA but not confirmed. Gaudete; Gamble Gold; Two Magicians; Royal Forester /Tunes
It was mentioned in the All Around My Hat programme that they did play some 'selected' US dates on their way home from the Australia tour above so this could be part of that.
British and N Irish tour (29 dates).
The Mummers Play is performed again, this time billed as 'A new Mummers play'. Support: R Digance. After a long world Tour the band were back in the UK with another big venue tour off the back of the successful N'ow We are Six' album and the Electric Folk TV series. This tour also included a short film depicting the story of 'The Bold Poachers'. During the show the band played 'Oh You Beautiful Doll' (for which Peter wrote a barber's shop arrangement for) with Maddy dressed up and in a blond wig while Nigel serenaded her! (picture below)
There was a big celebratory concert at the Rainbow Theatre London with Peter Sellers. The concert was recorded but only 'The Wife of Ushers Well' has been released (On 'Original Masters').
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 There are some great photos from this night on two Youtube videos - Alison Gross & Thomas the Rhymer (audio is from a bootleg - The Bottom Line, USA tour above)
24th Newcastle Upon Tyne City Hall
26th Sheffield 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 (seen it referenced a couple of times) The show included a "Bold Poachers Film" extract that had been made about the folk song which featured the Steeleye version. Partial Set List: '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.
29th London Rainbow Theatre. It was from one these two 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 Dec 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, especially on the US Tours, 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. Produced by the band and Robin Black again. The single 'New York Girls' featured Peter Sellers on the Ukulele. The band have a version which even more of his 'Goon' voices all over it. Bob suggested they ask him. It is the album that never toured, as it was followed up so soon by 'Hat' and a change in management so it never got its own proper run out. Little Sir Hugh (by Bob) was being played in previous tours and Long Lankin (Bob again) and Demon Lover (arranged by Rick) featured heavily 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.
Bob in interview in 1994 about Peter Sellers: "Well it was, you know, as you say time, it was a wacky period and anything went. We were doing this little sea shanty and we needed some ukulele on it and I remembered I had heard 'Peter Sellers' playing ukulele on a old album 'Songs For Swingin' Sellers', I had when I was a little boy, because I was a big fan of 'Peters' and I thought this will be a hoot, let's ask him along, so we did and lo he said yes, some what puzzled I remember he was very tense and puzzled in the studio because he couldn't play very well and he was sort of wondering why he was there and we were all sitting in the booth beginning to feel tense and puzzled and wondering why he was there and suddenly, I think to relieve the tension he went (Goon noises) all over the track, we all fell about, everybody rolled on the floor clutching their sides and suddenly we knew that's why he was there.”
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. Although I did see a listing for a concert in De Lantaren (again), Rotterdam on 30th Jan on that day in a Dutch newspaper archive.
Cancelled US Spring Tour. (March) Per cutting due to take place (Written Oct 74) but did not 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 is 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. Was noted that it was an 'isolated' gig and their first since last Autumns Tour. (I'm guessing the date above was a warm up or maybe even never happened?) 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. Marked the beginning of more involvement of Adrian Hopkins, In-House Chrysalis promoter who ended up Managing the band for nearly 20 years after Tony.
Filming 2nd Series of 'Electric Folk' . See September below.
12th May: Manchester Free Trade Hall. (per Steve Hardy)
20th May Brussels (per poster)
23rd May Paradiso, Weteringschans, Holland
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). The concert was also the introduction of 'Mr Steeleye', an actor dressed as a jester with a cloak and mask, who would dance on stage with Maddy. He also went on the boat but fell in!
European Tour. (continued?)
15th June Hamburger Open Air "Folk and Blues Meeting" Festival
22nd June. Kalvoyafestivalen: Pictures:
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. If made available it would offer a superb high quality, intimate and amazing visual record of the band at their peak (along with 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 1976)
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/Silver Spear
6th July. Blackpool Festival, Football Ground (w. Roy Harper). All Around My Hat almost certainly played for 1st time, depending on the dates of the York and Wellington Concerts. 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.
2nd Australian Tour: 'Play it again Span' . Included Mummers Play.
It was on this tour that Tony Secunda caused a 'front page scandal' with an innocent PR stunt. During a Radio interview he offered a competition in which he promised a 'night of love' with any male member of the Group to the winner. The national press picked up the story - and the Group landed in a 'hysterical furore' involving Church, State and police authorities. It was denounced in one editorial as "disgusting, degrading" and advised the Group "to abandon their sordid plan to degrade Australian Womanhood or get out of the Country". The Church urged parents not to allow their children to the concert! In the event, embarrassment was saved when the winner, a 22 year old librarian chose Bob as her 'prize' and the outrage turned out to be nothing more sinister than a Champagne dinner at a Sydney Nightclub - and the Group invited along Linda's boyfriend as well. Both said they had a great time. On this tour the band recorded a promo video for 'All Around My Hat', which was not released yet. I don't know what it was used for (just for this tour?) and has only recently been seen, I have included it below next to the 'actual' promo video used when 'Hat' was released.
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
One track from this tour, Sum Waves / The Devil's Dream was included on the '..A Rare Collection..1975-97' CD and was described as: "from a 1975 performance that was painstakingly restored from the ultra-rare and only surviving acetate recording of this track and transferred to digital format specifically for the project." Maybe more can be released one day, although using an instrumental track suggests that vocal tracks may not be great quality recordings.
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. and sold over 250,000 copies at the time. 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
October: 'All Around My Hat' UK Tour .
1st British Tour since Nov. 1974. Support: Cajun Moon. No 100% confirmed set list from this tour, but from the concert reviews etc that have been seen we can piece together the following songs that were played during the tour, but this will not quite represent a single set list.
Sum Waves/Royal Forester; Black Jack Davy; Bachelor's Hall; Two Magicians; Long Lankin; Spotted Cow (Reggae),;I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles; Cadgwith Anthem; All Around My Hat; Gamble Gold(Robin Hood); Wife of Ushers Well; Dance With Me; Little Sir Hugh; Hard Times Of Old England; Reels: Black Joke/Sligo Maid Encore:s You Won't See Me; Mason's Apron, When Will I Be Loved .
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 (Reggae), 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. A surprise hit and probably the most famous 'Folk Rock' song to ever chart. It was arranged by Maddy who combined the verses from the song 'Farewell He' with the main Chorus from 'All Around my Hat'. First video below is the official promo video, 2nd one was filmed back in August in Australia.
November / December
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.
Tour (dates missing)
Halden - Norway. Nigel became ill , apparently collapsed during a dinner. 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
24 Dec. Dutch TV, channel 'Duitsland III'. ('Germany III') 4.30pm 'A performace by Steeleye Span'. no other details. (Could be Pinkpop appearance from '74? or as it is a German TV station in Holland it could be Rockpalast appearance)
27th Dec: BBC Radio 1 Play: '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.
A Play very much 'of it's time' but more importantly the musical highlight is a good quality singning of the rare track 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles'. (sang acapella). The play was thought lost but found a few years ago (an off-air recording). 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 for 'Hat', but the pressure of constant touring and the heavy promoting of 'All Around My Hat'was starting to tell and follow up singles/Album failed to chart. The band did not initially plan as much work for 1976 and Peter and Bob especially wanted to spend more time with their families. Maddy on the other hand said in an interview that she lived for the touring and performing, probably one of the reasons for working with June Tabor - they recorded their first album in January.
January - March
Various TV appearances to support 'All Around my Hat' single.
9th JanTV: 'All Around my Hat' on Crackerjack (1st video below)
10th Jan : DUTCH TV: 'TOPPOP' Live performance of 'All Around My Hat' (2nd video below)
14th Jan: TV: 'All Around my Hat' on 'Nana Mouskouri Show'
6th March German TV , MusikLaden. (3rd video below) Lip synced
February: 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 City Theatre, Netherlands
16th De Doelen, 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
In theory, after All Around My Hat album and single doing so well and with various TV appearances this tour should be easy to find more about - tour posters/reviews/adverts etc, and potentially their most successful. Yet it is the hardest in the 70's to get information about.
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, 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles' (not sure of order) 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. Chrysalis.
On 4th April Maddy embarked on a small 10 date tour with June Tabor. They were billed as the 'Silly Sisters' which was the name of this first album (which was actually recorded in January). It was Chrysalis who wanted Maddy to work on a separate project and so the idea came up to work with June and a bunch of the traditional revival musicians - Nic Jones; Carthy; Andy Irvine & Johnny Moynihan. Plus Danny Thompson. It proved very popular with folk fans. It toured in odd places however as in the end Chrysalis didn't seem keen on a proper promotional tour, hence a short tour at odd venues, including a couple of disco's/Clubs! It finished at Bristol's Colston Hall on 15th April.
This collaboration further hints that the band were starting to look outside of Steeleye, along with Bob and Pete starting to work on 'Elflands' and Tim Hart producing the 'Spriguns' Album all adds weight that the signs were there for potential end of the band. This Silly Sisters album was followed up with another album in 1988 'No More to the Dance'.
On the 22nd April they also appeared on the BBC Radio 2 Wally Whyton show: 'Both Sides Now'.
"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). Most dates so far are from the Finland leg.
29th Apr Turun Konsertisali, Turku, Finland
30th Finlandia-talo, Helsinki,Finland. 'Full House'
1st May Kalannissa, Finland.
8th May: Groningen, Holland. Listed in newspaper in Holland on this date but not sure if concert that day or next.
w/c 8th May Steeleye are here for "Concert House show TV and Radio", Stockholm.
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). It was recorded in just over a week working 12-14 hour days. The pictures on the back were taken at 'Hank's Bar' outside the studio.
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
3rd July Roskilde Festival, Roskilde, Denmark. Large festival with a 32k crowd. 2nd Headline behind Dr Hook. Played Sligo Maid.
?th July Heidelberg. 2 songs exist as what sound like an off-air radio broadcast. Hard Times of Old England; Black Jack Davy. Bootleg dates it as 24th, but clashes with below so this bootleg has the incorrect date
24th July Parkhall July Wakes Folk Festival 1976. Advert exists so we can be 99% sure of date.
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'
September Europe tour? Per programme "European tour in September"
5 dates in Germany (per US Trade Paper dated 9th October that they had played 5 Cities in Germany)
Sept: SINGLE: London (Sligo Maid).
Taken from the upcoming new album it was not 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, and then not well promoted by Chrysalis 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. Mike Batt and the band went their seperate ways after the album.
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 live audience. They broadcast 'Black Jack Davy' and 'Cam Ye o'er Frae France' from 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 broadcast is of a concert recorded earlier in the year as there are some Finnish dates in April above.
Below is the footage of 'Cam Ye' and 'Black Jack Davy'. A very rare glimpse of the band live at their peak - no other live footage of this line up is available from the 70's that was not 'made for TV'.
NME: 'After 9 months of negotiation...Russian Tour has fallen through'. Was initially going to be in June '76 in 30 cities! Here is how it was introduced in a US Trade Newspaper back in Dec '75
Cottage' World Tour: USA/CAN. 5th US Tour.
5th US tour in 4 years and the first for 2 years. Tim Hart said in an article that the reason for the gap was because they sacked their manager and spent 18 months in legal disputes, which meant no promoter or Label wanted to invest too much money in a US tour. They had to make do with touring Europe. It was a shorter tour than 1974 and seemed to get less press attention, another symptom of the music industry move to newer Rock/Punk music. But it was noted that almost every date was sold out. It was also a much better organised and financed tour with the band actually making some money, they even had 4 assistants to help on the tour. 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 out distancing such groups as Fairport Convention and Pentangle'. It does give a rare opportunity to hear the band in the 70s via unofficial recordings some off-air radio broadcasts, but no 'pristine' master recording has surfaced. All dates confirmed by a Trade Newspaper tour advert.
1st-3rd Ebbets Field, Denver, Colorado
4th-7th Oct. Boarding House, San Francisco. 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 - 10th Oct Roxy Club, Los Angeles
13th : The Backdoor @ San Diego State Uni. Not on tour advert so maybe additional date
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
16th Tower Theatre, Upper Darby, PA. There was due to be 2nd night on the 17th but it got cancelled by the venue last minute without the band being informed, even though ticket sales were good. In fact, I have seen it as listed in a weekly top grossing show list for that week - a crowd of 3,100. The band were annoyed as they could have stayed in Boston which could have been sold 4 times over according to an article.
18th & 19th 'Quiet Knight' Club, Chicago. WXRT Chicago FM Concert . According to label on an off-air recording it's believed that the radio broadcast was from this gig. It's an interesting little venue, click on it's name to read more. I think it was broadcast 28th Nov '76, Thanks Lars for all this info! Gaudete; Black Jack Davy; Hard Times of England; 12 Witches; Orfeo/Nathan's Reel; Wife of Ushers Well; Brown Girl; Cam Ye O'er Frae France'; Tunes: The Black Joke-Sligo Maid; All Around My Hat; Jigs.
20th Appearance on Mike Douglas TV Show. Bosnian Hornpipes and London
22nd Convocation Hall, Toronto, Canada
23rd Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ
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.
29th-31st Oct (3 dates). Bottom Line, NYC with Ken Bloom. Broadcast on Radio, good bootlegs available. 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.
October: SINGLE: Fighting for Strangers (Mooncoin Jig)
Oct/Nov: 'Rocket Cottage' World Tour: UK
Whilst the Album and singles were not performing well, the band was still able to fill out big UK concert halls and were still getting press attention. This tour was potentially their largest ever in terms of Revenue. At the Hammersmith Gig the Tony Secunda decided as a publicity stunt to take an entire nights takings, £8,000 and stuffed it down through the ceiling during the the encore tune 'The Mason's Apron' into the hands of the startled audience! he got Adrian Hopkins, who was part of the Chrysalis in house promotional team, and was now working with the band on a more regular basis, to go up into the ceiling and drop down the money. However, Tony was so paranoid that he had Adrian stripping off to check he hadn't kept any money back! The stunt did work as it made many newspapers, 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 Oct 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 for the story of the free money! .
25th London Hammersmith. 2nd date added after virtual sell out on the 24th concert. Two roadies were injured at this gig. Per Peter: " The safety curtain caught under the foot of the lighting rig and it collapsed. There were a couple of spotlight operators on top of the rig and they were hurt. I remember thinking at the time that I was in a safe place if I didn't panic"
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
The end of an era.
As 1976 draws to a close we have seen the last time the 'Classic Era' Steeleye line up will play in the 70's and as a full time band in the public eye. This line up reform in 1980 but the music landscape will have moved on to a new post punk music/70's Rock world.
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 had initially pulled out of releasing their concept album which had been promised before Rocket Cottage. (It was released in June this year in the end, meaning it was recorded before it was announced they were leaving the band so it is possible this was part of the reason). 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, 2 promote 2 new Chrysalis releases. These were arranged, without any permission, by Tony Secunda who got the artist to paint them at night. They stayed up for a month!
Release of 'Original Masters', a double album collection.
Tim Hart/ John Kirkpatrick /Martin Carthy/Nigel Pegrum/ Rick Kemp/Maddy Prior
The band changes meant a cancelled Irish tour (July 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.
August: British Tour (13 dates).
Warm up tour at mainly smaller Venues. The tour was not originally planned but added after the above tours were all cancelled. '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
EU Tour. 6 countries in 4 weeks.
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. Note that the tour poster still had the old line up advertised....
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
The Holland leg of the tour was not seen as a huge success with it being poorly advertised and badly attended ('Folk News'). The first night had a decent 900 (90% capacity) but the following night had 500-600 (out of 2,200) and the third night 250 and the final night about 500 out of 1,100.
8th Philipshalle POC, Eindhoven, Holland. Concert Recorded for use in a 'Live
9th Doulen, Rotterdam, Holland. Live recording of Concert
10th Twentseschouwburg, Enschede. Live recording of Concert
11th Tivoli, Utrecht
Vooruit Theatre, Ghent, Belgium
14th Ancien Belgigue, Brussells. Encore of 'Down in the Valley to Pray'
16th Ivraettens Haus, Vejle
18th Chateau Neurf, Oslo (University of Guelph)
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 based on songs worked through on the last tour. 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 (Martin) 4.The Victory (Maddy and Rick) 5.The Black Freighter (Martin) 6.Some Rival 7.Treadmill Song (Martin) 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. It was sung live on tour.
10th Dec: 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 probably 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)24th Appear on 'Wally Whyton' BBC Radio Show. No further details known.
4th February BBC TV: 'Jim'll' Fix It.
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". The tour had mixed reviews due to uncertainty, apprehension and different expectations amongst fans about what this line up of the band would sound like. The Brecht songs made the most impact generally on crowds with the 'Black Freighter' going down well, whilst the Morris dances had a more mixed response. The frequent chopping and changing of who was on stage at any one time also affected the flow of the concerts.
False Knight on the Road; Galtee Farmer; Awake Awake; The Victory; Montrose; The Atholl Highlanders / Walter Bulwer's Polka; Saucy Sailor/Black Freighter; Sweet Swansea/Treadmill Song; Hunting the Wren; Bonnets So Blue; Sweep Chimney Sweep; Seventeen Come Sunday; Boars Head Carol; The Maid and the Palmer (or 'As I Roved Out'); 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. Included the Sweet Swansea (sung by John)/Treadmill song medley. Also Included 'As I roved Out' (A Bob Hart song). This is the only mention of this song being sung by the band. The reviewer was not happy with the volume of the drums..! ('Folk News' article)
7th Free Trade Hall, Manchester
8th Sheffield City Hall
9th Birmingham Odeon
11th Leicester De Montford Hall Recorded for a Radio Broadcast (if it was ever broadcast?) and now available as Live CD, released by Angel Air Records in September 2019. Set List released on CD - 1. Galtee Farmer; 2. Awake Awake; 3. The Saucy Sailor; 4. The Black Freighter; 5. Hunting The Wren; 6. Sweep, Chimney Sweep; 7. The Duke Of Athols Highlanders; 8. Walter Bulwer’s Polka; 9. Cam Ye O’er Frae France; 10. The Boar’s Head; 11. Seventeen Come Sunday; 12. Rave On
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
'The Complete Steeleye Span' Book
(February 1978 first published)
Written by Robin Denselow and compiled by Tim Hart
This book is a great written and pictorial history of the Band in mainly Tim's words. It has lots of interesting information and unique pictures and but sadly the print quality was not great.
Tim says that Steeleye had got through 724 gigs, 3 managers, 3 record companies, 1 gold, 4 silver albums. Tours of Europe, Australia & America at the point of writing. I have not quite found 724 gigs yet in this period but I'm getting close!
The best place to read a transcript of it is on the Chris Kellett archive website HERE.
May: Maddy Prior Solo Album: 'Woman in the Wings' (Chrysalis).
Maddy's first proper solo album has most of Jethro Tull playing on it on various songs (see pic below), although not all at the same time. Ian Anderson produced the album, a relationship that goes back to when Steeleye supported Tull in America and he helped mix 'Now We are Six'. Jo Lustig was the manager of Jethro Tull and promotor for Maddy at this time which was another reason for working with Ian/Jethro Tull. This was Maddy's first proper 'solo' album and was material that she wrote herself.
May/June: Woman in the Wings Tour
An 18 date tour at major venues across May/June- as big as any venues Steeleye played, including Wembley Conference Centre, Colston Hall Bristol and the Manchester Apollo, however, the tour was described as a 'disastrous' both by others and Maddy herself, which must refer to ticket sales. Interestingly promoted by Jo Lustig who had stopped working with Steeleye back in late '74
The touring band, from left to right: Kevin Savigar (Synths); Ray Flacke (Guitar); Chris Stainton (piano, organ); John Lingwood (Drums); Pat Donaldson (Bass). (Photo by Tim Hart!)
Steeleye Span single: Rag Doll (Saucy Sailor)
'Rag Doll' was recorded in 1972 while the Band was touring the US (Mk3 line up with Johnson and Kemp). 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.
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. There were more songs in the set that could have been used but none have seen the light of day 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, studio recording )
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.
1st April 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.
August: Maddy Prior appears at the Cambridge Folk Festival
2nd Oct: Maddy Prior 'In Concert' BBC Radio 2.