Rick Kemp

Bass. 1972-1986; 2000-2016

Long standing Bass player Rick joined with Bob Johnson in 1972 to form the 'Classic' line-up bringing their rock backgrounds to the sound of the group. Rick had previously worked with Michael Chapman for 3 years and nine (!) albums. It was Chapman who introduced him to Steeleye's music and they were one of the few bands Rick would consider joining at the time as he was happy as a session musician. Rick had only seen Steeleye play once live - 2 weeks before he joined. He confessed later that he only really wanted to join at the time to work with Carthy and turned up at the first rehearsal with Peter, Tim and Maddy not knowing Carthy was leaving.

As well as playing Bass, Rick sang lead occasionally and contributed to the bands famous harmonies. Rick arranged and wrote the melody for the song 'London' (1976), the lead single from the album 'Rocket Cottage' which was the follow up to All Around My Hat. From the 80's onwards Rick became an important songwriter for the band as they moved to a mix of both traditional and original material. 

Rick left in 1986 after a reported shoulder injury (although Rick has since suggested the stress of touring had played a major part) but continued to work with Maddy on a number of her albums, including 'Happy Families' which was released under both their names in 1990. The duo toured frequently during the late 80's early 90's.  He was also a key part of the 'Maddy Prior Band' which released 2 albums in the early 80's and he has released five solo albums over the last 20 years (see below). Rick was a prolific songwriter at this time and one of his sogs 'Somewhere Along the Road' has been covered a number of times. 

Rick returned to Steeleye in 2000, initially to help out on tour after Bob Johnson left, with Tim Harries moving from Bass to lead guitar. He joined the band permanently again with most of the 'Classic' line up in 2002. He was involved in a further 5 studio albums, contributing original songs to all of them. In 2016 he retired from Steeleye and now does the occasional solo gig.

Rick's (3rd from right) skiffle band 'The Raven's


Rick has a new website (click on the picture) and can be booked for "an evening with" gig, including in your own home! He is also working with ex Steeleye Ken Nicol and Paul Burgess (10cc) for some gigs.
In 2018 Rick released his 5th solo album, called 'Perfect Blue' see below. His first 4 solo albums are harder to find as they are not in print but are well worth hunting down. Escape (1996), Spies (1998), Codes (2004), Fanfare (2009). The first two featured 'Spud' Sinclair, now in Steeleye. Pictures and details are all below.

Latest Album: Perfect Blue

Available from Fellside records (click on pic) . Includes re-working of his Steeleye track 'Where are they now' plus his songs 'Somewhere Along the Road' and 'Deep in the Darkest Night'


Rick is prolific songwriter contributing many songs to Steeleye since 1980, right up to 'Dodgy Bastards' where he wrote the brilliant 'Cromwell's Skull'. He contributed significantly to the Back In Line and Wintersmith Albums. Many of his songs were sung by Maddy Prior, with most re recorded on his solo albums. 'Deep in the Darkest Night', 'Heart of Stone', 'Somewhere Along the Road' all appeared frequently in Maddy's repertoire. The later has been sung by many other artists,
(including Steeleye in 2015) and a lovely version was sung at the Falklands War 25 year memorial.