Rick had been a session musician and worked with Michael Chapman for a few years. It was through his session work at the same studio that the last two Steeleye albums were produced, that encouraged Sandy Roberton to approach Rick to join Steeleye. He had a couple of experimental gigs in December '71 before officially joining in Jan '72.
Bob officially joined in January '72. He had played in a number of small pop/rock bands in the 60's and had been interested in bringing pop sensibilities into traditional music whilst doing some folk club gigs with Peter Knight. Once Peter when off to Steeleye Bob was disillusioned with music, becoming an office worker before Peter asked him to join Steeleye.
Inevitably with bringing in two 'rock' musicians the band moved to an even more intensive folk-rock sound. This was mainly driven by Bob's selection of big ballads and arrangements that demanded heavier rock driven rhythms. Bob said he had ideas about how the band should approach this music and when he joined. Although he recognised he was the new boy, in order to stay true to what he felt, he felt he had to encourage this approach to creating more contemporary arrangements to traditional lyrics. Critics noted that a lot of folk purists 'washed their hands' of the group at the point. But enough stayed loyal (Including AL Loyd) and they quickly gained a new and enthusiast following, equating it to other forms of alternative rock at the time. It was very quickly a completely new audience that followed the band.
Not sure of exact date of signing to Chrysalis but could be as late as June when there was an NME article (17th) saying they had signed and there would be a new album in the Autumn.A further sign of the bands clear intention to become a full time and commercially successful operation was the appointment of the flamboyant American Jo Lustig, who had an immediate impact getting the band a 10 album deal with Chrysalis, a small but growing and ambitious Record Label who had eyes on the US. With the two members having a more 'Rock' background the scene was set for a move into a bigger 'Folk Rock' sound. The sound naturally became more 'muscular' (per Bob). With Jo taking the band into more popular arenas the band would adjust accordingly playing in a more 'modern' way.
The debut of the new line up with a mixture of new songs from the early rehearsals and some Tim & Maddy duo songs.
Set List: We Poor Labouring Men; Unaccompanied song; Ups And Downs ; Saucy Sailor; Oak Tree/Pigeon On The Gate; Maddy's Poem "Hurry Curry"; Spotted Cow; I Live Not Where I Love (Tim and Maddy); Black And White Rag (Pete, Bob and Rick) ; Rosebud In June; John Barleycorn; Sheepcrook and Black Dog; Royal Forester; Encore: Seamus Tunney's Favourite/Bride's Favourite. (set list based on Manchester)
28th Jan Bath w.Dando Shaft
29th Winter Gardens, Weston Super Mare.
3rd Feb Durham Uni (Dundee per MS)
4th Edinburgh Caley
5th Stockport College of Tchnology
10th Trowbridge Town Hall
11th Lancaster Uni, Morgan/Keith Christmas
18th Hornsey Town Hal.
The tour was in the midst of 3 hour Power cuts 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 last few songs! Thanks to Clive Pilcher for his recollections of this!
19th Hatfield Poly
23rd Manchester Uni (set list above)
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
3rd-17th Aug. Edinburgh, Lyceum Theatre. 'Kidnapped', another Keith Dewhurst play.
Musical adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Kidnapped'. Once again directed by Bob Bryden. 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 photo call 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') plus some Jigs. Maddy since said they didn't enjoy this play as much as Corunna as they only played music rather than acting.
18th London, Lyceum Theatre. A 'normal concert performance
19th London, Lyceum Theatre. Final two Kidnapped performances.
26th /27th August. Festival, Chelmsford Agricultural Showground
Released 15th September and the 1st in a 10 Album Chrysalis deal
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 element and in King Henry start Bob's introduction of the 'Big Child Ballads'. 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 replace Sandy Roberton. Songs were chosen by Maddy and Tim mainly with Pete adding the jigs and Bob 'King Henry' and 'Gaudete'.
In an interview with Nick Clark, Bob described how they would work up the material on this and future albums:
"Maddy's songs were, for the most part, traditional melodies, whereas I would occasionally write the melodies and chord structures, (E.g. Thomas, Long Lankin, Alison Gross, King Henry etc). All the lyrics were traditional. In rehearsals Peter played the dominant role in arranging the 'top-end' of the song including vocal harmonies. Rick and I would work on the rhythm end and construct guitar and bass riffs together. This 'top and bottom' approach became a major part of our sound until the drums came. "
21st Sept SINGLE John Barleycorn/Jigs:Bride's favourite/Tansey's Fancy
1st single release for Chrysalis. Did not chart.
29th Sept MAXI SINGLE: 'Jigs and Reels'. (Pegasus label - B&C).
featuring all three jigs and reels from Please to See the King and Ten Man Mop. Controversial release as of course the band had now signed with Chrysalis but obviously B&C decided to get their money's worth. This release was not welcomed by the band apparantly.
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.
This first US Tour was mostly Supporting Procul Harum (along with 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 tour went well with some reviews saying Steeleye outshone Procul who just repeated their set list from a previous visit. An article suggested that Steeleye sold 10k albums in the first week followed 2k in each town. It was a distressing tour for Peter as he had an antique fiddle stolen.
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. The tour was probably extended for a series of solo/club dates (not with Procul) into December.
SET LIST: 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 Nov 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-26th: Ash Grove Theatre, Los Angeles. Residency supporting Loudon Wainright III.
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 a newspaper article at the time.
8th Dec: Alumnae Hall, Brown Uni, Providence, RI, USA (mistaken for one above or more club dates)
Released on the 24th Nov by Chrysalis it was the first, yet 'unsuccessful' attempt to release Gaudete. It was not until a re-release in 1973 that it became a hit, it even takes second billing on this release. The Holly and the Ivy was not recorded on an album but has appeared in various collections.
6th Jan: Front page on NME for 1st time
January: Recording of 'parcel of Rogues' at 'Sound Techniques, Chelsea. (Jan & Feb)
13th Jan 'Full House' BBCTV appearance.
Synopsis: 10.45 Steeleye Span. Imagine a group of village singers in 18th-century England playing electric guitars and percussion instruments - that's the kind of music Steeleye Span make, traditional airs from all over the British Isles performed in the rock idiom. Steeleye Span are MADDY PRIOR, TIM HART , PETER KNIGHT , BOB JOHNSON , RICK KEMP. They played Gaudete; Spotted Cow; One Misty Moisty Morning; Cam Ye O'er Frae France. No Footage currently from this Sunday night Live Arts show is available but it does exist, as the BFI found the tapes when researching a Ken Loach play that was on the same episode. Steeleye was repeated on 19th August '73 in a 20m programme called ' Steeleye Span and Roger Woodward' on BBC2. (Spotted Cow & One Misty Moisty Morning were repeated) . Fragments apparently from this show do exist but have not surfaced.
17th Feb: Frankfurt Jahrunderthalle. Big 'Sound of Britain' concert with Gentle Giant, Amazing Blondel & more.
27th January - 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'
Potential US Tour. Maddy in an interview in Dec '72 said they were returning to the US in January. No evidence and not mentioned in NME so likely to have been cancelled/moved to March.
12th February: John Peel 'Top Gear' Session. See 'BBC Sessions' for full details and track listing
27th Feb NME article Bob Interview:'People in the band who shall remain nameless (Tim & Maddy) still baulk at the idea (of going heavier). Pete actually sits right in the middle. If it was left up to Rick and I there'd be a drummer in without a doubt and the whole thing would be slightly heavier.'
3rd March: ITV Russell Harty Plus (11.30pm) with Shirley Bassey and Joe Bugner. No more details known.
Support was Planxty on some dates.SET LIST: (Based on Manchester (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 (including 'Four Poster Bed'); Truck Driving Man.Note that this is the only mention of a song/tune called 'Four Poster Bed' in the encore. It is an Irish tune and followed Rag Doll in the set.
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:
4th Crucible, Sheffield
9th Royal Court, Liverpool
10th Free Trade Hall, Manchester. Turned away 1,000 people per SOUNDS article.
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
Broadcast on April 12th, 30 minutes of Steeleye in concert. Per Radio Times listing but no further performance details. Episode was wiped by the BBC. Described as: "Traditional folk music, supplied at 240 volts by our most recent transatlantic musical export"
Short UK & Ireland Tour A few UK dates to introduce Nigel and as a warm up for US Tour.
15th June Nottingham Trent Uni. Nigel's first gig per MS review as well as NME.
16th June 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).
9th 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. Jesus College and St Edmund Hall. (with Spencer Davis Group)
June/July. Breakthrough US Tour playing in big arenas (4 nights at the LA Forum) to big crowds discovering UK Folk music for the 1st time.
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, tall hats and blue ribbons covering their faces (all made by Maddy). They were also floor lit from below and so cast huge shadows. Dressed like this they came on stage singing 'Lyke Wake Dirge' which is a brooding lamentation at a vigil of a deceased person before they are buried. It created an image that grabbed the crowds attention from the start. The crowds even started lighting their lighters and holding them in the air - a very early example of this at concerts. The shows were very visual with Maddy dancing, Peter doing somersaults 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.”
30th June: Onondaga War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse, NY
2nd July: Metropolitan Sports Arena, Minneapolis, Mn. Now confirmed as having Steeleye as support act.
3rd Pershing Centre, Loncoln, NE. Crowd of 7,500
4th Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, MO
6th/7th Jethro Tull played at the Coliseum, Denvor, Co. But not known for sure if Steeleye were in support on these nights. Confirmation would be welcome!
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
In various places, including Maddy, it has been often quoted that the residency was for 5 nights, but a 5th date has never been confirmed, and this also agrees with Jethro Tull concert listings so we can be quite sure it was for 4 nights only.
23rd Coliseum, Oakland, Ca. Agrees to Jethro Tull listings
Thanks to Chris Haines we can see for the first time (image from a UK gig) what the band looked like when they took to the stage singing the Lyke Wake Dirge dressed in the Mummers outfits.
When they supported Jethro Tull they came out in a darkly lit stage with blue spotlights lighting up each band member. This unique image gives you an idea of the impact it would have had on the big stages of America with the big theatre lighting.
It was at this time that the band started doing the 'Rockers encore' - dressing up and playing 50's Rock 'n Roll covers. It was inspired by touring with and watching ShaNaNa in the US who dressed up as 50's heavy rockers to do their set.
Thanks again to Chris Haines for this photo - a very rare one of the band dressed up! See the 'Rare Tracks' page for a full list of the songs that were played at various gigs. Initially they started with Long Tall Sally, To Know him is to Love him and Do Ron Ron
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. The performance was recorded on the last US Tour during April. Location not known but one preview says it was 'taped at KCET' and was performed in front of a studio audience. Another article suggested that it was taped in England, but that doesn't seem realistic. One track, 'Cam Ye.' was repeated on the NBC 'Midnight Special' show on 30th Nov '73. (repeated a year later). A video recording has never turned up but decent audio bootlegs are easy to find. It is now known that the video does exist, so we just need someone to licence it!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'.
27 dates from Oct-Dec.
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' . Various Support acts including Horslips & Planxty.
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, (costume change) To Know Him Is To Love Him, Doo Ron Ron, Long Tall Sally or Truck Driving Man Reels
26th Oct 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 w.Horslips
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
November/ December - Filming of Electric Folk Series
9th Nov. The single that took Steeleye into the charts. This was a 2nd release of the single Gaudete (using same cat No.). This time using a later 1972 pressing but with no picture sleeve. It's success was helped by being a perceived as a Christmas song and was BBC Radio 1's 'Single of the Week'. The first Latin song to ever chart in the UK, and only one of two to this date.
Enters the chart at 48 and peaks at 14 on the 22nd and 29th Dec off the back of an appearance on Top of the Pops and a lot of radio play. Becomes a Christmas staple staying the Top 40 for 8 weeks and is now a Christmas staple heard every year and features on various x-mas collections.
7th Dec BBC2 - George Hamilton IV TV show.
Probably 1 track (Gaudete?) judging by length of programme and guests. There is apparently one copy recorded on home video of this show.
10th Dec: In Concert on Capital Radio.
No record of this found but was mentioned on Tour Advert above.
Unknown Date: Short Film (30m) "Radio Wonderful" (1973)
Shown in cinemas during 1974 as a prelude to the the main film. A documentary about Radio 1. Included a clip of Steeleye playing 'Hello Mary Lou' from their BBC Session.
Dec-Jan '74 Recording Now We are Six at Morgan Studios, Willesden, London.