A decade with Folk out of fashion and the band having young families and other business interests. Steeleye reformed in 1980  but it was never more than a part time job for the res of the decade and beyond. Yet they still toured the UK every year apart from 1983, released 3 studio albums and had multiple tours of Australia and the US!


The Reunion!

The Reunion

Rumours of a return started around June in the press. The articles said that 'talks had been taking place'. But that the obstacles included Maddy expecting a baby and that they would only record an album if Mike Batt is involved, but Mike was about to sail around the world for 2 years. The talks began when Chrysalis Records approached Maddy and Rick to return for a new album after Warwick Records had approached Chrysalis to license a 'Best of' collection for them to sell via their normal TV advert route (which never actually happened). Chrysalis realised that with the interest and free advertising this would generate, that an album of new material would sell well along side it. They were only interested however if the classic line up returned, which meant Maddy and Rick reaching out to the rest of the band.  
Tim explains it slightly differently in that Chrysalis spoke to him about the band doing a TV promotional film to support the above planned Greatest Hits - and maybe a tour.  Tim, Maddy and Rick spoke about it and were all keen. The whole band then met to discuss the idea and the contractual arrangements. During these discussions they all got on so well that they decided they might as well get back together properly. 

The band members themselves were struggling with Solo efforts, with none being as successful as they would have liked.
This new offer gave them the opportunity to explore their own songwriting in a band setting that had a better chance of success. Maddy had noted that one of the reasons the band initially split in '76 was the music had become formulaic and so coming back fresh, writing original material was a good motive to return. They also decided that it would be a shame not to tour with the new album.
The band wanted Mike Batt to produce new album but he was taking 2 years off music, sailing around the world. They got in Gus Dudgeon (Friend of Rick), long time producer for Elton John.
Adrian Hopkins takes over from Tony Secunda and handled all Management/Promotion etc for the band for the next 17 years.

Classic line up reforms

Bob Johnson; Maddy Prior; Rick Kemp; Nigel Pegrum; Peter Knight; Tim Hart
Promo shots from 1980

20th: Torquay - Harbour side. Per Poster. 1st Appearance Back?
Europe?? I have seen one mention of a tour in Europe. 

Maddy Prior solo/band in 1980

After an unsuccessful first two solo albums/tours Maddy's focus switched to forming the Maddy Prior Band. 

May: Maddy Prior Band dates, including Dudley Festival and the Lacock and Chippenham Folk Festival

1st August: 'Maddy Prior Band' Single - Wake up England (Kemp)/Paradise (Prior) (EMI).
This song did not appear on either of the 'Maddy Prior Band' albums and was released 2 years before the next album (and not on the EMI label). So a bit of a curious release. Whether it was intended to be followed up with an album (and did the singles lack of success put paid to it) or whether it got derailed due to the Steeleye reunion is not known. The style is different from 1978's Changing Winds solo album as it moves to a more contemporary pop/ light rock sound which would continue onto the two Maddy Prior Band albums. Not available on any collections but was recently seen on a live TV performance on the BBC (see Jan 1981 below).

September: Appearance at the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath, songs from which featured on 'Jake Thackray and Songs' TV show (see Jan 1981 below)

Line Up -  Prior; Rick Kemp, Nigel Pegrum, Richie Close (keyboard) and John O'Connor on guitar. This line up also probably recorded the single above. Ritchie and John had both worked with Maddy on her last album.

Click on image for details & song by song review

12th Album: 'Sails of Silver'

14th Nov. (Chrysalis). With the return of the Classic line up the band for the first time released an album of mainly original compositions. As Maddy said: "What we came up with reflected traditional themes, yet sounded contemporary". Not least due to Peter playing more keyboard than fiddle. When the band first practised Gus Dudgeon (Elton John's producer) thought they had only had 1 1/2 songs (Let Her go Down and verse of Tell Me Why) and the others needed to have more contemporary arrangements. Gus sent them off to write some more or alter them and gave them 2 weeks! Tim said that they were at one point one track short and so he went off into a little studio to finish 'My Love' so they could add it to the Album, Rick did the same with 'Where are they now', sitting up all night to finish.  Bob described the overall sound as too 'sophisticated' and the whole band referred to it as a transitional album. The Tim Hart booklet, 'The Complete Steeleye Span', was given with initial purchases of the LP at HMV. The Album was not a commercial success and Steeleye were dropped by Chrysalis.

Single: Sails of Silver

(b side Senior Service). Written by Tim Hart. Picture sleeve single with the same image as the album above.  

UK Comeback Tour

Supported by Canis Major. A short December tour but played at big venues and was pretty well
advertised within music press. 

One review (Birmingham) said there was a 'packed audience and the band gave a gentle, relaxing and unashamedly uncommercial performance. They counted on a formula of tight harmonies, precision playing and old but golden ballads an jigs.. and it worked.' and finally 'the roars of applause that greeted each faultless number proved that Steeleye have kept a strong following through three years out of action'
Another review (Bristol) said 'Steeleye returned triumphantly with a  more muscular sound but still upholding the banner of Electric Folk. .. they have moved towards the heavier but still melodic sound that Maddy developed with her own band'. 'The break has done them good, for they have kept that subtle folk flavour while expanding into a gutsier, more adventurous sound that has the best of both worlds. And it was last night's audience's willingness to accept both the traditional jigs and the sophisticated pop of the recent Sails of Silver that give hope that Steeleye are again a force to be reckoned with.'

Set List: (Thanks Chris!) 7 of the 10 tracks on the new album make it into the set with only 'Cam Ye' surviving from the 77/78 line up. There was a conscious decision to mix in the old material with the new to not alienate the audience.  
The King; Black Jack Davy; Barnet Fair; My Love; Two Magicians; Long Lankin; Sails of Silver; Gone to America; Let Her Go Down; Back Goes Limerick; Longbone; Thomas the Rhymer; Where are They now? Cam Ye O'er Frae France; All Around My Hat. Encore: Gaudete; Sligo Maid. Encore 2: Reels

3rd Dec Brighton Dome
4th Ipswich Gaumont
5th Birmingham Odeon (Set List above)
6th Southport Theatre
7th King Georges Hall, Blackburn
8th St Georges Hall, Bradford
11th Colston Hall, Bristol
12th Winter Gardens, Bournemouth
13th Southampton Gaumont
14th Manchester Apollo
15th Newcastle City Hall
16th Edinburgh Odeon
18th Hammersmith Odeon (3 encores with dancing at the front)

These unique photos below from the Newcastle gig are used with permission from Denis Forde.

Following photos taken on 5th Dec in Birmingham for magazine article


January: 20th: BBC2 TV: Maddy Prior Band on 'Jake Thakray and Songs' 

Guest Appearance by 'Maddy Prior Band' on this 6 episode series.  Recorded at the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath, during their 1980 tour. The episode is still held by the BBC and they showed 'Wake Up England' on 23rd April 2021 on BBC Four - "St George's Day at the BBC".
It is not known how many songs they played in total but the guests on the series usually did 2 or 3.
The line up featured Rick Kemp and Nigel Pegrum. Plus Richie Close (Keyboard) and John O'Connor (Guitar).
John went on to create 'The Firm' and wrote and recorded the hits "Arthur Daley E's Alright' and Star Trekkin'..!  (Thanks Simon Jones for the info!) 

Jan/Feb: Maddy Prior Band on tour.
Same band line up as above. One concert review said it was 'polished and tight' and proved Maddy's versatility. Included Baggy Pants'; Girls on the Town'; Accapella Stella; A new rocky arrangement version of 'Pity the Poor Night Porter';  Ali Baba'; and an encore of Commit the Crime',  Wake Up England' and a 2nd Encore of  'Canals'.  

Single: 'Gone to America'/'Let Her Go Down'

Double A side. Both written by Peter Knight. Released around April to support the upcoming tour. 2nd and last single from the album but again didn't trouble the charts, not unexpectedly so.

UK Spring Tour

23 dates and coming quite quickly off the back of the comeback tour (which by all accounts went well) with another set of big venues, although plenty of empty seats per one reviewer. 

One review (Leicester) said 'Maddy's singing was assured as ever, effortless but still with bite and clarity, and the group's four-part harmonies were perfect'. 'Peter Knight's fiddle playing sparkled - especially on the quirky Bach Goes Limerick, and Nigel's drumming drove the group through their folk rock set with plenty of power'. 'The somber side of the music was best illustrated in songs like Gone to America and Black Jack Davy, while the humour abounded in 'I have a wish' and 'Where are they Now' (dedicated for the night to the Cambridge Boat Crew!). ' With such a rich variety of music it is strange the bands only hits have been All Around My Hat and Gaudete. For their dedicated fans, who have stuck by them even through their temporary break-up, their concerts provide one of the highlights of the year'. 

Another review noted that 'Maddy turned piped piper at the end of the recent Newcastle City Hall gig, skipping through the audience with youthful energy, leading a train of enthusiastic fans up and down the aisles'. Steeleye are currently enjoying something of a renaissance since their successful reunion tour last year, finding that their brand of folk rock is still popular today.'  Talking about the break up Maddy said "It was getting very claustrophobic being together all the time. You don't get to see the rest of the world quite so clearly when you feel you are up against it all the time and one gets so enclosed in a band". "At the end we are all at each others throats but, having each gone away and done our own things, we get on very well together now. We decided to do one tour as a reunion and then we were offered the chance to an album. There was lots of money involved and we just couldn't refuse!'

In Liverpool the sprinklers came on straight after the performance leaving all the stage equipment covered in water! There was a chance the next gig in Glasgow would have to be called off (I don't know if it was)

Thanks to Marc Bashford for sharing this image

Set List, thanks Chris! The new album still dominates with 7 songs whilst Rogues in a Nation and Little Sir Hugh are brought into the set :

  Little Sir Hugh; Sails of Silver; Black Jack Davy; Let Her Go Down; Gone to America; Two Magicians; Rogues in a Nation; Barnet Fair; Bach Goes Limerick; Longbone; Poem by Maddy; Senior Service; 'I have a wish' (some gigs) Where are They now?; Thomas the Rhymer; All Around My Hat. Encore: Gaudete; Sligo Maid. Encore 2: Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Reel.

21st Mch Ipswich Gaumont
22nd Fairfield Halls, Croydon
23rd Brighton Dome
24th Birmingham Odeon
26th Gloucester Leisure Centre
27th Stoke Hanley Victoria Hall
29th Liverpool Royal Court Theatre
30th Glasgow Apollo. £3.75. Up from £1.50 in '75 & '78. Last appearance at the Apollo.
31st Endinburgh Usher Hall
1st April Newcastle City Hall
2nd Sheffield City Hall
4th Free Trade Hall, Manchester
5th Wolverhampton Civic Hall
6th Leicester De Montford Hall
7th ST Georges Hall, Bradford
8th Assembly Rooms, Derby
10th Colston Hall, Bristol (Lots of empty seats)
11th Hammersmith, Odeon
12th Croydon, Fairfield Halls
14th Oxford New Theatre
15th Portsmouth Guildhall
16th Poole Arts Centre
17th Cornwall, St Austell Coliseum. Maddy and Ricks baby, Alex made an appearance at the of the concert for feeding!

May 25th London, Barbican Bank holiday with Akimbo.

"Series of Gigs at Summer Festivals" (Europe)

19th June: Vienna Folk Festival

A set of songs that carried over from the UK Spring tour keeping virtually all the Sails of Silver tracks. I have seen a reference to a Video/DVD that has some highlights but I have not seen it. However, a recording of almost the whole set has recently turned up. I have put up on youtube a playlist of all the 'Sails of Silver' tracks played at the festival. Click here for the playlist

Little Sir Hugh; Sails of Silver (See Below); Black Jack Davy; Two Magicians; Let Her Go Down; Barnet Fair (Below); Gone to America (Below); Longbone; Bach Goes Limerick; Where are They now?; Thomas the Rhymer; (songs maybe missing from this point) All Around My Hat. Encores: unknown

Below are three rare songs from the Vienna Folk festival!

July 17th: Fete des Leus Frasnes-Lez-Couvin, Belgium.

Brief clip appeared on 2005 Folk Awards

31st July: Cambridge Folk Festival

A return to a major Festival for the returning band. Recorded by BBC. Tracks played on Radio 2's 'Folk on Two' programme (3rd Sept '81 & 29th March '82). In total the following were broadcast in the UK: All Around My Hat; Cam Ye; Long Lankin; Royal Forester; Gaudete and Senior Service. (The latter is on Youtube - LINK) . 'Hat' can be found on a Cambridge Folk Festival collection CD, the others on Bootlegs. Almost the whole concert was broadcast on Belgium Radio (Most of the set is available as a 'BBC Transcription Disc' LP). A high energy set with fewer Sails of Silver tracks and Peter's RAT pedal on overdrive! Chris Dobson has kindly confirmed that they played two separate sets.

Based on the bootlegs, the sets lists were:
Set1: Black Jack Davy; Two Magicians; Saucy Sailor; Longbone; Sir James the Rose; Thomas the Rhymer.
Set 2: Sails of Silver; Long Lankin; Cam Ye (not included on BBC Transcription Disc) so not sure where played in set); Senior Service; Royal Forester; Encore: All Around My Hat; Gaudete.

3rd: BBC TV Highlights of the 17th Cambridge Folk Festival
Included Cam ye o'er Frae France/All Around my Hat. A short video clip was shown on the 2005 BBC Folk Awards when Steeleye were awarded the Good Tradition Award so all the footage should still exist somewhere.

18th BBC TV: Pebble Mill at One.
Appearance by Steeleye Span. Performed 'Saucy Sailor' . Pete's pickup falls off his violin at the climax of the song for a few moments!

Sept/Oct: Maddy Prior Band on tour. 
One review described the 'mixed, weird and wonderful repertoire entranced even those who went along hoping to hear 'All Around My Hat', and they noted that the latest single 'Wake Up England' was banned at certain times on Radio One. Songs 'Woman in the Wings' and Girls on the Town' also featured. 

27th BBC2 TV: ' The Other Music'.
Documentary about The folk revival from 1945 to now. Not sure what is shown but Steeleye Span definitely featured.

Unknown Date (1981)
Isla St. Claire " The song and the Story". Children's TV programme plus Soundtrack LP
This TV series (plus LP) features Scottish presenter and singer Isla St. Claire singing traditional songs backed by members of Steeleye Span (band not on screen) - Rick Kemp and Nigel Pegrum. It also features Richie Close who was part of the 'Maddy Prior Band'. Some songs can be seen on You Tube.

Tim Hart - Nursery Rhyme Record

Unknown Date (1981)
 Tim Hart & Friends - My Very Favourite Nursery Rhyme Record (EMI - Music for Pleasure). Not a Steeleye release, and although the 'Friends' were many, it included Maddy on a most songs, along with Rick on Bass, Peter on Fiddle and Bob on vocals on a couple.

Nov: UK Tour

We don't have all the dates for this tour unfortunatley or any programmes/Flyers etc, but thanks to Chris Haines we do have a full set list for it. The venues still look to be a decent size although we don't know how well tickets sold. 
One review (Stafford) said it was a packed audience and enjoyed a mature performance. Maddy was at her extrovert best and there was some fine violin and keyboard work from Peter Knight'. 

Saucy Sailor, Prince Charlie Stuart, Long Lankin and Sir James the Rose are added since the last UK Tour but Sails of Silver still features heavily and overall the set list did not change much from 1980-82. 

Birmingham Set List: Rosebud in June; Black Jack Davy; Saucy Sailor; My Love; The King; Alison Gross; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; [Interval] Prince Charlie Stuart; Gone to America; Sails of Silver; I live not Where I love; Let Her Go Down; Longbone; Where are they Now?; Long Lankin; Barnet Fair; Thomas the Rhymer; Sir James the Rose; Senior Service; Royal Forester. Encore: Bach goes Limerick; All Around My Hat. Encore 2: Gaudete; Reels.

1st Nov Gaumont Theatre Ipswich
3rd Nov Golddiggers Chippenham
10th Nov Odeon Theatre, Birmingham
11th Assembly Rooms Derby
14th Huddersfield Polytechnic
16th Hexagon, Reading
19th The Gatehouse Stafford.
20th Apollo Theatre, Oxford.
21st Dominion Theatre, London.

Dec: 'Maddy Prior Band' Tour. Same line up as at the start of the year.


Tim Hart's final year

Sunday Folk ABC Radio (Australia): 'The Steeleye Span Story'

9 part radio series (one hour per episode) broadcast 28th Dec - 25th Feb Chronicling the story of Steeleye Span. Each episodes focused on a particular time period with interviews from various current and ex members of the band and songs played from the period in question. The interviews took place between 1977-1982
 Alongside the current band Ashley and Martin also featured. A fascinating listen and although there are not many new significant insights, looking back with hindsight it does sound like it was the source for many of the quotes used in various articles over the years.

Jan/Feb: Australian Tour

After 7 years the band return to Australia for their third tour here. Support act was a local band, 'The Cobbers'. The set
list very much in line with the last couple of years with 'Alison Gross' a welcome addition. Noted as being a very successful tour.
Virtually all of the Adelaide concert is available on the 'Gone to Australia' and 'A Rare Collection - 1972-1996' CD releases. The gaps can be filled from the 'On Tour' LP (Or now the 'Good Times of Old England' Box set) to recreate the whole concert. (See 'Gone to Australia' CD under 'Essential Collections' section for more details) 

Set list: The King; Black Jack Davy; Sails of Silver; Let Her Go Down; Alison Gross; Barnet Fair; I have a Wish; Gone to America; Longbone; Bach goes Limerick; Little Sir Hugh; Thomas the Rhymer; All Around My Hat; Gaudete; Royal Forester; Sligo Maid; Cam Ye O'er France; I Live Not Where I Love ~(not sure where in set played). Long Lankin also played at times

28th Jan Sydney Capitol Theatre
29th Canberra Theatre. 2 Shows. Evening show was sold out so an additional show was put on starting at 5.30pm
30th Brisbane Festival Hall
2nd Feb Newcastle Civic Hall
4th Sydney Capitol Theatre
5th   Melbourne Dallas Brooks Hall
6th   Melbourne Dallas Brooks Hall 2 shows 5pm and 8pm
8th   Adelaide Opera Theatre. 
On Tour album recorded during the Sound Check with the Audience applause then dubbed in. One of the two Adelaide concerts was then recorded and played out in full on Australian Radio on 28th December on ABC-FM.
9th   Adelaide Opera Theatre.
10th Perth concert Hall

Maddy Prior Band: Hooked on Winning

February. Kempire Music/PantLife. Plus Single: 'Face to Face'
The Album features Rick Kemp and is made up of original songs written by Rick and Maddy. In line up was also Richie Close, keyboards; Mick Dyche, guitar & Gary Wilson on drums. It was released on Nigel Pegrum's own record label - Plant Life. Maddy's first 'solo' album since the two with Chrysalis back in 1978. The band played more 'pop' sounding original songs but despite pretty decent Radio/TV/Festival/Press exposure they were never commercially successful. There was a follow up album in 1983.

Maddy Prior Band c1982. Richie Close; Gary Wilson; Mick Dyche; Rick Kemp

Feb/Mch: The album was followed by a 'Nationwide Tour'. The following is from the promo leaflet (Rick did not play keyboards!) from the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage (15th March). They also went to Manchester Free Trade Hall ('Performs Showcase '82 with Home Service) on 27th Feb,  Clifton Hall, Rotherham on 25th Mch & The Pomegranate, Chesterfield on 29th Mch. 

“Maddy Prior has worked as a soloist with several groups since the demise of the original Steel-Eye Span: now she’s formed her own band, including former Steel-Eye colleague Rick Kemp on keyboards — and, after the launch of their debut album in February, they come to the Craig during their nationwide tour, on Monday 15 March. Best described as electric folk/rock, and playing largely original material, the new Maddy Prior Band look set to become a major voice in contemporary music — don’t miss them! Strong support from one of Britain’s top folksinger-songwriters, Mike Chapman”.


21st May 'International Festival of Popular Music'; "Primavera-82". Zaragoza, Spain.
16th June: Maddy Prior Band: 'Greenwich Festival'. This was also shown live on BBC Two, don't know if Maddy Prior was shown.
9th July Maddy Prior Band at the Bracknell Folk Festival 
9-11th July: Lisdoonvarna Festival, County Clare, Ireland. Steeleye Span. Included UB40; WishBone Ash. Steeleye played 'Cam Ye O'er Frae France'. 
14th August: Cropedy Appearance for 'Maddy Prior Band'. 
A DVD of the weekend ('A Peculiar Old Weekend') with the band singing 'Love's not just a Word' is available. It is also on YouTube 'HERE'. They are at 7.30 minutes in. 
20th Aug: 'Billingham Town Centre' 'Folklore festival, Cleveland

25th Sept 'Maddy Prior Band' - 'Leeds Folk Festival' .
This was shown on Yorkshire TV and is available as a bootleg but exact transmission details not known. It was the same band as the album so I assume this was her touring band line up all year.

"Over a dozen European Festivals"/European Tour?
There is a T Shirt that is printed "European Tour 1982" that was for sale on Ebay. No dates on it.
27th August: Rimini, Italy. (Bootleg): BlackJack Davy; Sails of Silver; Alison Gross; Let Her Go Down; Barnet's Fair; Long Lankin; Royal Forester; Longbone; Bach Goes Limerick; Little Sir Hugh; Gone to America; Thomas the Rhymer; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; All Around My Hat; Gaudete; Jigs.

September: Australian Tour?? One mention of it but no evidence.

Nov/Dec: Winter UK Tour

No support. Proved to be Tim Hart's last tour. The venues are smaller than the last UK tours and hence Tim's later comment about 'poxy little theatres' when he decided to leave!
Thanks to Gary Bowman we now believe that this is the tour when the band brought back 'Lyke Wake Dirge' briefly as the opening number, along with the tall hats and cloaks from 1973. A little later in the 80's Maddy Prior confirmed in an interview that they did try and bring the song back but in her words 'It didn't really work'. Sails of Silver still featured heavily and overall the set list did not change much from 1981, but Gary also recalls the tracks listed below. Lady Diamond makes it's debut 4 year before getting onto the next studio album. 

Songs played:  Lyke Wake Dirge; Robbery with Violins' ; Royal Forester; Lady Diamond, Cam Ye Oer Frae France; Brown Girl (Possibly); Weary Cutters/New York Girls (Possibly) 

12th Nov Goldiggers, Chippenham
13th Ipswich Gaumont
16th North Herts Leisure Centre, Letchworth
17th The Gatehouse, Stafford . w Michael Chapman
18th Apollo Theatre, Oxford
19th Odeon Theatre, Birmingham (set list above)
20th St Austell Coliseum
21st Fairfield Halls, Croydon
22nd Winter Garderns, Bournmouth
25th Charter Theatre, Preston
26th Apollo Theatre, Manchester
28th Coatham Bowl, Redcar
29th Queens Hall, Edingburgh
30th Sugarhouse, Lancaster
2nd Dec Queensway Hall Dunstable
3rd Southampton Gaumont
5th Dartford Orchard
6th Hammersmith Odeon London
7th Sheffield Lyceum
8th Theatre Royal, Nottingham
9th Ceasars, Bradford
10th Theatre Royal, Norwich

1982 UK Program

Tim Hart Leaves the band

TIM HART ON WHY HE LEFT STEELEYE (from Sleeve notes on solo CD)

“I left the band because I'd had enough of it, and I had two kids and a wife and I wanted to spend some time with them. Steeleye had done it all, but it had got downhill and we were playing smaller and smaller concerts and there wasn't the same thrill. We'd played Carnegie hall, we'd played the Albert Hall, we'd played the LA forum, we'd done all these major things, and when you go back to playing poxy little 900 seaters, to think it's time to call it a day; it's not going to go up from there and we're not getting any younger and the material's not getting stronger. I felt Steeleye had run its course—I wasn't getting any pleasure out of the concerts. I looked around the band and they looked bored, the audience looked bored, it was no longer exciting, and the proportion of spectacles in the audience, which is one of the things you notice from the stage, had become deafening—the audience glinted back at me, which meant they were getting older. They used to be at the front of the stage waving, and then they were staying in their seats and glinting. Also you get to a point where you ask yourself if you're going to do this for the rest of your life, and the answer is no—I'm not Mick Jagger—and so at some point, you have to step out and start to do something else before it's too late, and I wanted to arrange, I wanted to produce, and that's what I did for a while. I'd also done a couple of kids albums, nursery rhyme albums, during that intervening period, and I worked with Andy Richards, the synthesiser player; I really enjoyed working with him and found I had much more freedom for my ideas working with Andy, and I disliked the thought of having to go back to Steeleye. This tour came up and I made my mind up—I went to the manager and said I was going to leave at the end of the tour, I didn't want to let people down, but I wanted out. At the end of the tour, I just slunk off. That was in 1982—the last gig was the Theatre Royal in Norwich. I remember that—as I packed up my guitar, I thought that's the end of that, I'll call them all up tomorrow morning and tell them I've left.”

The rest of the band moved on relatively smoothly after Tim left. Bob said in an interview that Tim's contribution to the songwriting and the music was not as substantial as people tended to think. Bob said that they could 'close the gap' musically easily on stage and didn't feel that they would have a problem with finding material so they didn't think Tim needed replacing. 


No Steeleye gigs this year. One of only 4 years in over 50!

Live LP: "On Tour"

An Australian only LP release recorded on Steeleye's 1982 tour of Australia. Fortunately most of the tracks were later released on the 2001 CD: 'Gone To Australia (1975-1984) and now the album is available in full on the 2022 Chrysalis 'Good Times of Old England' box set. Maddy later described this a 'bad album' despite listening to it after the gig and it sounding pretty good. I assume therefore she is referring to the mixing/post production values rather than the concert itself. Click on Image or link below to see the full set list and where all the tracks can be found. 

Maddy Prior Activity

With Steeleye not active in '83, and I suspect a little disappointment with Record sales of 'Sails of Silver' plus doubts about Tim Hart's future in the band, then it would have been seen as a good time to try again with the Rick/Maddy band. They released an album, single, gained radio play, a TV show and festival appearances, but never with the commercial success required for more significant record company backing.  A newspaper article suggested the band had 'mixed reviews'

March: Some gigs for The Maddy Prior Band, including the Wirral Metro College Theatre (20th) 

Maddy Prior and the Answers' Album: 'Going for Glory'.

Again a set of original Rick/Maddy songs. This time a new band name (albeit with virtually the same band) and a new label - 'Spindrift'.

Single: Deep in the Darkest Night

Rick wrote this single (with unreleased b-side 'Western Movies'.) Dave Stewart was the producer/arranger and Annie Lennox sang backing vocals and played the flute. They were neighbours to Maddy/Rick at the time. It was about to be a minor a hit with regular radio plays but the Eurythmics suddenly got big and so their record company wouldn't licence anything else with Dave or Annie playing on so it quietly got withdrawn. 

8th July: TV Appearance for the "Maddy Prior Band" 10.15-1045, BBC 1 (North West)  
Their own billed show. No further details other than the Radio Times description: "The Maddy Prior Band - Maddy progressed from winning a talent contest in Blackpool through a succession of arts festivals to the world of folk music and Steeleye Span. After Steeleye Span disbanded, Maddy and her husband, Rick Kemp , formed the Maddy Prior Band."

10/11th July Harlow Jazz and Folk Festival. Billed as 'Maddy Prior' but I assume the whole band

19th August BBC Radio 2 'Ralph McTell and Friends'. Feat. Rick Kemp & Maddy Prior. Sung 'Deep in the Darkest Night' .  You can hear it on Youtube.

23rd August: 'Maddy Prior Band' on BBC Radio 2 'Folk on Two' with Jim Lloyd.
Trowbridge Pump Festival (Summer): Appearance for' Maddy Prior Band'
29th Sep: Borough Hall, Staffordshire (Maddy, Rick, Richie Close, Mick Dyche & Gary Wilson)

18th Oct HM Theatre Aberdeen. Maddy Prior Band supporting Ralf McTell. 
A report said there was several hundred there and Maddy almost stole the show proving that at last she has shaken off her English Country maiden image of the last decade.
17th Nov Phoenix Arts Centre, Leicester
27th Nov Gateway Theatre, Chester.

Click on image for details

Tim Hart & Friends - Drunken Sailor and Other Kids Songs

 (1983) (EMI - Music for Pleasure)
The 'Friends' included Maddy and Rick again but not Bob or Peter. There was a Promo video made for 'Drunken Sailor' see below.

Steeleye Activity
Chrysalis only gave Steeleye a one album deal in 1980. Sales were unfortunately not high enough to justify any more (Adrian Hopkins did try in '85 -see below) and Adrian said that this was the reason for a lack of a Steeleye album '80-'86. In addition, all the outside interests of the band members & raising families meant the band would continue on an ad-hoc basis for most of the 80's .


A busy year touring UK, Australia and US.  A new album was planned by the end of the year but didn't materialise (see below under 1986 & Flutterby records)

Steeleye Span (Mk VII). Without Tim Hart. Early 1984 promo shot

Jan/Feb: Australian Tour 'Gone to Australia'

The 4th tour of Australia. And the bands first ever tour, or even appearance, without Tim Hart. After a two year break the band introduce 2 new songs - Scarecrow which will make it's way onto the next album in 1986, and the 'Autumn to Spring Medley', which is available on the 'Rare Collection 1972-1996' CD. Lady Diamond will also feature on the next album. Blackleg Miner also appears, which apart from one known time at the Albert Hall in 1974, has not been heard live before, certainly not for a whole tour. This version in close to what ended up on the 'In Concert' CD recorded in 1986 although a little higher tempo.

Back Goes Limerick; Blackleg Miner; Black Jack Davy; Longbone; Bachelors Hall; Spotted Cow; Thomas the Rhymer; Harvest Home - 'Autumn to Spring Medley'; Scarecrow; Brown Girl; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Let Her Go Down; Lady Diamond; Royal Forester; 'All Around My Hat; Encore: Gaudete; The Mason's Apron; 2nd encore: Gone to America.

10th Jan Perth Concert hall. 
Bootleg: Back Goes Limerick; Blackleg Miner; Black Jack Davy; Longbone; Bachelors Hall; Spotted Cow; Thomas the Rhymer; Harvest Home - 'Autumn to Spring Medley'; Scarecrow; Lady Diamond; Royal Forester; All Around My Hat; Encore: Gaudete; The Mason's Apron
13th Sydney Town Hall
17th Cairn Civic Centre
18th Townsville Civic Centre
21st Brisbane Mayne Hall
23rd Canberra School of Music
24th Gellong Civic Centre
25th Melbourne Dallas Brooks Hall
28th Launceston Tasmanian Folk Festival
30th or 31st Jan Christchurch, New Zealand. Per newspaper articles (Thanks to David Tomlinson). We can't be 100% sure if went ahead.
1st Feb Adelaide Opera Theatre

Feb/Mch: UK Spring Tour

Note there are probably still some dates missing. Thanks to a Newcastle Uni archive newspaper, the Nottingham review below and the Folk on Two gig we can piece together some of the set list. The Drunkard is the only suprise as its not been heard since it's release in 1976.

Jigs (starting with Peter solo); Blackleg Miner; Black Jack Davy; Bachelors Hall; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Let Her Go Down; Autumn to Spring Medley; Lady Diamond; Royal Forester; The Drunkard (Maddy a capella); Thomas the Rhymer; All Around My Hat. Encores: Gaudete; Jigs; Gone to America.

Opposite is a review from Nottingham on 17th March

A review from Bangor Uni was also very positive: 

'There was an unfamiliar mix of age groups at Bango Uni on Friday for the appearance of modern folk heroes Steeleye Span. Casually dressed students mingled with more formally attired older people for a concert by a group who have managed to transcend the conventional divisions between age and musical appeal. The crowd appreciated much of the new material but it 'best of' tracks that really wowed the 600 eager fans. They have come on a lot since the world first heard the lilting Latin harmonies of Gaudete a few Christmases ago. The bulk of the material on Friday was more in teh style of All Around My Hat- their best known number. It took some time to take effect, but the sounds got the multitude - young and more mature - moving enthusiastically to the music. The vocal range and confidence of Maddy Prior was truly phenomenal. She oozed personality throughout the set, and bounded about the stage like a two year old. The band obviously still enjoy paying and their enduring rhythms, and the fluidity of the arrangements provide something new every time. The Jazz experience of Peter Knight and Bob Johnson is an invaluable asset. Nigel Pegrum, the drummer who is actually born in Trefriw, said later that the band survived two split-ups, which they now preferred to see as just 'rest period for rejuvenation. It obviously helped a Bango. They were as fresh as ever'

15th Feb: Digbeth Civic Hall, Birmingham. with Richard Thompson
16th Feb Liverpool Empire. (per Liverpool Echo)17th Feb Saltford University
19th Feb Oxford Apollo Theatre
22nd Dundee University (ebay ticket stub)
23rd Feb Newcastle Uni (SU newspaper archive - thanks Neil for the tip off!). Michael Chapman support
24th Leeds Uni.
26th Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
28th Feb Huddersfield Polytechnic (not sure on date now)28th Feb Derngate Northampton (confirmed)
1st Mch Stafford Borough Hall
2nd Mch Bangor University
 4th Mch Theatre Royal Bath
5th Mch: Theatre Royal , Plymouth
8th Forum Theatre, Hatfield
10th Mch Dominion Theatre
11th Fairfield Halls, Croydon. 6 tracks played from this tour on 'Folk On Two' on 17th Dec '84. Royal Forester; All Around My Hat; The Drunkard (Maddy a capella); Thomas the Rhymer; Gone to America; Jigs.
15th March Brewery Arts Centre, Kendall
17th Mch Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham   
18th Mch Davenport Theatre, Stockport

1984: Towngate Theatre, Basildon. Date unknown so not sure on which tour
1984 Kendal Leisure Centre. Date unknown.

US 'Reunion' Tour

April/May: US tour for '1st time in 7 years'
Finally Returning to the US for their 6th tour. The tour was tied tied to the fact that they had just signed to US record Label Shanachie who probably promoted the tour. Lady Diamond & Scarecrow continue to be played and a continued re introduction of old songs (Bachelor's Hall; 'When I was on Horseback' as a Maddy/Peter duet & 'Hard Times Old England'). There is less reliance on Sails of Silver album and 'Brown Girl' is played on this tour in a style that would have fitted on Sails Of Silver (Peter on keyboard and a guitar solo) 

(95 minute set): Bach Goes Limerick; Black Jack Davy; Longbone; Bachelors Hall; When I was on Horseback; Hard Times of Old England; Thomas the Rhymer; Marigold/Harvest Home; The Spring Will Bring us Together; Blackleg Miner; Let Her Go Down; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Lady Diamond; Royal Forester; All Around My Hat; Gaudete/Mason's Apron/Gone To America.

23rd April Buffalo
24th Venues hard to make out from photo
25th Barrymore's, Ottowa, Canada.
26th Venues hard to make out from photo.
27th Berklee Performance Centre, Boston. On Bootleg (Set list above and review below)
28th Venues hard to make out from photo

29th April; 1st and 2nd May:  Adams Theatre, Washington. The Band played two sets here each night so extra tracks not played on rest of tour, including Brown Girl and Scarecrow, both rarely played live. 
On Bootleg (29th) :Set 1: Bach Goes Limerick; Black Jack Davy; Longbone; When I was on Horseback; Spotted Cow; Marigold/Harvest Home; The Spring Will Bring us Together; Blackleg Miner; Let Her Go Down; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Thomas the Rhymer; All Around My Hat. Set 2: Hard Times of Old England; Brown Girl; Scarecrow; Spotted Cow; Gone To America. Bachelors Hall; Black Leg Miner; Lady Diamond; Thomas the Rhymer; Royal Forester; Gaudete/Jigs

  3rd Ripley's Music Hall, Philli, PA 2 shows 
Bootleg: Set 2: Hard Times of Old England; Brown Girl; Scarecrow; Spotted Cow; Gone To America. Bachelors Hall; Black Leg Miner; Lady Diamond; Thomas the Rhymer; Royal Forester; Gaudete; The Masons Apron; All Around My Hat.
4th - 6th Bottom Line, NY (2 Shows every day) 
 Thanks to Hugh, who was at one of these shows, says Brown Girl was played, and so similar to Adams Theatre above, they mixed up the set when playing the same venue more than once. An article says they had six shows at the Bottom Line so I assume two a day.

'When I was on Horseback' (Live 1984)
As noted above this song is returned to the set list, and probably for the first time since 1971. It is however now reworked into an atmospheric duet between Peter and Maddy, in a style which they would continue to perform occasionally in the future, most notably 'Betsy Bell and Mary Gray' (1989)

May:  'Elephant Folk Festival' St Germans Cornwall.  26th/27th May.

It was actually The Maddy Prior Band that was initially booked by the promoter but Steeleye fulfilled the date. I guess this pretty much marks the end of the 'Maddy Prior Band' as future Maddy solo tours were billed 'Maddy Prior and Rick Kemp'

July: 13th-15th Bracknell Folk festival. Incl Dave Swarbrick, R Digance. They kicked off with Blackleg Miner.

21st & 22nd July: British Forces Folk Federation: International Folk and Music Festival. Edinburgh School,  Münster, Northern Westfalia.

Steeleye Headlined for two days. Thanks to Roland who told us about the Festival, the Radio show and has provided some great visual reminders. 

Festival was broadcast on the 'Folk review' BFBS Radio programme in Germany (with Wally Whiton)
 The show played half an hour of songs from the show: (The actual festival included Scarecrow.) Black Jack Davy; Spotted Cow; When I was on horseback; Autumn to spring medley; Hard times of Old England; All around My Hat.

August: UK Summer Tour.

The only time I have seen a summer Steeleye Tour, this tour seemed to be worked around some festival appearances. The PR mentions the 'Best of' CD coming out

9th Harlesden,
10th (fri) Cropedy Folk Festival.
11th St David's Hall, Cardiff
12th St Austell, Cornwall Coliseum
14th Haven Theatre, Boston
15th Stevenage,
17th Brighton, The Dome. w. M Chapman
18th Farnham Maltings,
19th Windsor Theatre Royal
24th Schoten, België, Small festival with support - De Nieuwe Snaar.
25th Folkestonet.

26th Aug Nostell Priory Festival, Wakefield.

Other acts incl. Van Morrison, The Band, The Damned, Marillion. This was around the time of the Miners Strike and the festival had let the local Striling Miners in, so Maddy did an anti Thatcher rant and then they played 'Blackleg Miner', as they frequently did around this time. They dedicated it to the Miners which was sometimes controversial depending where they played it! At this festival they did not play 'All Around My Hat', which was unusual. Many thanks to Eddy Bewsher for the information and for use of his photos below.

17th Dec: BBC Radio folk on two.

Presented by Jim Lloyd, With Martin Simpson. Tracks played from the Fairfield Halls concert (Croydon) from 11th March:
Royal Forester; All Around My Hat; The Drunkard; Thomas the Rhymer; Gone to America; Jigs.

ITV: 'Highway'

Steeleye 'sang' 'Hard Times of old England' (22.30 in video). Although it is a very 'cheesy' bit of miming/acting by the band, it is quite amusing. The actual version is not the album version and runs at well under 2 minutes so probably recorded especially for the show. Maddy Prior and Rick Kemp appeared with Michael Chapman near the start singing the Rick Kemp song 'Love's not just a word' that appeared on The Maddy Prior Band album 'Hooked on Winning'


Continued part time touring and a final attempt at a Christmas single!  

 After a busy 1st half of 1984 there was a quiet end to '84 and start of '85 because a planned album had not materialised. Bob in an interview in 1984 had said they would be busy in 1985 if a new album was out, however a record deal from Chrysalis was not forthcoming which delayed the album.

Jan: Peter Knight toured with Trevor Watt' Moire Music (with Liam Genockey)

May: Maddy Prior and Rick Kemp Tour

Maddy Prior and Rick Kemp started touring as a duo. Billed as featuring songs from 'Going For Glory' and 'perhaps one or two old favorites'. Venues included Nettlebed Folk Club, Mansfield Leisure Centre.

May/June: US Tour 

 (Rose 6 months old on tour)

The band split 'headlining' with Fairport Convention as they took in turns to play first. I think this is a tour when a major venue fell through at the last minute meaning the tour was not a commercial success. Would also explain only a few dates - although there probably are more than I have found. 
Set list when playing with Fairport: 
Hard Times Of Old England; Black Jack Davy; Black Leg Miner; Thomas The Rhymer; Let Her Go Down; When I Was On Horseback; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; All Around My Hat ; Royal Forester; Gaudete ; Jigs

 30th May:  Philadelphia
 31st Tower Theatre, Upper Darby, PA
 2nd June Lisner Auditorium, Washington DC.  (Fairport Convention)
 6th (?) Beacons Theatre, NY (2 nights?)
 7th June Beacons Theatre, NY(Fairport Convention & Renaissance) Per 1986 programme this was Xtra Show. Bootleg exists (Hat played on Folkcast) 
'European Summer Festivals' (per newspaper article)

August 11th: Gloucester Festival. Headlined. 
Set list included: Hard Times Of Old England, When I Was On Horseback, Thomas The Rhymer, Blackleg Miner, Spotted Cow/Reels, Let Her Go Down, Isabelle.

August 23rd/24th. Derby Folk Festival. Headlined

18th Nov Single: 'Somewhere In London'

Written by Peter Knight). b-side Lanercost. Released on Flutterby records  (Band+Adrian Hopkins label). Radio play and TV appearances were not enough to get the single into the charts. 

'Flutterby Records'

This was a record label created by Adrian Hopkins especially to release this single and the upcoming album. When the band were working on a new album, which was being financed by Adrian, Adrian went back to Chrysalis records to see of they would release it. (which must have been as early as 1984). However, they had a change in policy and unless artists was going to sell 500k+ copies they were being dropped from the rota. In defiance of this Adrian wanted to call his label 'Butterfly' records but Chrysalis has already trademarked the name and hence he changed it to 'Flutterby' ! This label then released the album in question 'Back In Line'. It was due to these issues in getting a record label that delayed the album's release. Bob mentioned in a 1984 interview that they were making a new album that year.

UK 'Somewhere' Tour

'On the road to promote the release of their first single for four years' (newspaper article)
No confirmed set list. A program was available but most of it was reproduced from the 1985 program. This tour however was recorded - 'Backleg Miner (Live)' was included on the next album. Sadly nothing else has been released yet from the same concert. But thanks to Jamie we know that they opened with 'Hard Time of Old England' and played a familiar 'greatest hits' set which only included 'Edward' as a new song from the upcoming album, and of course the new single which was sarcastically dedicated to Chrysalis.

One review (Leicester) said: "Take a bow, Steeleye Span! A Packed Haymarket Theater and 2 deserved encores last night shows why such a fine band has stood the test of the time".."Maddy Prior was in irresistible form.. Peter Knight stole the limelight..with his remarkable fiddling and impish sense of humour". Review mentions Long Lankin, Thomas the Rhymer, Hat and Gaudete in an 80 minute set

12th October Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, (£3.50)
13th? Fairfield Halls, Croydon (not sure exactly when this concert took place, may have been Dec)
14th Leicester, Haymarket Theatre. Jo Benns support
15th Cardiff, ST David's Hall
16th Exeter,
17th Barnstable,
18th Worthing,
19th Aldershot, Princes Hall.
23rd Northampton, Derngate
3rd Nov. Wimbledon
4th Stevenage
6th Oxford, The Apollo. (Now the 'New Theatre')
7th Southport Arts Centre,
8th Bangor University  
?th Macclesfield, (The 'Centre')
11th York,
21st Nottingham, Theatre Royal. Recording of Blackleg miner for 'Back in line' album.
22nd Birmingham Odeon

20th Dec BBC TV: Pebble Mill at One
They sang (Mimed) 'Somewhere in London' and 'In The Bleak Midwinter'. Sadly very much of the times with regards fashion!

3rd Dec BBC TV 'The Chris Stuart Chat Show'
Similar mimed appearance on 'The Chris Stuart Chat Show'. 

Dec 1985 Christmas Tour

Short UK Christmas Tour billed as 'Steeleye Span's Yuletide Show'.  'Selective major venues' per Oct/Nov tour programme. It was a Christmas show with Christmas Trees and even artificial snow falling on the stage!  Included Lady Diamond; Black Jack Davy; King Henry; Thomas the Rhymer; Somewhere in London; The Holy and the Ivy

21st Nottingham Royal Concert Hall. Near Capacity
22nd Odeon Theatre, Birmingham. (Plus Harvey Andrews)
23rd Dominion Theatre, London. (Final Concert per programme).

Touring with Steeleye Span - by Adrian Hopkins (Band Manager)

Adrian Hopkins was kind enough to talk to me about his time with the band, Most of what he told me I have included in the TimeLine where relevant. The funniest times he had with the band was touring with them in the 80's, they were not the most organised of travellers and he spent most of the time trying to round them up and he described his role as the 'Scout Leader'! A few snippets of his stories....

At passport control in getting on a plane: "Maddy Prior – where is your passport"; "I put in the suitcase", which had actually been checked in in Heathrow"! Eventually found it after lots of running around and just got on the now delayed flight!

"Where is Nigel, we need to book in the drum kit", but had decided to take a private booking in Milton Keynes at his studio that day, jst for £100. Quick phonecalls and a frantic journey as he arrives just in time with the drum kit, again delaying a flight.

Bob Johnson was terrified of flying , really terrified – needed Valium and Brandy most flights just to get him on....and that was fine until flights have delays, and the drinking continues... One time there was an evening flight to the US in the fog with a long delay to the flight. Eventually they get through the gate but Bob climbs up some random stairs in the middle of the runway -- but there is no plane at the top! Despite lots of shouting he almost gets the top!

"Maddy Prior, writes a postcard to her kids in the airport when going on a plane to a festival in Spain"; it says: "If I never see you two again just remember Mummy loves you" She quickly hands to one of the staff at the airport to get it posted, but they read it and think it’s a suicide note!! They took her off the plane and she had to get on a flight the next day.

France on strike, and a flight is delayed, there happened to be a free bar in the airport for an event which the band managed to get invited to, lots of drinking, but then they quickly need to board... but Rick is missing, drunk. He decided to go off and find out why the plane is delayed. He went missing, they delayed the flight for a while, but as Maddy has the baby they need to travel together, so in goes Adrian goes in to get Maddy off the lane, leaving Bob – who is convinced the plane will now crash as Maddy has made it off - "she will make a bloody career out of this" were his words! Meanwhile Rick had managed to get as far as traffic control before being promptly arrested and returned to Adrian/Maddy escorted by airport security!


Back in the Studio and Back on the (world) Road to support the album.

Click on image for details & song by song review

April 28th:
13th Album: 'Back In line'

Released on the Flutterby label, (Owned by Adrian Hopkins and the band). It marked 6 years since the last release of new material, the most in the bands 50 years history so far. Part of the reason for the delay was Chrysalis dropping Steeleye and Adrian having to create a new label. Mainly original compositions by Rick and Maddy who were working as a duo & in a band at the time. Vince Cross on DX7 (synthesizer) was a session musician listed on the album. The single 'Somewhere In London' was not included on the LP but added to a later Park CD 1991 re-issue along with 2 live tracks - 'Spotted Cow' and 'One Misty Moist Morning'. 

28th May BBC Radio 'Folk On Two' Session. See 'BBC Sessions' page for full details.
Thought to be recorded in the week before transmission. Maddy noted that this line up had not played the Blacksmith before so 'they were putting that right' and called it Blacksmith MkIII

May: Article in US magazine Billboard said Steeleye had signed a four album deal with Schanachie (for US distribution) which would start with 'Back In Line'. It also mentioned an East Coast tour in June (see below) and West Coast tour in September (which does not appear to have taken place). 

May: 'Back In Line' UK Tour

15 dates and advertised as 'Back in the Studio, Back on the Road'. Support Bill Zorn & John Benns.  
Recording of songs for 'In Collection' Live album. 
One very positive review noted that the audience was not made up of "ageing relics from the sixties with long hair and denim" but rather they were "mainly respectable 'accountant-types and their wives".!  They also noted that Gaudete and All Around my Hat were both played and that they would remember the 'astonishing violin playing of Peter Knight for a long time.
I suspect the set list, although not known for sure, will almost certainly be almost identical to the US Tour set list below (which we do know is 100% correct). The assumption that the 'In Concert' Live Collection was recorded on this tour (see Eastbourne below) and features 6 songs that were also on the US Tour add weight to this theory.

8th May  Edinburgh Queens Hall
9th Newcastle City Hall. Tickets £5.
10th Carlisle Sands centre
11th Manchester Palace
13th Coventry Warwick Uni
14th Ramsgate Granville Theatre
15th London Woolwich Coronet
16th Southend Cliffs Pavilion
17th Swansea Penyrheol Centre
19th Ipswich Gaument
21th Poole Arts Centre
22th St Austell Cornwall Coliseum
23th Bristol Colston Hall
24th Eastbourne Congress. 
Almost certainly where the songs for the 'In Concert' Live CD (Park Records -1994) were recorded: The Blacksmith; The Weaver and the Factory Maid; Spotted Cow; One Misty Moisty Morning; King Henry. Plus 'Betsy Bell and Mary Gray' - The latter appears on the 'A Rare Collection 1972-1996 CD' and is listed as from this concert, hence why I think it is the source of the 'In Concert' CD tracks which are just shown as '1986'.
25th Peterborough Cresset. £5.50 most expensive seats.

  June: US Tour (and Bermuda!) 
The third US tour in three years.
One review described it as "entertaining and musically exciting, earning a standing ovation and two encores from the well-filled house" 

Set List (Graffiti Club). Lark in the Morning; Lady Diamond; The Blacksmith; Peace on the Border; Lanercost; The Weaver and the Factory maid; Spotted Cow; Take My Heart; White Man; Besty Bell and Mary Grey;  Edward;  One Misty Moisty Morning; Blackleg Miner;  All Around My Hat; King Henry;  Hard Time of Old England; Masons Apron. Encore: Gaudete;

18th June Club Bene, Sayreville, New Jersey (Date from Preview article in local paper)
19th June Lisner Auditorium supported by 10,000 Maniacs 
20th Berklee, Boston, MA
21st Beacon Theatre, NY
 22nd Tower Theatre, Philadelphia.  w. Strawbs.
 24th Graffiti Club, Pittsburgh.
5 Aug: Listed as appearing on KKCY Radio (San Francisco). No details

Bermuda - Ruth Seaton James Auditorium

(exact date unknown but part of above US Tour)
Thanks to Bob Bradbury we have some great recollections and pictures from this unique concert....

"Bermuda is a 20 sq mile island, 650 miles off the coast of North Carolina. In the 1980's when I lived there, about 5,000 mainly British Ex-pats worked there, making up about 10% of the population. Entertainment was limited, but every bar had a live singer/guitarist and there was a thriving Folk Club.  The club encouraged local entertainers and also brought in overseas acts once a month.  Many of these were British entertainers who were touring the US.  In 1986, we got rather carried away and brought in Gordon Giltrap, Tom Paxton, Peter Yarrow (of Peter Paul & Mary fame) Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span.

As one of the Folk Club organisers, I met the band at the airport and spent several evenings with them.  After the gig, three of them (Maddy certainly, probably Peter and Nigel) piled into the back of my car for a ride into town, and sang hymns in harmony.  An unbelievable experience."
Thanks Bob for the pictures below!

4th-5th July 'Hartlepool Dock Rock'.

 Including Madness, Lindisfarne; Doctor Feelgood. Up to 60,000 expected.

June: Maddy Prior & Rick Kemp promo single: 'Water Aid'

Maddy & Rick wrote and recorded a single at Linden Records called 'Water Aid' for the 'Brampton Big Africa Day' which was held at the William Howard Centre, the forerunner to the 'Brampton Live' festival. The 'b' side was 'In Africa' performed by pupils of William Howard School (written by a teacher). Very few copies were thought to have been pressed and has only appeared on ebay once or twice.

19th July Colwyn Bay 'First International Folk Festival of Wales',  Eirias Park, North Wales.
Included the Furerys and the Dubliners. It was noted in a preview that the festival would be recorded to make an album in aid of handicapped children in Wales, and there was a possibly of it being filmed (I don't know of course it was actually recorded). However, the event was a huge flop so very unlikely! It was noted that Steeleye put on a good set and Maddy went down to dance with the small audience.

20th July: Trowbridge Festival
28th-31st August - Headlined the Tonder Festival in Denmark.
There is a clip from Danish TV (DR) of another artist from the festival so we can but hope that some footage of Steeleye exists and may surface one day.

24th Aug: Bank Holiday. Royal Festival Hall, London. Support- 'Renaissance'  
Played Betsy Bell; Take My Heart; White Man & The Blacksmith. It was noted in the article that the band were returning to Australia and the US ('on two further occasions') later this year. But I have not seen anything about a tour in the US and it could have related to the US tour just finished. 

6th Sept: Bridgwater '86 in Bridgwater' - All day Rock Concert

Integer ac vehicula eros, sed dictum sapien. Donec dignissim porttitor ante, sit amet placerat dui. Donec mollis vel arcu et efficitur.

Sept/Oct: Australian Tour 'Back In Line'

Another tour of Australia, their 5th so far and one with good press coverage and TV appearances. 

Lark in the Morning; Lady Diamond; Blacksmith; Peace on the Border; Lanercost; Wee Weaver (? Unlikely) ; Edward; Spotted Cow; Take my Heart; White Man; Betsy Bell; All Around Hat; One Misty Moisty Morning; King Henry; Long Lankin; Gaudete; Jigs

 ?? Tweed heads, NSW. Apparently the PA system broke so Maddy ended up singing sat in the audience at one point!
 30th Sept Perth Concert Hall
 2nd Oct Adelaide Festival Theatre
 3rd Melbourne Dallas Brooks Hall
 4th Hobart, Tasman Hall
 6th Geelong Ford Theatre
 7th Appearance on Network 9 TV: 'Ray Martin Midday Show'. Singing 'Lady Diamond' Live in the Studio. See 1st Video below!
 8th Sydney Town Hall
 9th Newcastle Civic Theatre
 10th Bonaderry, RSL Club
 11th Canberra Theatre
 12th: Appearance on Network 9 TV 'The Sunday Show'. All Around My Hat and Take My Heart (fades out into end credits) played live in the studio. 2nd video below is 'All Around My Hat'
 14th Brisbane, Lyric Theatre
 15th Seagulls, Rubgy League Club

Nov: British Tour

Used World Tour programme (same cover as Spring Tour) but content same as World Tour programme

City Hall, St Albans.
Rick still playing. Jamie recalls the first three songs as 'King Henry; Weaver & The Factory Maid; Longbone plus 'Betsy Bell and Mary Grey' (Peter & Maddy). They also played 'Pheonix' which appears to be a Rick original song which he later played on a solo album. Nigel Pegrum confirmed the name of the song to Jamie backstage! It's likely most of the set was similar to the ones played across the US/AUS.

12th Nov St Georges Hall, Bradford
13th Nov Southport Arts Centre
14th Nov Queen Elizabeth Hall, Oldham
20th Nov Leas Cliff Hall, Folkstone
21st The Guildhall, Cambridge
22nd Nov Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells. Date confirmed by ticket
23rd The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton.
Date Unknown: Kirkland Charity Concert.

Oct: Charity album 'Where Would You rather be Tonight?'
Released featuring Steeleye with the 'Weaver and the Factory Maid'. The album is trailed as having songs not available on other albums so I need to find out if this a new recording of this song.


'Early 1987' A Steeleye Span newsletter announced a forthcoming single called 'Green Man' coming out on Flutterby Records. Thanks again to Jamie for this info! The single was not released, (maybe in part because Rick left around this time). Adrian Hopkins told me that the potential single was part of a concept album that Bob had been working on. Per Adrian - "All the songs revolved around A.... 'Green Man'!" Adrian described it as a very typical 'fantasy' Bob concept. 
Update in 2023 - 

Now of course we know that the song was recorded and has now been released on the 2023 'Green Man Collection' along with a new reworking of the song. The song was found after 40 years on a cassette - the only copy of it anywhere. It was re mastered for inclusion in the collection.

March: Rick Kemp leaves band

Reported at the time, and since, as due to a repetitive strain injury to his shoulder which prevented Rick from touring and effectively meant he left the band. In a more recent interview (RnR) it was noted that it was mainly due to panic attacks from going on stage at the time and Rick was 'quite ill'. Adrian Hopkins noted that it had been an issue for a while and ironically Rick told him he was leaving after the one tour that Rick had not been saying to the band that he was leaving at the end of! One report said he left to go solo. In his time off he got a degree, got into motorbikes and did some art exhibitions. His route back into music was via 'The Gathering' (which included Jerry Donohue and Gerry Conway) and working with Maddy as a duo.

 Mark Williamson (Bass) replaces Rick

Picture below with Mark (2nd from left) is from fRoots interview in 1988. He did not appear on any recordings/albums.

March: Middle East?

One newspaper report noted that the band were going to tour the Middle East in March. Another newspaper said on 9th April 'They had come hot foot from the Middle East where they have been performing'. Did these dates take place?!

Spring UK Tour (13 dates) 

Support: Wild Billy Barret & Stephen Two-Name they played Padstow on this tour which is the earliest it has been noted as appearing, 2 years before the next album where it features. The Back In Line album was released on CD ready for this tour.
Reviews noted that 'Cam Ye Oer Frae France'; 'One Misty Morning' were played along with 'Several new numbers'

1st April:   Nottingham, Royal Concert Hall.
Tour didn't get off to a good start per one review with technical problems ('Screeching microphones and muted guitars') and a 'muted' performance for half the show 'it was an age before Maddy started dancing", but the night was saved by Maddy's voice and the last half of the show.
2nd Ipswich Corn Exchange
3rd Lincoln Ritz Theatre
4th Hereford Leisure Centre
5th Whyvale Theatre, Swindon
7th Northampton, Derngate
9th Bristol Hippodrome
10th Worthing, Pavillion
11th Lewisham Concert Hall
12th Beck Theatre, Hayes
Review: 'the ecstatic audience were clapping and dancing in the aisles'
13th Oakengates Town Hall
14th St Davids Hall, Cardiff
16th Cheltenham Town Hall

"World Tour 1987"

We know from some promo material (e.g. T Shirt below) that the band embarked on a 'World Tour'. in '87. It appears that we have dates missing for concerts in Europe and maybe more dates were in the US than we have. We have details for the UK tours.

25th May Barbican Theatre London.  with Akimbo.

20th June Verona Italy, Café Dante (more dates?)  w.Edward II, Red Hot Polka's. Tim Hart & Maddy Prior. Included: Four Nights Drunk; One Misty Moisty Morning; Betsy Bell and Mary Gray; Gaudete; Improvisation.

2nd August: Dranouter folk Festival. Broadcast on Belgium Radio
Mark Williamson on Bass (thanks Johan for all details on this Gig!). Padstow appears again. 

 Padstow; Female Drummer; 4 Nights Drunk; Weaver & the Factory Maid; One Misty Moisty Morning; Lady Diamond; All Around My Hat; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Hard Times of Old England; King Henry; Encore: Gaudete; Canon by Telemann. (using Loop pedal); All Around My Hat (reprise)

Summer US Tour

4th year in a row that they visited the States. Mark Williamson was with the band on this tour and in Cambridge sang a song for the first encore 'All I have to do is Dream', I don't know if he did every night.  A good tour as a source of bootlegs as well as the videos from the Philli Folk festival so we get to see Mark Williamson. Likely a few missing dates here.

28th Aug. Old Poole Farm, Harleyville, PA.  
30th Aug. Philli Folk Festival.  Videos below are from this concert, a rare chance to see Steeleye live in the 80's on video and the audio quality is pretty good. (2 more available are One Misty Moisty Morning and Padstow). A better quality audio bootleg was recently (2023) made available. 
Padstow; Sir James The Rose; 4 Nights Drunk; White Man; The Weaver and the Factory Girl; Betsy Bell & Mary Gray; Failed attempt to play Canon By Teleman (couldn't get the loop to work); One Misty Moisty Morning; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; King Henry. (assume some missing)

1st Sept. Black Thorne Tavern, Boston, MA. ('Smallest venue on this tour')
 2nd Sept. Nightstage, Cambridge, MA; (Review below)
Per bootleg: Padstow; Lady Diamond; White Man; Isobel; Take My Heart; Canon by Teleman; Betsy Bell & Mary Gray; Hard Times of Old England; One Misty Moisty Morning; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Encore: All I have to do is Dream; All Around My Hat; Jigs; Blues Jam.

3rd Iron Horse CoffeeHouse, Northampton, MA. 2 shows
 4th & 5th (2 shows both days) Bottom Line, NY
 8th & 9th Birchmere, Alexandria, VA.
 Per Bootleg: Padstow; Sir James the Rose; 4 Nights Drunk; The Blacksmith; White Man; Let her go Down; Weaver; Canon by Teleman; Betsy Bell & Mary Gray; Take my Heart; One Misty Moisty Morning; Lady Diamond; Cam Ye all Frae France; Hard Times of old England; King Henry.

[24th Dec - WDPS-FM (Ohio)- 'Off She Goes' featuring Steeleye Span'. No further details known]

October: Chris Staines (Bass) joins Band.

Joined after the US Tour and before the next, so between 9th Sept and 9th Oct, not much time to prepare! Chris does not appear on an album, or any promo shots I can find, but he can still be considered a full member of the band, especially as this line up with Chris actually recorded in Chris Staines' studio (mid 1988) but nothing ever surfaced, since once Chris Staines left there was little option to use it. (Thanks to Simon Jones for the info!).

It is also around this time that the musician John Young is said to have worked with Steeleye, possibly in sessions so they could be the same recording sessions? It could have also been on tour (bearing in mind that Back In Line had Vince Cross on the synthesizer) It is not known what instrument he would have played but he is best known for the keyboard.

Autumn UK Tour

Chris Staines definitely in the band now even though the publicity photos all still had Mark, so must have been a late change. Jamie notes that although Chris was more prominent on vocals than Mark, he did not take lead on any. Jamie also says that 'Following Me' was played on this tour, predating it on the next album by 2 years. This was also the case for 'Jack Hall' played here for the first time. We also know that there were quite a few songs played from 'Sails of Silver and Back In Line'. This tour features the only known appearance of 'She Moves Through the Fair' played as a Peter and Maddy Violin and Vocals duet which they did many times over the years. One review also confirmed that there was no All Around My Hat.

Simon Jones concluded his review in Folk Roots with 'Span were tight as you like and having a bloody good time. hell, this set would have made a very respectable live LP. With Maddy in perfect voice, the fizz, bubble and clout returning in copious amounts, and with three encores, things look quite rosy. Another review said Steeleye were 'Tight and bristling with enthusiasm'

Partial set list (Victoria Hall & Fairfield Hall mainly): 'The Female Drummer'; 'Four Nights Drunk'; 'Jack Hall'; White Man'; 'She Moves Through the Fair' (Maddy/Peter vocals and violin duet); Marrowbones; 'Edward' ;'Following Me'; 'Cam Ye O'er Frae France'; 'Thomas The Rhymer' ' 3 Encores - 'Gone to America' / Jigs / Gaudete. 

9th Oct Canterbury, Marlowe Theatre. Att 935
10th Eastbourne, Congress Theatre.
11th Poole
12th London
14th Croydon, Fairfield Hall
15th Lowestoft, Sparrows Nest Theatre
16th Stevenage, Gordon Craig Theatre
18th Oxford Apollo Theatre
19th Swansea, Penyrheol Theatre.
20th Cardigan, Theatr Mwldan
21st Hanley Victoria Hall, Stoke On TrentReviewed in Folk Roots by Simon Jones so we know some of the set list (see above)
22nd Lancaster Town Hall
23rd Leeds Astoria
24th Manchester, Apollo Theatre (Noted in review the Stalls were only half full)
25th York.
27th Reading, Hexagon Theatre 
29th Southport Art Centre
30th Sunderland
31st Milton Keynes Leisure Centre
1st Nov Derby Assembly Rooms (With Guest Steve Philips)

November: Silly Sisters Tour. 
I have seen dates for Nottingham (11th at Congregational Hall)

December: Maddy Prior and the Carnival Tour
'A Tapestry of Carols' tour. Included Aberdeen 12th December


A quiet year before the 20th Anniversary year 

June: Detailed Simon Jones Interview with Maddy Prior in fRoots. Maddy said 'we have Chris Staines in the band now.' In other later interviews it has been said that Mark and Chris only did one tour each but I suspect that it was not that simple. Maddy also mentioned that they 'recently' tried to re-create 'Lyke Wake Dirge' but it 'didn't work'. This interview took place at a London recording studio where the band were recording some material with Chris Staines, but it has never seen the light of day. In the Interview Maddy said:  “We're doing some traditional and some written material. Pete's done a lovely canon, only he's done it for three violins, which should be clever. But we're not using an outside producer. It's another self-production job.”It is likely that they were working mainly on early versions of the tracks that ended up on Tempted and Tried, probably the early singles Padstow & Following Me which were being sung live at this time.

May: Rick and Maddy tour

Toured in the Spring as a duo. Included playing at the Newcastle Playhouse on 6th May; Back Theatre, Red Lion Folk Club, Birmingham 7th, London 8th.

Click on image for details

Silly Sisters (Maddy Prior and June Tabor) Album: 'No More to the Dance'

(Sept, Topic Records) 2nd and last Silly Sisters Album which was accompanied by a Tour (Sept). They featured on a BBC Radio concert recording from one date which is widely available as a Bootleg. It is also Here on Youtube. Maddy said in an interview that it was because June had moved into the same area as Maddy (the Borders) that the project came about. They had talked about it over the years but it was their proximity that actually made it happen. 

30th Aug: The City Of Leicester Show. With Postman Pat making a personal appearance!

25th Sept: Lister Park, Bradford Free Concert. Included Steeleye

Oct: Maddy and Rick play a few dates, including at Foakes Hall, Dunmow (21st); Globe Hotel Warwick (31st).

Nov: Winter UK Tour

Still had Chris Staines in the line up. One preview said 'it will include songs from their forthcoming album ("early 1989") as well as old favourites'. This fits in the rumours of recording at Chris Staines' studio around this time). Other previews mention they had just released 'Portfolio' (which was just a collection) and songs would feature from that. Sadly no set list so please say if you recall anything about this tour!

2nd Nov Colston Hall Bristol,
3rd Madley Court Telford,
4th Arts Centre Southport,
5th Hexham, Queen's Hall
6th Carnegie Hall, Workington,
7th Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall.
11th Poole Arts Centre,
12th Leisure Centre, Bletchley
13th Crucible Theatre, Sheffield,
14th Theatre Royal York,
16th St Davids Hall, Cardiff,
17th Cresset Peterborough,  
18th Royal Centre, Nottingham, with Keith Pearson
19th LCR at UEA Norwich,
20th Apollo Theatre, Oxford,
21st Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells,
22nd Corn Exchange Cambridge,
23rd Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage,
24th Warwick University Arts Centre,
26th Beck Theatre, Hayes, The advert incorrectly listed Mark Williamson
27th Lewisham Theatre
 'end of 1988'The Pavilion, Hemel Hemstead..??
 ?? date. London - Paris Theatre

December: Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band on tour

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