All Around My Hat

Chrysalis (CHR 1091)

 Recorded at Air Studios, London, July '75

Produced by Mike Batt
Engineers - Geoff Emerick and Mike Stravrou

Peak UK Chart Position - 7 (20 weeks on chart). Best performing album.

Robin Denselow: Produced by Mike Batt, the man responsible for all the hits by The Wombles. At first he seemed a weird choice for Steeleye, but Tim had been impressed by the quality and imagination in the Wombles' recordings. Batt worked extremely fast, and added strings to Steeleye for the first time. The result was the most commercial album they made, a best-seller in Britain that brought in their first Gold Disc.

The cover was designed by John O'Conner, a school friend of Tim's. It is based on an 'anamorphic projection' which was originally usually used for salacious material so you would not recognise the person in question until you stood a bottle of beer on the picture.    

1. Black Jack Davy

(4.15, Trad Child Ballad lyrics but this arrangement & melody written by Bob Johnson)

Maddy: "When I first started singing this song it is a about true love, about leaving everything for the man you love , then I got older and thought it was about a bit of rough, now it's become a song about a young man totally unsuitable for my daughter" 
Bob: "..It is a favourite.. It's because it's a kind of human behaviour, the rich lady, she has everything, she has the goose feather bed, sheets turned down so bravely ho, the beautiful shoes, she runs away and leaves it all and would rather sleep on the cold hard ground with the Black Jack Davy. It spins on down the generations, it spins on down though the centuries, certain patterns of human behaviour.”
Bob (2002) - 'This story is truly timeless. Why are we attracted to things we know we should not do and people we know are unsuitable?'

Oct. '75: B-Side to the 'All Around My Hat' single. 
Re-recorded on the 'Present CD' (2002)

[1975] UK 'All Around My Hat' Tour;
[1976] UK Spring Tours; Europe Tour including live on Finnish TV 'Here'; US Summer Tour; UK 'Rocket Cottage Tour.  On the 'Good Times of Old England' Box set (2022) from the 15th Oct Berklee Performance Centre (USA) Concert.
[1980] UK Comeback Tour
[1981] UK Spring Tours ; Cambridge Folk Festival; Uk Autumn Tour
[1982] Winter Australian Tour - Available on 'On Tour' Aus. LP (1982) & 'Gone to Australia' CD (2001) ; European Festivals (including Rimini)UK Autumn Tour (probably)
[1984] Winter Australian Tour - Perth concert broadcast on Radio; US 'Reunion' Tour; A more up tempo version. 
[1985] US Tour; UK Dec Christmas Tour; so almost certainly UK Autumn 'Somewhere' Tour but no setlists
[1989] Cropedy Festival; UK '20th Anniversary' Tour - '20th Anniversary Celebration Video (1989), 'Live in Nottingham CD' & 'Access All Areas' DVD/CD. Also featured in Radio 2 concert from same tour (Croydon)
[1993] UK Chasing Rainbows Tour
[1994] Spring Australian Tour; Cambridge Folk Festival (played on Radio 2); 
[1995] UK Spring Tour - Played on Radio 2 Broadcast from Yeovil; 'The Journey' Reunion Concert (Not included on CD release, no obvious reason. A slower tempo version but probably to protect Maddy's voice on the day);  UK 'The Journey Continues' tour.
[1998] UK 'Horkstow Grange' Tour  - sung by Bob
[1999] UK '30th Anniversary' Tour  - sung by Bob
[2000] Festivals
[2002] UK Reunion Tour - Features on 'The Official Bootleg' CD (2004) - One of only 2 tracks ('One misty Moisty Morning' the other) that were on here but not on the other Live releases in that decade. 
[2009] UK Spring '40th Anniversary' Tour
[2014] UK '45th Anniversary' Tour.
[2019] UK Spring 50th Anniversary tour. Appears on the - '50th Anniversary Tour' CD and DVD (2019); UK Autumn 50th Anniv. Tour
[2023] UK 'Green Man' Tour

2. Hard Times of Old England

(4.15, Trad.) Peter on Mandolin. 
Maddy: 'Written in about 1848 and is from Sussex'. 
Maddy (2002): 'This paints a picture of the state of the trade and working class in the 19thC. The government and its economic policies appear to be working against the man in the street. No change there then'
It is believed that this song was being considered by Mike Batt, along with 'Hat' to be the lead single from the album, and consequently was almost the album title as Mike had wanted the lead single to be the name of the album. When released as a single it failed to chart which was disappointing after the success of Hat.
Played as a very uptempo number on the 1976 tours but unfortunately we have to rely on poor quality bootlegs. This is the same when it re-appeared in 85/87 as it didn't coincide with the Australian live releases from 82/84. 

30th Jan '76: Single (follow up to 'All Around My Hat') 
Re-recorded on the 'Present CD' (2002). This version was a much slower tempo than the original. 
Aug 2008 - Download Only Single - Never released. A new studio version to support Spanfest in the 'Rock n Roll' shuffle rhythm played live at the time.
Re-Recorded in 2019 for inclusion in the Green Man Collection (2023) Featuring Francis Rossi on guitar/vocals - added in 2023. 

[1975] UK 'All Around My Hat' Tour;
[1976] UK Spring tour (assumed as no full set lists available but was the current single so would have been played); European Tour; Throughout 'World Rocket Cottage' tour. Always played at a high tempo with, unusually at the time for Bob, with 'proper' guitar solo's. Peter on mandolin.  On the 'Good Times of Old England' Box set (2022) from the 15th Oct Berklee Performance Centre (USA) Concert.
[1984] US 'Reunion' Tour; Europe Festivals; UK Tour (probably); ITV 'Highway' - the band mimed/acted out a specially recorded short edit of the song for the programme. You can view it here. When played live Peter was on fiddle rather than Mandolin and Bob played the intro. 
[1985] US Tour.
[1986] US Tour. Up tempo version. 
[1987] Throughout the World Tour. Starting to take a more a slightly more 'deliberate' tempo but still with Bob's guitar solo's but adding in a fiddle break as well.
[2002] UK Reunion Tour
[2006] UK Spring Tour; Nettlebed & Cropedy; The song moves away from the 'Present' slow version back to a high tempo
[2007] Spanfest
[2008] UK Spring Tour -On 'Live At a Distance' CD (2009) Moves even further into a 50's 'Rock n Roll' version with a shuffle rhythm; Spanfest (This version was recorded for a possible single release - see above) 
[2009] US and UK 40th Anniv. tours. Played at two concerts with Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick which can be seen here
[2013] UK Spring Tour. Sticking to the American Rock N Roll version.
[2023] UK Green Man tour
[2024] UK Spring Tour  

3. Cadgwith Anthem

(2.45 Trad.)
Cornish Song
30th Jan 1976: B-Side to 'Hard Time of Old England

[1975] The New Inn - Electric Folk TV Series; UK All Around My Hat Tour. 
[1996] Australian 'Time' Tour - TV appearance singing this song but nothing more known
[1997] US Tour & Europe - Sang by Gay as lead
[1998] 1st May at Bergen, Belgium. 1st Appearance without Maddy. Not played again in the year. 
[2014] UK Autumn 45th Anniv. Tour. As part of a 'Robbers' Medley along with 'Hark the Robbers' & Jack Hall
[2015] UK Winter Tour; Festivals; US Tour- All part of 'Robbers Medley'. Listen to it here at Shepley Festival

4. All Around My Hat

(4.06 Trad. Lyrics from 2 songs - All Around My Hat (Chorus/Melody) and 'Farewell He' (Verses)
Was recorded with a view to a commercial release with a fast six/eight jig rhythm that worked well in a pop/rock setting.
Maddy - 'Our claim to fame! What a great song it turned out to be. It still sings itself, even after all these years. It is in fact a combination of two songs, which makes complete nonsense of each. And that, my friends, is how the tradition works. Somebody tweaks it along the way and it sets off with a new life. People may puzzle over the meaning of this in years to come. How delightful.'
Made its debut we think in July 1975 at the Blackpool Festival, while the album was being recorded. Played throughout '75 and '76 before being dropped by the '77/78 line up, mainly due to Martin Carthy disliking it. After returning in 1980 the next time it's dropped for a whole tour is when they supported Status Quo in 1996, although of course it was played by Status Quo (with Maddy on stage as well). Gay sang it when Maddy left and although it has been mentioned that it was dropped occasionally on the 2000 tour, it was there at most concerts. It was also reported in one review that it was not played on the 1987 UK Autumn Tour, but we don't know if that was true every night. As far as I can tell it has been played ever night since 2000, it certainly has not been dropped for a whole tour. Maddy has mentioned previously that when they did drop it for occasional concerts they usually got a few unhappy people after! It is usually played as the last song, or first encore. It occasionally gets pushed to the end of the first set. 
Maybe one day, in another Pandemic lockdown(!) I might document all the live appearance's and official releases... Or not. 

[1976] Jan/Feb Various TV Appearances (all mimed) supporting the single - see timeline for all details/links
On the 'Good Times of Old England' Box set (2022) from the 15th Oct 1976 Berklee Performance Centre (USA) Concert. This is the only official contemporary (i.e. mid 70's) live release. 

[1986] Played Live on Australian TV - Network 9 - Available to view HERE

5. Gamble Gold (Robin Hood)

(3.40, Trad. Child Ballad 132). Tune seems to be (very) loosely based on the A.J. Lloyd 1956 version. Arranged by Bob Johnson.
Includes Nigel on the Flute. Intriguingly it seems to have first appeared with different (original) lyrics for inclusion in a short cinema feature, recorded on 6th Oct 1974. (more details on Timeline, the video is HERE). The arrangement is the quicker tempo variant that then appeared on Electric Folk  (Raby Castle) recorded in May '75 - although by then it had the Gamble Gold Lyrics. When it was recorded in July '75 for the 'Hat' album its was slowed down. It would be interesting to know if the tune/melody was expected to just be used for the short film and then they used gamble Gold lyrics to fit the tune or whether they had already worked up the song before the film and changed the lyrics for that.

[1975] Raby Castle - Electric Folk TV Series - A higher tempo but a more 'lightweight' approach with less dynamics of the original and a faster fiddle. Based on the version made for the 1974 'Cinematic Feature'
[1975] All Around My Hat Tour. 

6. The Wife of Ushers Well

(4.32, Lyrics - Trad. Child Ballad 79).
The tune is different to other versions of this song, e.g. by Hedy West & Peggy Seager. The tune used is a derivative of the tune that Tim and Maddy used on 'The Gardener' (Folk Song of Old England Vol.2). Also known as 'Proud Maisrie' which is usually sung with the same tune. I have seen the 'Wife of Ushers Well' music being noted as a Steeleye original but it's subjective as to how much is based on 'The Gardener'.
Steeleye and Maddy of course revisited 'The Gardener' for 'Dodgy Bastards' (2016) using the same tune as the basis of the song. 

Sung by Tim, which may be one of the reasons it has not been heard live since 1976 which is a real shame. It is also frustrating because when in 2002 Park Records created a fan poll to see which songs should be re-recorded for 'Present' it was the highest ranked song (5th) not to be recorded. 

[1974] UK 'Autumn' Tour - 'Rainbow Theatre' recording released on 'Original Masters' LP (1976).  (Also now n the 'Good Times of Old England' Box set (2022) )
[1975] Rivington Hall - Electric Folk TV Series; UK 'All Around My Hat' tour. Now including Bob playing more intricate guitar riffs instead of Peter's Mandolin which are on the two released versions. 
[1976] UK Spring Tour; US Tour;  UK 'Rocket Cottage' Tour.  On the 'Good Times of Old England' Box set (2022) from the 15th Oct Berklee Performance Centre (USA) Concert.

7. Sum Waves

(4.00 Peter Knight) 
Peter - "Scottish flavoured very slow Jig"; Per Peter: "It was based on the use of drones that are so much a part of music played on the pipes, the intention was to create an atmospheric rather than a strong melodic line".  Peter when asked has said the name 'sum waves' means.. "nothing" ! 

[1975] UK 'All Around My Hat' Tour; Rivington Hall - Electric Folk TV Series'; Rockpalast TV Show; Australian Tour. All partnered with 'The Devil's Dream. Australian recording on 'Gone to Australia CD (2001), the only song from this concert released. 

8. Dance With Me

(3.51 Based on the Danish Ballad 'Sir Olof' another song, like seven hundred elves mined from the same 1860 book 'The Fairy Mythology')
I assume the tune is a Steeleye original. 

[1975] July Blackpool Festival - while 'Hat' was being recorded; UK 'All Around My Hat' Tour; Rivington Hall - Electric Folk TV Series'

9. Bachelor's Hall

(5.45 Trad. Tune) A song with Appalachian roots sung by Rick with lots of lyrical variants. There are two broad versions which either sing the difficult aspects of life in the 'Hall', or Steeleye's which extol the positives.  As is common for Steeleye they seem to have added the refrain/chorus to make it more 'contemporary'. Yet another one where the tune is hard to pin down as not a commonly sung song prior to Steeleye but seems to be a new variant of an original tune, with the chorus melody added, especially as it's in a 3/4 time, which the original would probably not have been.
Per Maddy confirms this in the 'Gone to Australia' Liner notes: ' A rare recording of Rick singing lead on this American traditional song, with a tune reworked by Bob.'

[1975] April - Hastings; July Blackpool Festival - while 'Hat' was being recorded;  The New Inn - Electric Folk TV Series ; 'All Around My Hat' tour
[1985] Winter Australian Tour - Available on 'Gone to Australia' CD (2001) ; US Reunion Tour; 
[2009] UK 40th Anniversary Tour. 
[2013] UK Spring Tour.

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