Back In Line



Flutterby Records (owned by the Band Manager Adrian Hopkins)

Produced by Steeleye Span
Recorded at Pace Studios, Milton Keynes
Engineer - John Acock

The first Steeleye album without Tim Hart and the first release not on Chrysalis since 1971. Released on a label Adrian Hopkins set up just to release this album (and was named Flutterby at a dig against Chrysalis). He had spend a few years trying to get a record deal with Chrysalis, hence why this album was delayed - it probably could have been released from about 1984, Bob also said in 1985 they were going to get an album out by the end of the year. They had been working on new material in the live set since 1994.

The album includes Vince Cross on synthesiser (who did not play live with the band). Vince had worked with Nigel Pegrum for a number of years on Nigel's 'Plant Life' Label and had played with a number of the band on the 1981 Plant Life album "Lovely in the Dances: songs of Sydney Carter".

Note that due to a lack of set lists for the years 1985-1988 it is likely these tracks were played more than is suggested in the song by song review below. We certainly know that virtually all tracks dropped off the set list quickly in 90's and returned sporadically since. Edward sticks out as being the most frequently performed song from this album, another Bob Johnson 'big ballad' 

1. Edward

(6.20 Based on the Traditional Child Ballad 13 but re-worked with a new tune and arrangement by Bob Johnson)
Another classic arranged by Bob big ballad that has appeared on many tours and sung by various Steeleye members. 

[1985] UK 'Somewhere' tour. Pre album run out for this new song. 
[1986] Played across the World Tour.  Played on BBC Radio Session. Available on very good quality Bootleg
[1987]  Played across the World Tour; UK Autumn Tour
[1995] Played at the reunion 'Journey' concert. 'The Journey' Live CD (1999)
[2006] UK Bloody Men tour. Sung by Rick in a faithful reproduction of the album version.  It is on the 'Live from a Distance' CD (2009).
[2009] Doncaster Rocks  Festival. Looks like it returned just for summer festivals
[2011] UK Spring Tour' Winter 'Now We are Six again tour. On 'Now We are Six Again Live CD (2011)
[2012] Summer festivals
[2013] UK Autumn Wintersmith Tour. On Wintersmith Live DVD (2014)
[2014] UK Autumn 45th Anniversary tour
[2015] UK Winter tour (+ Costa Del Folk - Here); Shepley Festival - Sung by Alex Kemp who replaced Rick for two songs as he was rehearsing before going on the North American Tour; Stapleton Hall - warm up for N.American tour'; North American Tour - Canada leg (sung by Alex)
[2016] UK Autumn 'Dodgy Bastards' tour
[2017] UK Autumn 'Hark! the Village Wait' tour. Now being sung by Spud Sinclair
[2018] Shrewsbury Folk Festival (and other festivals)  - available HERE; UK Autumn Tour - Available on '50th Anniversary Live DVD (2019) - only DVD not on CD. 
[2019] Jan Irish Tour

2. Lanercost

(4.33. Written by Rick Kemp and Maddy Prior)

Album liner notes:  Lanercost is a priory in the north of Cumbria close to the Scottish border. Edward I spent the last months of his life there directing a campaign against Robert the Bruce. Although very ill, he caught and hanged three of the Bruce's four brothers but he died trying to lead an army north himself.

B side to the 'Somewhere in London' single with a different instrumental ending rather than the re singing of the chorus on the album version (?). 'A Rare Collection 1972-1996' CD (1999)

[1986] Played across the World Tour. Played on BBC Radio Session. Available on very good quality Bootleg 

3. Lady Diamond

(4.34 Based on the Traditional Child Ballad 269 but re-worked with a new tune and arrangement by Bob Johnson )

Bob: "About a Lady who falls in love with a peasant.. Not a song for vegetarians"


[1982] UK Autumn Tour
[1984) Australian Tour, UK Spring Tour; US Reunion Tour
[1985] UK Christmas Tour. So almost certainly on the UK Autumn 'Somewhere' tour
[1986] Probably played across the World Tour. Played live on Australian TV - Network 9. Available to view HERE
[1987] Played across the World Tour; Played on Belgium Radio - Dranouter Festival.
[1994] Australian Tour
[2009] Spring 40th Anniversary tour. Sung by Ken but sadly not available apart from a bootleg. A faithful reproduction

4. Isabel

(5.22 written by Maddy Prior)

Album Liner notes:  Isabel of Buchan was rumoured to be the mistress of Robert the Bruce. She was born a McDuff (the family that traditionally crowned the Kings of Scotland) and since she was the only member of the family available, she stole her husband's horses and rode to Scone to crown him. When she was later captured by the English she was imprisoned in a cage in Berwick Castle for four years.

Lack of set lists means we are probably missing some live run outs of this song 85-88.

[1985] Gloucester Folk Festival
[1987] US Tour. 
[1995/6] Played around this time per Tim Harries
[2016] UK Autumn 'Dodgy Bastards' tour

5. Canon by Telemann

(1.45 Arranged by Peter Knight)
Peter when asked for its source -  'The music says Canon Sonatas by Georg Philipp Telemann. The one I play is No.1, 3rd movement allegro'

[1987] Played across the World Tour. Played on Belgium Radio - Dranouter Festival.
[1989] Cropedy Festival
[1990] UK Autumn Tour

6. Blackleg Miner

(4.07 Trad.) Recorded at the Theatre Royal Nottingham Nov 1985
Covered by entry on Hark! The Village Wait

7. Peace on the Border

(3.36 Written by Rick Kemp)
Rick: My View of what went on in the Debatable Lands of the Scottish border country a long time ago, and celebrating the peace whcih now exists - although having lived there for a large slice of my life, we could debate that. I'm also not entirely convinced that the brigand and marauder have gone.

[1986] Probably played across the World Tour;  Played on BBC Radio Session. Available on very good quality Bootleg
[2009] Autumn 40th Anniversary tour. Sung by Rick but sadly not available apart from a bootleg. A faithful reproduction.
[2016] UK Autumn 'Dodgy Bastards' tour

8. Scarecrow

(4.23 Written by Bob Johnson).
This is about the Battle of Cropedy Bridge. When Bob visited the site of the battle he was struck by a scarecrow in the field and wrote the song from its perspective. 

[1984] Winter Australian Tour; US Reunion Tour; Probably UK tour. Played on Perth Radio Broadcast - available on good quality bootlegs.

9. Take My Heart

(4.00 written by Rick Kemp)

About the last wish of Robert the Bruce - that his friends should take his heart to the 'Holy Land'. Written in the form of a prayer

[1986] Presume played across the World Tour. Played live on Australian TV - Network 9. Sadly not available.  

[1987] Played across the World Tour

10. White Man

(4.39 Written by Peter Knight) 

[1986]  Australian Tour; Assume played on UK & US Tours. Played on BBC Radio Session. Available on very good quality Bootleg
[1987] UK Autumn Tour and so probably played across World Tour
[1989] UK 20th Anniversary Tour. But does not feature on the video/DVD of the show. 
[1991] UK Autumn Tour. Released on 'Tonight's the Night' Live CD Album (1992). Radio 2 Live Concert from Butterfield Market.
[1992] UK Autumn Tour. 

1991 CD Re-Issue

This Park Records CD reissue included 3 additional tracks- 

Somewhere In London 
(3.30 Written by Peter Knight)
Written to reflect the record companies demands in the 70's for a big xmas hit after the success of Gaudete and All Around My Hat.
Single: October 1986 on the Flutterby Label. b side Lanercost

[1986] UK Tour; World Tour (probably). Played Live on BBC1 - Pebble Mill. Watch it HERE

'Spotted Cow' and 'One Misty Moisty Morning' (Live) 

 Although not listed in the CD Insert these were recorded Live in 1986 and also appear on the Live 1994 CD - 'Steeleye Span In Concert.  

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