Essential collections and live albums

Which releases should be on your 'must have' or 'must listen to' lists after all the studio albums....

So once you have all the main albums from the discography, where do you go next?  What are the essential live albums and collections you need to hear all of the official published music? 

  What the 'Essential' live albums are IS a little more subjective, but with the relative lack of live albums in the 70's-90's then it's relatively easy to run through what is available and what is unique about them to help you decide.

It's worth also looking at the 'Rare Tracks' section to see all the non studio album songs/tunes that they have played live at what time or another - and whether they have been officially released or not! 

Good Times of Old England: 1972-1983

This new (2022) 12 disc box set from Chrysalis is a must purchase! The highlights are two new Live sets from 1974 and 1976 plus various unreleased studio out-takes. Click on image for full details..

A Rare Collection - 1972-1996

Released in 1999 by Raven Records, who are based in Australia, this collection brings together various single only releases/edits and live songs, some of which have appeared before but never in one place.  

An important release as it brings together an ad hoc collection of songs and single edits, some of which are not featured elsewhere, including the 2022 Chrysalis box set. It includes the 'single only' releases of 'Rag Doll', 'Boars Head Carol', 'Rave On' & 'The Holly and The Ivy', all of which are only available together here or the new 2022 Chrysalis box set. This CD also features two songs only played live - 'I Have a Wish; and' 'I live not where I love', but which are now also on the Chrysalis box set). 

However, there is still plenty of unique material on this collection, much of it not found anywhere else. I have noted below if it's not included on the Chrysalis box set. These genuine rarities makes this collection a must buy for completionists. You will need to hunt around Amazon/Ebay etc to get a copy. 

The King, Soundcheck rehearsal, Adelaide - 1982
Thomas the Rhymer, Full length version - 1974
Elf Call, Australian edited single version - 1975 (Not on 2022 Chrysalis Box Set)
Gaudete, Original single version - 1973
Lanercost, UK single B-side - 1985 ( (Not on 2022 Chrysalis Box Set). A slightly different edit. 
I Live Not Where I Love, Live at the Royal Opera Theatre, Adelaide - 1982
The Boar's Head Carol, Original single version - 1977
Montrose, Australian-only single edit - 1978  (Not on 2022 Chrysalis Box Set). A much shortened edit. 
The Holly and the Ivy Single B-side - 1973
Like the Wind, (Mandalaband with Maddy Prior) - 1978  (Not on 2022 Chrysalis Box Set)
I Have a Wish, Sound check, Adelaide - 1982
Rag Doll, Original US single version - 1972
Rave On, de-scratched version - 1972  (Not on 2022 Chrysalis Box Set)
Fire on the Line, By Rick Kemp and Maddy Prior - 1991 (Not on 2022 Chrysalis Box Set)
Somewhere Along the Road,  Maddy Prior. 'Silly Sisters' Bonus track - 1994  (Not on 2022 Chrysalis Box Set)
Autumn to Spring Medley, Live at Perth Concert Hall - 1984  (Not on 2022 Chrysalis Box Set)
Betsy Bell and Mary Gray, Live in Eastbourne, England - 1986  (Not on 2022 Chrysalis Box Set)
Stookie,  by Maddy Prior and Rick Kemp. Children's TV theme,  - 1978  (Not on 2022 Chrysalis Box Set)
The Royal Forester, Live at the Royal Opera Theatre, Adelaide - 1982  (Not on 2022 Chrysalis Box Set)
All Around My Hat, From the Status Quo album Don't Stop, with Maddy Prior - 1996  (Not on 2022 Chrysalis Box Set)

click on image to buy from Park Records and see full track listing

The Journey (1999) Live CD 

This Live double CD captures almost all the songs played at the 1995 'Reunion' concert at the Forum in London celebrating 25 years of Steeleye Span. The concert featured all the previous line ups of Steeleye playing a set. All but one ex member was there on this historic night.  The CD was released by Steeleye's record company Park Records.

Although not containing an unreleased songs, this CD speaks for itself as this was momentus never to be repeated concert. All but Terry Woods from all the previous Steeleye (full time) line ups were at the concert. See the 1995 Timeline section for more details and which songs were left off the CD. 
There is a poor quality video that does exist and Park Records have put 3 of the songs on youtube. This CD though is good quality, although it does appear that a fair bit of post-production work was done to get it sounding right. Gay Woods has indicated that Maddy had to re record some vocals. Nevertheless an important and unique concert. 

Gone to Australia 'On Tour 1975-1984' Live CD

Released in 2001 by Raven Records, this live album is taken mostly from the 1982 Australian tour that featured on the Australian only 1984 LP 'On Tour'. 5 tracks are from a 1984 Perth concert and the last from Canberra Theatre in 1975. 

This collection brings together an almost full set of the 'classic line-up' live from 1982 & 1984. The centerpiece is the 1982 Adelaide concert, which includes Tim Hart just before he left, and is a great set of songs, including lots of classics mixed with the latest album (at the time) 'Sails of Silver'. It includes additional tracks not featured on the 1982 'On Tour' Australian LP (Sligo Maid, Cam Ye O'er Frae France', Barnet Fair) where most of the tracks were sourced, but also misses some from it ('Thomas the Rhymer'; 'Little Sir Hugh'; 'The King', 'I Live Not Where I Love' & 'I Have a Wish'). 

The original Australian LP 'On Tour' has now been made available on CD as part of the new 12 disc Chrysalis Box Set but does not include the extra tracks in brackets above or the 1984 tracks that are on this 'Gone to Australia' CD.

To further complicate the picture another track 'The Royal Forester' from the concert is on the Rare Collection CD above but not on this CD, or the original 'On Tour' LP (and so also the new 12 disc Box Set)! So to piece together the whole 1982 concert you need all three CD's/LPs. 
See my page HERE to see the whole Adelaide set list and where all the tracks can be found. 

The five 1984 tracks are from a Radio broadcast of a 1984 concert in Perth, from which the above 'Rare Collection' CD also features a track ('Autumn to Spring Medley'). You also need a bootleg of the Perth Radio Broadcast to make up a complete set.

  1. Black Jack Davy (1982 Adelaide)
  2. Sails Of Silver (as above)
  3. Let Her Go Down
  4. Alison Gross
  5. Barnet Fair
  6. Gone To America
  7. Longbone
  8. Bach Goes To Limerick
  9. All Around My Hat
  10. Gaudete
  11. Sligo Maid
  12. Cam Ye O'er Frae France

  13. Bachelor’s Hall (1984 Perth Hall)
  14. Blackleg Miner (as above)
  15. Spotted Cow / The Sailors Bonnet
  16. Thomas The Rhymer
  17. The Mason's Apron
  18. Sum Waves / The Devil's Dream (1975 Canberra) 

'Present' CD. Park Records 2002

This 2002 studio album is the band re recording a number of Steeleye classics. It signified the return of Maddy and a 'classic' line up reunion (no Nigel Pegrum and Tim Hart). 

With most of the 'classic line up' (minus Nigel Pegrum and Tim Hart) getting back into the studio to re record their classics, this deserves to be in everyone's collection. The recordings are on the whole faithful to the originals but there are plenty of interesting arrangements... 

It has the first and only available official recording of 'Lyke Wake Dirge' which was a popular 70's live track for Steeleye. The interesting new arrangements are ('Hard Times of Old England' & 'When I was On Horseback'); The 'as intended' lyrics to 'Let Her Go Down'; the extended version of One Misty Moisty Morning (with the 'Flower of Edinburgh' tune); Long Lankin - with the additional Peter Knight solo at the end (reflecting the live version); The more contemporary version of 'Blackleg Miner' as was played live from mid 80's; John Barleycorn (sung by Rick) & The Weaver with drums and finally it has a hidden track 'Rosebud In June'. Click on image to buy from Park Records. Also on Spotify etc.

Parcel of Steeleye Span 

2 3CD collections published by Chrysalis featuring their first 5 Chrysalis albums in full with bonus tracks. (2nd one is 'Another Parcel of Steeleye Span' which featured the next 5 Chrysalis albums)All album tracks have been remastered. 

These 2 3CD sets are now very hard to buy for a decent price and have now effectively been superseded by the new Chrysalis 12 disc box set. These sets have the bonus tracks: 'The Wife of Ushers Well - Live' and 'Bonny Moorhen' (Parcel of Rogues album studio outtake).  The only other way of getting both is on (also hard to source) 'Original Masters' (see below) or the new 12 disc Box Set. They are not on the above 'Rare Collection' CD.  The other bonus track are the singles 'The Holly and the Ivy' and Rag Doll' (which is also on 'Rare Collection' above) and finally there is the single version of Gaudete with less fade outs . All these additional tracks now feature on the new 12 Disc Chrysalis Box set (above) and in fact the remastered album tracks are the same remastered tracks as the new box set. If you have the new box set you do not need these 2 3CD sets - assuming you have the album Tempted and Tried (1989) which is not on the new box set but is on the 'Another..Parcel Of Steeleye' here.  

Other releases that have rare/unreleased tracks
Although arguably not as essential as the releases above they are needed for completionists, or if you want to hear more from a particular era/line up.  Click on images for full track listings and where to buy if available

Original Masters 1977 LP (now on CD)

The first Steeleye 'Greatest Hits' collection, and apart from an Australian LP only release ('Recollections' - 1981) and Parcel of Steeleye Span (above), was the only other way to get the Parcel of Rogues outtake 'Bonny Moorhen' and a live version of 'The Wife Of Ushers Well' (1975) together until the new 12dic box set.

'Catch Up' Park Records CD 2016 

A Park Records 'Greatest Hits' covering their time as Steeleye's Record Company (since 1994). Has two non album tracks which are available together for the first time: A studio outtake from 1995 Time album ('Golden Vanity') and a 2015 single only release ('Somewhere along the Road'). The rest are album tracks. Click on image to buy from Park Records, also on Spotify. 

25th Anniv. Concert (1994). Park Records VHS Video

This concert has not been released on CD or DVD sadly but is available to watch on Youtube (Part 1 is HERE) . Features the tunes 'Eb ENglish' and 'Picnic', both written by Peter Knight (for a solo CD). The version of 'We Poor Labouring Men' is a more uptempo version than eventually appeared on Bedlam Born.  'Lowlands of Holland' sung by Gay is a slower stripped back version. A remastered CD release would be nice given the lack of live material from the 90's.

Live in 1978. 2019 CD

A 1978 concert (miss printed as '77) recorded for a Radio broadcast (which I don't think happened).  A perfect partner for 'Live At Last' as it is the same line 'up, same 'farewell' tour and so fills in lots of gaps. Also another way of hearing the 'Board Head Carol', a single only release. Available from Angel Air records (click image).

'In Concert' Park Records 1994 Live CD

Park Records first release and a live collection from 2 concerts, one in 1986 and one in 1989/90 (Concert not been identified). Although no rare tracks it is a good collection. Would be nice if both concerts were made available in full. Available on Spotify.

'Harvest Of Gold' 2003 CD

A nice 5 song live set from 1973 which includes 'Three Drunken Maidens', a song never recorded on a studio album. There is no other way of getting this track on an official recording. Indeed, there are no other official live tracks from 1973 available.  Need to hunt this recording out on Amazon/Ebay etc. 

Live albums & DVD's in the 21st century 

Since the turn of the century Park Records have an excellent track record of releasing Live albums and are listed here with why they may be of interest. Click on each image to go to Park Records where they can be purchased. 

Folk Rock Pioneers In Concert' Park Records CD 2005

Made up of the live tracks from Present and the new album at the time 'They Called her Babylon'. Mostly recorded in May 2004 with 2 bonus tracks recorded in December 2004. No unreleased songs but a good representation of the band at the time and the first live album since 1994's 'In Concert'.

35th Anniversary DVD. Park Records 2004

Essentially a partner to the Folk Rock Pioneers In Concert CD. Recorded in April 2004 on the same tour where most of the songs on the CD are sourced from. 

'Live at a Distance' Park Records 2009

A combined CD and DVD set with the CD covering concerts from 2002 through to 2008 whilst the DVD concert is from 2006. Highlights are the 'Neck Belly Reel', a tune not on any album along with unreleased songs 'Who's the Fool Now' and 'I Live Not Where I love', the latter also sung in the 80's and on 'Rare Collection' above. 

'Now We Are Six Again' Park Records 2011

CD 1 is a run through of 'Now We are Six' album and CD 2 the second set from the same tour. The highlights are the band tackling the 'silly' tracks and 'To Know Him is to Love Him' from Now We Are Six. 

Wintersmith Deluxe CD. Park Records 2014

This deluxe edition added 4 new studio tracks, live versions of various tracks and a couple demo versions recorded by Bob Johnson. Not pictured but there is also a Live DVD from the Wintersmith tour available HERE from Park records. 

50th Anniversary CD/DVD set. Park Records 2019

An excellent set of live CD's and DVD's covering almost every song played live throughout 2018/2019 and a perfect summary of the current line up. No unreleased tracks. 

Honorable mentions..

The Official Bootleg CD. Park Records 2004

This was effectively superseded by the Folk Rock Pioneers In Concert CD (see above) but for completionists you would need it for live versions of 'The King'; 'Black Jack Davy' and 'One Misty Moisty Morning' (all recorded December 2002) which didn't make any of the live albums or DVD's at the time. Still available to buy from Park Records.

20th Anniversary Concert (1989)

'Access all Areas' CD/DVD set (Edsel, 2015) / 20th Anniversary Concert 'Live in Nottingham' (Classic Rock Legends CD/DVD, 2002)
In 1990 ITV showed a Steeleye concert recorded on the 1989 20th Anniversary Tour. The concert is available to watch on Youtube. It was released by Dover Records in 1990 on VHS followed in 2002 by a CD/DVD set (Classic Rock Legends) and more recently in 2015 by Edsel Records - 'Access All Areas'. You will have to search on Amazon/EBay etc for a copy but it is also available to listen to Spotify etc.

Hark! The Village Wait (2022)

Recorded live on tour in 2017 this is a complete run through of the bands debut album. Whilst it has no 'new' tracks it a great reimagining of the songs and a good addition to hear the current line up.

'Please to See the King' & 'Ten Man Mop' Castle Music CD reissues (2006)

These two re issues of early Steeleye albums make available 'General Taylor' - a studio outtake (On the Ten Man Mop reissue);  three versions of the single 'Rave On', plus also various rare live songs from BBC Sessions across 1970/71 featuring many songs only played live (see Rare Tracks page for complete review. A little frustrating that 'General Taylor' is not on the Rare Collection CD otherwise unless you are interested in the BBC Sessions of dubious (audio) quality these two releases would not be essential purchases. To buy you will have to hunt around on Ebay, Amazon etc but they are available on Spotify etc. 

Ashely hutchings: The Guv'nor retrospective vol 1 

A tune 'College Grove/Silver Spear' and a song 'Lay Down Your Weary Tune' from BBC Sessions featured on this collection are in good quality. They also appear on the above Please to see the King CD reissue but not in such good quality.(off air recordings)