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 where do you go next?  What are the essential live albums and collections you need to hear all of the official published music? Steeleye fans have not been rewarded yet with a comprehensive box set of rare, unreleased songs. So for non album tracks we have to go to various collections. Essential live albums is a little more subjective but with the relative lack of live albums in the 70's-90's then it is relatively easy to run through what is available and what is unique about them so you can decide.
It is worth also going through the 'Rare Tracks' section alongside this page to see all of Steeleye's non studio songs/tunes that they have played live or recorded, whether they have been officially released or not! 

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 that are not featured elsewhere. It is also the only Steeleye release that has focused on rare and unreleased music. The more crucial ones are the 'single only' releases of 'Rag Doll', 'Boars Head Carol', 'Rave On' & 'The Holly and The Ivy'. To get all these tracks you would have to buy various collections and CD reissues. It also features two songs only played live - 'I Have a Wish; and' 'I live not where I love'. When you then add on the live tracks and solo oddities you get a 'must have' collection 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
Gaudete, Original single version - 1973
Lanercost, UK single B-side - 1985
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
The Holly and the Ivy Single B-side - 1973
Like the Wind, (Mandalaband with Maddy Prior) - 1978
I Have a Wish, Sound check, Adelaide - 1982
Rag Doll, Original US single version - 1972
Rave On, de-scratched version - 1972
Fire on the Line, By Rick Kemp and Maddy Prior - 1991
Somewhere Along the Road,  Maddy Prior. 'Silly Sisters' Bonus track - 1994
Autumn to Spring Medley, Live at Perth Concert Hall - 1984
Betsy Bell and Mary Gray, Live in Eastbourne, England - 1986
Stookie,  by Maddy Prior and Rick Kemp. Children's TV theme,  - 1978
The Royal Forester, Live at the Royal Opera Theatre, Adelaide - 1982 
All Around My Hat, From the Status Quo album Don't Stop, with Maddy Prior - 1996

Parcel of Steeleye Span 

A 3CD collection featuring their first 5 Chrysalis albums in full with bonus tracks. It was followed up with 'Another Parcel of Steeleye Span' which featured the next 5 Chrysalis albums but only one bonus track 'Rag Doll' (which you can get on the Rare Collection CD above)

This 3CD set is now very hard to buy for a decent price but does has the benefit of featuring 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). They are not on the above 'Rare Collection' CD.  The live version of the Wife of Ushers Well (Rainbow Theatre 1974) is unique as one of only two official releases of live tracks from the 1973-1976 Classic Line up period. (the other is Sum Waves from 1975 on the 'Gone to Australia' CD, see below). So either this collection (which has the 'benefit' of being 'remastered') or 'Original Masters' is needed to pick up these tracks on CD. The third bonus track is the single 'The Holly and the Ivy' and finally there is the single version of Gaudete with less fade outs. Both of these two feature on the above Rare Collection. 

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 concert and will never be repeated. 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' (Never reissued on CD). 5 tracks are from a 1984 Perth concert and the last from Canberra Theatre in 1975. 

An important release as it is the only way to hear a full set of the 'classic line-up' live in an official CD release, albeit a few years after their mid 70's peak (The original Australian LP 'On Tour' was never re-released on CD). The centrepiece 1982 Adelaide concert, which includes Tim Hart just before he left, 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 where most of the tracks were sourced, but also misses two from it ('Thomas the Rhymer', & 'Little Sir Hugh'). To further complicate the picture another track 'The Royal Forester' from the concert is on the Rare Collection CD above and was not on this or the original 'On Tour' LP! So to piece together the whole concert you need all three CD's/LPs. 

Tracks that have never been recorded include two tunes - the Masons Apron and The Devil's Dream. 

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 Davey (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.

Other releases that have rare/unreleased tracks
Although arguably not as essential as the 5 releases above they are needed for completionists and 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 frustratingly, apart from an Australian LP only release ('Recollections' - 1981) and Parcel of Steeleye Span (above), 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. Buy this or a 'Parcel of Steeleye Span' but both hard to find now. 

'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 that he had recorded on a solo CD; The version of 'We Poor Labouring Men' is a slightly 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 surprise release of 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) and each track is on Youtube (audio only)

'In Concert' Park Records 1994 Live CD

Park Records first release and a live collection from 2 concerts, one in 1986 and one in 1994 (Concert not been identified, I think May '94 in Australia). Although no rare tracks it is a good collection and the only way of hearing Steeleye live in the 90's on CD apart from Tonight's the Night. 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. 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 '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. 

Honourable mentions..

'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. 

20th Anniversary Concert (1989)

'Access all Areas' CD/DVD set (Edsel Records, 2015) / 20th Anniversary Concert Live in Nottingham (Classic Rock Legends CD/DVD, 2002)
Back in 1990 ITV showed a Steeleye concert recorded on the 1989 20th Anniversary Tour. The concert is available to watch on Youtube Here. It was first released by Dover Records in 1990 on VHS. This was followed in 2002 by a CD/DVD set by Classic Rock Legends and more recently in 2015 by Edsel Records called 'Access All Areas'. You will have to search on Amazon/EBay etc for a physical copy but it is also available to listen to 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 is good quality. They also appear on the above Please to see the King CD reissue but not in such good quality. 

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.