Now We are Six

1974
Chrysalis CHR 1053)

PRIOR - HART - KNIGHT - JOHNSON - KEMP - PEGRUM

Recorded (Dec '73-Jan '74) at Morgan Studios London

Producers - Steeleye Span and Robin Black 
Engineer - Robin Black
Production Consultant - Ian Anderson























Peak UK Chart Position - 13 (13 weeks on chart). 2nd best performing album.


All change as Nigel Pegrum joins and hence the title of the album, in addition to being the 6th album by Steeleye. Producer/Engineer Jerry Boys is no longer involved and for the first time the album is recorded in a different studio - Morgan Studios, London. The band produced the album with the help of the engineer Robin Black. Due to the changes and a lack of a dedicated producer, Ian Anderson was brought in at the end to help with some mixing and editing, Bob had noted that the band were still not very experienced in the studio and so thought Ian would be good to oversee it. Ian was listed as 'Production Consultant' and by his admission did not play a big part, mainly working on Thomas the Rhymer (Editing the shorter single mix) and Seven Hundred Elves.

The overall style is more rock based with the expanded rhythm section but was criticised for the inclusion of the 'silly' songs - the title track and 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'.
There was also the guest appearance of David Bowie on Sax (see timeline for more details) on the Phil Spector song 'To Know him is to Love him'. Although seen as an odd choice it actually reflected the bands playing of American Rock n Roll standards in their live set - usually on the encores.   

It was a good choice of album to run through completely on the 2011 'Now We are Six' (again) Tours as many of the songs have not been heard live since 1974 and in some cases, never. Even the two 'silly' tracks get a good, interesting workout.

This is also the 'the random order' Album. The order below is as per the Original Record sleeve but Edwin ends up on side 2 on the actual record. There are even more variations in the order on the international prints. Then finally the two CD releases - Shanachie and BGO also have different orders, the latter mirrors the original Sleeve order.     

1. Seven Hundred Elves

(5.11, Lyrics based on the Danish Ballad 'Eline of Villenskow' which has 37 verses! Arranged by Bob but with an original Chorus)

Not sure of the origins of the tune but it is a variant of the tune used on 'We Poor Labouring Men' (which Maddy sung on the Sept '71 Steeleye BBC Session). Note Bob's 2000 version on Bedlam born has a much changed tune. 
Only originally played on one tour in the UK when released. Dropped for the '74 US and all subsequent tours. This was the other song, along with Thomas the Rhymer that Ian Anderson said he had input on as 'Production Assistant' on the album. 

LIVE/RELEASES:
[1974]  Penshurst Place - Electric Folk TV Series;  UK Spring 'Now We are Six' Tour; Kaleidospop Swiss TV Show    
[2011] UK Spring Tour; UK Autumn 'Now We are Six' Tour. Now We are Six Again Live CD (2011)
[2012] Festivals


2. Edwin

(4.40, Trad - 'Young Edwin in the Lowlands Low') Sung by Rick using the melody first collected by Vaughan Williams. 
As with Seven Hundred Elves it was only originally played on one tour in the UK when released. Dropped for the '74 US and all subsequent tours.  

LIVE/RELEASES:
[1974] Feb BBC Session - powerfully sung by Rick with no flute overdubs; Penshurst Place - Electric Folk TV Series; UK 'Now We are Six' Tour; 
[2011] UK Spring Tour; UK Autumn 'Now We are Six' Tour. Now We are Six Again Live CD (2011)



3. Drink Down the Moon / The Cuckoo

(6.21, Trad. Introduced by Maddy) 
The first part is usually known as 'The Bird in the Bush' or 'Three Maidens a-milking' and is sung here using the same melody as A.J. Lloyd.  The Cuckoo has many variants and tunes both in America and the UK

Maddy (2002) - 'Another of Bert Lloyd's discoveries. I think I must have heard Annie Briggs sing this first. A deeply sensual lyric, deftly matched to a fascinating tune. Followed by the raw, Scottish double-entendre of the Cuckoo's Nest.'
Re-Recorded for the 'Present' Album (2002)

LIVE/RELEASES:
[1974] Warwick Castle - Electric Folk TV Series;  UK & US 'Now We are Six' Spring Tours
[2002] UK Spring Reunion Tour.
[2004] Australian Tour; Festivals; UK 35th Anniversary Tour; UK 'Winter' Tour. Appears on 'Official Bootleg CD' (2004), 'Folk Rock Pioneers In Concert' (2006) & 35th Anniversary Tour DVD' (2004)
[2008] Spring UK Tour. With long drum intro; Spanfest. 
[2011] UK Spring Tour; UK Autumn 'Now We are Six' Tour. Now We are Six Again Live CD (2011)
[2012] Festivals


4. Now We are Six

(2.23, Steeleye Span)
Three old riddles to which the answers are 'egg', 'teeth' and 'snow'

LIVE/RELEASES:
[2011] UK Spring Tour; UK Autumn 'Now We are Six' Tour. Now We are Six Again Live CD (2011)


5. Thomas the Rhymer 

(6.44, Trad. Lyrics. Bob Johnson - Tune & Arrangement)
Although based on Child ballad 37 this is another big ballad given a completely new adaptation by Bob for which he also wrote the music. The title character is the medieval prophet - Thomas of Ercildourne.
One of the two tracks that Ian Anderson said he did some work on in his role as 'Production Consultant' on the album, and seemingly his main contribution was to edit it down for the shorter single release. The US LP included this shorter 'single edit' and the first CD release included this shorter version. The BGO CD release included the full version as have most subsequent releases on collections etc. Always played as the longer version live apart from a BBC Session in '74 when first released. 

Bob (2002) -' We 'did' this ballad in English literature at school and I was fascinated even then, by it's rich imagery and the deadly combination of beauty and power possessed by the Queen of Elfland. Some legends state that Thomas was sent back to Earth after seven years, with the gift of prophetic powers. others say that he returned to Elfland and is expected to come back to Earth again at some future time....'

- 8th Feb 1974 Single (3.14 single 'edit')
- Re-Recorded for the 'Present' Album (2002)

LIVE/RELEASES:
[1974] Feb BBC Session - mirrored the shorter 'single edit' which had just been released; Warwick Castle - Electric Folk series; UK & US 'Now We are Six' Spring Tours; UK Autumn Tour; 
[1975] Rockpalast TV show. Lack of set lists in '75 but was probably in the live set. 
[1976] UK Spring Tour 
[1980] UK Comeback Tour
[1981] UK Spring Tour; Cambridge Folk Festival;
[1982] Australian Tour; UK Autumn Tour. Available on 'On Tour' LP
[1984] UK Spring Tour (Played on Radio); US Tour;  Australian Tour - Played on Radio and on the 'Gone To Australia (On Tour 1975-1984) CD (2001) 
[1985] US Tour; Festivals. 
[1989 Cropedy; UK 20th Anniversary Tour. '20th Anniversary Celebration' Video; Live In Nottingham CD; 'Access All Areas DVD/CD'
[1995] UK Spring Tour- Featured on the BBC Radio broadcast of Yeovil concert; The Journey concert - played by the current line up rather than the 'classic line up' on the day. 'The Journey Concert CD' (1999)
[1996] Australian Time tour; UK Status Quo Support Tour.
[1997] UK Spring Time Tour - Just this one song was included on the 'Sails Of Silver' CD Reissue (1998) ; US Tour; Festivals; UK Autumn Tour. 
[1998] Norway (1st appearance of the line up). Sang by Gay, no drummer; UK Autumn Horkstow Grange Tour. 
[1999] UK 30th Anniv. Tour. 
[2000] US tour; UK Bedlam Born Tour. 
[2002] UK Spring Reunion Tour. 
[2004] Across the World 35th Anniversary Tour - but not included on the Live CD/DVD release as not always played on the UK tour where recorded.
[2008] Spanfest 
[2009] UK & US Spring 40th Anniv. Tour; UK Autumn '40th Anniv. Tour' 
[2011] UK Spring Tour; UK Autumn 'Now We are Six' Tour. Now We are Six Again Live CD (2011)
[2012] Festivals
[2013] UK Wintersmith Tour.  'Wintersmith Tour DVD' (2014) 
[2014] Autumn 45th Anniversary Tour
[2015] UK Winter Tour; US Summer Tour; Festivals (Including Shepley on Youtube)
[2016] Cropedy Festival 
[2019] Spring & Autumn '50th Anniversary Tour. Features on the '50th Anniversary Tour DVD/CD Set; Glastonbury; Holland Tour;
[2021] UK Autumn Tour 



6. The Mooncoin Jig

(3.50, Traditional)
Mooncoin is a town in South Kilkenny, S.E Ireland. 

- 8th Feb 1972: B-Side to Thomas the Rhymer Single

LIVE/RELEASES:
[1974] Thoresby Hall - Electric Folk TV Series. 
[2011] UK Spring Tour; UK Autumn 'Now We are Six' Tour. Now We are Six Again Live CD (2011)
[2012] Festivals


7. Long-A-Growing

(4.02, Trad.) Well known traditional song more commonly known as 'The Trees They Grow so High'

One of many from the album chronically underplayed. 

LIVE/RELEASES:
[1974] Feb BBC Session;  Penshurst Place - Electric Folk TV Series.  
[2011] UK Spring Tour; UK Autumn 'Now We are Six' Tour. Now We are Six Again Live CD (2011)



8. Two Magicians

(4.23, Trad. Child 44 - From the very old and international theme of shapeshifting and version are found in various forms across Europe) It appears the Steeleye version uses an original tune for the Chorus but I can't be sure. 

Maddy - (2002) 'This rather light and jolly piece cloaks old and profound ideas about the nature of magic and witches. The blacksmith was early thought to have the arts of alchemy because of the magical use and forging of iron. And the ability to shapeshift was fundamental to all witches, for how else would they achieve their hidden work'
- Re-Recorded for the 'Present' Album (2002)

LIVE/RELEASES:
[1974] Feb BBC Session; Thoresby Hall - Electric Folk TV Series; UK,  US & Australian 'Now We are Six' Tours; Don Kirchner Rock Concert (US TV); UK Autumn Tour. 
[1975] UK All Around My Hat Tour
[1976] UK Spring Tour
[1980] UK Comeback Tour
[1981] UK Spring Tour; Cambridge Folk Festival.
[2002] UK Spring Reunion Tour.
[2011] UK Spring Tour; UK Autumn 'Now We are Six' Tour. Now We are Six Again Live CD (2011)
[2012] Festivals


9. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

(1.32, Trad.)
Teh voices were by the band trying to sing like children - no trickery was involved, Listen out for Nigel singing 'Twinkle twinkle little bat'.

LIVE/RELEASES:
[2011] UK Spring Tour; UK Autumn 'Now We are Six' Tour. Now We are Six Again Live CD (2011)



10. To Know Him is to Love Him

(2.40, Featuring David Bowie on Alto Sax)
The band decided they needed a sax on the track and Rick had known David for a long time so they decided to get in touch as David had said he liked their music. Ian Anderson recalls that he went to ask Bowie. Apparently Bowie had not been asked to play Sax before had to go out and buy a new strap and work out how to fit it in the session! The idea for the song was to reflect the 'Rockers Encore' that the band had been doing at the time which involved various 50's Rock N Roll classics, although it is not known for certain if this specific song was actually ever included as part of it. 

LIVE/RELEASES:
[2011] UK Spring Tour; UK Autumn 'Now We are Six' Tour. Now We are Six Again Live CD (2011)
[2012] Festivals

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