PETER KNIGHT - MADDY PRIOR - KEN NICOL - RICK KEMP - LIAM GENOCKEY
Produced by Steeleye Span
Recorded at Warehouse Studio Oxford
Engineered and mixed by Steve Watkins
Maddy Prior is back whilst Peter Knight is the only survivor from the last studio album, Bedlam Born. Ken Nicol is new to the band with Rick Kemp and Liam Genockey both returning.
The title of the album, from the song of the same name written by Ken Nicol, refers to the Siege of Latham House which took place in the English Civil War. The Countess of Derby ('Babylon') held off a Parliamentarian siege.
Once again a mixture of traditional and adapted ballads and original songs.
With this line up staying together for the next 8 years it results in live outings for a good number of the tracks. Interestingly, none have survived Ken leaving the band in 2010.
An adaption of the song also known as The Gallant Poachers.
What was once Van Diemen's Land is now known as Tasmania. It was founded in 1803, and from 1804 to 1853 thousands of convicts were transported to the island. It was originally named “Anthoonij van Diemenslandt” in honour of Anthony van Diemen, Governor-General of India for the Dutch East India Company, who sent Abel Tasman out on his voyage of discovery in 1642. It was changed in 1856 to honour Tasman himself, the first European to discover the island, and possibly also to remove the association with the severe penal colony that the original name evoked.
In June of that year, James Stanley, the seventh Earl of Derby, heeded the King's command and left Lathom House, taking with him an army of fighting men. They headed for the Isle of Man with the intention of stopping Scottish forces en route for England in their support for Cromwell. He left his house in charge of his intrepid wife, Charlotte de la Tremoville.
The enemy now looked upon this house as their own, and it was decided that Lathom House must be surrendered. One Puritan minister at Wigan preached the following sermon against Lady Derby upon a text from Jeremiah:
"Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about; all ye that bend the bow shoot at her; spare no arrows; for she has sinned against the Lord." (Jeremiah 50.14)
When a commission was obtained by the Parliamentarians to seize Latham House, and this was made known to Lady Derby, in great secrecy she proceeded to furnish herself with men, arms and ammunition. With considerable determination and unflinching loyalty to her husband and to the king, against all odds, she successfully resisted and held back the aggressors until their shameful retreat in the month of May 1644.
This beautiful tune was composed by the blind Irish harpist, poet and composer O'Carolan. His compositions for the harp borrowed a great deal from the Irish tradition, but also included elements from continental classic music—he was said to be influenced by Vivaldi and Corelli.
I didn't want to get too precious with the recording of this tune so we recorded it as a band in one take and with no overdubs