Tonight's the Night



Shannachie Records

Produced by John Etchells; Peter Knight
Recorded across 3 dates (22nd-24th) on the 1991 UK Autumn Tour
Engineer - John Etchells ; Mark Irwin

A Live album recorded in 1991, but with half the tracks new songs it seems only right to include it in the main Steeleye Span discography. It is also believed that a new album was planned but got cancelled, probably due to record company/funding issues. The album also sound very 'polished' so it is likely post production was done to give it a more studio like quality. Shanachie is an American record label that had been the US distributer of Steeleye, Peter had also worked with them on a solo album the year before.

 Intriguingly few of the 6 new songs have survived in the live set which is possibly surprising as some are good quality originals - Tonight's the Night and Dawn of the Day by Peter and Maddy respectively, so a surprise they have not been re introduced at all. Whilst we are lacking in a few set lists in the mid 90's we do have them for 1992, '93 and '94 so can be pretty sure when they did and didn't feature. Only Tam Lin survived any length of time. 

Taking over drums on this album is Liam Genockey 

1. Tonight's the Night

(3.34 Written by Peter Knight)
Very little information available about the song but it is known to be written by Peter Knight who was possibly inspired by his days as a commercial fisherman in the late 70's - as he was for 'Let Her Go Down' in 1980

[1991] UK Autumn Tour

2. Ca the Ewes

(4.44. Traditional)

A pretty close version to the traditional song/tune. Maddy mentioned on the 1992 tour that she had learned it at School and called it a 'very romantic piece'

[1991] UK Autumn Tour 
[1992] UK Autumn Tour

3. Gentleman Soldier

(3.32 Traditional. Arranged by )

Bob: "About a Lady who falls in love with a peasant.. Not a song for vegetarians"
This was supposed to be a part of medley with Fighting for Strangers (showing both aspects of war) with an instrumental (played by Tim on a thumb piano) in the middle. Much to the annoyance of the band Shanachie records split the songs up on the album and dropped the instrumental. The band put it all back together when they toured the song in 1994 and it ended up on the 1994 Live 25th Anniversary Video .

[1990] UK Autumn Tour. Coupled with With Fighting for Strangers. 
[1991] UK Autumn Tour
[1992] UK Autumn Tour. With Fighting for Strangers.
[1994] 25th Anniversary Tour. With Fighting for Strangers'  features on '25 Live - The Classic 25th Anniversary Tour Concert' Video (1995). 

4. Tam Lin

(10.40 Traditional. Child Ballad 39. Arrangement by Bob Johnson with an original tune in third section by Peter Knight)

A long ballad that Fairport made famous in 1968 with an epic version. Bob took on this ballad in his own style and it has remained a favourite of Maddy's ever since.
 Bob: "This particular song is our version of a long ballad called Tam Lin, the song is in three parts and tells the story of Tam Lin who is captured and enchanted by the fairies and becomes the fairy queens 'toy boy' or lover and he's finally won back to this world after a almighty supernatural struggle involving the power of the love of a young maiden whom he's met in the woods... The third and final part illustrates the rough and sadness of the fairy queen and this combination of anger and sorrow are classic symptoms of a deep loss, which is why I was fascinated by the ballad and I think we express that in our singing and playing in a way we could only do after twenty years, Maddy conveys all of these emotions in this song with great authority and maturity."

[1991] UK Autumn Tour
[1992] UK Autumn Tour
[1993] UK 'Chasing Rainbows' Tour
[1994] Australian Tour; 25th Anniversary Tour. Features on '25 Live - The Classic 25th Anniversary Tour Concert' Video (1995).
[2004] UK Spring and Winter 35th Anniversary Tours. Features on the '35th Anniversary World Tour DVD' (2004) and 'Folk Rock Pioneers In Concert' Live CD (2006)
[2006] UK Spring Tour. 
[2007] Spanfest
[2009] Spring 40th Anniversary tour; Festivals; US Tour
[2013] UK Spring Tour
[2017] UK 'Hark the Village Wait' Tour
[2019] UK Spring and Autumn 50th Anniversary Tours. Features on the '50th Anniversary Tour' CD and DVD (2019)
[2023] UK 'Green Man' Tour

5. Padstow


Covered by Tempted and Tried

6. Fighting for Strangers


Covered in Rocket Cottage

This version has 4 verses sung by Bob, Tim, Peter Knight and Bob again

7. White Man


Covered in 'Back In Line'

8. The Weaver

(6.04) . Full title: The Weaver and the Factory Maid

Covered in Parcel of Rogues

9. Ten Long Years

(2.19 written by Peter Knight)

On the face of it a song about the jailing of an innocent man. Although I have never heard Peter mention it, it is unlikely to about just that...?! If we think about a Steeleye equivalence then it could relate to the 10 album contract they signed with Chrysalis!

[1991] UK Autumn tour

10. Dawn of the Day

(5.25 Written by Maddy Prior. Plus Peter Knight and Bob Johnson) 

Although the above three are named as the composers on BMI (but that can be the case for arrangements of traditional songs as well and was the case for all new songs on this album), Maddy has confirmed she wrote it. I suspect Peter and Bob helped with the musical arrangement. Note there is a folk song called 'Dawning of the day' but should not be confused with this one. Maddy, on Twitter was 'chuffed' when Jon Boden sang it as part of his 'Folk song a day' in 2011 - the only other singing of it I can find. When she introduced it in 1992 she said it was about the end of the day, despite the title, and likened it to after a 'long day with the kids'.
Jon Boden: “A beautiful song about which I know very little, learnt from Maddy Prior. I sang this at my Grandfather’s funeral.”

[1991] UK Autumn Tour
[1992] UK Autumn Tour. Played as the encore with a improv introduction from Tim on the keyboard. 

10. Cam Ye

(6.12) Full title: Cam Ye O'er Frae France

Covered in Parcel of Rogues

10. All Around My Hat


Covered in All Around My Hat

Preceded by..

Followed by..