PETER KNIGHT - MADDY PRIOR - RICK KEMP - KEN NICOL - LIAM GENOCKEY
Produced by Steeleye Span
Recorded at Warehouse Studios Oxford
Engineered and Mixed by Steve Watkins
A seasonal album both secular and non secular. Released the same year as They Called Her Babylon, the first time since Commoners Crown/All Around My Hat that two studio albums have been released in the same year.
First sung by Steeleye a-capella while supporting Jethro Tull in the UK in 1971
From the earliest times mistletoe has been seen as one of the most magical, mysterious, and sacred plants of European folklore. It was considered a bestower of life and fertility; a protectant against poison; and even an aphrodisiac. The mistletoe of the sacred oak was especially sacred to the Celtic Druids. Using it to treat all manner of diseases and as an antidote to every kind of poison, they called it “all heal”. Kissing under the mistletoe is first found associated with the Greek festival of Saturnalia and later with primitive marriage rites. In Scandinavia, mistletoe was considered a plant of peace, under which enemies could declare a truce or warring spouses would kiss and make-up.
The feast of fools, or otherwise known as “The feast of the ass”, was an old French tradition marking the end of the Christmas festivities. Ludicrous songs were sung in churches, with choir singers sometimes dancing and dressing in grotesque attire. Old leather was burned as mock incense; and in some places an ass was led into the church, in whose honour a ridiculous Latin hymn was sung, with “hee-haw” for a refrain. These lines sung at the end of the song (From the regions of the east…) have been taken from a translation of one of these mock hymns.