jinks: Ian Crawford holding a tiger cub (Ian tiger)
Music Tuesday!!

(EVERY day is music day here.)

So I was brought up listening to a wider range of music than most kids have access to. My parents both have quite different tastes in music, and my brothers - 10 and 6 years older than me - had still different tastes (although my mother does have quite a broad taste and has been known to dittybop to The Chemical Brothers, so it did cross over on everyone else's). My daily music fare consisted of such bands as The Beatles, Queen, Bon Jovi, Oasis, Def Leppard, Madonna, Duran Duran, Guns 'n' Roses, Fairport Convention, Bach, J. Geils Band, The Byrds, Mozart, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, Marillion...the list goes on. As a result, I have a music taste which can only be described as 'eclectic', which I think is no bad thing.

But one of the main influences of my early years was a band my father loves - the first band, in fact, that he ever saw in concert. A band called Steeleye Span.

They're folk-rock in genre, and have had (I believe) 19 different line-ups since they formed in 1969. They were co-founded by one of the co-founders of Fairport Convention - Ashley Hutchings - who stayed with the band for three albums (Hark! The Village Wait; Please to See the King; and Ten Man Mop, Or Mr Reservoir Butler Rides Again (which still remains the best album title ever in the history of ever)). The vocals have, through most incarnations, been provided by Maddy Prior (who is one of the most amazing female vocalists who has ever lived, in my opinion) and, currently, Peter Knight and Rick Kemp.

Their style is easily described as 'electric folk', but they are closer to being a rock band, in comparison with Fairport Convention who, while also coming under the umbrella term of 'electric folk', have much more of a traditional folk style. Steeleye Span have a slightly broader range: from a capella Latin carols, to joke songs where the singers pretended to be members of a children's choir, to folk ballads, to rock songs on which famous people guest starred (David Bowie on saxophone on the final track of 'Now We Are Six'; Peter Sellers on the electric ukulele on the final track of 'Commoners Crown').

This last album contains a ballad which gives me chills every time I hear it. Not only because of the story behind it (psychopaths and baby killings and gallons of blood) but because the music in the first and last parts is so very haunting. And so, without further ado, I give you:

Long Lankin, by Steeleye Span


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March 2010

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