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Steeleye Span - Please To See The King CD (album) cover


Steeleye Span


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2.98 | 29 ratings

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2 stars The sophomore jinx seemed to strike Steeleye Span on "Please to see the King". Without even a session drummer, the music adopts a eerily slowed down tone, almost dependent on the slowly strummed electric guitars for what little meter is present. That unique aspect almost merits an additional star for verve, but the sense of a band floundering to reinvent itself after losing several founding members topples any potential gains. To even begin their second album with another version of the same song which essentially began the first was a poor choice, even if this new rendition is very different. We're talking about a virtually limitless repertoire of traditional music from which to draw, hence zero duplication justification.

Luckily, the group shows some skill in song selection and haunting if stiff delivery, especially in "Cold, Haily, Windy Night", and more so in the outstanding "Bedlam Boys", a superb rendition of a wrenching tune. It is only disappointing that the song is about an insane asylum rather than about minions of the devil, which is how I had interpreted so long ago. "False Knight on the Road" and "Lark in the Morning" suffer from a seeming lack of spirit and, although the album closes strongly with "The King" and "Lovely on the Water", it remains an unconvincing effort especially given the promise of "Hark the Village Wait".

Notwithstanding some interesting elements, "Please to See the King" is one of the peasants of the Steeleye Span discography.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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