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Steeleye Span - Commoners Crown CD (album) cover


Steeleye Span


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3.15 | 30 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars Bach goes to Limerick!

The previous album, Now We Are Six, was where it finally all came together for Steeleye Span, but it was with Commoner's Crown that the reached their peak in my opinion. Over a series of several albums there was a clear progression in their music that I feel culminated with the present album. The promises of previous albums finally came to fruition with this one. Commoner's Crown maintains everything that was so appealing about Now We Are Six but it at the same time leaves out most of that album's inconsistencies and minor flaws. From a Prog point of view, these two albums are among the best of 70's Steeleye Span and thus excellent places to start your investigation into the discography of the band.

The vocals - both lead and harmony vocals - are excellent and quite sophisticated here. The acoustic instruments; fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar, blend perfectly with the electric guitar here even better than they did on Now We Are Six. There are some sparse keyboards here as well, though not very much. The guitar sound is much improved compared to early albums like Parcel Of Rouges (where it sounded quite awful!). But do not expect a guitar extravaganza here, the virtuoso playing is mainly restricted to the mandolin and fiddle which are very well played indeed.

The songs (always the most important factor for any album) are mostly very strong and memorable. The most progressive tracks here are the almost nine minute Long Lankin and the instrumental Bach Goes To Limerick. Long Lankin is also the best and the most Rock oriented track, I would say. The only song that I feel is out of place on this album is the closer New York Girls. But I still feel it fits better than some rather misguided moments on Now We Are Six (a silly cover of To Know Him Is To Love Him for example), and the fact that it comes at the very end of the album makes it easy to ignore it and perhaps even regard it as something of a "bonus" track.

This album is in my opinion up there with the very best of British Folk Rock. If you like this kind of music this album is essential! For the average Prog fan, Steeleye Span might not be a high priority but this is indeed an excellent addition to a Prog Folk collection and a worthy addition to any Prog collection.

One of Steeleye's best albums!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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