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Steeleye Span - They Called Her Babylon CD (album) cover


Steeleye Span


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3.52 | 9 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars A mostly original Steeleye Span album

They Called Her Babylon is a surprisingly strong and consistent album from a band that had been around for so long. There may not be any significant surprises for those who have followed the band since the beginning; we have fiddle, electric and acoustic guitars, male and female vocals, Rock drums, progressive aspects and many great melodies. However, the material is, unusually for the band, mostly original and not adaptations of traditional Folk tunes. This makes it all the more impressive! I have not yet heard all of their albums, but the style here is similar to that of the Time album. The instrumental and vocal skills of the band are indeed impressive with wonderful instrumental passages in many songs. Some songs Rock harder than you might expect from this band! Samain is one of these and this is perhaps also one of the more progressive songs.

There is a very nice balance between up tempo songs and ballads and between the Rock and the Folk element. There is also a nice balance of male and female vocals. The very distinctive vocals of Maddy Prior are as good as ever. Her voice may be an acquired taste, but I think it is simply lovely. The strongest point is the complete avoidance of misguided Pop attempts that were present on most of their albums from the 70's and 80's. It is not easy to pick out any favourite songs as every song is good.

My great fondness for British Folk Rock has taken me somewhat by surprise in recent years. Some ten years ago when I first started to discover progressive music, I used to think that I almost hated anything remotely connected to Folk music! But, in fact, many of the major Prog bands from the 70's are actually deeply influenced by Folk music (Jethro Tull, Genesis, Camel, etc). Bands like Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span are not Prog bands, of course, but they offer much for a Prog fan to enjoy! For me personally, I particularly like the 90's and 00's periods of these two great British Folk Rock bands. The Rock element is much stronger here than in their early days and the production is much improved over their very earliest albums.

Those who simply can't stand British Folk Rock will not change their minds after listening to this album. But for anyone who liked this kind of music, They Called Her To Babylon will not disappoint. I would even say that this is one of Steeleye Span's best albums!

Excellent addition to any Prog Folk collection

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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