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Steeleye Span

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Steeleye Span Time album cover
3.79 | 9 ratings | 4 reviews | 25% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Prickly Bush (6:03)
2. Old Maid In The Garrett/Tam Lin [Reel] (5:55)
3. Harvest Of The Moon (4:10)
4. Underneath Her Apron (5:13)
5. The Cutty Wren (2:49)
6. Go From My Window (5:17)
7. The Elf-Knight (8:39)
8. The Water Is Wide (7:32)
9. You Will Burn (4:53)
10. Corbies (3:42)
11. The Song Will Remain (4:14)

Total time 58:27

Line-up / Musicians

- Maddy Prior / vocals
- Gay Woods / vocals, bodhrán
- Bob Johnson / guitar, vocals
- Peter Knight / violin, vocals
- Tim Harries / bass, keyboards, vocals
- Liam Genockey / drums, percussion

Releases information

CD Park Records ‎- PRK CD34 (1996, UK)

Thanks to zafreth for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Shanchie Records 1996
$4.30 (used)
Time by Steeleye SpanTime by Steeleye Span
time span LPtime span LP
$15.00 (used)

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STEELEYE SPAN Time ratings distribution

(9 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(62%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

STEELEYE SPAN Time reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars After a 6 year absence from the studios (though some live albums did emerge during that time) Steeleye Span came back with a powerful CD that reminded everyone how talented and in good shape they still were. And, best of all, they brought back original singer Gay Woods to the fold - more than twenty five years after she left. As one can expect, the vocal lines are the highlight of this album: both female and male parts are superb, even if it was also clear the legendary Maddy Prior is still the star of the band.

This time the band decided to shed some of the bad decisions they made during the 80's and did a record like the old days: they picked up some great traditional songs and gave them such a beautiful and well crafted arrangements they become tunes of Steeleye Span. Very few groups could ever dream of doing those songs so well. The instrumental parts are also very strong, with Peter Knight's violin and Bob Johnsons's fine guitar lines the absolute strong points. Although the electric instrumentation is used full time, they do not make any concessions for commercialism: Time is pure Steeleye Span.

There are many excellent tracks here and the production is very good. My favorites are the strong opener The Prickly Bush, the great dueting vocals of Prior and Woods on The Old Maid In The Garret, the epic The Elf King, and the different, but gorgeous, The Water Is Wide (fine piano and violin parts). With a strong sense of direction, passionate interpretations and no fillers, this an album that showed Steeleye Span could still deliver an album as convincing and consistent as the ones it released during its heydey. 4 strong stars.

Review by Matti
3 stars I sincerely agree with Tarcisio that this was a strong comeback album from STEELEYE SPAN. Have to admit I'm not deeply acquainted with the complete discography, but this was finally the first album (of the five I've listened to) that felt really good. The production is sharp and precise and in this case it works just fine, avoiding to be clinical or overpolished. The line-up works excellently together. The electric guitar player Bob Johnson is the main arranger/composer, while Peter Knight, an old-time member like the lovely Maddy Prior, has written two songs all by himself. The rest, as usual with this band, originates at least of their lyrics from the Traditional treasure box. Only 'Go From My Window' and 'Water Is Wide' were familiar tunes to me; those that were new to me are at least as fine songs. Two songs of eleven I found a bit too counryish up to my taste, especially the steadily galloping 'Harvest of the Moon'. Of an album nearly an hour long, that's pretty well!

I'm hesitating between three and four stars. Most likely I'd give four judged against the band's discography but the PA's definition "Good but non-essential" seems appropriate. Of course this album could be easily better, for example with some more emotional/ethereal songs and Maddy's voice more up front on the whole album.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars "The singer may die, but the song will remain"

'Time' is a great title for this album as it was (at the time of its release) a very long time since Steeleye Span made an album as strong album as this. This is a return to the form of the bands prime time in the mid 70's and for me this has stood the test of time better than many of their early albums and remains one of my all time Steeleye favourites.

The production is strong and all the songs are very good. There is a surprisingly strong Rock drive in many of the songs due to powerful drumming and the strong presence of electric guitars and even piano. The distinctive lead vocals of Maddy Prior are here, of course, and they are stronger than ever. But there is nice mix between male and female vocals. An earlier member in Gay Woods, also sings on the album. This is obviously not a Prog album by any means but there is thankfully no All Around My Hat-type of song present. The songs are better developed than usual and we are treated to more extended instrumental sections.

The opener Prickly Bush, though a good song, repeats its chorus perhaps a couple of times too many. The same problem might be said to apply to a couple of the other tracks too, but overall it is more than acceptable. The longest track is Elf King with its eight and a half minutes and while it does not utilize this time to make anything truly progressive, it does feature excellent solos and it builds towards a bombastic ending. A great song!

There is a very nice variation on here too with everything from an up tempo reel to folky (power) ballads. The Water Is Wide is a song of the latter type with moving vocals that reminds of Sandy Denny.

There is not much more a Prog fan could reasonably ask of a Steeleye Span album!

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Now we are twenty six!

Following the 1989 album "Tempted and tried", Steeleye Span became dormant again for several years. The 25th Anniversary of their formation took place in 1995, the occasion being marked by a reunion concert featuring virtually everyone who had at one time been a member. With the "Tempted and tried" line up brought back together, they decided to record some material for a new album. Meanwhile, drummer Nigel Pegrum had decided to emigrate to Australia, his place being taken by Liam Genockey, formerly of Gillan.

Around this time, Maddy Prior was experiencing problems with her voice, so the opportunity was taken to bring founding member Gay Woods back on vocals too, resulting in the only album ever recorded by Steeleye Span to feature two lead female vocalists. Whether it was because of Wood's influence alone, or a common desire by the band as a whole, "Time" sees them reverting to the inclusion of more traditional material than of late, some of which comes from Ireland.

Listening to the opening acapella harmonies of "The prickly bush", we are reassured that Prior's voice is still very much intact, the main reason for Woods return apparently being to ease the load on Prior on tour. The song has the feel of a continuation of the "Now we are six" album, Johnson's lead guitar nuances in particular being from that era. The song, and esepcially its infectious chorus, provides immediate reassurance that Steeleye Span are still committed to their folk roots.

Woods and Prior combine superbly on "Old Maid in the Garrett" a finely crafted song of some amusement which demands the deadpan delivery it is afforded. Woods use of the bodhran here introduces a welcome addition to the percussion. The latter part of the track is the traditional "Tam lin" jig (which also appeared many years previously on Fairport's "Liege and Lief").

"Harvest of the moon" is an absolutely wonderful mid-paced camp-fire song with a superb melody and harmonies to die for. For me this simple refrain, which is made perfect by the way it is arranged, is an undoubted highlight of the album. "Underneath her apron" tells a traditional tale of a father's reaction to an unplanned pregnancy in typically candid fashion. Once again, the song takes us back to the Steeleye Span of the early 1970's.

"The cutty wren", sometimes titled "The hunting of the wren" is a traditional song of disputed origin and meaning. Once again the opportunity is taken to add a complex vocal arrangement, the sparse arrangement being accentuated by Woods contribution on bodhran. "Go from my window" is a variant of the traditional "One Night As I Lay On My Bed", a song covered by many noted musicians on either side of the Atlantic. Steeleye Span had recorded the song previously as "One night.." for the "Hark, the village wait" album. The song is delivered as a light ballad with picked accompaniment. Here, Prior's voice does sound slightly fragile, but this only adds to the appeal of the song. The unusual (for Steeleye Span) guitar sounds here are very effective.

The longest track on the album is the 8½ minute "The elf knight". While the lyrics here are from the traditional "Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight", the music is composed by band member Bob Johnson. The song tells a tale in traditional ballad form about a lady being lured by an evil elf, and of how she manages to overcome him where others have failed. Once again, the arrangement of the song is strong, this being the closest the album comes to a genuine prog folk piece.

"The water is wide" will for many be the most familiar of the traditional songs here. This 7½ minute version serves as a fine vehicle for the violin playing of Peter Knight. Maddy delivers her most emotive performance of the album, the only surprise being that it has taken so long for this song to find its way onto a Steeleye Span album. "You will burn" is really the only prosaic song here. There's nothing particularly wrong with this mid-paced dirge, it just fails to find a spark.

"Corbies" is another reworking of a track from "Hark, the village wait", there being titled "Twa corbies" (itself a variant of the traditional "The three ravens"). The closing "The song will remain" (not the similarly titled Led Zeppelin song "The song remains the same") is a suitably melancholy song of farewell. The male vocal lead suits the song well, the ladies providing harmonic backing. Beautiful.

"Time" is a welcome surprise. It is the best album recorded by the band since their early pioneering days, and indeed one of their finest albums. Those who thought that Steeleye Span's great days ended in the 1970's will surely reconsider after hearing this album.


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