Monday, January 04, 2010

The Present Day Child Ballad Scholar Refuses to Die

Sad news and I'm genuinely bummed

Tim Hart, co-founder of the great English folk-rock band Steeleye Span has passed at the age of 61.

Did I say great? From 1973 and the classic album Parcel of Rogues, please enjoy their unprecedented take on the who-knows-how-old? Brit folk song "One Misty Moisty Morning."




Which sounded to my ears, back in the day, as if it had been beamed in from the astral plane by aliens using technology we still haven't mastered. And yet it's also as recognizably human and joyous as if it was sung by a bunch of buskers at the Waterloo Station this very morning.

Okay, I may have seriously mixed my metaphors there. In any case, that extra passing chord they throw in the last of the "how d'you do" choruses is sheer genius.

If you can listen to this one without being moved and astounded, you really need to have it looked at, is what I'm saying.

7 comments:

Peter said...

I saw Tim Hart and Maddy Prior as a duo at the Bournemouth Arms in 1970, a few months before Steeleye. Bought Maddy a drink, if memory serves. There might have been twenty people in the house. A wonderful show and, yes, he had a musicality that made a simple dulcimer accompaniment sound as full and right as any string orchestra. I'd like to know more abut his "retirement." Was it entirely willing? And if so why?

Mister Pleasant said...

Sad new indeed. Those mid-70s Steeleye Span albums are all treasures. For me Steeleye was the only band to successfully combine old English folk tunes with electric instruments (and eventually a drum kit).

geor3ge said...

Okay, count me as a new convert. That arrangement is just as inventive as any from Vaughan Williams or Britten.

steve simels said...

geor3ge said...
Okay, count me as a new convert. That arrangement is just as inventive as any from Vaughan Williams or Britten.



I have long thought so.

Anonymous said...

Have recently rediscovered the mighty Span, and you are right in asserting that those early records hold up extremely well. (Still kicking myself for missing the version that toured last summer - don't recall if Mr. Hart was in the band or not.) RIP. - bill buckner

Brooklyn Girl said...

Their album "All Around My Hat" had one of the most visually entertaining covers ever ... you had to hold it flat to see it properly.

Edward said...

I was a Below The Salt man (or teenager) myself. Their version of Gaudete is timeless. And really got me interested in Gregorian Chants.

RIP