Thursday, 31 May 2018

Steeleye Span - Wintersmith (2013)

  

Released October 2013

Pretty much all of Steeleye Span's huge canon of material is derived in one way or another from historical sources - ballads, poems, early folk songs and so on. Not so here. This is an album of original work based on the late Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" novels. Now, I have to admit that I have no knowledge of Pratchett's work, nor interest in it. I am a long time fan of Steeleye Span, however. I love this album. The songs are all different, many of them captivating and atmospheric and some of them heartbreakingly sad.

Played to the usual high standard, the album is a joy from start to finish. Personal highlights for me are the upbeat "Dark Morris Song" which sets the atmosphere for the album and the haunting title track, "Wintersmith" which introduces us to the character of the Wintersmith. The romantic "You" is beautiful and "The Making Of A Man" is a delight. Indeed, all the tracks are enjoyable. It is like reading a book. The album ends with violinist Peter Knight's tour de force, the emotional "We Shall Wear Midnight" which sees a character from the book asking the author Pratchett how he will go on to portray her, particularly, as it seems, he wasn't long for this world (as was the case). Truly moving.

The best edition to go for is the two CD edition which contains some excellent bonus tracks not considered for the original album and a number of live cuts from the accompanying "Wintersmith Tour”.

B+

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