You need this dirgey, stripped-down and very pretty British folk revival music right now

On their second record Please to See the King, from 1971, Steeleye Span set sparse arrangements to their electrified takes on traditional songs. The result is unlike anything else. In points, it's almost as if early Television did British folk music. The guitars are loud and chiming, keening against the fiddle.

It's cruder and slightly less ept than most UK folk-rock recordings, so it's defintiely Top Five for this genre and era of music. It's recorded a bit weird too, with lots of treble and bass but little happening in the mid-range. Part of this is due to the fact that they nixed their drummer for this record. I'm pretty sure they're playing spoons on several songs. You can bet they were antique spoons!

You can find the thing pretty cheap, if you look. Apparently the first US pressing on Big Tree is the one to go for, as other pressings are bootlegs? It's great that an original pressing of such a delightful record from over forty years ago can easily be had for less than ten bucks.

About The Author

Mike McGonigal

Metro Times music editor Mike McGonigal has written about music since 1984, when he started the fanzine Chemical Imbalance at age sixteen with money saved from mowing lawns in Florida. He's since written for Spin, Pitchfork, the Village VOICE and Artforum. He's been a museum guard, a financial reporter, a bicycle...
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