leejohnson's current selection is:
by Steeleye Span


I quite often refer to the blog "Reading between the Grooves" for a bit of a different take on things to do with my selection of the day, and it's no exception now as Jim Owston recounts his 'Steeleye Span' experiences:


I've been familiar with the 'Steeleye Span' original recording of "Gaudete" from purchasing the compilation album "The Steeleye Span Story: Original Masters" in 1977. The song originally appeared on their 1972 LP "Below the Salt". It is obvious that the song is in Latin and 'a cappella'; however, I didn't know that "Gaudete" was a Christmas carol until a few months ago. Having studied Greek for three years and not Latin will have to constitute my defence - hey, it's all Latin to me.

The first publication of this carol was in 1582, and it did not contain musical notation; however, the tune that is associated with the song predates the 16th century. The inspiration for the 'Steeleye Span' recording of the tune came from former guitarist Bob Johnson who heard the song at a folk-carol service in Cambridge, England. Released as a single in 1973, it charted in the UK at No. 14 - one of the few hits either in Latin or without instrumentation. This combined double strike of Latin lyrical content and an 'a cappella' arrangement was probably enough to keep the US release of the single off the radio, which was detrimental for its sales.

[ As per usual lately, there's even more to read on this subject at: http://zeegrooves.blogspot.com/2009/12/steeleye-span-gaudete.html ]


Apart from confirming that "Gaudete" did not trouble the US Billboard Hot 100 in any way whatsoever, I don't need to spout a thing about chart listings today, as the UK position was already revealed above. I'll just say that I found the record irritating (still do), and was relieved when they issued their classic single "All Around My Hat" three years later, as I was really into the 'folk-rock' of bands such as 'Lindisfarne' and the 'Strawbs'. They obviously had a talent for voice harmony (Maddy Prior's crystal cut female tenor voice was so cool), but I wanted to hear some rocking backing to go with it, not reverb and silence during vocal breathing breaks.
1972 - Chrysalis Records - United Kingdom - From the album "Below the Salt".
Posted: 14th October 2019
Born in 1954, leaving education by 1972, 'glam' was my thing, "Ziggy" Bowie my hero. I was even the only guy in my town with the haircut (though not the carrot red colouring!). Therefore every seventh selection is a Bowie track.
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All leejohnson's selections:
13 Nov 2019
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