By Patrick Humphries
© New Musical Express
26 March 1977
Not the new Steeleye Span album, not even a collection of "previously unreleased material", but rather that curious package which record companies dutifully release from time to time to justify their existence, a compilation.
This collection is simply selected highlights from the first three Steeleye albums before Ashley Hutchings left and they signed with Chrysalis, and the group's direction began to move away from indigenously traditional material.
The tracks have previously come to light on both the original albums and two other compilations, 'Almanack' and 'Individually & Collectively'. The inclusion of no new material makes it a rather redundant exercise.
Anyway, it's good to hear tracks like 'Lowlands Of Holland' again, and the album does serve as a useful reminder of the group's roots as they trip through a collection lovingly assembled by Ashley Hutchings. Some of the finest tunes here are those which feature Gay and Terry Woods in the original line-up, especially their sensitive handling of 'The Hills Of Greenmore'.
There are also solo tracks from Martin Carthy, Tim Hart and Maddy prior. which are pretty representative of your standard folk club repertoire.
It's a nice enough set, and a satisfactory introduction to their work for those interested in finding out about the group before they reached the financially and commercially safe position of being able to spill down £8,500 on their fans. Great, but waddya do for an encore gold bars?
*Click here to see the cover & track listing.