“Wintersmith” the new album from Steeleye Span, in collaboration with Sir Terry Pratchett.

Terry is a long-standing fan of the band, even booking them to play at his sixtieth birthday party. Now the two have collaborated on a brand new project, a record based on Terry’s Wintersmith novel. The subject matter is completely appropriate for Steeleye Span, a tale of ancient rituals and secret folk dances that perfectly complements their previous work whilst taking it in new directions.

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You made me older than my years
I am young and barely grown
And when I cry, I cry your tears
for I have no life of my own.

Why don’t you write me some candlelight
and wear your heart of gold?
and I will wear these Aching, heartbreaking years
“Til one day I shall wear midnight.

And if you should scream from your darkest dream
and in a whisper you’ll hear me call?
And for a while I’ll be sweet sixteen
and I’ll have no power at all.

Why don’t you write me a moonlight night
and wear your finest hour
and I will wear these Aching, heartbreaking years
Til one day I shall wear midnight

I am young, you are old,
but not heartless and cold

I am warm from the love that you have shown
but you conjured me up
from your hat full of dreams
and you keep me in a world of your own

Why don’t you write me a guiding light
and wear your heart’s desire?
and I will wear these Aching, heartbreaking years

Why don’t you write me a guiding light and wear your heart’s desire
And I will wear these Aching, heartbreaking years, ‘til one day
I shall wear midnight

And when you lay down on your final word,
it will be no comfort to me.
I have lived by the pen and I’ll die by the sword,
when it’s time to set me free.

Why don’t you write me a gallant knight and wear your honour and sword
And I will wear these Aching, heartbreaking years, ‘til one day
I shall wear midnight

One day I shall wear midnight
‘Til one day we shall wear midnight


From Steeleye Span’s song We Shall Wear Midnight from their album Wintersmith, which is dedicated entirely to Tiffany Aching and by extension Terry Pratchett. Described as “Tiffany Aching’s plea to Terry Pratchett.”

Just had to show you guys that this is some next level meta right here.


Steeleye Span live on BBC 4 1974


If any of you believe folk and folk rock music can’t possibly be entertaining and even hardcore badass, I invite you to check out one of my favorite bands, Steeleye Span.  They’ve been making music since 1969, and let me tell you friends, they are awesome.  Maddy Prior’s and Tim Hart’s vocals have been either sweet or rough as the song demands, and if you can listen to Peter Knight’s violin/fiddle playing without being impressed I don’t know what to do with you.  Over the years they’ve worked with several famous folks, including David Bowie (on sax in the link), Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull (who produced their album Now We Are Six and performed with Prior on her solo album), and actor/singer/comedian Peter Sellers (on ukulele in New York Girls, below).  Not to mention, their most recent album, “Wintersmith,” is a collaboration with Sir Terry Pratchett of Discworld fame.

But goodness, you might be asking, how could folk rock be anything but boring and lame?  Why would anyone use the word ‘hardcore’ to describe that kind of old timey music?  Well let me introduce you to a few of Steeleye Span’s tunes:

  1. A Lady Kills a Kid for Kicking a Ball Into Her Yard (Little Sir Hugh)
  2. A Cheating Wife Tries to Drown Her Husband But He Just Casually Kills Her Instead (Marrowbones)
  3. A Wife Runs Off With a Cooler Man and When Her Husband Comes After Her She Tells Him to Fuck Off (Blackjack Davy)
  4. A Description of the Whiskey-Making Process Using a Metaphor Where a Guy is Brutally Murdered and His Corpse Mutilated (John Barleycorn)
  5. A Horrible Monster Woman Makes the King Kill All His Pets (King Henry)
  6. A Girl’s Parents Steal Her Sailor Boyfriend’s Money, Behead Him, and Throw Him in the Ocean (Edwin)
  7. A Noble Girl’s Father Cuts Out Her Commoner Boyfriend’s Heart and Gives It to Her as a Present (Lady Diamond)
  8. Some Kid Sasses Satan (False Knight on the Road)
  9. Your Whole Family Doesn’t Give a Shit if You Get Hanged (The Prickly Bush)
  10. A Dude Gets Robbed by a Woman Con-Artist (New York Girls)
  11. Serial Murderer Elf Gets What’s Coming to Him (The Elf Knight)
  12. We’re Gonna Kill You Because Jesus (You Will Burn)
  13. A Guy Kills His Brother For Lying, Then Lies About It (Edward)
  14. Non-Union Mine Workers Should Probably Join Up Quick Before They Get Fucking Murdered (Blackleg Miner)
  15. White People are Jerkass Land Stealers and Should Go Back Where They Came From (White Man)

Yeah.  And the thing is, most all of these are super old folk songs Steeleye Span has updated and arranged, in several different musical styles.  So y'know, if you still think folk music isn’t one of the most brutally badass genres in existence, I just don’t know what to do with you.  Steeleye Span is amazing, end of story.

  • Rogues of a Nation
  • Spanning the Years

Rogues in a Nation  ||   Steeleye Span 

Farewell to all our Scottish fame,
Farewell our ancient glory.
Farewell even to our Scottish name,
Sae fam’d in martial story.

Now Sark runs over the Solway sands,
And tweed runs to the ocean,
To mark where England’s province stands.
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.


I love this song and thought Id share it with you all :)

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The Blacksmith
  • The Blacksmith
  • Steeleye Span
  • Hark! The Village Wait


A blacksmith courted me
Nine months and better
He fairly won my heart
Wrote me a letter.
With his hammer in his hand
He looked so clever
And if I was with my love
I would live forever.

But where is my love gone
With his cheeks like roses
And his good black Billycock on
Decked around with primroses.
I fear the shining sun
May burn and scorch his beauty
And if I was with my love
I would do my duty.

Strange news is come to town
Strange news is carried
Strange news flies up and down
That my love is married.
I wish them both much joy
Though they can’t hear me
And may God reward him well
For the slighting of me.

Don’t you remember when
You lay beside me
And you said you’d marry me
And not deny me.
If I said I’d marry you
It was only for to try you
So bring your witness love
And I’ll not deny you.

No, witness have I none
Save God Almighty
And may he reward you well
For the slighting of me.
Her lips grew pale and wan
It made a poor heart tremble
To think she loved a one
And he proved deceitful.

A blacksmith courted me
Nine months and better
He fairly won my heart
Wrote me a letter.
With his hammer in his hand
He looked so clever
And if I was with my love I would live forever.

The Blacksmith 2
  • The Blacksmith 2
  • Steeleye Span
  • Please to see the King

Lorsqu'Ashley Hutchings, bassiste de Fairport Convention, projette en 1969 de fonder un nouveau groupe, ses anciens partenaires s’étant définitivement branchés sur l’électricité du folk-rock dont l’album Liege And Lief vient de se faire l’étalon, il décide de s'atteler à un répertoire un peu plus enraciné dans la tradition, se rapprochant en cela de ses amis Carole et Bob Pegg. Ceux-ci, dans l’instance du lancement de Mr Fox, déclinent son offre, de même que Robin et Barry Dransfield, ou Dave et Toni Arthur retenus pour d’autres motifs. La fondation de Steeleye Span se scellera en compagnie de deux autres couples, de non moindre stature. Piliers des clubs de St Albans, Tim Hart et Maddy Prior sont des proches du chanteur et musicologue Bert Lloyd qu’enthousiasme le projet, mais dont les vœux de réussite sont tus par crainte de choquer les puristes. Ashley (n’arrivant dans le même temps ni à intégrer ni à sauver du naufrage les irlandais Sweeney’s Men, eux-mêmes rendus à l’évidence de leur propre implosion) en profite pour inviter le couple de Terry et Gay Woods.

N’utilisant les services d’un batteur qu’en studio (pour moitié celui de Fairport, pour l’autre celui de Fotheringay), le quintette se met au vert, embarqué dans une vie communautaire qui se partage entre répétitions, jardinage et crochet ! Sur une proposition de Martin Carthy, lequel ne se doute pas qu’il va sous peu devenir l’un des leurs, l’intitulé Steeleye Span prend le nom d’un personnage de la chanson « Horkstow Grange ». Le décor une fois planté, les réarrangements d’airs traditionnels aux thèmes alternant amour, luxure, pêché et mort, mettent droit dans le mille. Aux contrechants mélodiques sous influence du baroque ou de William Byrd, les voix pratiquent les entrelacs aigre-doux chers aux Watersons et à la Copper Family.

Hélas, le fait de s’isoler trois mois en pleine campagne mène droit au fiasco, Ashley Hutchings se retrouvant écartelé entre deux couples farouchement antagonistes. Bien que les harmonies exquises d’Hark ! The Village Wait ne laissaient rien deviner des tensions endurées, cette première incarnation d’un groupe au devenir si populaire ne se produirait jamais sur scène, se séparant aux portes mêmes du studio. A noter que « The Blacksmith », fera, sur Please To See The King, l’objet d’une seconde bien que non moins somptueuse version.

(extrait de Folk & renouveau)