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October 02, 2008

Comments

Jim Campbell

As a lad of 17 i discovered steeleye span about 1970/71 and immediatly fell deeply in love with Maddy and her voice. i went to see them whenever they appeared in the manchester area for years, but once marriage, home and kids took over i stopped going to gigs about 1977-78 and didnt see her (or hardly anyone else) live for over 20 years although i never stoped buying the records.
In 2001(i think it was) Dave Swarbrick had one of his many comebacks with a duo's concert at brampton near Carlisle.My younger brother livews near there so he went and got me a couple of tickets for Swarbs comeback concert.
so the day came, i finished work early and drove up to carlisle, picked up the brother and off we went to brampton. on arrival i sat in the bar and had a couple(just to get rid of the dust from the journey, you understand) and nature took its toll and i had to find the loos, searching rpound the school for them i heard anglels singing and playing the guitar! it was Ms Prior and Martin Carthy practising "the lark in the morning" in the school stairwell and the echo made it sound like the massed ranks of prior and carthy soundalikes giving out.
All of a sudden i was 17 again and hearing them onstage at manchester university students union for the first time, the hair on the back of my neck stood up and i just stood and listened to them practising for about 10 minutes it was absolutely spellbinding.
So that was it i was hooked again, back on going to gigs and getting the back catalogue which i had missed,and remembering quite how much i love Maddy Prior(in a non marriage threatening way, Just in case Rick Kemp reads this).

colin randall

From: GUEST,Steve Drayton

Every Christmas the school disco was the place to be seen. For all budding DJs it was the chance to shake the floor with a record of thier choice. This year, 1975, I had several lined up. Roxy's Love is the Drug, Island Girl, Elton John and Suzi Quatro's Can the Can. There was one recent purchase though that was burning a hole in my turntable.
Could I drop that vinyl?
It would make or break me. Having the courage of my convictions I took it along.
Merry Christmas Everybody, I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday, Lonley This Xmas. The floor was full. Then came my turn. Mr Hornsby took it from it's green paper sleeve, and as the sound of Mud faded away, All Around My Hat burst forth and the dance floor errupted. As I was swept away by Jane Davis for a sweaty xmas kiss, my life was complete. Thankyou Steeleye Span, thankyou Maddy Prior.
*******************************
From: Pip Radish -
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 05:59 AM

After I'd complained about the wallpaper in my room for some time, my parents agreed that I could strip it and repaint, during the next school holidays. Since the paper was now officially condemned, I felt free to add an extra layer of decoration, mainly consisting of lines from favourite songs in laborious swirly lettering.

Pride of place, though, went to a single word in six-inch capitals, placed there remind me of something truly extraordinary that I'd recently seen on Top of the Pops. It was a remarkable performance of a unique piece of music - at once pure and raw, intricate and earthy, delicate and strident, and made up of nothing more than the human voice. There were four voices interweaving like the threads of a tapestry, and above them there was a a fifth voice rising high and clear, sounding like moonlight through a monastery window. It was unforgettable; it still is.

And so I went up to my room and wrote on the wall, in capital letters six inches high:

GALDETE!

(Yes, well, that's what it sounded like, OK?)
*************************

From: BusyBee Paul - PM
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 06:37 AM

Which reminds me of: (maybe slightly off topic - sorry Colin)

I was asked to help out in the alto section of a local church choir one Christmas a few years ago. At the rehearsal for the "Service of 9 Lessons and Carols", we were presented with sheet music for Gaudete and started to sing it.

The conductor stopped us and asked us to stop singing like a church choir and to "sing it how it should be sung".

So I stuck my finger in my ear, the conductor collapsed in a heap of laughter and the blue rinse brigade had absolutely no idea what was happening.

I've not been invited back...................


Deirdre
*****************************
From: DebC

When I was 14 or 15, I used to listen to a low-power radio station that broadcasted from Highland Park, IL, a northern suburb of Chicago. I had my clock radio alarm set for 6 AM when the station signed on in the morning and would doze, listening, for a short time before I had to get ready to go to school.

One morning, I was doing a "doze" and heard "Let never a man a wooing when that lacketh things three...." and was immediatly jolted to full awake-ness. I continued to listen. When the electric instruments came on, I was hooked. I quickly grabbed a pen and paper so that I could hear the back announce and write it down.

That song stayed with me all day until I couldn't stand it. I left school, ditching my afternoon classes (yes I did have to pay the price of after-school detention) and went to the local record shoppe. I actually found a copy of "Below the Salt" and played it continuously for the next two weeks.

I have been a Maddy fan (and a Steeleye Fan) ever since.

Debra Cowan
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From: GUEST,Neil D -

When I was 15, back in 1973 there were some excellent late night 90 minute music shows on TV here in the states: Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, In Concert and even the pre-disco Midnight Special wasn't bad. What was so good was the variety of artists that it took to fill up that much time. Variety being the most missed ingredient in the modern music scene. You could see Brownsville Station sing "Smoking in the Boys Room" then come back from a commercial and behold there is Pentangle owning the stage.
Anyhow, one night I saw this band playing this music like I had never heard before. Old as time and yet fresh as the morning dew. It got inside me and changed my outlook on music forever. Then this beautiful, ethereal lady singer takes off dancing barefoot all over the stage and that was it! I was in love for the first time in my young life.
**************************
From: Bonnie Shaljean

Inspired by Below The Salt (and some Christmas cheer of the liquid variety) three friends and I memorised Gaudete - we actually had the original 1582 version - and then did a pub-crawl along Holloway Road one December night. This consisted of the four of us running in, standing together in a row and blasting the assorted company with a rousing rendition of this carol, in full harmony at top voice, then running out again, quick, leaving the bar customers to their bemusement. (At the last port of call we made sure we got our drinks in first...)
**********************************
From: Darowyn -

I was talking a man at a party in Leeds many years ago, who was telling me that he used to be an Arts Animateur somewhere in the West Country.
His project was to help local musicians by arranging local gigs and tours in village halls and community centres.
One of the young artists he helped out was the daughter of a TV scriptwriter who, as he said "turned out not to need very much help at all"
Here's a thanks to that man, and to Maddy for all those great performances.
Cheers
Dave

colin randall

The last comment incorporated all the entries received so far at Mudcat.....still time to have a go as I have not even decided on a cut off point yet

colin

Here are some more messages left at Mudcat:

From: Bonnie Shaljean =

Inspired by Below The Salt (and some Christmas cheer of the liquid variety) three friends and I memorised Gaudete - we actually had the original 1582 version - and then did a pub-crawl along Holloway Road one December night. This consisted of the four of us running in, standing together in a row and blasting the assorted company with a rousing rendition of this carol, in full harmony at top voice, then running out again, quick, leaving the bar customers to their bemusement. (At the last port of call we made sure we got our drinks in first...)


From: Darowyn =

I was talking a man at a party in Leeds many years ago, who was telling me that he used to be an Arts Animateur somewhere in the West Country.
His project was to help local musicians by arranging local gigs and tours in village halls and community centres.
One of the young artists he helped out was the daughter of a TV scriptwriter who, as he said "turned out not to need very much help at all"
Here's a thanks to that man, and to Maddy for all those great performances.
Cheers
Dave


From: GUEST,Rich =

I wish I was old enough to have an anecdote!!


From: Bonnie Shaljean =

Reminds me of another Maddy story. I was hearing her live but unamplified for the first time (usually it was at big Steeleye gigs with mics attached to huge rigs) and was sitting fairly close, about 20 feet away. While she was singing a police car drove by, siren in full blare right across her song. She never dropped a beat, just swung into rhythm with it until it was gone, making the cops something of a duet partner. Bet that was a first.

Hearing her live was sort of a revelation for me, because until then I had found a rather metallic quality in her voice which I didn't totally like. But that must have been some effect of amplified sound, because without it, her pure natural tone was a delight. I heard a sweetness that was lacking in the bigger settings, but still with that same clarity and sensitive delivery. It was an eye (or rather ear) opener.


From: selby =

The first time I saw Maddy was at the Grand Opera House in York and my wife and I where enthusing about her voice and the concert when the Lady in front turned and said thank you its nice to get feedback she talked to us a few minutes more and dissapeared I have seen her since on stage but I think she has forgotten me :-)but I still like her inspite of this
Keith

DG&D Dave

Way back in the Mid-Eighties, I was lucky enough to get tickets to Maddy's solo "Woman in the Wings" tour, at Derby assembly rooms. After the concert a friend of mine wanted to get their album signed, so I went along with them. Imagine my surprise when Maddy beckoned me over to join her. However, the reason was that she had no table on which to sign autographs and, being over 6 feet tall, my back made an ideal lecturn.
Dave.

Anna Stimpson

I was a young Steeleye Span fan due to my Dads love of them. When I was about nine years old (1989)I wrote to Maddy Prior inviting her to my house for tea. I received a lovely postcrd back saying that she was a bit busy at the moment and wouldn't be able to make it to my house but next time I was at a concert I could pop backstage and meet her!!!
This all came as a bit of a surprise to my mum, as the first she knew of my invite was when the postcard arrived!!
I still have the postcard and one day may take her up on her offer!

colin

And another...

From: DaveS

Does a Tim Hart story count? Anyway it was at Birtley Folk Club one Wednesday night (as usual)in the early seventies and Steeleye were playing Newcastle City Hall on the Thursday night. Midway through the first half in walks Tim Hart and a member of the road crew and not recognising them Pete Elliott asks them would they mind paying at the desk by the door. The word has already got around the club who has just come in and it finally gets to Pete who looks slightly embarrassed and calls an interval at that point and goes across to Tim and friend to refund their money (10p or so in those days)and welcome him to the club. Tim gets a song early in the second half and not long afterwards in come three more members of the crew all wearing Steeleye Span t-shirts. Looking at them and then to Tim, Pete declares "If you'd all been wearing those bloody things then I wouldn't have dropped my king sized goolie"
Top man, Pete

Chas Gilbert

Some years ago myself and my friend Dave went to see Maddy Prior and Friends one Sunday night at the Guildhall in Derby. I have known Maddy for many years and after the bar at the venue had closed early, Nick, Troy and Maddy invited themselves back to my house for more drinks. It was the first time they had been to my house (as Nick said it was the first time a band had stalked one of their fans) and a good time was had by all and much whisky and wine was drunk. After they had gone back to their hotel I retired to bed and woke up the next morning with a bit of a headache. When I went into the front room to tidy up a bit I was surprised to find that the framed and signed poster of Maddy I had had on the wall had fallen off during the night and the glass smashed on the floor. Spooky or what!

Claire Muncaster

Hiya,

When I was little I loved trad/blues, but when I got older I got some very funny ideas, mostly that young people didn't like or listen to it. I wore blue lipstick and black nail varnish, snapped at everyone, and listened to some truly awful stuff I found on my own. I'd loved writing as a child in between listening, mostly poems and short stories, but young people didn't do that either, so I stopped.

When I went to college I got really ill –- it sounds silly but I'm sure at least some of it was to do with not listening to what I grew up with.


Dad was desperate to see Steeleye Span, but I thought they'd be no good so I said an emphatic NO. This caused problems for him because I am disabled and no care was set up that night, so he couldn't go either –- and problems for me, because though I didn't know/think it at the time, I shall regret it for the rest of my life.

Next time he said "you're bloody well going," and dragged me to their gig (not literally). I heard what I now know to be 'Drink Down The Moon', realised why I'd worshipped Ms. Prior since I was little and why I still do, and got so emotional I nearly had to leave.

I started writing again and haven't stopped, and one of my stories has been used for work with disabled children. 

Now I'm told to turn my music UP.

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