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Maddy Prior competition: and the winners are...

Pretty much everyone who entered, or they would be if I had enough prizes to go round.

Each memory or anecdote brought back my own recollections of seeing Maddy Prior when she toured with Tim Hart as a duo, the thrill of hearing Steeleye Span for the first time (while browsing in the record shop at Cecil Sharp House of all places), interviewing Maddy, following each development in her career......

I have a delicious reminiscense of my own, only part of which I can divulge.

In the mid-1970, I was covering a trade union conference on the south coast of England for my then employers, the Press Association.

It may well have been the one where I met a Communist delegate from Dublin who invited me for dinner, ordered lobster and Chablis with a flourish (and the remark that "nothing's too good for the working class") and may even have signed the bill to another room.

In any event, midway through the conference, a concert at Hammersmith beckoned. Steeleye Span. How I managed to get away to reach London in time I no longer remember, but manage it I did.

It was a great show. And during the encores, it was made greater still for many of those in the audience who noticed that among the glittering pieces of paper being dropped from the ceiling were pound notes. I grabbed seven myself; others, more agile, artful or aggressive, helped themselves to 40 or more.

Once I had my share, the reporter's instincts took over and I phoned in a story, including comments from one or two of the beneficiaries of the band's largesse, which was duly picked up by a few of the national papers.

It was enough of the story to be going on with. I learnt the rest some years later, and that is the part on which my lips remain sealed.

And so to the winners:

Jim Campbell, for his chance encounter with Maddy rehearsing The Lark in the Morning with Martin Carthy in a school stairwell in Carlisle

Debra Cowan, for another school tale: her brush with authority after hearing Steeleye for the first time - on early morning, under-the-bedclothes radio in Chicago - drove her to play truant as she hunted down a copy of Below the Salt

Bonnie Shaljean, for two lovely stories: the Gaudete pub crawl and the Maddy duet with a police car siren.

Each will receive a signed copy of Maddy's album Seven for Old England. Could they please use the e-mail link at the top right of this page, or a private message at Mudcat, if they are members there, to let me have a postal address?

But thanks to everyone who responded.

There were a few runners-up. I shall not say who they are just yet, but propose to stick their names in a hat, choose a fourth winner at random* and order another copy (unsigned, I'm afraid), dipping into the coffers of Salut! Live to do so. Watch this space.

* DG&D Dave is that winner. I chose him on merit, then realised I'd promised a random draw. Believe it or ot, he won that, too.

This was his entry:

"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."


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