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Steeleye Span - 'Wintersmith' http://mail.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/6e/08/28/steeleye-span-wintersmith-49-1399057030.jpg Hot

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I can heartily recommend it to every reader of Fireworks and Rocktopia.

The new album by UK Folk Rockers Steeleye Span is a concept album based upon, and named after, the works of one of my heroes Sir Terry Pratchett and his Discworld set of novels 'Wintersmith'. Sir Terry himself is a lifelong "Spanner" (the name given to Steeleye devotees) and he and the band have worked together seamlessly to create this wonderful album. So with a legacy of forty something years in the business and many albums that fans adore, what does 'Wintersmith' hold for listeners old and new of Steeleye Span? Firstly it is one of the most complete concept albums I've heard and you don't need to be a Terry Pratchett or Discworld fan to enjoy it. The songs stand on their own merits and they are so beautifully arranged, played and sung by the band, with a story that always leaves you captivated and entertained, that you soon find yourself delving into its musical depths over and over again.

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Wintersmith tells of how young apprentice witch Tiffany Aching is taken to witness the 'Dark Morris', a secret dance that welcomes wintertime to the lands of the Discworld. So enraptured by the dance is Tiffany that she joins in and comes face to face with the Wintersmith (the spirit of winter) herself. The Wintersmith mistakes Tiffany for the Lady of Summer and falls for her. During the dance Tiffany loses her locket and the Wintersmith uses this to enter the real world to look for her. All of this engrossing tale and more is used by Steeleye Span (with the help of Sir Terry himself) in their music to complete the sad, funny and pleasurable story of 'Wintersmith'. To pull out a couple of specific tracks to tell you about, seems and feels wrong to me as this beautiful piece of work should be looked at in the whole. As a concept album this as good as it gets, with the band both musically and lyrically hitting all the sweet spots. The performances of the members of Steeleye Span are just so good that everyone should listen to this wonderful album themselves and make up their own minds as to its many virtues.

A review is all about personal opinion; as far as I am concerned I love this album and I can heartily (now for that dreaded reviewers word) recommend it to every reader of Fireworks and Rocktopia.

Ian Johnson

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