Steeleye Span – All Around My Hat – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame

The best copy to ever hit the site! It ain’t easy to find clean British pressings of this one, which is why it’s taken us so long to get a copy like this up on the site. We played a good sized stack of these recently and only a couple did the job well enough to be considered Hot Stampers. This one is a big step up, with way less of the thick / murky / veiled sound that plagues many copies.

The sound is rich and full in the best tradition of English Rock, with no trace of the transistory grain that domestic rock pressings so often suffer from. The bass is deep, punchy, full up in the mix and correct. There’s plenty of it too, so those of you with less than well-controlled bass will have a tough time with this one. But never fear, it’s a great record to tweak with and perfect for evaluating equipment.

Forgotten Sound

Need a refresher course in Tubey Magic after playing too many modern recordings or remasterings? Our Hot Stampers of this album is overflowing with it. Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead-on correct tonality — everything that we listen for in a great record is here.

Thanks go to the redoubtable Geoff Emerick, who engineered along with a fellow named Mike Stavrou, who worked at AIR studios.

Does this one beat the MoFi pressing? I haven’t heard one in years but I would be SHOCKED if it didn’t kill it. As the stereo has gotten better, we haven’t heard a truly great MoFi of any title in ages.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Black Jack Davey
Hard Times of Old England
Cadgwith Anthem
All Around My Hat

Side Two

Gamble Gold (Robin Hood)
The Wife of Usher’s Well
Sum Waves
Dance With Me
Batchelors Hall

AMG  Review

The biggest selling of all Steeleye Span albums is also their hardest rocking record. They sound like would-be competitors to the Who on the opening bars of “The Wife of Usher’s Well,” with Bob Johnson’s electric guitar grinding out power chords like nobody’s business. The vocals have their usual elegance, the harmonies soaring exquisitely, but between the choruses the guitar puts out lots of wattage. The guitar competes with Maddy Prior’s voice for dominance on tracks like “Hard Times of Old England,” “Bachelor’s Hall,” and “Dance with Me.”