Parcel of Rogues - Chrysalis 1972
Seen in the back mirror, I think that "Parcel of Rogues" is the Steeleye Span album which have aged most gracefully. The melodies are all among their best, and there is great and refreshing variation in arrangement and style. It's obviously still relying on old traditional songs which are enlivened in new arrangements and added a little electricity - at this point there was still no drummer with the group.
Many songs could be highlighted, but I will settle with commneting on only some of them. The opening track "One Misty Moisty Morning" is a fresh catchy song that serves well to capture the listener's attention from the start - obesides it has a great instrumental break. Next track "Alison Gross" is probably the heaviest and most electric number on the album - the song may be seen as an arrow pointing out the direction of where the group was going.
"The Bold Poachers" is a beautifully melodic ballad with one of the male members on lead vocals. The magnificent a capella song, "Rogues in a Nation" caould be described as the album's title track, and in any case one of the really big numbers by the band.
The final two tracks "Can Ye O'ver Frae France" and "Hares on the Mountain" nicely show how broad group spans. The former is an easy up-beat song beautifully performed by Maddy Prior, while "Hares on the Mountain" is a waltzy ballad, sung by one of the male members.
Do you only wish to own a single album with the group, I would recommend this at any time.