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Another Brick in My Wall...
Parcel Of Rogues
Steeleye Span
This album was another step in my own odyssey from whatever i was to dedicated folk-rock fan.

I was drowsing along one day in 1973 or so, headphones on while i did some homework so as not to disturb my Techwood dorm roommate, when WREK played "The Weaver and the Factory Maid".

I remember thinking that it was rather pretty... and then it came to the bit near the end where Maddie multi-multi tracks a capella vocals of the final chorus. That's pretty and a little spooky on ordinary speakers, when you're familiar with it. Hearing it for the very first time, on headphones, with All! Of! Those! Voices! inside my head, as it were, was almost an epiphany.

After contacting the station to discover just who the heck that was and what the title was, i proceeded to buy a copy the next day, and discovered that i liked Steeleye Span as much as i liked Fairport Convention, who i had discovered in a similar fashion... and it was another step on that long road for me...

As to the content of the album -- "Misty Moisty Morning" makes lovely use of Maddie's voice. "Alison Gross" is a nicely spooky story about a witch who craves a young lover. I'm still not sure what it means when one "...lives at the sign of the Ups and Downs...", but it's a neat little song.

"Cam Ye O'er Frae France" is a bit of scurrilous anti-Hanoverian propaganda, accusing King George of whore-mongering, and "Rogues In a Nation" is a heart felt lament by a Scots patriot at the anticlimactic union of Scotland with England fro economic reasons: "What force or guile could not essay, O'er many warlike ages/Is wrought now by a coward few, for hireling traitors' wages..."

And "The Weaver and the Factory Maid" is Simply Lovely.

((As a footnote -- when i got to speak to Maddie at a show she did here in Atlanta a few years ago and asked her just how many tracks she laid down on that last chorus, she couldn't remember...))

Another Note: I recently chanced upon the original poem by Burns, lamenting the Union of the Parliaments of England and Scotland in 1707, that provides the album title and the lyric of the final song:

Fareweel tae a' wir' Scottish fame, fareweel oor ancient glory,
    Fareweel e'en tae wir' Scottish name that's praised in martial story,
    Noo Sark it runs tae the Solway sands, Tweed it runs tae the ocean,
    Tae mark where England's province stands,
    Sic' a parcel o' rogues in a nation.

    What force nor guile could not subdue, in many warlike ages,
    Is wrought now by a coward few, for hireling traitor's wages,
    The English steel we could disdain, safe in valour's station,
    But English gold has been oor bain,
    Sic' a parcel o' rogues in a nation.

    Oh would or could I hae seen the day, that treason thus befell us,
    My auld grey heid hae lien in clay, wi' Bruce and loyal Wallace,
    Wi' pith and power 'til my last hour, I'll mak' this declaration,
    We were bought and sold for English gold,
    Sic' a parcel o' rogues in a nation.