Some Important Observations On Steeleye Span, Experiments In Folk Rock And Cows


(via 90.9 wbur in Boston)

I want to talk to you about what it means to experiment. Let’s begin with the following sentence: “We did try a reggae ‘Spotted Cow’ and we weren’t terribly convinced by it, so we stopped doing it.”

You’ll be needing a little context for that. “Spotted Cow” is a song from around 1740. It’s about a woman who’s lost her cow. She complains about it to this guy she runs into. He’s like, “Lady, I am game to help you find your cow. Let us do this.” They go off to a field to find it. Obvious place to start, right? Before long … well, you know how fields are. Sexiest thing in nature. So they decide to do what comes naturally to a man and a woman in a field, which isn’t really looking for cows. From then on, whenever the lady’s looking for a bit of you-know-what, she finds some guy and tells him about her cow.

The speaker of that sentence was Maddy Prior, singer of the great English folk-rock band Steeleye Span. This is a band that she’s led since 1969, and they’re playing on July 24 at Johnny D’s in Somerville.

So, to sum up: ‘70s English folk-rock band, cow used as cover story for Georgian booty call. And then: reggae.

“When you’re experimenting with things they can’t all be winners,” she says. “I’m pleased that we tried things.”

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