Pot-Pri

 

Risa Potters (USA): Half Woman/Half Child (National General NG 2004, 1971)
Singer/Songwriter
Risa Potters is most widely remembered for including the line ‘God must sure have been stoned when he made me’ in the opening title track, but that doesn’t mean this is psychedelic or hippie music by any means. The nearest comparison would be Catherine Howe’s debut – this has a similarly tranquil feel, with hints of chamber music and lots of strings. This is a worthwhile purchase for those who like the more sedate end of the singer/songwriter spectrum. GRADE: C.
Risa Potters (USA): Take Me Away (Buddah BDS 5115, 1972)
Singer/Songwriter
Risa Potters (lead vocals, piano)
About half of Potters’s second album is in the same style as her first, with some cuts consisting of little more than voice and piano. However, elsewhere she’s backed by Capability Brown, moving into a more rural or soft-rock direction. The result is another pleasant disc, although only ‘Too Many People’ and ‘My Mistake’, on which she’s accompanied by Mellotron, really rise much above average. GRADE: C.

Pouls (Canada): Le Pouls (Pacha PAC 11202, 1976)
Soul/Jazz/Funk/Rock/Progressive
Denyse Lepage (joint lead vocals, percussion)
Led by the husband-and-wife team of Denis and Denyse Lepage, this Québecois band’s sole album operates in two basic veins. About half the material is soulful, mildly funky pop, refracting early Sly & The Family Stone through a more commercial mid-seventies prism; the other half offers jazzy, funky, proggy instrumental grooves. Needless to say, I prefer the latter numbers, so whilst this is fairly patchy there is some good music here. The Lepages went on to a lengthy career in dance and pop music, with their later releases being well outside the scope of this website. GRADE: C+.

Graham & Eileen Pratt (UK): Clear Air Of The Day (Cottage Cot.811, with insert, 1977)
Folk
Eileen Pratt (principal vocals)
This pair of Pratts didn’t take the easy option of recording their traditional material as they would have performed it in clubs: despite the sparse acoustic instrumentation, this is a varied set that ebbs and flows in the same way as a Fairport Convention or Steeleye Span album. On the downside, the absence of electricity means that it doesn’t have the stürm und drang of a Fairport or Steeleye album, but given their chosen limitations it’s every bit as good as it could be. GRADE: C+.
Graham & Eileen Pratt (UK): To Friend And Foe (Dingle’s DIN - 308, 1980)
Folk
Eileen Pratt (principal vocals)
This is very similar to their debut, right down to the pattern of including a couple of Graham Pratt originals among the traditional numbers. He’s both a sensitive songwriter and capable arranger, whilst Eileen is an outstanding singer, so this remains a clear cut above the average folk duo LP. GRADE: C+.
See also Regal Slip

Graham & Eileen Pratt (UK): Hieroglyphics (Plant Life PLR 068, with insert, 1985)
Singer/Songwriter
Eileen Pratt (principal vocals)
When you hear the loungy synth-pop of opener ‘We Live, We Love’ – complete with drum machine – you might conclude you’ve put on the wrong LP. Thankfully, it isn’t typical of the album as a whole, but then neither is the retro cocktail jazz of ‘Little Man (You’ve Had A Busy Day)’. In complete contrast to their earlier LPs, this is singer/songwriter fare, with almost everything penned by Graham Pratt and backing mainly from keyboards. It’s nice enough, but it’s notable that the best songs are the only traditional number ‘Silver Whistle’ and the two originals that sound most traditional (‘Wizard Of Talay’ and ‘Kerry Is No More’). GRADE: C+.
Graham & Eileen Pratt (UK): Borders Of The Ocean (Grail CD 001, CD, 1997)
Folk
Eileen Pratt (principal vocals)
This little-known comeback is by far their rarest album, and the most difficult to track down – that’s a great pity, as it’s also their best. The self-penned ‘Rumours’ and ‘Another You’ hark back to the synth-lounge style of Hieroglyphics and are best edited out (more because they sound ersatz in this context rather than because they’re particularly poor), but if you do that you’re left with – to bowdlerise the title of a long-running nineties compilation series – one of the best traditional folk albums in the world… ever. GRADE: B–.

Graham & Eileen Pratt (UK): The Greek King’s Daughter (Grail CD 008, CD, 2007)
Folk
Eileen Pratt (principal vocals)
Whilst this doesn’t equal its stellar predecessor, it also doesn’t have its low points: Mr Pratt has seemingly lost his love of synth-pop and occasional cabaret-style arrangements. What’s left is fine traditional folk, making it all the sadder that the Pratts subsequently concentrated on the Sheffield Folk Chorale (whose albums would fall well outside the scope of this website) instead of their work as a duo. GRADE: C+.
See also Regal Slip

Prefix (Sweden): Brustna Illusioner (No label PIM 1, 1974)
Folk/Rock/Psychedelic
Ingrid Blom (guitar, percussion, backing vocals)
Largely the work of singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Pierre Blom, this is a charmingly lo-fi album, alternating between folky ballads and uptempo rock with fuzz guitar. There’s a strong Paul McCartney influence in the songwriting, whilst much of the material reflects the style of Holyground ventures like A-Austr and the first side of Astral Navigations. As a footnote, band member Âke Eriksson (who apparently contributed only vocals here) went on to drum with several prolific underground Swedish bands. GRADE: C+.

Prelude (UK): Prelude (Crotchet CMR 18, 1972?)
Folk
Shelagh Bennett (joint lead vocals, guitar), Brenda Tily (joint lead vocals, guitar)
From the disc’s cover (the two women in matching frilly blouses and pinafores, with neatly coiffed hair) and reputation, I expected this to be rather poor. It’s certainly quite middle-of-the-road, with the lush female and male harmonies, acoustic guitars and bass bringing to mind cabaret folk acts or the sort of outfits that appeared on early episodes of the ‘The Two Ronnies’. Nonetheless it’s far better than I anticipated, with a pleasant mix of original, traditional and covered songs and a nice gentle, mellow traditional folk/rock sound. Needless to say, this Prelude had no connection with the better-known outfit below. GRADE: C+.

Prelude (UK): How Long Is Forever (Dawn DNLS 3052, 1973)
Folk/Country/Pop
Irene Hume (joint lead vocals, autoharp)
Prelude are mainly remembered for their breathtaking acapella cover of ‘After The Gold Rush’, which closes side one, but it’s not typical of their style. The best comparison for most of this would be Wooden Horse’s second album, with about half the cuts being so similar that they’d pass for outtakes. In fact, the main difference is that while you’d pay the best part of £1000 for a copy of Wooden Horse II, you could pick up this more consistent LP, complete with its beautiful textured gatefold sleeve, for around a fiver. Among the less Horse-like numbers, ‘Paris Morning’ is a gentle ballad and the rather psychedelic ‘God’ has some eerie, snaky fuzz guitar. GRADE: C+.
Prelude (UK): Dutch Courage (Dawn DNLS 3061, 1974)
Folk/Country/Pop
Irene Hume (joint lead vocals)
Their second album is stylistically similar to its predecessor, though without any obvious highpoints; nonetheless, it’s a pleasant, if rather slight, collection of mid-Atlantic country/rock and folk/rock. The American pressing (Island ILPS 9282) was retitled After The Gold Rush, adding the Neil Young cover from their previous album and reshuffling some of the other songs. GRADE: C+.
Prelude (UK): Owlcreek Incident (Dawn DNHL-3, 1975)
Folk/Country/Pop
Irene Hume (joint lead vocals, percussion)

The band’s third LP offers their usual mellow mix of country/rock and folk/rock, with their dreamy three-part harmonies adding some distinctiveness to an otherwise fairly generic sound. The shortest cut is also the finest: ‘Best Of A Bad Time’, with simple synthesiser backing and a sound recalling a transatlantic twist on Clannad. On the downside, they don’t really bring much to Fairport Convention’s ‘Meet On The Ledge’, though the other two cover versions are fine. As a footnote, the American pressing (Pye 12120) dropped the gatefold sleeve and substituted completely different artwork, including an inner sleeve with the lyrics. GRADE: C+.
Prelude (UK): Back Into The Light (Pye NSPL 18498, 1976)
Pop/Rock
Irene Hume

Album number four marks a change of direction: dropping all their folk influences and abandoning their distinctive harmonies, they offer well-played pop/rock and soft rock somewhere between contemporary Fleetwood Mac and Loudest Whisper. It’s all very well done, with excellent performances from the crack rhythm section of Alan Carney and Dave Mattacks, but they didn’t have the songwriting skills of Fleetwood Mac (or indeed Loudest Whisper) so this didn’t deliver a commercial breakthrough. GRADE: C+.

Prelude (UK): Prelude (After Hours AFT LP1, 1982)
Pop/Rock
Irene Hume (principal vocals)
The band’s somewhat delayed fourth album was their most successful in the UK, giving them three minor hit singles with the original ‘Platinum Blonde’, a cover of Roy Orbison’s ‘Only The Lonely’ and a remake of ‘After The Gold Rush’. Musically, it’s the logical follow-up to Back Into The Light, and whilst it’s easy to dismiss their mellow music as MOR, there’s real craft and melody here and there’s no denying their talent. GRADE: C+.
Prelude (UK): The Belle Vue Sessions (Prelude Music, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, 2012)
Folk/Country/Pop
Irene Hume (joint lead vocals)
The band’s first album since the early eighties is a solid enough return and very similar in style to their earlier work. Like their seventies releases, it’s all a little inconsequential, but they’re still able to craft a catchy tune and summon up some mellow, beatific vibes. GRADE: C+.

Prelude (UK): Inside The Belle Vue Sessions (Creative Cam Co, DVD, 2012)
Folk/Country/Pop
Irene Hume (joint lead vocals)
This ‘making of’ document mixes performances in the studio (which I suspect are probably mimed) and interviews, with some of the footage being shot in arty black and white. It’s nicely put together, and an enjoyable complement to the album proper. GRADE: C+.

See also Irene Hume

Presence (UK): Presence (New City London SLCW 1031, 1976)
Folk/Rock
Veronica Towers (joint lead vocals, guitar, organ, finger cymbals)
A far cry from leader Paul Gateshill’s previous band Bridges, this offers excellent progressive folk on the opening ‘Moment Of You’ and ‘Turning Point’, whilst ‘Shepherd Song’ and the closing ‘God Is Love’ are hauntingly beautiful, almost psychedelic, ballads. A few of the other cuts are a little precious, as is typical for Christian albums, but this is certainly one of the better releases of its genre, with well-crafted, atmospheric songs and beautifully-judged arrangements. GRADE: B–.

Presence (Italy): Makumba (Rico HELL 222, CD, 1992)
Metal/Progressive
Sophya Baccini (lead vocals)
The band’s name may well have been inspired by Led Zeppelin, as their music is a mixture of sympho-prog, with a very Italian feel, and elements of metal. For the most part, it’s rather messy, with a soupy mix and some very shrill vocals from Sophya Baccini, whose singing will certainly not be to many tastes. Whilst not exactly bad, this isn’t a particularly listenable album, and one definitely gets the impression they could have done something much better. GRADE: C.
Presence (Italy): The Sleeper Awakes (Black Widow BWRCD 006-2, CD, 1994)
Metal/Progressive
Sophya Baccini (lead vocals)
The Sleeper Awakes simply confirms that I really do not like Presence or Sophya Baccini’s vocal style. Varying between overblown symphonic passages and manic sections of prog-metal, all badly recorded, this is often more an endurance test than a listening experience. At least a couple of decent instrumentals provide occasional respite. GRADE: D+.
Presence (Italy): Black Opera (Black Widow BWRCD 014-2, CD, 1996)
Metal/Progressive
Sophya Baccini (lead vocals)
Thankfully this isn’t as manic as its predecessor, and Baccini isn’t as shrill, but it’s only occasionally interesting or involving. The eighteen-minute suite ‘À Giuseppe Verdi’ (consisting, not surprisingly, of rock interpretations of some of his arias) is a daring idea and probably the best thing on offer. GRADE: C.
Presence (Italy): Gold (Black Widow BWRCD 045-2, CD, 2001)
Progressive/Metal
Sophya Baccini (lead vocals)
With the band reduced to a trio, Gold sees the metal elements toned down considerably, but once again this is a very messy album, with all kinds of sound effects and samples thrown into the choppy music. However, the laid-back, bluesy closer ‘If It Runs Away’ is straightforward and unpretentious – and vastly better than anything that precedes it. GRADE: C–.
Presence (Italy): Live (Black Widow BWRCD 069-2, CD, 2004, recorded 1994-2002)
Metal/Progressive
Sophya Baccini (lead vocals)
Issued as a bonus disc with the edited reissue of The Sleeper Awakes, this live set offers decent sound quality and a solid cross-section of material. That said, I still don’t like their style, and I’m baffled as to why they included a muted rendition of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’.

GRADE: C.
Presence (Italy): Evil Rose (Black Widow BWRCD 105-2, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2008)
Metal/Progressive
Sophya Baccini (lead vocals)
This concept album is a good deal more ambitious and complex than their earlier work, and a bit more symphonic in style. In some ways this is their best album, but I’m still not keen on the messy squalling guitar work or Sophya Baccini’s shrill singing. GRADE: C.

Presence (Italy): Masters And Following (Black Widow BWRDIST 667, double CD, 2016)
Progressive/Metal
Sophya Baccini (lead vocals)
Literally unlistenable – the only way I made it through the first disc (the new studio album) was to turn the volume right down and try to concentrate on something else. The best way of describing this random collision of quasi-classical passages and badly played and recorded metal is to say that it sounds like the lyrics (sample verse: ‘inter course [sic] change along the wane/abstract and howler digressive/intruder and enchantress/turns one’s back on to [sic] the edge’). The second disc, which is listenable but by no means good, features eight live songs followed by six more symphonic numbers; the mediocre sound quality and short cuts between tracks makes me believe this disc was mastered from MP3s. GRADE: E+.
See also Sophya Baccini

Nancy Priddy (USA): You’ve Come This Way Before (Dot DLP 25893, 1968)
Pop/Psychedelic
Consistently enjoyable psychedelic pop, ranging from upbeat pieces with great period organ work to orchestrated ballads. Priddy co-wrote all the material, with the most interesting number being the complex, extended ‘Mystic Lady’. GRADE: C+.

Prince (France): Prince (FLVM 3040, 1983?)
Progressive
Stella Vander (lead vocals)
This very rare album, which comes housed in a striking laminated gatefold sleeve, was cut by the duo of keyboardist Jean-Michel Desbouis and singer Stella Vander. How the Magma member came to be involved in such an obscure project is unclear, but this is an excellent album of synthesiser-led spacy music, somewhat like a more tripped-out Jean-Michel Jarre or occasionally akin to Tangerine Dream. For the most part the album is instrumental, but two of the five cuts are songs. GRADE: B–.
See also Magma, Offering, Stella, Utopic Sporadic Orchestra, Christian Vander

Suzanne Prince (USA): Rusty Nails And Promises (L’vy LP 11878, with insert, 1978)
Blues/Rock
Suzanne Prince (lead vocals, guitar)
Suzanne Prince was an excellent singer, highly capable songwriter and extremely gifted lead guitarist, making it surprising that her only release was this obscure local album. Notable for her warm, rich voice and piercing, Hendrix-style leads, Rusty Nails And Promises mixes blues, soul, mainstream rock and haunting ballads to great effect, with the whole thing having a polished commercial sheen. Anyone enjoying artists like Bonnie Raitt should adore this. GRADE: C+.

Principal Edwards Magic Theatre (UK): Soundtrack (Dandelion S 63752, 1969)
Progressive/Folk/Psychedelic
Vivienne McAuliffe (joint lead vocals), Monica Nettles (occasional vocals), Belinda Bourquin (keyboards, violin, recorder)
As much a multimedia enterprise as a rock band, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre included a host of dancers, poets and lighting technicians, and were renowned for the ambition and complexity of their stage show. This impressive debut alternates mediaeval-esque acoustic folk with heavy rock passages, adding a nightmarish, spacy quality on the lengthy final track ‘Pinky – A Mystery Cycle’. Even bereft of visuals, this is a stunning LP, and a classic of early progressive rock. GRADE: B.
Principal Edwards Magic Theatre (UK): The Asmoto Running Band (Dandelion DAN 8002, 1971)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Vivienne McAuliffe (joint lead vocals, recorder), Belinda Bourquin (piano, strings, recorder, backing vocals)
Housed in a stunning Hipgnosis sleeve, the band’s second album is more instrumental than their first, as well as more varied. The first side is given over to a concept about the building of a new housing estate by McAlpine Homes, and the results are interesting both lyrically and musically, but I don’t find the songwriting quite as strong as on Soundtrack. GRADE: B–.
Principal Edwards (UK): Round One (Deram SML 1108, 1974)
Progressive
Belinda Bourquin (keyboards, violin, recorder, backing vocals)
Their third and final album marks a move towards more mainstream progressive rock, still with a strong theatrical edge, but now recalling almost everyone from Genesis to Caravan. It’s mostly fine, with catchy melodies and customarily quirky lyrics. GRADE: B–.
Principal Edwards Magic Theatre (UK): Rainy Day Ann/Dear John And Mary/Ministry Of Madness/Hampstead Theatre Club September 1971 (No label, CDR, 2006, recorded 1971)
Progressive
Beth Wood (joint lead vocals), Belinda Bourquin (keyboards, violin, recorder, backing vocals)
This one-off CDR, kindly made for me by a member of the band, features three unreleased singles from 1971 plus a recording of a live performance. The singles are rather folky and humorous, whilst the live set (none of which was ever performed in the studio) mixes strong prog and acid-folk with some Monty Python-style humour, confirming how theatrical and innovative the band really was. Interestingly, these recordings were made by a short-lived line-up in which Beth Wood replaced Vivienne McAuliffe. GRADE: B–.
Principal Edwards (UK): The Devon Tapes (No label, CDR, 2006, recorded 1974)
Progressive
Belinda Bourquin (occasional vocals, keyboards, violin)
Demos for the band’s unrealised fourth album were taped in late 1974 and eventually released as a CDR by former band members in 2006. (A commercial release with completely different artwork appeared two years later: Cherry Red CDM RED 360.) There is some good material here, suggesting that if it had been worked up in the studio album number four would easily have been the equal of Round One.

GRADE: C+.
See also Affinity, Cloudsongs

Maddy Prior & June Tabor (UK): Silly Sisters (Chrysalis CHR 1101, 1976)
Folk
Maddy Prior (joint lead vocals), June Tabor (joint lead vocals)
Prior’s return to traditional folk for the first time in five years offers collaborators of a high calibre – June Tabor sharing the vocals and Martin Carthy, Danny Thompson, Nic Jones, Johnny Moynihan, Andy Irvine, Jon Gillaspie et al providing the backing. The result is a surprisingly bland album, however, and the two women’s voices do not blend nearly as pleasingly as Prior’s did with Gay Woods’s on Steeleye’s Hark! The Village Wait. GRADE: C.
Maddy Prior (UK): Woman In The Wings (Chrysalis CHR 1185, with inner, 1978)
Singer/Songwriter
Maddy Prior (lead vocals)
Largely abandoning folk, Prior moved in a contemporary singer/songwriter direction for her solo debut. It proves that she’s a superb lyricist: by turns witty (‘I Told You So’, ‘Rosettes’) and poignant (‘Woman In The Wings’, ‘Mother And Child’, ‘Rollercoaster’). Musically, it’s more of a mixed bag, with two really outstanding cuts in ‘Gutter Geese’ and ‘Rollercoaster’ and some notable filler (the Dixieland jazz of ‘I Told You So’ and ‘Baggy Pants’ does nothing for me). What is really surprising is that one might have expected much of this to resemble Sandy Denny, yet none of it does and the first two cuts recall Renaissance more than anyone. With Ian Anderson co-producing, Jethro Tull provide much of the backing. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior (UK): Changing Winds (Chrysalis CHR 1203, 1978)
Singer/Songwriter
Maddy Prior (lead vocals)
Prior’s second solo set is a bit more ambitious than her first, with some sweeping orchestral arrangements and an excellent progressive folk epic in ‘The Sovereign Prince’. Glimpses of her past with Steeleye Span show through in ‘Bloomers’ (a song one could easily imagine Span playing, albeit in a quite different arrangement) and ‘Accappella [sic] Stella’ (which, though acapella as its title suggests, is not particularly folk-based). It’s still a bit patchy, and only two or three tracks really stand out, but this is a solid set. GRADE: C+.
Shusha, Maddy Prior, Melanie Harrold, John Kirkpatrick, Bob Johnson & Sydney Carter (UK): Lovely In The Dances – Songs Of Sydney Carter (Plant Life PLR032, 1981)
Folk/Rock
Maddy Prior (joint lead vocals), Shusha (joint lead vocals), Melanie Harrold (joint lead vocals)
This obscure LP does what it says on the tin, with the writer himself joining in on some numbers. The backing band is basically Steeleye Span plus associates – in addition to Prior, Kirkpatrick and Johnson, Peter Knight, Rick Kemp and Nigel Pegrum all contribute. Unsurprisingly, the result is solid electric folk in a similar vein to the Storm Force Ten album, with Prior singing lead on three of the fourteen cuts. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior Band (UK): Hooked On Winning (Kempire KMPA001, 1982)
Pop/Rock
Maddy Prior (principal vocals)
Eschewing folk altogether, Prior’s new outfit offered mainstream pop/rock, with husband and bassist Rick Kemp providing about two-thirds of the songs. It’s clearly competent, but it’s hard to see what they hoped to achieve with this: Steeleye Span fans were unlikely to embrace it, while such predictable and generic material was never likely to bring them commercial success. GRADE: C–.
Maddy Prior & The Answers (UK): Going For Glory (Spindrift SPIN 104, 1983)
Rock
Maddy Prior (principal vocals)
A huge improvement on the anodyne Hooked On Winning, this is an ambitious if patchy album packed with ideas. The side-long ‘Conversion’ may be more interesting conceptually than musically, but it certainly has its moments, whilst on side one ‘Saboteur’ is surprisingly effective hard rock and ‘Deep In The Darkest Night’ is effortlessly beautiful (even if the single version, recorded with the Eurythmics, is superior). As usual with Prior, the lyrics are mostly intelligent and insightful. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior With The Carnival Band (UK): A Tapestry Of Carols (Saydisc CD-SDL 366, CD, 1987)
Folk/Classical
Maddy Prior (lead vocals)
Issued on the respected early music and classical label Saydisc, this features – as the title suggests – a selection of Christmas songs performed with mediaeval instrumentation. Whilst there’s clearly a limit to how exciting this sort of thing can be, it’s beautifully performed and recorded, with some superb singing from Prior. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior & June Tabor (UK): Silly Sisters II – No More To The Dance (Topic TSCD 450, CD, 1988)
Folk
Maddy Prior (joint lead vocals), June Tabor (joint lead vocals)
I found Prior and Tabor’s first collaboration rather underwhelming, so didn’t expect much from this. In fact, it’s an excellent album with some dark and sombre moods and wide-ranging instrumental backing: from Dan Ar Braz’s powerful electric guitar to solo piano, saxophone, concertina, hurdy-gurdy and clarsachs. The CD adds solo tracks by Prior and Tabor to the ten collaborations on the vinyl version. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior & Rick Kemp (UK): Happy Families (Park PRKCD4, CD, 1990)
Folk/Rock
Maddy Prior (principal vocals)
Like most of Prior’s self-penned albums, this is a bit patchy, with a couple of forays into the jazzy shuffle territory she seems to like so much. But when it’s good – the wry title track, the emotionally charged ‘Rose’, the truly beautiful ‘Bewcastle’ – it’s quite outstanding.

GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior With The Carnival Band (UK): Sing Lustily And With Good Courage (Saydisc CD-SDL 383, CD, 1990)
Folk
Maddy Prior (lead vocals)
This is another lovely, virtuosic album of early music, demonstrating Prior’s superb singing to great effect. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band (UK): Carols And Capers (Park PRKCD9, CD, 1991)
Folk
Maddy Prior (lead vocals)
The title says it all – this is more Christmas material beautifully performed with mediaeval instrumentation. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior (UK): Year (Park PRKCD20, CD, 1993)
Folk/Progressive
Maddy Prior (lead vocals)
About half the album is remakes of material from earlier in Prior’s career (‘Marigold/Harvest Home’, ‘Long Shadows’, ‘Somewhere Along The Road’, ‘Saucy Sailor’, ‘Deep In The Darkest Night’, ‘Boys Of Bedlam’ and ‘The Twa Corbies’). Nearly all the remainder is taken up by two ambitious song suites: ‘Year’ and ‘The Fabled Hare’. The latter in particular is superb, with great beauty and dynamics, although most of the album has a tranquil and mournful feel, with piano being the main instrument. Overall this is her best solo LP, with no obvious weak moments. GRADE: B–.
Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band (UK): Hang Up Sorrow And Care (Park PRKCD31, CD, 1995)
Folk/Rock
Maddy Prior (lead vocals)
This is much more varied than their earlier albums, with a far more whimsical feel and occasional use of modern instrumentation (electric guitar, organ, drums). ‘Playford Tunes’, the most rock-oriented cut, is superb, but this is an accomplished album throughout. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior (UK): Flesh And Blood (Park PRKCD 038, CD, 1997)
Folk
Maddy Prior (lead vocals)
Like her previous solo album Year, this focuses around a lengthy song suite: in this case, the excellent ‘Dramatis Personae’. That’s the disc’s principal highpoint, although her interpretation of GK Chesterton’s ‘The Rolling English Road’ (the closest the disc comes to folk/rock, complete with some faintly psychedelic electric guitar work) is quite impressive too. GRADE: C+.

Linda Adams, Ross Kennedy, Graham Pirt, Maddy Prior, Janet Russell & John Wright (UK): Fyre And Sworde – Songs Of The

Border Reivers 

(Fellside Recordings FECD131, CD, 1998)
Folk/Rock
Janet Russell (joint lead vocals, guitar), Linda Adams (joint lead vocals), Maddy Prior (joint lead vocals)
This concept album brings together five vocalists and a superb backing band led by multi-instrumentalist Steve Lawrence. Much of it is electric, hinting at a subtler and suppler Steeleye Span (with Rick Kemp playing bass throughout and the album climaxing with an excellent remake of his ‘Peace On The Border’). However, there are also some fine forays into acoustic material (notably the superb 8½-minute ‘Dowie Dens Of Yarrow’, setting Janet Russell’s lovely voice and acoustic guitar against Kemp’s virtuosic fretless bass) and ‘Wicker Man’-style territory (particularly Linda Adams’s ‘Lament Of The Border Widow’), adding up to an excellent set. GRADE: B–.
Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band (UK): In Concert – Carols At Christmas (Park PRKCD45, CD, 1998)
Folk
Maddy Prior (lead vocals)
Another ‘does what it says on the tin’ venture from the Carnival Band – a live set of carols and Christmas-themed numbers with well-judged mediaeval arrangements. Strangely, the album improves as it progresses, with the last few tracks being the most interesting and adventurous. As a footnote, Prior’s daughter Rose contributes vocals on two numbers. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior (UK): Ravenchild (Park PRKCD49, CD, 1999)
Folk/Rock
Maddy Prior (lead vocals)
This album is dominated by not one but two song suites: the first about Napoleon Bonaparte and the second, not entirely surprisingly, about ravens. Whilst both the traditional and original songs are well assembled, Prior is not in particularly good voice and the disc is often a bit tuneless and subdued, making it more admirable than enjoyable. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior (UK): Ballads And Candles (Park PRKCD54, CD, 2000)
Folk
Maddy Prior (principal vocals), June Tabor (occasional vocals), Rose Kemp (occasional vocals)
This live set draws on Silly Sisters’ and Steeleye Span’s repertoire as well as Prior’s solo work, and features vocal appearances from her daughter Rose and former colleague June Tabor. The backing, meanwhile, comes courtesy of two members of Steeleye (Rick Kemp and Peter Knight) plus her usual collaborators Nick Holland and Troy Donockley. Like her recent solo work, it’s tasteful and accomplished without being especially exciting, indicating that she was settling down into a rather relaxed middle age. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior (UK): Ballads And Candles (Park PRKDVD54, 2004, recorded 2000)
Folk
Maddy Prior (principal vocals), June Tabor (occasional vocals), Rose Kemp (occasional vocals)
Issued four years after the album of the same name, this mixes clips from a live show celebrating Prior’s 35th anniversary in music with an interview. With a colourful presentation and Prior’s considerable stage presence, the material works much better than on the album, and the interview is interesting too, but it would have been nice to have had the option of watching the complete performance. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior (UK): Arthur The King (Park PRKCD58, CD, 2001)
Folk/Rock
Maddy Prior (lead vocals)
No prizes for guessing that the song suite here concerns King Arthur. What is surprising is that, whilst retaining the same modus operandi and basic personnel as her last few albums, Arthur The King is a much more varied and dynamic LP, with some good use of rock elements. Overall, this is probably her best since Year. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band (UK): Gold, Frankincense And Myrrh (Park PRKCD59, CD, 2001)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Maddy Prior (principal vocals)
Quite different to earlier Carnival Band ventures, the album comprises two lengthy song suites concerning religious themes: ‘Gold, Frankincense And Myrrh’ itself and ‘Creatures And Kings’. The former features partly improvised music drawing on African and Arabian source material, and ranges from lively folk/rock to complex acapella arrangements. ‘Creatures And Kings’ is less cutting-edge, being pleasant acoustic folk with mediaeval touches. Overall this is an exciting and adventurous album and, with its eclectic approach, closer to the original spirit of Steeleye Span than anything Prior had recorded with the band since the mid-eighties. GRADE: B–.
Maddy Prior & The Girls (UK): Bib And Tuck (Park PRKCD61, 2002)
Folk
Maddy Prior (principal vocals), Rose Kemp (joint lead vocals, guitar), Abbie Lathe (occasional vocals, guitar, piano, drum)
Recorded with two other singer/songwriters (daughter Rose Kemp and one Abbie Lathe), this largely sees Prior returning to acapella music. The first half shares vocals among the three members and offers a mixture of self-penned, contemporary and traditional folk tunes, whilst the second is given over to another of Prior’s conceptual suites, ‘The Cotton Triangle’. This is another lovely set from Prior that demonstrates the infinite possibilities of folk music. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior (UK): Lionhearts (Park PRKCD66, CD, 2003)
Folk/Rock
Maddy Prior (lead vocals)
Another fine album, once again containing a self-penned song suite (about Richard the Lionheart, unsurprisingly enough) and several standalone traditional numbers. It’s a nicely judged set, with arrangements varying from electric guitar to uileann pipes, climaxing with a rendition of Gustav Holst’s ‘Jupiter’. GRADE: C+.
Maddy + Girls (UK): Under The Covers/Pensive (Park PRKCD84, double CD, 2005)
Folk/Rock
Maddy Prior (joint lead vocals), Abbie Lathe (joint lead vocals, piano), Claudia Gibson (joint lead vocals, keyboards)
The second Maddy & The Girls album is, as its title suggests, a collection of cover versions (although a few of the songs are actually self-penned). The interpretations are often quite radical: ‘Ka-ching’ has acapella sections with a quasi-Bulgarian vocal style, baroque violin and clarinet, and sound effects; ‘Under Your Thumb’ has heavy fuzz guitar and vocal percussion; and ‘Sheela-na-Gig’ has an almost shamanistic feel, with sections of ‘The Cuckoo’s Nest’ interpolated. Prior’s own ‘Slow Dance’ is pretty remarkable too, setting the women’s gentle, rather eerie harmonies against heavy metal-style guitar. Given the predictability of most of Prior’s other projects at the time, this was a remarkably bold set, encapsulating the original pioneering spirit of the folk/rock movement. GRADE: B–.
Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band (UK): An Evening Of Carols And Capers (Park PRKCD86, double CD, 2005)
Folk
Maddy Prior (principal vocals)
This live set features a good cross-section of moods, from complex acapella pieces to traditional folk with early instruments to world music to electric folk/rock. Perhaps inevitably, it’s mostly rather sedate, but there is some fine music here. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band (UK): An Evening Of Carols And Capers (Park PRKDVD87, DVD, 2005)
Folk
Maddy Prior (principal vocals)
This DVD version of the concert has a similar, but not identical, tracklisting to the double CD. The performance is not visually spectacular, but it’s fun to watch the musicians playing such intricate pieces, and they have a warm and engaging stage presence. The bonus material includes some quite interesting interviews and a bonus track. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band (UK): Paradise Found (Park PRKCD94, CD, 2007)
Folk
Maddy Prior (lead vocals)
Subtitled ‘A Celebration Of Charles Wesley 1707-1788’, this features settings of a number of Wesley’s hymns and is sometimes as close to classical music as to folk. As usual with the Carnival Band, it’s beautifully done and put together with meticulous attention to detail.

GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior (UK): The Quest (Park PRKCD97/PRKDVD97, DVD plus CD, 2007)
Folk/Rock
Maddy Prior (lead vocals)
Whilst visually unspectacular, this is a lovely live set with rich arrangements belying the fact that Prior was backed by only two musicians (plus some sampled percussion). The material spans a good cross-section of her solo work, making this an excellent complement to Steeleye Span’s many live sets. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band (UK): Ringing The Changes (Park PRKCD98, CD, 2007)
Folk/Rock
Maddy Prior (principal vocals)
Ringing the changes indeed, as this is somewhat different to previous Carnival Band albums. A Christmas-themed LP, it consists mainly of self-penned songs, with backing from their usual mediaeval sound to whimsical folk/rock. The material varies considerably in terms of quality, but overall this is another pleasing album, peaking on the beautiful ‘The Changing Face Of Christmas’. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior (UK): Seven For Old England (Park PRKCD100, CD, 2008)
Folk
Maddy Prior (lead vocals)
Probably the last thing anyone would have expected Prior to do at this stage in her career was produce a straightforward album of traditional folk with simple acoustic backing, but that’s exactly what Seven For Old England is. The result is a lovely LP, perfectly showcasing her superb voice – easily the finest in all folk music. GRADE: C+.
Maddy Prior With Hannah James & Giles Lewin (UK): 3 For Joy (Park PRKCD123, CD, 2012)
Folk
Maddy Prior (joint lead vocals), Hannah James (joint lead vocals, accordion)
This excellent album fairly evenly mixes acapella numbers with songs featuring sparse but rich classically-tinged backing. Hannah James and Giles Lewin are used as far more than just backing musicians, with the former taking a couple of lead vocals and the latter providing most of the instrumentation, resulting in a very accomplished collaboration. GRADE: C+.

Maddy Prior, Hannah James & Giles Lewin (UK): Shortwinger (Park PRKCD153, CD, 2017)
Folk/Classical
The remake of ‘The Fabled Hare’ from 1993’s Year is significant: this stands alongside it as one of Prior’s finest solo albums. However, it’s not just her LP: both Hannah James and Giles Lewin weigh in with some excellent singing and lovely material. With rich classical textures from the former’s accordion and the latter’s strings, this concept album about birds offers a beautiful, delicate tapestry of songs and instrumentals and is packed with superb moments. GRADE: B–.
See also Tim Hart & Maddy Prior, Rose Kemp, Steeleye Span, Various ‘Flash Fearless Vs The Zorg Women, Parts 5 & 6!’

Priory Park (UK): Try For The Sun (Wild Dog DOGLP 16, 1978?)
Folk/Pop
Teresa Dewsbury (joint lead vocals, guitar), Julie Brassington (guitar, piano, tambourine, whistle, backing vocals)
This private pressing sells for good money, but I can’t see why – it’s twee, rather middle-of-the-road folk/pop with partly electric backing and covers of everything from folk club standards (‘Four Strong Winds’, ‘Lord Of The Dance’) to Abba numbers (‘Thank You For The Music’, ‘Move On’). GRADE: C–.

Priscilla (Canada): Priscilla (Jaune JF - 7301, with insert, 1974)
Singer/Songwriter
Priscilla Lapointe (lead vocals, guitar)
Priscilla Lapointe was a beautiful young woman who managed an equally beautiful album of her own songs, with delicate soft rock backing. There are also occasional nods towards progressive rock, with hints of late seventies Renaissance, so this could become quite a hit with Japanese collectors. GRADE: C+.

Prisma (Germany): Phantasma (Red Lounge RLP 019, some on red vinyl, with insert, 2007, recorded 1977)
Progressive
Sabine Schäfer (keyboards)
Karlsruhe band Prisma existed for several years during the mid-to-late seventies but made no recordings during their lifetime. This 1977 live set, with reasonable (though far from studio) sound quality, shows them to have been a powerful band with a predilection for jamming, midway between the tough post-psychedelic sound of early Streetmark and jazzier Canterbury styles (with just a few hints of You­-era Gong). If this had a better recording and slightly improved vocals, I would have rated it a B. GRADE: B–.
See also Uludag

Prismatic (USA): Prismatic (Omni Network 909023X, 1979)
Jazz/Rock
Penni Luna (percussion, backing vocals)
As the band and label names suggest, this is hippie rock with a communal feel and liner notes mentioning ‘positive energie [sic]’, ‘ecological awareness’, ‘spiritual evolution’ and ‘universal consciousness’. Musically it consists of jazzy jams with lots of hand percussion and world music elements, plus a slick, funky edge, sometimes in a similar style to the slightly earlier Collective Star. Three of the songs have dedications: to Timothy Leary, the L5 Society and John Lennon. GRADE: C+.
Prismatic (USA): Don’t Invite Me To The Depression! (Prismatic Ltd. 011001, with inner, 1981)
Rock/New Wave
Penni Luna (occasional vocals, percussion)
In a bizarre change of direction rivalled only by the German band Cannock, Prismatic dropped all their hippie and mystical leanings to offer an undistinguished album of new wave powerpop and classic rock. Quite what they hoped to achieve isn’t obvious, as they certainly didn’t have the songs or the chops to be a hybrid of Blondie and the Rolling Stones. GRADE: C–.