They Called Her Babylon
is an album by the electric folk
band Steeleye Span
The album, the band's 18th studio album, was released in 2004. The album is perhaps most noteworthy for the return of Maddy Prior
, the band's most central member, who had departed the band in 1996. Returning with Prior was her husband, Rick Kemp
, who had not performed with the band since its 12th album, although both Prior and Kemp had performed on Present--The Very Best of Steeleye Span
, an album that re-recorded versions of songs from earlier albums. Gay Woods
, who had replaced Prior for two albums, departed at the same time. New to the band with this album was guitarist Ken Nicol
, while drummer Liam Genockey
, who had played on Tempted and Tried
, returned. Longtime violinist Peter Knight
rounded out the group.
Highlights of the album include 'Van Diemen's Land', a song about poaching and deportation to what would eventually be called Tasmania; 'Heir of Linne', a classic ballad of riches lost and regained, and 'Child Owlet', another traditional ballad whose gruesomeness is underlined by Prior's powerful vocals. The album also contains the band's shortest song ever, a 40 second version of 'Bede
's Death Song', an early medieval poem attributed to an 8th century monk.
In the original version of 'Van Diemen's Land', the narrator is a man, but Prior reworked the lyrics to make the narrator a woman
The album received very mixed reviews. Some critics saw it as a return to form after several... Read More