Tempted and Tried

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This article is about an album by Steeleye Span. For the gospel song with first line Tempted and tried we're oft made to wonder, see Farther Along (song).
Tempted and Tried
Studio album by Steeleye Span
Released September 1989
Genre Electric folk
Length 43:21
Label United Kingdom Chrysalis
United States Shanachie
Producer John Etchells, Bob Johnson and Peter Knight
Steeleye Span chronology
Back in Line
(1986)
Tempted and Tried
(1989)
Tonight's the Night...Live
(1992)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]

Tempted and Tried is the 13th studio album by the electric folk band Steeleye Span. The album was recorded after a three-year hiatus after the release of Back in Line. After releasing ten albums in fairly rapid succession during the 1970s, the band entered something of a creative dry spell, with 'Tempted' being only their 3rd album in 10 years. The album cover proclaims the album a "20th Anniversary Celebration", and the band was clearly eager to commemorate their anniversary, since strictly speaking the band had only been rehearsing in 1969, and didn't record until 1970.

Long-time bassist Rick Kemp had left the band a few years earlier, due to a repetitive-motion shoulder injury that left him unable to play bass without pain. On tours, the band had rotated a variety of bassists in to replace him, but it was decided that in advance of the new album and a tour that the band needed a permanent bassist. Nigel Pegrum turned to a friend of his, Tim Harries, a self-taught bassist and classically trained pianist, who agreed to join.

Harries brought the band some much-needed young blood, and 'Tempted' proved a return to the band's 70's approach. Their previous two albums had relied heavily on songs written by the band and relatively little on traditional songs. But 'Tempted' features mostly traditional songs arranged by the band, with only three new songs, all written by Peter Knight, and one of these, "Seagull", about the old game of Shove-penny, has a strong traditional feel to it. The only piece that feels strongly non-traditional is "Following Me", a song about a woman being stalked by a stranger who terrifies her. Highlights of the album include the vigorous "Jack Hall", the traditional ballad "The Two Butchers" and "The Fox", a short piece celebrating the cunning of a fox being hunted. In general, the album has a bright, confident feel to it, particularly "Padstow", which features a marvelous five part harmony bridge.

The album's title presumably refers to the fact that the band has become well-seasoned by 20 years of performing. The cover features the head of a fox, in reference to the song. The album is dedicated to all those who supported the band over the previous 20 years.

Shortly after the album was released, Pegrum chose to emigrate to Australia for relationship reasons, and the band brought in Liam Genockey to replace him as drummer. Consequentlty, although Genocky does not appear on the album, he was the drummer for the band's 20th Anniversary Tour and appeared on the video of the tour.

The album was well-received, particularly in comparison to its two predecessors, although few consider it up to the high standards of the band's heyday. However, perhaps because of the infusion of new blood and perhaps because of the excitement of the anniversary, the album marks the beginning of a slow resurgence for the band. Over the next several years, the band members recommitted themselves to playing together and began exploring traditional material in new ways. Their real revival would still be a few years off, however. "Following Me/ The Two Butchers" was released as a single on "Dover Records". However, it had a serial number "FLUT 4" which showed that it had originally been on the Flutterby label.

Track listing[edit]

US Track listing (Shanachie):

  1. "Jack Hall" (Bob Johnson, Traditional) – 3:57
  2. "Two Butchers" (Johnson, Traditional) – 4:49
  3. "Padstow" (Traditional) – 3:03
  4. "Reels: The First House in Connaught/Sailor's Bonnet" – 2:48
  5. "Betsy Bell and Mary Gray" (Child 201) – 4:59
  6. "Shaking of the Sheets" (Johnson, Traditional) – 4:11
  7. "Searching for Lambs" – 4:12
  8. "Seagull" (Peter Knight) – 4:32
  9. "The Cruel Mother" – 5:36
  10. "Following Me" (Knight) – 3:38
  11. "The Fox" (Knight) – 3:02

UK track listing (Chrysalis):

  1. "Padstow" (Traditional) – 3:03
  2. "The Fox" (Knight) – 3:02
  3. "Two Butchers" (Johnson, Traditional) – 4:49
  4. "Following Me" (Knight) – 3:38
  5. "Seagull" (Peter Knight) – 4:32
  6. "The Cruel Mother" – 5:36
  7. "Jack Hall" (Bob Johnson, Traditional) – 3:57
  8. "Searching for Lambs" – 4:12
  9. "Shaking of the Sheets" (Johnson, Traditional) – 4:11
  10. "Reels: The First House in Connaught/Sailor's Bonnet" – 2:48
  11. "Betsy Bell and Mary Gray" (Child 201) – 4:59

Personnel[edit]

Guest musician

References[edit]

  1. ^ Monger, James Christopher. Tempted and Tried at AllMusic