We took a trip down memory lane last night and went to see Steeleye Span.

I saw them often in my university days - I had long brown hair, a luxuriant 1970’s porn-star moustache and I jigged and sang along without a care in the world. 

Now, nearly forty years later, I’m more pawnbroker than porn star: my forehead’s grown through my hair, the ‘tache has morphed into a wiry grey beard and every song I try to sing along to is in the wrong bloomin’ key! O me miserum!

None of this has affected Steeleye, though, who, through frequent changes of line-up and the cross-fertilisation that’s the incestuous trope of the English folk scene, remain fresh and vibrant. 

Just one original member is left – vocalist Maddy Prior, now the de facto embodiment of Steeleye across the years.

The first half of their set revisited their entire first album, “Hark! The Village Wait,” from back even before my university days, and gave clear glimpses of the early electric folk-rock style that they’d make their own.

Steeleye always draw you into their gigs slowly – you wonder if things are going to be a bit dull, then gradually find your fingers drumming along to a rockin’ good bop. 

By half time, they’d hooked their audience, before upping the pace with some classic ballads in the second half – the metaphysical fairy story “Tam Lin; the dystopic medieval anti-Semitism of “Little Sir Hugh;” and some imaginative work from their album “Wintersmith,” a collaboration with the late Terry Pratchett. 

They stick to doing what they do best, without dwelling on the past – surely the secret of their longevity.

And did they do “that song?” 

Yes, of course they did, and we loved it and sang along and grinned like the young-un’s we once were.

And, for once, it was even in my key.

Chris Parkinson-Brown.