Two bands of the same decade separated only by an ocean and a few letters of the alphabet. How could they turn out so different? I guess it’s one of those mysteries of life.
Steely Dan, Josie, from Aja (1977)
Steeleye Span, The Weaver and the Factory Maid, from Parcel of Rogues (1973)
Actually, there is some thematic consistency between the two songs. Gurls! Anyway, according to my painstaking research (a couple of Google searches) I am not the only person who got a little confused by the similarity in the names. When I first heard about Steely Dan in the mid ’70s my first thought was, “You mean Steeleye Span?” A friend had introduced me to the latter a few years before. Steeleye Span is apparently still active. It’s not my genre of choice, but they certainly do what they do really well. It’s been decades since I listened to their stuff. The album I remember is Please to See the King.
Note It was really hard to figure out the meter of The Weaver and the Factory Maid from about 1:00 (when the tempo kicks in), but I think I finally did. Every verse of the song has 45 beats, divided like this: 10/8, 10/8, 10/8, 10/8, 5/8. It’s a pretty complex rhythm for a folk song!