Four Nights Drunk - Steeleye Span - Ten Man Mop Or Mr. Reservoir Butler Rides Again
Label: Talking Elephant Records - TECD316 • Format: CD Album, Reissue • Country: UK • Genre: Rock, Folk, World, & Country •
Ten Man Mop or Mr. It was issued on the short-lived Pegasus label, and then the Mooncrest label, also in Crest 9. It was not initially issued in the US until Chrysalis acquired the group's first three albums inwhen it reissued all three in the UK and Four Nights Drunk - Steeleye Span - Ten Man Mop Or Mr. Reservoir Butler Rides Again. It was the last album to feature founding member Ashley Hutchings ; he left the band in Novemberjust after its completion, partly because he felt that the album had moved too far toward Irish music and away from English music.
The band was also considering touring America, and Hutchings was reluctant to make the trip. The album begins with an adaptation of the Christmas carol " Gower Wassail ". It is also an Irish variant Four Nights Drunk - Steeleye Span - Ten Man Mop Or Mr. Reservoir Butler Rides Again a tune that inspired " Streets of Laredo " and " St. James Infirmary Blues ".
The last song, " Skewball ", employs an effective counterpoint between a banjo and an electric guitar. The album was notable for having a textured "gatefold" sleeve and inner pages on its original release. This was paid for by the band but cost more to print than the album generated in profits, meaning the band lost money on each album sold. It appeared as such on the Pegasus and Mooncrest labels. None of the re-releases have included the original number of pages of liner notes.
The album's curious title and subtitle require some explanation. A 'mop' or ' mop fair ' is a late medieval term for a job fair, where labourers come looking for work. The song "Copshawholme Fair", from the band's first album Hark! The Village Waitis about such a fair. The conceit was that the band was out of work and job-hunting.
A 'ten man mop' would be a very poor show, since there would be few potential employees to choose from. The even more curious subtitle is a reference to Reservoir Butler, who had originally performed one of the songs covered on the album. The band was so struck by his unusual name that they decided it needed to be saved from obscurity. The photograph on the sleeve was taken by John Benjamin Stone in about Entitled "'Sippers' and 'Topers'", it is of two villagers at the Bidford Mop, an annual fair held at Michaelmas in the village of Bidford-on-AvonWarwickshire.
The village has a centuries-old reputation for heavy drinking. The quality of the recording was quite variable, but the bonus tracks include a number of pieces not released on any album.
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