Maddy Prior

Maddy Prior

Infobox musical artist
Name = Maddy Prior

Background = solo_singer
Born = birth date and age|1947|8|14
Origin = Blackpool, Lancashire, England
Instrument = Vocals
Genre = Folk rock, Electric Folk, Folk
Occupation = Singer, Dancer
Years_active = 1967—present
Label = Park
Associated_acts = Steeleye Span Maddy Prior and Tim Hart Brass Monkey The Carnival Band
URL = []

Maddy Prior (born 14 August 1947, Blackpool, England) is an English folk singer.

Early life

Born in Blackpool, Prior moved in her teens to St Albans, where she befriended the young Donovan Leitch and Mac MacLeod. She later formed a duo with MacLeod called Mac & Maddy. She became a roadie for visiting American musicians, including Reverend Gary Davis. They gave her useful advice about singing British folk songs instead of American songs. She decided not to copy the repertoire of Joan Baez, as Baez was already the undisputed mistress of it.

Maddy's father

Maddy's father, Allan Prior, was co-creator of the police drama "Z-Cars". Allan Prior also wrote "Stookie", a 6-part series for television, about a boy with his arm in a sling. Maddy sang the title song, which was released as a single in 1985. It reappeared on the Steeleye Span album "Rarities 1972 - 96".

inging career

In 1966 she began performing with Tim Hart, another St Albans resident, and together they recorded two albums before becoming founding members of Steeleye Span in 1970. They were the backbone of the group until the early 1980s when ill-health forced Tim into semi-retirement. Apart from the tambourine Prior doesn't play an instrument, but she always gives a sprightly performance of her individual dances. In 1974 Ralph McTell wrote "Maddy Dances" in her honour, included on his album "Easy".

Prior married bassist Rick Kemp; the singer Rose Kemp is their daughter.

Although best known as the powerful contralto in Steeleye Span, Prior has recorded session work, albums of her own songs and eclectic styles from medieval, through electric folk, prog-rock and traditional songs, including session work on Mike Oldfield's "Incantations". She left Steeleye Span in 1997 but returned in 2002. The 1999 album "The Journey" was recorded in 1995, when Maddy was still in the band but not released until four years later. She was also one half of the duo Silly Sisters, which helped to launch June Tabor's career as a folk singer.

Since 2003, Prior has run and hosted an Arts Centre called Stones Barn in Cumbria. Working with fellow singers and performers like Abbie Lathe and Rose Kemp, Maddy has offered residential courses focusing on singing, meditation, cookery and performance. Other events, hosted by other teachers, include classical Indian dances, painting and drumming. Maddy campaigns on behalf of the charity Cancer UK.

Recent tours and albums

Prior took to the road with the Carnival Band in May 2007 for their "Music for Tavern and Chapel" tour. They celebrated the 300th anniversary of one of the key influences on their work, Charles Wesley. She made a guest appearance with The Levellers at the Solfest Festival in Cumbria in August 2007. On recent albums Troy Donockley has been a co-producer.

In December 2007 the album "Ringing The Changes" was issued. It is a collection of songs written by the band. On her website - - Maddy has revealed that she is undergoing treatment for skin cancer.


In 2001 Prior was awarded the MBE for services to folk music.


With Steeleye Span

Prior was on all the Steeleye Span albums from "Hark! The Village Wait" (1970) to "Time" (1996). She then returned for "Present--The Very Best of Steeleye Span" (2002) and subsequent albums.

olo albums

*"Woman in the Wings" (1978) - with Jethro Tull
*"Changing Winds" (1978)
*"Hooked on Winning" (1982)
*"Going for Glory" (1983)
*"Happy Families" (as 'Maddy Prior and Rick Kemp') (1990)
*"Year" (1993)
*"Memento" (best of) (1995)
*"Flesh and Blood" (1997)
*"Ravenchild" (1999)
*"Ballads and Candles" (2000)
*"Arthur the King" (2001)
*"Bib and Tuck" (2002) - As 'Maddy Prior And The Girls' with Abbie Lathe and Rose Kemp
*"Lionhearts" (2003)
*"Under the Covers" (2005) - As 'Maddy + Girls' with Abbie Lathe and Claudia Gibson
*"Paradise Found (2007)
*"The Quest" (2007) (CD + DVD)


*"Collections 1995 - 2005" (2005)

Tim Hart and Maddy Prior

*"Folk Songs of Olde England" vol 1 (1968)
*"Folk Songs of Olde England" vol 2 (1968)

Maddy Prior and Tim Hart

*"Summer Solstice" (1971)

Maddy Prior and June Tabor

*"Silly Sisters" (1976)
*"No More To The Dance" (1988)

Maddy Prior, John Kirkpatrick and Sydney Carter

*"Lovely in the Dances" (1981)

=Maddy Prior and The Carnival Band=

*"A Tapestry of Carols" (1986)
*"Sing Lustily And With Good Courage" (1990)
*"Carols and Capers" (1991)
*"Hang Up Sorrow and Care" (1995)
*"Carols at Christmas" (1996)
*"Gold Frankincense and Myrrh" (2001)
*"An Evening of Carols and Capers" (2006)
*"Paradise Found" (2007)
*"Ringing the Changes" (2007)

Maddy Prior and Martin Carthy

*"Beat the Retreat" (1994) Maddy Prior and Martin Carthy perform two songs, "Farewell, Farewell", and "The Great Valerio" on this Richard Thompson tribute album.

Maddy Prior singles

*1. "Rollercoaster/ I Told You So" (1978)
*2. "Baggy Pants/ Woman in the Wings" (1978)
*3. "Just the Two of Us/ Acappella Stella" (1979)
*4. "Wake up England/ Paradise" (1980)
*5. "The King/ Ringing Down the Years" (1980)
*6. "To Face/ Half Listening" (1982)
*7. "Deep in the Darkest Night/ Western Movies" (1983)
*8. "Stookie/ Incidental Music From "Stookie" (1985)
*9. "Happy Families/ Who's Sorry Now?" (1990)
*10. "I Saw Three Ships/ Quem Pastores/ Monsieur Charpentier's Christmas Swing" (1991)
*11. "I Saw Three Ships (Dance Doctor's Christmas Re-Mix)/ The Boar's Head/ Poor Little Jesus" (1992)
*12. "All Around My Hat" (1996)
*13. "Forgiveness" (2000)
*14. "Gaudete/ Greenwood Side/ Gaudete (extended mix)" (2001)
*15. "Stuff" (2007)

*10 by Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band.
*12 by Status Quo with Maddy Prior (other tracks without Maddy Prior).
*13 by Jennifer Cutting All-Stars (Jennifer Cutting, Maddy Prior, John Jennings and Dave Mattacks)
*14 by Keltic Fusion (Troy Donockley, Nick Holland, Rose Kemp, Jacqui McShee and Maddy Prior.):Maddy's voice is sampled
*15 by Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band featuring oddly enough Terry Jones


*"Ballads and Candles" (2004)
*"An Evening of Carols and Capers" (2005)
*"Looking For a Grail Legend" (2007) (documentary)

As a session or guest singer

She appeared on these albums:
*Shirley Collins: "No Roses" (1971)
*Jack The Lad: "It's Jack The Lad" (1974)
*Jethro Tull: "" (1976)
*Wizz Jones: "Magical Flight" (1977)
*Mike Oldfield: "Incantations" (1978)
*Mike Oldfield: "Exposed" (1979) live album, re-released in 2005 on DVD-Video
*Tim Hart and Friends: "My Very Favourite Nursery Rhymes" (1981)
*Tim Hart and Friends: "The Drunken Sailor and other Kids Favourites" (1983)
*Frankie Armstrong: "Till The Grass O'Ergrew The Corn" (1996)
*Rev Hammer's Freeborn John: The Story of John Lilburne-The Leader of the Levellers (1997)
*Jennifer Cutting: "Ocean: Songs for the Night Sea Journey" (2005)
*Rev Hammer - Freeborn John Live (2007)

External links

* [ Official site]
* [ Stones Barn]
* [ Maddy Prior's Record Label]
* [ The Carnival Band]

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