Last modified:
Sat, 14 Mar 2015 15:58:26 +1300

Variant Editions of Steeleye Span's “Now We Are Six”

For reasons that remain a mystery to me, there are two versions of Steeleye Span's 'Now We Are Six' album.

I picked up my vinyl LP on a trip to England, and was later surprised to find back in New Zealand that my edition differed significantly from that released there: the tracks are in a different order, and 'Thomas the rhymer' is a much longer version on the UK release. ('Thomas the rhymer' was released as a single and it is this shorter version that appears)

The album cover for 'Now We Are Six' is a small work of art by Shirtsleeve Studio depicting an old painting of birds in a tree (the birds have the band members' faces) and on the back, the back of the painting, complete with stuck on labels listing the tracks.

On the UK version the tracks are listed in the order:

Side 1 Side 2
1. Seven Hundred Elves 1. The Mooncoin Jig
2. Edwin 2. Long-A-Growing
3. Drink Down The Moon 3. Two Magicians
4. Now We Are Six 4. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
5. Thomas The Rhymer 5. To Know Him Is To Love Him

UK Label, detail

On the record labels however the order is:

Side 1 Side 2
1. Seven Hundred Elves 1. The Mooncoin Jig
2. Drink Down The Moon 2. Edwin
3. Now We Are Six 3. Long-A-Growing
4. Thomas The Rhymer 4. Two Magicians
5. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
6. To Know Him Is To Love Him

which is the order actually appearing on the record. (The record also has "PRODUCTION CONSULTANTS PROVE POINTS" and "ROBIN PORKY MEL IAN" scratched into the vinyl inside the runout track.)

On the NZ version the tracks are listed in the order:

Side 1 Side 2
1. Thomas The Rhymer 1. The Mooncoin Jig
2. Two Magicians 2. Drink Down The Moon
3. Edwin 3. Long-A-Growing
4. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 4. Now We Are Six
5. Seven Hundred Elves 5. To Know Him Is To Love Him

on both the cover and the label.

NZ Label, detail

The record covers appear identical except that the 'stuck on' labels with the track listings are different.

This, plus the different versions of 'Thomas The Rhymer' seem to show that someone went to some trouble to release two different versions of the album. Alas, the CD releases are nearly all of the second version (with the shorter 'Thomas The Rhymer'). I understand that there is a CD release of "Now We Are Six" with the full version, but I have not yet managed to lay my hands on it. Certainly the Shanachie release has the short version.

However, the "A Rare Collection 1972-1996" album does include the long version, along with much else That Is Good.

It does not help that most retailers are completely unaware that different versions exist.