The group was formed around 1972, and could be heard for the first time on record as a backing band for the northern English folksinger Tony Capstick on his LP entitled HIS ROUND (Rubber Records/Rub 002). At that time, the group was comprised of Jed Grimes (guitars), Martin Jenkins (violin & mandolin), Michael Doonan (flutes), and the husband-and-wife team of Stu Luckley (bass) and Margi Luckley (vocals). As with early Steeleye Span, there was as yet no drummer in the band. Doonan, son of the renowned traditional Northumbrian piccolo player John Doonan, and Jenkins, previously with the folk-rock group Dando Shaft, helped' give the new band credentials sufficient enough to merit a signing in their own right to the same small Newcastle-based folk music label that had recorded Tony Capstick, namely Rubber Records Ltd.
Hedgehog Pie's self-titled first album (RUB 009), engineered by Keith Herd and produced by the aforementioned Puck Kemp, was recorded in September 1974, but not released until the following year. Its ten tracks were divided into four instrumentals -generally featuring Doonan's flute, Jenkins on mandolin, a plucked electric bass, and a heavily strummed electric guitar (in the style used by Richard Thompson on Fairport's "Tarn Lin") - and six vocal tracks. Of the latter, side one's "Mariners" (performed in an arrangement later adopted by Fairport for their album TIPPLERS' TALES), and "Rosemary Lane," (a Bert Jansch favorite, performed here in a style quite reminiscent of Fairport's "Crazy Man Michael"), along with side two's "Jack Orion" (complete with instrumental passages between the verses just as Fairport was to do later) are among the high points. Listening to Margi Luckley on the first and third of these ballads would easily allow her to be mistaken for Maddy Prior. Indeed, her voice, even in the quieter passages, portrays the same gutsy quality rather than the more delicate breathy sound of a Sandy Denny. As a final note about these early sessions, a tune inexplicably omitted from this LP - the traditional instrumental "Drops of Brandy" - was subsequently issued on disc one of the four-record ELECTRIC MUSE set on Island/Transatlantic.
The critical success (versus the commercial success that it was not) of their self-titled album, accompanied by generous praise of their live performances, was encouragement enough for Hedgehog Pie to contemplate making another LP. By this time a drummer named Dik (Alan Dixon) had joined the band. THE GREEN LADY came in a laminated gatefold sleeve with a colorful cover painting, and various monochrome photographs of the band performing and in the studio on the inside Again boasting ten tracks, the four instrumentals suggested a new direction for the band, moving away from a strictly traditional style to incorporating jazz and hard rock elements. These new ingredients were especially evident on the vocal tracks. Side two's "The Gardener" (trad.), "Daemon Merchant" (Doonan), and Dreamer (Jenkins), served to free the band from their purer folk roots. Only the title tune, which could easily have passed for a Steeleye Span recording, and the preceding instrumental, "Hunter's House/The Oak Tree," sounded like holdovers from earlier sessions.
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