I’d always thought that Levelling the Land represented a chart peak for The Levellers. Clearly I’d failed to observe that its self-titled follow-up reached number 2 in 1993, while 1995’s Zeitgeist went one better on the back of a TV ad campaign - not something you might expect from a vaguely anarchic collection of musicians most likely named after a political and military movement active around the time of the English Civil War, whose stated aims were to improve equality, suffrage and religious tolerance.
But success be damned! Levelling the Land included not only the excellent fiddle-a-long 15 Years (technically, this is only half true - it was not included on the album originally, but was added after its success in the singles chart), but the song that is possibly every non-Levellers fan’s least favourite earworm, One Way. And the 15 Years EP itself includes not only the title track (obviously) but also Dance Before The Storm with its spoken word verse and naive messages of suggestion, a rip-roaring live version of Levelling the Land album track Riverflow, and finishes with a ramshackle take on Ed Rush and George Cromarty’s fifties folk satire/spoof Plastic Jesus, renamed on the EP to Plastic Jeezus.
Listening to it all for the first time in a long time, all I can think is - whatever happened to folk rock?