SOME forty years from her emergence on the late sixties folk club circuit, Maddy Prior is one of the most enduring, influential and respected artists in British music.

Excitingly, she's on her way to both Cheltenham and Malvern, and Maddy will arrive at those venues with a whole lot of talent and a whole load of folk-rock history behind her.

A spokesman said: "Born in Blackpool and, raised in St Albans, Maddy first came to prominence as a duo with singer and guitarist Tim Hart.

"As the 1970s dawned, they joined forces with Ashley Hutchings, of Fairport Convention fame, and Gay and Terry Woods, with the idea of fusing folk song with rock instrumentation and technique. The new group took its name from a traditional Lincolnshire ballad 'Horkstow Grange' - the tale of a character called Steeleye Span."

So began an incredible story.

The spokesman added: "Others may claim the invention of folk-rock, but Steeleye were the first to drag it into the electronic age. In the age of the giant rock band, Steeleye Span fitted the bill perfectly, taking folk music out of the backroom clubs and into the charts with a string of hit albums, gold discs and world tours.

"Hart and Prior remained constant in a group whose changing line-ups read like a Who's who of British folk, until Tim left in 1980 and the band undertook a couple of sabbaticals, before returning in 1986."

Nearly 40 years on, Maddy is still out touring.

One date for the diary is for The Playhouse in Cheltenham, on March 24. Tickets on 01242 522852.

Another date is for March 26 at Malvern Cube.

Tickets on 01684 575363 and