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Strawbs - Deep Cuts CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

2.76 | 65 ratings

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Andrea Cortese
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Well, in the last few weeks the interest of many progheads increased on this classic UK band. Thanks to a prog folk thread on the forum. Me, on my side, I've expressed many times all my appreciation for their classic discography and I'm part of those who don't care too much of the various line up changings. I, otherwise, think their electric progression in one of their peculiar trade marks, along with the unique vocals of the leader, David Cousin. So, I have never thought their classic period ends with Grave New World, which is and still remains, by the way, the most favourite of mine. With Bursting at the Seams on, they start to let mellotron take the scene, adding some more mainstream songs, alternating with strong and convincing prog gifts as, for example, "The Life Auction", "Autumn" and "Down by the Sea".

What really stands as a turning point for the band is the departure of keyboardist John Hawken (ex Renaissance) who left Strawbs as a quartet after the release of the wonderful (and beloved) "Ghosts", in 1975. Then, I repeat then, the music rapidly evolves into a more pop format. And even if some think "Deep Cuts" is still an excellent album, it cannot be considered out of that cathegory. It's clear from the very first minute that things are change, definitely. "I Only Want My Love to Grow in You" shows very well that the band is searching to capture the audience with something simpler and more accessible that ever was (a lovely song, though). Kirby, Mealing and Holmes, as three guests keyboardists, don't help to avoid the fate. Keyboards are always too light and fails to create (rectius, to re-creat) the Strawbs usual deep atmosphere.

Some very good tracks remain ("The Soldier's Tale" and "Simple Visions") and a classic is added to the Strawbs cathalogue: the excellent closer "Beside the Rio Grande" that, for a while at least, made me think of some previous glory as "The Hangman and the Papist". Not for the music, though, but for the lyrics and the tale itself...

Above all, are guitars and a US' light flavour just to remember that story does not repeat...not to mention the bonus track on this cd reissue...a Lambert one, "You Won't See the Light", a must for all the pop funk lovers...!

Good, sometime very good, but no comparison can be made with all their stuff until "Ghosts".

Andrea Cortese | 3/5 |


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