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Strawbs - Heartbreak Hill [Aka: Starting Over] CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

2.74 | 36 ratings

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3 stars The Strawbs literally climbing a heart breaking hill. Most readers will be familiar with the circumstances surrounding this album. Recorded with multiple players in 1978 and never released until 1995, this is not one of the best loved Strawbs' albums from the 70's but it is hands and feet above Nomadness, Deep Cuts and the pathetic Deadlines albums.

Andy Richards was the only keyboard player unique and talented enough to ever replace John Hawken in the group (remembering that ivory keys wunderkind Wakeman did not reveal his prog genius until he joined Yes) and the album features two of the group's best (if virtually unknown) prog songs. The lead off track "Something For Nothing" is a loud angry song that's suffers from the lack of a catchy hook or riff, while Dave Cousins sounds too angry and over sings the verses and chorus. All in all, it's not a tune that sticks in our head even though it seems to go on forever. "Another Day Without You" is another forgettable pop love song in the same vain as "I Only Want My Love To Grow In You" form the wretched "Deep Cuts" album. "We Can Make It Together" is an odd song with a jagged bass rhythm and sounds like nascent new wave with Andy Richards' futuristic synths. The title track is quite good prog rock and features an almost Renaissance like bass, drums and keyboard section while the song "Starting Over" goes from a Genesis like bombastic intro to mellow dreamy passages and back. Good stuff, but perhaps too similar sounding to Genesis for some Strawbs fans.

"Two Lonely People" and "Let It Rain" sound like pop filler that was thrown together quickly in the studio with the latter featuring some R&B styled backing vocals from a guesting Miller Anderson. Not a great way to end the album. Aside from two good prog rock songs the other tracks are typical 70's AOR fare or pop, but if you liked the "Bursting At The Seams" album then you might enjoy "Heartbreak Hill", but I somehow doubt it as "Heartbreak Hill' lacks enough quality songs to match that near masterpiece. 3 generous stars.

SteveG | 3/5 |


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