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Strawbs - Dragonfly CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.14 | 90 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars "Close your eyes and go to sleep, the night will soon be gone. There'll be nothing here when the light goes out, that wasn't here when the light was on"

The Strawbs second album, "Dragonfly" saw the band retreating slightly, into their folk roots. This was not so much a strategic decision as a financial one, the record company declining to invest as heavily in the recording process as they did for the first album.

With the line up having been enhanced by the presence of Claire Deniz on cello (Sandy Denny is not the only female to have graced the band line up), Rick Wakeman was also brought in as a guest on piano on one track (prior to becoming a full band member for the next studio album, "From the Witchwood"). Wakeman, who at the time was a Sunday school teacher in London, was introduced to Dave Cousins by Tony Visconti, a well know American record producer based in London, who worked with the Strawbs on several occasions.

The first side of the LP has 5 well written but conventional folk based songs with lyrics focusing mainly on features of the countryside. Deniz's cello adds a pleasant dimension to tracks such as "The weary song" and producer Tony Visconti also plays recorder on two songs. Dave Cousins introduces the sound of the dulcimer here and there, but the music is based primarily around acoustic guitar.

The feature track is "The vision of the lady of the lake", an 11 minute track clearly inspired by Arthurian legend. It tells, in the form of a 14 (count them!) verse song, the tale of a man who is put through various trials. As his situation deteriorates, the music becomes darker and more disturbing (I won't spoil the ending!). The song is undoubtedly one of Dave Cousins most striking compositions ever, full of drama and passion while telling a damn good tale. The album closes with a very brief lullaby, whose entire lyrics are repeated above.

The strength of "Dragonfly" lies primarily in the potential of the song writing. There are clear indications throughout the album that the Strawbs are on the verge of something really special. There would be further changes to the line up before the next release, but the foundations laid here would be exploited beyond all expectations.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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