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Strawbs - Live At The BBC Vol Two: In Concert CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.00 | 4 ratings

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4 stars The second of the Strawbs's Live at the BBC: In Concert is just what this double CD features. Outtakes from three concerts dating from 1971, 1973 and 1974 are featured and include the group's best known and appreciated songs from the album's From the Witchwood, Grave New World, Bursting at the Seams and the group's prog masterpiece Hero and Heroine. All of the essential songs from Hangman And The Papist, New Word, Down By The Sea through to all album highlights from Hero and Heroine are included. Along with the stellar lineups that first committed these classic songs to tape.

As with Vol One, Vol Two's material was well rehearsed and played again owing to the need to present decent sounding album tracks to the British public who were restricted from listening to actual album cuts or singles due to the BBC 'needle time" restrictions with the UK's Musician's Union.

Rick Wakeman is only present for the first concert from 1971 but he shines as usual as does his replacements Blue Weaver and John Hawken who demonstrate that both were masters of their Mellotrons as well as great pianists. Highlights of these concerts include an a wonderful instrumental piano into organ jam featuring Wakeman titled RMW, which I initially thought was Wakeman's initials until I discovered that his middle name is Christopher (!), along with an great 6 minute extended organ jam on the coda to the song Sheep. Pure gorgeous prog!

Highlights from the John Hawken era group feature a few older songs such as New Word and The River/Down By the Sea that are magnificent with Hawken's incredible Mellotron, complete with choir setting, virtually exceeds the orchestrated album cuts found on Bursting at the Seams album. This group naturally does justice to all of the Hero and Heroine tracks as this incarnation features all of the players found on the Hero And Heroine album, and are at the top of their game.

The addition of rocker dave Lambert for the 1973 and 1974 concerts definitely gives a greater overall vocal delivery from the group as well as the obvious shift to a more rocking (and louder) sound.

My sole complaint with Live at The BBC Vol Two is some uneven vocal mixing on a few songs of each concert, but overall, it's a great concert presentation of the Strawbs that features all three of the group's stellar keyboardists for comparison as well as listening pleasure. We again return to the question of how essential is this album to Strawbs' fans. I would have to say that it is very essential based on the diversity of the material, the diversity of the performers from different eras, the quality of the performances and the excellent re-mastered sound. 4 stars.

SteveG | 4/5 |


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