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Strawbs - From The Witchwood CD (album) cover

FROM THE WITCHWOOD

Strawbs

 

Prog Folk

4.00 | 168 ratings

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The Lost Chord
4 stars 8.8/10 Great

Whoa! The jump is being made, for sure, from simple folk rock melodic songs to a more prog-rock take on things. This, for me, means somewhat of a struggle in finding a new sound, but for such an astounding band there is still brilliance all over this album. And by God Tony Hooper is sticking around, thank God!! I just love this man's vocals to death, and I recommend anyone who buys this album to play close attention to his strong vocals, and don't just let him be a passerby next to Dave Cousins!

This album is inferior to Antiques in my eyes. I feel Antinuqes was the peak of the folkish style the band was into at the time, and this album is a diverging from that. To my knowledge, Tony Hooper was not a fan of the prog sounds, and was a firm believer in the peaceful, folk, original style that the band had on Strawbs, Dragonly and Antiques especially. Tony's passion is certainly here, and he is interested in this style and performs great when it is at it's most folkiest moments, but "Grave New World" would be the nail in the coffin for him, straying much to far from the original band ideals.

"From The Witchwood" is a great album with some amazing tracks, and some tracks I feel are attempts at change and a little strugglesome. The darkness found on "Sheep", "Cannondale" and the overall drab moods on here are not as much to my liking as other albums. This feels to me a bit disjointed, with the powerfuly joyous opener, "A Glimpse of Heaven", I would've hoped for more tracks in this veing than not. Still, every song is great in it's own right, especially "Witchwood", "The Hangman and the Papist", "In Amongst the Roses" and my absolute favorite, "I'll Carry On Beside You". If you cannot handle the rather depressing emotions of the album, "I'll Carry On Beside You" is a showstopper and a great Tony Hooper track routing us back to the good ol' days of Antiques and pure joyous folk rock tunes.

The transition to prog would be made strongly though on the next few albums, and some necessary changes in sound and style will be made. Will it be only a year until their Grande Masterpiece, "Grave New World", would come into play? Pretty shocking, wish I was alive to be there first hand! "From the Witchwood" brings an entirely new mood to the Strawbs, and is a really great album overall, but only a start in a new sound for the band that will ultimately bring them their ultimate greatness!

The Lost Chord | 4/5 |

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