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Strawbs - Hero And Heroine CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.16 | 302 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!!

Let's face it, can we still call this a Strawbs album? Only Cousins remains from the disastrous (artistically because commercially it was their best but their fortunes had crossed the Atlantic and were veering towards country rock) BATS album and even ex-Renaissance Hawken with its Trons orgies will not save the day. With the abandon of their folk days and with every album passing, The Strawbs are sounding more and more like second league BJH, Camel, Rare Bird and also-ran Fruup etc. Worse, they sound like Genesis and Moody Blues wannabes. But at least for this album, they will drop a bit their country rock sound they had acquired - Hawken is classically trained and probably did not care for those influences.

The mini-suite' has some moments but progheads will like it mostly because it is a mellotrons orgy, but if you take those away the track is just average and the honey-dripping lyrics are sickening. This lyric problem is actually ruining the whole album because of a weak excuse of a concept about love and the passing of the seasons. Sad Young Man (written by newcomer and drummer Coombes) is one of the better tracks and this alone should give you an idea on the quality of Cousins composing abilities by now. Two tracks sound like they were recorded by a lumber-jacking Status Quo if it was not for one or two tricky time sigs. The Strawbs keep on the Gabriel-Moody Blues verse-chorus, and by the fourth track they piano-organ duo (lifted from Procol Harum) is like flogging a dead horse. The title track is rather above average compared to the rest of the album, but again I suspect the Trons to be the culprit. Short, pastoral and folky Midnight Sun is breath of fresh air and brings you back to their early days, but this is unfortunately offset by the country-ish follow-up (mostly due to the harmonica) and the closer is also noteworthy. The rest of the tracks are best left un-mentioned.

If I am a bit harsh with this period of Strawbs, it is to prove a point, that most of the mid-70's Strawbs albums are NOT classics and rather deceiving for the demanding proghead. If you are of the other persuasion, then these will likely appeal to you. For me, by now, they were long history by this album as they had completely lost their soul. In the 90's The Strawbs have become little more than a country rock band as their DVD shows. How the mighty have fallen.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |


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