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Strawbs - All Our Own Work CD (album) cover

ALL OUR OWN WORK

Strawbs

 

Prog Folk

2.66 | 23 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars "Who know where the time goes"

This album only saw the light of day well after the Strawbs and Sandy Denny had gone their separate ways, and both had become famous. Cousins apparently heard Denny singing in a folk club, and was so taken by her voice he immediately persuaded her to join the group. She therefore takes lead vocal on the majority of the tracks, Cousins distinctive vocals only coming to the fore occasionally. The album was eventually released on a budget label to exploit the subsequent success of the band, thus rather underplaying the significance of the work.

Cousins apparently had considerable difficulty at the time in securing a record deal for the group. By the time he had done so, Denny had left to join folk rock band Fairport Convention. (She also sang on "The Battle of Evermore" from the great Led Zeppelin IV album.)

There is none of the folk prog which the band developed in the 1970's here, this is an acoustic folk album. In truth, only the perennial Dave Cousins links the Strawbs as they appear here with the band which recorded "Ghosts" and "Hero and Heroine". Tony Hooper who was instrumental in ensuring the early folk influences of the band were retained on their first few albums, is also present. Sandy Denny also plays a strong part in giving this album its strong folk sound. Understandably, the album sounds somewhat different to the rest of the Strawbs output, which is dominated by the distinctive vocals of Cousins.

An early recording of one of Denny's finest songs, "Who know where the time goes", is included. While it sounds similar to the version later recorded by Fairport Convention, the slightly faster tempo and string accompaniment make it easy to distinguish between the two.

The version of "Tell me what you see in me", here is radically different to the much more powerful one which was re-recorded by the Strawbs in the 1990's, The version here is a simple laid back folk interpretation . "And you need me" is a Cousins penned soft ballad, once again sung by Denny, and is probably the best track on the album.

Tony Hooper gets to sing on a couple of occasions, including the verses of "On my way" and the lovely "Always on my mind" (not the Willie Nelson song by the way).

The album was re-released as Sandy Denny and the Strawbs in 1991, with slightly revised tracks. "Sweetling", which sees Hooper sounding more than a little like George Harrison, and "Wild strawberries", a banjo picking number, were dropped. They were replaced by "I've been my own worst friend" the sorry tale of "Poor Jimmy Wilson", and "Two weeks last summer", a slightly trippy, Pentangle like number, which became the title of Cousins only solo album.

This album will be of interest to Strawbs fans, as it is a fascinating look at their roots. For others though, only those who also have a strong love of acoustic folk music should indulge.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |

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