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Dave Cousins - Two Weeks Last Summer CD (album) cover


Dave Cousins


Prog Folk

3.66 | 23 ratings

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4 stars Even before the traumatic split of Strawbs in 1973, the group had been subject to a variety of opposing interests within its ranks. Thus Dave Cousins took the time to record a solo album in the summer of 1972, in which non Strawbs musicians, many of them UK heavyweights, would guest. While more of a diverse agglomeration than the contemporary works of the mother group, this album could easily be taken as a Strawbs production since Cousins' vocals are so distinctive. It also features some of his best songs in their best arrangements

The highlights are many, including the space folk of the title cut with key jangling and Cousins softest voice. The epic "Blue Angel", is more raw than the Strawbs' version that appeared 30 years later, and preferable to my ears. While it is a suite, each section is terminated by the same chorus to provide continuity. Miller Anderson and Rick Wakeman provide solid lead guitar and keyboard backing for Cousins' top notch poetry. It's certainly one of the best single tracks in the extended Strawbs family. "That's the Way it Ends" benefits from Robert Kirby's strings and winds and several lovely melodies, with only a half minute of muffled voice appearing at the end.

While the CD age juxtaposition of the latter gentle number with the hard rocking "The Actor" is overly jarring, it must be noted that "The Actor" kicked off side 2 on the original LP. It's probably Cousins best hard rock number, sounding totally convincing and enhanced by warbled processed vocals and a powerful melodic chorus. Anderson steals the show at times with his monkey-like guitar sounds, no doubt reflecting the Actor's ability to impersonate everyone but himself. "Ways and Means" and "We'll Meet again Sometime" have become oft recorded Strawbs classics over time, and I much prefer this version of "We'll Meet.." over any other, thanks to its dual guitar orientation and Anderson's delightfully played slide guitar. The album wraps up with the poor hard rocker "I'm Going Home". Unlike "Thank you" on "Bursting at the Seams", this is not supposed to be a novelty song, yet it can be cast off at the first listen.

It's hard to decide what rating to give here, but I think this is an excellent disc that also has an important historical place in Strawbs' canon. Ultimately, because of one poor song and a couple of ok songs, and to avoid deliberating on it for a fortnight, I will round down to 4 stars.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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