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Strawbs - Sandy Denny And The Strawbs: All Our Own Work CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

2.78 | 36 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
2 stars My review is based on the original vinyl, and I really don't see a reason to upgrade. For one thing, the CD version seems to track the "Sandy and the Strawbs" CD-only release from around 1990 rather than remain faithful to the original. For another, in spite of its arguable status as the first British folk rock album (not release), it's really more of a musty bespectacled historian's fancy. Pairing Cousins' compositions with female vocals is like picking Peter Hammill over Annie Haslam to sing in Renaissance. So much of Cousins' own angst comes through in his interpretations, and Sandy Danny sounds bright and cheery for the most part. She was made for Fairport, a group with a much more communal structure and much less sense of direction.

Not surprisingly, the best of the lot comes in the form of the few tracks that are precursors to Cousins' story songs, such as the brilliant "How Everyone but Sam was a Hypocrite". But even Tony Hooper weighs in on the quintessential Beatles-esque piece "Always on My Mind". Elsewhere, Sandy tries unsuccessfully to turn "Tell me What You See in Me" into a piece of sunny flower power optimism of the sort against which Cousins spoke in "Round and Round" 6 short years later.

If you are seeking more clues as to the origins of Strawbs, the "Preserves Uncanned" set is a better bet, but if you like Sandy Denny's voice and simple 1960s tunes, this grassroots effort could be a lost gem for you.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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