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Strawbs - Strawberry Sampler number 1  CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

2.30 | 9 ratings

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2 stars A bit of flotsam and jetsam in the Strawbs' ocean, Sampler Number 1 was a demonstration record issued in 1969 featuring both material that was rejected for the Strawbs first A&M album, along with material from the aborted Sandy And The Strawbs sessions from 1967. The major difference between the material is the obvious inclusion of the great Sandy Denny on vocals and her absence as well as a good dose of over production in an effort to compensate on the material recorded later without her.

Once again, the material featuring Denny is better as it has an unmistakable group dynamic and is mostly upbeat acoustic folk rock. Highlights are "Sail Away To The Sea", "Two Weeks Last Summer" (Which would be resurrected later by Cousins on his first solo album) and Sandy's sublime first recording of "Who Knows Where The Time Goes?" Even the Cousins sung songs from these sessions are good and include "My Own Worst Friend" and "Nothing Else Will Do."

What doesn't work are the post Sandy songs that are strangled with all type of ornate orchestration and these include "All I Need Is You", "And You Need Me", "Josephine For Better or For Worse" and the absolutely garish "Oh Me, Oh My". "Josephine" would be re-recorded and go on to become a Strawbs concert staple while "Oh Me, Oh My" would be placed, unchanged, on the Grave New World album, where it remains forever out of place given the gravitas of that album.

An album that's half good seems to deserve a rating of 2.5 stars (rounded down to 2 stars) and that's just fine for the Strawbs' Sampler Number 1.

SteveG | 2/5 |


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