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Strawbs - Dancing To The Devil's Beat CD (album) cover

DANCING TO THE DEVIL'S BEAT

Strawbs

 

Prog Folk

3.26 | 25 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars The cycle is completed

While the previous The Broken Hearted Bride harked back to the glorious era of Hero And Heroine and Ghosts (the two albums that represent the progressive peak of Strawbs' long career), Dancing To The Devil's Beat instead goes all the way back to the band's humble Folk Rock beginnings in the late 60's and early 70's. This seems to have been quite deliberate as 2009 marked the 40th anniversary of the release of the band's self-titled debut album. The nostalgic booklet even features a picture of the band in 1969 and another one of them in 2009 right next to it, inviting the listener to evaluate how they have aged. A funny thing is that the 1969 picture features a certain Rick Wakeman (who was a member of Strawbs in their early days) and the 2009 picture features none other than Rick's son Oliver Wakeman who had just joined Strawbs for this album! The resemblance in uncanny and the whole setup is slightly humorous. The sleeve picture of an ice cream-eating dog is probably the worst in the band's whole career!

For me, the present album was a clear disappointment after the excellent and much more symphonic and progressive The Broken Hearted Bride from the previous year. As I said above, while that album reminded me of the most progressive era of band in the mid-70's, the present album harks back to the very early days when Wakeman senior was a member of the band. Maybe I am exaggerating a little bit to drive home a point, but it is probably right to say that the music here is Folk Rock rather than Prog Rock. Still, this is not a bad album as such and there are some nice moments. The few places where Wakeman junior gets to express himself stand out.

Approach this album with some caution unless you are a fan! 2008's The Broken Hearted Bride, and even 2004's Deja Fou and 2003's Blue Angel are better albums to start with if you want to discover latter day Strawbs.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |

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