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Strawbs - Nomadness CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

2.54 | 75 ratings

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2 stars The Strawbs have been among my favourite bands since the early 1970s, and between the years '72 to '75 they released a cycle of classic albums: Grave New World; Bursting At The Seams; Hero And Heroine; Ghosts. However in 1975 they also brought out Nomadness, a rather lame and unremarkable effort. Following their North American tour of that year, the band members felt a change of musical direction was needed. Keyboardist John Hawken had already left the band and with him went the symphonic Mellotron drenched sound. Instead, the band produced a collection of mainly guitar based short songs, mostly of inferior quality. With Hawken absent a variety of guest musicians were employed to provide keys; notable among these was Rick Wakeman. Unfortunately the Mellotron, which Hawken had made liberal use of, was conspicuous by its absence on Nomadness.

The album kicks off with To Be Free; lyrically this is Dave Cousins at his acerbic best, but sonically it is not particularly interesting. The Dave Lambert penned Little Sleepy follows; this is little more than a standard rocker. Track 3, The Golden Salamander, is much more like vintage Strawbs. A wistful ballad featuring Cousins on electric dulcimer, this song sounds like a throwback to From The Witchwood and is arguably the best song here. Absent Friend is a slow blues... dullsville! Side One of the vinyl album concludes with Back On The Farm, a country tinged tune that is completely throwaway.

The second half of the album opens with So Shall Our Love Die. It's one of the better songs here, a typical Cousins folksy ballad. We then get Tokyo Rosie, another upbeat song. The addition of Rick Wakeman on electric harpsichord can't save this one from mediocrity. The Rod Coombes composition A Mind Of My Own is something of a political polemic and features some nice acoustic guitar. Track 9, Hanging In The Gallery, is no more than ok. The Promised Land thankfully brings things to a close. Written by bassist Chas Cronk and featuring Cousins and Lambert dueting on vocals, this is the most ambitious song on the album. Too little too late.

Nomadness has recently seen its official release on cd for the first time. This review is not based on that version, therefore I am unable to comment on the bonus tracks. In my opinion Nomadness is one for fans only. Anyone new to The Strawbs would be better starting with any one of the four classic albums named in the first paragraph of this review. Nomadness was the last album The Strawbs recorded for A&M... what a sorry end to a great relationship.

seventhsojourn | 2/5 |


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