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Strawbs - Strawberry Sampler number 1  CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

2.30 | 9 ratings

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2 stars One of three late 1960s STRAWBS albums with a very similar track list, "Strawberry Sampler" has a lower Sandy Denny vocal presence than "All Our Own Work" and "Sandy and the Strawbs". Her performances seem closer to those on the other albums, while the Cousins' and Hooper songs are sometimes dominated by orchestra in the manner of arty pop music. Most of those tracks were rejects from the first A&M Strawbs album, as executives were searching for a more psychedelic folky groove.

It's hard to recommend any one of the three recordings above the others. This one is more artifice than article because of the different sources, and the objective of marketing Strawbs as songwriters worthy of adaptation by accomplished pop vocalists. This also makes it arguably more eclectic and a better advertisement for the group's breadth. It was also so rare in vinyl form that it retains a certain cachet that the others cannot match. Still, progressive it isn't, and the bluegrass derivations are nowhere to be found The only heretofore unavailable track is "Whichever Way the Wind Blows", an innocent and precious product of its time, and only lovable as such, while the most progressive outings are the haunting "Two Weeks Last Summer" and the ingeniously miserable "I turned my face to the wind". Others like "On Growing Older" and "Ah me Ah My" appear in identical or superior form on "Grave New World". "Josephine for Better or Worse" with its 80 piece backing brass band gives the best clues as to how the group blew its A&M advance on their self titled album and had to record the sophomore "Dragonfly" on a shoestring. It wasn't money well spent.

Unless you are a completist or the above description is appealing, this is probably a larger sample of the SANDY DENNY era than you will ever need.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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