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Strawbs - Grave New World CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.16 | 355 ratings

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Frankie Flowers
5 stars Grave New World was quite a revelation when I first heard it when it came out. So much so that I carefully copied the Strawbs logo complete with fruit and painted it on to my bedroom wall - my dad wasn't too chuffed!

This treasure is one of the best by Strawbs. It's full of obscure symbolism and Dave Cousins' unique brand of mysticism - to the point where I'm still not entirely sure what one or two of the songs are actually about - but how much does that matter? You can certainly feel a lot of power throughout and often make up your own visions here as overall it depicts the story of one man's life. The outstanding opening piece - Benedictus - has always been special for me - as well as for other fans. It's just a lovely tune with wonderful lyrics and for me sums up how you live your life.

The rest of the record has many smashing, well-crafted tracks that complement each other: some jolly and sing-along, which bring in some humour, others are thoughtful and reflective, some full of venom and bitterness. I love the "Hey Little Man" songs in which a man talks to his son about having fun together without a care in the world. Very nice touch indeed.

"Queen Of Dreams" is simply magical and another favourite. "New World" is really amazing too. Dave's voice is at its best - very powerful, wide ranging but controlled. The arrangements in the songs are also fantastic. As well as the folk influences, they have the psychedelic flavours that was on both "Witchwood" and their first album; just enough to make things interesting without being overwhelming or obtrusive.

I've always liked how the keyboards fit in on this album. Blue Weaver [great name] replaced Wakeman with some excellent work particularly from the mellotron. "Is It Today Lord?" and "The Journey's End" are very touching pieces that close off the record. If you haven't heard this band's music, then you really should and GNW would be a great place to start. It is a masterpiece. Incidentally, the front cover is a beautiful reproduction of William Blake's Glad Day.

Frankie Flowers | 5/5 |


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