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Strawbs - Halcyon Days  (UK Release)  CD (album) cover

HALCYON DAYS (UK RELEASE)

Strawbs

 

Prog Folk

3.63 | 16 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars Picking up the pieces

This is the kind of compilation album that tries to please both the beginner and the hard core fan and collector in a single stroke. This is, of course, an impossible task and it ends up pleasing neither fully. Those beginners who are looking for a superficial introduction to the band will not want to hear rare and subpar tracks originally appearing as single b-sides or in side-projects, and those fans and collectors who already own the band's regular studio albums will not want to pay all over again for the same material just in order to gain access to said rarities. It is indeed admirable that the record company cared to include any rare tracks at all, but I think that it would have been better had they released a compilation consisting solely of rare tracks (non-album a-sides, b-sides, and the like), deliberately aimed at the fans. Several compilations aimed at beginners already existed at the time, and has continued to proliferate since.

Please don't let my low rating scare you away from a great band, my perspective is that of someone who already owns the bulk of the material on other releases. As such, my rating is based primarily on the few rare tracks that were not already included on the band's regular studio output. If you are a Prog fan, and you don't know Strawbs, I would recommend starting with the excellent Hero And Heroine and Ghosts albums, and then proceeding in backwards chronological order, picking up Bursting At The Seams, Grave New World, and From The Witchwood. Many great tracks from these albums are indeed included on the present compilation, but - at least from a Prog perspective - they are best heard in their original settings. Here, they rub shoulders with material that are not up to par. The selections from the band's two first albums, for example, are weaker both in quality and sound.

The rarer selections include three tracks from a Hudson Ford side-project, none of which are essential, and only one of which - Floating In The Wind - is good. One excellent non- Strawbs track is Blue Angel from Dave Cousins' first solo album from 1972, but many fans are likely to have that album in their collections anyway. If not, they would be better off buying that one. Besides, this track was later re-recorded by the band for the album of the same name. Here It Comes is a non-album a-side that was later included as a bonus track on the Grave New World CD. Backside (aka Ciggy Barlust) is indeed a b-side, and it is a kind of tribute (?) to Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie. Finally, there is a traditional number in Will Ye Go? that is not available elsewhere as far as I know. It is pleasant, but hardly remarkable.

Only recommended to those fans who don't mind paying twice for stuff they already have in order to gain access to a few rare, but unessential, tracks

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |

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