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Strawbs - Hero & Heroine In Ascencia CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.62 | 33 ratings

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4 stars In purchasing this remake of a mythical album, I was led by the premise that even if it's a carbon facsimile of the 1974 original , how could I be pissed off at another copy? In my proggy travels throughout the decades, I have not budged an instant in hailing 'Hero and Heroine' as a masterpiece of music, rating it no1 or 2 in my gargantuan collection. This seminal work has healed many wounds on a myriad of occasions, bringing a"Little Light on Me" when I felt like a "Sad Young Man" and "Out in the Cold". These familiar tracks were pure panacea ("Just Love") and I am happy to report that the revisit is just as enthralling today with subtle little sonic changes that make this a lovely companion as the "Midnight Sun" settles on the "Autumn" of my life. I guess David Cousins feels the same way, marshaling Dave Lambert and Chas Cronk along for the ride with added complicity from long-time associate Tony Fernandez on drums and keyboard virtuoso John Young (ex- Greenslade, John Wetton, Asia, Fish, Qango etc..). There are some radical differences between this and the celestial mother ship, mostly in Cousins' nasally twanged voice which has obviously morphed in the intervening 36 years, as well as a less symphonic keyboard delivery from Young in some places while Lambert is slicker and less raunchy than before. In a way, 'In Ascencia' is a bluesier effort, less anguished and freer wheeling, yet keeping close tabs on the original structures. On the title track, the comparisons become more acute, Cousins finds himself now less controlled and the mellotron is buried deeper in the mix. Nowhere do the new tracks outshine the past glories, a rather impossible mission anyway and that is clearly not the purpose. In fact, it should be seen as an acknowledgement from David and the band that 'Hero and Heroine' has always been considered by the prog world to be an iconic offering, superior in symphonics to the equally delicious 'Ghosts' and the legendary 'Grave New World'. The lyric sheet alone is well worth the adulation, the pristine production, the stellar melodies and finally, the ideal cover art for a bright prog rock album. The rework will never trump the icon. If you do not have the original Hero and Heroine, you are missing out on a plethora of various delights ("I could scarcely believe all the pleasures inside")

While the original is an "untouchable" of unmitigated proportions, 'In Ascencia' counts as a welcome reworking of the masterpiece, so how does one go about rating this? Well the white dove of 1974 will remain a 5 jeweled crown and this can ease in at 4. Round and Round we go

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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