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THE STRAWBS' GREATEST HITS LIVE

Strawbs

Prog Folk


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seventhsojourn
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2 stars Of all the Strawbs live albums to choose from, this 1993 offering wouldn't be my pick of the bunch. For a start, and in spite of the presence of Messrs Cousins, Hooper and Hudson, it doesn't feature any of the great line-ups. Brian Willoughby, an early Strawbs fan who collaborated with Cousins on the Old School Songs album, plays lead guitar. Chris Parren (keyboards) and Rod Demick (bass) had previously worked with Strawbs' offshoot Hudson- Ford, and they complete the line-up on this album. While these are all fine musicians, none are a patch on some of their illustrious predecessors. Take the version of THE HANGMAN AND THE PAPIST as an example. Apart from some digital synthesizer during its introduction, no other keyboards are audible on this song. There's really no comparison between this and Rick Wakeman's psychedelic organ flourishes on the original version. In case anyone thinks I'm being unfair with this comparison, check Blue Weaver's superb rendition on the BBC In Concert live album. The mention of digital keyboards highlights another problem with this album, and that is the lack of Mellotron and other classic analogue keys.

The material isn't all vintage stuff either, with only one song each from classic albums Hero And Heroine and Ghosts. The groundbreaking Grave New World isn't represented at all. There are 5 songs taken from Bursting At The Seams, and despite this being a firm favourite of mine I feel it's over-represented. However it's nice to hear a live version of CUT LIKE A DIAMOND, which gets the album off to an energetic start. SOMETHING FOR NOTHING is one of the better ''new'' songs, while the Sandy Denny tribute RINGING DOWN THE YEARS is a touching and worthwhile inclusion. Unfortunately we then get run-of-the-mill versions of some of the band's classics. Overall then, this is a strange mix of old and new (at the time) material. In my opinion the BBC In Concert album provides the benchmark for Strawbs live albums and it gets my recommendation. The sound is much cleaner on Greatest Hits Live! but that's about all I can say in its praise. It's definitely one for fans only.

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Send comments to seventhsojourn (BETA) | Report this review (#282192)
Posted Sunday, May 16, 2010 | Review Permalink

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