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NOMADNESS

Strawbs

Prog Folk


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Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Nomadness was Strawbs doing their damnest to break America. Again they failed,sure they still sold quite a few records but nothing like they had dreamed of. Nomadness therefore does have an American rock/blues feel to it. The album is very slickly produced. Wakeman makes a guest appearance I think on ' Tokyo Rosie' but John Hawken had done his customary departure after doing a couple of albums. Highlights for me are many but the opener ' To Be Free',' The Golden Salamander' ' Absent Friends' on side one are all excellent.' So Shall Our Love Die' begins side 2 with Cousins at his peak, lyrically and musically. The bluesy ' A Mind of My own' is probably the best track on the album but it finishes very strongly with both ' Hanging In The Gallery' and ' The Promised Land'. I am still baffled after all these years as to why this album got a poor reception. It is thought provoking and very moving which is what you would expect from a band of this calibre at their peak. Still not on CD.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#19716)
Posted Friday, September 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
james@joyce.c
2 stars well, what I can I say, this was the start of the mediocre album period from Strawbs (although a song like "Where Do You Go" on GHOSTS hinted at the dross to come)...Little Sleepy has to be the most limp wristed attempt by an artist to do a rocking tune...that aside, there are some nice songs, the opening track is good, and Golden Salamander and Hanging in the Gallery are echoes of the good old days, but there's definitely not enough here to fill out a whole album..this pattern would be repeated on the following two albums

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#58346)
Posted Sunday, November 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Nogladness

This album was released after "Ghosts", but in the same year, and in retrospect indicated that the Strawbs' Halcyon days were over. For the first time since the arrival of Rick Wakeman (who ironically guests on the album), in the band's early days they found themselves without a permanent keyboard player. Perhaps, after so many fine and original albums too much was now expected of the band, but "Nomadness" is nonetheless disappointing.

The songs on "Nomadness" are all relatively short, leaning much more towards pop structures. Tracks such as "To be free", "Tokyo Rosie", and "Back on the farm" are lightweight upbeat numbers, decent toe-tappers, but completely lacking any depth.

"Little sleepy" is yet another lightweight, up tempo pop song, with only Dave Lambert distinctive voice to distinguish it from a thousand and one similar tracks. It bears more than a passing resemblance to "Stormy down" from Bursting at the seams", and also to the Rolling Stones cod-country song "Dead Flowers" (from the "Sticky fingers" album).

There are a couple of notable numbers. The heartfelt "Golden Salamander" maintains the simplicity, with Cousins singing almost unaccompanied, but in this case, the track is delicate and moving. The final track "The Promised land" is somewhat controversial in Strawbs circles, some love it, others hate it. It has a powerful, keyboard laden refrain and story lyrics, with slight echoes of "New world" from "Grave new world".

All in all, a pretty poor effort from a great band, signalling the end of their most creative period, while implying a willingness to tolerate the average.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#58445)
Posted Monday, November 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Oh dear! The cover says it all; the band is in a toilet and this album nearly belongs in one as well. After the highly commendable Ghosts, John Hawken had left, later to reform Renaissance mk 1 as Illusion, leaving the band without a full time keyboards player. John Mealing and Rick Wakeman guest when required, though in retrospect, I suspect they wish they hadn't.

The songs are different too. Gone are the extended tracks from earlier albums, such as Autumn or Ghosts, replaced by shorter and poppier offerings. And there are some good songs, too. The Golden Salamander is a simple, beautiful song, pared to the basics of Cousins' voice and a guitar accompaniment. Cronk's The Promised Land is a fine song with heavy keyboards and a storyline, well sung by Dave Lambert. Absent Friend is bizarre and different to anything else; some love it, some hate it; Cousins in suicidal mood again. Most of the remaining songs are lightweight, mostly fairly pleasant but lack any depth. (Like a pint of lager, they don't offend but give almost no satisfaction, either.) Tokio Rosie is the exception; a single designed to crack the States, it plumbs depths I thought Strawbs would never reach. Their style moves a little back to their folk roots without ever threatening to recapture the magic of From the Witchwood or Grave New World.

This was the beginning of a long decline for Strawbs, as they turned out several very inconsistent albums in succession. However, this was probably the worst album of all and none of the songs on it feature regularly in their live act today. Definitely one for hardcore fans only.

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Send comments to Tony Fisher (BETA) | Report this review (#73842)
Posted Sunday, April 02, 2006 | Review Permalink
Heptade
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The first Strawbs album of dubious quality, this album reflects the change in the band's market focus. "Hero and Heroine" and "Ghosts" had broken in the States and the Strawbs' popularity at home had declined. The previous albums had seen the band going into full blown prog rock, but still with a distinctive British vibe and a noticeable folk influence lingering. "Nomadness" is an album of straight-ahead rock tunes, with the exception of a couple of ballads. Dave Cousins always had a fondness for exotic imagery and writing the occasional pretentiously worded lyric, but I find "The Golden Salamander" and "Hanging in the Gallery" just go to far- they're laughable, in fact, in their self-importance and purple, plummy verbosity. The rest of the album is nothing more than passable rock and roll, the best track being "To Be Free", which has a pleasing Who-feel to it. The band plays well, but I can't help feel them pushing into areas which were not their strong suit at all on this album. The next two albums would be better, but this is tied with "Deadlines" as the worst of the Strawbs pre-comeback output.

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Send comments to Heptade (BETA) | Report this review (#103056)
Posted Thursday, December 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars On vinyl I have all the Strawbs album from their release of Dragonfly until Ringing down the years; I bought them as they came out and Cousins have signed two of them. As the forum here says, Nomadness is not their greatest release, but it has its momenst with Golden Salamander and, especially, Hanging in the Gallery. Both those songs I think is Cousins at his best. I have very little regard for the others memebers' songs at any of the releases, because they have to be measured to Cousins. He really must be, beside Allan Hull of Lindisfarne, the greatest folk-song-writer in Brittain. He should be sitet and regarded more in the history of folk, rock, pop - and whatever.

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Send comments to PixIt (BETA) | Report this review (#145116)
Posted Tuesday, October 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars It's a pity but the band, after the release of the superb album Ghost, decided to change their style and put together a bunch of (supposed to be) radio friendly tunes and try to (re-) conquest american audience.

The main problem is that, basically, this is very far from any adventurous sound. Keyboardist Hawken is gone and the help of ex band mate Wakeman doesn't help.

The ten tracks aren't bad but their structure is flat in the sense that is brought to the essential scheme of a pure folk-rock song. No particular element to impress the listener. No mellotron fluent waves, no intrumental excursions. Still some Strawbs' classic tunes (all penned by David Cousin) as The Golden Salamander and The Promised Land. Tokyo Rosie has funny and catchy rythm.

No, no grandeur at all, unfortunately. On Deep Cuts they will continue the same formula but there ideas will be more mature and still some interesting things will work. With Nomadness the band has only to be remembered because of its downfall to pop market. Not a radical change, to be honest. Strawbs were never a complex prog band. Their soul seems to be gone, though.

2.5

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#164807)
Posted Monday, March 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Italian Prog Specialist
2 stars It's a shame really. Strawbs have given me many fine hours of music, never really complex or challenging, but always with a lot of heart and talented compositions. I had almost started to believe they couldn't make a bad album. It ends here, unfortunately. This is another contribution to the already impressive amount of two star ratings this album has assembled during its PA time.

Just like Ghosts, Nomadness is an attempt at breaking in to the American market. But similarities end there. Ghost was an honest display of all the facets of Strawbs eclectic music, whereas this smells a little desperate. The pressure is obvious and the result pretty much speaks for itself. The first two songs, To Be Free and Little Sleepy, both have an unsuccessful resemblance to ballsy rock la The Who/Bad Company, just without the balls. Strawbs strength have never been the harder rocking tunes, but rather the delicate folk remnants of crisp acoustic guitar interplaying with its electric brother, and Mellotron/organ to fill up the space. Accuracy and a gentle touch instead of downright power. The two songs, which have potential, thus suffer from the fact that the band can't get out of old habits, and fall a little flat. When displaying some old Strawbisms, as on Golden Salamander and Hanging In The Gallery, the downside is that these songs feel remarkably out of place. Not only that, but as if they were done on nothing but routine, lacking the vibrance a casual fan would expect from them. No need to stop here, the goofy Back On The Farm and Tokyo Rosie with their country twists and turns are downright laughable, and the fact that Dave Cousins DO laugh in the latter is sadly ironic when listening to the result.

In fact, there is only one song that's really good on Nomadness and it's saved for last. The Promised Land sounds like something between Ghosts and Hero And Heroine, with a strong keyboard theme and an amazing refrain. Dramatic tension creating piano and Cousins in his prime once more (for the last time?), this has the effect of a swan song for this ill-defined effort. Sad waste of talent, say I, as quite a few of the songs have both direction and potential, but, as previously mentioned, never strays from safe territory.

2 stars - collectors only.

//LinusW

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Send comments to LinusW (BETA) | Report this review (#170171)
Posted Wednesday, May 07, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars Back to the farm

Coming after the excellent Hero And Heroine and Ghosts albums, Nomadness is quite disappointing. There are some good moments here, but this is easily the least good Strawbs album at least since Dragonfly. The biggest problem is that the songs just aren't as good as they were on most previous (and many subsequent) Strawbs albums. It is also the case that Nomadness is significantly less adventurous than the previous albums. The is an American feel to several of the tracks, which I find misguided.

At the time of this album Strawbs didn't have a permanent keyboard player anymore. Therefore, they have several guest/session musicians appearing here, including Rick Wakeman. But don't think that Wakeman is allowed the kind of space he was on From the Witchwood, here he only plays electric harpsichord on one track and there are no real solos by him on this instrument.

Some good songs here for sure, like Hanging in the Gallery and The Promised Land, but not enough to save this album from being among the lesser of Strawbs albums.

Good, but not essential

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#177279)
Posted Saturday, July 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars This album almost holds every element I just don't like. It is straight forward FM music targeted to please US audiences. It might have been a strategic choice for Strawbs at the time, which is fine for them, but in terms of inventiveness and creativity, the band is leading nowhere with this album full of poor numbers only.

Being on the rock side (To Be Free, Little Sleepy, Tokyo Rosie) or on the ballad ones (Salamander, So Shall Our Love Die); none of these songs are really worth. Strawbs are also attempting a soft bluesy tune which conveys to the same and boring feeling I'm afraid (I'm Afraid).

The great organ and mellotron sounds that were available on several of their latest recordings have been dropped and even if Rick is back on business, there are almost no great keyboards section on this work (except during A Mind Of My Own which is the best track available IMO).

As far as I'm concerned, the bottom is reached with the country style Back On The Farm. Press next (if you have reached this number). The listening of this album is a painful experience.

Most of my fellow colleagues are very generous to give two stars for this album. I won't be. In terms of prog music, the only decent number is The Promised Land. At least it shows some hope... Great keyboards, strong guitar and a nice psychedelic feeling. It is really the only song which can be related with their best period.

But it can't raise the level of this album above the one star rating (although this song surely is a good track).

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#185391)
Posted Sunday, October 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars Never really understood what this title was hinting at: nomad-ness or no-madness, and it certainly was not its music that enticed me to investigate. Indeed the present is a very very very average run-of-the-mill album, which makes (or should make) even the most ardent Strawbs fan cringe. Let's go back (and forget the passable to acceptable H&H and Ghosts albums) to the atrocious BATS album and remind ourselves that Cousins had decided to attack the American market by splurging into shameless country ballads Part Of The Union and Lay Down and produced their then-weakest album, with only one double track that could please progheads. Well let's FFwd to Nomadness, which would come close to better that lowpoint by nailing a few countryrock stinking ballads, therefore trying again the US-breaking trick that had almost destroyed them after BATS. Probably sensing this new smelly move, Hawken left the band leaving them as a quartet and relying on guest Mealing and Tommy Eyre (Riff Raff) on keys and Wakeman on one track.

And indeed this album tries soooo hard to be radio-friendly that the group loses all of its strawberry flavours and if To Be Free, Absent Friend and Promised Lamp (the only track presenting a tad of drama) save the album from being a complete disaster being hounourable fillers, other shameless so-called (country?) rockers like Little Sleepy, Back On The Farm and Tokyo Rosie are complete catastrophes, drowning the album in mediocrity. Even soft tracks like Golden Salamander, Mind Of My Own, Shall Our Love Die sound cheap, unconvincing and stale. Only one sun ray on this disc: Hanging In The Gallery sounds like the previous group's better period, maybe not worthy of Witchwood, but certainly of GNV or H&H. Together with the closing dramatic Promised Land (I would've like to see this track expanded into double its time), these two tracks save in-extremis this album from being worse than BATS.

The remasters comes with two (honest) bonus tracks that came from this album's sessions, but never saw the light of day, the first of which (Still Small Voice) is an interesting track, certainly better than most of the original album was. The latter Good To See The Sun is however just as hollow and shallow as the album, delivering a country-esque FM track that fails. Recorded in London and graced with a bland (and blank?) meaningless lavatory artwork, somehow announcing the nullity of the songs inside, Nomadness reeks selling-out fumes, rotten fruits and ultimate failure. Best avoided as are most of the future Strawbs album in the decade.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#185837)
Posted Wednesday, October 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Oh, God, what a diappointment! After a string of great albums (and right after THE best album, Ghosts) they come with this dud. I could almost feel there was something wrong when I noticed the cover (the band in a bathroom?) and where is John Hawken? After many years having some of the finest and most talented keyboards players in the world, the band simply decided not to feature one and be be a quartet (even if they used 4 (!) guests on that spot, including former member Rick Wakeman on one track). That could not be a good sign.

Not that Nomadness is a bad or sloppy album, none of that. It is simply forced: the band trying hard to be a commercial success (in America, of course). And everything here sounds like that, just plain trying to please the casual american pop radio listener. Well, not everything. They were simply too talented for that. But the only track that is really on par with their glory days is the last one: The Promise Land. Oh, how wish the whole album could be that good! Great song, strong and convincig vocals, powerful rhythm, beautiful guitar lines and, ironic, fantastic keyboards.

There are also a couple of songs that reminds of their earlier, folkier period, in The Golden Salamander and Hanging On the Gallery. The Coombes penned A Mind Of My Own is also interesting. The rest is ok, I guess. Melodic and well done, but really ordinary stuff, specially if you think of how good they were. Or worse, forced. The next album would be better than this one. But, sadly, their golden days were gone.

For collectors and fans only!

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#186792)
Posted Friday, October 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars The advent of disco and, to a much greater extent, punk, blindsided most art rock groups around the middle of the 70s. Dinosaurs can't turn on a dime, so they either go extinct or otherwise become irrelevant. Strawbs were one of the first casualties of the new regime, ironically since they actually attempted to change with the times sooner than most of their ilk. It was a good idea but the execution was poor. The collapse between "Ghosts" and "Nomadness" stands as one of the most sudden in prog history, with mere months between them. Looking at the sad and incredibly thin picture of Dave Cousins on the ill-conceived prophetic cover, it's hard to believe he survived, let alone as the revitalized leader of the group in 2009.

So the idea behind "Nomadness" was to utilize the departure of John Hawken, the master of keyboard textures, as motivation to strip down the group's sound. No mellotron was employed in the studio, and most of the songs are spare in arrangements, with several being largely acoustic. On paper this sounds brilliant, but the group forgot to bring their typical top notch material to the table, collate it wisely, and play to their own strengths. The result is a collection of mostly good but brief songs with almost a complete lack of adventurousness, that sound worse as a unit than they would have dispersed on better releases. Moreover, nothing even suggests hit single, which had to be what the band was hoping for at this point. If you are going to go this route, you had better keep either artistic integrity or go platinum, and "Nomadness" was a failure in both arenas.

All that said, and allowing for the abominations that are the tepid rocker "Little Sleepy" and the beyond silly "Tokyo Rosie", there is a lot to like here. "Golden Salamander" effectively dusts off the dulcimer and benefits from multi tracked vocals that approximate the mellotron. "Back on the Farm" harkens back to the group's bluegrass roots but suffers from over-levity on an album that is already insufficiently weighty. This contrasts to the suitable placement of "Ah Me Ah My" on the downbeat "Grave New World" album. "So Shall our love Die" is an entirely acoustic and sad love song with sumptious 12 string guitars and a simple piano lead. "Mind of My Own" was a Coombes composition sung by Lambert and is also mostly acoustic but on the bluesy side. It has worn well. The album closes with the acoustic guitar driven "Hanging in the Gallery", probably the most enduring cut thanks to excellent lyrics of reflection on the artist and his plight, and the heavy rocker "The Promised Land" which was penned by Cronk and highlighted by combined vocal work by Cousins and Lambert. Even if the melody is reminiscent of the verses of "Aqualung", it's a fine cut and should have been more developed.

The bonus tracks feature "Still Small Voice", with a classical guitar introduction followed by a plodding prog verse with Cousins' best Benedictus-style vocals before ending as it began, too soon. "Good to See the Sun" is emblematic of the band's lack of enthusiasm at this point in time, even as it is suggestive of the much earlier period of the group. Pretty but oh so dull.

Given the high standard set by the 4 symphonically enhanced previous albums, "Nomadness" can only be conceived as a monumental miscalculation, wandering as it does from one half baked idea to another. 2.5 stars rounded down.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#202387)
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album took me 20 years to finally buy. For years it was on my "Wish List" and I just never snagged it...until now. And the verdict is .....yes as expected it is a good Strawbs album (although not the magic for me of their classic early 70's albums). I have a number of Strawbs live recordings and I have always loved "Golden Salamander" which is on this album so fianlly i get to hear the haunting studio version. Nomadness is pretty much a stright forward rock album with some typical Strawbs folk and prog leanings. The A&M remastered version also contains 2 good songs recorded in 1975 and have been released for this reissue.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#225917)
Posted Saturday, July 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is one of the most underrated albums by Strawbs. Its a little bit uneven, thats for sure, but it contains some of the strongest tunes Dave Cousins ever written; "Golden Salamander", So shall our love die" and of course "Hanging in the gallery". And a very rare blues direction is heard on the lovely "Absent Friend".

On the other hand I think that the opener "To be free" has a strange and hard arrangement and the Lambert contribution "Little Sleepy" is a straight rocker with little to offer. The few other tunes not mentioned is OK but not great. This means that the album is a mixed bag, but still worth 4 stars!

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Send comments to Dr Pripp (BETA) | Report this review (#250109)
Posted Thursday, November 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RPI
2 stars The Strawbs have been among my favourite bands since the early 1970s, and between the years '72 to '75 they released a cycle of classic albums: Grave New World; Bursting At The Seams; Hero And Heroine; Ghosts. However in 1975 they also brought out Nomadness, a rather lame and unremarkable effort. Following their North American tour of that year, the band members felt a change of musical direction was needed. Keyboardist John Hawken had already left the band and with him went the symphonic Mellotron drenched sound. Instead, the band produced a collection of mainly guitar based short songs, mostly of inferior quality. With Hawken absent a variety of guest musicians were employed to provide keys; notable among these was Rick Wakeman. Unfortunately the Mellotron, which Hawken had made liberal use of, was conspicuous by its absence on Nomadness.

The album kicks off with To Be Free; lyrically this is Dave Cousins at his acerbic best, but sonically it is not particularly interesting. The Dave Lambert penned Little Sleepy follows; this is little more than a standard rocker. Track 3, The Golden Salamander, is much more like vintage Strawbs. A wistful ballad featuring Cousins on electric dulcimer, this song sounds like a throwback to From The Witchwood and is arguably the best song here. Absent Friend is a slow blues... dullsville! Side One of the vinyl album concludes with Back On The Farm, a country tinged tune that is completely throwaway.

The second half of the album opens with So Shall Our Love Die. It's one of the better songs here, a typical Cousins folksy ballad. We then get Tokyo Rosie, another upbeat song. The addition of Rick Wakeman on electric harpsichord can't save this one from mediocrity. The Rod Coombes composition A Mind Of My Own is something of a political polemic and features some nice acoustic guitar. Track 9, Hanging In The Gallery, is no more than ok. The Promised Land thankfully brings things to a close. Written by bassist Chas Cronk and featuring Cousins and Lambert dueting on vocals, this is the most ambitious song on the album. Too little too late.

Nomadness has recently seen its official release on cd for the first time. This review is not based on that version, therefore I am unable to comment on the bonus tracks. In my opinion Nomadness is one for fans only. Anyone new to The Strawbs would be better starting with any one of the four classic albums named in the first paragraph of this review. Nomadness was the last album The Strawbs recorded for A&M... what a sorry end to a great relationship.

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Send comments to seventhsojourn (BETA) | Report this review (#257083)
Posted Sunday, December 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Well the magic couldn't last forever for the Strawbs, and given they had managed to record two studio albums in a row with the same lineup they should have expected that the other shoe would drop at some point. The actual momentum behind that drop depends on who you believe. Dave Cousins has said the band was looking to shake things up and explore new directions when he decided to eliminate the Mellotron from the band's arsenal. Another possibility was this was simply a cost-cutting move for a band spending an awful lot of time and money touring the U.S. trying to establish a strong fan base there, and certainly lugging around (and maintaining) a Mellotron in addition to piano, Moog and other instruments was simply an unreasonable expense. Some fans have suggested John Hawken simply wanted to retire. Whatever the reason, he was gone when they entered Sound Techniques Studio in Chelsea to record the album, reduced to a quartet but augmented by no less than four guest keyboardists including former band member Rick Wakeman on electric harpsichord for one track ("Tokyo Rosie"). Cousins also employed sixties accordion wizard Jack Emblow and producer Tom Allom on something called a cymbalum (sort of a hammered dulcimer apparently).

There's not much in terms of progressive music here, and what little does emerge ("Tokyo Rosie", "The Golden Salamander") seems a bit perfunctory and almost cynical, although the arrangements and musicianship are solid enough. "The Promised Land" with its soaring riffs, steam-engine rhythm and playful tempo changes is as close as the band would come to a solid prog rock offering.

No, this is strictly a commercial affair meant to try and gain some market share and a broader fan base. Several songs seem FM radio-friendly like the opening "To Be Free", "Little Sleepy" with its Pete Townshend-sounding power riffs, and the echo-laden rock- cowboy anthem "A Mind of my Own".

And speaking of cowboys, there is a bit of a country feel to some tracks, in particular "Back on the Farm" on which Cousins breaks out his banjo for the first time in quite a while; and the slow, tension-filled "Hanging in the Gallery" where Cousins gives a nice interpretation of what Peter Gabriel might have sounded like singing Bob Dylan tunes.

There are a few CD versions of the album available today, although it wasn't until the 21st century that anyone bothered to reissue this, the band's last album for A&M Records. One from Progressive Line released in 2001 seems to be either a bootleg or at least a half- assed effort, with poor mastering, weak packaging and no bonus tracks. Sunshine reissued the album a few years later, but A&M's version which included extensive remastering and two bonus Cousins songs ("Still Small Voice" and "It's Good to See the Sun") seems to be the best and safest bet. "It's Good to See the Sun" sounds like a Dave Cousins solo effort, while "Still Small Voice" has a promising vocal and synth buildup but seems to be incomplete with both the opening and ending being nothing more than faint, almost imperceptible guitar noodling. Still, it's nice to hear something old and obscure from the band after so many years.

My overall feeling listening to this album today is one of sadness, mostly because the band did seem to be trying something new but like so many older groups trying to reinvent themselves in the mid-seventies the experiment was for the most part a failure. This isn't a bad album and in fact I'm going to give it three stars, but the classic Strawbs sound only comes through occasionally and few of these songs ever ended up on any Strawbs compilations. One has to wonder if there was a tongue-in-cheek cue in mind when the band agreed to be photographed in a public toilet for the cover art.

The good news is that this would not be the last of the Strawbs, even if the lack of memorable tunes and lackluster performances seem to indicate otherwise. The best was in the past by 1975, but there would be other new records worth hearing at least. Recommended but only to serious fans of the band.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#503187)
Posted Sunday, August 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Nomadness isn't among the very finest albums by the Strawbs. "Ghosts" and "Hero And Heroine" were better, but this is still a brilliant effort. It's much simpler in structure and the songs are all reasonably short, but the album doesn't really steer away from the path the band had taken before. There are even more dabbles with various musical styles, and as usual some truly beautiful pieces courtesy of "Golden Salamander" and "Hanging In The Gallery". Dave Cousins has such an expressive voice and, particularly on "Golden Salamander", you can really understand how much emotion he pours into the song. "So Shall Our Love Die?" is among Cousins' most delicate songs as well. "Little Sleepy" is a weaker track that doesn't fit in perfectly with the rest, but it's not bad and only a minor complaint. I don't see any reason why those who have enjoyed the Strawbs' other albums from the seventies should not enjoy this one despite the gradual changes they were going through. The same goes for their follow up "Deep Cuts", which is equally packed with well crafted pieces of music.

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Send comments to Frankie Flowers (BETA) | Report this review (#629996)
Posted Saturday, February 11, 2012 | Review Permalink

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