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CLASSIC ROCK LEGENDS (DVD)

Strawbs

Prog Folk


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Strawbs Classic Rock Legends (DVD) album cover
3.48 | 7 ratings | 4 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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DVD/Video, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Cut Like a Diamond
2. Something For Nothing
3. Ringing Down The Years
4. The Hangman And The Papist
5. Grace Darling
6. The River/Down By The Sea
7. Lay Down
8. Part Of The Union
9. Hero & Heroine

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Cousins / vocals, acoustic guitar
- Tony Hooper / vocals, acoustic guitar
- Richard Hudson / drums
- Brian Willoughby / lead guitar
- Rod Demick / bass
- Chris Parren / keyboards

Releases information

DVD Classic Rock LegendsCollection (1998)

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to SouthSideoftheSky for the last updates
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STRAWBS Classic Rock Legends (DVD) ratings distribution


3.48
(7 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
0%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(57%)
57%
Good, but non-essential (14%)
14%
Collectors/fans only (29%)
29%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

STRAWBS Classic Rock Legends (DVD) reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

Well I am not a fan of this series of Classic Rock Legend DVDs (I much prefer their Master From The Vaults) and one of the reason is that most of those releases in this series present the groups well past their prime and mostly living of their legends. But my curiosity was definitely piqued when fellow early-Strawbs fans told me that both Tony Hooper and Hudson were playing on this thingie. Gladly so, my library system had it and I wasted no time renting it and rushed home. Unfortunately the same usual flaws are again present, no dependable information both in the booklet and on the disc; both the recording dates and the line-up are difficult of access as is the tradition on this rather poor CLR series with rather bland Roger Dean artworks.

And sadly my initial enthusiasm got a cool shower, as not only was the track list only half promising, but the line-up was fairly deceiving. Yes, Hooper is there (and we wonder why, as obviously he does too from the look on his face), Hudson's drumming sounds is very actualised, which actually ruins a bit the feeling of the better tracks, but does not hinder the more commercial ones, and the keyboardist is certainly no match for his predecessors (be it Wakeman, Weaver or Hawken), but on the other hand there is a rather good lead guitarist in the name of Willoughby and Cousin's voice that is still every bit as good as it was back then.

If the start of the concerts starts in a minor mode, just warming up, we have to wait until the poignant Hangman track to get our first thrill (with Hudson's drums sound rather apt for the military beat), but we get a slap in the face with a very boring, sloppy and smoochy Grace Darling, with just drips dirty love song. If I mention it so severely, it is because right after this completely unworthy track, we get a doubleheader or River/Sea (from the same BAS album), which sizzles (superb lead guitar and good drumming, if you manage to forget the 90's sound) and get our hopes up for more to follow. Sadly though, it does not come as Strawbs throws in the worst two tracks ever (and their most commercial) of Lay Down and Part Of The Union and finishing on the very average H&H track.

It is rather sad to see that CR Legend series keep pushing sub-par performances (and misspelling the group's name by adding the hideous "The" before their name) with rather un-daring set lists. And it is rather sad to see Hooper being coerced into participating on four songs of the BATS album, over which he split from the group because he disliked the musical direction. Yes Tony, I too wonder what you were doing on that ship. Definitely not a good buy, but did we expect that much from this serie.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars This great live DVD is one of the best entries in the entire Classic Rock Legends DVD series! And The Strawbs really are classic rock legends! Many complaints can be lodged against this series, but the artwork by Roger Dean is beautiful (as usual).

The set list is great with numbers from most of the best Strawbs albums from From The Witchwood to Burning For You, with only a couple of newer tracks thrown in. I can understand that some fans would be disappointed with this selection because it concentrates more on the rock-era of Strawbs career and almost entirely ignores the folkier band they once were. For me, and I believe for prog fans in general, this is a good thing.

The show opens with Cut Like a Diamond, a rocking song from the Burning For You album. Next comes a new song that I hadn't heard before I saw this DVD for the first time. It is another rocker with a good introduction and it also includes a keyboard solo. Not Wakeman for sure, but very good. I like it, but I can't say how it compares to the studio version.

The third number, Ringing Down the Years, is another one I had never heard before. It is a tribute to Sandy Denny. I am not a very big fan of her work but Dave's spoken introduction brings me to tears every time. Really beautiful and moving song too, but hardly Prog.

The Hangman and the Papist comes next and what a great version, quite different from the original. Not better, but different. Grace Darling is yet another ballad type song and not really progressive, but a beautiful song nonetheless, with a good electric guitar solo. The lead guitarist is very good here. Indeed, the whole band is really good and energized.

The River/Down by the Sea is a classic and great here as usual. The two obligatory hit songs Lay Me Down and Part of the Union are played next. Part of the Union is quite awful, as most of us know by now. But everything is saved again by the closing number, the excellent Hero & Heroine, probably my favourite Strawbs song ever, taken from my favourite Strawbs album of the same name.

If you are a fan of this band and particularly like their rockier material, this DVD is essential viewing. For everyone else it is still an excellent addition to a Prog collection, even if only a couple of the songs can be said to be truly progressive.

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
4 stars After losing much of their pop audience with "Hero and Heroine" (1974) and the lion's share of their prog audience 2 albums later, Strawbs met a demise not atypical of other groups of that vintage, ceasing to exist in 1979. Though they reformed 4 years later and have been more or less a going concern since then, their work in the 1980s and 1990s was sporadic, and jerry-rigged for compatibility with leader Dave Cousins' full time and very successful career in radio. With a faithful following in Canada, they issued 2 albums there on Virgin, "Don't Say Goodbye" in 1987 and "Ringing Down the Years" in 1991. Both were padded with reworkings of previously written tunes, as Dave Cousins wrote very little new material during those years. So, when this video based on a television appearance was initially released in the early 1990s as "Greatest Hits Live", it was met enthusiastically, any live Strawbs being deemed far better than none at all.

Now that we have other videos available including at least one from their prog peak, "Classic Rock Legends" has been somewhat downgraded by the public. After all, this isn't really any of the "classic " lineups, even if Tony Hooper is back home. The keyboardist Chris Parren wouldn't make the top 5 of Strawbs keys men, and, though Hooper and Richard Hudson are both capable singers, Cousins has chosen to sing lead on all tracks. As to the material, it is heavily weighted on their "Bursting at the Seams" album, the one that yielded their only big hit singles in the UK, and completely eschews their best selling UK album "Grave New World" while barely glancing backwards from there.

Luckily, Brian Willoughby is a superb sensitive lead guitarist and Hooper does harmonize very well with Cousins. The group is playing to its strengths by not trying to rock out as later 1970s versions did, so there is an understated clarity in the production which allows modern versions of "Grace Darling", "The Hangman and the Papist" and "The River/Down by the Sea" to sparkle. The tribute to Sandy Denny, "Ringing Down the Years" is particularly stirring, and "Hero and Heroine" is a well chosen and even better played encore. Surprisingly, Cousins turns in an enthusiastic vocal performance of "Part of the Union" which, although their biggest hit, was written and originally sung by John Ford, who is not in this lineup.

When you consider all the obstacles faced by this group for most of their career, particularly at the time of this show, this is actually an admirable performance that is at worst, absolutely professional and, at best, timelessly triumphant. 3.5 stars rounded up.

Review by VianaProghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Review Nš 412

"Classic Rock Legends" is a DVD of Strawbs and was released in 1998. This DVD represents one more entry of the famous Classic Rock Legends DVD's series among many other entries of many great classic prog bands of the 70's.

Central music's, "Bedrock" series so-called as it was designed for the late-night viewing, was intended to be a showcase for the best of the classic British rock music. Some of the shows contained on these series were previously released on CD and video formats, usually by the artists themselves or the respective record labels associated with them. Classic Rock Legends have gathered these recordings together for a major series covering a big range of bands.

The Strawbs' concert contained in this serie was previously released on VHS format and was titled "Greatest Hits Live". It was also released on CD format, which was also called "Greatest Hits Live". It was composed of a 1990 live gig and the live concert has excellent quality. The DVD menu allows you to play the live concert all the way through, to jump to any track and also includes a bonus feature "The Rock Vault", a series of samples from other DVD's of all these series.

All titles contained in these series feature cover art work by the legendary Roger Dean, which is very interesting and excellent. According to the booklet, this show is also available on DVD and VHS formats, PAL and NTSC video formats.

The line up on "Classic Rock Legends" is Dave Cousins (vocals and acoustic guitar), Tony Hooper (vocals and acoustic guitar), Brian Willoughby (lead electric guitar), Chris Parren (keyboards), Rod Demick (bass) and Richard Hudson (drums). One of the most interesting and rare things contained on this DVD is the presence of Tony Hooper and Richard Hudson. Tony Hooper was one of the three founder members of the band. Both, Tony Hooper and Richard Hudson participated on four of the best and classic studio albums of Strawbs, "Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curious" from 1970, "From The Witchood" from 1971, "Grave New World" from 1972 and "Bursting At The Seams" from 1973.

"Classic Rock Legends" has nine tracks. "Cut Like A Diamond" was released on "Burning For You", "Something For Nothing" was released on "Don't Say Goodbye", "Ringing Down The Years" was released on "Ringing Down The Years", "The Hangman And The Papist", "Grace Darling", "The River/Down By The Sea", "Lay Down" and "Part Of The Union" were all released on "Bursting At The Seams" and "Hero & Heroine" was released on "Hero And Heroine". There aren't a lot of extras here except the performance, which is really great. The sound is very dirty, a typical TV broadcast with lots of hiss. However, it's easy to live with all the limitations and lack of extras because the performance is fantastic. We are given a graphic example of why this band and their music are greatly underrated, which is really a pity. Cousins is deep in his trances when he sings, living the lyrics, being them autobiographical or not. The songs are alive, with each band member doing their best to make ever song reach its full potential. The keyboards provide both a background wash for the atmosphere of the songs, and the orchestral furnishings. Parren looks nervous but his work is dynamic. Bass and drums are tight and rock based. Willoughby provides appropriate fireworks and cutting edges and Hooper is there to authenticate Strawbs vocal sound. Here is everything you'd expect from a full band gig of Strawbs.

About the tracks, "Cut Like A Diamond" is an excellent track, a very catchy harder rock song, one of the best tracks on "Burning For You". "Something For Nothing" and "Ringing Down The Years" aren't familiar to me. But both are two nice tracks too. The five tracks of "Bursting At The Seams" are all excellent. I always loved that album. But of all those five pieces, "The Hangman And The Papist" and "The River/Down By The Sea" stands out. Both are classics and these versions are great. "Hero & Heroine" is one of their best tracks and one of my favourites too. It closes the DVD nobly.

Conclusion: Strawbs was one of my first loves of the progressive rock music and I know them since the early 70's. Strawbs is also one of the bands that I bought more albums in those days. However and unfortunately, I never had the opportunity, the pleasure or the honour to see the band performing live. So, "Classic Rock Legends" was my first live experience of the group. I must confess that my expectations were not in vain. Despite be relatively short, it's very interesting. It's true that "Classic Rock Legends" isn't properly a document well representative of the group. Despite apparently it covers tracks from almost twenty years of their career, it isn't really true. In reality, it only covers tracks from five studio albums, of which not all are the most representative. Anyway and despite of that, I love this DVD. And if you're like me, and enjoy classic rock, you too will love this. The players you may not have all heard of, but they play great stuff. If you are a fan of Strawbs, you will enjoy it and should buy this DVD. You will not be disappointed, really.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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