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Strawbs Deadlines album cover
2.90 | 61 ratings | 11 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. No Return (4:58)
2. Joey and Me (3:52)
3. Sealed with a Traitor's Kiss (3:21)
4. I Don't Want to Talk About It (3:56)
5. The Last Resort (4:08)
6. Time and Life (4:12)
7. New Beginnings (3:42)
8. Deadly Nightshade (3:56)
9. Words of Wisdom (5:43)

Total Time 37:48

Bonus tracks on 2013 remaster:
10. Midnight (outtake)
11. No Return (Dave Cousins acoustic demo)
12. Sealed with a Traitor's Kiss (Dave Cousins acoustic demo)
13. Time and Life (Dave Cousins acoustic demo)
14. Deadly Nightshade (Dave Cousins acoustic demo)
15. Words of Wisdom (Dave Cousins acoustic demo)
16. The Chosen Ones (Dave Cousins acoustic demo)
17. Sealed with a Traitor's Kiss (Band studio demo)
18. No Return (Dublin Production mix)
19. Joey and Me (Dublin Production mix)
20. Deadly Nightshade (Dublin Production mix)

2019 Esoteric included above + 2 bonus discs - a live CD and DVD of the same performance on BBC Radio One Sight and Sound from Feb 18, 1978, as follows:

1. Lay Down
2. The Last Resort
3. Ghosts
4. No Return
5. Heartbreaker
6. Sealed with a Traitor's Kiss
7. Simple Visions
8. Cut Like a Diamond
9. Out in the Cold
10. Round and Round
11. Hero and Heroine

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Cousins / vocals, acoustic guitars
- Dave Lambert / vocals, electric & acoustic (2,4,5) guitars
- Chas Cronk / bass, acoustic guitar (2,4,5), vocals
- Tony Fernandez / drums, tambourine (4,5), timpani (9), bells (7)

- Robert Kirby / electric piano (3,5-7), piano (4,5), Mellotron (4,6,9), organ (8), autoharp & Minimoog (9)
- John Mealing / piano (1-3,6-8), Minimoog (3,6), Polymoog (1,3,6,7,9), harpsichord (5,8), organ (4,9)

Lineup for 2019 Esoteric release bonus CD/DVD:
- Dave Cousins / vocals, acoustic guitars
- Dave Lambert / vocals, electric & acoustic guitar
- Chas Cronk / bass, acoustic guitar, vocals
- Tony Fernandez / drums, tambourine, timpani, bells
- Andy Richards / keyboards

Releases information

Artwork: Hipgnosis

LP Arista ‎- SPART 1036 (1978, UK)
LP Arista - AB 4172 (1978, Canada)

CD One Way - OW34499 (1996, US)
CD Air Mail Archive ‎- AIRAC-1706 (2013, Japan) Remastered by Yoshiro Kuzumaki with 11 bonus tracks

2 CD+DVD Esoteric ECLEC 32676 2019

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy STRAWBS Deadlines Music

STRAWBS Deadlines ratings distribution

(61 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(15%)
Good, but non-essential (56%)
Collectors/fans only (23%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

STRAWBS Deadlines reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars People really enjoyed knocking the Strawbs by the time this album was released. Deadlines is not a bad album. Once you accept that the music trends had changed with certain line ups and comparing Deadlines to say, Grave New World is like comparing apples with strawberries, then you can enjoy this album immensley.

Dave Lambert played a more dominant role in the latter 70's releases and his contributions were always consistent. Yes the songs were more pop orientated but there are some real gems on there like Words of Wisdom. This is a song about Carlos Castaneda and the wise people of Mexico it seems and it evokes the mood and spirituality Castaneda wrote about. Awesome song really worth listening too! Other great songs on the album are Time and Life, Joey and Me and New Beginnings.Strawbs effectively disbanded after the aptly named Deadlines but resumed further releases in the late 80's to present day.

3.5 stars.

Review by soundsweird
2 stars I keep this album only because of the final track "Words of Wisdom". The rest consists of subpar material arranged poorly. The song "Sealed With a Traitor's Kiss" is now superflous because of the new, better version on the album "Blue Angel". I don't mind a progressive band doing more commercial material if the songwriting and arrangements are at an acceptable level. Here, I don't feel that they are.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Here's one we recorded earlier (then lost!)

Released well after the Halcyon days of the Strawbs, "Deadlines" is nevertheless a decent album. While lacking the pioneering prog folk of "From the witchwood" or "Hero and heroine", the album still contains some fine compositions by Mr. Strawbs AKA Dave Cousins and his chosen band-mates. The line up is essentially that of the previous "Burning for you" album recorded less than 6 months previously, with just the drumming stool being subject to change. "Deadlines" proved to be the last Strawbs release (but not their last recordings) of the 1970's, and the band's only album for Arista records. According to the Strawbs official website, much of the album had to be re-recorded after a "freak accident" involving the master tapes.

Unusually, the album opens with a lead vocal by Dave Lambert instead of Cousins, "No return" being an upbeat but basic rock song. John Mealing contributes some decent keyboards work, sounding a bit like Rick Wakeman in the process. The song effectively sets the mood for the album, the band having pretty much settled into more commercial, less challenging territories.

There is of course a mixture of up-tempo songs and softer ballads, "Sealed with a traitor's kiss" being the first example of the latter. Here Cousins offers an impassioned and remorseful vocal telling the tale of a painful separation.

I swore that I would die for you, and sealed it with a traitor's kiss

"I don't want to talk about it" is a mid-paced anthemic song which you'll find yourself singing for a long time after hearing it. "The last resort" resorts to the loud rock style of the opener, featuring some good lead guitar work by Lambert.

"Time and life" is the most powerful song on the album, the chiming guitar and echoed vocals offering a reminder of the "Grave new world" days. The dramatics of "Deadly nightshade" are vaguely reminiscent of a slowed down "Hero and heroine" the menacingly effective vocal and crashing guitars helping to further distinguish the track.

The closing "Words of wisdom" is the longest and most creative track on the album. It tells the tale of a Mexican man of wisdom to an ethereal mellotron drenched melody, numerous sounds drifting around in a progscape.

In all, "Deadlines" falls outside any list of essential Strawbs albums. Fans of the band will however find material of a good quality here, both in terms of composition and performance. The Hipgnosis sleeve illustrations play on the album title, but is unattractive and inappropriate for a Strawbs album.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars The last resort

The second half of the 70's saw Strawbs release four studio albums that were rather badly received. This unkind reception was in my opinion unfair, but still somewhat understandable. While all of these albums (Nomadness, Deep Cuts, Burning For You, and the present album) featured at least some good tracks, none of them were great as a whole. Deadlines was to be the last of these releases (though, they did record Heartbreak Hill in the same year but it wasn't released until 1995). After this, Strawbs would go on a lengthy break from music and not return with a new album until the late 80's.

The music here is maybe not fundamentally dissimilar to that of the previous two albums (Deep Cuts and Burning For You), but with a bit of a New Wave-ish feel here that makes it stand out from the rest in a not very good way. Both the Folk and the Prog are almost completely absent here, and instead we get decent quality Pop Rock. The best two tracks are the final two, Deadly Nightshade and Words Of Wisdom. On these tracks, we at least get some of the older feel.

Needless to say this is not a good place to start for the newcomer, though it is recommended for fans like myself

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This is the last Strawbs album before a long period of silence (almost ten years).

The music one can discover is more in the pop-rock vein: very basic music but at times with catchy vocal harmonies (Joey & Me). It is sure that the Strawbs that I liked (From The Witchwood as well as Hero & Heroine) doesn't exist any longer but this album is not a bad one (much superior than Nomadness and Deep Cuts).

There are some songs with a Moodies feeling (Sealed With A Traitor's Kiss) which features a fine melody and is one of my preferred songs out of these Deadlines. But other ballads are really difficult to bear like the syrupy and mellowish I Don't Want To Talk About It. I totally agree.

The rock feeling alternates with the ballad one and a song as The Last Resort is on the good side again which is not really the case with the AOR style Time & Life. It's a slow and heavy rock number which could have been avoided; but I'm not a fan of this type of music.

Easy listening music all the way through is what you'll get with this Strawbs work. Not too bad but not really good either. Some blunders though (New Beginnings is the second one). The album is better towards its end: the bombastic Deadly Nighshade and the truly symphonic Words Of Wisdom being my favourite songs from these Deadlines.

Three stars. Their work IMO since Ghosts.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars After enduring 3 pop-oriented albums, Strawbs fans had much diminished expectations by the release of "Deadlines" in early 1978. To make matters worse, it appeared around the same time as not one but two A&M compilations ("Classic Strawbs, a Canada only release, and "best of Strawbs"), which only sharpened the qualitative divide between the classic and latter day material. Furthermore, after only two releases on Oyster, the group was now signed onto Arista, which provided virtually no promotional support. Basically the album was DOA, ironic given the amount of life within.

"Deadlines" actually blends both "Ghosts" and "Burning" eras with a dash of "Bursting" thrown in. "Joey and Me" is the definitive folk n roll buddy song, although Joey may in fact be just another side of the man's identity. The rhythm guitar riffs, piano rolls, and uplifting melody, all over strummed acoustic guitar make this a Strawbs song that combines all their eras. "The Last Resort" is a rare convincing rocker sung by Cousins and featuring a Lambert guitar solo that adopts the nascent Mark Knopfler technique. So many references on this album suggest an ending, a parting of the ways, with transparent personal and career parallels. Another perennial is the piano ballad "Sealed with a Traitor's Kiss". The two closers, "Deadly Nightshade" and "Words of Wisdom", come closest to the epic Strawbs, with Gothic melodies and mellotron choirs, yet there is a sadness to the latter that even the darkest visions of "Hero and Heroine" cannot equal. With all these highlights, the heavy handed missteps of "No Return" and "Time and Life" seem forgivable, as do a few of the poppier numbers sung by Lambert, which at least have strong tunes to save them.

Clearly Strawbs knew the end was nigh and that their tenuous legacy might be extinguished when they sung "The sole survivor of the news, the headlines" (on "Time and Life"). They couldn't know that the missed deadline was simply for mass commercial success, and that their career and collectibility would strengthen over subsequent decades.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars 2,5 stars, really. I remember buying this album in late 1979. I guess it was the last Strawbs album ever released in Brazil and it didn´t sell much. I found my copy on a sales bin, very cheap. I got it even if the ugly cover wasn´t very promising. When I played I knew it was not to be one of my favourite Strawbs works. The sound was leaning towards a more commercial path than on the previous good Deep Cuts.

But Deadlines was not really bad. It has good tracks like Words of Wisdom (their most progressive effort here). Deadly Nightshade and the excellent rocker The Last Resort (great keys and a stunning solo by Dave Lambert). But overall this is album is too directionless for the average Strawbs fan. Much of the songs sound a bit forced and without much energy or conviction (New Beginnings is a good example), even if the performance is still very good and the songwriting is ok too. A sadness feeling hangs ominously all over the tracks, as if they knew the end was near.

Deadlines is not a good starting point if you´re new to this important english band. However, if you´re familiar to their earlier stuff and liked Strawbs late 70´s stuff, then chances are you might enjoy this album. It has its merits, but it is a sure shot only for fans, collectors and completionists,

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars 'Deadlines' was the first Strawbs release on the Arista label, the band's third label in the seventies after leaving A&M for Oyster in 1975. It would also turn out to be their last studio album for more than a decade as Cousins would depart the band after a poor showing for this record and an aborted attempt at a second Arista album (which would eventually be released as the appropriately-titled 'Heartbreak Hill'). Probably just as well as it turns out as the band managed to survive the musically turbulent eighties by simply staying quiet during a decade that brought down many of their progressive and folk rock peers.

The group had just come off a pair of financially disastrous tours supporting their 'Nomadness' and 'Deep Cuts' releases, both of those records cutting into the Billboard Top-200 in the U.S. but just barely. Their plan to reconstitute themselves financially with a back-to-back studio releases before going back on the road was not exactly working out. 'Burning for You' was barely released when the 'Deadlines' sessions began but it was already pretty clear that album wasn't going to take off on its own, and the group was not in a position to go out on the road to support it. Also drummer Rod Coombes left the band to focus on studio production and engineering and was replaced by relative unknown Tony Fernandez whose only notable prior credit was a stint in the rock band Ross with Badfinger guitarist/keyboardist Bob Jackson. And really his contributions are mostly muted on this release and restricted almost exclusively to snare drums although he does break out his tambourine a couple times. Coombes of course had sung backing on several Strawbs songs and also played various hand drums and a bit of acoustic guitar as well and while Fernandez would grow into almost as valuable an addition over time this was an understated debut for him.

The band was further challenged by having to re-record several tracks and overdub parts of others after the master tapes were damaged during the mixing process. This of course added to the delay of getting back on the road and further contributed to their financial distress with the additional studio costs and no measurable revenue coming in from sales of 'Burning for You'.

John Mealing and Robert Kirby are credited with various keyboards on this album but honestly except for some piano on "Sealed with a Traitor's Kiss", "I Don't Want to Talk About It" and "New Beginnings" about all I can hear are mostly synthesizers set to borderline new- wave mode. I guess there is a heavy organ/piano thread that weaves through "Deadly Nightshade" but the real point is that there isn't anywhere near as much moog, Mellotron or really even organ as the liner notes and past history would lead one to expect. These are for the most part head-on rockers with very little attempt, except on "Deadly Nightshade" and "Words of Wisdom", at either progressive or folk-rock nuances.

The two opening numbers "No Return" and "Joey and Me" suffer either from odd minor guitar chords, weird tunings or both as the strident guitars and slightly off-key vocals really detract from any theme or lyrical message the band may be trying to share. Honestly I had the check the liner notes the first time I heard these songs to see if the band had dropped melody from their lineup as part of their latest reorganization.

"Sealed with a Traitor's Kiss" is an improvement over the first part of the album, if nothing else thanks to the lead-in piano and some pretty decent vocals from Cousins. I'm sure the band has performed this live in later years and honestly would personally have chosen this above "Joey and Me" as one of the album's singles.

And speaking of singles, "I Don't Want to Talk About It" was one of three the band released in support of the record. None of them charted. I can see why this one with its plaintive rhythm section and angsty-lover lyrics might appeal to preteens listening to radio songs at the local roller skating rink, but seriously this is not the sort of thing the Strawbs should have been cranking out at this point of their career no matter how tough the commercial market was at the time.

There are a couple tracks on this album I personally don't find very attractive, but have to admit from a purely musical view are pretty well done and show a harder, slightly darker side of the band that may have been interesting or even attractive to some newer fans. "The Last Resort" and "Time and Life" suffer from plodding rhythms but I can't be sure if this was intentional or just due to Fernandez not having gelled with the group by this point. Otherwise the guitars and tight organ arrangements almost border on heavy prog (dare I say metal?) at times and make for a sharp contrast to the rest of the album's lighter and sometimes acoustic sound.

Other than "Deadly Nightshade" I would have picked "New Beginnings" as a strong candidate for a single with its emphasis on vocal harmonies and mellower, more complex piano and acoustic guitar. And it was in fact a single but as with the other two never charted. "Deadly Nightshade" has all those things that seemed to be present on the few latter Strawbs songs that really clicked: excellent electric guitar riffs from Dave Lambert; Cousins' creepy yet intoxicating vocals and understated acoustic guitar; Mellotron; heavy organ; and lyrics wrapped around a moral encompassed by a folk-tale. Very nicely done by all hands, and a definite keeper for the band.

"Words of Wisdom" comes close to the level of "Deadly Nightshade" but on this closing tune I have to say the keyboards are a bit directionless which makes the five minute-plus length seems a bit longer than it needed to be.

'Deadlines' is another Strawbs album that ranks near the bottom of my favorites list, but unlike "Burning for You" (which I also found to be musically sub-par) this one is well executed, but just not my personal cup of tea if you will. I'm going to go with three stars for 'Deadlines' and add that if you are a fan of classic Strawbs there's a good chance you'll be disappointed with this record. For Americans especially, if you are a Strawbs and also a Kansas fan who found things to like in 'Audio Visions' then you'll likely be able to make the same sort of leap from 'Ghosts' to 'Deadlines' here. Otherwise you may need to skip this one.


Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nº 603

'Deadlines' is the eleventh studio album of Strawbs and was released in 1978. It was the last album released by the group in the 70's. The decision of Dave Cousins in 1980 to leave the band to work in radio effectively signalled the band's demise. So, as happened with 'Nomadness', 'Deep Cuts' and 'Burning For You', all tracks are short with less than five minutes, their folk/rock roots and their progressiveness has gone and the songs were clearly more pop orientated. And as happened with all those albums, continues the absence of a full time keyboardist in the band too.

The line up on the album is Dave Cousins (lead and backing vocals and acoustic guitar), Dave Lambert (lead and backing vocals, acoustic and electric guitars), Chas Cronk (backing vocals, bass and acoustic guitars) and Tony Fernandez (drums, tambourine, tympani and bells). Relatively to their previous album, 'Burning For You', Tony Fernandez substituted Rod Coombes on drums. The album had also the participation of two other artists, Robert Kirby (piano, electric piano, mellotron, organ and autoharp) and John Mealing (piano, poly moog, minimoog and harpsichord).

'Deadlines' has nine tracks. The first track 'No Return' written by Cousins and Lambert is a song that sets the tone for the whole album. It's an upbeat rock song with John Mealing performing a very good keyboard work. This is a song with Lambert on lead vocals and with Cousins on the backing vocals. It appears to be the confession of the band that it seems to be no return to the roots of their music of the good old days. The second track 'Joey And Me' written by Cousins, Lambert and Cronk was the song chosen to be released as the first single of the album. To be honest, I agree with Cousins when he wrote that he loves the song and that we are in presence of a great track. Of course we are only in presence of a pop rock song, but very well written, and are a cherry enough song to be very pleasant to hear, really. The third track 'Sealed With A Traitor's Kiss' written by Cousins is a very softer ballad telling us a story of a very painful separation. This is a great ballad that reminds us the good old times of the band in their golden era. It has a great piano performance and the vocal performance of Cousins is absolutely delightful. This is, in my humble opinion, an improvement in relation to the two previous songs. The fourth track 'I Don't Want To Talk About It' written by Cousins and Cronk is a song with more lead vocals from Lambert and with Cousins on the backing vocals. This is another song that was released as a single to support the album. It's a nice and beautiful pop rock song clearly written to the commercial musical market at the time and to be listened on the local radio frequencies. The fifth track 'The Last Resort' written by Cousins, Lambert and Cronk is another upbeat tempo rock song, very well written in terms of a pop rock song. However, it's clearly a track where the musical arrangements of the guitars, the organ and the drums are with more influenced by the hard and heavy rock. The sixth track 'Time And Life' written by Cousins and Cronk is, in my humble opinion, a typical dramatic Strawbs' song in the same vein of many of their usual songs. It's a song where we can clearly hear an excellent mellotron work and where we can feel that the old magic of the band is still there. This is one of my favourite songs on the album. The seventh track 'New Beginnings' written by Cousins and Lambert is a beautiful and nice song perfectly written to be a single. It's an optimistic song about children, very sentimental, and where, once more, we can hear Lambert singing as the lead singer and Cousins on the backing vocals. The eighth track 'Deadly Nightshade' written by Cousins is, in my humble opinion, a great Strawbs' song. Finally, we are in presence of a true really Strawbs' song. It has all the ingredients that a great Strawbs' song must have, great lyrics, an excellent electric guitar work, the simple presence of the sound of the acoustic guitar, heavy keyboard work provided by the Mellotron and organ and the intoxicating nasal voice of Cousins, which made of it a true classic Strawbs' song. The ninth and last track 'Words Of Wisdom' written by Cousins is a song very slow and atmospheric and is another song in the same vein of 'Deadly Nightshade'. It tells us the story of a Mexican man Carlos Castaneda and evokes the spirituality of what he wrote. It's the lengthiest track on the album, it's the most creative and it's one of the best too.

Conclusion: 'Deadlines' is an album in the same vein of their previous three studio albums 'Nomadness', 'Deep Cuts' and 'Burning For You'. Once more we are in presence of a good album that sounds nicely but where the songs, collectively, are unlike their greatest and best studio albums 'From The Witchwood', 'Grave New World', 'Bursting At The Seams', 'Hero And Heroine' and 'Ghosts'. On them, we can clearly see the sacrifice of their prog folk roots in favour of pop rock songs, so fashionable in those days. In reality, we can't say that 'Deadlines' is a bad album. On the contrary, I'm perfectly convinced that it has some good musical moments. However, I perfectly agree with Easy Livin when he wrote that 'Deadlines' can't be part of any list of essential Strawbs' albums. In terms of progressive music it has only two great tracks 'Deadly Nightshade' and 'Words Of Wisdom'. But, 'Time And Life' is also an excellent track.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars "Deadlines" is a pretty good album. I would say it's more pop oriented (but not more than two previous ones: "Deep Cuts" and "Burning for You") than "progy", but whereas it contains at least three really great tracks that worth listening: No Returns - with genius complex keyboards solo at the ... (read more)

Report this review (#117977) | Posted by alekra | Wednesday, April 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I like this album. I'd personally give it a much higher rating, but since we're focusing on prog. I had to remove a few stars. Most of the songs are fairly straightforward rock songs, but are tastefully well done. The better songs are No Return, The Last Resort, Time and Life, and Words o ... (read more)

Report this review (#40760) | Posted by | Friday, July 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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