Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Prog Folk

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Strawbs Don't Say Goodbye album cover
2.99 | 35 ratings | 7 reviews | 6% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1987

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. A Boy And His Dog (5:03)
2. Let It Rain (4:55)
3. We Can Make It Together (3:30)
4. Tina dei Fada (3:51)
5. Big Brother (3:03)
6. Something For Nothing (6:35)
7. Evergreen (4:48)
8. That's When The Crying Starts (4:02)
9. Beat The Retreat (5:06)

Total Time: 40:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Cousins / vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, banjo
- Tony Hooper / vocals, acoustic guitars
- Brian Willoughby / guitars
- Chris Parren / keyboards
- Rod Demick / bass, backing vocals
- Richard Hudson / drums, acoustic guitar, backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Design Stillings

LP Chord Records ‎- TOOTS 3 (1987, UK)
LP Virgin - VL 3018 (1987, Canada)

CD Chord - CD 009 (1989, UK)
2xCD The Road Goes On Forever ‎- RGF/WCDCD 039 (1998, UK) Remastered by Denis Blackham and bundled with "Ringing Down The Years" album

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy STRAWBS Don't Say Goodbye Music

STRAWBS Don't Say Goodbye ratings distribution

(35 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(17%)
Good, but non-essential (49%)
Collectors/fans only (23%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

STRAWBS Don't Say Goodbye reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars '87 Strawbs entry DON'T SAY GOODBYE is a woefully underrated, but convincingly vital comeback album from this quintessential English "prog folk" outfit.

Yes, it's more "pop" than the classic 70s stuff, but it's also fine music. There's plenty of prog power, and oodles of beauty to be found here. "Big Brother" is another witty winner in the "Part of the Union" vein, "Tina dei Fada" is a lovely instrumental with some superb lead guitar, and "Beat the Retreat," with its moving lyrics and heartfelt Cousins vocals, is requisite listening for all Strawbs fans.

Though it's not all great ("Something for Nothing" leaves something to be desired), it's still rather good. Check it out.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Dave Cousins here always has his characteristic Gabriel esque voice. The folk influence is still present on some songs, even couples of light country passages. But there are surprisingly hard rock bits, with an aggressive loud guitar sound. There are many great loud guitar solos, very well played, moaning and sustained. The presence of modern colorful keyboards gives a fresh touch to the whole. There are also great sentimental moments, like the track "Tina dei Fada", which is absolutely beautiful: listen to those romantic guitars!! There is also the poignant "Evergreen", a peaceful song full of excellent powerful lead & backing vocals and nostalgic piano. This album is varied and shows how mature became The Strawbs.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Just when we thought they had got over "Part of the Union"

A 1987 album by Cousins & co, the "& co" including early Strawbs members Tony Hooper and Richard Hudson. Cousins inevitably dominates the song writing but Richard Hudson contributes a couple, and former member Chas Cronk also works with Cousins on a further couple.

The songs are generally only average, see "Ringing down the years" a couple of years later for this line up's best album. Hudson's guitar work on his instrumental track "Tina Del Fada" is superb, but he spoils things completely with "Big brother", which is literally "Part of the union part 2".

"Something for nothing" is one of the better tracks, with a good synth solo, and some fine guitar, but in truth it would only be an average track on their classic albums. Cousins generously allows Hooper to take lead vocals on "Evergreen" (written by Cousins), and Hooper repays the complement by delivering a beautifully simple interpretation. "That's when the crying starts" is the "title" track, a lilting mid-paced tearjerker, pleasant but forgettable. "Beat the retreat" is a likeable lullaby with a slightly Scottish air, making for a peaceful ending to the album.

An enjoyable but far from essential Strawbs offering.

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars I am completely staggered when I saw the ratings for this album.

IMO, this is not a good work and it doesn't need more than a one star rating. Prog music is absolutely not on the rendezvous and you'll have to experience some very poor songs to go from the opening track to the closing number.

I can tell you that this is a painful experience... No songs being worth a ? cent really. "Strawbs" released I don't what with this poor album.

By no means would Strawbs attract any new devoted fan who could appreciate this music. I am really voiceless while listening to such a poor recording. But I am use to this since I decided to review a band's catalogue from their early days to the finish, whatever the quality.

Frankly, I should have avoided the experience with this zero star worth album. If I can only advice: stay away from this useless music; you would do yourself an immense favour.

The only song that can be referred as a good one is the excellent Tina Dei Fada. The only emotional track which also features a fantastic guitar solo. You know, the type of Carlos ones that turns a good track into a great one. Again, I am still wondering how the band was able to release such a good instrumental track in this ocean of very poor tunes.

There is only one rating possible of course. One thin and lonely star (but even this is way beyond what is worth).

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Starting over

1987's Don't Say Goodbye was Strawbs' comeback album after almost ten years of silence from the band. Their last studio release had been 1978's Deadlines, which was among the least impressive of Strawbs' 70's efforts. Yet another album called Heartbreak Hill had been recorded in the same year, intended as the follow-up album to Deadlines. But, due to problems with the record company and management (and eventually the demise of the band itself), the latter album was not released at the time. Not until 1995 did the original Heartbreak Hill recordings see the light of day on an official release. In the meantime the reformed band released the present album (and four years later Ringing Down The Years). I mention this primarily because three of the songs from the then unreleased Heartbreak Hill sessions (Let It Rain, We Can Make It Together, and Something For Nothing) were re-recorded for the present album. Though good, these songs were not the best from Heartbreak Hill. Personally, I would much rather have had a remake of the title track from that unreleased album or Starting Over, both of which were more progressive than anything on the present album. Starting Over would have been an obvious choice for another reason too, starting over was just what they did here!

This album starts out with Strawbs' response to Jehtro Tull's Steel Monkey; a hard rocking song set to programmed keyboards. Fortunately, this is the only song of the album that has that sound, so don't let it scare you away. Dave Cousins could still at this point write good songs and sing them very well. The guitar solos are good, with a great sound. The drums and keyboards are decent, and better than on most 80's albums by other bands. On some songs you clearly hear that this was made in the 80's. But overall this is still the same Strawbs we all know and love. The album is varied, offering both emotional ballads and some hard rocking songs. The guitar on some songs is surprisingly heavy for a Strawbs album. Big Brother is another Part Of The Union type sing-a-long, but better. Evergreen is a piano ballad not sung by Cousins. The vocal is somehow Caravan-ish!

Don't Say Goodbye is up to par with the band's output from the second half of the 70's, but it was hardly the return to form that Prog fans were waiting for and it is a far cry from the band's best albums

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars Debut albums are often considered the best by a band. This may sometimes be due to the fact that, at least in the bygone era of big studios and labels, by the time an initial release was in the offing, the band may have accumulated quite a repertoire from which to choose. Does the same hold true for reunions after a long absence? In the case of "Don't Say Goodbye", Strawbs did draw upon almost a decade of material, which may explain why, over a two decade period, it was the strongest Strawbs album.

Ignoring the occasional period synthesizers and drums. most of the album is vintage Strawbs - vital folk rock with progressive touches, by a hodgepodge lineup of past members, associates, and newcomers. In particular, Richard Hudson is behind the kit and shares two writing contributions: the beautiful instrumental "Tina dei Fada" and the jaunty "Big Brother", which, given its Thatcher-era pedigree, suggests that his political orientation was not as entirely to the right as might have been assumed.

Brian Willoughby had long been an associate of Cousins and had recorded an acoustic set "Old School Songs" with him previously, in which he generated quite dexterous and melodic "twiddly parts" from the guitar. Here he exhibits more technical prowess in mere seconds than Dave Lambert could have done in a 40 minute disk. Just listen to the solo at the end of "Boy and His Dog", or the aforementioned "Tina..." if you want emotion as well.

If "Boy and His Dog" smells strongly of the 1980s, it also shows Cousins had lost no bite lyrically, and his rollicking meter somehow augments the whole effort. "Let it Rain" is a return to lush pastoral balladry rarely seen since the early days. As in the compact mid tempo rocker with the great ending, "We Can Make it Together", and the acousto-electric "Something for Nothing", these versions so best those that appeared on "Heartbreak Hill" that they are essentially different songs.

Original member Tony Hooper's main contribution is his gentle vocal on the poetic Cousins' ballad "Evergreen", only marred by an unnecessary lead guitar intrusion. The album's closers are to the country side of folk in different ways, the slyly melodramatic "That's Where the Crying Starts", and the autobiographical "Beat the Retreat", both showing a playful and reflective side to this incarnation of the group and to Cousins' state of mind.

As unlikely an event as a Strawbs album in 1987 must have been, it is even more surprising that, taken individually and as a whole, it captures the indomitable folk-rock spirit of the group and, with a gentle brush of the hand, bids the upstarts retreat temporarily to the wings.

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars The members of the Strawbs that recorded 'Deadlines' a decade prior had mostly dispersed by the late eighties. Dave Cousins was well into a lengthy career as radio producer and director. Chas Cronk had dabbled in songwriting with Dave Lambert and later went on to record and play live with the likes of Gordon Giltrap and Rick Wakeman (as did drummer Tony Fernandez). And Robert Kirby rode the New-Wave for a while with Elvis Costello and later Nick Lowe before turning to a commercial marketing career. Most of the would resurface with the Strawbs at one point or another eventually, but for the time being Cousins had been doing some touring since 1983 with an early seventies lineup of the band that included Tony Hooper, John Ford, Richard Hudson and Blue Weaver along with Brian Willoughby who had been in the band before and had also been part of brief punk and dance-hall music groups the Monks and High Society with Ford and Hudson in the early eighties. Weaver didn't stay long with this Strawbs version and was replaced by Chris Parren who was yet another Monks/High Society alumnus. This is basically the lineup that recorded 'Don't Say Goodbye' except that Ford moved to the U.S. and was replaced by Rod Demick in what appears to have been nothing more than a session player role.

I'm not an expert on the band's history but I assume they made this album as simply a means to having something to promote while touring. The Strawbs hadn't released any new material since 1978's 'Deadlines' which was probably already deleted from Arista's catalog by then. And surprisingly they hadn't even bothered to flood the market with various live, hits, anthology or 'rediscovered' rarities in the ensuing years, something many of their peers had done to keep residual royalties flowing. I suppose not having a record deal didn't help.

Despite its tenuous origins, this is a pretty decent album. The band seemed to be a bit short on new material as they re-recorded three tracks from the forgotten late seventies 'Heartbreak Hill' project including a powerful version of "Let it Rain" along with "Something for Nothing" and "We Can Make it Together". I'm not sure where the other tunes originated but I wouldn't be surprised if some of them came from earlier Strawbs studio sessions or from Cousins' solo acoustic work. "Evergreen" and "That's When the Crying Starts" in particular sound like something Cousins would have done outside the context of the Strawbs.

"Tina Dei Fada" is a Richard Hudson composition and a quaint little instrumental that focuses primarily on one lead guitar along with sporadic rhythm guitar accompaniment, very simple drums and light organ in the background. The guitar score sounds like something Hudson spent a lot of time and effort developing and I doubt it was written for these sessions but rather was likely something he had been working on and decided to offer the group. Whatever the source it's an unlikely but very polished and beautiful addition to the album.

Hudson had coauthored "Part of the Union" with John Ford back in the early seventies which became one of the band's biggest hit singles. "Big Brother" sounds like a stab at reviving the working-class and rebellious sentiments that caused people to identify with that song, but the beat is a bit too catchy and the lyrics not quite biting enough to pull that off. A decent song though.

Back to the beginning of the album for a minute, "A Boy and His Dog" really sounds to me like the only song that was specifically written for this album and in fact is credited to Cousins and Parren. I have to say it's also the worst song on the record by far. The opening techno-dance riff and swelling guitar/synth horn buildup was not at all appropriate for a group of the Strawbs character and stature at the time. It appears Cousins couldn't resist a stab at a hit single even after similar failed attempts with Oyster and Arista in the seventies. Every time I hear this song I instantly start visualizing Phil Collins of eighties Genesis on stage, very drunk and wearing parachute pants while trying to groove and sing along with Prince and The Revolution. No offense Phil, just describing an involuntary visual spasm. Fortunately a cooler head prevailed somewhere and this was not one of the two singles released from the album.

Hopefully most listeners didn't spin the record off the turntable after that first song because things immediately get better with the follow-on track "Let it Rain" from the 'Heartbreak Hill' sessions, a gorgeous slow-tempo number with gospel choir vocal choruses, tight guitar chords and a very emotive feel. The overall feel is similar to that of Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is" and was a very good sound for the group at the time.

"We Can Make it Together" was another 'Heartbreak Hill' number and the version here has much more developed keyboard arrangements but is otherwise pretty true to the original. "Something for Nothing" follows the pair of Hudson tracks and is also a 'Heartbreak' song that gets a better keyboard treatment this time around.

The best song on the album is easily "Evergreen", a bitter retrospective look at a failed relationship with gorgeous keyboards and sparing use of guitar chords, and more importantly containing some of Cousins more poignant lyrics: "passionate days, remember them well, the devil may care of evergreen. We measured success in the stains on the back seat, our tongues in your mouths, our hands on your heartbeat? we married in haste, young lambs to the slaughter; we weep in the arms of a favorite daughter". I would stack this one against anything else the band did after about 1974.

The last two I've already mentioned, both Cousins songs and both likely written earlier but well arranged and played here. The closer "Beat the Retreat" is mostly acoustic and very nostalgic, and I wonder if fans at the time might have read something into its words and position at the end of this album. But regardless, the band would go on to release several more albums well into the new century and this one would become something of an afterthought except to hardcore fans.

I can't quite go to four stars for this album since it's really a hodge-podge of sounds including some that would have been considered borderline filler in the Strawbs' earlier days. But three stars is completely appropriate based, if nothing else, on "Evergreen", the reconstituted 'Heartbreak Hill' tunes and the underappreciated country folk-rock closer "Beat the Retreat". If you are a Strawbs fan, don't make the mistake of skipping over this one.


Latest members reviews

No review or rating for the moment | Submit a review

Post a review of STRAWBS "Don't Say Goodbye"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.