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HIGH SEAS

Cousins & Conrad

Symphonic Prog


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Cousins & Conrad High Seas album cover
2.52 | 4 ratings | 2 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The call to action
2. Deep inside
3. The rose
4. On the horizon
5. Deep in the darkest night
6. The moon and the stars
7. My oh my my
8. It's just my way of (loving you)
9. Not another day
10. Haiku
11. The feng shui symphony

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- David Cousins / vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo, dulcimer
- Conny Conrad / guitars, keyboards, programming, backing vocals

Guest:
- Rick Wakeman / piano on "Deep In The Darkest Night"

Releases information

CD Witchwood Records WMCD 2025

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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COUSINS & CONRAD High Seas ratings distribution


2.52
(4 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
0%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
25%
Good, but non-essential (25%)
25%
Collectors/fans only (50%)
50%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

COUSINS & CONRAD High Seas reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
3 stars This collaboration between Strawbs' driving force for the last 40 years and one of Germany's successful guitarists is a mixed bag with the expectant mixed results. The duo set out to make a progressive rock album but it generally lacks a theme and a sense of immediacy, while nonetheless containing some fine material, and some of Cousins' strongest vocals in recent years.

The album is best when it lets Dave Cousins ply his more prog oriented vocal styles, and where the acoustic and electric come together to temper the preponderance of synthesizers and programmed drums. The opener "A Call to Action" is a hard hitter indeed, with a lengthy and spatial acoustic guitar opener in which the keys slowly swell, followed by a truly dramatic vocal performance in which Dave tells us what is seriously wrong with the world in a way that sounds far more desperate than preachy. Not since "New World" can I remember Mr Cousins being quite so emphatic, quite so effectively. But his understated side is just as predominant, the yang to his ying, no better displayed than on my personal favourite, "The Moon and Stars", with sublime backing from Conrad on synths and a highly infectious melody, and most original among Cousins' works. Other highlights include the requisite Cousins' ballad "the Rose" and the poignant "Deep in the Darkest Night", augmented by the rolling keys of Rick Wakeman. "Haiku" utilizes spoken verses and banjo to dreamy romantic effect, also breaking new ground.

But there are a few stinkers that need to be programmed out - the languid "Deep Inside" and the sentimentally poppy "My oh My My" both do little to advance the cause, but the album's strengths make it a worthwhile purchase for most of us.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#124541) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 03, 2007

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars Call to action

Dave Cousins seemingly has a thing for recording collaboration albums with other people outside of his day job with Strawbs and then taking some of the resulting material back to Strawbs and often recording superior versions of the songs in question with them. In 1994, for example, Cousins recorded an album called The Bridge together with a Brian Willoughby, and then a few years later re-recorded several songs from that album with Strawbs for the album Blue Angel (the title track of which was itself a re-recording of a track from Cousins' first solo album from 1972). The present album is a collaboration with one Conny Conrad, and again a couple of the songs eventually appeared on a Strawbs album, again in improved versions. So far none of the songs from Hummingbird - Cousins' 2002 collaboration album with ex-Strawbs member and keyboard legend extraordinaire Rick Wakeman - have appeared on any Strawbs album, but that album itself featured a couple of re-recorded Strawbs numbers. One cannot help to wonder what the point is of doing these collaboration projects if the material is going to end up under the Strawbs banner sooner or later anyway.

I have yet to hear Cousins & Willoughby's The Bridge, but both Wakeman & Cousins' Hummingbird and the present album with Conrad are somewhat frustrating listens. There is indeed much potential here, but it is not executed as well as it could have been. The production is a bit on the weak side, but the biggest problem for me is the absence of a full band. Here we have only Cousins on lead vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo, and dulcimer, and Conrad on electric guitars, keyboards, and drum programming. Rick Wakeman guests on piano on one track, but otherwise there are no other people involved. This is especially problematic as the ambition here seems to have been to make a Prog Rock album. The lack of genuine drums (even if the programmed drums here sound surprisingly good for programmed drums) is especially damaging.

High Seas opens with The Call To Action, an improved version of which would later open Strawbs' excellent The Broken Hearted Bride album. Especially having heard the latter version first, this version sounds somewhat unfinished. The same goes for the whole album. The songs remain pleasant enough, but they sound like demos. The only real stinker is My Oh My. The other track that later appeared on The Broken Hearted Bride is Deep In The Darkest Night. Again, the Strawbs version is the definitive version, even if this version features Wakeman on piano.

The material presented here is not bad at all, but it is badly presented. I feel that it could have been so much better than it is. As such, it is somewhat disappointing. Recommended only to fans of Cousins and Strawbs!

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#702224) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 01, 2012

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