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DAVE COUSINS

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Dave Cousins biography
Dave Cousins was born in England in 1945. He holds a degree in statistics and pure mathematics from Leicester University. Cousins is best known as the founder and leader of The Strawbs, a prog folk band listed separately on this site. His career has seen him follow several different paths, including spells in Radio (he was controller of local radio station Radio Tees and managing director of Devonair).

Despite his many years in the music business, he has only ever released one solo album, 1972's "Two weeks last summer". While the line up of this album is somewhat different to that of the Strawbs, including as it does Jon Hiseman and Roger Glover, it is to all intents and purposes a bona fide Strawbs album.

The story of Dave Cousins is inextricably linked with that of The Strawbs, more details of whom can be found here:
- Strawbs

See also
- Cousins and Conrad




Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Dave Cousins was one of the pioneers of prog folk through his leadership of The Strawbs



Discography:
Two Weeks Last Summer, studio album (1972)

Dave Cousins official website

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Two Weeks Last SummerTwo Weeks Last Summer
Import
Witchwood Records 2004
Audio CD$14.11
$6.20 (used)
Moving PicturesMoving Pictures
Import
WITCHWOOD MEDIA 2016
Audio CD$4.86
$4.51 (used)
Secret PathsSecret Paths
Import
WITCHWOOD MEDIA 2016
Audio CD$4.53
$11.00 (used)
The Boy In The Sailor SuitThe Boy In The Sailor Suit
WITCHWOOD MEDIA 2016
Audio CD$11.75
$12.81 (used)
Old School SongsOld School Songs
Import
Road Goes on Forever 1996
Audio CD$41.18
$3.60 (used)
Going HomeGoing Home
A&M
Vinyl$7.54 (used)
Moving Pictures by Dave Cousins (2016-08-03)Moving Pictures by Dave Cousins (2016-08-03)
WITCHWOOD MEDIA
Audio CD$46.98
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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DAVE COUSINS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DAVE COUSINS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.63 | 18 ratings
Two Weeks Last Summer
1972
2.05 | 2 ratings
The Bridge (with Brian Willoughby)
1994
2.59 | 4 ratings
The Boy In The Sailor Suit
2007
3.00 | 3 ratings
Secret Paths
2008

DAVE COUSINS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.35 | 3 ratings
old School Songs (with Brian Willoughby)
1980
2.00 | 1 ratings
Wakeman And Cousins Live 1988
2004
2.00 | 1 ratings
Duochrome
2008

DAVE COUSINS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

DAVE COUSINS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DAVE COUSINS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

DAVE COUSINS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Boy In The Sailor Suit by COUSINS, DAVE album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.59 | 4 ratings

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The Boy In The Sailor Suit
Dave Cousins Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

3 stars Officially credited to Dave Cousins and the Blue Angel Orchestra, the Boy in the Sailor Suit is as faraway as you can get from Cousins' 1972 solo album that featured the epic song "Blue Angel", titled Two Weeks Last Summer. Guitarist Miller Anderson is a hold over from that album but is joined by all new players, including fiddle wunderkind Ian Cutler and that's where this album gets interesting.

Cousins goes all out eclectic on the Boy In The Sailor Suit with a handful of country flavored rock, hard rock and blues songs with even a thirties' era radio pastiche number thrown in, all with varying results. The lead off track "Never Takes Sweats From A Stranger" is a typical Cousins' Strawbs- like tale of caution, helped no doubt by using the riff from the Strawbs' song "Heartbreaker" from 1977's Burning For You album. "Mellow Moon", "The Smile You Left Behind' and "Bringing In The Harvest' are country and folk rock songs that work well with Cutler's fiddle, particularly on the last two, and Anderson's lap steel playing on the first . "Skip To My Lou" and "Hellfire Blues" evoke late sixties' British style folk rockes, Fairport Convention in particular (as noted by Kennethlevine in his own PA review of this album) and features some good tradeoffs between Cutler's fiddle and Anderson's electric lead guitar.

Hard rocking "Mother Luck" is one of the strangest songs on the album with it's near "Foxy Lady" riff and Anderson's Hendrix-like wah-wah lead at the song's coda, while "Lonely Days, Lonely Nights" is another hard rocker devoid of, fortunately, any Hendrix "homage" this time around. Both songs are forgettable as is the soft rocker "Calling Out Your Name". The jazzy thirties' pastiche "Wish You Were Here" is downright grating. So there you have it, an interesting mixed bag of styles with mostly good results beating out the bad.

 The Bridge (with Brian Willoughby) by COUSINS, DAVE album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.05 | 2 ratings

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The Bridge (with Brian Willoughby)
Dave Cousins Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars With STRAWBS having been relatively active in the last decade and a half, one might not realize that from around 1980 to 2000, the band barely existed, a few limited releases and tours notwithstanding, largely because of Dave Cousins full time career in UK radio. In 1991, the archival label Road Goes on Forever re-issued the 1980 Cousins and Willoughby album "Old School Songs", and for the next few years encouraged the two gentleman to concoct a sequel. The result was "The Bridge", a now all but forgotten and virtually obsolete Strawbs related release. It's so obscure that an Ebay and discogs.com search yielded nothing, and it has certainly not been re-issued by Strawbs Witchwood label, but it assuredly exists and has been in my possession over 20 years.

First of all, its near obsolescence can be attributed to the fact that the Strawbs 2003 release "Blue Angel" included most of these tracks in barely altered form, in addition to a few other worthwhile tunes. Even before being repackaged as a full band release, it included some time and erstwhile band members Blue Weaver, Tony Fernandez, Chas Cronk, Rod Demick and Richard Hudson as guests, so muddling up personal filing systems wherever it appeared.

"The Bridge" was intended as a hybrid between the more painstakingly produced Strawbs albums and the entirely unplugged and lo-fi Cousins and Willoughby work, but, since most Strawbs albums admirably straddle that line.... Only 2 tracks didn't make the leap to the "Blue Angel" release, presumably because of their entirely acoustic nature, those being the opener "You Never Needed Water" and the finale "Song for Alex". Of the first, while Strawbs and Cousins have occasionally dabbled in C&W styles, this one is a full fledged finger picking good tune that hearkens back to the band's bluegrass beginnings and is emblazoned with Willoughby's fretting skills throughout. The lyrics are at once saucy and bitter, Cousins at his lovelorn best. Given the price that this CD is likely to command, I wouldn't say it's worth the price of admission for this song alone, but it's certainly worth your consideration if the description is to your taste. The wistful closing number "Song for Alex" has a clearer older lineage, dating back to the band's very early days. It's similar in tone to "Beat the Retreat" which appeared on "Don't Say Goodbye" in 1987, and, like the opening tune, includes splendid work by Willoughby.

Omitting the repeat exposure on Blue Angel, the other highlights here are the gorgeous "Further Down the Road" with its succinct verse and one line chorus, and the mini epic "The Plain", which could have fit on almost any album from the group's heyday, with Cousins' ponderous lyrics and a sense of dread. Several rockers are included, never the man or the band's strong suit, but "Rhythm of the Night" is a fair approximation to a Springsteen stomper. The vocal collaborations with Mary Hopkin are so-so, being a bit light by any measure, while "Strange Day over the Hill" is another country-ish shuffle with typically provocative and obtuse lyrics.

Overall, I can't really recommend this except to Strawbs fans and those who find the descriptions of the acoustic pieces to be irresistible. For the rest, I suggest the "Blue Angel" CD which also includes several more proggy tracks like "Blue Angel" itself and "There will Come the Day". It's not a great album either but definitely offers more value even ignoring the likely market prices for "The Bridge". 2.5 stars rounded down.

 old School Songs (with Brian Willoughby) by COUSINS, DAVE album cover Live, 1980
3.35 | 3 ratings

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old School Songs (with Brian Willoughby)
Dave Cousins Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars The proliferation of reworkings and reimaginings amongst those decades past their creative peak continues unabated, a phenomenon to which STRAWBS have succumbed repeatedly over the last decade. As artistically pointless as some might be, they do help us recall the days when this type of disc actually meant something, Backtracking to 1979, DAVE COUSINS and his old pal BRIAN WILLOUGHBY finally teamed up live and on record for an unplugged set, perhaps the first of its type, preceding not only the MTV series but MTV itself.

Whatever its motivations, "Old School Songs" presents Strawbs classics and a few hitherto unheard tracks in a crisp lo-fi manner, COUSINS' wearily magnanimous voice accompanied by his own simple strumming and Willoughby's often stunning acoustic leads offer a side to these largely folk numbers that was occasionally lost in the arrangements of full band productions. This is true even for "The Battle", one of the earlier tracks, and certainly true for "The Hangman and the Papist" and "Beside the Rio Grande".

Even in its live studio mustiness and the cassette captured festival recordings, this album excels in at least 2 unexpected aspects. First the aforementioned work of Willoughby, known afterwards as the master of the twiddly bits, hones his craft both technically and melodically quite beyond the capabilities of any prior or subsequent Strawbs guitarist. His fills and solos shimmer in rough cut grandeur as befits the overall epic quality of most of the selections. I find myself looking forward to even the shortest of these as an offset to the Dylanesque repetitiveness of some of the song structures. The other triumph is in the introduction of a couple of marvelous pieces that had actually been part of the repertoire of the early days of SANDY DENNY and even before. In particular, "I've been my own worst friend" is Cousins at his folkie best, forgiving himself even as he acknowledges his failures. Coincidentally or not, it acts as a fair assessment of his musical career up to that point. These tunes hold off on the Willoughby flair perhaps out of respect for their original intent. The version of "Grace Darling" that opens the album would become a blueprint for later live and studio versions.

Due to its purely acoustic format, this disk would be most suitable for fans of the group and of Dave Cousins, fans of folk music in general, and those who might be curious about how some of those classic Strawbs story songs might sound if they were firmly but lovingly given the old school treatment.

 Two Weeks Last Summer by COUSINS, DAVE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.63 | 18 ratings

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Two Weeks Last Summer
Dave Cousins Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

3 stars Not quite the classic people make it out to be.

Or more specifically, it's not the 'lost Strawbs' album that people make it out to be.

Released in only a few European countries (excluding the U.K. and the U.S) when the album Blue Angel first came out in 1972, it was because the album truly had all the hallmarks of a Dave Cousins solo album at that time. The contemporary Strawbs album released with great success at that time was the U.K. hit producing Bursting At The Seams. BatS was vitrually chock full of clever catchy tunes from Tears and Pavin, Part of The Union, Laydown and the mega progressive Down By The Sea.

By comparison, Blue Angel seamed restrained and very individualistic with Cousins accompanying himself solely on piano on several tracks (who knew he could play?) and woodwind accompaniment on another song( with an instrumental intro) The World/That's The Way it Ends.

Cousins first ever outing of October To May was done completely acapella. While his voice was still vibrant and charming at this point in his career, these songs simply fall short as symphonic prog.

Where Cousins does excel is in the heavy prog of the three suite title track that utilizes some heavier than usual lead electric guitar from guest player Millar Anderson, who makes the track sound more interesting and dramatic than it actually is. It's not a bad prog song, but it palls in comparison with Cousins' future three suite masterpieces such as Autumn, Ghosts and the now properly sequenced The River/Down By Sea on the CD reissues of BatS.

Unfortunately, the straight up rock song The Actor is ruined by Cousins' use of annoying oscillating vocal manipulation on the songs verses, which renders the lyrics indecipherable.

Blue Angel is not a bad album but it got the limited reception that it actually deserved due to a majority of the song's simply not being up to snuff. Which really is a shame as the album is well produced and sounds great. 3 stars as it's the only Dave Cousins solo album that actually contains new material and not make overs (save We'll Meet Again Sometime), as has been his want since releasing solo albums since 1980.

 old School Songs (with Brian Willoughby) by COUSINS, DAVE album cover Live, 1980
3.35 | 3 ratings

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old School Songs (with Brian Willoughby)
Dave Cousins Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

2 stars Desperation is the mother of invention.

In a effort to separate the wheat from the chaff of Dave Cousins' solo offerings, I look back on 1980's Old Scholl Songs recorded with old friend and crack guitarist Brian Willoughby.

Basically, after the Strawbs lost their record deal in 1978 and disbanded, Cousins was up against it and needed an inexpensive way to generate some income. He enlisted Willoughby and the duo hit the fiolk club and festival circuit playing Strawbs' numbers acoustically.

The album is split nearly in two by studio recording and live recordings of the 1979 Exmouth Folk Festival in the U.K. The live festival cuts were actually taken from a cassette type. But as the entire album is considerably Lo Fi, there is no loss of continuity between the early studio cuts and the live taped tracks.

Hence, Mr. Cousins might have produced the first unplugged album about a decade before it came into vogue on MTV.

The performance's are good as Cousins is still in top notch voice at this juncture and does justice to songs like the Hangman and the Papist as well as an excellent solo vocal on the Strawbs' bombastic U.K. hit Laydown.

Unfortunately, Willoughby is very much in a strumming support role, or merely interjects a few catchy notes here and there, and doesn't get a chance to really shine. At least in the songs presented here.

Old School Songs is a quant look back at a desperate time for Dave Cousins and is a precursor to the Acoustic Strawbs groups that he would form 20+ years later. However, due to it's Lo Fi nature and lack of songs that outshine the originals, I can only recommended this antique and curio to diehard fans and collectors. 2 stars.

 Secret Paths by COUSINS, DAVE album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Secret Paths
Dave Cousins Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

3 stars This review is certainly for the old guard and Strawbs/Cousins fans in particular.

I'm not going to be coy by avoiding the fact that Cousins can pick up a few pence for later indie releases like these. However, this solo studio outing (don't be fooled by the cover) gives fans a chance to actually hear and absorb some of Dave Cousins best compositions on this compilation. Joined only by Melvin Duffey on pedal steel and Dobro, it's uber producer Chris Tsangarides that really makes this mellow outing shine. Particularly with his remarkable treatment of Cousins vocals, which haven't sounded that good in 20 years. And Tsangarides' unique 'shimmering but just on the boarder of sounding shrill' production sound works well for Duffy's pedal steel soundscapes. Cousins also wisely avoids some of the Strawbs' wailing numbers which also helps greatly.

The song selection of older Strawbs material is stellar. (When is it not?) With a few different solo Dave Cousins albums circulating right now, this one is a keeper.

 The Boy In The Sailor Suit by COUSINS, DAVE album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.59 | 4 ratings

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The Boy In The Sailor Suit
Dave Cousins Prog Folk

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars 35 years on

Not counting the several collaboration albums with other people outside of his day job with Strawbs, The Boy In The Sailor Suit was only Dave Cousins' second solo album appearing some 35 years after his Two Weeks Last Summer! It is a somewhat eclectic set of songs, covering electric Folk Rock, Blues Rock, and Hard Rock, while carefully avoiding Prog. Most of the songs here are decent enough, though a couple of them are quite terrible, but nothing really stands out. It is the rockers that stink and the ballads that are pleasant.

Cousins' voice is pleasant and the sound of this album is certainly more full and organic than on the Cousins & Conrad album High Seas or the Cousins & Wakeman album Hummingbird. With the stronger sound and production of the present album and the best songs from all three of these albums, we could perhaps be talking about a good album here. But as it stands, The Boy In The Sailor Suit joins the other two as a largely forgettable, even if mostly pleasant, experience. None of these match the more recent albums by Strawbs (The Brokenhearted Bride is especially great).

Recommended only to serious fans and collectors of Cousins long career in and out of Strawbs

 Wakeman And Cousins Live 1988 by COUSINS, DAVE album cover Live, 2004
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Wakeman And Cousins Live 1988
Dave Cousins Prog Folk

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

— First review of this album —
2 stars Just another collection of antiques and curios

This is a nice little live recording feature Dave Cousins and Rick Wakeman in an intimate live setting. The short concert was recorded in Exeter in 1988 and released on CD in 2004 as the very first entry in the "From The Witchwood Media Archive" series. The performance is wholly acoustic and features only Dave on acoustic guitar and lead vocals and Rick on grand piano. As such, the songs are stripped down to their bare bones. The two first songs of the disc feature Dave alone before Rick is introduced for the third number. The part of the show featuring Rick draws heavily on the From The Witchwood album, the only original Strawbs studio album recorded while Wakeman was a full time member of the band. These songs include A Glimpse Of Heaven, Witchwood, The Hangman And The Papist, and The Shepherd's Song. A further couple of songs appearing here originally appeared on the classic 1970 live album entitled Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios on which Rick got to express himself more freely on his keyboards than on any Strawbs studio album. These songs are Song Of A Sad Little Girl and Martin Luther King's Dream (the latter being taken from a different recording in Belgium in 1988). Ways And Means originally appeared on Dave Cousins first solo album on which Wakeman appeared as a guest.

Both men are in fine form here and this is a fine performance. But it is inevitably somewhat understated and there is no sign of anything progressive as such. There are no instrumental excesses whatsoever and everything is kept as simple as possible. Still, this is a good disc that will please both Strawbs fans and fans of Rick's. I know I enjoy it!

 Two Weeks Last Summer by COUSINS, DAVE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.63 | 18 ratings

BUY
Two Weeks Last Summer
Dave Cousins Prog Folk

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars A lost Strawbs album

Two Weeks Last Summer was Dave Cousins' first solo album, released between Strawbs' Grave New World and Bursting At The Seams albums. This was, of course, right in the very middle of Strawbs' most interesting and prolific period that began in the early 70's and culminated with Hero And Heroine and Ghosts in the mid 70's. During this time, Strawbs evolved from a Folk group to a Prog band and the present solo album is pretty much in the same style as Bursting At The Seams. As such it has a few weaker numbers, but overall a good release. One rightly wonders what the point was of releasing a solo album that doesn't notably deviate from the Strawbs sound and standard. But one reason was probably that it allowed Cousins to work with other people. The list of people involved is fairly impressive and includes Deep Purple's Roger Glover, Colosseums' Jon Hiseman, as well as ex-Strawb Rick Wakeman.

The most interesting track is the 10 minute plus, multi-part Blue Angel. A re-recorded version of this epic much later appeared on the Strawbs album of the same name.

Recommended in addition to Strawbs' 1970 - 1975 output.

 Two Weeks Last Summer by COUSINS, DAVE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.63 | 18 ratings

BUY
Two Weeks Last Summer
Dave Cousins Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Even before the traumatic split of Strawbs in 1973, the group had been subject to a variety of opposing interests within its ranks. Thus Dave Cousins took the time to record a solo album in the summer of 1972, in which non Strawbs musicians, many of them UK heavyweights, would guest. While more of a diverse agglomeration than the contemporary works of the mother group, this album could easily be taken as a Strawbs production since Cousins' vocals are so distinctive. It also features some of his best songs in their best arrangements

The highlights are many, including the space folk of the title cut with key jangling and Cousins softest voice. The epic "Blue Angel", is more raw than the Strawbs' version that appeared 30 years later, and preferable to my ears. While it is a suite, each section is terminated by the same chorus to provide continuity. Miller Anderson and Rick Wakeman provide solid lead guitar and keyboard backing for Cousins' top notch poetry. It's certainly one of the best single tracks in the extended Strawbs family. "That's the Way it Ends" benefits from Robert Kirby's strings and winds and several lovely melodies, with only a half minute of muffled voice appearing at the end.

While the CD age juxtaposition of the latter gentle number with the hard rocking "The Actor" is overly jarring, it must be noted that "The Actor" kicked off side 2 on the original LP. It's probably Cousins best hard rock number, sounding totally convincing and enhanced by warbled processed vocals and a powerful melodic chorus. Anderson steals the show at times with his monkey-like guitar sounds, no doubt reflecting the Actor's ability to impersonate everyone but himself. "Ways and Means" and "We'll Meet again Sometime" have become oft recorded Strawbs classics over time, and I much prefer this version of "We'll Meet.." over any other, thanks to its dual guitar orientation and Anderson's delightfully played slide guitar. The album wraps up with the poor hard rocker "I'm Going Home". Unlike "Thank you" on "Bursting at the Seams", this is not supposed to be a novelty song, yet it can be cast off at the first listen.

It's hard to decide what rating to give here, but I think this is an excellent disc that also has an important historical place in Strawbs' canon. Ultimately, because of one poor song and a couple of ok songs, and to avoid deliberating on it for a fortnight, I will round down to 4 stars.

Thanks to easy livin for the artist addition.

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