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STRAWBS

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Strawbs biography
One of the better British progressive groups, The STRAWBS were a 60's folk and medieval band turned prog-rock with the help of Dave COUSINS (the heart and soul of this group) and Rick WAKEMAN "master of the keyboards". WAKEMAN is featured on the albums "Strawbs", "Dragonfly", "Just A Collection of...", and "From The Witchwood" before he joined YES. The line-up for the group changed markedly over the years. Their sound has been in a state of constant evolution combining English folk and progressive sounds to form their unique style. Critics seem to have a preference for the STRAWBS in the early Seventies when the group consisted of Tony & John HOOPER, John FORD, Richard HUDSON and keyboard virtuoso Rick WAKEMAN. The group ceased to exist at the end of the 1970s, and COUSINS embarked on some solo projects. STRAWBS would appeal to fans of bands like FAIRPORT CONVENTION, STEELEYE SPAN, PENTANGLE, etc.

They have recorded over 15 albums through the years, with various lineups around the core of Dave COUSINS who offered beautiful melodic compositions. Every STRAWBS album between "Witchwood" and "Nomadness" has something unique to offer. A perfect introduction to the sound of The STRAWBS is the compilation-CD "A Choice of Strawbs" (16 tracks). It features all their best material from their most creative and "symphonic" period (between '71 and '74). The music of The STRAWBS frequently ranges from folky (acoustic guitars) and classic (piano and harpsichord) to bombastic, symphonic rock (fiery electric guitar and glorious Mellotron in the vein of BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST and The MOODY BLUES). The vocals are powerful with a lot of expression. Another great introduction to The STRAWBS is their live CD entitled "In concert" with BBC recordings from '73 and '74, including compelling renditions of their best works. The lush Mellotron sound evokes every time goose bumps on my skin!

1971 - "From The Witchwood" was a release that represented the transitional phase and search for their definitive sound and style.
1972 - "Grave New World" was their first symphonic album, and remained their finest moments, with great songwriting, great arrangements and superb performance all-round. This is a GREAT ALBUM!
1973 - "Bursting at the Seams" was the break through album for the STRAWBS because it marked the last major transformation of the group.
1974 - "Hero & Heroine" showed that a classical sensibility can be combined with rock music and make for wonderful list...
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From the WitchwoodFrom the Witchwood
Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$3.30
$5.93 (used)
Live At the BBC Vol. 2Live At the BBC Vol. 2
Import
FONTANA UNIVERSAL 2010
Audio CD$6.82
$10.90 (used)
NomadnessNomadness
Extra tracks · Import
UMe Imports 2009
Audio CD$3.28
$1.98 (used)
Blue AngelBlue Angel
Witchwood Records 2003
Audio CD$39.99
$11.99 (used)
Acoustic Strawbs: Baroque & RollAcoustic Strawbs: Baroque & Roll
Import
Witchwood Records 2003
Audio CD$39.99
$10.97 (used)
Hero & HeroineHero & Heroine
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$3.30
$5.51 (used)
Live At The BBC - Volume 1Live At The BBC - Volume 1
Import
INgrooves Fontana/UMe Imports 2010
Audio CD$5.28
$7.98 (used)
DragonflyDragonfly
Import
INgrooves Fontana/UMe Imports 2008
Audio CD$3.78
$7.00 (used)
StrawbsStrawbs
Import
Imports 2008
Audio CD$3.60
$3.71 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
SANDY DENNY and the STRAWBS - ALL OUR OWN WORK - LP USD $21.60 Buy It Now 44m 13s
Grave New World Strawbs Vinyl Record USD $15.13 Buy It Now 56m 54s
STRAWBS UK Tour 1974 Poster size Press ADVERT 16x12" USD $12.60 Buy It Now 1h 29m
STRAWBS Shine On Silver Sun 1973 UK Poster size Press ADVERT 16x12" USD $12.60 Buy It Now 1h 29m
STRAWBS Hero and Heroine 1974 UK Poster size Press ADVERT 16x12" USD $12.60 Buy It Now 1h 29m
STRAWBS Grave New World 1972 UK Poster size Press ADVERT 16x12" USD $12.60 Buy It Now 1h 29m
STRAWBS Bursting At The Seams Tour1973 UK Poster size Press ADVERT 16x12" USD $12.60 Buy It Now 1h 29m
STRAWBS Deadlines Tour 1978 UK Poster size Press ADVERT 16x12" USD $12.60 Buy It Now 1h 29m
STRAWBS Burning For You 1977 UK Poster size Press ADVERT 16x12" USD $12.60 Buy It Now 1h 29m
Bursting At The Seams Strawbs Vinyl Record USD $13.86 Buy It Now 2h 15m
STRAWBS GRAVE NEW WORLD 1972 UK ORIGINAL WITH BOOKLET Vinyl LP USD $22.72 Buy It Now 3h 9m
STRAWBS-PART OF THE UNION 7" PROMO SINGLE USD $5.05 Buy It Now 3h 15m
Strawbs - Deep Cuts (Vinyl) USD $12.33 Buy It Now 3h 45m
Various 7" Singles incl. Strawbs, Dire Straits, Elton John, Philip Lynott USD $6.33 Buy It Now 4h 2m
STRAWBS 7" Vinyl Single 1976. I ONLY WANT MY LOVE TO GROW IN YOU *FREE POSTAGE* USD $5.05 Buy It Now 4h 19m
Grave New World - Strawbs Compact Disc USD $15.12 Buy It Now 4h 47m
STRAWBS-SO CLOSE & YET SO FAR AWAY STEREO/MONO rock 45 USD $7.98 Buy It Now 6h
STRAWBS BURSTING AT THE SEAMS LP WITH INNER SLEEVE 1973(LIGHT SHELF WEAR ON COVE USD $16.46 Buy It Now 6h 3m
THE STRAWBS - PART OF THE UNION - DEMO - 70'S USD $12.65 Buy It Now 7h 7m
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STRAWBS From The Witchwood Vintage US press 12" LP Record FOLK ROCK USD $25.99 Buy It Now 7h 25m
STRAWBS - PART OF THE UNION/WILL YOU GO 45 RPM 1973 USD $1.47 Buy It Now 7h 42m
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7h 58m
STRAWBS: DEADLINES ~JAPAN MINI LP CD~ AUTHENTIC, VERY RARE, OOP USD $28.00 Buy It Now 8h 44m
Strawbs - 40th Anniversary Celebration, Vol.1: Strawberry Fayre (2010) 2CD NEW USD $9.08 Buy It Now 9h 41m
Strawbs - Acoustic Gold (2011) CD NEW/SEALED SPEEDYPOST USD $8.32 Buy It Now 9h 45m
Strawbs - Dancing to the Devil's Beat (2009) CD NEW/SEALED SPEEDYPOST USD $8.32 Buy It Now 9h 48m
Strawbs - Live at the Calderone NY '75 (2009) CD NEW/SEALED SPEEDYPOST USD $8.32 Buy It Now 9h 52m
Strawbs - Of a Time (2012) CD NEW/SEALED SPEEDYPOST USD $8.32 Buy It Now 9h 57m
Strawbs - Prognostic (2014) CD NEW/SEALED SPEEDYPOST USD $8.32 Buy It Now 10h
Strawbs-Just A Collection Of (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $7.65 Buy It Now 10h 3m
Strawbs-Grave New World (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $7.65 Buy It Now 10h 4m
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the strawbs lp burning for you oy-1-1604 w/inner vg+/m- USD $4.99 Buy It Now 10h 53m
STRAWBS From The Witchwood LP A&M Records SP 4304 US 1971 VG++ WLP USD $23.98 Buy It Now 11h 11m
Strawbs 40th Anniversary Celebration, Vol. 2: Rick Wakeman & Dave Cousins [19 Tr USD $21.51 Buy It Now 11h 13m
STRAWBS Grave New World LP A&M SP 4344 US 1972 VG++ WLP Gatefold w/ Booklet USD $31.98 Buy It Now 11h 20m
STRAWBS 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, VOL. 2: RICK [USED CD] USD $20.89 Buy It Now 11h 25m
Strawbs Part Of The Union 7" Vinyl Promo Rare USD $12.66 [0 bids]
11h 28m
STRAWBS NO MADNESS 1975 UK WHITE LABEL TEST PRESS 12" VINYL RECORD LP USD $8.23 [3 bids]
11h 43m
STRAWBS: Hero And Heroine LP (inner sleeve, slight cover wear) Rock USD $10.00 Buy It Now 12h
STRAWBS Burning For You UK 1st Press Vinyl LP Record 1977 POLYDOR 2391-287 USD $11.38 [0 bids]
12h 11m
Bursting At The Seams - Strawbs (1998, CD New) USD $8.49 Buy It Now 12h 45m
Strawbs Burning For You Sealed 1977 USD $12.75 Buy It Now 13h 23m
LP STRAWBS Classic CANADA 1977 NEAR MINT USD $9.99 [0 bids]
13h 25m
THE STRAWBS - FROM THE WITCHWOOD. A&M AMLH 64304. 1971. LP USD $22.77 Buy It Now 13h 33m
STRAWBS "DEEP CUTS" LP 1976 USD $4.49 Buy It Now 13h 34m
Strawbs LP 1975 Nomadness EX + A&M SP 4544 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 13h 34m
Strawbs - Bursting At The Seams [CD New] USD $8.86 Buy It Now 14h 2m
RARE Strawbs WHITE LABEL 7" PROMO Part Of The Union MONO/STEREO FREE US SHIPPING USD $12.33 Buy It Now 15h 57m
The Strawbs 7" Vinyl Single ' Part Of The Union/Will You Go ' 1973 A USD $2.52 [0 bids]
16h 8m
Strawbs - From The Witchwood - A&M Vinyl LP USD $12.66 Buy It Now 16h 34m
Pyrosis Without Reason CD REM Strawbs SEALED NEW Italian Alt Pop USD $7.49 Buy It Now 16h 34m
Sandy Denny & Strawbs Hannibal CD SEALED NEW Fairport Convention Fotheringay USD $7.49 Buy It Now 17h 4m
APPLE ACETATE Hudson Ford Floating in the Wind The Strawbs Beatles VELVET OPERA USD $56.00 [2 bids]
17h 32m
STRAWBS NOMADNESS TRIDENT Rare ACETATE UK Press USD $29.00 [0 bids]
17h 32m
Lot of 7 Strawbs Records UK Pressings British Folk Rock Instant Collection USD $41.00 [1 bids]
17h 32m
Hudson Ford "It's My Life" Acetate RARE UK 7" Listen Velvet Opera The Strawbs USD $19.00 [1 bids]
17h 32m
Ghosts [Remaster] by The Strawbs (CD, Aug-1998, Universal/Polygram) USD $2.99 [0 bids]
17h 47m
Grave New World [Remaster] by The Strawbs (CD, Jul-1998, Universal) USD $2.99 [1 bids]
17h 48m
6x STRAWBS 45:Heavy Disguise,Lay Down,Lemon Pie,Little Sleepy,I don't Want Talk+ USD $14.99 [0 bids]
18h 16m
Strawbs:I Only Want My Love to Grow CDep(Japan Mini-LP wakeman stackridge rick Q USD $30.00 Buy It Now 19h 46m
STRAWBS Deep cuts CD / 1 BONUS TRACK USD $15.18 Buy It Now 19h 58m
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Strawbs-Access All Areas CD with DVD NEW USD $15.92 Buy It Now 20h 35m
Hudson Ford - Free Spirit - 1974 Vinyl 12'' Lp./ Shrink Exc./ Strawbs/ Hard Rock USD $19.99 Buy It Now 21h
STRAWBS-STRAWBERRY MUSIC SAMPLER NO.1-JAPAN MINI LP CD Fi56 USD $26.99 Buy It Now 22h 49m
STRAWBS-BURNING FOR YOU-JAPAN MINI LP CD BONUS TRACK Fi83 USD $27.99 Buy It Now 23h 6m
STRAWBS-DEEP CUTS-JAPAN MINI LP CD BONUS TRACK Fi83 USD $27.99 Buy It Now 23h 9m
SANDY DENNY & STRAWBS-ALL OUR OWN WORK-JAPAN MINI LP CD BONUS TRACK Fi83 USD $27.99 Buy It Now 23h 23m
STRAWBS-DEADLINES-JAPAN MINI LP CD BONUS TRACK Fi83 USD $27.99 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS-OF A TIME-JAPAN MINI LP CD BONUS TRACK Fi56 USD $26.99 Buy It Now 1 day
HUDSON-FORD ex-STRAWBS-BURN BABY BURN-RARE ORIGINAL YUGOSLAV PS 45rpm 7" 1974 USD $11.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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STRAWBS Grave New World BOOKLET A&M UK 1st Press LP EX USD $35.44 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS 70's Sheet Music- 'PART OF THE UNION' 70's Hit USD $12.66 Buy It Now 1 day
THE STRAWBS ORIGINAL ADVERT 16 X 12" POSTER SIZE 23 MAR 1974 USD $16.44 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs - The Collection (NEW CD) USD $8.22 Buy It Now 1 day
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Strawbs - 'Ghosts' - New Album - Original Poster Size Advert - 1976 USD $7.60 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs - Deep Cuts - Album & Tour Dates - Original Poster Size Ad - NME 1976 USD $11.39 Buy It Now 1 day
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The Strawbs 1970s Signed Grave New World LP Booklet UK USD $15.82 [4 bids]
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STRAWBS discography


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

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

3.03 | 66 ratings
Strawbs
1969
3.05 | 77 ratings
Dragonfly
1970
4.01 | 199 ratings
From The Witchwood
1971
4.15 | 275 ratings
Grave New World
1972
3.54 | 136 ratings
Bursting At The Seams
1973
2.74 | 25 ratings
Sandy Denny And The Strawbs: All Our Own Work
1973
4.14 | 268 ratings
Hero And Heroine
1974
4.01 | 146 ratings
Ghosts
1975
2.51 | 63 ratings
Nomadness
1975
2.74 | 54 ratings
Deep Cuts
1976
2.54 | 46 ratings
Burning For You
1977
2.86 | 40 ratings
Deadlines
1978
2.98 | 26 ratings
Don't Say Goodbye
1987
2.81 | 19 ratings
Ringing Down The Years
1991
2.64 | 29 ratings
Heartbreak Hill [Aka: Starting Over]
1995
3.53 | 19 ratings
Acoustic Strawbs: Baroque & Roll
2001
2.77 | 26 ratings
Blue Angel
2003
3.10 | 25 ratings
Déjà Fou
2004
3.50 | 37 ratings
The Broken Hearted Bride
2008
3.27 | 30 ratings
Dancing To The Devil's Beat
2009
3.57 | 26 ratings
Hero & Heroine In Ascencia
2011
2.69 | 20 ratings
Prognostic
2014

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

3.70 | 64 ratings
Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios
1970
2.29 | 9 ratings
The Strawbs' Greatest Hits Live
1993
3.67 | 13 ratings
BBC in concert
1995
2.45 | 9 ratings
Concert Classics
1999
3.34 | 4 ratings
The Complete Strawbs (Chiswick '98 Live)
2000
2.05 | 2 ratings
Full Bloom, Acoustic Strawbs Live
2004
3.57 | 6 ratings
Live At Nearfest
2005
3.67 | 20 ratings
Painted Sky
2005
3.66 | 4 ratings
Recollection
2006
3.05 | 3 ratings
NY '75
2007
4.00 | 2 ratings
40th Anniversary Celebration: Vol 1: Strawberry Fayre
2010
3.00 | 1 ratings
40th Anniversary Celebration Vol. 2: Rick Wakeman and Dave Cousins
2010
4.08 | 3 ratings
Live At The BBC Vol Two: In Concert
2010
3.17 | 3 ratings
Live At The BBC Vol One: In Session
2010

STRAWBS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.11 | 6 ratings
Classic Rock Legends (DVD)
1998
4.04 | 9 ratings
Strawbs Live In Tokyo '75 / Grave New World The Movie
2003
4.08 | 4 ratings
Acoustic Live In Toronto At Hugh's Room
2004
3.00 | 3 ratings
Lay Down With The Strawbs (DVD)
2008

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

2.44 | 7 ratings
Strawbs by Choice
1974
2.51 | 5 ratings
Early Strawbs
1974
3.78 | 10 ratings
Classic Strawbs
1977
3.78 | 13 ratings
The Best of Strawbs
1978
2.66 | 8 ratings
Preserved Uncanned
1990
3.49 | 18 ratings
A Choice Selection of Strawbs
1992
3.63 | 16 ratings
Halcyon Days (UK Release)
1997
3.97 | 13 ratings
Halcyon Days (US Release)
1998
3.00 | 1 ratings
30 Years in Rock, Classic Rock Legends
2001
2.81 | 6 ratings
The Collection
2002
4.40 | 3 ratings
Tears And Pavan (An Introduction To Strawbs)
2002
3.13 | 4 ratings
20th Century Masters - Millenium Collection
2003
4.23 | 12 ratings
A Taste of Strawbs
2006
4.13 | 6 ratings
Acoustic Gold
2011
2.00 | 1 ratings
Of a Time
2012
3.90 | 2 ratings
Witchwood: the Very Best of....
2014

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

2.29 | 5 ratings
Strawberry Sampler number 1
1969

STRAWBS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sandy Denny And The Strawbs: All Our Own Work by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.74 | 25 ratings

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Sandy Denny And The Strawbs: All Our Own Work
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars Tracing prog back to the egg usually has diminishing returns. An exception would be this nascent collaboration between Dave Cousins' songwriting and a young Sandy Denny convincingly owning this work shortly before her more complex collaborations with Fairport Convention's classic albums Unhalfbricking and Liege And Leif.

Recorded in Copenhagen in 1967 and not released in the UK until 1973, All Own Own Work is a folk/pop/rock album that can stand up on it's own if viewed separately from prog rock. Often compared to their closest sounding competition, The Momas and The Popas, Sandy Denny and The Strawbs were totally unique. Where The Momas and the Popas had more doo wop in their singing, Sandy and the Strawbs did their own take on the Beatles' three part harmonies and, surprisingly, their voices, including Dave Cousins (!), sound splendid together and work quite well. Where either Cousins or Tony Hooper could come off as overblown, Denny had the vocal strength needed to engulf the two and almost make a fourth voice. The sound is also totally acoustic with Denny, Cousins and Hooper playing 6 and 12 strings and Ron Chesterman playing double bass. A session drummer adds deft percussion and completes the mix.

But what's so engaging is that Denny could take Cousins' "feel sorry for me" lyrics and truly make them believable. Included in the 2010 remaster from Witchwood Records is a rough restructuring of the first Hallmark Record edition of this album, with the string accompaniment deleted from four the album's best tracks. This includes the remarkable first recording of Denny's classic lament and signature song "Who Knows Where The Time Goes?" Wow. Just Sandy and an acoustic guitar. And remastered form the original three track tapes to boot.

"On My Way", "Tell Me What You See In Me", "Nothing Else Will Do" and "You Believe In Me" stand up as great folk/pop that could have given The Momas and the Popas, as well as The Lovin' Spoonful, a run for their money if this album was released in the US during the Summer of Love. Unfortunately,or perhaps fortunately for prog fans, that never happened and both Denny and the Strawbs went their own progressive ways a few short years later.

Hooper does two generic "British Invasion" sounding songs "You Were Always On My Mind" and "Sweetling", while Cousins does two proto Strawbs songs in the social critique "Everyone Except for Sam Was A Hypocrite", "I've Been My Own Worst Friend", and an early ethereal version of "Two Weeks Last Summer" with Denny handling the solo lead vocal. (Offered on a later reissue from Hannibal Records and included here)

Cousins' Witchwood Label reissue, aside from sounding fantastic, includes all previously released song mixes from both the Hallmark and Hannibal LPs, as well as demos and outtakes.

I have wondered if Sandy Denny dying so young would have a biased effect on my reaction to this reissue. And I've concluded that it was a good record of it's kind without any sentimental attachments. Sandy Denny was truly a great artist and this wonderful sounding reissue is a great tribute to her.

 Of a Time by STRAWBS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Of a Time
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

— First review of this album —
2 stars Erroneously listed in PA under compilation/box sets, the 2012 Strawbs' album Of A Time is far from that. It is a reconstructed version of the Strawbs' proposed but never issued first album. "Of a Confused Time" would be a more suitable title. That's if you're aware of the back story behind the Strawbs' 1969 debut album and their previous incarnation with the incredible Sandy Denny, as Sandy and the Strawbs, just one and half years earlier.

The belatedly released Sandy and The Strawbs album from 1973 (originally recorded in 1967), titled All Our Own Work, helps to answer a lot of questions including how the Strawbs, minus Sandy, ended up with a recording contract with A&M records. Well, that's because the A&M bosses heard the unreleased Sandy and The Strawbs material and it was that that they were expecting when they signed the band. Even after learning that Denny had left to join Fairport Convention, A&M advanced the remaining Strawbs $30,000 USD (about $230,000 dollars in modern terms) in which to produce their debut album. Without Denny's ability to blow an orchestra off a stage, the remaining Strawbs, Dave Cousins, Tony Hooper and Ron Chesterman, proceeded to do just the opposite of that. Orchestrate the songs with all kinds of classical instruments from strings to flugelhorns. Not only was this material overproduced, but the inspiration for the orchestrations from the Beatles' milestone album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club had quickly become passé in 1969, along with the Indian sitar, tamboura and tabla instrumentation found on George Harrison's mussings on songs like Within You and Without You.

But the Strawbs, along with arranger Tony Visconti, plowed full speed ahead and turned much of the Sandy and the Strawbs material into 3rd rate Sgt. Pepper's knockoffs featuring orchestral accompaniment, mystical Indian instrumentation, with even music hall pastiche thrown in and further muddling matters. The result was that A&M told the Strawbs to keep the more organic folk rock tracks such as The Man Who Called Himself Jesus and Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth?, and to rerecord the others without the bombast. Or to come up with other songs. And that's what ended up the Strawbs 1969 eponymous debut.

Of A Time was the original album reconstructed by Dave Cousins in an effort to show that the Strawbs had it right to begin with. With farcical overblown songs like Sweetling and Oh Me, Oh My, as just two examples, I can't see Cousins' logic in this argument. Cousins' remarks in the liner notes also states his dissatisfaction with Gus Dudgeun's overproduction of the eponymous debut! Whatever Dave. It seems like a case of comparing oranges to tangerines. In fact, the addition of Oh, How She Changed and The Battle, on the eponymous debut, atleast resulted in a decent album worthy of 3 stars, and was a inkling of the band's artistic directions to come.

So, 2 stars for Dave Cousins' wasted efforts on recreating Of A Time. Sometimes it's better to just let sleeping dogs lie. A shame really as the sound quality is quite wonderful as the album was remastered from the original session master tapes.

 Dragonfly by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.05 | 77 ratings

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Dragonfly
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars [My 900th review.] The second album by the STRAWBS offers pastoral, elegant folk rock with charmingly personal, in a way "worn-out" sound. It was produced by Tony Visconti (before his fame as a top producer), who had made some arrangements for the band. He favoured for more stripped down approach in the studio and encouraged Dave Cousins to compose in a classical style to fully utilize the cello playing of Claire Deniz, a full member who sadly departed before the album even came out. That noble instrument is central right from the beginning, on the intimately calm songs such as 'The Weary Song' and 'Dragonfly'. The latter features Visconti on recorder. One could compare the rurally folky sound to bands like FOREST or INCREDIBLE STRING BAND.

The beautifully melancholic 'I Turned My Face into the Wind' was familiar to me from the 2CD compilation Halcyon Days. 'Josephine, For Better or Worse' continues the general calmness of the album, and the cello really sounds nice. 'Another Day' has a happier, almost sing-along kind of spirit, and one could think it dates from the 60's folk era. Acoustic guitar and cello blend harmonically on the next pretty little track. 'Young Again' gives vocal duties to guitarist Tony Hooper and has some recorder but remains unremarkable as a song. Isn't there any edge coming on this album, one may wonder at this point. Is it just lame prettiness?

The prog appeal of this album would be radically smaller without the nearly 11-minute epic 'The Vision of the Lady in the Lake'. First and foremost it is "epic" in the folklore meaning of the word, ie. the lyrics are long and story-like, but the listener's patience is rewarded. On the fifth minute the rock drums enter and the whole performance suddenly has unexpected electricity and energy. Cousins shows his blooming ability to load his vocals with passion (comparable to the likes of Fish and Peter Gabriel). On keyboards: Rick Wakeman, before his virtuoso stardom. Well, the key parts could have been more 'Wakemanesue' in this intensive composition.

Delicate, acoustic miniature 'Close Your Eyes' ends the album. My cd (2008) contains four bonus tracks. The cheerful 'We'll Meet Again Sometime' (from 1969) has vitality that is quite absent on Dragonfly album. 'Forever' is a very nice single A-sider with orchestral arrangement and vocal harmonies, reminding of the late 60's Moody Blues. And finally BBC / John Peel radio recordings dating from September 1969, 'Another Day' and 'We'll Meet Again Sometime'.

Three stars without any doubt for the pastoral charm, but remember, this album is still very far from the progressive grandness that Strawbs were gradually heading at.

 From The Witchwood by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.01 | 199 ratings

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From The Witchwood
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After delicate, feminine and primarily acoustic Dragonfly, Strawbs pushed the boundaries of their style further. They recruited Rick Wakeman as a full-time keyboardist. Although he did appear on the band's previous release, he was listed as a guest musician and his parts rather served a purpose of a musical seasoning. In addition, two new members joined the band, namely Richard Hudson on drums and a sitar and John Ford on bass guitar.

Strawbs' musical extract on From The Witchwood consists of a suprsisingly wide plethora of influences. Building on Brtiain's folk music traditions, Strawbs incorporate elements of Irish folk music, Scottish plainsongs and even some ambitious Indian raga bits. Some of the pieces have a heavier folk rock feeling to them. The band makes fantatstic use of traditional English instruments such as a banjo, a dulcimer and a recorder. All of this is supported by Rick Wakeman's pastoral and liturgical organ sensibilities. However, it doesn't end there with his keyboards. Wakeman introduces (at that time still fairly unknown) a Moog synthesizer, a harpsichord and a celesta. All of this provides a great musical variety, which I often fail to find in folk rock. Lyrically, this work is also top-notch. The lyrics are very moody, many of which bring old shanties and traditional themes to mind. From The Witchwood consists of ten songs plus one bonus track, all fairly short, kept under five minutes. I find "Thirty Days", "The Hangman And The Papist" and "Sheep" to be three pieces, which are the most representative of the album, which express the album's eclecticism in a nutshell.

All in all, I consider this to be a very accomplished and revolutionary release, which marks the beggining of Strawbs' "progressive" folk era. A very unique and one-of-a-kind album and Strawbs' best work in my opinion. Highly recommended. Four stars!

 Grave New World by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.15 | 275 ratings

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Grave New World
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by Thierry

4 stars February, 2016. I'm back from UK. I was with my friend Tim Hunter recording our first album (Silver Hunter's debut). He told me that Strawbs were going to play in his hometown, Knaresborough (Yorkshire). I knew only two recent albums by this British folk outfit. And I read long time ago that Rick Wakeman played with them before joining Yes. Actually, the Strawbs are not very popular in France and I have to admit that the 'folk' label is not really a guarantee for a prog lover like me. But, guided by Tim, I bought some 70's productions by this band and... was completely seduced. This album for instance is a delicious blend of mellotron in the way of early King Crimson and the Moody Blues with some welcome Beatles' hints (the sitar and effects remind me of "Sgt's Pepper's") and David Cousin's vocals very close to Peter Gabriel's. Vintage symphonic fans will love that disc as I did. Highly recommended.
 Hero And Heroine by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.14 | 268 ratings

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Hero And Heroine
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars One of the most acclaimed Strawbs albums, Hero and Heroine has never been able to keep me engaged the way that some of the band's other albums do. It is a good album but without the highs and consistency of Ghosts or even Grave New World. Founder and heart and soul of the band, singer-songwriter Dave COUSINS, sounds to my ears like Ian Anderson doing Peter Gabriel while the music the band created in this period sounds like the prog folk music that JETHRO TULL never made but everyone wishes (or thinks) that they did. Cousin's similarity to the voice qualities of an Anderson-Gabriel melange are so remarkable that I hear it in virtually every song the band does. It's not a bad thing, it's just an eerie, noticeable thing. The album opens with 2:15 of some of the proggiest stuff the band ever did in the form of the KING CRIMSON "Epitaph"-like intro to "Autumn," but then retreats into mostly nice sounding folk rock. A very good album of great pop folk songs with the opener and it's followup, the anthemic "Sad Young Man," as its high points. I much prefer Grave New World and Ghosts.

Favorite songs: 1. "Autumn"(8:26) (10/10); 2. "Sad Young Man" (4:08) (10/10); the beautiful AMERICA-like 6. "Midnight Sun" (3:13) (10/10); the Peter GABRIEL-like 9. "Lay a Little Light on Me"(3:27) (9/10), and; the heavier, mostly instrumental outro, 10. "Hero's Theme" (2:27) (8/10).

 Ghosts by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.01 | 146 ratings

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Ghosts
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

5 stars Often overlooked as outside of the "classic" period of Strawbs "masterpieces," this album is so well produced, the sound so good, and the song-writing so tight and mature I find it hard to not consider one of the finest achievements of Prog Folk. As a matter of fact, as highly touted and revered former Strawbs' keyboard contributor Rick Wakeman is, I prefer the work of John Hawken. I love ways in which he combines the harpsichord, organs, piano and Mellotron better than those of Maestro Wakeman.

1. "Ghosts" (8:31) From the opening weave of multiple guitars (some 12-stringed!) and harpsichord, the amazing vocal dynamics, awesome lyrics, and excellent keyboard layering into the jam-on adrenaline bursting "Night Light" middle section of the title song, this is a prog masterpiece. (10/10)

2. "Lemon Pie" (4:02) seems to follow the format of previous Strawbs albums in that a socially-significant pop- oriented anthemic tune is second on the album, following the opening "epic"--and "Lemon Pie" does not disappoint. It delivers with it all of the zest and vigor one would expect of Dave Cousins' best efforts--with some delightfully playful lyrics. (9/10)

3. "Starshine/Angel Wine" (5:14) opens with two minutes of nice folk rock before an almost-"Layla" electric guitar riff opens up the heavier, more dynamic second section. (8/10)

4. "Where Do You Go (When You Need a Hole to Crawl in)" (3:04) has a kind of CAT STEVENS "Peace Train/Another Saturday Night" calypso feel to it. Upbeat and bar-room appropriate. (7/10)

5. "The Life Auction" (6:52) opens with some cool piano effects which is gradually joined by a low PETER GABRIEL- like half-spoken poetic story telling before the song bursts into a full blown bombastic Very Trespass-era, "Knife" or "White Mountain"-like--complete with defiant affect and flange effects on the vocals and electric guitar "power chords." Very cool song! (10/10)

6. "Don't Try to Change Me" (4:29) takes the listener back to a pleasant, innocent time like the Flower Child 1960s--at least until the shock of the emphatic first chorus at the one minute mark. now wide awake, we travel through the rest of the song on the nice verses fully expecting and ready for the rather abrasive shout of the chorus repeats. (8/10)

7. "Remembering" (0:59) (10/10) is a beautiful little interlude of electronic keyboard and cymbal play that turns out to be the introduction to the next song, my favorite song of theirs,

8. "You and I (When We Were Young)" (3:59) is a Cousins-Hawken collaboration which is pure perfection to these ears and, lyrically, to my mind as well. Pop music doesn't get better than this. (10/10)

The album's finale, and a John Hawken song, 9. "Grace Darling" (3:57), is another gorgeous song founded on a rock combo with the lovely accompaniment of a full chorus throughout and, later, from an awesome church organ. (10/10)

Side 2 makes up my favorite single side of Strawbs songs and Side 1 is not too bad either. A masterpiece and, in my opinion, an exemplary representative of the best of what Prog Folk has to offer.

 Hero & Heroine In Ascencia by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.57 | 26 ratings

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Hero & Heroine In Ascencia
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by ross warren

2 stars Sadly this recording adds nothing much to the far batter original. On the whole the instruments do benefit from the re-record, and sound a tad better, the mix was a rather disappointing one. However age has not been kind to Cousin's vocals. Whilst in the past his voice was gritty, yet strong, it now sounds far the worse for wear. The only time this version really makes my ears prick up is during Hero & Herione, which is even better than the original. I have spun this a few times, but frankly see it as a rather sad confirmation that the Strawbs are a spent force.

I can only offer it 2 stars, and suspect strongly that i will listen to it at most a couple more times.

 Live At The BBC Vol Two: In Concert by STRAWBS album cover Live, 2010
4.08 | 3 ratings

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Live At The BBC Vol Two: In Concert
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars The second of the Strawbs's Live at the BBC: In Concert is just what this double CD features. Outtakes from three concerts dating from 1971, 1973 and 1974 are featured and include the group's best known and appreciated songs from the album's From the Witchwood, Grave New World, Bursting at the Seams and the group's prog masterpiece Hero and Heroine. All of the essential songs from Hangman And The Papist, New Word, Down By The Sea through to all album highlights from Hero and Heroine are included.

As with Vol One, Vol Two's material was well rehearsed and played again owing to the need to present decent sounding album ttracks to the British public who were restricted from listening to actual album cuts or singles due to the BBC 'needle time" restrictions with the UK's Musician's Union.

Rick Wakeman is only present for the first concert from 1971 but he shines as usual as does his replacements Blue Weaver and John Hawken who demonstrate that both were masters of their Mellotron as well as great pianists. Highlights of these concerts include an a wonderful instrumental piano into organ jam featuring Wakeman titled RMW which I initially thought was Wakeman's initials until I discovered that his middle name is Christopher (!) along with an great extended organ jam on the coda to the song Sheep.

Highlights from the John Hawken era group feature a few older songs such as New Word and The River/Down By the Sea that are magnificent with Hawken's incredible Mellotron, complete with choir setting, virtually exceeds the orchestrated album cuts found on Bursting at the Seams album.This group naturally does justice to all of the Hero and Heroine tracks as they are motivated by the great crowd reaction and are naturally at the top of their game.

The addition of rocker dave Lambert for the 1973 and 1974 concerts definitely gives a greater overall vocal delivery from the group as well as the obvious shift to a more rocking (and louder) sound.

My sole complaint with Live at The BBC Vol Two is some uneven vocal mixing on a few songs of each concert, but overall, it's a great concert presentation of the Strawbs.

We again return to the question of how essential is this album to Strawbs' fans. I would have to say that it is very essential based on the diversity of the material, the diversity of the performers from different eras, the quality of the performances and the excellent re-mastered sound. 4 stars.

 Live At The BBC Vol One: In Session by STRAWBS album cover Live, 2010
3.17 | 3 ratings

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Live At The BBC Vol One: In Session
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

3 stars One of the harder issues to balance in an album review is determining how essential a given work is to an artist's fans.

The Strawbs Live At The BBC Vol One: In Session is just such a compilation in question. As opposed to Live At The BBC Vol Two, Vol One is a single CD that contains all of the Strawbs' radio session recordings for broadcast on various BBC radio show such as Top Gear hosted by the legendary John Peel. In his autobiography, Exercising Ghosts, Strawbs' founder and leader Dave Cousins expressed sincere gratitude at being given the chance to perform on the BBC in both the Strawbs and the band's predecessor, The Strawberry Hill Boys. Cousins' stated that the Strawbs put 100% effort in their BBC performances as this supplemented actual album playing time that was cut down owing to an agreement with the UK's Musician's Union. And it shows. Every broadcast performance is easily discernible as a top notch performance from a group that really had only a couple of shots of getting a complicated song like The Battle right in the three hour time limit that was afforded each song by the BBC session producers and studios.

The Battle, from this first CD, is easily it's highpoint as future Strawbs' producer Tony Visconti brought in both Clare Deniz on cello and the great Rick Wakeman on organ to play on this daunting song, and the band and guests easily nail the performance given the limitations of the BBC recording studio's two or three track recording equipment. These sessions would be the first contact of Cousins with both guests, who would ultimately join The Strawbs, albeit briefly.

As time passes, both the Strawbs and the BBC recording studios get noticeably better as does Cousins' songwriting and the addition of later band members like John Ford, Blue Weaver and Dave Lambert easily fortifies their playing ability. Especially on partial jamming songs like the wonderful Is It Today, Lord? while the second recorded version of New World is even more menacing with just Cousins and Toby Hooper handling the vocals while singing over the ominous chords emitting from Blue Weaver's icy Mellotron. Even the hackneyed chart hit Part Of The Union receives an excellent mulit tracked group chorus that rivals the original studio version.

Good stuff. But again, we return to the question of how essential is Live At the BBC Vol One: In Session? Well, if you have all of the original albums, then this compilation is superfluous as it simply does not contain any significant recordings of historical value, as opposed to the one off folk rock songs found on the celebrated Fairport Convention BBC sessions album titled Heyday from the same era. So, three stars is a reasonable rating for these well played and recorded (and re-mastered) session songs.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Easy Livin for the last updates

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