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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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Hero & HeroineHero & Heroine
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$3.75
$5.46 (used)
From the WitchwoodFrom the Witchwood
Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$4.44
$5.14 (used)
Grave New WorldGrave New World
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$4.48
$3.76 (used)
Bursting at the SeamsBursting at the Seams
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$3.70
$4.20 (used)
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$4.38
$3.66 (used)
Halcyon Days: The A&M YearsHalcyon Days: The A&M Years
A&M 1998
Audio CD$19.55
$11.92 (used)
Audio CD$10.34
$10.33 (used)
INgrooves Fontana/UMe Imports 2008
Audio CD$4.44
$7.00 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
STRAWBS Grave new world 12 "vinyl USD $6.56 [0 bids]
5h 36m
Strawbs Nomadness + Insert UK vinyl LP album record AMLH68331 A&M 1975 USD $20.92 Buy It Now 7h 10m
Strawbs From the Witchwood First press vinyl record USD $65.57 Buy It Now 7h 55m
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Strawbs - Of A Time (NEW CD) USD $16.71 Buy It Now 10h 17m
Of A Time - Strawbs (CD Used Very Good) USD $12.60 Buy It Now 10h 20m
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Of a Time by The Strawbs (CD, Jul-2012, Witchwood Media Ltd.) USD $17.82 Buy It Now 12h 36m
Strawbs USD $3.99 Buy It Now 13h 22m
STRAWBS~HERO AND HEROINE / WHY~1974 UK 7" A&M AMS 7105 USD $4.59 Buy It Now 13h 58m
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16h 26m
STRAWBS Deadlines (1978) USA CD issue USD $12.00 Buy It Now 16h 33m
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USD $9.99 Buy It Now
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STRAWBS - BURSTING AT THE SEAMS *Original LP* USD $1.30 [0 bids]
17h 27m
Strawbs Hero And Heroine Lp USD $6.54 [0 bids]
18h 21m
Hudson Ford LP Free Spirit Very Clean 1974 Psych Rock Orig! Strawbs USD $19.99 Buy It Now 18h 37m
Sandy Denny - The Strawbs - All Our Own Work - UK Pickwick SHM 813 1973 USD $14.99 [0 bids]
19h 33m
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Strawbs - Ghosts (A&M 4506) (Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert) ('75) USD $14.99 Buy It Now 21h 6m
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Strawbs "Don't Say Goodbye..." (1987) LP : Private Release / EX Cond. USD $0.99 [1 bids]
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Strawbs LP Vinyl Record Album "Bursting at the Seams" 1973 USD $1.20 [0 bids]
1 day
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STRAWBS - Part of the Union / Will You Go ISRAELI 7" UNIQUE HEBREW PS USD $30.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Just A Collection Of 0731454093828 by Strawbs, CD, BRAND NEW FREE P USD $11.17 Buy It Now 1 day
COME TOGETHER vinyl LP Strawbs Flying Burritos Coolidge Supertramp Humble Pie... USD $49.99 Buy It Now 1 day
The Strawbs - Deep Cuts (3452) Oyster (1976) 2391 234 - 12" Vinyl LP 33rpm USD $10.28 Buy It Now 1 day
From The Witchwood Strawbs Vinyl Record USD $24.85 Buy It Now 1 day
Hero and Heroine Strawbs Vinyl Record USD $20.92 Buy It Now 1 day
Deep Cuts Strawbs Vinyl Record USD $18.29 Buy It Now 1 day
Grave New World Strawbs Vinyl Record USD $27.47 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs The Collection UK CD album (CDLP) 544706-2 SPECTRUM 2002 USD $16.39 Buy It Now 1 day
Grave New World Strawbs Vinyl Record USD $30.10 Buy It Now 1 day
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Strawbs Strawbs - 1st vinyl LP album record UK AMLS936 A&M 1969 USD $103.54 Buy It Now 1 day
Part Of The Union Strawbs UK 7" vinyl single record AMS7047 A&M 1973 USD $14.36 Buy It Now 1 day
Live At The BBC Vol Two: In Concert Strawbs UK 2 CD album (Double CD) 5320508 USD $22.94 Buy It Now 1 day
In Concert Strawbs CD album (CDLP) UK WINCD69 WINDSONG 1995 USD $22.94 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs Burning For You vinyl LP album record USA OY-1-1604 OYSTER 1977 USD $20.92 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs Hero And Heroine vinyl LP album record South African AMLS63607 A USD $37.97 Buy It Now 1 day
Deep Cuts The Strawbs Vinyl Record USD $14.36 Buy It Now 1 day
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The Best Of The Strawbs The Strawbs Vinyl Record USD $24.85 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs From The Witchwood vinyl LP album record New Zealand SAMLZ-934437 A USD $57.64 Buy It Now 1 day
THE STRAWBS DEEP CUTS Polydor 76 USA LP nr MINT USD $14.41 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs vinyl LP album record Deep Cuts UK 2391234 OYSTER 1976 USD $18.29 Buy It Now 1 day
the strawbs lp USD $2.61 [0 bids]
1 day
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Strawbs Concert Classics Volume 6 CD *SEALED* Dave Cousins USD $10.99 Buy It Now 1 day
1 day
Sandy & The Strawbs Denny - All Our Own Work [Vinyl New] USD $25.25 Buy It Now 1 day
All Our Own Work by Sandy Denny & the Strawbs/Sandy Denny/The Strawbs (Vinyl,... USD $24.69 Buy It Now 1 day
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STRAWBS Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios CD 6 Track Japanese Edition Wit USD $35.07 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS By Choice LP 10 Track Gatefold (amlh68259) UK A&m 1974 USD $11.66 Buy It Now 1 day
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STRAWBS Grave New World A&M RECORDS AMLH 68078 VINYL LP + BOOKLET FREE UK POST USD $39.33 Buy It Now 1 day
1 day
STRAWBS Grace Darling 7" Promo But Has Dj Writing On Labels B/w Changes Arranges USD $4.12 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS I Only Want My Love To Grow In You 7" B/w Thinking Of You (2066705) UK P USD $2.74 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS "HERO AND HEROINE" (A&M, LP ALBUM, 1974, VG) USD $4.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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STRAWBS Here It Comes 7" B/w Tomorrow (12155at) Pic Sleeve GERMAN A USD $18.54 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS Part Of The Union 7" Promo But Has Radio Station Writing On Labels B/w W USD $6.54 Buy It Now 1 day
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STRAWBS Lay Down 7" Solid Label Design B/w Backside (ams7035) UK A USD $5.49 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS Joey And Me 7" B/w Deadly Nightshade (arist159) UK Arista 1978 USD $5.49 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS Part Of The Union 7" Four Prong Label Design B/w Will You Go. Has One Ti USD $6.54 Buy It Now 1 day
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STRAWBS Back In The Old Routine 7" B/w Burning For Me (2066818) UK Polydor 1977 USD $6.54 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS Shine On Silver Sun 7" Promo B/w And Wherefore (ams7082) Radio Station S USD $6.54 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS Charmer 7" (2066744) B/w Beside The Rio Grande UK Polydor 1976 USD $4.12 Buy It Now 1 day

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STRAWBS discography

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

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

3.04 | 64 ratings
3.06 | 74 ratings
4.01 | 196 ratings
From The Witchwood
4.16 | 270 ratings
Grave New World
3.54 | 135 ratings
Bursting At The Seams
4.15 | 263 ratings
Hero And Heroine
4.01 | 143 ratings
2.51 | 62 ratings
2.74 | 53 ratings
Deep Cuts
2.54 | 45 ratings
Burning For You
2.86 | 39 ratings
2.98 | 25 ratings
Don't Say Goodbye
2.80 | 18 ratings
Ringing Down The Years
2.63 | 28 ratings
Heartbreak Hill
3.54 | 18 ratings
Baroque & Roll (as Acoustic Strawbs)
2.75 | 24 ratings
Blue Angel
3.10 | 23 ratings
Deja Fou
3.50 | 36 ratings
The Broken Hearted Bride
3.27 | 29 ratings
Dancing To The Devil's Beat
3.58 | 25 ratings
Hero & Heroine In Ascencia
2.67 | 20 ratings

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

3.70 | 63 ratings
Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios
2.29 | 9 ratings
The Strawbs' Greatest Hits Live
3.67 | 13 ratings
BBC in concert
2.45 | 9 ratings
Concert Classics
3.34 | 4 ratings
The Complete Strawbs (Chiswick '98 Live)
2.05 | 2 ratings
Full Bloom, Acoustic Strawbs Live
3.57 | 6 ratings
Live At Nearfest
3.67 | 20 ratings
Painted Sky
3.66 | 4 ratings
3.05 | 3 ratings
NY '75
4.00 | 2 ratings
40th Anniversary Celebration: Vol 1: Strawberry Fayre
3.00 | 1 ratings
40th Anniversary Celebration Vol. 2: Rick Wakeman and Dave Cousins
4.08 | 3 ratings
Live At The BBC Vol Two: In Concert
3.17 | 3 ratings
Live At The BBC Vol One: In Session

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

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

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

2.66 | 23 ratings
All Our Own Work
2.44 | 7 ratings
Strawbs by Choice
2.51 | 5 ratings
Early Strawbs
3.78 | 10 ratings
Classic Strawbs
3.78 | 13 ratings
The Best of Strawbs
2.66 | 8 ratings
Preserved Uncanned
3.49 | 18 ratings
A Choice Selection of Strawbs
3.63 | 16 ratings
Halcyon Days (UK Release)
3.97 | 13 ratings
Halcyon Days (US Release)
3.00 | 1 ratings
30 Years in Rock, Classic Rock Legends
2.81 | 6 ratings
The Collection
4.40 | 3 ratings
Tears And Pavan (An Introduction To Strawbs)
3.13 | 4 ratings
20th Century Masters - Millenium Collection
4.23 | 12 ratings
A Taste of Strawbs
4.13 | 6 ratings
Acoustic Gold
3.90 | 2 ratings
Witchwood: the Very Best of....

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

2.29 | 5 ratings
Strawberry Sampler number 1


Showing last 10 reviews only
 From The Witchwood by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.01 | 196 ratings

From The Witchwood
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by ALotOfBottle

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
4.16 | 270 ratings

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
4.15 | 263 ratings

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 | 143 ratings

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
3.58 | 25 ratings

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

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

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 revels 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.

 Bursting At The Seams by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.54 | 135 ratings

Bursting At The Seams
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Strawbs were criticized by the English press for abandoning their folk roots and Dave Cousins just managed to confirm these statements, when he put the band on ice for a short time to record and release his debut solo album ''Two weeks last summer'', more or less following the electric approach of Strawbs' last album.The band then hit the road for a really exhausting tour with visits to Europe and the first tranatlantic trip for some dates in The States.After returning to UK for another set of lives, Tony Hooper decided to leave the band, he was among those feeling that Strawbs should insist on their folkier echoes.He was replaced by ex-Fire and King Earl Boogie Band Dave Lambert, who guested also on Cousins' debut album.During the autumn of 73' the band recorded the album ''Bursting at the seams'', released the following year on A&M.

Had the band eventually taken seriously what the press said about their style?I really do not know, but ''Bursting at the seams'' seems like a trip back in time, Strawbs abandoned the long and symphonic-flavored pieces of ''Grave new world'' for a more rural, poppier sound with emphasis on acoustic guitars and piano/keyboards, strong British Folk flavors and melodic tunes without much of an adventurous spirit.Of course the songwriting is pretty efficient as always and the arrangements are sophisticated with some soft electric guitars, light organ and even orchestral colors surrounding the acoustic moves, but the whole opening side recalls their late-60's days with the dominant Psych/Folk enviroment, only saved by the much harder ''Down by the sea'', an intricate mix of sharp electric moves, symphonic Mellotron and folky aesthetics, this is Strawbs at their best.''Tears And Pavan'' is the other piece to remind of KING CRIMSON/GENESIS' early days, featuring omnipresent Mellotron, trembling guitars and a great combination of mandolin and harsichord in the process.''The winter and the summer'' is another goodie of the flipside, basically close to the likes of ANTHONY PHILLIPS with a mellow Symphonic/Folk Rock atmosphere, based on electroacoustic changes and relaxed organ.Definitely the best side of the original album, even other the pair of more laid-back tracks are interesting and charming.

Mix Strawbs from late-60's and early-70's and the result cannot be anything else than ''Bursting at the seams'', a collection of Folk and Prog Rock tunes with a fairly interesting and melodic sound, great vocals and some pretty enganging orchestrations, far from the amazing ''Grave new world'', but still interesting and pleasant.Recommended.

 Prognostic by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.67 | 20 ratings

Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Mostly great music, but an unnecessary release

Strawbs is a band with many faces and their latest release entitled Prognostic concentrates on their Prog Rock side. For the visitors of this site this is bound to arouse interest, but before you get too excited it must be pointed out that none of the material presented here is new. The first five tracks are re-recorded versions of songs that originally appeared on the albums Heartbreak Hill and The Broken Hearted Bride. The remaining four tracks consist of one live recording and three remastered and remixed versions of older recordings.

Heartbreak Hill was recorded in 1978 and was intended as the follow-up album to Deadlines. However, due to problems with the record company and management, the 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 had released two further studio albums in the 80's and early 90's, one of which featured re-recorded versions of three of the songs from the then unreleased Heartbreak Hill sessions: Let It Rain, We Can Make It Together, and Something For Nothing. The latter is once again featured on Prognostic together with two further songs originally from Heartbreak Hill in Starting Over and the title track. The seven and a half minute title track and the 10 minute Starting Over are of special interest. These two tracks qualify among the most progressive ones since the Ghosts album from 1975. Out of these the title track is clearly the best and it is essential for any Strawbs fan to have at least one version of this song.

The Broken Hearted Bride was released in 2008 and it is an excellent Strawbs album. Two songs from that album are featured here, namely Through Aphrodite's Eyes and Deep In The Darkest Night. The latter features Rick Wakeman. Both of these songs are very good, but if you already own The Broken Hearted Bride then you don't really need these versions.

The River/Down By The Sea is a live recording of the track that originally appeared on 1973's Bursting At The Seams album. Blue Angel was originally featured on Dave Cousins' first solo album Two Weeks Last Summer. This is an excellent song and reminds in style of such great Strawbs classics as Autumn and Ghosts. The song was later re- recorded with Strawbs for the album of that same name released in 2003, but here we get the original solo album version. Tomorrow represents 1972's Grave New World and finally Lay A Little Light On Me/Hero's Theme/Round And Round is from 1974's Hero And Heroine.

My recommendation is to get the albums from which these songs originally were taken and then you won't need Prognostic unless you are a serious collector of all things Strawbs.

 Heartbreak Hill by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1995
2.63 | 28 ratings

Heartbreak Hill
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by Anglophile

4 stars I don't quite get all the negative reviews for this album. To me it was the antithesis of the of previous "poppy" late 70's albums just prior to it. We need to remember that this one was recorded in 1978 and then it sat unreleased until 1995. So it's a great snapshot of what was happening just before Dave Cousins called it a day with the music business and went full time into radio. The strongest tunes here are the "proggiest" since "Ghosts" and the main difference is that the Mellotron has been largely superseded by polysynths. All in all I think this is a very strong Starwbs album. Yes; one can complain about a handful of filler songs here but all in all I have to give this one four stars. I enjoy listening to this one just as much as the aforementioned "Ghosts" and "Hero and Heroine".
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Easy Livin for the last updates

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