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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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Bursting at the SeamsBursting at the Seams
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$4.33
$3.08 (used)
Hero & HeroineHero & Heroine
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$4.99
$5.73 (used)
From the WitchwoodFrom the Witchwood
Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$4.99
$7.62 (used)
PrognosticPrognostic
WITCHWOOD MEDIA 2016
Audio CD$10.44
$8.44 (used)
StrawbsStrawbs
Import
Imports 2008
Audio CD$4.99
$4.94 (used)
Grave New WorldGrave New World
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$4.99
$5.99 (used)
DeadlinesDeadlines
WITCHWOOD MEDIA 2016
Audio CD$11.21
$11.20 (used)
Acoustic GoldAcoustic Gold
WITCHWOOD MEDIA 2016
Audio CD$10.59
$5.60 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
STRAWBS - DEEP CUTS - POLYDOR - 1976 LP - STILL SEALED USD $12.95 Buy It Now 2h 11m
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SANDY DENNY AND THE STRAWBS All Our Own Work LP USD $19.08 Buy It Now 12h 57m
THE STRAWBS, NOMADNESS Vinyl LP, 1975 A&M SP-4544, SHIPS U.S. FREE! USD $9.99 Buy It Now 13h 24m
THE STRAWBS, GHOSTS Vinyl LP, 1974 A&M SP-4506, SHIPS U.S. FREE! USD $11.99 Buy It Now 13h 35m
Strawbs Nomadness + Insert vinyl LP album record UK AMLH68331 A&M 1975 USD $21.73 Buy It Now 13h 37m
STRAWBS Neptune Theatre Liverpool 2000 Used Ticket Stub USD $20.37 Buy It Now 13h 44m
Hero And Heroine - Strawbs Compact Disc USD $15.82 Buy It Now 13h 48m
From The Witchwood Strawbs New Zealand vinyl LP album record SAMLZ-934437 A USD $59.89 Buy It Now 13h 59m
STRAWBS- I ONLY WANT MY LOVE TO GROW IN YOU POLY 2066705 UK 1976 USD $1.35 [0 bids]
14h 14m
Rick Wakeman 1977 Japan Promo Press Release Yes Strawbs USD $69.99 Buy It Now 14h 29m
Strawbs : Part Of The Union - Laydown : A&M Records : AMS 7425 USD $3.80 Buy It Now 14h 41m
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Strawbs Burning For You vinyl LP album record USA OY-1-1604 OYSTER 1977 USD $21.73 Buy It Now 15h 25m
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Strawbs vinyl LP album record Hero And Heroine South African AMLS63607 A USD $39.45 Buy It Now 15h 34m
Strawbs Strawbs - 1st vinyl LP album record UK AMLS936 A&M 1969 USD $107.58 Buy It Now 15h 42m
Strawbs Nomadness Track Vinyl LP USD $13.27 Buy It Now 16h 2m
Dave Cousins Strawbs Two Weeks Last Summer 1972 A&M Records Near Mint Condition USD $20.00 Buy It Now 16h 13m
The Best Of Strawbs 1978 A & M Records Promo Copy New Unopened USD $20.00 Buy It Now 16h 14m
STRAWBS GHOSTS A&M AML-232 Japanese Pressing OBI Vinyl LP USD $16.50 [5 bids]
16h 37m
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CLEAN! 1970 UK ORIG ~ THE STRAWBS ~ DRAGONFLY ~ Dreamy Moody Electric Folk Psych USD $18.49 [5 bids]
16h 52m
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RICK WAKEMAN "Myths And Legends..." Japan RM Top 70's UK prog psych YES STRAWBS USD $7.99 [0 bids]
17h 50m
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STRAWBS "The Best Of Strawbs" EX/EX 1975 US ORIG. WHITE LABEL PROMO DOUBLE ALBUM USD $28.00 Buy It Now 18h 13m
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18h 22m
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THE STRAWBS PART OF THE UNION 7" SINGLE 1973 ~ USD $6.42 Buy It Now 19h 20m
Strawbs "Ghosts" SP-4506 12" Record Vinyl 1975 LP G8 USD $8.99 Buy It Now 19h 27m
SANDY DENNY AND THE STRAWBS - ALL OUR OWN WORK EX USD $10.90 Buy It Now 20h 15m
PENTANGLE Solomon's Seal LP 1972 UK ORIGINAL steeleye span colosseum strawbs USD $12.25 [0 bids]
20h 19m
THE STRAWBS bursting at the seams AMLH 68144 A2/B2 transparent red LP PS EX-/EX- USD $12.24 Buy It Now 21h 20m
The Strawbs 7" Vinyl Single ' Part Of The Union/Will You Go ' 1973 A USD $2.71 [0 bids]
21h 21m
STRAWBS "Hero and Heroine" JAPAN AUTHENTIC MINI LP (CD) A&M UICY-9216 RARE USD $11.62 [0 bids]
USD $19.36 Buy It Now
22h 48m
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USD $6.99 Buy It Now
1 day
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LP RICK WAKEMAN SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII 1974 A&M QUAD NM PROG ROCK YES STRAWBS USD $69.98 Buy It Now 1 day
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STRAWBS 'GHOSTS' 1974 STEREO LP VG-/G USD $1.35 [0 bids]
1 day
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1 day
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1 day
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2 days
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THE STRAWBS - Grave New World 1972 + Hero (2-LP LOT) And Heroine Record 1974 12" USD $12.00 Buy It Now 2 days
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STRAWBS-OF A TIME-JAPAN MINI LP CD BONUS TRACK Fi56 USD $27.50 Buy It Now 2 days
STRAWBS-DEADLINES-JAPAN MINI LP CD BONUS TRACK Fi83 USD $28.50 Buy It Now 2 days
SANDY DENNY & STRAWBS-ALL OUR OWN WORK-JAPAN MINI LP CD BONUS TRACK Fi83 USD $28.50 Buy It Now 2 days
STRAWBS-BURNING FOR YOU-JAPAN MINI LP CD BONUS TRACK Fi83 USD $28.50 Buy It Now 2 days
STRAWBS-DEEP CUTS-JAPAN MINI LP CD BONUS TRACK Fi83 USD $28.50 Buy It Now 2 days
STRAWBS-STRAWBERRY MUSIC SAMPLER NO.1-JAPAN MINI LP CD Fi56 USD $27.50 Buy It Now 2 days
Strawbs/Just A Collection Of Antiques & Curios.1970 UK A&M Original LP. USD $23.85 Buy It Now 2 days
THE STRAWBS Live Review Music Press Article Cutting/Clipping 1973 USD $8.11 Buy It Now 2 days
Strawbs Past and Present 5065000199487 by Strawbs, CD, BRAND NEW FREE P USD $22.29 Buy It Now 2 days
RICK WAKEMAN Silent Nights CD (1985 RWCD1 No Barcode 1st Press) PROG Strawbs/Yes USD $8.53 Buy It Now 2 days
Strawbs S/T (Australian) USD $8.16 [0 bids]
2 days
STRAWBS - From The Witchwood CD JAPAN UICY-9298 2003 USD $56.00 Buy It Now 2 days
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Folk Rock Founders new unopened 2 CD set FAIRPORT CONVENTION STRAWBS MELANIE etc USD $5.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Sandy Denny - Sandy and the Strawbs USD $10.89 Buy It Now 2 days
CD from the witchwood
STRAWBS
~ USD $14.49
CD prince and princess radio show
STRAWBS
~ USD $14.49
LP strawbs
STRAWBS
~ USD $21.55
CD strawbs (first)
STRAWBS
~ USD $14.49
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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)

3.04 | 64 ratings
Strawbs
1969
3.06 | 74 ratings
Dragonfly
1970
4.01 | 196 ratings
From The Witchwood
1971
4.15 | 270 ratings
Grave New World
1972
3.54 | 135 ratings
Bursting At The Seams
1973
4.15 | 263 ratings
Hero And Heroine
1974
4.01 | 143 ratings
Ghosts
1975
2.51 | 62 ratings
Nomadness
1975
2.74 | 53 ratings
Deep Cuts
1976
2.54 | 45 ratings
Burning For You
1977
2.86 | 39 ratings
Deadlines
1978
2.98 | 25 ratings
Don't Say Goodbye
1987
2.80 | 18 ratings
Ringing Down The Years
1991
2.63 | 28 ratings
Heartbreak Hill
1995
3.54 | 18 ratings
Baroque & Roll (as Acoustic Strawbs)
2001
2.75 | 24 ratings
Blue Angel
2003
3.10 | 23 ratings
Deja Fou
2004
3.50 | 36 ratings
The Broken Hearted Bride
2008
3.27 | 29 ratings
Dancing To The Devil's Beat
2009
3.58 | 25 ratings
Hero & Heroine In Ascencia
2011
2.67 | 20 ratings
Prognostic
2014

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

3.70 | 63 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)

2.66 | 23 ratings
All Our Own Work
1973
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
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
 From The Witchwood by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.01 | 196 ratings

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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
4.15 | 270 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
4.15 | 263 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 | 143 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
3.58 | 25 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 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

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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

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Prognostic
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

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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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