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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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PrognosticPrognostic
Witchwood Media 2014
Audio CD$9.64
$14.14 (used)
Grave New WorldGrave New World
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$4.87
$5.46 (used)
Hero & HeroineHero & Heroine
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$4.58
$3.26 (used)
Bursting at the SeamsBursting at the Seams
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$4.49
$3.22 (used)
GhostsGhosts
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$4.58
$3.72 (used)
Just a Collection of Antiques & CuriosJust a Collection of Antiques & Curios
Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$4.58
$3.28 (used)
Dancing to The Devil's BeatDancing to The Devil's Beat
WITCHWOOD MEDIA 2009
Audio CD$9.45
$8.39 (used)
Live at the BBC 1Live at the BBC 1
Import
Ume Imports 2010
Audio CD$6.07
$4.55 (used)
Witchwood: The Very Best ofWitchwood: The Very Best of
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$2.88
$1.84 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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5h 47m
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21h 8m
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21h 9m
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21h 9m
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1 day
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CD prince and princess radio show ~ USD $14.74
LP strawbs ~ USD $21.92
CD strawbs (first) ~ USD $14.74


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STRAWBS shows & tickets


  • Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy on 5 Mar 2015

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)

3.02 | 56 ratings
Strawbs
1969
3.03 | 64 ratings
Dragonfly
1970
4.01 | 169 ratings
From The Witchwood
1971
4.15 | 235 ratings
Grave New World
1972
3.57 | 119 ratings
Bursting At The Seams
1973
4.15 | 221 ratings
Hero And Heroine
1974
3.96 | 128 ratings
Ghosts
1975
2.49 | 56 ratings
Nomadness
1975
2.73 | 50 ratings
Deep Cuts
1976
2.52 | 42 ratings
Burning For You
1977
2.85 | 36 ratings
Deadlines
1978
2.97 | 21 ratings
Don't Say Goodbye
1987
2.80 | 16 ratings
Ringing Down The Years
1991
2.55 | 24 ratings
Heartbreak Hill
1995
3.52 | 15 ratings
Baroque & Roll (as Acoustic Strawbs)
2001
2.75 | 22 ratings
Blue Angel
2003
3.10 | 21 ratings
Deja Fou
2004
3.51 | 34 ratings
The Broken Hearted Bride
2008
3.26 | 25 ratings
Dancing To The Devil's Beat
2009
3.93 | 18 ratings
Hero & Heroine In Ascencia
2011
3.64 | 11 ratings
Prognostic
2014

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

3.68 | 60 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
2.44 | 8 ratings
Concert Classics
1999
3.38 | 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
2.00 | 1 ratings
40th Anniversary Celebration Vol. 2: Rick Wakeman and Dave Cousins
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
3.60 | 18 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)

2.40 | 6 ratings
Strawberry Sampler number 1
1969

STRAWBS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Witchwood: the Very Best of.... by STRAWBS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2014
3.90 | 2 ratings

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Witchwood: the Very Best of....
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars I am not an advocate of compilation albums, mostly because if I am a fan, I have all the albums and if I am not, a best of just doesn't cut it. Why bother to invest in some hodgepodge collection of disparate pieces from different eras with varied musicians? Especially in a style that is so ingrained with concept albums, the argument just has no wheels. The triggers for this Strawbs compilation had two crucial characteristics in swaying my decision to add this to my collection, first being the shockingly great price but mostly due to a sublime cover that has a sprightly, highly evocative Englishness that reminds one of England's "Garden Shed" jacket, certainly one of the finest ever.

There is, however, a very good reason for anyone to purchase this collection, as someone very wise and knowledgeable has put these pieces in sequence, for sake of harmony as well as a fine representation of this legendary bands contribution to the pantheon of rock music. I was actually astounded at the fluidity of the songs right from the delightful opener taken from their debut 1969 album, "Where is this Dream of Our Youth" and gently meandering past all the glory year albums up to the otherwise limp 1975 Nomadness album, which had two fabulous tracks that are represented here, both the sleek "Golden Salamander" and the serene "A Mind of my Own". Fair to say that this is not a real all-encompassing compilation such as a greatest Hits package but a glimpse into a shorter period of time that gives the listener a real appreciation for the sheer talent on display. Classic songs abound, cascading gentle one after the other : Benedictus, New World, Heavy Disguise, Queen of Dreams, then meandering to The River, Down by the Sea, enlightened by Shine on Silver Sun, Round & Round, Hero & Heroine and spooked by a lovely Ghosts medley, before finishing off with the afore-mentioned duo finale.

Some will lament the omissions such as "Grave New World", the perennial "Autumn" suite or my favorite "Midnight Sun" but the only real criticism is the inclusion of their biggest hit single , the piss-poor "Part of the Union" , a pub singalong anthem for AFL-CIO fans out there that actually made the top of British charts back in the days of social injustice.

Whether a fan or not, one gets to revel in the glorious song writing and the sparkling musicianship, as well as appreciating the intense vocals of David Cousins, a unique timbre to say the very least, easily in the company of such odd vocal luminaries as Bob Dylan, Ian Anderson, Tom Waits or Robert Plant. That being said, "Hero and Heroine" remains my all-time favorite music album, having healed my wounds so many times that I lost count. The equally brilliant "Ghosts" lurks not far behind.

Because of the gorgeous packaging and the highly affordable price, this is a no-brainer addition to any collection.

4 fruity delights

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 Deep Cuts  by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.73 | 50 ratings

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Deep Cuts
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

2 stars Desperate measures.

I've noticed quite a few pro and con reviews of this album by the venerated Strawbs, so it might be a good idea to put some things into perspective. Aside from leaving A&M records for Deep Purple's Oyster label, the Strawbs were on a downward slide at this point in their career, especially in their home of England. Dave Cousins was having a hard time coming up with songs so he teamed up bassist Chas Cronk to write the majority of the songs for Deep Cuts, with varying results.

Desperate to have a hit again in the U.K., Cousins and company put themselves in the hands of producer Rupert Holmes (yes, he of the infamous Pina Colada song! Egads!)

Well, with naturally a slicker than slick production sound that emphasized the group's vocal harmonies on a majority of songs (never one of the band's strong suites), mediocre songs simply turned into trash.

The album does have a few stand out tracks, like Simple Visions and Beside the Rio Grande, but Holmes' flat AOR style production simply strangles the songs and renders them sterile.

I can appreciate that the band were taking desperate measures to rejuvenate thier appeal, but I cannot appreciate the results found on this album. It's simply a display of a once great prog band losing direction coupled with waning inspiration and, ultimately, desperation. 2 stars.

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 40th Anniversary Celebration Vol. 2: Rick Wakeman and Dave Cousins by STRAWBS album cover Live, 2010
2.00 | 1 ratings

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40th Anniversary Celebration Vol. 2: Rick Wakeman and Dave Cousins
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

— First review of this album —
2 stars If my review for Vol. 2 of the 40th Anniversary Strawbs album seems shorter when compared to that of Vol. 1, it's because there's less offered to review on this combination CD and DVD set.

Recorded in The Live Room at Twickenham Stadium in September of 2009, this concert of long time friends Cousins and Wakeman takes on an intimate feeling as the The Live Room is a small cozy venue where Cousins and Wakeman can strut their stuff. The concert itself is no more than an hour long and features just 8 songs from the Antiques and Curios/Witchwood era that Wakeman was a part. Wakeman is as elegant a player ever, but Cousins' age weathered voice struggles with many of the belters like The Hangman And The Papist and Martin Luther King's Dream. He does much better on the softer numbers like October to May and Witchwood.

This album does contain one essential track, A Glimpse Of Heaven from the Witchwood album that sounds superb in this stripped down from with just Cousins' vocal and acoustic guitar along with Wakeman's tasteful piano. The tune is much better devoid of the Witchwood version's overproduction that featured a church like choir in the song's chorus.

That's about the sum of the music CD which is devoid of the incredably funny banter between Cousins and Wakeman, and shows just how much love and affection there is between these men. Don't fret because all of this can found on the accompaning DVD.

Wakeman even ventures out into the audience to gather 6 musical notes he needs to improvise his trademark solo instrumental showcase that he used to perform with the Strawbs called Temperment Of Mind (now retitled Temperance Of Mind by Cousins due to Wakeman's new found sobriety).

This CD/DVD is probably essential for diehard Wakeman fans more so than it is for Strawbs' fans. However, no matter how charming it is, better early material exists in this vain from the Strawbs' Antiques and Curios album as well as the recent Witchwood Media release titled Recollection that both showcase a younger, hungrier Wakeman and a more pleasent sounding Cousins. 2 stars as this CD/DVD is not essential for Strawbs's fans. However, Wakeman fans may care to to differ.

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 40th Anniversary Celebration: Vol 1: Strawberry Fayre by STRAWBS album cover Live, 2010
4.00 | 2 ratings

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40th Anniversary Celebration: Vol 1: Strawberry Fayre
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars This forty year anniversary live double CD of the venerated Strawbs is a real treat for fans (nee fanatics) of the band. To start off with, the original Heartbreak Hill line ups kicks off the album with two of Strawbs' best and probably most progressive sounding, if least known, songs they ever recorded, the title track Heartbreak Hill and the almost Genesis like Starting Over. Musicians Andy Richards, Tony Fernandez, Jo Partridge, Chas Cronk and, Of course, Dave Cousins have never played these songs live together and you can tell that they relish every note created during every moment of playing these songs.

Strawbs' long time bassist Chas Cronk does an excellent job of mixing and mastering a very complex and conjested sound and really brings out the details and makes you fell like you have the band playing in your living room.

The second two songs feature the group Cry No More (named afte the Strawbs song) and features Chas Cronk and two gig only Strawbs' replacement singer/guitarist Roy Hill. The acoustic duo are one of the album's revelations, especially on the emtionally moving song Don't Leave Me Here. Hill sings as if he feels every emotion very deeply and the song is even more moving as a result.

Hellfire Blues and Skip To My Lou are newer offerings from Cousins' side project called the Blue Angel Orchestra. Both songs swing and are infectous due to the catchy fiddle playing of folk stalwart Ian Cutler.

All I Need is You and On My Way are two early Sandy and The Strawbs tunes that feature Prog legend Sonja Kristina subbing for the late Sandy Denny. Of course Sonja doesn't have Sandy's depth and range, but she does an enthuestic cover of the two songs while fronting the Acoustic Strawbs. For those unaware, Sonja joined the Strawbs for one gig after Denny left before moving on to Curved Air fame.

The elecrtic Strawbs featuring Rick Wakeman's son Oliver (John Hawkin was recovering from an illness at the time) do a pedestrian covers of Sheep and Autumn, and the first CD starts to drag at this point except for a mesmorising cover of the Graham/Jansch standard Angi. The song is performed by Dave Lambert's side gig Zeus that features twin acoustic guitar magic by band members Lambert and Graeme Taylor.

The last two songs are disc two are perhaps the two best and extremely mellow offerings from the special concert duo of Cousins and super guest star Rick Wakeman, that can also be found on Strawberry Fayre Vol. 2. A little more on that later.

Cd 2 starts off with covers of two rare solo Cousins songs Blue Angel and Cry No More with a version of Strawbs featuring eighties guitarist Brain Willoughby and his long time singing partner Cathryn Craig on backing vocals, who does an excellent job of soothing Cousins now weather beaten voice.

Craig and Willoughby are featured on two songs as a duo and both are another album revalation as Craigs voice is both poewerful, emotive and attractive while Willooughby's acoustic guitar playing is virtually other worldly.

Another highlight are two solo John Ford songs that shows off his still excellent voice and catchy acoustic guitar abilities, along with two songs by Lambert's pre Strawbs band Fire. Fire sound like a wonderful combination of the the Who and the Kinks and have a Kinks like song aesthetic with one number titled Father's Name Was Dad. Both songs were catchy and heavy with a slight punkish feel. Good stuff.

The album closes out with more pedestrian acoustic and electric Strawbs and solo Cousins numbers like Grace Darling, save for definitive versions of Josephine, For Better Or For Worse, Evergreen and Where Silent Shadows Fall. The latter two features accompaniment with The Royal Artillery Orchestra conducted by long time Strawbs arranger the late Robert Kirby.

Overall, this two CD set sounds very good for a live recording and some of the songs actually sound quite stellar.

The only fault that I can find with it is the placing of the two Wakeman And Cousins offerings on CD 1 that were also included on the following CD titled Stawberry Fayre Vol.2, which contains the entire Wakeman/Cousins concert plus a DVD of their concert and humorous stage banter.

With the stellar offerings from both Cry No More And Craig & Willoughby, a better idea would have been to include an additional song each from both groups and delete the two redundent Wakeman/Cousins songs.

I cannot imagine any diehard Strawbs fan not enjoying this offering to the full so I will award it 4 stars. It may not be an essential prog album, but it is certainly an essential Strawbs album! Enjoy the celebration!

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 Hero And Heroine by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.15 | 221 ratings

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Hero And Heroine
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars The English rock band Strawbs has made twenty-one studio records. One was released this october and I look forward to perhaps review it. "Hero and heroine" which is the subject of the day is their second most rated and also their second highest ranked record after 1972's "Grave new world".

"Strawbs" is avery special band which music is inspired by folk music, classical music and rock'n'roll music as well. The debut album "Strawbs" came 1969 and "Hero and Heroine" is their sixth effort. The cover picture is white and shows a hand grabbing a white dove who is flying. The line up is Dave Cousins(vocals, guitars), Dave Lambert(vocals, guitars), John Hawken(piano, organ, mellotron, synthesizer), Chas Cronk(bass, synthesizer, vocals) and Rod Coombes(drums, percussion, vocals). Let's finally say it has gone as much as fourty years since this was new music.

We face a record with many lovely songs between quite pure pop rock and prog music. The starting composition "Autumn" is also the best (10/10) and a reason to hear the record. This long song contains classical moods as well as more folky and symphonic rock patterns. Second best on the record is the title track "Hero and heroine" (8/10) a cool innovative rock song with a heavy symphonic main structure. "Sad young man"(8/10) is another of the record's jewels, an intriguing and special bit. The pop song "Lay a little light on me"(8/10) is also recommended, it reminds me a bit of Genesis in the beginning but the pop feeling is more like Electric Light Orchestra. The closer "Hero's them"8/10) is mighty as well. Furthermore should you of course listen to "Out in the cold" and "Round and round". The remaining three songs are of less interest.

Over all is Strawbs work here something quite unique and I am curious to further investigate their discography. I rate this record 3.7 which becomes four stars. It's not a prog masterpiece and yet very interesting. Best song: "Autumn"

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 The Broken Hearted Bride by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.51 | 34 ratings

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The Broken Hearted Bride
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

3 stars Pleasant at times but pretentious. The Broken Hearted Bride from 2008 finds the Strawbs attempting to make a more electric and more prog sounding album then their previous release from 2004 titled Deja Fou. However, forcing an album to sound prog is not the same as creating music that is prog. Indeed, both bass player Chas Cronk and vocalist/guitarist Dave Cousins contribute keyboards to this album as well as long time keys man John Hawken which often results in a pea soup mix of 80's style electronic keys, sampling, programming and percussion. Particularly on the slow tempo songs Too Many Angels, Through Aphrodite's Eyes and Everybody Knows.

The album's second song Christmas Cheer with it's insecent disco (yes disco!) beat and abrasive chorus may be the worst song ever written by Cousins and the title track, despite Cousins' clever lyrics about a suicide bomber leaving his wife standing at the alter, is an AOR styled rocker with an annoying guitar riff that Bon Jovi would have envied. The following song Shadowland is another boring AOR tune this time written by guitarist Dave Lambert. Even Lambert's guitar is given a grandiose Gilmour/Rothery like tone on many of the songs which is unfitting for him. The shrill high EQ'ed sound production does not help matters and does Cousins raspy voice no favors.

To be fair, the opening song Call to Action and its reprise Action Replay are two excellent prog tunes with terrific Middle Eastern melodies and rythyms, but the pea soup songs along with Shadowland are merely pleasant listens that hardly make this album essential. Luckily, the Stawbs would have one more good album up their sleeve for 2009.

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 Dancing To The Devil's Beat by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.26 | 25 ratings

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Dancing To The Devil's Beat
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars Going out with a bang. 2009's Dancing To The Devils Beat will probably be the last album of original material recorded by the electric version of the Strawbs and it's a fitting finale to their prog and hard rock legacy. The album kicks off with the prog-ish Revenge (Can Be So Sweet) that's a direct carry over melodically and sonically from their last album The Broken Hearted Bride. The Eastern melody with fey electronic percussion is kicked awake with sharp cracking drums and buzzing eclectic guitar.

The band are not searching for a sound like they did on The Broken Hearted Bride but have arrived with a fully formed and decisive vision that carries over immediately on to the following hard rock song Beneath The Angry Sky. Both songs are topically about war and waste with drummer Rod Combes and guest keyboardist Oliver Wakeman (son of Rick) fully engaged in their construction, feel and outcome. Wakeman adds sympathetic keyboard work that enhances the songs without grandstanding and Coombes is back to his hard rocking self while the band revert to their old school multi layered sounds of choir and pleated harmonies to drive the songs home. Indeed, Beneath The Angry Sky even starts off with some banjo picking from Dave Cousins that adds color to the song without feeling folk-ish.

The group brake up the war and waste mayhem for the touching acoustic based song Copenhagen, an obvious tribute to the late great Sandy Danny. Then it's on to the prog suite song Pro Patria Suite, a typical three part Cousins song cycle with brilliant and poignant lyrics that's again enhanced by choir, keyboard orchestrations by Wakeman and touching cornets playing at the end by two guest musicians. The war and waste sentiments end with a salute to fallen soldiers on the following song Where Silent Shadows Fall, another epic sounding peice that could easily conclude the band's classic album Grave New World.

Dave Lambert is up next with the touching The Man Who Never Leave Grimsby remarking on the faith of a young fan of the group from poor country of Kenya. The song is not particularly progressive as are the three remainders, but all are convincingly passionate without sounding like retreads. The Ballad Of Jay And Rose Mary is actually a rare bluesy Film Noir themed song from Cousins that's a bit corny but still enjoyable before the group end the album with the rocking manic title track and then conclude with a dramatic electric remake of Oh, How She Changed.

My only complaint of this work is the brash modern sound of the album's recording production which is grating at times but it is the digital age after all. However, the sound is still more rounded and less shrill than that found on The Broken Hearted Bride. Farewell electric Strawbs and thanks for a great parting shot.

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 Grave New World by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.15 | 235 ratings

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Grave New World
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars ''From the witchwood'' was the last contribution of Rick Wakeman to the sound of Strawbs, as he decided to leave the band in 1971 and join Yes in a move stated by himself as ''beneficial for both sides at this point'', even if Dave Cousins thought about the opposite.Who would imagine though that Wakeman would be so prophetic.He moved to on to create some prog monuments with Yes, but also Strawbs found a great replacement in the face of Blue Weaver, former organist of the Psych/Pop act Amen Corner.Strawbs released shortly afterwards one of their best works ever, the concept album ''Grave new world'', on A&M Records, telling the story of a man from his baby years till' his last day.

By the time the Folk and progressive influences of the band appear to be about equal and ''Grave new world'' sounds like GENESIS in reverse order, not a group with major symphonic arrangements and folky hints, but a Folk Rock band with an evident symphonic tendency.Acoustic guitars, British Folk tunes, fading psychedelic touches and clean singing still have a major role in Strawbs sound.But Mr.Weaver seems to be the missing piece for a trully great album by the Strawbs.With an armour of Mellotron, organ, piano and clavioline, his contribution to the album is phenomenal.Strawbs' sound starts to incorporatre a strong orchestral content, supported by Cousins' poetic voice, and the acoustic textures are complemented by huge, symphonic Mellotron waves and soft organ themes.Plus the electric melodies played on the guitars are beautiful and memorable.The album is divided in 12 short pieces with an obvious thematical connection and the songwriting is absolutely great with dramatic moments, sensitive passages and grandiose soundscapes in one of the most versatile and flexible albums created by a Folk-tinged British band.Vocal melodies are excellent, the musical depth is more than sufficient and most of the compositions are amazing with the keyboards in evidence and the concept flowing in a tremendous way.

A highlight of Strawbs' discography and the year 1972.Right description would be as paradox as ''keyboard-led Prog Folk'', but that's the true.Very original and pleasant album, no less than highly recommended.

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 Acoustic Gold by STRAWBS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2011
4.13 | 6 ratings

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Acoustic Gold
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars Acoustic Bliss. This is the last album I listened to of newer Strawbs's material and I'm really taken with the acoustic bug. This compilation is filled with some of the best material from the out of print Baroque And Roll and Painted Sky albums as well as some stellar unreleased material. The songs were remastered by long time bassist Chas Cronk giving the guitars a wonderful bell like sound as well as added detail to both the instruments and vocals. All fourteen tracks are outstanding with Autumn and Ghosts being the high lights, naturally. I'm aware that many reviewers feel cold toward the less prog all acoustic phase of the band but I know from an interview that Dave Cousins' would love to be remembered as a great folk songwriter and albums like this may ultimately help him to achieve that goal

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 Grave New World by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.15 | 235 ratings

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Grave New World
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by BatBacon

5 stars Strawbs is a fantastic band and this is probably their best album. Compare it to Queen´s "Night at the opera" and you will find that? well, it doesn't sound like Queen at all, but the album´s are arranged with pretty much the same kind of craziness. Its a real adventure to listen through Grave New World, cause just like "Night at the Opera", it got so many different kind of songs and every one of them offers something new to listener, may it be a political folk song, an epic mellotron-smelling aggression song, a loony barbershop-ish song or metallic roaring guitars. With Grave New World Strawbs created a real rollercoaster of an album, but still it all fits together so fantastically well.

The album is blessed with one of the finest opening tracks I know, the organ loaded "Benedictus", and ends with the calm piano song "The Journeys End". Like seeing the sun rise in the morning and settle in the evening, it gives the album a great frame! In between waits lots of great tracks, not a single album filler! I will mention some of them. For fans of the odd side of Beatles and George Harrison you have "Is it today my lord?" with some smooth sitar playing and a slightly spiritual mood. For people waiting for the unexpected and crazy you have the barber shop-ish "Ah me, ah my" and fans of more heavy rock will get their fix when listening to the angry "Tomorrow!" with howling guitar and Deep Purple-ish organ playing. "Hey, little man?" is divided in two songs and are great, relaxing tracks about stop caring about problems for an hour or two. And to take a pause of stress and misery is pretty fitting on a crazy album like this, especially the second one of the two parts which comes after the epic and mind blowing "New World". Dave Cousin sings his heart out on this mellotron heavy gigant of a song, adding a lot of drama and frustration to the text. It really is one of those songs which grabs hold of the listener and doesn't release until the end of the song.

It hard to say if there is a best track of the album, which I often like to see as a proof of a really good album. But I think the greatest one of them would be "The flower and the young man", a really touching song with great song melody and wonderful arrangements. Is more sad than most songs on the album, yet more colorful.

All in all, Grave New World is a majestic and powerful record, full of adventure and beauty! Its not hard at all to get into, but it offers most things a prog fan could ask for!

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