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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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Buy STRAWBS Music


Bursting at the SeamsBursting at the Seams
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$5.25
$4.00 (used)
Grave New WorldGrave New World
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$5.25
$5.24 (used)
DeadlinesDeadlines
One Way Records Inc 1997
Audio CD$11.89
$3.42 (used)
Hero & HeroineHero & Heroine
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$5.25
$5.09 (used)
Broken Hearted BrideBroken Hearted Bride
Witchwood Media 2008
Audio CD$10.97
$9.24 (used)
GhostsGhosts
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$5.25
$5.24 (used)
From the WitchwoodFrom the Witchwood
Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$5.25
$4.32 (used)
Live at the BBC 1Live at the BBC 1
Import
Ume Imports 2010
Audio CD$5.25
$13.21 (used)
Live At the BBC Vol. 2Live At the BBC Vol. 2
Import
FONTANA UNIVERSAL 2010
Audio CD$11.60
$22.07 (used)
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STRAWBS shows & tickets


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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)

3.00 | 52 ratings
Strawbs
1969
3.02 | 60 ratings
Dragonfly
1970
4.02 | 153 ratings
From The Witchwood
1971
4.17 | 204 ratings
Grave New World
1972
3.56 | 106 ratings
Bursting At The Seams
1973
4.14 | 194 ratings
Hero And Heroine
1974
3.97 | 115 ratings
Ghosts
1975
2.49 | 53 ratings
Nomadness
1975
2.75 | 44 ratings
Deep Cuts
1976
2.51 | 39 ratings
Burning For You
1977
2.85 | 32 ratings
Deadlines
1978
2.97 | 21 ratings
Don't Say Goodbye
1987
2.80 | 16 ratings
Ringing Down The Years
1991
2.54 | 22 ratings
Heartbreak Hill
1995
3.50 | 14 ratings
Baroque & Roll (as Acoustic Strawbs)
2001
2.75 | 21 ratings
Blue Angel
2003
3.11 | 20 ratings
Deja Fou
2004
3.54 | 32 ratings
The Broken Hearted Bride
2008
3.17 | 23 ratings
Dancing To The Devil's Beat
2009
3.91 | 16 ratings
Hero & Heroine In Ascencia
2011

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

3.68 | 52 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
3.80 | 14 ratings
Painted Sky
2005
3.66 | 4 ratings
Recollection
2006
3.05 | 3 ratings
NY '75
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
40th Anniversary Celebration: Vol 1: Strawberry Fayre
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)

2.54 | 23 ratings
All Our Own Work
1973
2.51 | 8 ratings
Strawbs by Choice
1974
2.61 | 6 ratings
Early Strawbs
1974
3.82 | 7 ratings
Classic Strawbs
1977
3.96 | 9 ratings
The Best of Strawbs
1978
2.66 | 8 ratings
Preserved Uncanned
1990
3.52 | 14 ratings
A Choice Selection of Strawbs
1992
3.62 | 14 ratings
Halcyon Days (UK Release)
1997
4.32 | 7 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
4.72 | 6 ratings
A Taste of Strawbs
2006
4.52 | 5 ratings
Acoustic Gold
2011

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
 Acoustic Gold by STRAWBS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2011
4.52 | 5 ratings

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Acoustic Gold
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

5 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. 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
4.17 | 204 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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 Heartbreak Hill by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1995
2.54 | 22 ratings

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Heartbreak Hill
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

3 stars The Strawbs literally climbing a heart breaking hill. Most readers will be familiar with the circumstances surrounding this album. Recorded with multiple players in 1978 and never released until 1995, this is not one of the best loved Strawbs' albums from the 70's but it is hands and feet above Nomadness and the pathetic Deadlines albums. Andy Richards was the only keyboard player unique and talented enough to ever replace John Hawken in the group (remembering that ivory keys wunderkind Wakeman did not reveal his prog genius until he joined Yes) and the album does sport a couple of real prog songs. The title track features an almost Renaissance like drum and keyboard section while the song Starting Over goes from a Genesis like bombastic intro to mellow dreamy passages and back. Good stuff. Most of the other tracks are typical AOR fare, but if you liked the Bursting At The Seams album then you might enjoy Heartbreak Hill.

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 Hero & Heroine In Ascencia by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.91 | 16 ratings

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Hero & Heroine In Ascencia
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars Hero and Heroine (Redux). I've been listing to a lot of newer Strawbs material lately and this is, by far, the strangest of their strange but engaging make overs. The fact that this album was redone 30 plus years later is enough to add another dimension to this classic work let alone the fact that the signature keyboard player was replaced and a more technical and less rock oriented drummer was recruited to round out the new line up. Have said that little, you can already surmise the change in sound even with the arrangements being left more less intact. The sound production is much thinner than the original which also adds to the album's new ambiance The simple fact is that this album works because the material is so strong that it can stand up to a make over. Essentially, this album a testament to Dave Cousins ability as songwriter, if nothing else. Essential ? Perhaps for Strawbs' fans only, but it is an incredibly good album.

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 Deja Fou by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.11 | 20 ratings

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Deja Fou
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars Deja faux? I have a hard time trying to figure out why this so called reunion album by the Ghosts era Strawbs is so enganging. It's has none of the bombastic prog of Hero and Heroine (or it's thick production) or the sweeping melodies of the songs found on Ghosts. It's not a far reach to suggest, as others have, that Cousins and company were so infuenced by their acoustic work that acoustic folk themes dominate this album. And why not? After all, the Strawbs were always folk-rock band at heart with 1967's unheralded Sandy and the Strawbs album All Of Our Own Work being, IMHO, the equal to anything produced by the Mamas and the Papas, the Byrds and even Fairport Convention at that early folk-rock era. Perhaps that is the reason why this unassuming album works so well on so many levels. What this album may lack in production value is more than compensated by the qualtity of it's material. Four stars to the old chaps.

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 Baroque & Roll (as Acoustic Strawbs) by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.50 | 14 ratings

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Baroque & Roll (as Acoustic Strawbs)
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars On second thought... I, like many, was disappointed when I first heard this album. What? No new material? No bass or drums? No keyboards? This is a new recording by one of the greatest prog groups ever. Are you kidding? Well, after a few years of second listens (after hearing Painted Sky without all the preconceived baggage) all I can say is that this album is an under appreciated jewel. The low key and, no doubt, low cost production adds a homemade vibe to this recording and Cousins is still in relatively good voice at this stage. The guitar interplay between lambert and Willobougby is stellar despite a couple of awkward moments. If you liked Deja Fou and Painted Sky, but found this album lacking the first time around, please give it a second chance to appreciate it for what is and not what it was supposed to be.

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 From The Witchwood by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.02 | 153 ratings

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From The Witchwood
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by sukmytoe

4 stars A band that I love a great deal. This is a good work full of moods and lyrical as well as musical landscapes. There's just something about "Strawbs" music that resonates with me very strongly. I'm not always a Rick Wakeman fan but I enjoy his contribution here very much. After this album with the band he left to join Yes and I would have loved to have heard the direction future Strawbs albums would have taken had he remained with them instead.

"A Glimpse of Heaven" - Brilliant, almost pastoral folk track that rests very easy with me when my mind seeks peace. The lyrics paint a beautiful picture supported by the music so very well. I love the use of the banjo in this one.

"Witchwood" - Gaelic feel. Dulcimer and Banjo here are very nicely and tastefully used enhancing the sound. Again the lyrics and the music are used to paint a work of art. Peaceful and entrancing.

"Thirty Days" - Reminds strongly of "the Beatles". A more bouncy piece than the previous two tracks with a lot of Sitar involvement.

"Flight" - Nice vocal harmonising on this one. Again I'm reminded of the Beatles a little although less strongly than on the previous track.

"The Hangman and the Papist" - Very nice Wakeman involvement on this one. Dramatic and powerful. The dramatic military style drumming on this adds strongly to the flavour. One of the album highlights.

"Sheep" - This is a very unsettling track for me - almost a musical horror story until the music softens with the young boy section . Very powerful lyrically and musically. Nice organ work here from Wakeman.

"Canon Dale" - Very middle-eastern in style with use of the Sitar to enhance that mood.

"The Shepherds Song" - Gentle and very pretty erotic track. Prominent Mellotron on this one as well as Moog later on.

"In among the Roses" - Fragile and very pretty. Almost a dirge.

"I'll carry on beside You" - Rousing track. Electric guitar stands out on this one.

If you're looking for energy don't look this way. This is a gentle album for the main part full of pastoral, delicate sound. It is intelligent, almost fragile, music a lot of the time. I personally enjoy the use of instruments herein that are not typically used a lot in music these days. Sheep is a track that has always disturbed me a little - it did back when it was released and it does today. For anyone interested in Rick Wakeman and his development and progress as a musician this is a must have album. For me it is a strong album where many of the tracks are pure works of art but unfortunately a few are just ok. A four rating from my side.

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 Baroque & Roll (as Acoustic Strawbs) by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.50 | 14 ratings

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Baroque & Roll (as Acoustic Strawbs)
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Evergreen

Baroque & Roll is an album credited to "Acoustic Strawbs" and was released at a time when Strawbs had not released anything new for quite some years. As such it could be seen as a welcome sign of life and pointing to a brighter future. But it was probably not what long time fans of the band had been waiting for. The material here was not new, but is rather acoustic re-makes of classic Strawbs songs. Some of these re-makes are better than others and some feel rather unnecessary. However, it is overall a pleasant listen.

The core of the band here is Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert, and Brian Willoughby, but there is also a string section on song songs (and I'm sure I can hear some non-acoustic instruments). The string section makes some parts into what one might perhaps call "chamber Folk".

The most progressive pieces here include striped down renditions of Ghosts and The Riven/Down By The Sea. Evergreen is a beautiful song. Nothing here is essential or better than the originals, but it functions as a nice complement. My advice is to make sure to get the original albums from which these songs were taken before investing in Baroque & Roll. But once you've gotten that far, the present album (along with the similar Painted Sky) is a worthy addition as well.

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 Painted Sky by STRAWBS album cover Live, 2005
3.80 | 14 ratings

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Painted Sky
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Just another collection antiques and curios

Painted Sky is a live-in-the-studio recording featuring an all-acoustic set of (mostly) classic Strawbs material. These re-makes are stripped down to their essentials in terms of instrumentation, and even the band itself is reduced to the core trio of Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert, and Chas Cronk. As such, the basic ingredients are simply acoustic guitars and vocals. The odd banjo is also present, but no keyboards or drums.

With the exception of two songs from Deja Fou (the most recent Strawbs studio release at the time of this recording) the selections are taken from the band's "golden era" during the first half of the 70's. Oh, How She Changed is the oldest tune included, going all the way back to the 60's and the band's self-titled debut. One highlight of the disc is the 14 minute, four part The Antique Suite, originally recorded live in 1970 and included on the classic Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios album.

Listening to this album is actually a very pleasant experience and the new arrangements of these old tunes makes it a worthy addition to a comprehensive Strawbs collection (like my own). However, even if surprisingly good taken for what it is, it is by no means essential and the average Prog fan will probably not need this.

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 Painted Sky by STRAWBS album cover Live, 2005
3.80 | 14 ratings

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Painted Sky
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars Oh how they changed (the arrangements)

In recent times, (The) Strawbs have divided their live performances and recordings between Electric Strawbs and Acoustic Strawbs. It is the latter who recorded this album, the line up consisting of a trio of Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert and Chas Cronk. Nominally a live album, the set contains extracts of two live in the studio performances in 2004and 2005 with the album title being taken from the studios in California where the "gigs" took place.

A quick glance at the track list reveals that this is not an album of new material, but of new versions of classic songs from the band's history. These songs had at the time of recording been recently added to the repertoire of Acoustic Strawbs, so the opportunity was taken to capture these interpretations for posterity.

Perhaps the first thing to notice is that while the songs were recorded live, there is no audience as such, the recordings benefiting from the studio facilities available to capture the sound. The crystal clear recording of the acoustic instruments brings an unexpected warmth and depth to the album that, despite the limitations of a three man line up, boasts an admirable diversity of moods.

The tracks represent a good if eclectic cross section of the band's work, starting with their first single "Oh How She Changed" and including two of their epic suites. Dave Cousins' voice is as unique and distinguished as ever, his often emotional delivery still sending a quiver down the spine. Songs such as "Grace darling" sound remarkably fresh, and while I don't think they will ever top the symphonic and operatic splendour of the ("Ghosts") original, the version of that song here is superb nonetheless. "Shine on silver sun" is pared back to a slightly melancholy ballad with fine harmonies.

The 14 minute "The antique suite" was only ever available as a live recording, first appearing on "Just a collection of antiques and curios". In reality it is a suite of four unconnected songs which have become four quarters of the greater whole. Highlights here include the Dave Lambert vocal on "We must cross the river". The sublime "Benedictus" is the least different of the songs, since it was primarily an acoustic number anyway, but even here the paring back of the arrangement is evident. I love how the acoustic guitar sings on the intro to "Midnight sun". The gentle, relaxed atmosphere brings out the full beauty of the melody.

Two tracks which appear together, "Cold steel" and "If" were new to the "Deja fu" album released in 2004. As such, they do not really fit well within this collection of otherwise highly familiar songs. Both are fine well performed tracks, although personally I do not feel the former is on a par with its peers. The album closes with the epic "Autumn" from "Hero and heroine". Initially, the piece is barely recognisable, the symphonic opening of the original being replaced by some wonderful picked acoustic guitar. It's only when Cousins' voice breaks in that we settle into the familiar three parts of this magnificent work.

It appears that the track list for this release was subject to a number of changes before it was finalised, with some other classics being omitted. What we have though is a magical journey through some of the Strawbs best songs. I would urge anyone with an interest in the band's music to do themselves a favour and discover them through this wonderful release. To do so will be the first step on a wonderful journey of discovery.

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

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