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Strawbs - Grave New World CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.16 | 356 ratings

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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.

apps79 | 4/5 |


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