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Strawbs - Ringing Down The Years CD (album) cover

RINGING DOWN THE YEARS

Strawbs

 

Prog Folk

2.70 | 24 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "This one's for Sandy"

Recorded in 1990 well after their "Halcyon days" were behind them, Dave Cousins is once again joined by Tony Hooper and Richard Hudson (but not John Ford or indeed Rick Wakeman!) from the "From the Witchwood" line up. While it might be expected that with Hooper present, the band would have been steered back in folk direction, this is primarily a rock album.

Cousins does the bulk of the song writing, including an emotive "Forever ocean blue" and a countrified "Stone cold is the woman's heart". Two of the tracks are written by Demick/ Hudson/ Willoughby, but it has to be said, these are another example of democracy over quality (see Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Mardi grass" for the most obvious example).

"The King" features Cathy Le Surf on vocals along with Cousins. While she sounds more like Maddy Prior, there are distinct echoes of the Strawbs early work with Sandy Denny. It's a simple but uplifting track, with great keyboard work by Chris Parren. Appropriately, the title track later on is dedicated to Denny, telling as it does Cousins' personal recollections of the voice of Fairport Convention (not to mention Led Zeppelin's "Battle of evermore").

"Grace darling", originally from "Ghosts", is given a fresh coat of paint. Gone is the choir and church organ, to be replaced by a much starker acoustic version with an almost blues feel and excellent lead guitar. Personally, I preferred the previous version, but Strawbs fans were divided over its virtues, and many will enjoy this version more.

On the other hand, the version here of one of their first songs "Tell me what you see in me" transforms it into a heavy driving Strawbs classic which would have sounded great on "Bursting at the seams".

A hidden gem by the Strawbs this one, fans of the band will be impressed.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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