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Strawbs - Burning For You CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

2.58 | 54 ratings

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3 stars By the time of "Burning for You", it was clear that Strawbs were not going back to anything resembling their now-distant progressive past of early 1975. It was partly for that reason, and partly for the presence of several excellent and convincing songs and more prominent keyboards, that this 1977 release was their best post A&M album of the 1970s.

Side 1 of the old vinyl was a powerhouse relative to any sequence of songs present on "Nomadness" or "Deep Cuts", and the songs actually sound like they were lovingly sequenced. The quasi title cut bears strong references to the classic period, with brooding and melodramatic Cousins vocals and melody, and, surprisingly, an eerily beautiful extended outro in which Rod Coombes drums with sensitive abandon. It is frequently included in the group's live set today. The followup, "Cut Like a Diamond", is probably Cousins' most convincing rocker, the strings providing counterpoint to his deranged voice and lyrics. Tubular bells enhance the sweet Lambert ballad "I Feel Your Loving Coming On", and "Barcarole" is a mellotron drenched beauty about Venice, with multilayered vocals and minimalist lyrics. While "Alexander the Great" is not my cup of vodka, it was notable for being a legitimate swipe back at music critics.

Other highlights include the ultimate Lambert rocker, "Heartbreaker", which became an FM hit in Canada, and is a stalwart in the electric band's repertoire, while most of the remainder is competent and sometimes catchy as well. An exception is the limp closer "Goodbye", in which the strings accentuate the already irritating sense of exhaustion and burnout.

Strawbs came to peace with the radio-friendly art rock style on "Burning for You", even if the results hardly set the world on fire.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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