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Strawbs - Ghosts CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.02 | 184 ratings

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Andrea Cortese
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars ".Early birds, morning breeze, spinning leaves, sleepy trees, gently tap the window pane. It's good to see the sun again."

.and it's good to listen to another beautiful Strawbs' album in the year 1975! I don't know if Ghosts is my favourite one, but it's from the same stable as Hero and Heroine and that's enough to say it's an impressive record! All the then band members seem to be at the top of their games: David Cousins (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, recorder), Dave Lambert (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars), John Hawken (piano, electric piano, harpsichord, mellotron, moog synthesizer, Hammond organ, pipe organ), Chas Cronk (bass guitar, acoustic guitar and backing vocals) and Rod Coombes (drums, congas, percussion, backing vocals).what an excellent line-up! Great and more complex arrangements (above all on The Life Auction!), very well played and recorded music, good and catchy melodies, strong and marvellous keyboards and mellotron's waves.a pleasure for ears!

The album has a darker and more "gothic" feel than the brighter previous 1974 album.obviously you can recognize it soon from the black cover and the strange picture of a 18th century's woman besides whom there's a little quasi-transparent boy.was he her dead child? The center of all this darker feel is represented by the IMPRESSIVE The Life Auction, a track composed by two different parts named respectively Impressions of Southall from the Train and The Auction. A low and very deep "monstruous" voice introduces the listener to the true power of the Strawbs'mellotron!! Orchestral structure and remarkable work from all these masters musicians!

The title track (including Sweet Dreams, Night Light and Guardian Angel) is a beautiful 8,30 mns opener, in a similar vein to Hero's Autumn. It's even better than it! The alternation of singing between Dave Cousins and Dave Lambert is a great combination.

Lemon Pie is another Cousins' classic and popular piece, good to lighten up. Great cowbell and chorus mid section! A delicate gem written about Dave's wife. It was one of my favourite track since the first listen.

Starshine / Angel Wine is from the pen of Chas Cronk. He wrote it for his newborn child. "Starshine" has such a pastoral lyric mood, much like Cousins' Witchwood-era. Indeed Cousins might well have had and influence on Cronks style and imagery. Soft intro part.then a strong electric guitar playing appears from behind the whispers. excellent!

Where Do You Go (When You Need a Hole to Crawl In) is an ironic and brilliant track which was originally written by Cousins during the Hero and Heroine album' sessions!

Don't Try To Change Me is a good rocking contribution from the other Dave (Lambert). Nice fantasy and delicate dreaming arrengements.

Remembering is a bridge forward You And I (When We Were Young), another darker track with soft, beautiful and sad electric piano. Remarkable sweet imagery, that makes us want to live or, if we were lucky enough, to re-live.

Grace Darling is the real keynote to the whole album! Sweet and catchy chorus opening, combining its warm feel with organ.this song really shines!! The song was suggested by the real story of a lighthouse keeper's daughter, Grace Darling, who rescued nine people victims of shipwreck! She didn't fear to row out in a small lifeboat across the raging seas! She died two years later, still living in that lighthouse, of tuberculosis.

Changes Arrange Us was written by Rod Coombes and appeared as the b-side of the Grace darling single. Added to the 1998 cd remastered version, it demonstrates the composing's high quality of the Strawbs' drummer. He has a very good melodic vein. not shadowed by the writing styles of Cousins! An important and precious bonus track!

In conclusion I cannot deny it: Ghosts deserves a five stars rating for such a high quality and imaginery! Usual qualities in the Strawbs classic 1971-1975 period!

Andrea Cortese | 5/5 |


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