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Strawbs - A Choice Selection of Strawbs CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.52 | 20 ratings

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4 stars This compilation was released in 1992 to provide a retrospective overview of The Strawbs at the height of their creativity and commercial success. Ignoring the earliest incarnation of the band as a folk trio, these tracks are all selected from the period 1970 (the album Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios) through to 1976 (Deep Cuts), with Bursting At The Seams being represented by 5 tracks. This is perhaps fair enough, as Bursting At The Seams was arguably their best, and provides many of their most Prog moments.

There is a nice flow through the album as it has been laid out thoughtfully and intelligently rather than simply sequencing the tracks chronologically. Thus, for example, The Hangman And The Papist and New World - a pair of songs about the Northern Ireland situation - are placed logically together, while the album ends with the poppy Part Of The Union followed by a dramatic climax of the electric guitar and Mellotron riff with the London Symphony Orchestra on Down By The Sea. The packaging is good too, with extensive liner notes by John Tobler assisting the memory of Dave Cousins.

As for the songs, all the essentials are here: some might quibble about one or two choices but that won't detract from the sheer quality on offer: from Prog classics like Down By The Sea, Lady Fuchsia, Autumn and Hero And Heroine; via quieter, more acoustic type songs like Lemon Pie and Song Of A Sad Little Girl; to the rousing singles Lay Down and the infamous Part Of The Union. Through it all comes the classic Strawbs ingredients - Dave Cousins' distinctive voice, strong intelligent songwriting, high class musicianship, rousing choral harmonies, lots of acoustic guitars as well as some crunching electric ones, and of course, some magnificent Mellotron.

As an introduction to prime Strawbs, one of the best 70s melodic Prog bands, this is as good as it gets and is highly recommended.

Joolz | 4/5 |


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