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Strawbs - Grave New World CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.15 | 396 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Bless the Strawbs

Dave Cousins efforts to move the band from folk rock into more progressive areas took another step forward here. The luxurious packaging of the original LP suggested even before hearing it, that this was going to be a confident album.

Blue Weaver, Rick Wakeman's replacement on keyboards, stamps his own mark throughout the album. He provides structured layers of sound for the band to build on, rather than the more independent sound of his predecessor. The opening track, "Benedictus" has the hymnal feel of "A Glimpse of heaven" from the previous album, but the mood soon changes with "Queen of Dreams" which comes close to acid rock. The title track "New World" was probably the Strawbs most powerful track they ever made. As Dave Cousins sang "May you rot in your grave, new world" his teeth must have ached from being so tightly clenched!

"The flower and the young man" lightens the mood again, with the folk influence more to the fore. "Tomorrow" came as something of a surprise, as it had a much more progressive structure complete with a long instrumental closing section. Thereafter there are a few brief but pleasant throwaway tracks toward the end of the album.

This was the last Strawbs album (for the time being) to feature Tony Hooper, who was apparently upset by the direction the band was moving in, his folk roots being less and less in evidence with each new album. For most of the fans though, it represented another major step forward for the Strawbs.

Footnote - In an interview around the time of the Wakeman/Cousins album "Hummingbird", Cousins revealed that "Benedictus" was written about Rick Wakeman and his departure from the Strawbs bound for Yes. The opening lines "The wanderer has far to go, Humble must he constant be. Where the paths of wisdom lead, Distant is the shadow of the setting sun." reflected Rick's new venture. Cousins had never even told Rick of this!

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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