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String Driven Thing

Prog Folk

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String Driven Thing Keep Yer 'and On It album cover
2.78 | 17 ratings | 3 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side A:
1. Starving in the Tropics (5:14)
2. Call Out for Mercy (2:58)
3. Chains (5:00)
4. Things We Said Today (6:51)

Side B:
1. But I Do (3:43)
2. Old Friends (3:44)
3. Way of a Woman (4:07)
4. Part of It (3:38)
5. Stand Back in Amazement (3:05)

Total Time 38:20

Line-up / Musicians

- Grahame Smith / violin, viola
- Kim Beacon / vocals
- James Exell / bass, high vocals
- Colin Fairly / drums & percussion, low vocals
- Alun Roberts / guitar, banjo, bass vocals

- Peter Wood / piano
- Cuddly Juddley / harmonica

Releases information

Charisma CAS 1112

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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STRING DRIVEN THING Keep Yer 'and On It ratings distribution

(17 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

STRING DRIVEN THING Keep Yer 'and On It reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars Well this second album of the new line-up is much the same as PMYH, and unfortunately not much betters either: still the same AOR, stuck between late-70's Kansas and Toto. The album boasts a rather intriguing (but ultimately boring) artwork highlight the album with a now shaven-headed Smith clearly the focal visual point of the group.

From the first side of the album, only the Beatles cover Things We Said Today can be extracted as interesting: although the singing is under-mixed, this cover has some excellent drumming and allows for some good interplay in the band. The rest is rather boring AOR with the occasional flash of good playing (the closing minute of the opening track), but some awful slow blues (Chains) as well. The second side of the album brings absolutely nothing more than we've heard on the first side. An Elton John-sounding Way Of Women and a hard-rocker outro Stand Back, with the most interesting Part Of It with its string section are the "highlight" if one will allow those to be called as such on such a poor showing.

If I may appear to paint such a bleak picture of later SDT (as opposed to their brilliant earlier line-up), it is because one can hear that the members present line-up are good musicians, and could write a song when they wished it, but by all means they never tried to over-stretch themselves or even become a tad adventurous. The just assured minimum service or simply tried to sell album to a non-demanding public. This was to their last album. In the 90's original fopunder Adams will reform the band for live tours, but I sincerely doubt he played anything from the last two studio albums (in which he did not participate) and it is easily understandable.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Stand back in amazement

"Keep yer 'and on it" was the second album by the radically transformed line up of String Driven Thing led by Grahame Smith; it also proved to be their last. After the disappointing "Please mind your head", the band came back with a fine collection of rock based songs featuring strong compositions and excellent performances all round.

Both sides of the album open with similar up tempo numbers with strong hooks and a rich sound. "Starving in the tropics" has a pragmatic but sensitive message, while "But I do" is a nicely twisted love song. Kim Beacon, who was the principal vocalist on Tony Bank's first album "A curious feeling" (but sadly is no longer with us), is on fine form throughout. His voice may be something of an acquired taste, being somewhere between John Wetton and Tom Jones(!), but for me he was one of the best in the business.

The songs are generally straight forward, the exception being the superb interpretation of the Beatles "Things we said today". Here the band allow themselves a little more latitude, developing the instrumentals aspects, and briefly exploring psychedelic territories.

The ballad "Ways of a woman" may be schmaltzy, with weeping violin, but it is performed tenderly and Beacon offers his most soulful performance of the album. The melancholy mood continues on the reflective "Part of it", a song which would have suited the previous line up well. The subtitle of "Chains (I wanna be just like Stan Bowles)" will mean little to younger members, but think early 70's British football.

"Stand back in amazement" and "Call out for mercy" are excellent pop rock songs, certainly not challenging, but enjoyable nonetheless. And that pretty much sums up the album. "Keep yer 'and on it" may have a silly title and a poor sleeve design (Grahame Smith's name is even misspelled throughout) and it will certainly never win any prog awards, but seen for what it is, it is an accomplished and enjoyable album.

Worth a listen.

Latest members reviews

3 stars I listen to this a couple of times and straightaway I notice something which I have noticed with the Jefferson Airplane which later on became Jefferson Starship then Starship. Both String Driven Thing and Jefferson Airplane start with very original cutting-edge rock compositions. As time unfolds pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#2920010) | Posted by shantiq | Thursday, April 27, 2023 | Review Permanlink

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