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Strawbs Concert Classics album cover
2.52 | 12 ratings | 5 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Live, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Last Resort
2. Ghosts
3. No Return
4. Heartbreaker
5. Simple Visions
6. Cut Like a Diamond (not listed)
7. Out in the Cold / Round and Round
8. Hero and Heroine

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Cousins / vocals, acoustic guitars
- Dave Lambert / vocals, electric & acoustic guitars
- Chas Cronk / bass, acoustic guitar, vocals
- Tony Fernandez / drums, tambourine, timpani, bells
- Andy Richards / keyboards

Releases information

CD Renaissance RRCC 00706

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STRAWBS Concert Classics ratings distribution

(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(17%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (50%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

STRAWBS Concert Classics reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Number six in a series of one

Rather a confusing title here, as the album bears the legend "Volume 6" on the cover. This is not however volume 6 as far as the Strawbs are concerned, it is volume one. (Volumes 1-5 of "Concert Classics are by other artists). While this is not their first live album since the very early "Antiques and Curios", when compared to other bands, such releases are few and far between.

This recording dates from around the time of the "Deadlines" album, well after their creative peak. As the Strawbs developed so did their live act, and even today they put on a great show. Unfortunately, "Concert Classics" does not capture the essence of their live performances particularly well, and the packaging is less than informative (one track, "Cut like a diamond" is omitted from the track listing all together). Nevertheless, it does provide a rare "Glimpse of heaven", for fans of the band.

The tracks are taken from their (at the time) more recent albums, the oldest being from "Hero and heroine". In truth, quite a few of the selected tracks could never be listed among their best. "The last resort", "No return", "Simple visions" etc. are all average Strawbs tracks which, while reasonably well suited to a live performance, where the band wish to "get the audience going", do not sound particularly impressive in the audio only situation of a CD.

At times, the harmonies are poor and out of tune, especially on the opening track, "The last resort". Stand in keyboard player Andy Richards adds some fairly up front synthesiser effects, which were not originally there, to tracks such as "Ghosts". These are bit hit and miss in terms of whether they benefit the tracks. The best track is probably "Out in the cold" (from "Hero and heroine"), which is has far more emotion to it than any of the other tracks.

"Concert classics" must go down as something of a missed opportunity. It fails to capture the band at their live best, and does not consistently represent their best works. Hopefully one day, a definitive live album spanning tracks from throughout this great band's career will be forthcoming.

Review by NJprogfan
3 stars Have to agree with the other reviewer, sound quality is somewhat garish with some instruments more prominent then others. But I will say that David sings his butt off and gives it his best. Especially when you consider that it was their last tour with a major record label, (which Dave makes a joke of before they start 'Ghost'). I do enjoy the somewhat longish ending for 'Ghost' and some of the later period songs, especially 'Simple Vision', (I have a soft spot for that one). I wish it wasn't so short, though. I wanted to hear songs from their older albums, but I guess with the line-up they had for the tour it wasn't a good idea to play the more involved songs instrumentally. Ratings-wise, my head says 2 stars. But because I love David's enthusiasm, and I haven't heard any other live things by them on disc I'll throw him them a bone and round it off to 3.
Review by kenethlevine
2 stars This live artifact dating to the 11th hour of STRAWBS' middling commercial reign was available in several forms as a bootleg called "Live in London", in which "Lay Down" was the opening number, and even another called "Live in America", in which it wasn't. To the best of my knowledge, the concert was taken from an appearance on BBC Radio One "Sight and Sound" in February 1978, the same performance that has been cleaned up and presented on DVD as a bonus to a 2019 re-release of "Deadlines" on Esoteric. This makes sense since that doomed release was the one being promoted at the time. Still, if you don't need the visuals, "Lay Down" and apparently "Sealed with a Traitor's Kiss", and don't want to fork over the $25+ USD that it's fetching, this budget release can be a low-fi stand-in, and appears to be available on streaming sites.

First of all, the sound quality is rough and ready, and the song selection favors the backsliding years of the late 1970s, so this probably shouldn't be the first live momentoe of the group you sample. But that same weakness is also a strength, as there simply aren't any other performances from that era available at this time. More so, by this time Andy Richards had already taken over from the duo of Robert Kirby and John Mealing on keyboards and his style is distinctive if not a tad overbearing. That means versions of rockers "Cut Like a Diamond", "Heartbreaker", and "Last Resort" rule the day here, while classic mid tempo track "Simple Visions" is spirited. The album does close with a few "Hero and Heroine" standards, the title track being absolutely crackling. Unfortunately, "Ghosts" is a little too off kilter or out of tune even for the live setting, and "No Return" is by far the weakest number here, with little to redeem it.

All told, "Concert Classics" is mostly one for the fans, and, at this point, specifically those who might want to sample it before deciding to splurge for the DVD as part of "Deadlines", thus rendering their prior versions of that album obsolete. 2.5 stars rounded down.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Concert Classics is a kick *** live album capturing the late 70s Strawbs who were on fire and with Dave Cousins' voice in absolutely tip top shape. Naturally, Cousins and guitarist Dave Lambert once again struggle to harmonize on the intro to "Ghosts" (it's always amazed me how these two excell ... (read more)

Report this review (#2316182) | Posted by SteveG | Friday, February 14, 2020 | Review Permanlink

2 stars While this is not really a "bad" release, I'm sure their must be better examples of the Strawbs live act (although I don't own any of their live material except this). Songs from their late-70's albums dominate this set of only 8 tracks. None of them are bad choices as examples of this time in ... (read more)

Report this review (#280534) | Posted by mohaveman | Tuesday, May 4, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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