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Strawbs Witchwood: the Very Best of.... album cover
3.95 | 3 ratings | 1 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth? (Cousins)
2. Oh How She Changed (Cousins/Hooper)
3. Witchwood (Cousins)
4. Benedictus (Cousins)
5. Heavy Disguise (Ford)
6. New World (Cousins)
7. Queen Of Dreams (Cousins)
8. Lay Down (Cousins)
9. The Winter And The Summer (Lambert)
10. The River (Cousins)
11. Down By The Sea (Cousins)
12. Part Of The Union (Ford/Hudson)
13. Shine On Silver Sun (Cousins)
14. Round And Round (Cousins)
15. Hero And Heroine (Cousins)
16. Grace Darling (Cousins)
17. Ghosts (Cousins)
18. The Golden Salamander (Cousins)
19. A Mind Of My Own (Coombes)

Line-up / Musicians

Thanks to tszirmay for the addition
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STRAWBS Witchwood: the Very Best of.... ratings distribution

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

STRAWBS Witchwood: the Very Best of.... reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I am not an advocate of compilation albums, mostly because if I am a fan, I have all the albums and if I am not, a best of just doesn't cut it. Why bother to invest in some hodgepodge collection of disparate pieces from different eras with varied musicians? Especially in a style that is so ingrained with concept albums, the argument just has no wheels. The triggers for this Strawbs compilation had two crucial characteristics in swaying my decision to add this to my collection, first being the shockingly great price but mostly due to a sublime cover that has a sprightly, highly evocative Englishness that reminds one of England's "Garden Shed" jacket, certainly one of the finest ever.

There is, however, a very good reason for anyone to purchase this collection, as someone very wise and knowledgeable has put these pieces in sequence, for sake of harmony as well as a fine representation of this legendary bands contribution to the pantheon of rock music. I was actually astounded at the fluidity of the songs right from the delightful opener taken from their debut 1969 album, "Where is this Dream of Our Youth" and gently meandering past all the glory year albums up to the otherwise limp 1975 Nomadness album, which had two fabulous tracks that are represented here, both the sleek "Golden Salamander" and the serene "A Mind of my Own". Fair to say that this is not a real all-encompassing compilation such as a greatest Hits package but a glimpse into a shorter period of time that gives the listener a real appreciation for the sheer talent on display. Classic songs abound, cascading gentle one after the other : Benedictus, New World, Heavy Disguise, Queen of Dreams, then meandering to The River, Down by the Sea, enlightened by Shine on Silver Sun, Round & Round, Hero & Heroine and spooked by a lovely Ghosts medley, before finishing off with the afore-mentioned duo finale.

Some will lament the omissions such as "Grave New World", the perennial "Autumn" suite or my favorite "Midnight Sun" but the only real criticism is the inclusion of their biggest hit single , the piss-poor "Part of the Union" , a pub singalong anthem for AFL-CIO fans out there that actually made the top of British charts back in the days of social injustice.

Whether a fan or not, one gets to revel in the glorious song writing and the sparkling musicianship, as well as appreciating the intense vocals of David Cousins, a unique timbre to say the very least, easily in the company of such odd vocal luminaries as Bob Dylan, Ian Anderson, Tom Waits or Robert Plant. That being said, "Hero and Heroine" remains my all-time favorite music album, having healed my wounds so many times that I lost count. The equally brilliant "Ghosts" lurks not far behind.

Because of the gorgeous packaging and the highly affordable price, this is a no-brainer addition to any collection.

4 fruity delights

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