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Strawbs The Complete Strawbs - Live at Chiswick House album cover
3.00 | 1 ratings | 1 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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DVD/Video, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Further Down The Road
2. Grace Darling
3. Ringing Down The Years
4. Beside The Rio Grande
5. Out In The Cold
6. Round And Round
7. Hero And Heroine
8. Witchwood
9. A Glimpse Of Heaven
10. Josephine For Better Or For Worse
11. Oh How She Changed
12. New World
13. Stormy Down
14. Part Of The Union
15. The River
16. Down By The Sea
17. Bonus Track: Blue Angel
18. Dave Cousins Remembers...One Summer's Day
19. Strawbs In Tokyo 1975 (Preview)

Line-up / Musicians

Thirty Years On - the 1990s band - Tracks 1-3 and 17
- Dave Cousins / vocals, acoustic guitar
- Brian Willoughby / electric guitar
- Blue Weaver / keyboards
- Rod Demick / bass
- Richard Hudson / drums

- Cathryn Craig / vocals (1)
- Adam Wakeman / keyboards (2,3)
- Ric Sanders / violin (3)

Stateside Strawbs - the 1974/1975 band - Tracks 4-7

- Dave Cousins / vocals, acoustic guitar
- Dave Lambert / electric guitar
- Adam Wakeman / keyboards
- Chas Cronk / bass
- Rod Coombes / drums

- Ric Sanders / violin (7)
- Blue Weaver / mellotron (7)

Strawberry Hill Boys Again - Tracks 8-11
plus Willoughby -
- Dave Cousins / vocals, acoustic guitar
- Tony Hooper / vocals, acoustic guitar
- Blue Weaver / keyboards
- Brian Willoughby / electric guitar
- John Ford / bass
- Richard Hudson / drums

- Bursting at the Seams band - Tracks 12-16
- Dave Cousins / vocals, acoustic guitar
- Dave Lambert / vocals, electric guitar
- Blue Weaver / keyboards Ford
- John Ford / bass
- Richard Hudson / drums

- Brian Willoughby / electric guitar (15)
- Adam Wakeman / keyboards (15)
Blue Angel- the 1990s band

Releases information

Witchwood Collection ‎- WMDVD 2006

Thanks to kenethlevine for the addition
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STRAWBS The Complete Strawbs - Live at Chiswick House ratings distribution

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Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
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STRAWBS The Complete Strawbs - Live at Chiswick House reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars This historical document of STRAWBS' 30th anniversary celebration at Chiswick house in front of the fire-regulation approved 1000 fans is very much a warts and all proposition, and also wholly worthwhile. While the sound is decent and the picture generally clear, it doesn't measure up well against modern high def fare. Even allowing for these weaknesses, the camera person or people seem to focus on the wrong performer as often as not, especially during certain solos, before apparently realizing that the soloist is actually elsewhere. In a few places the footage seems to have failed and we find ourselves looking at stills for 5-10 seconds, one of which was even in black and white! But what is most jarring is how young the band members look in comparison to recent events, even though at the time they were decidedly middle aged. Ah, perspective!

Divided into 4 different formations - the 1990s and currently (as of then) active lineup, the Hero and Heroine/stateside group, the pre Grave New World ensemble and the Bursting at the Seams lineup - this recording covers pretty much all the bases. The 1990s group performs the most recent number as of the time of the recording, the ballad "Further Down the Road", which is a reasonable choice for show starter, and includes Cathryn Craig on backing vocals. While "Grace Darling" sees Cousins struggling a bit with the high notes, the highlight of this brief set is definitely his heartfelt tribute to Sandy Denny, "Ringing Down the Years". Ric Sanders of FAIRPORT CONVENTION guests on violin and his imaginative fills almost steal the show, but for the wistful lyrics and melody, and the juxtaposition of her former bands offers another form of solace.

The Strawbs of 1974-1977 focused on the US market, and, while almost the identical group is still in existence, in 1998 they had not performed together in 20 years. They present the unique story song of "Beside the Rio Grande", whose lineage to earlier numbers like "The Battle" was less obvious back in 1976 than in this setting, as well as several selections from the popular "Hero and Heroine", the title cut veering closer to the band's folk roots due to Sanders' mad fiddling.

Next up is a mashup of early members in an effort to recreated Strawbs' folkiest period, and this might be the most convincing set of all. With the help of Brian Willoughby on expressive and sympathetic lead guitar, numbers like "Witchwood", "A Glimpse of Heaven", and "Josephine" are enlivened. Tony Hooper's spotlight moment is his lead vocal on the earliest track here, "Oh How she Changed", a single that was a bit too sophisticated for the singles market, though if it had been performed by BEATLES or SIMON AND GARFUNKEL it would probably have done just fine.

Finally, the "Bursting at the Seams" lineup took the stage in darkness, and they ran through some of the most popular numbers from that huge UK release, along with the always hair-raising "New World" from the breakthrough album "Grave New World". "The River/Down by the Sea" is the fitting closer but performances of "Stormy Down" and the mega hit "Part of the Union" are also noteworthy, with John Ford clearly enjoying himself back in the spotlight.

The bonus material includes a fine version of the epic "Blue Angel" from the 1990s lineup. While the power of the original stripped down version from "Two Weeks Last Summer" and the even more bare bones acoustic version played live in the 1980s will never be matched, this can be seen as the long overdue moment when "Blue Angel" took it's rightful place among the best of Strawbs' suites.

Apart from the quality moments referred to way back above, I find it a bit disappointing that Dave Cousins plays neither banjo nor dulcimer at any point, especially given that these were among the "it" factors of the group in the early days. Also, when a collection purported to be "Complete" is missing 3 of the group's 5 greatest and best known songs - "Benedictus", "Lay Down" and "Autumn" - it's a flaw, even allowing for the time constraints of performances and the DVD. Nonetheless, "The Complete Strawbs" is too significant to be a fan only purchase. While I expect any DVD that comes out of the 50th anniversary weekend held in April 2019 to eclipse this one in overall breadth and impact, this document of the 30th can never be totally supplanted.

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