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Strawbs - Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.75 | 72 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Strawbs is one of my all time favourite bands and in their early days they were a band that really "progressed". From the almost psychedelic, Donovan-like Folk pop of the debut album in 1969 to the almost symphonic Prog Folk masterpiece Hero And Heroine in 1974 was quite a journey. And the sound and approach changed basically with every album during this period.

This live album came out between their second studio album, Dragonfly, and their third one, From The Witchwood. As I said, this was a particularly turbulent time for the band. They were still very much in search of their identity and constantly developing their sound and writing new material at a high speed. For this live performance they chose an almost entirely new set of songs, and until this day most of these songs are not available on any studio album. This fact alone makes this album worth while. And for anyone interested in early Strawbs and the roots of Prog Folk it is essential listening. Much more so, I would say, than any of the two first albums. Indeed, Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios could be said to be the first progressive Strawbs album.

Dragonfly had featured Rick Wakeman for the first time on a Strawbs album. But while Wakeman's contribution to that album was very limited and subte, here Rick is allowed much more space. This makes Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios an essential album for followers of Wakeman as well. You can clearly hear very strong hints of what was to come later in Wakeman's career in his piano solo Temperament Of Mind. Piano, harpsichord and organ are the instruments played by Rick in this performance. The Moog Synthesiser had not yet entered his repertoire at this point in history.

Still, Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios is just that - a collection of old songs with great historical significance and in many ways it is indeed something of a curiosity. It is clearly a transitional album, catching the band in the middle of a transitional phase. For hard core fans of Strawbs and/or Rick Wakeman this is highly recommended. But I would say that it is essential only as a historical document. For pure listening pleasure I would go for From The Witchwood and all the subsequent albums up till Ghosts before I would start to explore the dim and distant past of Strawbs early days. But when you do get to that point, Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios is the right place to start.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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