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Strawbs - Strawbs CD (album) cover

STRAWBS

Strawbs

 

Prog Folk

3.09 | 74 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Strawbs have such a weird and wonderful history that this "first" self titled album is only their initial record label release, not actually their debut recording. For that, one has to dig out "All Our Own Work", "Sandy and the Strawbs", or even "Preserves Uncanned". But since this was the first album to be released, it deserves consideration as such.

Already in 1969 the group is blending Dylan and Ray Davies styled storytelling with nascent progressive rock to produce a rather unique British take on folk rock, parallel to but no less impressive than Fairport Convention, even if they are rarely credited on the same level. Songs like "The Man Who Called Himself Jesus" and "The Battle" demonstrate an already mature narrative style and a fascination with acid rock, not to mention some adventurous approaches in accompaniment and vocal harmonies. The album is almost entirely acoustic but lead guitars do appear here and there as does the odd electronic keyboard.

Elsewhere, several classics make their first appearance here, such as the Arabian influenced "Tell me What You see in me", the surprisingly rocked up "Where is this Dream of Your Youth". Even the more dated songs are lyrically quirky and shine through with a certain sunny 1960s slice of life quality. This earnestness permeates even later classics such that the value of a full fledged prog rock group having its roots in English folk music can be fully appreciated.

No band has had a trajectory anything like that of Strawbs, nor a commitment to quality that only rarely has flagged, and this was true from the moment they became A&M's first signing and released this historic work. Recommended for completists and those with a hankering for moderately brocaded folk music of the decidedly English variety.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |

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