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Strawbs Deep Cuts album cover
2.76 | 64 ratings | 16 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I Only Want My Love To Grow In You (2:59)
2. Turn Me Round (3:43)
3. Hard Hard Winter (2:55)
4. My Friend Peter (2:15)
5. The Soldier's Tale (4:15)
6. Simple Visions (4:36)
7. Charmer (3:13)
8. Wasting My Time (Thinking Of You) (2:28)
9. Beside The Rio Grande (4:19)
10. So Close And Yet So Far Away (2:59)

Total time 33:42

Bonus track on CD editions:
11. You Won't See The Light (2:52)


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Cousins/ vocals, acoustic guitars
- Dave Lambert / vocals, electric & acoustic guitars
- Chas Cronk / bass, acoustic guitars, vocals
- Rod Coombes / drums, percussions, vocals

- Robert Kirby / Mellotron, electric piano, French horn, vocals
- John Mealing / organ, electric piano, piano, harpsichord, synthesizer
- Rupert Holmes / piano, harpsichord, clavinet, clarinet, co-producer

Releases information

Artwork: Alun Hood with Paul May (design)

LP Oyster/Polydor - 2391 234 (1976, UK)

CD Muskrat Records - RATCD-4219 (2003, Japan) With 1 bonus track
CD Witchwood Media ‎- WMCD 2031 (2005, UK) With 1 bonus track
CD Air Mail Archive - AIRAC-1704 (2013, Japan) Remastered by Yoshiro Kuzumaki with 1 bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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STRAWBS Deep Cuts ratings distribution

(64 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(9%)
Good, but non-essential (55%)
Collectors/fans only (19%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

STRAWBS Deep Cuts 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
3 stars The first cut is the deepest

After the excellent "Ghosts", the following "Nomadness" was rather disappointing. It was to be hoped that this was a mere glitch in the run of excellent albums the band had produced. Unfortunately, "Deep Cuts" indicated that there were indeed major incisions being made in the band's ability to come up with more of the superb prog folk they had recorded over the previous few years.

Once again, the band presented a collection of straight forward songs, with simple but largely enjoyable melodies. All the tracks are short and basic in structure, with little if anything worthy of the progressive tag. If we accept that for what it is, this is actually quite a likeable album.

"I only want my love to grow in you" was the most likely hit single the band had produced since "Shine on silver sun", with a wall of sound (not quite the Phil Spector heavy drum beat type, but loud with soaring guitars nonetheless), and a great vocal performance by Cousins.

Many of the other tracks appear to be rather lacking in real effort. With half the tracks clocking in at under 3 minutes, you do get a sense that the band were simply going through the motions, with just enough material for a standard 10 track album.

"Hard hard winter" for example, is a lovely delicate tune, but it could have been developed so much better. Simplicity is all very well as a composition tool, but it should be used in moderation like any other.

With so many Strawbs albums available, it's hard here to recommend this album, especially for anyone looking for a starting point for the band. There are many other albums by the band which are superior both in terms of the quality of the songs, and the extent to which they are brought to maturity.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Shock, horror? Sorry but as controversial as this may seem Deep Cuts is one of Strawbs essential masterpieces. Certainly it moved away from progressive folk leanings and is quite definitely a more pop/rock orientated album but so what? Do we rate it any less because this is not progressive? That is an insane notion considering there are so many bands including Genesis who evolved over time and thir music remained strong. Deep Cuts is one of these albums. By now the line up was just Cousis/Lambert/Cronk and drummer Coombes. This was a solid line up that lastd a few albums. As far as the album content goes it has their most pleasing opener of all in ' I only want my Love to Grow on You'. This is a very warm love song with great guitar work from Lambert. The next song ' Turn Me Round' is lyrically very demanding not to mention a great song. Lyrics like..." My God my mediator, may you flourish in your solitude, while the storm clouds gather outside, let me paint you in my studio" Enough said, classic stuff!The epic tracks on Deep Cuts are ' The Soldiers Tale',' Beside The Rio Grande' and IMO the best Strawbs song of all time alongside ' Benedictus' from Grave New World and that is the glorious ' Simple Visions'. I cannot speak highly enough about this track. Give it a listen on a good sound system.1976 marked the end of the masterpieces from Strawbs and Deep Cuts ended that run on a bold high.
Review by Sean Trane
1 stars Another one of these horrible late 70's Strawbs album that ruined the group's early legend from a folk group to a folk rock group than a prog folk group that culminated with Witchwood's stellar series of poignant songs. In retrospect of course, it could appear that Wakeman's short passage in the band might have given the band the best of themselves, but ultimately they couldn't really cope with his departure, although it would be unfair to point at his replacement Blue Weaver. The gradually uneven slope that the band had started with GNW (still a good classic), then the average but re-building H&H and Ghosts couldn't help hide their first disaster in BATS (that almost destroyed the group) and the less than thrilling Nomadness. Indeed by now Strawbs might have still had some folk overtones, but they'd become a rock FM/AOR group with little to dissociate themselves from the mass. And even with their change of label (they'd left A&M now), all hopes of their change of late musical directions were crushed.

Keeping the group as a quartet and using the same Kirby/Mealing duo on KB as guests, Deep Cuts came with an atrocious artwork that might suggest they'd become a tear jerking song group, which in view of that horrendous opener might have been so. Most of the tracks are boring fillers (like Nomadness was filled too) and they seem to through the motions, not even caring to sound passionate, even in the potentially emotive Soldier"s Tale and the promising Hard Hard Winter, which they could've developed, had they cared a tad more.

Nothing to hide in such an album: poor unspectacular songwriting, uninspired playing and direct-to-the-point radio-aiming tunes, Strawbs were selling -out their leftover stocks, but strawberry season was well over, the fruits starting to rot. Best avoided, if you know what's good for your wallet and shelf-space.

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Well, in the last few weeks the interest of many progheads increased on this classic UK band. Thanks to a prog folk thread on the forum. Me, on my side, I've expressed many times all my appreciation for their classic discography and I'm part of those who don't care too much of the various line up changings. I, otherwise, think their electric progression in one of their peculiar trade marks, along with the unique vocals of the leader, David Cousin. So, I have never thought their classic period ends with Grave New World, which is and still remains, by the way, the most favourite of mine. With Bursting at the Seams on, they start to let mellotron take the scene, adding some more mainstream songs, alternating with strong and convincing prog gifts as, for example, "The Life Auction", "Autumn" and "Down by the Sea".

What really stands as a turning point for the band is the departure of keyboardist John Hawken (ex Renaissance) who left Strawbs as a quartet after the release of the wonderful (and beloved) "Ghosts", in 1975. Then, I repeat then, the music rapidly evolves into a more pop format. And even if some think "Deep Cuts" is still an excellent album, it cannot be considered out of that cathegory. It's clear from the very first minute that things are change, definitely. "I Only Want My Love to Grow in You" shows very well that the band is searching to capture the audience with something simpler and more accessible that ever was (a lovely song, though). Kirby, Mealing and Holmes, as three guests keyboardists, don't help to avoid the fate. Keyboards are always too light and fails to create (rectius, to re-creat) the Strawbs usual deep atmosphere.

Some very good tracks remain ("The Soldier's Tale" and "Simple Visions") and a classic is added to the Strawbs cathalogue: the excellent closer "Beside the Rio Grande" that, for a while at least, made me think of some previous glory as "The Hangman and the Papist". Not for the music, though, but for the lyrics and the tale itself...

Above all, are guitars and a US' light flavour just to remember that story does not repeat...not to mention the bonus track on this cd reissue...a Lambert one, "You Won't See the Light", a must for all the pop funk lovers...!

Good, sometime very good, but no comparison can be made with all their stuff until "Ghosts".

Review by Heptade
3 stars The beginning of the end for the Strawbs, though I believe this album did well commercially- certainly you can find a copy very easily in Canadian second-hand vinyl shops. In fact, I guarantee that every such store has at least one copy!

This album sees AOR creeping into the group's sound in a big way, particularly in the single "I Only Want My Love to Grow in You", a melodic but sickly-sweet tune. There's still a lot of prog in this album but surprisingly very little folk influence. It seems as though Cousins and co. were making a big play for an American market share with more direct music, since the band had broken through there with the "Ghosts" album. There are many loud, passionate tunes on this record, such as "The Soldier's Tale", which is driven by loud mellotron and guitar soloing, and the gory crucifiction allegory "Beside the Rio Grande". This album also contains one of Cousins' most overlooked classics, "Simple Visions", a lyrical, poetic song with some great imagery and an arrangement that climaxes beautifully. The best tunes benefit from some of Dave Lambert's finest lead guitar playing as a Strawbs member.

Though there are several soft rock stinkers on here as well, the good stuff is interesting enough to recommend. Not a classic Strawbs release, but fans of Dave Cousins' distinctive vocals and odd muse will enjoy much of it.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Simple visions

Definitely better than the previous Nomadness, but not quite as good as the following Burning For You. At this point in their evolution, most of the Folk had been ejected, and most of the progressive ambitions had come and gone. The Strawbs of the latter half of the 70's (Nomadness to Deadlines) was a straightforward Rock group with only minor folky and proggy elements left. As such these albums are bound to disappoint both the old Folk fans as well as the Prog fans. Personally, I kind of like these albums, even if I would readily admit that they fall very far behind the band's best. Two tracks are very good though, The Soldier's Tale and Beside The Rio Grande. These save the album from the same low rating as Nomadness.

The rest of the songs here are shorter, simpler, and catchier than what we would except from Strawbs. But not bad taken for what it is.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars A nice, if not outstanding collection of songs by the once very promising folk proggers The Strawbs. The band had started their commercial turn by the Nomadness. That album was a major disappointment, since it came on the heels of Strawbs best, the magnificent Ghosts. Deep Cuts divided fans: the ones who liked their more acoustic, simple, folky side liked. The ones who were expecting a more progressive approach were not amused by the short, easy listening stuff. I guess I was in the middle of this. Ive always liked Dave Cousins singing style from the very beginning, when they were not prog at all So Deep Cuts was a valid affair, even if I too considered the new (?) musical direction a step backward.

After all, the album is very well done and have some fine tunes on it. But it is far from progressive. The lack of a permanent keyboards player is no coincidence: the band would now rely more on guitars (mostly acoustic) and simple, basic songwriting. The arrangements are vey well done, but has nothing to do with the grandiose affairs of Grave New World or Hero & Heroine. If youre looking for anything more complex or intricated I suggest you look for Strawbs aforementioned, early to mid 70s, output. Deep Cuts was done at a transitional time in rock music and it has its charm, specially if you put it in that periods context. But really is a minor work by this great band. Personally Id give 3 stars, but since this is a progressive site, 2,5 stars would be more fitting.

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars This album hurtS as much as their poor Nomadness. It follows the same pattern of easy listening FM music. Again, to please some US audiences. I don't know what it brought to the band it terms of sales, but in terms of overall recognition, it was surely not a major breakthrough.

The band is definitively on a dangerous and slippy slope. It is either mellowish to death (Hard Hard Winter) or poorly rocking My Friend Peter.

The opening might well be one of their hit single; but apart of a catchy melody, I can't really be moved with such a radio-oriented music. In their previous and poor album (Nomadness), the band still achieved to release ONE great song (The Promised Land).

On these deep cuts, I am still looking hard to find a song of this calibre. Maybe that The Soldier Tale could do the job...

In terms of press next ones: the choice is immense, and the battle is raging between Charmer and Thinking Of You. Both might well receive the Palme d'Or.

Even if the closing number So Close & Yet So Far Away is by far the best song featured, this work is not any better than their previous release and the same rating prevails. One little star.

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars "Deep Cuts" suggests that only the band was unaware of how bad a mistake they made with "Nomadness". One collection of largely simplistic and barely developed tunes could be considered an aberration, but 2 such albums constitute an entire career phase in the pop world at large, and Strawbs seem to have decided that their fate lay in this new style. What is different here is the production, courtesy of Rupert Holmes and Jeffrey Lesser, who apply a glossy sheen, aided by the return of the mellotron as an enhancement rather than a full force. In fact, all 10 songs include mellotron, but don't pull your credit card out just yet.

The new record label, Oyster, must have decided that Strawbs' chart success lay in the uniqueness of Dave Cousins' voice, hence on the original LP Dave Lambert's vocal contributions were limited to two middle eights, and he was wholly excluded as songwriting contributor. Instead, Chas Cronk collaborated with Cousins on 7 of the 10 tracks. The songs are even more compact than on "Nomadness", with no significant instrumental breaks at all.

On the plus side, the album springs into motion with "I Only Want my Love to Grow in You" a great pop song with a gorgeous arrangement, although the lyrics are banal. In the next track, "Turn me Round", a fine rock arrangement and poetic imagery are somewhat botched by overly raucous caterwauling by Cousins. "Hard Hard Winter" is a pleasant ballad that is starved for greater expression. The best song by far is "Simple Visions", a jangly folk rocker in which even the brief instrumental interludes exude significance. The chorus structure recalls the glory of "Benedictus" from years before. "Beside the Rio Grande" is one of Cousins' better narratives, and considerably more effective than the dour and dire "Soldier's Tale". "Charmer" sinks almost as low as "Tokyo Rosie" did on the previous album, while "My Friend Peter" is an unconvincing rocker with a fragment of a good guitar solo. "Wasting my Time Thinking of You" is a gentle music hall number with an old French horn that really sounds better today than it did in 1976, but that's not saying much. The closing cut is sappy and forgettable.

Given the short running time, one might legitimately wonder why Dave Lambert's "You Won't See the Light" didn't do so until the CD age, as it's a more authentically upbeat piece than most of the original material, and it captures him at his best musically and vocally.

"Deep Cuts" sadly proved that Strawbs epic days were over, and is actually a notch below "Nomadness" overall, saved only by the band's innate songwriting and melodic sense, but doomed by a profound slashing of every good idea that emerged.

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars Fortunately this CD is available as a digital download, because the various reissues and imports I've been able to find have are all quite expensive and (as it turns out) probably not worth the cost of admission.

I only recently discovered this record; I knew it existed but thought it was nothing more than a promotional-type issue of obscure outtakes and early material. Turns out that's not the case; these were all new, original tunes for the band in 1976. Dave Cousins and Chas Cronk had developed a rhythm of cranking out short, mostly pop-tinged songs by this time and in fact most of the tracks here are collaborations credited to the two of them.

In looking over the liner notes I had a pretty good idea what was in store before even playing the thing. Cousins (or more likely Oyster Records executives) had brought in some young guns to produce the thing in the form of Jeffrey Lesser and Rupert Holmes. Lesser made his name helping the contrived British group Sailor get their fifteen minutes of fame in the mid-seventies with the sugary pop hits "Glass of Champagne" and "Girls Girls Girls", while Rupert Holmes would set feminism back a generation with his misogynistic mega-hit "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" a couple years after this album released. This did not portend well for the band.

But to be fair this isn't a bad album and the signature Strawbs sound does come through often, though as expected it is for the most part wrapped in heavily-massaged studio sheen, pop hooks and lyrics that are fairly shallow compared to most of the band's earlier material. I would compare this stuff musically to some of the more commercial stuff contemporaries like Al Stewart and Steve Winwood were cranking out around the same time. Not quite sugary, but clearly intended to be not much more than fodder for Top-40 radio.

That said, the musicianship is quite good and the band works in a fair amount of guest brass instrumentation and keyboards despite not having a permanent keyboardist or horn player of any sort. Most of the keyboard work is synthesized which is not surprising for 1976, but any serious Strawbs fan will wax nostalgic for the richness of their early Mellotron, Moog and piano sounds. The real emphasis is on electric guitar (and a bit of acoustic although even this is mostly amped), again not surprising given three of the four members at this point were primarily guitarists. The opening "I Only Want My Love to Grow in You" is a perfect example of where the Strawbs were by this time, a well-groomed blend of lead and rhythm guitar, assembly-line percussion and preteen-approved, heavily-mixed and highly-repetitive lyrics that for the most part simply repeat the song title as both verse and chorus. Clearly intended as a single, and in fact it was released as such in numerous markets though didn't chart in any of them. Actually the Strawbs would never have another hit single or album following 'Deep Cuts', though they would continue to release records sporadically well into the new century.

"Turn Me Round", "My Friend Peter" and "Charmer" are in much the same vein as the opener, and the latter was also released as a non-charting single. "So Close and Yet So Far Away" was the other single for the album, this one a slower tune with electric piano from long-time band associate Robert Mealing and glossy backing vocal harmonies.

The closest the band comes to a classic Strawbs sound is with the anti-war anthem "The Soldiers' Tale" which was probably written about five years too late given there weren't a lot of egregious wars to be protesting in 1976. Cousins voice is spot-on and the various keyboard forays give a depth to the song that most of album is lacking. Overall this one comes off as a shorter and slightly more-accessible "Forgotten Sons" but without quite the same level of passion. Musically "Beside the Rio Grande" is similar and also a decent tune but once again not quite up to the level of complexity of the better parts of the deep Strawbs catalog.

In the end I have to say this is a decent album though certainly not on the level of the more well-known Strawbs material. Three stars seems fair, and for anyone who thought the band was finished 'Deep Cuts' should convince them that Cousins and his cronies could still crank out forty minutes of decent material. Not much here for the 'greatest hits' collections, but a pretty good album considering time and circumstance.


Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars `Deep Cuts' is a mixed bag of styles and genres arranged in an accessible and easy to listen format, a collection of shorter and more concise pieces with slight progressive elements throughout. It's full of the usual charm and character of their previous albums, with rich and detailed lyrics and a feeling of sweet sentimentality. It's sophisticated and elegant pop/prog/folk with the expected country leanings and some rockier moments too, with a great balance of acoustic and electric guitar playing.

The album begins with `I Only Want My Love To Grow In You', a poppy foot-tapper with pleasant group harmonies, uplifting lead electric guitar lines and a catchy melody that's very easy to like. The power-pop sound carries on with the harder `Turn Me Round' with treated soaring guitar breaks and those gravelly but sweet lead vocals from Strawbs main man David Cousins. Gorgeous Mellotron and a wistful vocal on the charming `Hard, Hard Winter'. A reflective lyric and those typical Byrds-like dreamy group harmonies are superb on this one! `My Friend Peter', in contrast, is an angry heavy stomper with a spitting and bitter vocal from Cousins and a terrific searing heavy guitar solo in the middle! It ends far too early on an abrupt fade out, when another tough guitar solo would have been perfect! Sounds like nothing else the band ever did! `The Soldiers' Tale' is probably one of the slightly more substantial pieces on the album, with a strong narrative lyric, noisy guitar, urgent vocals, driving drum-work and eerie Mellotron breakouts.

Side B's `Simple Visions' has a very upbeat spiritual lyric and positive vocals from Cousins. It's full of gorgeous melodic guitar runs and uplifting Mellotron, but the whole band gets terrific moments throughout this one - especially lovely bass and keyboards! The slightly cheesy `Charmer' has that same power-poppy sound from the first side, loud snappy guitars with a frantic and catchy repeated chorus. It's very lightweight, but effortlessly pleasant. (`Wasting My Time) Thinking Of You' is an occasionally schmaltzy and breezy ballad, with a playful vocal that might rub some listeners the wrong way. It's very pretty, kind of cute, but also very slight and a little sickly. Spectral Mellotron opens `Beside The Rio Grande', which tells a lyrically rich and dramatic story, with a heavy atmosphere aided by confident lead vocals. It's the most instrumental heavy track on the album, with funky bass, urgent percussion and hot wah-wah guitar weaving throughout the track. Very sudden ending though, which is a real shame. `So Close...' is an affectionate and romantic predominantly piano/vocal piece with restrained bass and ghostly Mellotron. With a warm and majestic guitar solo, it ends the album is a very grand and epic way - if only it had been a little longer!

This album will never be considered among the better albums from this band, but it's an undemanding and restrained collection of smart pop/folk with occasional progressive moments to keep the more forgiving of listeners happy. The heartfelt and longing human elements are really pleasing on this one, and it's perfectly intelligent and approachable background music, truly a sweet album that might really touch your heart.

Three stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars I own all the Strawbs albums from their debut up to Ghosts, except for Dragonfly (their first two albums are harder to find than their others, I was lucky to score an original LP of their debut). Ghosts is apparently their last great album, their followup Nomadness was the beginning of their dec ... (read more)

Report this review (#1674405) | Posted by Progfan97402 | Sunday, January 1, 2017 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Desperate measures. I've noticed quite a few pro and con reviews of this album by the venerated Strawbs, so it might be a good idea to put some things into perspective. Aside from leaving A&M records for Deep Purple's Oyster label, the Strawbs were on a downward slide at this point in their c ... (read more)

Report this review (#1321040) | Posted by SteveG | Sunday, December 7, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Many fans of the Strawbs' classic albums don't rate "Deep Cuts" highly enough, which is a pity. Pretty much every one of their albums had some different things to offer, and mingled different styles together. After the band's album "Ghosts" in which they blended a cool mixture of acoustic and ... (read more)

Report this review (#633083) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Monday, February 13, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Even though most people don't care much for this phase of the Strawbs output, "too poppy", "mainstream rock", " not prog", are thoughts that come to mind, I have always had a soft spot for this album. When I was seeking out new music in my youth, I came across this for $1.99 in a cut-out bin, ... (read more)

Report this review (#280530) | Posted by mohaveman | Tuesday, May 4, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Not my Favorite strawbs recording, the cover art always put me off a bit. However this record is not as bad as I originally thought it grows on you given a chance. More powerful than most strawbs LP's and certainly in the post glory days of B.N.W, Hero and Heroin and ghosts which it is closest ... (read more)

Report this review (#96411) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Wednesday, November 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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