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STRAWBS

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Strawbs biography
One of the better British progressive groups, The STRAWBS were a 60's folk and medieval band turned prog-rock with the help of Dave COUSINS (the heart and soul of this group) and Rick WAKEMAN "master of the keyboards". WAKEMAN is featured on the albums "Strawbs", "Dragonfly", "Just A Collection of...", and "From The Witchwood" before he joined YES. The line-up for the group changed markedly over the years. Their sound has been in a state of constant evolution combining English folk and progressive sounds to form their unique style. Critics seem to have a preference for the STRAWBS in the early Seventies when the group consisted of Tony & John HOOPER, John FORD, Richard HUDSON and keyboard virtuoso Rick WAKEMAN. The group ceased to exist at the end of the 1970s, and COUSINS embarked on some solo projects. STRAWBS would appeal to fans of bands like FAIRPORT CONVENTION, STEELEYE SPAN, PENTANGLE, etc.

They have recorded over 15 albums through the years, with various lineups around the core of Dave COUSINS who offered beautiful melodic compositions. Every STRAWBS album between "Witchwood" and "Nomadness" has something unique to offer. A perfect introduction to the sound of The STRAWBS is the compilation-CD "A Choice of Strawbs" (16 tracks). It features all their best material from their most creative and "symphonic" period (between '71 and '74). The music of The STRAWBS frequently ranges from folky (acoustic guitars) and classic (piano and harpsichord) to bombastic, symphonic rock (fiery electric guitar and glorious Mellotron in the vein of BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST and The MOODY BLUES). The vocals are powerful with a lot of expression. Another great introduction to The STRAWBS is their live CD entitled "In concert" with BBC recordings from '73 and '74, including compelling renditions of their best works. The lush Mellotron sound evokes every time goose bumps on my skin!

1971 - "From The Witchwood" was a release that represented the transitional phase and search for their definitive sound and style.
1972 - "Grave New World" was their first symphonic album, and remained their finest moments, with great songwriting, great arrangements and superb performance all-round. This is a GREAT ALBUM!
1973 - "Bursting at the Seams" was the break through album for the STRAWBS because it marked the last major transformation of the group.
1974 - "Hero & Heroine" showed that a classical sensibility can be combined with rock music and make for wonderful list...
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Hero & HeroineHero & Heroine
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$3.95
$8.17 (used)
Grave New WorldGrave New World
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$5.03
$5.00 (used)
Bursting at the SeamsBursting at the Seams
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$3.40
$3.74 (used)
Halcyon DaysHalcyon Days
Import
Universal I.S. 1997
Audio CD$7.62
$5.88 (used)
Live '70Live '70
Import · Remastered
Airmail Japan 2013
Audio CD$35.32
From the WitchwoodFrom the Witchwood
Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$4.38
$3.11 (used)
GhostsGhosts
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$4.36
$3.10 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
STRAWBS Lay Down 7" Vinyl USD $3.20 Buy It Now
STRAWBS - Ltd. #'d UK CD - Greatest Hits Live! - Like New CD USD $7.50 Buy It Now
High Seas Strawbs CD album (CDLP) German WMCD2030 MORADA MUSIC 2005 USD $19.42 Buy It Now
Acoustic Strawbs: Baroque & Roll by The Strawbs (CD) Free Shipping USD $11.00 Buy It Now 59m 39s
STRAWBS LP -"Burning For You"-1977 Oyster Records-Etched OY-1-1604 OOP USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1h 24m
STRAWBS - JUST A COLLECTION OF ANTIQUES AND CURIOS. JAPAN.OBI.MINI-LP SLEEVE USD $9.50 [4 bids]
1h 32m
Bursting At The Seams - Strawbs (1998, CD New) USD $8.62 Buy It Now 1h 40m
HUDSON-FORD ex-THE STRAWBS-TAKE IT BACK-ORIGINAL GERMAN PS 7" 45rpm 1973 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 8h 8m
THE STRAWBS 'Oh How She Changed' [ LISTEN! ] VG++ Rare 1968 DJ 45 USD $8.99 Buy It Now 8h 37m
Strawbs - Ghosts (NEW CD) USD $8.76 Buy It Now 8h 59m
Strawbs - Bursting At The Seams (NEW CD) USD $8.30 Buy It Now 8h 59m
Strawbs - From The Witchwood (NEW CD) USD $8.76 Buy It Now 8h 59m
Strawbs - Just A Collection Of Antiques An (NEW CD) USD $8.76 Buy It Now 8h 59m
STRAWBS - HALCYON DAYS 2 CD 36 TRACKS INTERNATIONAL POP BEST OF / HITS NEW+ USD $18.20 Buy It Now 9h 38m
Strawbs-Live in America CD NEW USD $8.76 Buy It Now 9h 50m
DISC AND MUSIC ECHO APRIL 8 1972 JOE COCKER STRAWBS JONATHAN KELLY ARGENT USD $18.79 Buy It Now 10h 10m
DISC AND MUSIC ECHO OCTOBER 2 1971 STRAWBS JETHRO TULL MANFRED MANN ALVIN LEE USD $18.79 Buy It Now 10h 20m
DISC AND MUSIC ECHO SEPTEMBER 1 1973 STRAWBS CARPENTERS ROGER DALTREY USD $18.79 Buy It Now 10h 21m
STRAWBS Bursting At The Seams A&M LP AMLH68144 USD $1.24 [0 bids]
10h 48m
Strawbs - Blue Angel - Strawbs CD 0VVG USD $44.97 Buy It Now 11h 42m
Strawbs - A Choice Selection Of - Strawbs CD YPVG USD $9.32 Buy It Now 11h 42m
CD-The Strawbs-Alive in America 70's eclectic UK folk psych rock USD $7.99 Buy It Now 11h 46m
THE STRAWBS-PART OF THE UNION/WILL YOU GO (DUTCH PRESS) USD $8.76 Buy It Now 11h 50m
Deep Cuts by Strawbs (Vinyl LP, 1976, Strawbs, LTD.) USD $5.99 Buy It Now 11h 55m
Bursting At The Seams by Strawbs (Vinyl LP, 1973, A&M Records) USD $5.99 Buy It Now 11h 59m
DAVE COUSINS (Strawbs) Old School Songs LTD Edition 1980 PVC FOLK PSYCH LP USD $18.00 Buy It Now 12h
Strawbs; Deep Cuts on LP USD $9.99 [0 bids]
12h 42m
THE STRAWBS LP GHOSTS BEAUTIFUL CONDITION SP 4506 USD $8.95 Buy It Now 12h 53m
PAUL BRETT Interlife L.P. Classic Rock Strawbs Crazy World of Arthur Brown USD $12.54 Buy It Now 13h 7m
MELODY MAKER 1972 APRIL 8 ORNETTE COLEMAN STRAWBS THE FACES T.REX USD $18.79 Buy It Now 14h 16m
MELODY MAKER 1972 DECEMBER 9 STRAWBS DEEP PURPLE LED ZEPPELIN BOLAN ALICE COOPER USD $18.79 Buy It Now 14h 16m
1971 ~ Promo ~ Autographed ~ The Strawbs ~ From The Witchwood ~ LP ~ Orig USD $40.00 Buy It Now 15h 43m
NME 1976 AUG 14 TED NUGENT QUEEN STRAWBS URIAH HEEP USD $17.54 Buy It Now 15h 54m
Strawbs - The Complete Strawbs Live at Chiswick House Rare CD Dave Cousins USD $45.00 [0 bids]
16h 7m
THE STRAWBS exc vinyl lp BURNING FOR YOU USD $3.91 [0 bids]
17h 13m
CASSETTE: STRAWBS Don't say goodbye POP FOLK USD $8.14 Buy It Now 17h 23m
STRAWBS, THE BEST OF STRAWBS, 2xLP 1978 UK 1ST PRESS EX/MN/EX GATEFOLD/SL USD $14.65 Buy It Now 17h 44m
STRAWBS, BURNING FOR YOU, LP 1977 UK A2/B1 VG+/VG+, INNER/SL POLYDOR 2391-287 USD $10.70 Buy It Now 17h 44m
BLOW MONKEYS, PRISM, SHERBS, STRAWBS 4 RECORD DEAL VINYL LP'S 33 rpm USD $16.00 Buy It Now 18h
SOUNDS 1972 DEC 30 ALICE COOPER SLADE + STRAWBS POSTER USD $31.32 Buy It Now 18h 45m
SOUNDS 1973 MAR 10 JACK BRUCE ROXY MUSIC ENO STRAWBS USD $31.32 Buy It Now 18h 48m
SOUNDS 1973 MAR 24 WINGS BLACK SABBATH + STRAWBS POSTER USD $25.06 Buy It Now 18h 48m
Broken Hearted Bride - Strawbs (CD Used Very Good) USD $14.37 Buy It Now 18h 54m
STRAWBS HERE IT COMES / TOMORROW a&m 1002 USD $8.15 Buy It Now 19h
STRAWBS-Live At The Calderone, New Yor CD NEW USD $16.38 Buy It Now 20h 15m
STRAWBS-Deep Cuts CD NEW USD $16.38 Buy It Now 20h 15m
STRAWBS-Dancing To The Devil S Beat CD NEW USD $15.08 Buy It Now 20h 15m
Dragonfly Strawbs Audio CD USD $10.37 Buy It Now 20h 51m
CLASSIC STRAWBS DOUBLE LP GREATEST HITS SP 9800 USD $7.48 Buy It Now 20h 58m
Prognostic Strawbs Audio CD USD $18.87 Buy It Now 21h
The Strawbs - Collection (2002 CD) - 18 Great Tracks USD $5.38 Buy It Now 21h 36m
The Strawbs 7" Vinyl Single ' Part Of The Union/Will You Go ' 1973 A USD $2.49 [0 bids]
21h 56m
STRAWBS Live At The BBC Vol. One In Session CD NEW UK A&M ?532 050-7 vol 1 psych USD $9.99 Buy It Now 22h 2m
Hudson Ford-Nickelodeon UK prog mini lp cd Strawbs USD $20.99 Buy It Now 22h 17m
STRAWBS Bursting At The Seams US issue 1974 LP EX vinyl Dave Cousins USD $11.95 Buy It Now 22h 45m
STRAWBS Grave New World 1st US White Label Promo 1972 issue LP w/ lyric book USD $69.95 Buy It Now 22h 45m
STRAWBS Grave New World 1st UK issue 1972 tri-fold LP red vinyl EX/NM w/ book USD $44.95 Buy It Now 22h 46m
STRAWBS Grave New World Vinyl Record LP - VG Condition!! USD $11.93 Buy It Now 22h 52m
The Broken Hearted Bride by The Strawbs (CD 2008 Witchwood Media) prog folk UK I USD $7.99 [0 bids]
22h 56m
Greatest Hits Live! by The Strawbs (CD 1995 Road Goes on Forever) UK PROG FOLK USD $4.99 [0 bids]
23h
STRAWBS Burning For You SEALED 8 Track Tape POLYDOR 77 British Prog Psych TOP-40 USD $9.98 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS - Deadlines - LP Record - radio use, cut, stickers USD $5.99 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS - Hero and Heroine - LP Record - radio use, cut, stickers USD $5.99 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS - LIVE IN AMERICA CD NEW+ USD $14.94 Buy It Now 1 day
THE STRAWBS "DEEP CUTS" 1976 POLYDOR LP LOOOK! USD $12.99 Buy It Now 1 day
THE STRAWBS JUST A COLLECTION OF ANTIQUES SP-4298 VINYL LP 1970 PSYCH FOLK ROCK USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Bursting At The Seams Strawbs Audio CD USD $10.37 Buy It Now 1 day
Just a Collection of Antiques & Curios Strawbs CD USD $10.37 Buy It Now 1 day
RICK WAKEMAN A Suite Of Gods RARE CD YES and ARW Strawbs USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1 day
NME #1282 1971 AUG 21 DIANA ROSS KING CRIMSON KING CURTIS STRAWBS ROOSTER WHO USD $18.79 Buy It Now 1 day
NME 1972 DEC 16 PETE TOWNSHEND STRAWBS PAUL MCCARTNEY JONI MITCHELL DON MCLEAN USD $25.06 Buy It Now 1 day
NME 1972 DEC 16 WINGS WHO STRAWBS T REX WISHBONE ASH USD $21.30 Buy It Now 1 day
NME 1973 AUG 25 JETHRO TULL ROLLING STONES FRANK ZAPPA BOB DYLAN STRAWBS GENESIS USD $18.79 Buy It Now 1 day
NME 1973 FEB 10 ALICE COOPER JOAN BAEZ STRAWBS JOE COCKER T-REX USD $15.03 Buy It Now 1 day
NME 1973 FEB 24 SLADE DAVID BOWIE HUMBLE PIE ELVIS STRAWBS LED ZEPPELIN USD $21.30 Buy It Now 1 day
NME 1973 FEB 24 SLADE DAVID BOWIE STRAWBS THIN LIZZY USD $25.06 Buy It Now 1 day
NME 1973 JAN 13 NEIL YOUNG PENTANGLE ROXY MUSIC STRAWBS SUPREMES CAT STEVENS USD $18.79 Buy It Now 1 day
NME 1973 JAN 13 NEIL YOUNG PENTANGLE SUPREMES STRAWBS CAT STEVENS CARLY SIMON USD $15.03 Buy It Now 1 day
NME 1973 JUN 9 STRAWBS EDGAR WINTER ROLLING STONES LOU REED SLADE GREG LAKE USD $15.03 Buy It Now 1 day
NME 1973 JUN 9 STRAWBS STONES SLADE DAVID BOWIE USD $16.28 Buy It Now 1 day
NME 1973 SEPTEMBER 29 OSMONDS ENO BOWIE DEEP PURPLE URIAH HEEP STRAWBS USD $18.79 Buy It Now 1 day
The Strawbs - Access All Areas USD $14.94 Buy It Now 1 day
SOUNDS 1973 MAR 24 WINGS PAUL MCCARTNEY STRAWBS FACES USD $25.06 Buy It Now 1 day
SOUNDS 1973 SEP 22 HUMBLE PIE ALEX HARVEY STRAWBS USD $25.06 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs - Part of the Union 1973 7" A&M AMS 7047 USD $4.39 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS lot 3x LP deadlines BURSTING AT THE SEAMS ghosts USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS lot 3x LP deadlines BURSTING AT THE SEAMS deep cuts USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS THE BEST OF 2 LP MINT USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS BURSTING AT THE SEAMS 1973 VINYL LP IN VG CON USD $10.02 Buy It Now 1 day
THE STRAWBS BURSTING AT THE SEAMS A+M 71 A2 B2 Red vinyl LP EX+/EX USD $18.79 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs Burning for You Masterdisk RL Analog 1977 1st Press EXC Ultrasonic CLEAN USD $19.20 Buy It Now 1 day
Grave New World [Remaster] by The Strawbs (CD, Jul-1998, Universal) USD $16.33 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS - PART OF THE UNION 7" VINYL USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS Concert Classics Volume 6 CD 1999 UK ELETRIC FOLK ROCK LIVE SEALED NEW USD $7.99 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS°BURSTING AT THE SEAMS LP Vinyl~Canada Pressing°A&M SP 4383 USD $21.67 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs - From the Witchwood LP USD $25.99 Buy It Now 1 day
NEW Acoustic Strawbs: Baroque & Roll (Audio CD) USD $39.67 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS-ORIGINAL FULL PAGE ADVERT TOUR DATES N DEADLINES -11.3.1978-RICK WAKEMAN USD $3.76 [0 bids]
1 day
THE BEST OF THE STRAWBS 1978 STEREO DOUBLE LP EX/VG+ USD $18.79 [0 bids]
1 day
THE STRAWBS 'BY CHOICE' 1974 STEREO LP EX/VG USD $6.25 [0 bids]
1 day

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STRAWBS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

STRAWBS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.04 | 67 ratings
Strawbs
1969
3.12 | 78 ratings
Dragonfly
1970
4.02 | 202 ratings
From The Witchwood
1971
4.15 | 280 ratings
Grave New World
1972
3.56 | 139 ratings
Bursting At The Seams
1973
2.74 | 27 ratings
Sandy Denny And The Strawbs: All Our Own Work
1973
4.15 | 271 ratings
Hero And Heroine
1974
4.01 | 146 ratings
Ghosts
1975
2.51 | 63 ratings
Nomadness
1975
2.75 | 56 ratings
Deep Cuts
1976
2.54 | 46 ratings
Burning For You
1977
2.86 | 40 ratings
Deadlines
1978
2.99 | 26 ratings
Don't Say Goodbye
1987
2.68 | 19 ratings
Ringing Down The Years
1991
2.71 | 30 ratings
Heartbreak Hill [Aka: Starting Over]
1995
3.54 | 20 ratings
Acoustic Strawbs: Baroque & Roll
2001
2.77 | 26 ratings
Blue Angel
2003
3.10 | 25 ratings
Déjà Fou
2004
3.50 | 38 ratings
The Broken Hearted Bride
2008
3.26 | 30 ratings
Dancing To The Devil's Beat
2009
3.59 | 28 ratings
Hero & Heroine In Ascencia
2011
2.59 | 21 ratings
Prognostic
2014

STRAWBS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.71 | 66 ratings
Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios
1970
2.29 | 9 ratings
The Strawbs' Greatest Hits Live
1993
3.67 | 13 ratings
BBC in concert
1995
2.45 | 9 ratings
Concert Classics
1999
3.34 | 4 ratings
The Complete Strawbs (Chiswick '98 Live)
2000
2.09 | 3 ratings
Full Bloom, Acoustic Strawbs Live
2004
3.57 | 6 ratings
Live At Nearfest
2005
3.83 | 14 ratings
Painted Sky
2005
3.66 | 4 ratings
Recollection
2006
3.00 | 3 ratings
NY '75
2007
4.91 | 2 ratings
40th Anniversary Celebration: Vol 1: Strawberry Fayre
2010
3.00 | 1 ratings
40th Anniversary Celebration Vol. 2: Rick Wakeman and Dave Cousins
2010
4.00 | 4 ratings
Live At The BBC Vol Two: In Concert
2010
3.15 | 4 ratings
Live At The BBC Vol One: In Session
2010

STRAWBS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.11 | 6 ratings
Classic Rock Legends (DVD)
1998
4.04 | 9 ratings
Strawbs Live In Tokyo '75 / Grave New World The Movie
2003
4.08 | 4 ratings
Acoustic Live In Toronto At Hugh's Room
2004
3.00 | 3 ratings
Lay Down With The Strawbs (DVD)
2008

STRAWBS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.44 | 7 ratings
Strawbs by Choice
1974
2.51 | 5 ratings
Early Strawbs
1974
3.78 | 10 ratings
Classic Strawbs
1977
3.78 | 13 ratings
The Best of Strawbs
1978
2.66 | 8 ratings
Preserved Uncanned
1990
3.52 | 16 ratings
A Choice Selection of Strawbs
1992
3.63 | 16 ratings
Halcyon Days (UK Release)
1997
3.97 | 13 ratings
Halcyon Days (US Release)
1998
3.00 | 1 ratings
30 Years in Rock, Classic Rock Legends
2001
2.81 | 6 ratings
The Collection
2002
4.40 | 3 ratings
Tears And Pavan (An Introduction To Strawbs)
2002
3.13 | 4 ratings
20th Century Masters - Millenium Collection
2003
4.23 | 12 ratings
A Taste of Strawbs
2006
4.13 | 6 ratings
Acoustic Gold
2011
2.00 | 1 ratings
Of a Time
2012
3.90 | 2 ratings
Witchwood: the Very Best of....
2014

STRAWBS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.29 | 5 ratings
Strawberry Sampler number 1
1969

STRAWBS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hero And Heroine by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.15 | 271 ratings

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Hero And Heroine
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

5 stars In the quest to determine what separates atypical prog from the stereotypical prog sounds that have come to define the sub genre of symphonic prog, one has to look past the musical surface. Yes, Hero and Heroine contains a multi suite song complete with an opening Mellotron fest that would make former KC member Ian McDonald envious, as well as other symphonic touches courtesy of John Hawken's piano and synths. Cleaver and deft electric guitar is delivered from Dave Lambert while Chas Cronk adds his ever melodious bass lines and accents to the mix. Drummer Rod Coombes keeps the fore mentioned from becoming a sleepwalk with his solid rock drumming that's never flashy but always hits the spot both musically and metaphorically.

But there's something special that stands out about Hero And Heroine. It's not a concept album, but it feels like one with it's references to a Silver Sun, a Midnight Sun, and the feeling of "autumn coming on..." from the previously mentioned three song suite titled "Autumn". And that's not a trick of the mind.

Songwriter and vocalist Dave Cousins wrote a cycle of songs about his emotional exploits and explorations over a single day. And they, not surprisingly, are quite like ours. From the chilly doom of feeling the season's change and life with it, to pining over a lost love, to the excitement of a new sexual discovery, Dave Cousins' feelings are ours. We can relate. We love, we lose, we regret. Yet, we live on.

Is this then the benchmark for a prog masterpiece? Not if you talk in maths. But if you live easily with emotions and can relate to another's tale of what it encompasses for all of us to be the hero and heroine of our own lives, then the Strawbs' classic 1974 album Hero and Heroine reaches that benchmark and easily surpasses it. As disparaging as Dave Cousins would find this comparison, he is the Bob Dylan of prog rock, and Hero and Heroine contains his finest work. A wonderfully lush production helps to send the album even higher. I can say no more as the words would fail me. 5 stars.

 Bursting At The Seams by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.56 | 139 ratings

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Bursting At The Seams
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars The Strawbs took a temporary break from prog, or at least were not as prog focused, on Bursting At The Seams. Still the album has so many typical prog motifs that it almost doesn't matter. The album's first successful single in the UK "Lay Down" could be considered "Benedictus" in a hard rocking mode with Derrick "Blue" Weaver's Mellotron supplying string, organ and choir settings that mix perfectly with both Dave Cousins' electric rhythm guitar and new boy Dave Lambert's smoking leads. With lyrics based on the 23rd psalm and the only hit song to ever feature Mellotron choir, it is far from a typical "pop song" of it's day. Or any day.

But "Lay Down" is the original album's penultimate track, so we have to start at the beginning. Lead off track "Flying" is a dreamy Cousins composition with more of Weaver's Mellotron accompaniment and some good old fashioned banjo from Mr. Cousins, and is a perfect set up for the Hudson and Ford penned masterpiece "Lady Fuschia", which features gorgeous vocal harmonies from Richard Hudson and John Ford and tasteful lead guitar from Lambert. The Cousins' song "Stormy Down" is a mid tempo rocker that doesn't come off well and is one of the album's three weak links. Fortunately, it is followed by the Strawbs' first true prog epic "The River/Down By The Sea" which is truly full blown symphonic prog utilizing real orchestral backing to supplement Weaver's and Lambert's stunning multi tracked piano and guitar riffing on the song's coda, again climaxing with more Mellotron choir from Weaver. The two songs were originally split up and inverted on the original vinyl releases due to the needle jumping if "Down By The Sea" was the album's last track. Subsequent CD reissues have remedied this problem and we can now hear both songs in the proper order in all of their glory.

The sing along hit "Part Of The Union" originally started off side two of the album much like George Harrison's "With In You, Without You" started off side two of Sgt. Pepper's. A weak song that really fit nowhere on the album, so the better to get it done and over with. The mournful "Tears" segues beautifully into the faux Flamenco tinged acoustic and electric guitar based instrumental "Pavan" via Weaver's baroque harpsichord link. Lambert's beautiful rock ballad "The Winter And The Summer" follows before the original album closes with the infectious "Lay Down" and then a throwaway piece featuring what sounds like preschoolers murdering a song that Cousins intended to be a cute album closer titled "Thank You". It's the most embarrassing song I've ever heard recorded by the Strawbs, but with so many wonderful songs on the album, it does little to tarnish it.

The Strawbs would still not produce a 5 star masterpiece of symphonic prog until their following album Hero And Heroine, but Bursting At The Seams is a satisfying and thoroughly enjoyable listen until then.

 Grave New World by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.15 | 280 ratings

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Grave New World
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars With Grave New World, the Strawbs stepped forever out of folk prog and became a full blown symphonic prog group with the inclusion of new keyboardist Blue Weaver's icy Mellotron. "Benedictus", perhaps the album's finest song, seems to take the more pastoral workings of "Glimpse of Heaven" from Tales from The Witchwood and supercharges the ethereal visions of Heaven that Cousins imagined both literally and musically with a mind blowing choir for the song's chorus, and an electric lead played by Cousins with an electric dulcimer that was played through a fuzz box! Weaver used string, flute and organ settings on his Mellotron to supplement his actual organ and cascading piano. It's an incredible opening to this or any album and the group would only come close to a song as good with the equally arresting title track.

Songs immediately following such "Queen of Dreams", which at first features psychedelic backwards guitar, Mellotron flutes, muted drums with it's stop and go rhythm breaks, is quite good as is bassist John Ford's Jethro Tull like "Heavy Disguise", which Ford performed solo on acoustic guitar apart from catchy backing from a brass section.

"New World", the album's ersatz title track, is a monster with Weaver supplying just brass and string Mellotron chords and melodies over the six and twelve six strum of Cousins' and Tony Hooper's acoustic guitars. Cousins released his most vitriolic vocal delivery ever as he condemned the violence in Northern Ireland so prevalent at that time in the UK's history. Ford and drummer Richard Hudson seem to go the extra mile on this song and the result is an absolute Strawbs' classic.

After that remarkable aural assault, the following songs seem less impressive but show off the group's strong points with the pleasantly acoustic "The Flower and the Young Man" and heavily progressive "Tomorrow". "Ah Me, Ah My" is quirky with it's British dance hall music accompaniment. It's only a minute and half long, and seems to clean the palette for the searching "Is It Today Lord?' which features Hudson on some wonderful sitar, and the album's closer "Journey's End", which features some philosophical musings from Cousins accompanied only by Weaver's moving piano. The two bonus tracks add nothing to the album and are forgettable.

All in all, Grave New World is an impressive prog album, but slows down a bit too much towards the end to warrant more than 4 stars (3.8 rounded up). But fear not friends. The Strawbs would offer some 5 star prog masterpieces in just a few short years to come.

 Heartbreak Hill [Aka: Starting Over] by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1995
2.71 | 30 ratings

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Heartbreak Hill [Aka: Starting Over]
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by Walkscore

4 stars Much better than their other late-70s albums

This album is not well known, because the record company refused to release it when they recorded it. It was only finally released in the late 1990s on a limited release, but that version has poor-quality sound. Only recently has this great record finally received a proper release with the tracks remastered. The result is that the sound quality is (finally) very good. I think either a number of other reviewers heard a poor-sound-quality version of this, or they only listened to it once, or something. That is all I can think of to explain the poor ratings it has received, because this album is really very good. It is their best of the late 1970s, the best since Ghosts, and indeed, I think better than anything they have released since. Due to declining sales, the Strawbs were being pressured by their record company to make AOR hits, and on albums like Deep Cuts, Burning for You, and Deadlines, they complied. However, on this record they did NOT comply, instead handing over (in 1978) an album with long progressive-rock classics and very non-radio friendly emotional folk-rock tunes. You can hear the difference immediately if you compare those previous three albums (such as Deadlines) with this one. Those are polished, muted, tailored for getting on radio. This album is raw, with longer songs. Dave Cousins has said that this was a very difficult time for him, and did not fight the record company as he wanted to forget this time in his life. The songs make clear it was a painful relationship dissolution. While not great for him at the time, it meant he was not willing to comply with the record company's AOR strategy, and the songs definitely benefit. He sings like he means it. The songs and guitar solos are harder-edged, uncompromising. Some of these songs, because still un-released, were re-recorded for the album 'Don't Say Goodbye' ten years later. Some reviewers have suggested that those versions are better than the ones here on Heartbreak Hill. I completely disagree. By the time of Don't Say Goodbye (DSG) the sting had clearly worn off, and the songs lack the emotional vitality of these original versions. Furthermore, DSG is tame, with 80's production values and synthesizers that drown out the guitars. This is not the case here on Heartbreak Hill. This is probably their heaviest, rawest album, in their entire catalogue. Totally un-commercial. It is vital, an authentic statement. The best track, and one of the Strawbs' best-ever songs (and again, I have everything they did and have been a fan for 20+ years) is the title track "Heartbreak Hill". For PA readers, this is also one of their most progressive songs, and will appeal to those who otherwise don't listen to folk (or progressive folk), as it is nothing like folk. The second-best song is the 10-minute long "Starting Over", another great progressive rock piece. Close to these in quality is the hard-driving "Something for Nothing", again nothing like folk. This version is WAY better than the version re-recorded on DSG - you really feel it - as is the version of "Let it Rain" - here this sounds poignant and vital, while the DSG version sounds like AOR. Those four songs make up 30 minutes of this 40 minute album, bringing it up to 4 stars. The remaining shorter tracks are all decent, not top-notch but better than the filler on Deadlines (I think half of Deadlines is filler) and better than most of the songs on Burning for You. If you are not a Strawbs fan yet, then obviously check out the early 70s albums first. If you like those, and like Dave Cousins voice and song-writing, then of their late 70s albums this is the one I would turn to first. It is not perfect, but still very good. I give it 8.0 out of 10 on my 10-point scale. Make sure to get the re-mastered version with the better sound quality.

 Ringing Down The Years by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1991
2.68 | 19 ratings

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Ringing Down The Years
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by Walkscore

1 stars Best Avoided.

I am a huge Strawbs fan (indeed, saw them live just a few months ago - they are still great!), and have virtually everything they ever did (even the five-CD 'Taste of Strawbs'). I will start my reviews of their albums with their two least-known. This one was originally only released in Canada, and only on cassette, in the late 1980s. As a huge fan, I still bought it, and tried to like it. VERY disappointing. In general, this album has the weakest compositions of any Strawbs album. This is not to say there are no good songs here, but in every case there are better versions on later albums. The big problem here is the production and sonic quality, which is *terrible*. It is the classic 80s over-production gone to extremes. The whole album is saturated with now out-dated synths, an awful drum sound, too much reverb, and often difficult to hear the singing. While other bands and even the Strawbs have examples of this issue, here it is extreme and very detrimental. Quite literally, NONE of the tracks on this album are listenable as they are. You need to hear the re-recordings the versions of the few strong ones on this album. Of these, the title track (written in memory of Sandy Denny) is probably the best - a great and poignant song - but ONLY on later albums (my favourite version is the one on Dave Cousins' solo album 'Secret Paths'). "Forever Ocean Blue" is wonderful, but again only on later albums (for that one, my favourite is the version on the Cousins and Wakeman duet album 'Hummingbird'). Here, it sounds like the worst AOR easy-listening schmaltz. Same for "Stone Cold is a Woman's Heart" (a MUCH better version is on Cousins/Wakeman 'Hummingbird'). The best track on this album is the opener "Might as Well be on Mars", which actually kindof reflects where the Strawbs were at during this period. This was originally a big hit in Canada by a band called the Pukka Orchestra. Why the Strawbs released their own version of that song only in Canada then is a mystery. I could see the Strawbs thinking the song was so good they might want people in the UK or elsewhere to hear it, but it was not going to get attention in Canada where everyone already knew and loved the original. This album is so bad, I have to give it 1 star. I love the Strawbs, but this album should never have been made, at least not in the form it took. I give it 0.8 out of 10 on my 10-point scale. If you are interested in the songs on this album, get Dave Cousins' solo albums and the Cousins/Wakeman duet - they contain much better versions.

 Dragonfly by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.12 | 78 ratings

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Dragonfly
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by Walkscore

5 stars Wonderful Music.

This is, to my mind, the best-ever Strawbs album. Of course, I also love GNW, Witchwood, H&H, and Ghosts (among others) but this one is the most special. I think the lower scores here on PA for this album reflect that this is mostly folk, with very little rock (let alone prog), and I think many might be tempted to listen to it only once for this reason. However, folk music in particular requires multiple listens before one can feel its merits. I have been listening to the Strawbs - one of my favourite bands - for over 20 years, and this one has slowly but steadily been rising to the top, beating out the others. It is the one that best stands the test of time. To my ears it is the most musical, and contains some of the most timeless pieces, in their entire collection. While their debut album is very much dated to the sound (and topics) of the mid-late 1960s (including the reaction of the critics - who now would want to ban "The Man Who Called Himself Jesus"?), 'Dragonfly' represents eternal truths. The songs are life-affirming and get at our deeper humanity. So many of the songs - "The Weary Song", "Young Again", "Turned My Face...", "Till the Sun...", these are all songs with which we can all today easily identify, they have lost none of their poignancy. The cello (the only album in which they had a full-time cello player), adds a lot of ambiance to the album, and weight to the songs. The long epic "Vision of the Lady in the Lake" speaks of our inability (as a species) to see an illusion for what it is (lie), particularly when that illusion is something we so want to believe in (and even when we know the truth deep down), and thus hints at our destiny to always repeat history. Dave Cousins voice is so perfectly suited to this tale. The title track, "Dragonfly" is a beautiful study in how utter simplicity sometimes produces the best, most timeless music - one of my very favourite songs (and in the top 3 of Strawbs songs for me). When I rate albums here on PA, I am not thinking of what one might appreciate on first listen, but instead what album one might want to put on after listening to it over many many years. Some albums sound great on first, second, or third listen, but then lose their interest after additional spins. Other albums grow on you slowly, and some of the these just keep getting better with every year. 'Dragonfly' is one of the latter. It is one of the albums I know I will still be listening to in another 20 years (and with every listen you and I will be young again!). I give it 9.5 out of 10 on my 10-point scale - in my top 30 albums of all time.

 Prognostic by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.59 | 21 ratings

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Prognostic
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

2 stars Well Mr. Cousins, you've got me scratching my head on this one. While I applaud the inclusion of the killer live prog tracks "Heartbreak Hill" and "Starting Over" from the Strawbs' 40th Anniversary Vo. 1CD (an absolute must have album for Strawbs' fans) as these tracks are even more vibrant than the original studio versions from the initially aborted Heartbreak Hill album from 1978, the rest of the material leaves me puzzled.

"Something For Nothing" from the original Heartbreak Hill studio masters is a good tune but not heavily prog, and "Aphrodite's Eyes" from the 2008 album The Broken Hearted Bride is a laborious dirge. The inclusion of the Cousins and Conrad High Seas album track "Deep In The Darkest Night", despite Rick Wakeman's lovely piano, sounds very out of place due to the song's synthesized bass and programed drums. The album would have been better served with the Strawbs' own version of "Deep In The Darkest Night" from the Broken Hearted Bride.

The live version of "The River/Down By The Sea" and the remixed versions of weak songs like "Tomorrow" and the Hero And Heroine In Ascenia album coda "Lay A Little Light On Me/Hero's Theme/Round and Round Reprise" come off as little more than album filler. The lone exception being the inclusion of of Cousins' epic "Blue Angel" from 1972 solo album Two Weeks Last Summer. But that song's inclusion is not enough to help, unfortunately.

Prognostic was a great opportunity for the Strawbs to showcase their better latter day and authentically prog outings. For an example, the "Pro Patia Suite" from 2009's Dancing To The Devils' Beat along with the title track to the Broken Hearted Bride, would have made this compilation almost mandatory for Strawbs' fans. After all, they were the target audience for this album.

 From The Witchwood by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.02 | 202 ratings

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From The Witchwood
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

5 stars As classic prog has come to be signified by it's overuse of synths and mellotrons, of which the Strawbs themselves were to be soon to be guilty, From The Witchwood remains incredibly fresh, unique and wonderfully enigmatic. The second album to feature Rick Wakeman and his first studio outing finds the future synth and mellotron wizard sticking to his wonderful arsenal of piano, organ and celeste and absolutely making the most of his accompaniments and solo spots on virtually every song on this mostly acoustic guitar driven album. Ok, there is a bit of mellotron and Moog C1 (901) synthesizer on perhaps the album's best track titled "The Shepard's Song" but it's not overdone. Its still Wakeman's dramatic and elegant playing that elevates this song, as does Wakeman's solo on the manic track tiled "Sheep" which climaxes with superb crescendos and high piercing organ notes, as well as the equally manic time changing organ solo on the ultra pastoral hymn like track "A Glimpse Of Heaven."

Dave Cousins' song writing topics now includes everything from polemic, physical love, social critique and mysticism without ever coming off as preachy or pretentious. Cousins just sings, with his distinctive voice, way too convincingly. The now full on rhythm section of John Ford and Richard Hudson, on bass and drums respectively, are a bit of the band's secret weapon on From The Witchwood, as they are the propulsive engine of songs like "The Hangman and The Papist", then afore noted "Sheep" and "The Shepherd's Song", while not drawing attention to themselves, while also adding a grounded groove to the sublime song from which stellar album derives it's name, "Witchwood". Hudson and Ford add the first of their songwriting contributions to an Strawbs' album. While not as strong as Cousins' material, the songs "Thiry Days", "Flight" and "Canon Dale" totally fit the pastoral and unique tone of this album. Hudson even adds some wonderful sitar to several songs, especially on his own tune "Canon Dale" which he keeps tasteful and far from sounding like the psychedelic musical motifs that were so rampant at the dawn of this album's decade.

For better or worse, the Strawbs would never again sound so individualistic in their on again/off again career. This uniqueness and the inclusion of the stellar bonus track "Keep The Devil Outside" pushes this gem right into the 5 star category. From The Witchwood is simply a prog folk classic.

 Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios by STRAWBS album cover Live, 1970
3.71 | 66 ratings

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Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars There is something that reeks of an old dusty attic full of songs from this, Strawbs' third album released on the American A&M label, that strangely, like the Strawbs' eponymous debut and sophomore album titled Dragonfly, was not released quickly in the US and actually reissued a few years later when both the Strawbs and Rick Wakeman would become better known to the prog world.

I believe it's due to Dave Cousins' bucolic songwriting and the remarkable absence of Wakeman's signature mellotron and Moog synthesizers which brings a freshness and immediacy to these live performances of mostly new songs. Wakeman was also new to Strawbs' audiences and you can clearly hear the enthusiasm for his deft piano, organ and harpsichord playing. To say that Wakeman gave virtuoso performances is not hype, just the truth. His ability to engage his audiences without coming off as a stuffed shirt is much to his credit, and his later self deprecating manor is well into being carefully formed.

The rest of the Strawbs give solid backing with the percussion based rhythm section of John Ford on bass and Richard Hudson on congas and small hand percussion instruments, while rhythm guitarist Tony Hooper does well to back Cousins' occasional electric guitar intros and outros. Cousins' seems to no longer be trying to find his voice and is quite self assured from the opening song "Martin Luther King's Dream" to the bonus CD track of "The Vision Of The Lady Of The Lake", which should have been included on the original vinyl release as it's the epitome of prog folk.

4 stars for this treasure from the attic as Just A Collection Of Antiques and Curios possesses an ambiance that's rare to find in other folk rock works of it's time, and for some reason beyond my reckoning, plays well on a cold winter's night.

 Deep Cuts by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.75 | 56 ratings

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Deep Cuts
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by Progfan97402

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 decline. Obvious A&M was not happy with the lack of commercial successful, they were commercially on a decline after Bursting at the Seams, although, of course, Hero & Heroine and Ghosts were artistic successes. Strawbs moved on to Oyster, a Polydor subsidiary, a label which Rainbow recorded for, and released Deep Cuts. It's not entirely surprising they take on a more straightforward direction here, in fact, this pretty much sound like any given prog album of the late '70s responding to the changing musical landscape. What's really amazing is Mellotron is used on every song! A couple of them rather low key, others with quite a bit, so it's one of those rare albums where every cut has tron (along with Änglagård's Hybris and Viljans Öga, Cathedral's Stained Glass Stories, and the first two Greenslade albums). True, this album is less adventurous than their previous ones, but this out of the way: the last song, "So Close and Yet So Far Away" is quite dreadful. It's a truly awful soft rock ballad with lyrics that look like they came out of the Air Supply songbook. "The Soldier's Tale" and "Beside the Rio Grande" are clearly the best things on the album because they harken back to the band's glory days. "My Friend Peter" and "Charmer" are pretty enjoyable songs, while "(Wasting My Time) Thinking of You" is pretty untypical for the band, having a bit of a lounge feel to it. The rest of the album seems pretty give or take. It's a great thing that a copy of this album (as well as any of their other albums, except for their first two) are pretty easy to find and can be had for cheap, so I obviously didn't feel ripped off paying the small amount for an LP of this. It's basically an album for the fans, but while has some nice moments, and only one song I can't stand, it's not something I recommend the newcomer. Still pretty good, so three stars.
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