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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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Buy STRAWBS Music


The Ferryman's CurseThe Ferryman's Curse
Import
Esoteric/Antenna 2017
Audio CD$11.39
$16.21 (used)
Hero & HeroineHero & Heroine
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$4.99
$6.86 (used)
Live In GettysburgLive In Gettysburg
WITCHWOOD MEDIA 2017
Audio CD$13.67
$19.79 (used)
From the WitchwoodFrom the Witchwood
Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$5.43
$5.85 (used)
PrognosticPrognostic
WITCHWOOD MEDIA 2016
Audio CD$13.34
$18.39 (used)
Live '70Live '70
Import · Remastered
Airmail Japan 2013
Audio CD$26.04
$24.30 (used)
Grave New WorldGrave New World
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$5.35
$5.49 (used)
Dancing To The Devil's BeatDancing To The Devil's Beat
WITCHWOOD MEDIA 2016
Audio CD$3.74
$6.20 (used)
Bursting at the SeamsBursting at the Seams
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 1998
Audio CD$5.21
$5.49 (used)
DragonflyDragonfly
Import
INgrooves Fontana/UMe Imports 2008
Audio CD$5.43
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
STRAWBS Hero and Heroine RARE 8-TRACK TAPE PSYCH ROCK USD $9.97 Buy It Now
STRAWBS LEMON PIE / DON'T TRY TO CHANGE ME a&m 7161 ......... 45 rpm USD $8.97 Buy It Now 1h 13m
STRAWBS CONCERT PROGRAMME 70'S USD $9.66 Buy It Now 1h 17m
DISC NESPAPER CHARTS 3/3/1973 STRAWBS' PART OF THE UNION WAS NUMBER ONE USD $8.28 Buy It Now 1h 23m
STRAWBS HERE IT COMES TOMORROW SINGLE ADVERT 8X12 APP USD $11.04 Buy It Now 1h 23m
THE STRAWBS BURSTING AT THE SEAMS LP ON AM RECORDS USD $8.81 Buy It Now 1h 35m
Strawbs Deep Cuts LP NM Vinyl "Lyric Sleeve" Oyster USD $8.49 Buy It Now 1h 40m
STRAWBS just a collection of antiques JAPAN AUDIOPHILE prog/folk LP/ INSERT VG+ USD $26.99 Buy It Now 2h 22m
Strawbs CASSETTE self titled NEW USD $25.00 Buy It Now 3h 4m
STRAWBS Choice 1974 UK Poster size Press ADVERT 16x6" USD $10.97 Buy It Now 3h 15m
Strawbs 40th Anniversary Celebration, Vol. 2: Rick Wakeman & Dave Cousins [19 USD $24.62 Buy It Now 3h 16m
Strawbs ~ Deep Cuts ~ Polydor Records ~ OY-1-1603 ~ Vinyl Record USD $3.99 Buy It Now 3h 20m
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The Strawbs - Of a Time (2012) USD $6.21 [0 bids]
3h 30m
Slip Double: Strawbs : Live In Gettysburg 2016 CD & DVD Sealed NTSC Region Free USD $24.14 Buy It Now 3h 32m
THE STRAWBS Lay Down 7" Single AMS 7035 USD $4.07 Buy It Now 3h 33m
STRAWBS - THE BEST OF STRAWBS - A&M 1978 EX DOUBLE LP VINYL RECORD -U USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3h 35m
STRAWBS i only want my love to grow in you 7" VINYL RECORD 2066 705 USD $1.38 Buy It Now 4h 41m
Strawbs Bursting At The Seams NM in SHRINK prog USD $8.00 [0 bids]
4h 48m
THE STRAWBS GRAVE NEW WORLD A&M 72 A1B1 UK orig LP EX/EX + Book USD $33.11 Buy It Now 5h 35m
STRAWBS - DEEP CUTS - POLYDOR - 1976 LP - STILL SEALED USD $12.95 Buy It Now 7h 30m
Rock Lp Strawbs Bursting At The Seams On A&M USD $7.99 Buy It Now 8h 40m
Rock Lp Strawbs Burning For You On Polydor USD $7.99 Buy It Now 8h 40m
VINYL LP Strawbs - Best Of Strawbs A&M Records 2LP SP-6068/ Prog USD $6.56 Buy It Now 12h 9m
THE STRAWBS: 'A Choice Selection Of ... (Best Of)' CD USD $6.89 [0 bids]
15h 8m
THE STRAWBS: 'Live At The BBC Volume 1 In Session' CD USD $6.89 [0 bids]
15h 12m
Strawbs - Deep Cuts (CD) USD $26.90 Buy It Now 15h 18m
DENNY,SANDY & THE STRAWBS-ALL OUR OWN WORK VINYL LP NEW USD $31.17 Buy It Now 15h 44m
STRAWBS-STRAWBS 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION 2: RICK & CD NEW USD $24.74 Buy It Now 15h 59m
STRAWBS Lay Down CIGGY BARLUST & THE WHALES FROM VENUS 7"single 1972 AM RECORDS USD $1.37 [0 bids]
15h 59m
CUTTING/ ADVERT : 6/4/174PMM5 COLIN SCOTT & FRIENDS ON TOUR WITH THE STRAWBS 15X USD $9.66 Buy It Now 16h 17m
RS#103P48 STRAWBS GRAVE NEW WORLD ALBUM & TOUR DATES ADVERT 7X10 USD $9.66 Buy It Now 16h 19m
CUTTING/ADVERT: 10/8/74PMM29 STRAWBS BY CHOICE ALBUM 15X7 A&M USD $14.49 Buy It Now 16h 20m
THE STRAWBS grave new world LP AMLH 68078 1st uk with lyric booklet 1972 Played USD $16.55 [0 bids]
16h 25m
the strawbs vinyl USD $6.90 [1 bids]
18h 2m
STRAWBS Neptune Theatre Liverpool 2000 Used Ticket Stub USD $20.63 Buy It Now 19h 3m
STRAWBS UK 1977 7" Single KEEP ON TRYING USD $3.44 Buy It Now 19h 44m
Rick Wakeman 1977 Japan Promo Press Release Yes Strawbs USD $69.99 Buy It Now 19h 49m
STRAWBS Let It Rain 7" VINYL B/w Tina Dei Fada (strawbs101) UK Private 1988 USD $14.48 Buy It Now 20h 31m
Strawbs "From The Witchwood" UK Vinyl LP (early 1970's reissue) A USD $8.27 [0 bids]
20h 56m
STRAWBS Here It Comes 7" VINYL German A&M 1972 B/W Tomorrow (12155At) Pic Sleeve USD $9.37 Buy It Now 22h
STRAWBS Part Of The Union 7" VINYL UK A&M 1973 Four Prong Label Design B/W Will USD $5.78 Buy It Now 22h
STRAWBS Joey And Me 7" VINYL UK Arista 1978 B/W Deadly Nightshade (Arist159) USD $5.78 Buy It Now 22h 4m
STRAWBS Lay Down 7" VINYL UK A&M 1972 Solid Label Design B/W Backside (Ams7035) USD $5.78 Buy It Now 22h 4m
STRAWBS Shine On Silver Sun 7" VINYL UK A&M 1973 4 Prong Label Design B/W USD $5.78 Buy It Now 22h 4m
STRAWBS Forever 7" VINYL UK A&M 1970 B/W Another Day (Ams791) Company Sleeve USD $10.82 Buy It Now 22h 4m
STRAWBS Back In The Old Routine 7" VINYL UK Polydor 1977 B/W Burning For Me USD $6.89 Buy It Now 22h 5m
STRAWBS Grace Darling 7" VINYL UK A&M 1974 Promo - No Centre B/W Changes USD $4.33 Buy It Now 22h 29m
Strawbs - Part Of The Union - Will You Go - Vinyl Record 7" Single - AMS 7047 USD $10.86 Buy It Now 22h 36m
Strawbs 1972 "Grave New World" NM Vinyl Progressive Rock USD $12.00 Buy It Now 22h 40m
Strawbs 1971 "From The Witchwood" NM Vinyl Progressive Rock Rick Wakeman USD $10.00 Buy It Now 22h 50m
STRAWBS Part Of The Union 7" VINYL UK A&M 1973 B/W Lay Down (Ams7425) USD $4.33 Buy It Now 23h 15m
STRAWBS I Only Want My Love To Grow In You 7" VINYL UK Polydor 1976 USD $1.45 Buy It Now 23h 18m
STRAWBS Charmer 7" VINYL UK Polydor 1976 (2066744) B/W Beside The Rio Grande USD $4.33 Buy It Now 23h 19m
STRAWBS A Choice Selection Of CD German A&M 1992 16 Track (Cdmid173) USD $6.89 Buy It Now 23h 32m
STRAWBS Deadlines CARD US Arista Original Promo Double Sided Postcard Approx 18 USD $4.33 Buy It Now 23h 39m
The Strawbs - Live In America: Limited [New CD] Japanese Mini-Lp Sleeve, Shm CD, USD $26.51 Buy It Now 23h 44m
The Strawbs - Live In America: Limited [New CD] Japanese Mini-Lp Sleeve, Shm CD, USD $28.66 Buy It Now 23h 51m
Strawbs/Part Of The Union/1973 7" Single Excellent Condition USD $1.37 [0 bids]
1 day
STRAWBS: Ghosts LP (WLP, promo toc, inner sleeve, punch hole, sl cw) USD $20.00 Buy It Now 1 day
The Strawbs - Live at the Calderone New York 75 [New CD] USD $16.54 Buy It Now 1 day
The Strawbs - Live at the Calderone New York 75 [New CD] USD $18.09 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs GHOSTS / SP4506 LP VG+ USD $8.99 Buy It Now 1 day
THE STRAWBS LIVE IN GETTYSBURG [DIGIPAK] * USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $17.62 Buy It Now 1 day
THE STRAWBS - BURSTING AT THE SEAMS - ORIG. 1973 UK ISSUE - A USD $5.51 [0 bids]
1 day
STRAWBS - BURSTING AT THE SEAMS Orig UK SILVER FOIL Trans Red Vinyl A4/B2 LP EX USD $15.18 [0 bids]
1 day
THE STRAWBS LIVE IN GETTYSBURG [DIGIPAK] * NEW CD USD $19.46 Buy It Now 1 day
SANDY DENNY & THE STRAWBS/SANDY DENNY/THE STRAWBS ALL OUR OWN WORK NEW VINYL REC USD $31.16 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs - Bursting At The Seams - A&M 1973 - OP - Shrink - NM USD $8.00 Buy It Now 1 day
MARGE HOBBIE: Strawbs In The Wind / Curly Haired Princess 45 (crack and chip ,i USD $15.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Halcyon Days The Very Best Of The Strawbs 2 cd set USD $9.00 [0 bids]
1 day
The Strawbs - SIGNED Flyer 2017 USD $20.36 [0 bids]
1 day
Fair Weather Beginning from End Japan Vinyl LP Andy Low Amen Corner Strawbs USD $89.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs ?- The Best Of Strawbs - Condition (LP's/Sleeve): NM/VG+ USD $14.95 Buy It Now 1 day
LP RICK WAKEMAN SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII 1974 A&M QUAD NM PROG ROCK YES STRAWBS USD $69.98 Buy It Now 1 day
CASSETTE: STRAWBS Don't say goodbye POP FOLK USD $8.96 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs - Halcyon Days (NEW 2CD) USD $13.44 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS " I ONLY WANT MY LOVE TO GROW IN YOU " 7" SINGLE EXCELLENT 1976 USD $3.44 Buy It Now 1 day
THE STRAWBS dragonfly (uk & lyric insert) LP EX+/EX AMLS 970 A1/B1 folk 1970 USD $96.39 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS 'SHINE ON SILVER SUN' UK 7" SINGLE USD $2.75 Buy It Now 1 day
THE STRAWBS dragonfly (uk & lyric insert) LP EX+/EX AMLS 970 A1/B1 folk 1970 USD $82.85 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs - Hero And Heroine (NEW CD) USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
The Strawbs - NY '75 (2009) USD $10.88 Buy It Now 1 day
The Strawbs - Of a Time (2012) USD $15.91 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs "Deadlines" LP w/ORIGINAL INNER SLEEVE USD $7.99 Buy It Now 1 day
ERIC CARMEN-CHANGE OF HEART-LP-VINYL-THE STRAWBS-PROMO-FACTORY SEALED-NEW USD $10.19 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs - Burning for you - Vinyl LP USD $13.79 [0 bids]
1 day
The Strawbs - Choice - Vinyl LP USD $27.59 [0 bids]
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The Strawbs - Bursting at the seams - Vinyl LP USD $20.69 [0 bids]
1 day
Strawbs,Polydor/Oyster,"Burning For You",US,LP,stereo,original inner sleeve, M- USD $3.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs - From The Witchwood Vinyl LP - Early Pressing SP 4304 USD $6.21 [1 bids]
1 day
The Strawbs Burning For You [LP] (Vinyl, 1977 Oyster) USD $0.99 [1 bids]
1 day
THE STRAWBS - GHOSTS [REMASTER] USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $9.18 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS Burning For You vinyl LP 1977 Polydor Records EX IN Shrink USD $7.95 Buy It Now 1 day
STRAWBS - 'Keep On Trying (1977 7'')'. USD $4.07 Buy It Now 1 day
Strawbs-Acoustic Gold CD USD $8.00 Buy It Now 2 days
STRAWBS From The Witchwood LP A&M Records SP 4304 US 1971 WLP 05G USD $17.00 Buy It Now 2 days
STRAWBS DEE CUTS WHITE LABEL PROMO PROG ROCK NM USD $6.99 Buy It Now 2 days
NEW Witchwood: The Very Best Of - Strawbs, The (Audio CD) USD $15.11 Buy It Now 2 days
STRAWBS THE COLLECTION CD USD $1.38 [0 bids]
2 days

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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)

3.09 | 74 ratings
Strawbs
1969
3.14 | 87 ratings
Dragonfly
1970
4.02 | 216 ratings
From The Witchwood
1971
4.15 | 296 ratings
Grave New World
1972
3.57 | 148 ratings
Bursting At The Seams
1973
2.76 | 29 ratings
Sandy Denny And The Strawbs: All Our Own Work
1973
4.16 | 293 ratings
Hero And Heroine
1974
4.03 | 159 ratings
Ghosts
1975
2.54 | 70 ratings
Nomadness
1975
2.76 | 64 ratings
Deep Cuts
1976
2.57 | 52 ratings
Burning For You
1977
2.87 | 44 ratings
Deadlines
1978
2.99 | 29 ratings
Don't Say Goodbye
1987
2.69 | 21 ratings
Ringing Down The Years
1991
2.74 | 34 ratings
Heartbreak Hill [Aka: Starting Over]
1995
3.56 | 24 ratings
Acoustic Strawbs: Baroque & Roll
2001
2.79 | 30 ratings
Blue Angel
2003
3.15 | 31 ratings
Déjà Fou
2004
3.51 | 43 ratings
The Broken Hearted Bride
2008
3.27 | 35 ratings
Dancing To The Devil's Beat
2009
3.62 | 32 ratings
Hero & Heroine In Ascencia
2011
2.74 | 26 ratings
Prognostic
2014
3.85 | 28 ratings
The Ferryman's Curse
2017

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

3.72 | 70 ratings
Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios
1970
2.39 | 9 ratings
The Strawbs' Greatest Hits Live
1993
3.69 | 14 ratings
BBC in concert
1995
2.49 | 10 ratings
Concert Classics
1999
3.39 | 5 ratings
The Complete Strawbs (Chiswick '98 Live)
2000
2.44 | 4 ratings
Full Bloom, Acoustic Strawbs Live
2004
3.68 | 9 ratings
Live At Nearfest
2005
3.75 | 16 ratings
Painted Sky
2005
3.70 | 5 ratings
Recollection
2006
3.09 | 4 ratings
NY '75
2007
4.92 | 3 ratings
40th Anniversary Celebration: Vol 1: Strawberry Fayre
2010
3.18 | 2 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
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live In Gettysburg
2017

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

3.11 | 6 ratings
Classic Rock Legends (DVD)
1998
4.02 | 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
2.52 | 6 ratings
Early Strawbs
1974
3.78 | 10 ratings
Classic Strawbs
1977
3.94 | 10 ratings
The Best of Strawbs
1978
2.69 | 8 ratings
Preserved Uncanned
1990
3.52 | 17 ratings
A Choice Selection of Strawbs
1992
3.61 | 17 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
4.41 | 4 ratings
Tears And Pavan (An Introduction To Strawbs)
2002
3.21 | 5 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
3.95 | 3 ratings
Witchwood: the Very Best of....
2014

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

2.38 | 7 ratings
Strawberry Sampler number 1
1969

STRAWBS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Painted Sky by STRAWBS album cover Live, 2005
3.75 | 16 ratings

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Painted Sky
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

3 stars The third in a series of albums from the mid 2000's Acoustic Strawbs trio featuring Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert and a rejoining Chas Cronk replacing the recently departed Brian Willoughby. Recorded mainly to ingratiate the arrival of Cronk on 12 string acoustic guitar, bass and foot pedals, the group once again goes over past favorites, as well as a few new surprises such as a stellar all acoustic version of "The Antique Suite" first found on their live Just a Collection Antiques and Curios album as well as some very good versions of "Oh How She Changed", "Grace Darling", "Benedictus", and a decent version of "Autumn", This version of "Autumn" features some washes of synthesized bass peddles from Cronk but is not as good as the version found on the previous acoustic album "Full Bloom", or reprised on the stellar acoustic Strawbs' compilation album titled "Acoustic Gold" which has the added benefit of excellently remastered sound. 3 stars seems about right for this all acoustic offering from the venerable Strawbs as the previous acoustic albums "Baroque and Roll" and "Full Bloom" both seem much more essential and enjoyable.
 The Ferryman's Curse by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.85 | 28 ratings

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The Ferryman's Curse
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars I had to wait quite a while to actually hear this album properly as I needed some scar tissue removed from my left ear and sufficient time for the procedure to heal. I only hoped that this album, along with several others, was worth the wait.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Ferryman's Curse by the Strawbs, while not being a great album, was indeed a very good one. New keyboard man Dave Bainbridge, on loan form the prog group IONA, brings composing skills as well as multi keyboards and additional electric and acoustic guitar to the Strawbs' arsenal. Super drummer Tony Fernandez ("Thunder Fists" to his friends) returns to the fold in place of Rod Coombes. The ever ready Dave Lambert and Chas Cronk return on lead guitar and bass respectively.

Producer Chris Tsangarides does an excellent job of keeping old Dave Cousin's voice from croaking and, in fact, most of the material is almost spoken at times, so Dave seems well aware of his vocal limitations these days and this album seems all the better for it. Cousins is an accomplished enough songwriter to reign in his voice while still composing an engaging song.

The album starts with an a nice orchestral instrumental titled, appropriately enough, "In The Beginning". that places the listener in the proper frame of mind while slightly telegraphing what to expect from the present incarnation of this famous prog band. The short 2 minute instrumental merges easily with the song "The Nails From The Hands Of Christ" which is quite stunning with it's "Another Brick In The Wall" walking bass lines and all manner of sampled mellotron-like strings, flutes, etc., from Bainbridge (as Ken Levine correctly pointed out in his review of this album.) Bainbridge always manages to sound reverent but never retro, a rare gift for a for someone in the newer end of prog rock and makes for a very subtle but essential contribution to this album's sound.

The follow up song titled "The Song Of Infinite Sadness" would be pretentious is it was composed and performed by any other artist than the Strawbs. So identified with this type of slow melancholic acoustic based ballad, its as if the Strawbs are paying homage to themselves. The equally slow paced " The Familiarity Of Old Lovers" finds Cousins in his lyrical element where the old boy can wax lyrical about his past, all the while hidden in allusions, while Lambert and Bainbridge add a stunning twin lead guitar coda to this wonderful song.

"When The Spirit Moves" is, for me, the high point of the album as it's one of those great transcendent Strawbs' songs that evokes the sentiment of past classic Strawbs' songs like "Benedictus" and "Lay Down". The semi choral effect of Lambert and Cronk matched against Cousins' wonderfully engaging yet simple acoustic guitar chords reaches a dramatic climax with Bainbridge's soaring keys, Fernandez's elegant drumming and Lambert's engaging electric guitar leads.

"The Ten Commandments" by Lambert does keep the semi spiritual vibe going even if it seems like a Slow Hand era Eric Clapton track with it's bluesy riffing, hard luck lyrics and stabbing organ. It seems that this out of place track would have been a nice palette cleanser had the following songs been as good as the album's first five.

Another good but short instrumental "The Reckoning" presages the albums' title track. "The Ferryman's Curse" is a follow up of sorts to "The Vision Of The Lady Of The Lake" from 1970's Dragonfly album. While well played by all, especially Lambert and Cronk, who give the song some balls, this type of Strawbs' song with extensive verbiage was never a treat for me, but lovers of Dragonfly might find it essential. "Bat's And Swallows" is more upbeat but not engaging, while "We Have The Power" tries to resurrect, once again, the spiritual uplift of "When The Spirit Moves" but falls short. The song's jagged abrupt ending doesn't help it's cause and would have been a wonderful opportunity for the group to go ballistic on an instrumental coda.

So, what starts off with a bang, ends in a wimper. However, that this mature prog group can still make enjoyably compelling albums without trying to clone itself is both a wonder and a gift. Just in time for the holidays. 3.5 stars rounded off to 4.

 The Ferryman's Curse by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.85 | 28 ratings

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The Ferryman's Curse
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars The hourglass is emptying for veteran bands like STRAWBS and their small but ardent following. Each much anticipated release is coddled with the understanding that it may be their last, and a glance at the titles and lyrics of "The Ferryman's Curse" concedes nothing so much as a pious man contemplating his worldly past and his otherworldly future. It might not be the coda for Dave Cousins and company, but it is certainly compiled with an appreciation of that prospect.

A bit of background would be helpful. Strawbs enjoyed some level of commercial success in two forms in the 1970s: as an earnest prog folk band cum pop stars in the UK ("Grave New World" and "Bursting at the Seams"), and, with a 60% lineup change, as a symphonic prog band with folk underpinnings in the US ("Hero and Heroine" and "Ghosts"). The band never completely eschewed conventional song structures even at their most adventurous, but have been able to straddle the boundaries of their various genres. In recent years it's the members of the later incarnation that have been recording and touring, meaning Dave Lambert (guitars) and Chas Cronk (bass) are in the fold, augmented by Tony Fernandez (drums) who was with the group during the late 1970s and Dave Bainbridge (keyboards) of prog folk band IONA. Bainbridge has writing credits on 5 of the 10 tracks, including two instrumentals, and exerts considerable influence on his Strawbs studio debut, as does returning superstar producer Chris Tsangarides, who manages to equalize the highs and lows of Cousins' septuagenarian vocal chords. They remain an acquired taste in their CAT STEVENS meets PETER GABRIEL and FISH mode. I'm glad I acquired it years ago.

The first instrumental, "From the Beginning" offers a contemplative introduction to the album, with piano and orchestral strings eventually bolstered by drums and organ. As it segues directly into "The Nails from the Hands of Christ", we begin with just a hypnotic beat that recalls nothing more than the PET SHOP BOYS' hit from 1984, "West End Girls". The lyrics and vocals are classic Cousins though, and his sense of humor is intact, particularly when the gift shop manager tells the protagonist that the nails are "kosher", and when he comments that the nails were rusty and bent, "as if to make a point". Lead and rhythm guitar suffuse additional drama, as does mellotron choir in the theatrical buildup. Speaking of mellotron, I suspect they are using samples rather than an actual flesh and blood beast, but they are as welcome as the album.

In the tradition of sedate somewhat morose ballads of the past (Barcarole from "Burning for You", Sealed with a Traitor's Kiss" from "Deadlines", and "Copenhagen" from "Dancing to the Devil's Beat" all come to mind), "The Song of Infinite Sadness" downshifts for the duration. A bit too funereal for me, it does sound better with time, and, again, the lyrics are typically insightful. This wisdom is again evident on "The Familarity of Old Lovers", one of my 2 favourites. The delivery is a touch playful if resigned, and the lead guitar figure is succinct and addictive. The outtro involves both Lambert and Bainbridge interjecting each other on lead guitar, and is a winning idea.

Now to the heart center of the album, "When the Spirit Moves", in which Cousins dons his "Benedictus" voice for a rare occasion of unabashed spirituality, backed in choral style by his bandmates. Musically, it develops the ideas on "When Silent Shadows Fall" from the prior album into a triumphant statement that is compelling from the first to the last note, attaining a crescendo that is suited to a closing number, and indeed it would form the end of Side 1 on a vinyl copy.

Next up is Dave Lambert's sole songwriting and lead vocal contribution, the bluesy "The Ten Commandments", which was written some years ago but fits thematically with the religious directives on the disc. While a break from Cousins' voice is welcome, it's perhaps my least favorite track, and initiates the listener into the weakest part of the album. "The Reckoning" is a decent instrumental with haunting mellotron flutes and piano by Bainbridge as well as pleasant acoustic guitar, but as lead in to the epic title track, it fails to impart sufficient gravitas. However, as it turns out, it imparts more than the title track merits! "The Ferryman's Curse" is the sequel to "The Vision of the Lady of the Lake" which appeared on "Dragonfly" back in 1970, which was the sole prog-oriented piece on that early album, a multi verse epic with a lovely melody and occasional hard rock accompaniment. Lyrically, this update resolves some questions that lingered for 47 years, and spins a fascinating tale in which the same number of years has ostensibly elapsed since the first misadventure. As poetry this is brilliant, particularly some of the Greek mythological references and how, in typical Strawbs fashion, the story itself seems to unfold outside of any specific historical setting. Unfortunately the whole 9 minutes is delivered as a dirge. Admittedly, the original piece was a challenge even for a young Cousins' pipes, so perhaps a decision was made to compose the piece for a narrower vocal range where he could still emote away but all studio mirrors and singer would be safe! Within all these constructs, the one hard rock moment on the album is the blistering instrumental break towards the climax, which isn't my cuppa but which might ignite some new fans if they only get that far...

The final two tracks adopt a far more optimistic and vivacious tone. While such tendencies have never been Strawbs' strong suit, both are handled better than in the past, and achieve respectable equilibrium as pop folk music, particularly "Bats and Swallows", an account of a Mediterranean vacation and the human and animal sights and sounds perceived by Cousins. The highlight instrumentally is the geographically appropriate bouzouki solo by Bainbridge, The main musical theme of "We Have the Power" is delivered on synthesizer, and the song structure, and perhaps even the lyrics, are like a much sunnier take on "Call to Action" which appeared on "The Broken Hearted Bride". The ending seems a bit off kilter though, leaving me wondering if it was intentional or not, since so much TLC clearly went into the making of this release. Unless they ran out of studio time?

When I began writing mental notes towards this review, I had intended to award a solid 3 stars, but it really breaks out at 3.5 stars, and not rounding up in this case is tantamount to elder abuse, both of the band and its longstanding fans who are still standing. Let's not pay the ferryman just yet.

 The Ferryman's Curse by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.85 | 28 ratings

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The Ferryman's Curse
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by The Jester

3 stars Starting this, I should say that I consider myself as a fan of Strawbs. Maybe not the greatest fan, but if you consider that I am listening to them for more than 25 years now, and I have in my music collection about 13-14 of their albums, I think I have a rather detailed opinion about them. Truth is that, their career has gone downhill for many years now, but they do release a good album every now and then; but to be honest, I don't know if The Ferryman's Curse is one of those albums. I know very well how good and important band Strawbs was, and I will not form an opinion based on their 23rd studio album. But, that doesn't change the fact that 'Ferryman's' is a very mediocre album. Yes, it includes some fine moments, like When the Spirit Moves for example, but most of the songs would never fit into the band's older albums; and that definitely tells us something about the overall quality, correct? Not to mention Dave Cousins vocals, which are not so good I'm affraid. The Ferryman's Tale is one more piece in a line of not so good ' but not bad - albums, like Prognostic, or Hero & Heroine in Ascencia, among others. For all those things, I don't think I can give more than 2.5 - 3.0 stars (out of 5.0) Favorite songs: When the Spirits Move, We have the Power and The Ferryman's Curse
 Live In Gettysburg by STRAWBS album cover Live, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Live In Gettysburg
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

— First review of this album —
4 stars I'm not sure who has milked their biggest album more. Roger Waters with his never ending Wall remakes and newer concert performances, or the Strawbs beating Hero And Heroine to death with this surprisingly good concert performance of the entire album, from the 2016 Rights of Spring Festival, that features some wonderful new keyboard links from guest player Dave Bainbridge.

For all intents and purposes, this album is really a live rendering of the Hero and Heroine remake from 2011 called Hero and Heroine In Ascencia. What really drives this concert is that Dave Cousins is in fantastic voice and knows it as he excitedly pushes his voice beyond the limit once or twice, which is audible on this album's fine sounding 5.1 ch DVD. It's wisely edited out for the CD master as there's no visuals of an excited Cousins to gloss over the two flubs. No problem, as this is Cousins finest vocals as of late and the band, especially Bainbridge and super drum Tony Fernandez, are on fire. Dave Lambert is also is fine voice and is note perfect in his brilliant guitar playing.

The sound mix and mastering of the CD by bassist Chas Cronk and is very dynamic and is full of presence. Indeed, its very big and detailed sound is very reminiscent of the recording work done by producer Tom Allom on the original Hero And Heroine album. Imitation, it seems, is still the highest form of flattery.

I know that Live In Gettyburg will only appeal to die hard fans, but there's not that much live Strawbs of such wonderful sound and video quality available. I have played it every other day since receiving it in the post two weeks ago, as It's a live CD&DVD that just grabs you. 4 Stars.

 Live At Nearfest by STRAWBS album cover Live, 2005
3.68 | 9 ratings

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Live At Nearfest
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars To come to full circle with the classic Hero And Heroine and Ghosts line up of the Strawbs, this 2004 headlining concert for NEARfest reunites the Strawbs with the great John Hawken. Returning with Hawken was his magical Mellotron with tapes borrowed from fellow Mellotron master and ex Moody Blues' Keyboardist Mike Pinder. Talk about prog royalty. And with the Strawbs focusing on four cuts from H&H, along with other assorted prog antiques and curios, a good time was had by all.

What really makes this particular concert stand out, aside from the band bringing their A game, was that Dave Cousins' voice was still effective at this stage and had very good range, albeit a tad deeper with just a touch of croakiness. This was to change quickly as the 2004 progressed up until the present day where Cousins rusty rasp has become too grating at times. So, take this rare gem for what it's worth. Cousins in good voice with inspired singing as well as inspired playing by Dave Lambert, Chas Cronk, Rod Coombes, and the already mentioned John Hawken who also dazzles on some mind blowing and very bass heavy (for a live recording) synth tones. Excellent recording, mixing, and song selection puts this live archive in the 4 star range.

 Ghosts by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.03 | 159 ratings

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Ghosts
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

5 stars A brief cacophony of harpsichord notes dissolves quickly into one of the signature melodies of the Strawbs' progressive knockout titled "Ghosts", and we're off to listen to the last great prog album from this seminal 70's prog act. Where singer and songwriter Dave Cousins took us all on an introspective journey with the band's previously released prog classic Hero And Heroine, Cousins returns to more topical subjects before giving us one last glimpse into his psyche. And what could be more introspective than a nightmare about a visitation from a weathered angel with "eye's a bloody red"? It's the magnificent music conjured up by the exact same musicians that gave us the Strawbs' last classic (a rare occurrence for this band) that gives us the searing impressions of Hell that Mr. Cousins' implores us never to see. Yes, the three part "Ghosts", apart from being so incredibly melodic and atmospheric, just moves the prog song goalposts a little farther and is one of the few title tracks that's actually worthy of the honor.

To back track a bit, Hero And Heroine was recorded by a very different line up from the group's successful UK hit album Bursting At The Seams, and was all the stronger for it. By strange Strawb's fortune, this line up remained intact long enough to record "Ghosts" before uber keyboardist John Hawken went off to reform a variant of his early UK band, Renaissance, which they titled Illusion, after the title of the early Renaissance band's second album.

Hawken tones down his space age synth sounds on Ghosts and stays with more orchestral sounds generated from his icy Mellotron, organ, pianos and harpsichords. Guitarist Dave Lambert takes on more lead work or counter melodies with with his always deft and atmospheric guitar, and the man can shift from a country hoedown to Who-like bombast while always fitting in perfectly with the music. Bassist Chas Cronk is more melodic this time around while drummer Rod Coombes comes close to sounding like an octopus with his busy fills and inventive rhythms.

But it's Cousins that really sells the album with superb pop rock on "Lemon Pie" and the quirky "Where Do You Go (When You Need A Hole To Crawl Into), the moving ballads "Remembering/ You And I (When We Were Young) and "Grace Darling", the album closer which features both a full choir and magnificent church organ. Sandwiched around these classic songs are more prog fests such as "Starshine/Angel Wine" and the breathtaking two part suite called "The Life Auction", which seems to summon more ghostly specters to visit you on this album.

Producer/engineer Tom Allom also returns from the previous outing to help give Ghosts another dynamic full sounding production, while cleverly dodging any attempts to do a Phil Spector and reduce the sound to a claustrophobic fog. The sound of Ghosts is as clear as a bell while being very much in your face. No small feat either. Another 5 star album that starts off with a bang and goes out with one as well.

 Hero And Heroine by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.16 | 293 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
3.57 | 148 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 | 296 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.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Easy Livin for the last updates

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