I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy the music of The Strawbs, the 1960’s British folk/progressive rock group that faded away during the late 1970’s, but revived, and has continued in minor key (you should pardon the expression) until the present day. Its music, largely the composition of Dave Cousins but with contributions by other members of the band, has been a companion through many years.
Today I’d like to share some of Strawbs’ lesser-known songs, ones that missed the mainstream hit parade but which are nevertheless both entertaining and thought-provoking. I’ll include a few acoustic versions, just to keep things interesting.
Let’s start off with “Cold Steel“, a song composed and sung by Dave Lambert, who joined the group after its first rush of success, but has been a mainstay ever since. It’s from the album “Deja Fou“.
Here’s the almost-eponymous opening track to the Strawbs’ 1977 album “Burning For You“.
“Blue Angel” was originally recorded as a largely acoustic track by Dave Cousins on his 1972 solo album “Two Weeks Last Summer“. The band took it up as the title track for their 2003 album of the same name, and gave it the prog-rock treatment.
From the group’s 2004 album “Deja Fou“, here’s “Russian Front“. For those of you who are familiar with old-style Soviet folk humor about the communist system, this is full of snarky references, as well as being a fun number in its own right.
Originally recorded in 1975 on their album “Nomadness“, here’s an acoustic version of the track “The Golden Salamander“, from the 2003 album “Baroque & Roll“.
Finally, here’s a live acoustic version of one of Strawbs’ best-known prog-rock numbers, “Autumn“, from their 1974 album “Hero and Heroine“. John Hawken is on keyboards; he played on the original album, but left the group soon thereafter. He rejoins them for this reunion rendition.
Nostalgia . . . lots of memories there.
I =have only a vague recollection of hearing of The Strawbs, but this is the first time I've actually heard them. Good stuff! Thanks.
Very much lots of memories.
I was a bit surprised you chose the Straws more mellow version of "Blue Angel", as compared to Cousins' solo album version, from "Two Weeks Last Summer". I thought it was written with more of an edge in mind, and Wakeman's piano work really added just what I thought it needed.
Of course, I might also have been influenced by having the original version so imprinted that any other version sounds slightly wrong.