Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Do talk back
User avatar
Hightea
Posts: 3205
Joined: 16 Apr 2015, 02:18
Location: NY state

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby Hightea » 06 Aug 2021, 15:49

Sort of mixed on Nomadness it has some epics like Golden Salamander and Hanging In The Gallery and some horrid tracks like Tokyo Rose. I also like To be Free. Agree its n album that almost sounds like different bands which to me makes it kind of interesting since most bands change from album to album not song to song on the same album. It's actually one of the things I love about the Strawbs.

User avatar
toomanyhatz
Power-mad king of the WCC
Posts: 29691
Joined: 07 Apr 2005, 00:01
Location: Just east of where Charlie Parker went to do some relaxin'

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby toomanyhatz » 06 Aug 2021, 17:54

I don't understand the lack of regard for "Tokyo Rosie." I think it's great! Cousins seems to be on y'all's side, however. He likes "So Shall Our Love Die" and "Golden Salamander" and seems to hate the rest.

Considering what's to come, however, I think he rather protests too much. The Oyster and Arista albums are next. I'm really not a fan of any of them (although they all have some good moments). Time has not been kind.
Footy wrote:
The Who / Jimi Hendrix Experience Saville Theatre, London Jan '67
. Got Jimi's autograph after the show and went on to see him several times that year


1959 1963 1965 1966 1974 1977 1978 1981 1988 2017* 2018 2020!! 2021?

User avatar
Neil Jung
Watcher Of The Skies
Posts: 10694
Joined: 18 Jul 2003, 18:36
Location: In the deepest ocean, bottom of the sea

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby Neil Jung » 06 Aug 2021, 18:45

toomanyhatz wrote:The Oyster and Arista albums are next. I'm really not a fan of any of them (although they all have some good moments). Time has not been kind.


I look forward to arguing the merits of Deep Cuts with you!
[indistinct chatter]

User avatar
toomanyhatz
Power-mad king of the WCC
Posts: 29691
Joined: 07 Apr 2005, 00:01
Location: Just east of where Charlie Parker went to do some relaxin'

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby toomanyhatz » 07 Aug 2021, 09:33

Image

I'm just going to come right out and say it - it's my least favorite studio record, at least, that has the name "Strawbs" on it.

There are a few good songs. This for one, which as far as I know this is the only Cousins/Robert Kirby co-write ever. Not surprisingly, it's gorgeous. Shame about the production, but the melody cuts through:



I like this one too:



Other than that?

Well, OK - "Beside the Rio Grande" is another troubadour ballad in the style of "The Battle" or "The Hangman and the Papist" and it's not bad lyrically, sort of a Clint Eastwood Western in song (Cousins describes it as "a cowboy version of the crucifixion"). But even that suffers from overproduction. Cousins is obviously proud of it, as he's performed it solo quite a lot, including once as a spoken word piece (a spoken word CD is included with his other book).

Cousins/Cronk was now the dominant songwriting team as Cousins the folkie basically went into hiding. Everything was synth programming, screaming dual lead guitars, slick overly processed vocal harmonies...A&M Strawbs was dead.

Deep Purple's label, Oyster, had won the bidding war for their services, and producer Jeffrey Lesser was assigned the task of making back their investment. Cousins says he liked Lesser and got along with him, but ultimately doesn't think he was the right producer for Strawbs.

It would have made a strong EP.
Footy wrote:
The Who / Jimi Hendrix Experience Saville Theatre, London Jan '67
. Got Jimi's autograph after the show and went on to see him several times that year


1959 1963 1965 1966 1974 1977 1978 1981 1988 2017* 2018 2020!! 2021?

User avatar
C
Robust
Posts: 65113
Joined: 22 Jul 2003, 19:06

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby C » 07 Aug 2021, 13:30

Don't forget these two gems Dave!

Image

Image




.
LMG wrote:Everyone I have ever met was at Baker's Airforce show where it was recorded. My boss, various ex-girlfriends, my postman was reminiscing about it the other day. My Mum went, my Dad and both sets of grandparents. I got stuck at home with a babysitter!

User avatar
ConnyOlivetti
Probing The Sonic Heritage
Posts: 10389
Joined: 06 Nov 2003, 07:14
Location: Below The North Pole
Contact:

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 07 Aug 2021, 15:44

Grave new world
Their best for sure.
Pure magic.
And, they did videos to all of the songs on the album.
Must be a first
Charlie O. wrote:I think Coan and Googa are right.


Un enfant dans electronica!
Je suis!

User avatar
Mike Boom
Posts: 3727
Joined: 02 Sep 2005, 03:49

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby Mike Boom » 08 Aug 2021, 02:33

Like Nomadness a lot, Deep Cuts not so much.

Grave New World


User avatar
Neil Jung
Watcher Of The Skies
Posts: 10694
Joined: 18 Jul 2003, 18:36
Location: In the deepest ocean, bottom of the sea

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby Neil Jung » 08 Aug 2021, 09:55

I think Deep Cuts is a fine album, with exception of Charmer and Wasting My Time etc, side one being much stronger. Favourites Turn Me Round and Simple Visions show off Lambert’s guitar skills to great effect. I Only Want My Love etc was I think a minor hit. Yes the production wasn’t as organic as earlier albums, but for me it’s streets ahead of Nomadness.
[indistinct chatter]

User avatar
Neil Jung
Watcher Of The Skies
Posts: 10694
Joined: 18 Jul 2003, 18:36
Location: In the deepest ocean, bottom of the sea

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby Neil Jung » 08 Aug 2021, 12:38

Neil Jung wrote:I think Deep Cuts is a fine album, with exception of Charmer and Wasting My Time etc, side one being much stronger. Favourites Turn Me Round and Simple Visions show off Lambert’s guitar skills to great effect. I Only Want My Love etc was I think a minor hit. Yes the production wasn’t as organic as earlier albums, but for me it’s streets ahead of Nomadness and better than Burning For You and Deadlines of the same era.
[indistinct chatter]

User avatar
C
Robust
Posts: 65113
Joined: 22 Jul 2003, 19:06

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby C » 08 Aug 2021, 20:50

Up to Ghosts were all great albums after that it was the law of diminishing returns

However, The Ferryman's Curse was a good return to the halcyon days

If I were asked what my top 3 were it would be very difficult

Four is easier:

Antiques & Curios
From the Witchwood
Grave New World
Hero and Heroine


I also have a lot of love for the debut




.
LMG wrote:Everyone I have ever met was at Baker's Airforce show where it was recorded. My boss, various ex-girlfriends, my postman was reminiscing about it the other day. My Mum went, my Dad and both sets of grandparents. I got stuck at home with a babysitter!

User avatar
toomanyhatz
Power-mad king of the WCC
Posts: 29691
Joined: 07 Apr 2005, 00:01
Location: Just east of where Charlie Parker went to do some relaxin'

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby toomanyhatz » 08 Aug 2021, 22:00

For me it's:

Grave New World

Antiques & Curios




Baroque and Roll



(first two, Witchwood, Bursting, H&H, Nomadness all honorable mention)

Still getting acquainted with the rest. I don't think any others will surpass any of the above, but you never know.
Footy wrote:
The Who / Jimi Hendrix Experience Saville Theatre, London Jan '67
. Got Jimi's autograph after the show and went on to see him several times that year


1959 1963 1965 1966 1974 1977 1978 1981 1988 2017* 2018 2020!! 2021?

User avatar
John aka Josh
Posts: 11550
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 21:26
Location: By the banks of the mighty Bourne

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby John aka Josh » 08 Aug 2021, 22:43

Firstly, thanks very much for the thread and your most interesting reviews Mr Hatz.




For the little it's worth, I rate their albums thus.



Hero & Heroine.



From the Witchwood.



Grave New World.



Antiques & Curios.




Those four are the top tier, just below are


Bursting at the Seams, Dragonfly & (just) Ghosts.
Image

User avatar
toomanyhatz
Power-mad king of the WCC
Posts: 29691
Joined: 07 Apr 2005, 00:01
Location: Just east of where Charlie Parker went to do some relaxin'

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby toomanyhatz » 09 Aug 2021, 06:34

Image

It just goes to show you...exactly what, I'm not sure. But another revelation of Cousins' autobio is that this is his least favorite Strawbs album. It is easily my favorite of the non-A&M 70s albums. Not even close. It was also intended to be the last Strawbs album, at least at the time. As we know, it didn't quite work out that way.

Yeah, it's got some weak stuff. "Cut Like a Diamond" is completely overwrought, "Alexander the Great" (though amusing) is over-the-top defensive - complaining about critical appraisal is never a good subject for a rock song - and much of the rest is, like the one before it, awfully slick, overproduced, and lacking much in the way of tact and restraint.

It's also got several fine songs, and to my ears, not a lot of bad ones. It exhibits a lot more personality - though perhaps not so much in the 'Classic Strawbs' sense - than its predecessor or follow-up.

The opener certainly doesn't have any of the weaknesses of the worst stuff here - it's subtle, restrained, and has a lovely melody and taut lyrics. For whatever reason, Cousins' co-writes with keyboardists are almost always successful. This one's the only Strawbs song I'm aware of on which keyboardist John Mealing shares a co-write. (And now seems as good a time as any to point out that neither Mealing or Kirby - who are the 'in-house' keyboardists for the three non-A&M albums - were ever fully-fledged members of Strawbs, but rather 'permanent guests.')



But the album's best song, imo, is this one - and bless Cousins, he likes it too. And more evidence for me that ol' Dave was, is, and always will be a pretty big Beatles fan. I find it resembles a certain song that appears early on on side two of Abbey Road:



There's also not one but two solo Lambert compositions. "Heartbreaker" is my favorite of the two and one of his better Strawbs compositions with, if nothing else, a killer riff:



There's also a couple more Cousins/Cronk songs that are nothing great, but at least mostly free of musical cliché and lyrical howlers. And this, the closer, Cousins' farewell to the band. It features what might be my favorite Lambert solo:



I won't try to sell you on its greatness, but it gives me a lot of pleasure when I do hear it, and the stuff I don't like on it is much less objectionable than the worst of the other albums of the period.

After it was done, he said his goodbyes, wished everyone well and went home, and started plotting his next move.

Clive Davis, head of Arista Records, had his own opinions on what that should be.
Footy wrote:
The Who / Jimi Hendrix Experience Saville Theatre, London Jan '67
. Got Jimi's autograph after the show and went on to see him several times that year


1959 1963 1965 1966 1974 1977 1978 1981 1988 2017* 2018 2020!! 2021?

User avatar
C
Robust
Posts: 65113
Joined: 22 Jul 2003, 19:06

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby C » 09 Aug 2021, 12:12

toomanyhatz wrote:Image

It just goes to show you...exactly what, I'm not sure. But another revelation of Cousins' autobio is that this is his least favorite Strawbs album. It is easily my favorite of the non-A&M 70s albums. Not even close. It was also intended to be the last Strawbs album, at least at the time. As we know, it didn't quite work out that way.

Yeah, it's got some weak stuff. "Cut Like a Diamond" is completely overwrought, "Alexander the Great" (though amusing) is over-the-top defensive - complaining about critical appraisal is never a good subject for a rock song - and much of the rest is, like the one before it, awfully slick, overproduced, and lacking much in the way of tact and restraint.

It's also got several fine songs, and to my ears, not a lot of bad ones. It exhibits a lot more personality - though perhaps not so much in the 'Classic Strawbs' sense - than its predecessor or follow-up.

The opener certainly doesn't have any of the weaknesses of the worst stuff here - it's subtle, restrained, and has a lovely melody and taut lyrics. For whatever reason, Cousins' co-writes with keyboardists are almost always successful. This one's the only Strawbs song I'm aware of on which keyboardist John Mealing shares a co-write. (And now seems as good a time as any to point out that neither Mealing or Kirby - who are the 'in-house' keyboardists for the three non-A&M albums - were ever fully-fledged members of Strawbs, but rather 'permanent guests.')



But the album's best song, imo, is this one - and bless Cousins, he likes it too. And more evidence for me that ol' Dave was, is, and always will be a pretty big Beatles fan. I find it resembles a certain song that appears early on on side two of Abbey Road:



There's also not one but two solo Lambert compositions. "Heartbreaker" is my favorite of the two and one of his better Strawbs compositions with, if nothing else, a killer riff:



There's also a couple more Cousins/Cronk songs that are nothing great, but at least mostly free of musical cliché and lyrical howlers. And this, the closer, Cousins' farewell to the band. It features what might be my favorite Lambert solo:



I won't try to sell you on its greatness, but it gives me a lot of pleasure when I do hear it, and the stuff I don't like on it is much less objectionable than the worst of the other albums of the period.

After it was done, he said his goodbyes, wished everyone well and went home, and started plotting his next move.

Clive Davis, head of Arista Records, had his own opinions on what that should be.


Good write-up Dave - thanks

To my ears, it is not a bad album but not a great one either - yes, possibly the best of the bunch

I haven't played it for a long time which says a lot but I'll dig it out today

[I'm sure you mentioned it somewhere previously here Dave, but replete with John Mealing (ex-If) on keyboards]





.
LMG wrote:Everyone I have ever met was at Baker's Airforce show where it was recorded. My boss, various ex-girlfriends, my postman was reminiscing about it the other day. My Mum went, my Dad and both sets of grandparents. I got stuck at home with a babysitter!

User avatar
C
Robust
Posts: 65113
Joined: 22 Jul 2003, 19:06

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby C » 09 Aug 2021, 18:54

Yes, Burning for You is a reasonably good album

With some very strong songs. I think it suffers from 'brash' production which is often too bright and 'in your face'.

The opening two tracks Burning for Me and Cut Like a Diamond are corkers which is sadly followed by, not one of Lambert's best, I Feel Your Loving Coming On.

Incidentally Dave I take your point about Cut Like a Diamond being 'completely overwrought' but I reckon a lot of the tracks 'feel' is down to the overwrought production.

Barcarole is ok....

Alex the Great is much better than Part of the Union - enough said - It always reminds me of Ashton, Gardner & Dyke's Resurrection Shuffle!

Side 2 starting with Keep on Trying is good enough Back in the Old Routine which follows is tedious

Heartbreaker is a much better Lambert effort with a tasty riff (the synth is a bit irritating though) Carry Me Home is nice and the closer Goodbye is sad and reflects on what was now sadly in the past

It's fair to say that Cousins' song writing style had changed somewhat and less angst and melancholy

It hurt Strawbs fans like me back in the day but I suppose form whatever reason 'progression' needed to be forthcoming

To sum this album up in one word 'syrupy'






.
LMG wrote:Everyone I have ever met was at Baker's Airforce show where it was recorded. My boss, various ex-girlfriends, my postman was reminiscing about it the other day. My Mum went, my Dad and both sets of grandparents. I got stuck at home with a babysitter!

User avatar
C
Robust
Posts: 65113
Joined: 22 Jul 2003, 19:06

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby C » 09 Aug 2021, 18:59

I put this on straight after:

Image

Bloody hell - the difference a coupel of years can make.

The first 90 seconds of this knocks all the albums that followed into a cocked hat!



LET'S ROCK!!!





:lol:
LMG wrote:Everyone I have ever met was at Baker's Airforce show where it was recorded. My boss, various ex-girlfriends, my postman was reminiscing about it the other day. My Mum went, my Dad and both sets of grandparents. I got stuck at home with a babysitter!

User avatar
C
Robust
Posts: 65113
Joined: 22 Jul 2003, 19:06

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby C » 09 Aug 2021, 19:49

Incidentally, what has Victor Mildrew got in common with the Strawbs....?

While you're thinking:

Classic Brit comedy:

Enjoy








.
Last edited by C on 09 Aug 2021, 19:58, edited 1 time in total.
LMG wrote:Everyone I have ever met was at Baker's Airforce show where it was recorded. My boss, various ex-girlfriends, my postman was reminiscing about it the other day. My Mum went, my Dad and both sets of grandparents. I got stuck at home with a babysitter!

User avatar
toomanyhatz
Power-mad king of the WCC
Posts: 29691
Joined: 07 Apr 2005, 00:01
Location: Just east of where Charlie Parker went to do some relaxin'

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby toomanyhatz » 09 Aug 2021, 19:54

I like "Back in the Old Routine" OK - it was the single, which seems an odd choice if you're trying for a current commercial sound, which they seem to be. Perhaps they're going for a bit of a Tony Hooper vibe here? Or even the dreaded PotU (note the line "I never give a damn because the union rules")? Anyway (unsurprisingly) it bombed and didn't chart anywhere, though they did do it live on Top of the Pops:



Poor Coombes - you can see he really wants to bust out here and do some fills! :lol:
Footy wrote:
The Who / Jimi Hendrix Experience Saville Theatre, London Jan '67
. Got Jimi's autograph after the show and went on to see him several times that year


1959 1963 1965 1966 1974 1977 1978 1981 1988 2017* 2018 2020!! 2021?

User avatar
C
Robust
Posts: 65113
Joined: 22 Jul 2003, 19:06

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby C » 09 Aug 2021, 20:04

toomanyhatz wrote:


Certainly not to my taste...



.
LMG wrote:Everyone I have ever met was at Baker's Airforce show where it was recorded. My boss, various ex-girlfriends, my postman was reminiscing about it the other day. My Mum went, my Dad and both sets of grandparents. I got stuck at home with a babysitter!

User avatar
C
Robust
Posts: 65113
Joined: 22 Jul 2003, 19:06

Re: Strawbs & the Many Lives of Dave Cousins

Postby C » 09 Aug 2021, 20:39

This is a very good album Dave

I saw them live around the time if its release [I think] - The Hermit, Brentwood, Essex, Folk Club 1975 (?)

[I wonder if it still going?]

Image

Info here:

http://www.strawbsweb.co.uk/albtrack/olscho/olscho.asp





.
LMG wrote:Everyone I have ever met was at Baker's Airforce show where it was recorded. My boss, various ex-girlfriends, my postman was reminiscing about it the other day. My Mum went, my Dad and both sets of grandparents. I got stuck at home with a babysitter!