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Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios (Remastered)

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Album Review

This album, cut live at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall in July of 1970, was the first Strawbs album to be released in the United States. It didn't do much in the U.S., but it did chart in England, and the original concert also got Rick Wakeman his first front-page coverage in the British music press, owing to his bravura performance on the solo piano spot, "Temperament for a Mind." The group is trying really hard here to make the jump from folk to folk-rock. They still play a lot of acoustic music, and some of it is surprisingly diverse, but this is a fairly successful album bridging the gap between the acoustic Strawbs combo of their first incarnation and the harder, more strident folk-rock stylings that followed on From the Witchwood, with hints of progressive leanings. The original finale, the rocking, searing nine-minute epic "Where Is the Dream of Your Youth," which clearly showed where the band was heading, was supplemented on a remastered CD reissue (A&M 540-938-2) with a haunting, moody "Vision of the Lady of the Lake," featuring Dave Cousins and Rick Wakeman, and Tony Hooper's showcase number, the surprisingly rousing "We'll Meet Again," from the same concert, and the contemporary studio creation "Forever." The latter is the only track that doesn't fit, its heavy string overdubs and studio ambience clashing with the live sound on the rest of the CD, although it does have Cousins' best vocals of the album. The sound throughout is excellent, as one might expect since the producers returned to the original concert recordings, with rich detail and an especially robust presence to John Ford's bass playing.

Biography

Formed: 1968

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the better British progressive bands of the early '70s, the Strawbs differed from their more successful compatriots — the Moody Blues, King Crimson, Pink Floyd — principally in that their sound originated in English folk music, rather than rock. Founded in 1967 as a bluegrass-based trio called the Strawberry Hill Boys by singer/guitarist Dave Cousins, the group at that time consisted of Cousins, guitarist/singer Tony Hooper, and mandolinist Arthur Phillips, who was replaced in...
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Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios (Remastered), The Strawbs
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