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From the Witchwood

The Strawbs

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Album Review

This album was originally the weak link in the transition of the Strawbs from an acoustic folk-rock outfit to a progressive folk band, being neither fish nor fowl and suffering from an anemic mix. The 1998 British reissue (A&M 540-939-2), however, solves some inherent problems that plagued both the original vinyl edition and the first CD reissues. The new remastering toughens up the bass sound, and brings out more of the sheer power of Rick Wakeman's organ and synthesizer playing, accenting the harder side of the group's sound that was obviously there in the studio but lacking in the analog mix. "A Glimpse of Heaven" and "The Hangman and the Papist," in particular, benefit from the remastering, and "Sheep" finally has the musical fury to match its lyrics. Dave Cousins' voice also comes off as really close, and the effect is to make this a much more potent album than it previously seemed. Overall, it's now far easier to visualize this recording as the step leading to full-blown progressive rock releases such as Grave New World, which followed. The disc includes one bonus track, John Ford's "Keep the Devil Outside," which has an acoustic opening and a hard rock break and finale, which was cut at these same sessions, and which turned up months later as the B-side of "Benedictus," a single drawn from the next album.

Customer Reviews

From the Witchwood

No real improvement on my 1973 vinyl (a bit worn now). The original lack of base was part of the originality of the Strawbs who were an acoustic/electric band. If you want perfect base etc - get yourself a modern electronic band. I did not get the 98 CD so I cannot tell but the vinyl version is more realistic - this is no improvement. I bought this for my iPod.

Onearmfun

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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From the Witchwood, The Strawbs
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