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Tears & Pavan - An Introduction to the Strawbs

The Strawbs

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Album Review

For a onetime folk band, the Strawbs really hit their stride when they discovered their inner prog rockers. It certainly helped Dave Cousins blossom as a writer, having the instrumental backing to do justice to grander themes. Drawn from the four albums that made up their very fertile first-half-of-the-'70s period, Tears and Pavan: An Introduction does stand as an excellent introduction to the band at their best. "Witchwood," for example, is heavily embellished by Rick Wakeman's keyboards, but not to the point of overkill; the song itself still shines through. "New World" still stands as an epic track, one of the best to come from Cousins' pen, and their single "Lay Down" captures the spirit of the band in a most commercial way. In a nod to the American market, "Down By The Sea" is included; never big in England, it received substantial airplay in the U.S. The two big focal points are the ambitious "Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth," from Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios, which served as a signpost to where they were going, with a much rockier sound, and the title track, taken from Bursting at the Seams. You can nitpick (there's no "Benedictus," for example), but the truth is, there's simply not room on a single disc for everything that could be included. As it is, this stands as a good testimony to what the Strawbs wanted to be in this period. Sometimes they were more, sometimes a bit less — but this is the essence.

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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Tears & Pavan - An Introduction to the Strawbs, The Strawbs
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