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The Very Best of Strawbs - Halcyon Days

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iTunes Review

Considering the broad spectrum of sounds encompassed on this double-length anthology of The Strawbs' time on A&M Records (i.e. their heyday), it's hard to believe that Halcyon Days only documents a six-year span. From the post-Dylan folk-rock of their 1969 debut album ("The Man Who Called Himself Jesus") to the Moody Blues–esque, psychedelia-tinged "The Weary Song" and beyond, we follow the band's rapid evolution step by step. By the time The Strawbs' prog-rock side pops up on tunes like "A Glimpse of Heaven" (complete with future Yes man Rick Wakeman on keyboards), it's obvious that this band placed a premium on forward momentum.

Customer Reviews

A Great Introduction for Novices of the Strawbs

The Strawbs have always been a band that has gone from strength to strength. Whether as as folk trio or a progressive rock band. Each new line-up delivered great music and through it all was its leader Dave Cousins happily encouraging new creative blood in the band. It is shame that this music has been overlooked on classic rock radio, when in the 70's albums such as "Bursting At the Seams", "Hero and Heroine" and "Ghosts" were a staple on many an FM stations playlist. Discover for yourself what I have known a long time ago. This is high-quality music.

Good, but the Strawbs were a 'concept album' band...

This compilation is chronological and a good introduction to the band. The Strabs were originally a folk group, but as the they moved into the seventies, their albums became much more conceptual; and so although these songs are great here, they are much more powerful when experienced with the albums that bore them. The Strawbs were not a keyboard-synth-electric guitar based progressive band (like Yes, ELP, or Moody Blues) but more of an acoustical-progressive group. If albums like 'Grave New World' 'Hero and Heroine' and 'Ghosts' show up here, they would be well worth the download, as the European A&M remasters are just stunning! 'From the Witchwood' (kinda the folk-to-progressive transitional one with Rick Wakeman) and 'Bursting at the Seams' are not conceptual, but great albums in their own right. Otherwise check online merchants for the import albums.

The middle ages were the best

I've not heard the entire "oeuvre" of Strawbs, but I've sampled enough to feel strongly that the band really peaked with Grave New World -- represented here on Disc 1, cuts 13 - 16 -- thanks to personnel (Hooper, Ford and Hudson) who tempered David Cousins' tendency to over-indulgence. (Some of his solo stuff reminds me instantly of David Brent's (Ricky Gervais) performance on the "Training" episode of The Office.) This was a truly outstanding album and moreover had perhaps the most effective and evocative packaging of any album ever. The insert booklet with lyrics accompanied by etching artwork perfectly matched the medieval mood of most of the songs; the colorful art and poetry on the main cover were outstanding as well. If you like to comb the bins for old LPs, keep an eye out for this one! Bless the Strawbs!!


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 1968 by Ron...
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