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Strawbs

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 Chesterman on bass. That same year, the group -- now rechristened the Strawbs, and doing repertory well beyond the bounds of bluegrass music -- briefly became a quartet with the temporary addition of Sandy Denny, who stayed long enough to record a relative handful of tracks with the group on the Hallmark label before joining Fairport Convention. In 1969, the Strawbs were signed to A&M Records, and cut their first album, the acoustic-textured Strawbs, that same year.

For their second album, Dragonfly, recorded and released the following year, the group broadened their sound with the presence of a group of session musicians, including piano/organist Rick Wakeman. Soon after the release of this record, the group became a full-fledged band with the addition not only of Wakeman but also Richard Hudson and John Ford, on drums and bass, respectively. These changes, coupled with Cousins' increasing dexterity on electric guitar, gave the Strawbs a much more powerful sound that was showcased on their next album.

The live Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios (1970) sold well, and was followed up the next year with From the Witchwood. In 1971, Wakeman left the Strawbs in order to join Yes; he was replaced by Blue Weaver formerly of the Amen Corner. Grave New World (1972) showed the band entering its strongest period, with Cousins' songwriting augmented by the new prowess of the composing team of Hudson and Ford. The record became their best-selling album to date. Unfortunately, its release also heralded the exit of Tony Hooper. He was replaced by Dave Lambert, a more aggressive, rock-oriented guitarist, and his addition brought the group into its peak period. The Strawbs' 1973 album, Bursting at the Seams, featured two Top Ten U.K. hits, "Lay Down" and "Part of the Union," and one album track, "Down by the Sea," racked up substantial airplay on American FM radio.

It was all too good to last, and it didn't. Blue Weaver left after one more tour, while Hudson and Ford exited to form Hudson-Ford, also signed to A&M. The Strawbs regrouped in 1974 with Hero and Heroine, recorded with a new lineup consisting of Cousins, Lambert, keyboardist John Hawken, bassist Chas Cronk, and drummer Rod Coombes. The new album was a critical and commercial failure in England, but proved popular in America. Their next two albums, Ghosts (1975) and Nomadness (1976), both did better in the U.S. than they did in the U.K. None of this was enough to sustain the group, however, which continued to lose members and also left A&M Records.

Two more albums on the Oyster label were poorly distributed and received, and one album for Arista, Deadlines (1978), was a failure, while a second record for the label was never released. The group ceased to exist at the end of the 1970s, and Cousins embarked on some solo projects in association with guitarist Brian Willoughby that attracted the interest of die-hard fans but few others. That might have been the end of the group's history, if it hadn't been for an invitation to play the 1983 Cambridge Folk Festival. The Strawbs responded, in the guise of Cousins, Hooper, Hudson, Ford, Weaver, and Willoughby, and the response was so favorable that a tour was scheduled, which, in turn, led to their return to America in the mid-'80s. The group followed this up with two new studio albums released in Canada.

In 1993, they released their own retrospective concert album Greatest Hits Live!, which summed up many of the high points of their history. The group continued to play throughout the decade and into the following century, issuing a slew of live efforts and studio albums. 2008 saw the original lineup from the Hero and Heroine era returning to the studio to record The Broken Hearted Bride, a return-to-form effort that solidified the band's staying power. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Brilliant band---I never get tired of hearing Hero and Heroine and Bursting at the Seams. Cousins' voice perfectly fits the music; saw him a few years ago and he sounds the exact same. Have to disagree with the bio; replacement of Lambert for Hooper improved the band...harde n e d the sound and made it less spacy. Can't get through a fall without hearing Autumn. Love these guys.
Where is the thumbs down button?
Nevermind - found it...
loxman9
Thanks for changing the bio to info on The Strawbs.
loxman9
What happened to the bio??? This is like looking up the Beatles and getting a bio on Stuart Sutcliffe, whoever he was. Love ya Pandora, time to fix the bio here. We want to hear about Cousins, Lambert, Hudson, Ford, and even Wakeman. Yea, Wakeman was in the Strawbs before he joined Yes.
well don't listen to it bobonnit, then. Why do you listen to music anyway? Music is about feelings, and feelings make you a sissy.
These guys sound like a bunch of sissies
rnegtr
Ridiculous review not about the Strawbs at all. Does a disservice to this amazing group. Pandora - fix this issue.
This is the STRAWBS, NOT Sandy Denny. Pandora, change description and picture. Hello!
cowniew
Great Prog band from the 70s of course. I also second the comment on Grave New World one of the true masterpieces of its era. But we cant have it all.
Ghosts?? Where is Ghosts??
I'm a union man .... Song of the millennium! And I'm not a unionist
Where is Grave New World, Bursting At The Seams, Antiques & Curios? Some of their best!
YOU WOULD THINK THEY WOULD GIVE SOME CREDIT TO DAVID COUSINS DOES PANDORA HAVE FROM THE WITCHWOOD HOPE SO
I cant believe pandora doesnt have Strawbs GRAVE NEW WORLD album in the discology! that's a travesty!
loxman9
One of the best concerts I ever experienced. March 1975 their debut at the Beacon Theater. I was 15. One great song after another, it just kept getting better. They ended with Hero and Heroine, Round and Round, Lay Down, and then Down By The Sea. I was blown away.

Bio has nothing to do with the Strawbs.
Well - I stand corrected! The bio is current - my apologies for the doubts! (now - about the limited selection... . . . . )
I don't know if it will help, but I emailed Pandora about the bio mess up, and also about the very limited Strawbs selection available - hope it does some good, as I doubt those who can do anything about it read these boards...
I've posted this before but it bears repeating... W T F does this have to do with the Strawbs? Come on Pandora get it right as there's a lengthy body of their work to chronicle.
empath_eilee n
I love the Strawbs but all of the cuts from the 20th Century Masters album sound like watered down versions that were re-recorded when they were quite beyond their prime.
BIO fixed ... sighned u ..tube?
are you kiding ?
you are great!... so ...life is like ...a ...trip???
A Strawbs bio without even mentioning David Cousins is meaningless.
i also seen strawbs at the capitol in passaic nj with ambrosia as the opening act. really talented bands .mid 70s was the time frame. barcarole is a ine tune as well
This bio is waaaaaaay off base. Is the Bio on Zep this same one? After all - she did sing on one of their songs so she obviously was the force behind their greatness
Get a clue Pandora
WTF does this have to do with the Strawbs? Come on Pandora get it right as there's a lengthy body of their work to chronicle.
Very unsatisfying and incomplete bio. The Discography was way too sparse as well.
Check out http://www.p r x . o r g / p i e c e s / 4 7 8 9 - s t r a w b s - i n t e r v i e w
The band was very giving of their time at the station where I have done a show for over 20 years.
Strawbs is a terrific but terribly underappreci a t e d band. The bio statement given by Pandora does not really say much about the band itself. Dave Cousins is the main fellow. I don't understand why Sandy Denny is the main focus of the bio. She was great, don't get me wrong. But she wasn't a core member of the band. Regardless, Hero and Heroine is a superb record. Lyrically, it is one of the best ever. Ive seen Strawbs several times at several venues. Superb! To my love-- LMWNA!!
saw them at the commack arena in 1975..? with brian auger and blue oyster cult...great show...down by the sea rocks!
This is the bio for Sandy Denny, not The Strawbs.
I WAS THERE FOR THE DEEP CUTS TOUR AND THE OPENING ACT WAS AMBROSIA THE CAPITAL WAS GREAT!
bookiedave
I saw them at the Capitol Theatre several times. What an awesome band.
seen them at the capitol th passaic nj whoelse was there?
If you are new to the Strawbs, may I recommend Grave New World to you. Absolutely fantastic!
Discovering Pandora has meant rediscoverin g music that I loved growing up. I had not thought about the Strawbs in a very long time.
i got the LP when it was new ..... it never gets old to me.
these guys are amaazing
"Deep Cuts" is their best.... I have the vinyl...the cassette...t h e C.D. ...been a fan since 1977...
I`d never heard of them until pandora, but they sound pretty good.
I'm a second generation Strawbs fan raising a third generation of fans...my 5yr old and 3 yr old love them too.
I just got back from an excellent 40th anniversary concert on Thursday. The Strawbs - an unusual progressive band whose roots go back to English folk rather than to psychedelica or rock - celebrated with approximatel y 325 enthusiastic fans in a fine venue, The Ram's Head OnStage. The show was almost sold-out as capacity is 350.The Strawbs received many standing ovations and delighted the crowd with a well-chosen selection of favorites (including my own favorite:"Au t u m n " into "Winterlong" ) .

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