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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Strawbs

Strawbs

Review by Gary Hill

The Strawbs are an intriguing band. I know most people consider them progressive rock – and certainly some of their music qualifies. I put them in that category basically as a nod to general convention. Personally, I’d probably consider them more folk music, though – and not even folk rock. This is actually quite a cool disc and has a few great songs – amidst a lot of good ones.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Man Who Called Himself Jesus
With some weird bits of found sound styled things in the backdrop at the start, this works out to a cut that's part Canterbury prog and part folk music. This is energized and catchy. In some ways it reminds me of early Moody Blues on the choruses. It's a great piece of music. It has a bit of dated texture to it, but still works well. It's definitely a great way to start the disc in style.
That Which Once Was Mine

Pretty, gentle and intricate, this is folk meets progressive rock in a manner similar to Renaissance. The latter portion of this cut is quite a cool, jazzy sort of musical journey.

All The Little Ladies

Not really very prog at all, this is a playful folk song that’s pretty and rather brief.

Pieces Of 79 And 15

Take the folk of the rest of the disc and combine it with prog rock and The Beatles. Now you have this psychedelic sounding track. It’s one of the highlights of the set. There’s some tasty keyboard work on this.

Tell Me What You See In Me

Faster paced, but still quite mellow, this has world music bits along with classical and other things. It’s very psychedelic. At over five minutes in length this is one of the longest cuts on the set.

Oh How She Changed

Pretty and powerful, this has folk in it for certain, but also some great early prog. I love the mood and tone of this and it’s possibly my favorite piece on the set.

Or Am I Dreaming?

The title makes me think of early Hawkwind. The music, though, is more of the delicate and gentle folk that The Strawbs were so often found creating. It gets more involved later with more layers of sound added to the mix.

Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth?

More prog oriented, this one is fast paced and has a lot in common with early Genesis. It’s a cool tune.

Poor Jimmy Wilson

This is more pure folk. It’s intricate and delicate.

Where Am I (I'll Show You Where To Sleep)

Another that’s pretty much pure folk, there’s some bluegrass in this. It’s another that’s tasty, but closer to Peter, Paul and Mary than Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

 

The Battle
At over six minutes in length, this is one of the longer tracks on show. It’s also one that’s closer to both rock and prog. It’s a gradually growing balladic piece that still has plenty of folk music in its midst. It’s potent and pretty. The arrangement gets very involved and this is another candidate for best track on the set.
 
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