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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Strawbs

Broken Hearted Bride Remastered & Expanded

Review by Gary Hill

This is a new edition of a Strawbs album from 2008. The original album was out of print, so just getting the chance to own it will be welcome news for fans of the band. They didn't stop there, though. The sound has been improved. The CD includes a great booklet with brand new liner notes from David Cousins. Finally there are four "retro tracks," three of which are demos that have never been released before. This is a strong album, and I'd say that it's an even better release with these additional tracks and features.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.


Track by Track Review
The Call To Action
I dig the hard rocking edge that brings this track into being. There are some world music prog elements that creep in with the violin as this drives forward. Eventually vocals join as the number marches forward.
Christmas Cheer (Everything’s Going To Be Alright)
For some reason the vocals on this make me think of Bob Dylan to some degree. The cut is another driving hard rocking tune. The group vocals on the chorus are cool.
Too Many Angels
A mellower tune, this isn't a ballad, but it's not as crunchy of a rocker as the two openers were. It has some tasty melodic prog in the mix.
The Broken Hearted Bride
We're in more hard rocking zones here again, but this has some decidedly prog rock based elements. It's instantly recognizable as The Strawbs, too.
Shadowland
Starting mellower and more folk prog oriented, I like this way this track builds. It's a nice piece of variety and a great tune. It builds out to more rocking zones, but in a decidedly symphonic prog way.
Through Aphrodite’s Eyes
I love the chiming bell aspect of this track as it gets underway. This gets into some killer prog zones as it continues, doing a great job of balancing the more rocking with the symphonic prog aspects.
Deep In The Darkest Night
I like this song a lot. It has some great hooks, and the guitar work is so classy. The whole thing does a great job of merging the folk and prog concepts.
You Know As Well As I
Bouncy and fun, this is an entertaining tune, but not one of the meatiest things here.
Everybody Knows
I like the mellower keyboard sounds that open this and serve as the backdrop for the first vocals. It turns more rocking as it continues, but changes along the road. This is one of the most dynamic tracks of the disc.
Action Replay
Dramatic and powerful, this has some great symphonic prog in the mix. This is such a cool instrumental piece. It really does a great job of wrapping up the symphonic prog concepts of the album proper. The symphonic strings bring so much magic with them.
Retro Tracks:
                          
We’ll Meet Again Some Time

Some of the guitar work on this track reminds me of David Gilmour. The tune is another folk prog based song. I'd say this is as good as anything on the main album. There are definite country rock elements, particularly in the vocal arrangement on this.

Too Many Angels (demo version)
The vocals are higher in the mix on this version of the track. I think it lacks some of the polish and charm of the final version, but it's still very good, and doesn't really feel like a demo at all.
You Know As Well As I (demo version)
There is almost a naïveté to this track. It has a soaring folk rock feeling in this format.
Everybody Knows (demo version) (retro track)
I think I like this better than the final version. It has a really lush folk prog sound to it. There are hints of The Beatles. This might be the most effective number here, and it's a demo - but it doesn't sound like it.

 

 
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