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The Strawbs

Burning for You

Review by Gary Hill

This new reissue of a 1977 album from The Strawbs is classy. It includes the original album along with a number of bonus tracks. The package includes a nice booklet, and is classy. I like this set quite a bit. I think it's one of my favorites from the band. There is a nice mix of sounds and styles, and it is all effective. I think a couple of the bonus versions are superior to some of the material on the album proper, though. All in all, this is a great set.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Burning for Me
A dramatic opening movement features some cool atmospherics and piano. The track works to more of a ballad approach for the entrance of the vocals. The prog tendencies are all over the arrangement. This cut gets a bit harder rocking later, but remains slow moving and mostly balladic.
Cut Like a Diamond
Essentially a hard rocker, for some reason this reminds me a bit of the Elton John Band. It's a classy cut that works really well.
I Feel Your Love Coming on
Much more of a folk song at the start, the piano is a big part of the early arrangement. The tune powers up a bit after the first vocal movement to more of a pure prog concept. It drops back down for a reiteration of the opening section after that, though. This sort of rotation of sections continues as the song grows outward.
Barcarole (For the Death of Venice)
This has a real Beatles psychedelia kind of thing going on. This tune is gentle, pretty and quite effective.
Alexander the Great
Coming in hard rocking, jazzy and quite proggy, this is an energetic and effective piece of music. I really dig the instrumental section mid-track. It has some cool psychedelic vibes to it, with parts feeling backwards tracked.
Keep on Trying
More of a folk rock piece, this is one of the more accessible pieces here. It has a fairly powerful arrangement and some really poppy hooks.
Back in the Old Routine
A full on old-school music styled piece, this is a catchy folk based number. It's a fun cut.
Heartbreaker
I love the intricate opening movement on this. The cut fires out into a smoking hot prog rock jam from there. It resolves to more of a straightforward folk rock sound for the verse. Even so, there are proggy keyboard elements at play. The cut works through a number of variants along the ride. This is one of the real highlights here.
Carry Me Home
This is a balladic kind of cut. It has plenty of classic 70s trappings. It's an accessible number with strings and other elements bringing the magic. This isn't the proggiest thing here, but there are are prog angles to it.
Goodbye (Is Not An Easy Word to Say)
Starting with piano, the song that ends the album proper is another balladic cut. The arrangement leans a bit toward adult contemporary music, but the number is classy.
Bonus Tracks
                
Joey and Me (1976 session)

Acoustic guitar based, this is more of a folk rock tune. This acoustic guitar and vocals arrangement really reinforces that. It makes me think a bit of early David Bowie.

Goodbye (alternate version)
I think I prefer this version to the one that made the album. This is still a ballad, but it avoids the adult contemporary leanings, instead opting for a more prog rock band approach.
Barcarole (For the Death of Venice) (David Cousins & Robert Kirby instrumental version)
I love this piece. The arrangement features just acoustic guitar and keyboards. It's intricate and beautiful. While not part of the album proper, this might be my favorite tune here.
Heartbreaker (Dave Cousins / the Intergalactic Touring Band)

This is a hard rocking performance of the tune from the album proper. I prefer this version to the one on the original disc. It has some killer jamming in it, and just gels quite well. The flute is a great touch, and the track has some awesome prog instrumental work in general.

 
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