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Dave Cousins

The Boy In The Sailor Suit: Expanded & Remastered Edition

Review by Gary Hill

This new edition of a classic Dave Cousins solo album is classy. The album was originally released in 2007. As you might expect, since Cousins is and was the mastermind and voice of the folk prog act The Strawbs, this has a lot in common with that band. Not everything here is progressive rock, though. There is actually quite a good range. There are three live bonus tracks included, one from 2008 and the other two from 2009,


This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.
Track by Track Review
Never Take Sweets from a Stranger
I love the fast paced prog riff that opens this cut. It's just so classic in texture. The number works to more of a folk song. The vocals make me think of Bob Dylan.
Mellow Moon
This ballad has some Island elements to it. It's a bit like Jimmy Buffett does folk prog.
The Smile You Left Behind
Another balladic tune, this is pretty. It's not the proggiest thing here, but is very effective. In fact, it's one of my favorites of the disc.
Calling out My Name
More energized and proggy, this still has plenty of folk, and some island sound, built into it. The backing vocals on this work really well, but the whole tune is particularly effective. It's another highlight of the disc. It really feels like a Strawbs song.
Mother Luck
Crunchy electric guitar opens this with a killer almost metal almost Jethro Tull sound. The number is a hard rocker that works well. This is a big change, and a cool tune. I love the guitar solo on it.
Wish You Were Here
There is a real playful kind of country folk vibe here. This is definitely not the proggiest thing here, but it does have a definite Strawbs sound.
Skip to My Lou

I dig the powered up folk prog vibe on this thing. It's a fun tune. It has some nice guitar work, too.

Lonely Days Lonely Nights
I really love this smoking hot bonus track. It has some hard rocking sound at the heart of the main song structure. Yet, it wanders out into a rather jazzy, open, mellower movement mid-track. It works through a number of cool changes. It has some great jamming.
Bringing in the Harvest
More of a pure folky ballad, this is another that definitely feels like The Strawbs.
Hellfire Blues

A hard rocking jam, this is (as you would guess) packed with plenty of blues. It's a killer tune that's very effective. I love the piano solo on this, and the meaty riff driving it is classic. There is some killer guitar soloing built into the number, too.

Bonus Tracks:
             
Never Take Sweets from a Stranger (live)

Stripped back to a pure folk rock song, the prog angles are lost here. This is a solid tune, though, in either arrangement.

Skip to My Lou (live)

Now, this one is proggier than the studio version. It's a real powerhouse in this live performance. I definitely prefer this to the original. I love the killer slide guitar jamming on the tune. The vocals get very impassioned as the track works toward the close.

Hellfire Blues (live)
While the blues fire of the number remains, they do this more acoustically driven. It's no less a powerhouse, though. This thing is purely incendiary. There is some awesome violin and guitar jamming on the number. I don't know that I can decide whether I prefer this or the studio take. Both are so darned good. The two together are worth the price of admission here without considering any of the rest of the music.

 

 
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