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DAVE LAMBERT

Updated September 2005

Dave first came to prominence in the late 60s fronting his own three piece band, Fire, with an Apple publishing contract and a single on Decca "Father's Name Is Dad" (now touted as a prime slice of psychedelia). The single nevertheless failed to make as much headway as it deserved, despite attracting Apple founder Paul McCartney's personal interest..

An album followed on Pye, The Magic Shoemaker, a lengthy fantasy piece written by Dave, which these days is one of the scarcest and most collectable progressive LPs around (re-issued on CD by See For Miles a few years back). It features Dave Cousins on banjo, after Lambert had met Cousins at one of the Strawbs' gigs back in the late 60s.

However, Fire failed to catch and Dave, after a period as a solo artist (as well as a few club gigs with his pal Dave Cousins), was recruited to the King Earl Boogie Band, formed out of the embers of early 70s chart-toppers Mungo Jerry. Cousins was engaged to produce their first album (Trouble At T'Mill, also available on CD from See For Miles), and after the album was done Lambert joined Cousins for Cousins' own solo album Two Weeks Last Summer, recorded at the Manor at around the same time. (The dog on the front cover was Lambert's, who, according to Dave, was there with Lambert when Cousins first played "Lay Down" to him in Lambert's kitchen.)

Of course, Cousins whisked Lambert away to join the new electric Strawbs, replacing founder member Tony Hooper. Lambert's upfront rock style, with large slabs of Townshend-inspired guitar, was a shot in the arm for Strawbs, enabling them to reach a much wider new audience, albeit at the cost of a few old fans from the folk club days, who felt Cousins and co. had "sold out". Dave had just joined the band - and streaked his hair (at management's insistence!) - when they started to climb the UK charts with first "Lay Down" (reaching number 12) and then "Part Of The Union" (reaching number 2 in the UK singles charts). The album from which "Part Of The Union" was taken - Bursting At The Seams - also reached number 2 in the Album charts, and Strawbs promoted it with a marathon UK tour of the ballrooms and halls of the UK.

Lambert stood by Cousins when the "Bursting" band folded after a gruelling US tour in the Summer of '73. Dave's excellent guitar work was one of the Strawbs' major assets and the blend of the two Dave's voices was a key element of the later Strawbs sound, throughout their "US period" - Hero and Heroine and Ghosts in particular striking a chord with US fans. Lambert toured and recorded with the Strawbs for nearly 6 years - a period marked by back-breaking tours of North America, where he remains to this day a Strawbs icon - one of the most frequently asked questions at the website used to be: "Where's Dave Lambert these days ?"

He left one song into the recording sessions for Heartbreak Hill, owing to a clash with his own solo project "Framed", which was released in 1979 on vinyl almost everywhere but the UK, but which sadly has not come out on CD. Since then, Dave has spent his time alternating between teaching guitar in his beloved home county of Kent and, during the snow season, working as a ski instructor in Europe. He guested with the Strawbs for the 30th anniversary concert in August 1998, and rejoined them for the May 1999 tour and subsequent tours in 2000 and 2001 as the Busting plus Brian line-up (and again recently in an all too brief summer 2004 UK tour), giving fans an opportunity to see both of Strawbs classic guitarists on stage.

With Lambert a mainstay of the band once again, it was an obvious decision to bring him in to help Cousins out after a sprained wrist in 2000 looked likely to force a cancellation of a Cousins & Willoughby gig. In fact Cousins was able to play a little, and the formula of the three guitars had an immediate appeal, leading to the line-up working up a number of Strawbs classic in three-hander unplugged format. Next a stint by way of a trial run at the Edinburgh Festival in 2001, followed by extensive touring as the Acoustic Strawbs for the next three years, initially in the UK, but increasingly in Cananda and the US, which saw the Cousins/Lambert/Willoughby chemistry continue to grow and develop. Dave's powerful "Inside Your Hell Tonight" is a standout track on the resulting acoustic album "Baroque & Roll"

During their joint tenure, Lambert and Willoughby complemented each other extremely well, their duetting lead guitars a highpoint of the shows, and though there's no doubt that Strawbs have moved on and thrived following the parting of the ways with Brian, there was a magic about that line-up which will remain.

In 2003, on the single day between finishing a UK tour and setting off to the States for a US tour, Dave played a solo gig - the first for 30 years - in Tunbridge Wells. In 2004, he released his long-awaited second solo album, Work In Progress, with various cuts from the various stages of his long musical career including some smashing new songs. And, of course, his "Cold Steel" received much attention on the latest all-new Strawbs album Deja Fou, cut by the reformed Hero And Heroine line-up, which went on to tour the US and Canada in summer 2004, especially their headlining performance at the prestigious NearFest festival in the US, shortly to be released on CD. That line-up repeated the exercise in the UK in summer 2005 to rave reviews.


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