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STRAWBS STORIES - CONTRIBUTED 1999-2001

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Added 13 Aug 2001

Most of the stories posted in this instalment are from Witchwood - the Strawbs Discussion Group

Michael Coleman

One of the times I saw the Strawbs before this latest tour was way back in March 1980 when I was 19, but it is the anarchic chain of events that surrounded the gig which sticks in my mind as much as seeing the Strawbs. The Strawbs were playing 'The Venue' in London on the Sunday but the day before I bumped into someone I had known from school who said 'wont you come and have a beer'..so I did! Unfortunately one turned into one to many and by the end of the evening I was totally legless. At that time I still lived at home with my parents so I caught the last bus home. When I got off of the bus instead of doing the sober thing of waiting for the bus to pull away I did the drunk thing and walked right out into the middle of the road from the back of the bus where I was promptly run over and knocked into the air through the windscreen of the drivers car! When I came around I was in Hospital and told how lucky I was to only have 'a bruised leg' and no breakages! and was probably saved by the fact I was so drunk I didn't go rigid when the car struck me.

The point of this is of course that the next day the Strawbs were playing in London but I was in hospital suffering with concussion and a bruised limping leg and obviously wouldn't be in any fit state to go and see the band....Wrong! I certainly wasn't in any fit state but when the Hospital discharged me Sunday afternoon and told me to 'take it easy' I was soon getting ready to limp my way to London on the train to see the Strawbs. I eventually went to London and saw the Strawbs and my girlfriend who I went with told me sometime later that I acted very oddly on that night due to the concussion. What made things even worse were the Strawbs played on beyond the last train home which we missed and spent the rest of the night huddled frozen in a phone box until the very small hours until we could get a train back home. The crazy thing I think we are all agreed (hopefully!) is when you are that age it didn't even seem a 'mad' thing to do!

Dedication or Medication? You decide!


Brian Bashford

Theatre Royal Stratford - that's London E.15 not on-Avon - in November 1970 was the first and last time I have ever seen the Strawbs. It was the first "rock" concert I had attended. My best mate Len who was the same age as me but was considerably more mature - ie he had full sideburns and a comprehensive collection of obscure "Underground" LPs - had played me Dragonfly a few weeks earlier and I must say I was mesmorised by its sheer "strangeness".

We then discovered that the band were playing locally at the famous theatre so off we went not knowing what to expect. I remember the time well as the day before I had my first date with my first real girlfriend, Kay. Her Dad wouldn't let her go to the gig with me - well she was only 14.

What we got was Wishbone Ash as support band, the Strawbs with the Antiques line up including Rick Wakeman all for the benefit of an audience that probably numbered less than 100.

The memory is still fresh in the mind. The Strawbs set list, which I wont't detail here, was the same as that listed on the website for that period. I do remember that the bands amps and PA appeared to be in a terrible condition and at one point completely failed. This had no bearing as Dave Cousins then proceeded to sing the "Hangman and the Papist" without amplification. Truly memorable.

The shift in style from their earlier music was already apparent and I must admit that the appeal to my personal taste was soon lost. I still play "Dragonfly" and consider it was never equalled.

I attended many concerts in the following years until middle age and responsibilities caught up. I see on the website that the band may tour this year. I may try to catch up with them. That would make them my FIRST AND LAST.

Now I wonder what Kay is up to?


Barry Samuels

Greetings from Dallas, TX USA. Hope you are well. I attended 3 or 4 Strawbs shows at the Tower Theatre in Philadelphia and 1 at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Philadelphia in the mid-70's. I didn't see any of these in your live section. The first had Renaissance as the opening band after Hero and Heroine. The other shows were during tours to support each successive album. I remember that by the Burning for Your Tour - I think - the lineup with Kirby and Mealing had gelled nicely and the show was great. Re-discovering this wonderful music is great.


Andy Brouwer

I've learnt so much from your site and I just can't believe that another one of my heroes of my youth, ROY HILL, became the frontman for a couple of gigs. Roy was living in London Road in Cheltenham (just along from me) when he played as support for the Strawbs at Hammersmith Odeon in year 1977/78. I travelled on a coach of Roy Hill fans to watch him, although my main attraction was the Strawbs. Surprisingly, Roy was excellent and I then went to quite a few of his gigs in the local area. I was gutted that he never went onto greater heights. Then I read on your site, that not only did he front the band, he was later part of another 'known' band. Amazing. I'd heard he just gave up the business and had possibly gone to the States. I even remember his excellent sax player Bimbo Acock, and then I saw his name on your site. It was just too much....I had to go and lie down.


Elspeth Hyde

Hi Dick - love the web site keep up the good work! I had a brief interlude as a Strawbs fan as a teenager - I'm ashamed to admit to you that I'm no longer practising!! however I saw the Roy Hill band as support on their tour in about 1978 I think & became a big fan of them (he was georgeous after all!!!) anyway they seemed to drift apart after the disastrous Strabs concert they tried to cobble together (it was actually a Roy Hill set with about 2 Strawbs songs - and they could never sound right not sung by Dave Cousins!!) I did see him as the early Cry no More in Twickenham or Teddington but it was the last set they were playing at that pub and I lost track of them again. So what my point actually is, is do you have any news of him or when he is playing again? I would really love to see them again.


Added 25 Feb 2001

Most of the stories posted in this instalment are from Witchwood - the Strawbs Discussion Group

Adrian the Rock

I remember [the Nomadness] period well because it was shortly before Deep Cuts came out that I'd first started listening to the Strawbs, rapidly becoming a big fan and then starting to go to gigs. In those days, apart from New World and Lay Down, their sets always entirely comprised numbers from Hero and Heroine onwards. I really yearned to hear anything off From the Witchwood, though I did appreciate that (a) they'd be hard without Rick, and (b) I know a lot of bands don't like playing back catalogue anyway as they often feel they've moved on. By the time I did get to see them live, Robert Kirby and John Mealing were double-teaming the keyboard role, with typically Robert on the electronic ones and John on grand piano.

One thing I particularly like about The Promised Land is its piano bridge, and one of my strongest memories of the Birmingham gig I went to on their Deep Cuts tour was that they hadn't quite got the mix right, with the result that John's piano was virtually inaudible. So when it got to that point on TPL, there was poor John hammering away on this piano and you could barely hear a note of it!


Steve Young

One way or another by 1982 I was a big Strawbs fan and really keen to see the band live. Except that Strawbs like many 70's groups had split. In 83 (I think) somehow I had wind that they were reforming in order to appear on Rick Wakeman's tv program Gastank. Rick was keen to re-live his time with Strawbs (for the show at least) and this required the Witchwood line-up. And to warm themselves up they were doing a show at The Turks Head in Twickenham, minus Rick but with Blue Weaver doing the keys. Can't remember if it was the Friday or Saturday night they were performing but I made a day of it.

The first thing I needed to do was find the venue. I travelled up from Kent by train, changed at Waterloo and got off at St. Mary's (I think - next stop after Richmond, anyway). Having memorised the London A-Z (but just that page!) I soon found the pub by mid morning. So what to do with the rest of the day?

I had my camera complete with not-so-cheap 1000asa film, it was a nice summery day, and I liked walking. And the Thames was close by. A lovely day followed casually walking DOWN BY THE RIVER, crossing weirs, taking photos of herons, and boats, and sunny banks. I then came across Kew Gardens, there was a turnstyle entrance which required 5 pence for enter. In I went, I dosed in the sunshine on the grass under exotic trees. The day was long, lazy, lovely, and continually supported on a base of mild adrenaline and excitement as the gig came closer.

By early evening I was waiting outside the entrance to the Turks Head back room. Shortly before the doors were due to open some band members arrived. Tony Hooper, Brian Willoughby and Hud tried to get in but they were locked out! Hud was carrying a snare drum stand and right in front of me. "Are you doing Down By The Sea?", I asked. "I think so?" Hud said. "But who is singing the middle bit?", an essential question from me. "Cousins" replied Hud, confidently. "Can he reach those high notes?" I enquired. "With the help of this he can" stated Hud as made a suggestive movement with a pointy bit of the drum stand.

The room was a Tardis in reverse - small on the outside, and seemingly much smaller inside. You know, it was difficult to sit down without your knee knocking over Blue's keyboards!, and a small hand torch strapped to the ceiling with gaffer tape provided the stage lighting.

If think that the gig started with a black Caribbean Folk singer - sort-of a cross between Bob Marley and Jasper Carrot, but I may be thinking of another gig.

After the break Strawbs probably started-off with Glimpse of Heaven. Anyway, classic songs followed each other until eventually the opening feedback from Brian's guitar signalled The River. (I didn't know that this proceeded Down By the Sea.) So Dave yells from his darkest place "I waited for the river, but the river did not floooooow.....". Then "Bah, da, da, da, Bah, da, da, da...". This huge noise seemed to be coming from Dave and Blue alone. Dave's twelve string was sounding like Dave Gilmour, Pete Townsend, Eric Clapton and Robert Fripp all in one. Hud, John and Tony joined in whilst Brian soloed to add extra drama to the mounting tension. "Maybe you think..." sang Dave, Blue's keyboard-wash in the background, whilst Dave stared at the audience with menacing cynical indifference. He ends the section with "... in the afternoo-oo-oo-oo-oon of their LIVES". Six power chords are fired out - and then IT - THAT RIFF.

This for me was when it happened. (A similar thing happened when I saw King Crimson do Red at The Venue in London in 81). That moment when time just stands still and your trapped completely within music. It is a most pleasurable and uplifting experience. It completely galvanises your being. Now, this `thing' may have been taking place on stage. Dave stood, crouched over his twelve string, frozen, his right arm lifting his hand above his head, pointing to the sky. Brian's guitar riff opened, then in smacked the rhythm section - Dave still frozen on the stage. It went on, and on, and on. With each bar the tension was building and building. Had Dave dried? His hand dropped to his forehead. Slowly his frozen body came to life, he moved in slow motion to the mic, and then like a sprung catapult roared out "They build their homes...".

On to "...hear their sirens caaaaall" and into the tidal-wave. John and Hud stormed their kit, pummelled the rhythm, and summoned the apocalypse. Blue collapsed on his keyboards, ripping out discordant entireties, pushing the wave higher and higher. Brian held his ground, held down his guitar onto it required key. From the top of the tidal-wave John and Hud pulled the monster down, and as the water crashed down everybody was back on the line, on the riff, with Blue solo-ing on the BX3 organ, victoriously heading for home. "And in the maelstrom sea that follows..." continued Dave, the riff now seeming to be a place of stability after the tidal wave. "...shame of their disgrace" concludes Dave on this section and the music drops back down. "Last night...", sings Dave, like a child survivor amongst the ruins of his home, ripped of all his dignity and yet a worthy victor in his right for life. "...it won't help me now-aaaow" and into the closing instrumental section. (BTW, this section reappears notably in Deadly Nightshade on Deadlines.)

I think they encored with "I'll carry on beside you", and then the music had finished. But the evening, and particularly THAT moment in Down By The Sea, has not gone away.

Great day, great music, monster song - a highpoint in my life, for sure.


Neil Punnett

I was one of the handful at the Swindon concert at the Oasis Leisure Centre in July 1980. I was actually standing in the quue to get in when I learned that Dave Cousins had left the band only two days earlier. I was dumbstruck. I couldn't believe it. How could this man who had provided the soundtrack for my youth and provided such thought provoking rock/folk poems have left the scene? I watched the first half of the concert in something of a daze - this wasn't the Strawbs: who was Roy Hill as lead vocalist ? (Strangely enough I can still remember one song called "Piccadilly Lights" which was really good ...). I was one of those who walked out after a few songs and went to the pub - I felt as if a long-term partner had walked out on me.

I have always felt that, had the band stayed together for another year they would actually have had a lot more success - the punk revolution would have run its course and the much more melodic "New Romantic" music was starting to appear, a form of music which the Strawbs would have been well-placed to exploit.


John G

I saw Roy Hill supporting the Strawbs at Edinburgh Uni on the Deadlines tour- he rocked! I bought his self-titled Arista album the next day. It's quite nice - the production - by Gus Dudgeon - is a little too polite, but there's some slinky guitar from Tim Renwick, and the track Piccadilly Lights is a corker.


Richard Zywotkiewicz

Personally, I never was a fan of any songs they tried to "rock" with, but "Joey And Me" is about the only one that does a good job of it IMHO. I met Cousins after their Winnipeg show during the Ghost tour and he told me he really wanted the band to do more straight ahead (rockin') type numbers. I didn't tell him that I agreed. I just said nothing; perhaps I should have said something. By rockin' songs I don't mean heavy songs like parts of the Life Auction, I mean "rock'n roll" type songs. The Strawbs were never meant to do those kind of things.


Gordon Hughes

One of the memories I have of the period when Deep Cuts was released was driving to work one morning, and unless I'm mistaken, I recall that Noel Edmunds had the Radio breakfast program at that time, and Deep Cuts was his Album of the week. I also seem to recall that he had Dave C and Dave L in the studio to comment on it, but it was so long ago my memory is a bit blurry. Does anyone else remember this ?


Chris Parkins

The very first rock/pop gig I ever saw was the Strawbs in 1974 in London (Dury Lane) - the Hero & Heroine tour, of course, not too long after the 'acrimonious split'. And Dave Cousins said how good it was to have Hud in the audience.


David Claridge

Half Moon, Putney, shortly after release of Don't Say Goodbye album. Strawbs on stage for encore. Beat the Retreat is the closer (Dave and Brian on acoustics) with others huddled round the mike in open-leg harmonies stance. But all that night, there was a rather strange young lady in the audience who was a sight to behold, in the way she was getting into the music. My own guess is that she had probably never even heard of the Strawbs, but had been in the area to collect her supply of illegal Class A drugs, and having consumed the lot, wandered into the back room. Now I'm not saying there aren't drugs at Strawbs gigs, but mostly the pills we pop are vitamin suppliments. Anyway, the said lady had become so overcome with imulsion that she stormed the stage, grabbed Hud and continued to shuffle round in a slow cheek to cheek with our tub-thumping hero. I swear I saw even the top of his head blush!!! The rest of the band looked on with differing reactions.....Rod looked worried, as he feared he might be next. Dave looked mighty p**ssed off. Brian laughed like a drain, and Tony was too small and too far away to see what had happened.


Neil Punnett

I first encountered the Strawbs in c. 1970 when they appeared on JohnPeel's "In Concert" programme on Radio One. I chanced upon the programme when the Strawbs were playing "Fingertips" and was hpnotised by the song and the performance. I was only 16 at the time and the lyrics appealed to a testosterone-fuelled adolescent. However, it was the swirling sitar and guitar ending to the song which really grabbed me. In this performance it seemed to roll on forever - I managed to tape it on my Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorder. I remember, when the entrancing sound finished, that there was rapturous applause and John Peel said something like "you'll note the references to certain parts of the body; several members of the audience have cunningly brought them with them benath their clothes." And that was it; the programme closed without any indication of who the musicians were and it wasn't until a couple of years later that I discovered who they were when I bought "Antiques & Curios". By then my cousin had introduced me to the Strawbs through sending me a cassette recording of "Grave New World" and I was completely hooked - have been ever since. What's this got to do with "Dragonfly" I hear you ask; well, I'm coming to that.........

OK, so I started with "Grave New World", then rapidly bought "From the Witchwood" and "Antiques & Curios". But "Dragonfly" remained elusive until one day I chanced upon it in a record shop in Southampton where I was at university. I put it on the turntable and, er, well it wasn't what I expected. It sounded so folky and wimpy compared with the other albums; but I really liked it, especially the sonorous notes of the cello. "Josephine" and "Vison of the Lady of the Lake" were the two immediate stand-out tracks. "Josephine" is such a beautiful love song and the older I get the more I appreciate it! It sounds as fresh now as it did over thirty years ago when first recorded. "The Vision of the Lady of the Lake" has that strange ability to send tingles down my spine whenever I hear it. Such a beautiful instrumental introduction, then Cousins singing as emotionally as ever "The boatman rose to the sound of his heartbeat loud in the silent approach of the dawn...." Wow, what poetry! What an amazing series of images he creates. I can close my eyes and I'm there watching the boatman walking down to where his boat lay moored to a stake. This is compelling stuff. It gets a little melodramatic when all the creatures attack, but the music follows the story with such power that you're swept along by it, becoming increasingly desperate for some aural relief as the sounds reach their crescendo and then that amazing moment when the music fades and the maiden re-appears. Beautiful. Spine tingling. And then, what a finish - I've always thought that Dave was being really unfair here - could you plunge your sword into her heart? Surely flinging the sword away was the best thing to do? But no....... it really ruined his day. Overall this is one of Dave's masterpieces and must be listened to through headphones to fully appreciate the musical texture.

Strangely enough, in 1987 I met Clare Deniz who was then a cello teacher in Oxford. She taught with my wife, who brought her home and said "this is Clare Deniz who teaches cello" and my mouth opened wide. I really did say "not the Clare Deniz?", much to my wife's consternation and also, embarrasingly, to Ms. Deniz's consternation as well. I hurriedly plucked "Dragonfly" from my record collection and showed it to her. "Oh; yes. Gosh, I had quite forgotten - it is ages since I saw that LP." I struggled for something to say; "What was it like working with them?" I said at last. I remember very clearly that she said "Oh, they were sweet boys" and that was that, she wasn't interested in talking about the Strawbs anymore. She made it clear that she was a serious classical musician now. Fair enough; each to their own. But for a short period of her life she shared time with one of Britain's most under-rated composers and worked on some of the most beautiful tracks of the time.


David Claridge

A claim to fame there to savour, Neil. I had a similar tale with Gus Dudgeon, legendary producer. To cut along story short, there was I, at Gus' house in Chobham one night (about 1981) totally oblivious to the fact that he had produced Elton John and goodness knows how many other massive stars. I just said, "You produced the Strawbs first album. What have you done since?"........Whoops. After he listed them in a very put-downish way it suddenly dawned on me who the E.J. in all his name dropping stories were.....and I tell you, that bloke had his excesses. And that's not to mention some of the antics of the then Blue Peter team, and also hearing Jimmy Young fire dozens and dozens of expletive's off in five minutes leading up to his radio show.....


Gordon

I remember the Gastank appearance - I managed to videotape it and I still dust it off from time to time. The program included a brief interview with Dave, by Rick and Tony Ashton. Also appearing on the same episode were Steve Harley (performing Mr. Soft), and John Entwhistle (covering Twist and Shout). I recall that Chas Cronk and Tony Fernandez were regular session musicians on that program as well.

I thought the format was great, and was very disappointed when the series ended. I always thought of it as a forerunner to the format adopted in Later with Jools Holland.


Jerry McCarthy<

I first posted this "ode" to the Camel list in March of 1998, and I believe I also cross-posted it to the Gentle Giant list, so I've gotten quite a bit of mileage out of it! Glad I archived it ... must've been waiting for Witchwood's creation one day. :-) For anyone who may have read this before on other lists (I've already seen at least a few familiar names, such as Tom C. & Dok), I apologize in advance. Well, here goes ....

Written in 1998 in response to someone who had said:

> Oh boy, do I remember the Strawbs! "Hero and Heroine" is a classic album > that every Camel fan should own. Lead singer and songwriter Dave Cousins > is such a brilliant lyricist that many of his songs read well as poetry.

I then wrote:

"Life Lessons":

In Spring of 1976, I was taking an Advanced English Literature course in college. I was the only Freshman in the class (actually, there were no Sophomores, either), so I was a bit intimidated all semester among all those Juniors and Seniors. Fortunately, I'd been able to hold my own with them and had gotten good grades all term. In the last quarter of the course we covered Poetry, which was not really my cup of tea (especially then). I almost died when the professor announced during the last class of the semester that the Final Exam was going to be a *single* one-hour essay question: an analysis of each student's favorite poem. Eegads ... my worst nightmare! Visions of "F"s started dancing in my head immediately and the night sweats began.

After a few days of panic, I was listening to music while sitting in my room trying to come up with an idea when I wistfully thought to myself, "too bad I can't just write about a _song_ I admire, instead of a poem." I felt that a well-written song lyric should be considered every bit as "valid" as a well-written poem. After stewing over it for a while and having no viable alternative other than writing about some "classic" poem I didn't really care about, I got up the nerve to go to my professor's office the next morning and debate the subject with him, expecting a resounding NO WAY from this man who looked to be in his late-50s. Instead, he stunned me when he said yes! BUT his conditions were that (1) I had to pick a song with lyrics that would stand on their own as valid poetry *in his opinion* and do a serious analysis, or I would get an "F" on the exam, and (2) he refused to OK the song for me in advance. In other words, I had to pick the song, show up at the final, write about it for an hour, pray to God that I had picked something he considered valid, and then hope that he also liked what I'd written. He sure knew how to teach responsibility for one's own actions, boy ... it was entirely up to me and *my* choices.

Well, I went home and for two solid days I pored over every album and lyric sheet I had, especially those of lyricists I considered talented. After a long process of elimination, I settled on a Cousins lyric, and eventually I picked the track "The Life Auction" from 1975's "Ghosts" LP as the one I would analyze. It was an eye-opening experience in several ways, one of which was in judging rock lyrics apart from the music, which I found was quite different than taking a song as a whole. Many songs I loved and initially thought might be candidates didn't stand up when I took away the music and looked solely at the lyrics.

Final Exam day came and I wrote the essay and handed in my paper nervously. As I turned to leave the classroom, my professor quietly asked me if I'd chosen wisely, and I said I hoped so. A few long days passed and the grades were ready. I don't know how it's done nowadays, but in '76 in New York our grades used to be posted on the classroom doors, listed by Social Security numbers rather than by names. That way, all the grades could be visible without giving away who got what grade. I was overcome with relief when I found an "A" next to my number, and even more amazed when I saw that it was the only "A" on the entire sheet! I'm still not sure if my prof had been that impressed by my written analysis, or if he'd just been dumbfounded by the colossal nerve of a wet-behind-the-ears Freshman who would dare risk an entire college course on the perceived merits of one rock song!

In some ways, that one event taught me more about growing up than all the rest of the 4 years I spent in college did combined. So, mention of the Strawbs, and Dave Cousins in particular, always reminds me of lessons learned, and the debts I owe to David and that wise teacher.


Mike G

[The Calderone 1975 show] was a *GREAT* show. I was there. Had comp tickets from my college radio station, of which I was chief engineer at the time. 5th row center. Strawbs returned for another phenomenal show the following year, also December, when they opened with the Golden Salamander/Simple Visions combination. I was there for that one too. I, for one, sorely miss the Calderone. It was a converted movie theater, and had great sound and ambience.


Steve

I saw a Cousins and Willoughby gig at the open air theatre in Holland Park, London when Dave sung Evergreen, and it really was great. It was the first time I'd heard it (a good couple of years before Don't Say Goodbye came out) and it was like I had always known this song. So it's one of those classic songs that no matter who sings it, how it's played, or how it's arranged - it cuts!

Also on the bill was a young woman singing folky songs and playing acoustic guitar. She sang My Guy (My Girl - Temptations) which for me was one of the many highlights of the evening. I never got to findout who she was. Has anyone here got any ideas?

And now - a series of reminiscences about the Grave New World film:

Neil Punnett

I remember seeing that film in 1972/3 in Southampton. It was included as the "filler" in a presentation of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (an excellent film which featured Bob Dylan's music - someone somehwere thought that the audience for Bob would appreciate the Strawbs). It wasn't a great film - an early sort of music video, I suppose which included some odd scenes of the band flying through the skies. There were one or two powerful images, but it could have been much better. I remmebr thinking that the film editor didn't fully appreciate the musical and lyrical masterpiece that he was working with. I would love to see it again.


Gordon Hughes

I remember seeing this film when it was released. It was playing as part of a double bill alongside 'Pictures....' by ELP. I distinctly (well, I think it was distinct !) remember 'New World', with a silhouette of Dave C's head against a backdrop of scenes of violence from (again I think) Northern Ireland. It was powerful imagery and probably stands the test of time. Not so 'Journey's End' from the film however....

Hmmmmm....... Wasn't Grave New World truly the first rock video ? I've often thought about this, because as far as I can remember, it was the first time imagery, rather than just a film of the band playing, was used with the music. Way ahead of the dreaded Bohemian Rhapsody anyway.


Neil from the Beeb

At the age of 13, I recall I went to see "Pictures At An Exhibition" - a film by ELP. There were two supporting films - "Plod" by Scaffold and "Grave New World" by The Strawbs. Well that was it for me. Most of the music struck home first time. It was the first time I'd consciously heard "Benedictus" and music like that could not fail to stir you ( this was of course pre music video days). But "New World" in the film sticks in my mind - the other corresponsdent was correct - Dave appears in an insert in the top right hand corner of the film whilst graphic images are used to illustrate death. If I remember correctly the most striking images are in the second verse, where John Ford's base runs are timed with death scenes - shootings etc. I really wish it were possible to see this film again.


Added 1 Mar 2000

Bruce

This isn't an easy story, but one I need to make public. The guilt has haunted me for many years. I'm not someone who likes to hurt people and I believe I did it 25 years ago and would like to apologize. So, here it goes...

It was the mid 70's and I was discovering "Progressive Rock", especially the music across the Atlantic. I worked at a college radio station in San Diego, California and many of us were going to see Gentle Giant in concert. At the time we were all upset because they were given the opening slot in the show, instead of the top billing. That went to The Strawbs. There was so much music to listen to at the time, I had not gotten to The Strawbs yet. Gentle Giant came out and blew the house away. It was a great show.

Unfortunately for The Strawbs, their bus broke down, or something, and they didn't get a chance to do a sound check. The mix was horrible, and most of us couldn't follow the music at all. What I didn't know was that after the second song, a group of 8 people in the second row just all stood up and left. A couple of songs later, from the 15th row, at the perfect moment, my friend and I did what you do when you don't like the show, we yelled, "Whipping Post". For those of you not old enough, WP was a classic blues/rock song that defined the guitar rock of the 70's. Saying it at a show was telling the band that they sucked. Now we've all, at some time or another, tried to catch the ear of a rock star by yelling something at a concert. It never works... It did this time.

Dave Cousins turned (he was facing the back at the time), and looked out at the audience and said, "Yeah, right". I immediately felt bad, and have ever since. And as I sit here listening to "Tears and Pavan", thinking about how The Strawbs became one of my favorite bands of that era, I have only one wish; that Dave reads this and understands how bad I felt. The Strawbs never returned to Southern California (as far as I know) and I've never had a chance to apologize. But, thanks to the web and Dick's wonderful site, hopefully I can. So, Dave (and any band members that may have heard also), if you read this, please accept my apologies for making a bad night even worse.


Jaime Myers

I'm 34 years old now, but my sister's boyfriend turned me on to the Strawbs 15 years ago. He had me listening to lots of stuff like Starcastle, Camel and even Pat Metheney. But I will never forget when I saw Strawbs live at the Bayou in DC. They were simply awesome. David Cousins belted out songs like a 20 year old. I had a few beers in me so when they played Grace Darling I simply went into ecstasy. David said it was a song about a girl in a lighthouse who saved the passing ships. I've been moved by so much of their music and would like to see some of it come out on CD.


Lou Galli

We first saw the Strawbs in 1974, San Fransisco Cow Palace, with King Crimson. Quite a show. Subsequently we saw them at Winterland and Berkeley. We met the band, and a bathrobed Dave Cousins after the Winterland show. We managed to get room service to send a bottle of some sort to Dave's Room, and he was really generous of his time to come to the lobby and say thanks. Well, thanks to him also for making a bright night for some crazy fans!



Fred Parsons

After about 15 years, I have finally put my old stereo back together. I happened to pick up a Strawbs LP out of my collection to get the turntable working and "whoa" I flashed back to a back to back concert, St. John's Newfoundland, around 1972, at the Arts and Culture Center. We had been listening to Strawbs for a short while when MUN radio got them over. One of the best concerts I ever experienced. Now I'm set up to introduce my son to a world of music he wouldn't normally hear today.


Curt Przyborowski

I have finally found a Strawbs website. After viewing the site I feel like I've been asleep for a few years. Thanks for all the great info.

I've been a fan of the band since 1973 when I was a just a lad of 17 years. I was able to attend a few concerts the last being in a small tavern in Chicago on Easter Sunday. I believe the year was 1984. The boys were at the bar, having a few [just a few ? - Dick] and I went and introduced myself and expressed my appreciation for all the fine music they made thru the years. The next thing, I'm sitting at the bar buying a few rounds. I asked them a number of questions about what were obscure songs at the time, and Tony remarked " Hell, you know more about the Strawbs then we do". Dave did not agree.

I asked Dave about "This Song Is Sung For Me" and he explained that it was a song about Hud, and it wasn't too flattering. Hud was next to him and he never knew that about the song. Anyways, after the show the owner of the bar was locking up and we were getting tossed out when the band members told him to let us stay. We proceeded to put down a few more cases of beer and finally left about 3 a.m. The hangover was worth it. What a great evening. I will keep in touch. I wouldn't mind taking a trip to England to see them one more time. In fact I might be attending a wedding in Kent this summer.


Mark Behrend

I loved the collection of stories you put together from the guestbook, but realized in reading over mine that it is missing an important detail - your other readers might find this footnote amusing:

At the Montreal Forum show in '75, several friends and I were experimenting rather heavily with psychedelic substances and a bottle of Remy Martin. When the roadies finished setting up the instruments, a tape of "Autumn" began playing, and the stage slowly faded into darkness. When the lights came on again, the group was already on stage, and had picked up the same song. The mixing job was perfect, so that it was impossible to tell exactly where the tape stopped and the live performance began. My friends and I looked at each other and broke up laughing, each of us suddenly aware that we would never be able to trust the line between fantasy and reality again!


Joe Ashburner

As a Strawbs fan I went to see them at Nottingham University in February 1978. The show was late starting, but was fantastic. Truly memorable.

Anyway, the delay meant I missed the last train home, so I set off to hitch back to Leicester. No lifts forthcoming, so it was a 28 mile walk back, through the night. It took 8 hours, but the concert was worth it.

Roy Hill was the support, and I subsequently bought his album. I don't suppose there's a chance in a million it's available somewhere on CD format, is there? [No sorry - not to my knowledge - Dick]


Alan Fossey

Just listening to "Vision of the Lady of the Lake" on my new CD copy of Dragonfly - WOW!! It takes me back about 30 odd years to sitting in my sister's flat in Forest Gate listening to her (then) new husband's copy of the album on an old Dansette stereo record player (with one speaker in the body of the player the lid came off completely to make up the other speaker).

I remember taping it by placing the microphone of my Philips Compact Cassette player on the floor between the speakers. I can still hear the sounds of East London traffic zooming past the window in the background of the tape. I did eventually buy the album (honest) along with all the others but having long since lost them one way or another it's great to hear it again.


Added 23 Oct 1999

[A bumper bundle of Strawbs comments, mainly taken from the GuestBook, from which they are periodically - Dick]

Joseph Doré

Well, I don't know what the youngest Strawbs fan has been to submit a story to the page, but i assume that I am among the youngest ever! I am 18 years old and the first time I heard of the Strawbs I can't even remember. But last year I was re-introduced to them and to my surprise, knew about 5-6 songs!

I fell in love with them right away! Hangman & the Papist is one of my favorites!! It brought a tear to my eye the first time I heard it! I love everything about the songs!! I just wanted to express my appreciation and gratitude for bringing to life such wonderful music!


Hugh

My sister and I saw the Hero & Heroine lineup back in 1974 in Devon, where we grew up. Then Bath University in the late 70's when Dave C. and Brian W. did an acoustic set. Drinks with Dave and Brian in the Union bar afterward left us both dumbstruck with awe. Ah well ... To quote the lyrics so beautifully sung by Sandy Denny, "Who knows where the time goes?" Keep well everyone.


Mark A. Pyskoty

This is utterly amazing, a Strawbs site so meticulously well done, soooooo many band sites ,even the ones with the BIG CORPORATE BUCKS behind them are just sloppily slapped together. GREAT JOB!

I've been a fan of The Strawbs since my high school days back in the early to mid 70s. That period (contrary to many music aficionados) was pretty great, not only for progressive rock which The Strawbs kinda were but for pop in general: Queen, Mott, T.Rex, BeBopDeluxe, Big Star, progressively speaking ,Strawbs, Gentle Giant, Genesis w/P.G., the list, in my opinion could go on and on! This was the time before Punk/New Wave, MTV total media bombardment when you had to search this stuff out on your own, either through GREAT RADIO (WLIR was really cool at the time, almost kinda college like)good record stores or a tight musical community which doesn't seem to exist today.

You could go to a Strawbs show at The Capitol in Passaic, NJ and see the same people at a Gentle Giant show at The Calderone Concert Hall in Hempstead LI, as these same folks would be at a Tubes show at the Bottom Line. It was a great time on my "musical timeline", shows were cheap, heck I still drag out my $5.00-10.00 ticket stubs just to reflect on it from time to time. Those 10 buck stubs were for "big shows" like Tull or something at The Garden or Nassau Coliseum. I can't believe it when I see that people are paying up to the hundreds for mundane stuff (we all know who I'm talking about) that's posing as "the music of today": don't get me wrong ,there is still some good solid ,enduring music being made as we speak but just the fact of The Strawberry Hill Boys still being around today speaks volumes as to the endurance of their output!

I'm glad to see that there is still interest in this ONE OF A KIND band, these guys could get as cerebral as the best of them and yet, ROCK YOUR ASS TO THE BONE! I've been buying many of the re-issues on CD and am amazed hearing some of the studio prowess that slipped by me 20 some odd years ago: these guys were really as amazing on wax as they were live. I hope they make it to the States -I for one am gonna be there.


Dave Jones

Without doubt Dave Cousins is the finest songwriter this country has ever produced. Hero and Heroine still leaves me in total awe !!.


Peter Rand

As most of these messages are from thousands of miles away, just a few memories of early 1970's UK ( still at school ) -- Tragically unhip as I was, 'Bursting at the Seams' was one of my first purchases while still at school - I remember watching the Strawbs circa 1974 Hero & Heroine and again mid/late 70's circa Ghosts / Deep Cuts in Manchester................. Still tragically unhip, but my 12 year old son likes 'Lay Down' and a few more - there is after all hope for humanity - if I can just get him to like "The man who called himself Jesus..."


Harvey Rubin

I was fortunate to see the band a couple of times in Los Angeles in the 70's, at the Whiskey a few times and as a headline act at the Santa Monica Civic. It's good to see them touring again and I hope they will come to California for another tour. I wish them the best of luck.


Lou Rittersbach

My wife and I saw the Strawbs in Kansas City Missouri just after they released Hero and Heroine, I have seen Pink Floyd, Tull, Stones, Rod Stewart etc. etc. and the Strawbs had the best performance with lighting and sound that I have ever seen along with top notch musicianship and music. This concert was at the Midland Theater a small and acoustically excellent concert hall. I would like to thank them for an excellent memory.


Brenda Melanson

I was introduced to Strawbs in the 70's and fell in love with the lyrics and beautiful voice of Cousins. I've recently been reintroduced on my own by shopping at a second hand shop and looking through old vinyls. At that moment I bought Preserves Uncanned.....next purchase is their new release....then eventually I will own the whole collection of Strawbs. My dream come true would be a Strawbs concert in Eastern Canada, wishful thinking, eh!! In the meantime I wish to win the lottery...front row tickets for the May Tour (not to mention get my bills all paid and maybe retire). Ta Ta for now


Bennett Wolf

The Strawbs are the best band I ever turned my friends onto. It all started with The Strawbs By Choice. I soon bought everything else. I even own one of the original pressings of Old School Songs, pretty rare here in the states. I love the more recent stuff too.

Having Dave Lambert back in the fold is also great. Some of his solos are my favorites, like on The Last Resort. As far as the box set is concerned I hope Life Auction makes it. It was a powerhouse live with Rod Coombes on the skins.

I have one complaint about the constant live changing of the quick but perfect sea chanty like guitar solo near the opening of Hero and Heroine. It was perfect on the album, please do it verbatim in the future. Changing it really ruins it for us here. Have a great tour. Video tape it please.


Edward Hicks

Glad to know that this fantastic band from the 70's has not been totally forgotten. Hero and Heroine was/is truly a masterpiece of progressive rock; worthy of mention in the same breath as The Yes Album, Genesis' Nursery Crymes, or anything by the Moody Blues.


Jon Baker

Have been Strawbs follower since 1970/1 or thereabouts. First bought Witchwood but soon got all the old LPs as well. Saw Strawbs at least twice at Portsmouth Guildhall - once it was during the Miners Strike I think and there was a power cut, support act was Jonathan Kelly - whatever happened to him? There was another support who were obviously very green, didn't seem to know how to finish some of their numbers.

Later saw Dave & Brian at Bracknell Southill Park - there were 2 concerts, went to the first but so few people Dave suggested we stay for 2nd show for nothing. Last saw the band at Trowbridge Village Pump Festival, must have been about 10 years ago. Hoping to get to see them again in May, most likely in Southampton Keep up the good work with the site


Vernon Halewood

I first heard of the Strawbs in the very early 70's when I was still at school. The first time that I saw them was at the Liverpool Empire in 1972 and have subsequently seen them in 1974 again at the Empire and on the 25th Anniversary Tour in Llandudno North Wales.


D. Stott

I was turned on to the Strawbs at an early age by my older brother who had seen them live twice. I have about 8 Strawbs albums on vinyl, and started listening to them again after about 15 years. Wow!. I have always been a big fan of British pop and rock, and have always felt that the Strawbs were comparable to any of the more commercially successful bands of the 60s & 70s. The lyrics are intense, and very poetic at times, and their instrumental arrangements are, for the most part unparalleled, in my opinion. The variety in their music is so refreshing, compared to some of the generic type of crap that is popular nowadays. It is unbelievable that the same band that played rock tunes like "Round and Round" and " To be Free", could also be responsible for classical ballads like "Tears and Pavan" or "Glimpse of Heaven" or more folk oriented songs like "Part of the Union". Each album has a different feel.

I think the reason that the Strawbs were never really a mainstream, or overly popular band, (at least not here in Canada), was that their music is very lyrical, and tells stories, and not as many people are into lyrics as they are into sound. To me they represent a perfect balance of both, and I will continue to enjoy their music for many years, and would jump at the opportunity to see them live. (My brother said they put on an incredible concert).


Daryl Mann

I was in Toronto recently to see Jeff Beck and at the top of my list was to seek out a copy of `Halcyon Days'. When I listened to it today, I was blown away. This is the first time I've heard the Strawbs since probably 1975 or so. Suffice to say, the memories came flooding back. I'd completely forgotten how much I had loved these songs. I just can't imagine not have ever hearing `Witchwood' or `Round And Round' again...terrific stuff! Is there a Strawbs live database? I saw the band here in town at the London Arena circa 1973 and I'd like to know exactly when it was. Thanks!

[Any Canadian/North American fans out there can help with dates, venues and playlists for US/Canada tours of that period - email Dick Greener. Thanks.]


Vemund Grimstad

I went to your concert in Bergen tonight [May 1]. I have been to lots of concerts, but I have never been to something like this. I have always loved Strawbs, and I have 17 LP's and 5 CD's recorded by the band. But I couldn't in my wildest imagination believe that a band could sound so perfect live. Thank you for a marvellous concert, that I will remember as long as I live.


Chris Bolt

Hi What a great surprise to read the thoughts of other Strawbs fans. I have followed them since 1972. I remember a great concert in '73 at the Floral Hall in Southport on the 'Bursting at the Seams' tour. The boys rolled up in a stretch limo. I also remember a piece of concrete falling from the roof just missed Blue Weaver. I saw them the next year at Liverpool Royal Court. Although the size of the venues has changed these days, and maybe the size of the crowd also, but the Strawbs are just as magical as ever.

[Chris do contact me again - you didn't leave your e-mail. - Dick Greener.


Kurt Schmidt

Remember Strawbs well from Mid Seventies . Always loved Hero And Heroine album. Seen The Strawbs in St. Louis (my home land area) years ago and were quite wonderful I must say. Used to hear a lot of Strawbs music on KSHE-95 FM Radio in St. Louis. Glad to see the Band is still jammin and would love to see them again.


Mark Taylor

I went to the concert at The Stables - my first Strawbs concert. WOW!! I and my friends had a fantastic night. I have found another band whose music I like. I want, and will buy other albums. Please get yourselves back to Bedfordshire as soon as possible. A great set and a magnificent performance. Well done and thanks Mark Taylor (A new fan)


Peter

Just got back from the 1st gig of the tour at Worcester. Absolutely amazing! Having heard that version of "Down by the Sea", I can die happy (although I plan to put that off for a while). Well done. PS. Holly sends her love to Andy the soundman!


Derek Walmsley

Just arrived back from excellent gig at the Rosehill Theatre, Whitehaven. Good Rod Demick solo spot (especially "Loose Change") followed by plenty of great Strawbs songs with superb contributions from all. Dave Cousins' voice still as distinctive as ever; great guitar, keyboards and drums. Plenty of CDs for sale (to my cost!). Nice to see both Hudson and Ford back in the group and look forward to release on CD of their 1970s A&M material.


Tim Hardy

Caught the gig at South Shields last night - BRILLIANT. The current line up is easily the best yet and the set was perfect. The mood was set from the 'New World' opener and got better from then on. Really good to hear 'Sheep', 'Tears and Pavan' and Heavy Disguise' performed so well, Mike and I can't remember when we enjoyed a concert more. Suggest the band play the new ARC venue in Stockton on the site of the old Dovecot Arts Centre. Still on a high after last night - best wishes to the band and the crew. Tim and Mike.

p.s. Dick, you get more mentions in the programme than Cousins! [That's 'cause I wrote it!!! - DG]


Peter Rand

Just got home from the Southport concert - it was even better than I was hoping it would be. Just a pity I couldn't stay to say thanks at the bar but maybe I'll buy them a pint next time. "Tears & Pavan" was brilliant - how about putting Benedictus in in future as well? Thanks for rolling back the years.


David Graham Pugh

I took the family to see The Strawbs at Spalding on Saturday. The concert was excellent, I was very surprised at how well Dave [Lambert] and Brian gelled together on stage. Everyone seemed to have a really enjoyable time, including the band. The set list was spot on, however we all missed "Blue Angel" ! We all had a good time chatting with the lads before and after the concert and we are all very much looking forward to the concert in Banbury. Thanks for keeping us all so well informed about the band. Best Wishes David, Paula, Morgan & Rhiannon


Des Thomas

Just been to see the Strawbs in Bilston. What an excellent show. It is great to see that the band has stood the test of time. Finally a message for Dave Lambert, thanks for the ski lessons in February 1997 and also the entertainment at the 'Vicky' afterwards. On subsequent visits I was sorry to see that you were no longer performing there. I look forward to seeing you in Neiderau again in the future. All the best!


Robert Keller Jr.

It's to good to be true to see Dave Cousins and other members of the Strawbs, finally having their music released on CDs!! Ever since "74" I haven't been able to thank them for such daring and unmainstream style of music. They have been beyond all the boundaries other artists wouldn't dare touch. But now I hope they get all the popularity they actually deserved many years ago. I was one of the privileged back in 1974, to see them live in concert in New York City.


Anne Dodds

My husband Jimmy and myself went to see the Strawbs play in Alnwick in May 99, and not being a Strawbs fan myself I was a converted Strawbs groupie by the end of the night. I wanted to travel the country the rest of that month to see you all play. It was a fantastic night and experience and having a drink with you all in the White Swan Hotel in Alnwick after the gig really made Jimmy's and my night one to remember always. The only regret I have is that we didn't get sloshed with you all so we could tell all our friends - never mind just having a drink with you all is quite enough to be bragging about for the next few years. By the end of that week my friends/work colleagues were sick of hearing about you all, and were wishing they had made it along themselves. I couldn't stop telling them that they missed a fantastic night and what lovely 'gentle men' you all are (I hope I haven't spoilt your image in anyway?). I only wish you will come back to Alnwick for another gig and if you need an events organiser/publicity person I am the woman! Organisation skills are my forte. It has been an unforgettable experience - seeing, drinking and shaking your hands! Annie D


Jens Alexandersson

Great to see that Strawbs are still kicking!!! It would be wonderful to have them back in Sweden to play-read the reviews from our neighbours in Norway and I can promise that there are many of us who wants to see them here, too! Best regards to a great band & thanks for a nice informative site!


Mark Behrend

Got turned on to Dave and the boys while living in Montreal in '73. Have seen the group only twice, at opposite ends of the fleeting cycle of fame: at a sold-out Montreal Forum during the "Nomadness" tour, front row full of look-alike Lambert groupies; and with 300 or so die-hard fans at The Stone in San Francisco, when they opened for Al Stewart circa '85. I ran into Cousins at the bar after the set, and suddenly forgot all the things I'd ever wanted to ask him. No other writer in the history of R&R ever approached his lyrics for depth and subject matter. Sadly, the group never caught on in California as it did in eastern Canada. I only recently discovered the post-1980 music, much of which is still unavailable here. "Halcyon Days" is an epic! Great to hear "Blue Angel" with digital sound, though I much prefer the vinyl version of "All Our Own Work" (aka "Sandy Denny & The Strawbs"). I hope to see "Bursting at the Seams," "From the Witchwood," "Grave New World," & "Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios" on CD. Am ecstatic to hear there may be a Strawbs US tour this year!! Should I be run over by a bus before then, will someone please put the "Queen of Dreams" lyrics on my tombstone? Thanks.


Alan J Chappell

I first found the Strawbs in 1970 when I bought the 'Dragonfly' album (has the band ever played 'Vision of the Lady of the Lake' live?) after having heard John Peel playing 'The Battle' on his Sunday afternoon radio show. I first saw them live at Guildford in January 1971 and was completely blown away. I went to several other gigs, bought the first five albums and lost interest at or around 'Part of the Union' (too commercial). Found them, or at least Cousins and Willoughby in folk clubs later and went to concerts including the 25th Anniversary 'Part of the Reunion' tour. It's great to see them again with a smashing website - they were a significant part of my youth. Dave still has that incredible voice even if not the waistline. I look forward to more news, catching up on long-deleted albums (I sold my copy of Witchwood - must have been mad!). Please keep me posted.


Neil Lamb

Aging fan. First got inspired when heard 'Benedictus' played by Noel Edmunds on his breakfast show at the dawn of the seventies - hard to believe that now ! Got all the albums - I think, but this has been difficult with all the various outputs and re-assemblies in the last few years. Has 'Blue Angel' appeared on anything yet ? Never found any band who could quite match their musicality and their potential for mental imagery, particularly of course in many of Dave Cousins' songs. Is their anything to match 'Beat the retreat' in painting a picture in music and words ? Performed it myself once on Skye when retreating down the mountainside having failed to ascend the inaccessible pinnacle in desperate weather - my climbing companion on the day was well impressed !

Was a member of Strawbs information line for quite some time - excellent service run by Denise but had an attack of mid-age depression/blues after watching the lads perform in a down-town Richmond pub a year or so back. Always hopeful that a new generation will appreciate the brilliance of their back-collection and it isn't lost to the mists of time. Finding this web-site has stirred me once again - perhaps not quite ready yet, "to sail all alone to die".


Added 16 Sep 1999

Vernon Barnes

I was at the May 1974 concert at Paignton Festival Hall mentioned by Peter Yearsley in the Strawbs Stories section of your web site. The mellotron breakdown, I thought it was early in the set. Well it did have its upside. Dave Cousins solo performance of a "just written" Grace Darling. This left a lasting impression and seemed so much better than the heavily produced version that was released on Ghosts some time later.

This was the second of three Strawbs concerts I have attended at Paignton Festival Hall, the first was at the time of Bursting at the Seams. Great concert, the group were in the bar in the interval with the punters!

The third had them supporting Lindisfarne just before Christmas, it must the 1994 tour referred to by Peter. OK it was a short set but they were in fine form.

Unlike Peter Yearsley I no longer have my ticket stub from the 1974 concert. If there is ever a repeat concert however it won't be at the Festival hall. It's been pulled down and is being replaced by a cinema.

And talking of cinemas - what ever happened to the Grave New World film that was doing the rounds in the early 1970's (with ELP's pictures at an exhibition).


John

In the summer of 74 me and my mate bought 'Hero & Heroine' and were blown away by how good it was. We were 15 going on 16, money was short so, when you bought an LP you really had to save up. We clubbed together on this one, because we'd seen them on the 'Old Grey Whistle Test' doing 'Autumn etc.' 'Hero & Heroine' and 'Round and Round'. We were blown away, a band we once thought were really good, were all of a sudden up there with YES & ELP and even, dare I say it GENESIS! It was John Hawken's keyboards that really hooked us; the heavy Moog and big boss Mellotron sound, this guy was Wakeman & Banks in one!

Anyhow we played it and taped it and played the tapes where ever we went on my tinny Crown portable cassette radio. Then one evening we ended up in the local park, sitting on the swings drunk on summer, and two cans of 'Carlsberg Lethal Brew'. Luckily we didn't have the tape deck with us 'cause we started shouting "Strawbs, Strawbs"! at the top of our voices and through the gloom we saw several shapes moving. Towards us...It turned out to be the mean, ugly sister of a bloke we were at school with, and her equally grim pals. "Why?", were we shouting "Slobs!" at them and did we want a "Kickin'?" We got up and walked away rather sheepish & sharpish, saying nothing, before really, running for the hills! I ended up hiding behind a hedge somewhere, whilst, Kenny, fitter than me, legged it towards his home. We sobered up pretty quick that night!

A few months later the Strawbs played the Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, a venue that rarely put on bands but, always put on The Circus and Carnival at Christmas. This was a new and odd venue for me and Kenny (veterans of the famous Glasgow Apollo), so we were a bit unsure. It was a Saturday night and we got a bus up west, found a pub that would sell beer to underage drinkers (us) and, after the usual 3 pints of Tartan Special, we bought 2 cans of Newcastle Brown and headed for the hall. Queuing in the snow and drizzle with another 80 or so punters, a car pulled up and John Hawken stepped out! Instant FreakOut! Me and Kenny were the only ones in the queue that recognised him! We ran over and, proffering our tickets and biro, asked shakily for an autograph. The Man was willing and obliged. Then, it happened, my can of Newcastle Brown plummeted, from it's hiding place inside my Duffel coat, thumping him on the foot! He was most gracious as I scooped up my booty. He even signed Kenny's ticket before hobbling off into the hall.

It's so long ago now that I can remember very little of the gig except; all the band were in white, the hall's lighting was too bright and the Kelvin Hall had no atmosphere. So that was me and Kenny's first brush with showbiz, and I blew it! I don't have the ticket stub anymore but I've still got the programme.

PS. only ever went to 2 more gigs at the Kelvin Hall: The Orchestral Tubular Bells with Steve Hillage on guitar and Manfred Mann's Earthband 'Roaring Silence' tour. Earthband were good but Tubular Bells was really boring.


Steve Andrews

I can recall first hearing the Strawbs when a friend brought this LP into the common room at school in late 69. We then listened to all these weird tracks (The Battle, Or Am I Dreaming, That Which Once Was Mine, Poor Jimmy Wilson etc.). I loved the lyrics especially, and the beautiful arrangements that accompanied them. But best of all, the words were on the record sleeve, this meant that I could read them as poems in their own right: that's when I really began to appreciate them.

So I bought a copy myself and soon after obtained Dragonfly which confirmed their excellence to me. In those days I would regularly buy the music mags (NME, Sounds,etc.) just to keep informed about the bands that I was into, and in one edition of Sounds they featured a full colour centrespread of DC (which I still have somewhere).

Then they released Antiques and Curios, (the original sleeve design with their faces on the back) and Witchwood and I was amazed at the musicianship of Mr. Wakeman, and Mr. Hudson (sitar). Weird solos, strange lyrics (The Antique Suite, Cannondale,) all these things added up to a unique blend of music that I fell for.

I continued to add to my Strawbs collection throughout the 70's including the Dave Cousins solo LP (which I understand is quite rare) and the original Sandy and The Strawbs album, which I particularly enjoyed. Coming back to the present time, i have been very lucky to have been able to obtain a few of these early albums in CD format, from imported sources, and now A&M have seen the light and are re-issuing them again, for us to enjoy.

Over the years I have been to a number of their gigs, and I can recall a weekend at the Lincoln Rock Festival in 1972, featuring Stone the Crows, Strawbs, Slade, Status Quo, Joe Cocker, Beach Boys, Vinegar Joe, and Don Mclean. that was a good one. I recently went to the gig at Broxbourne, which was great as they played a lot of the older songs in prep for the important Chiswick gig that followed soon after. Maybe we will meet up at a forthcoming gig, and I'll tell you the tale of the'Dragonfly' T-shirt.


Added 7 June 1999

[A couple of lengthy reminscences from long-term fans this time - DG]

Geoff Gilborson

As promised I am putting down on paper some of my Strawbs memories going back 30 years.

I first encountered the band in 1969 while attending Bristol Cathedral School. I had a friend called John ( nicknamed Barrel) who largely shared my musical tastes which at the time centred on the Beach Boys, the Who, the Moody Blues, Donovan and most of the Californian music scene of the flower power era. He was also into the folk scene with Fairport etc. which he introduced me to. He told me about a new band he had discovered called The Strawbs.

I first saw/ heard them for myself when they appeared on a Tony Blackburn ( yes really ) TV series. They performed Oh How She Changed. I enjoyed the song but was not too impressed by their image for some reason. Anyway a few weeks later they appeared again on the same show and I decided they were a good thing!

Soon afterwards Barrel informed me that they were that they were going to play at a folk club in Clifton called the Troubadour & maybe we should go and see them. This was the third live concert I had attended. The first was The Beach Boys a year earlier the second was Tyrannosaurus Rex supported by Fairport Convention . At about the same time the first A&M album came out which I bought and was really impressed by.

The Troubadour was basically a coffee bar with two floors each with a stage. It was a very small venue and visiting bands played alternate sets on each stage. We arrived early and sat on the front row of the lower floor. There were a couple of supporting singers one of whom as I remember was a great Al Stewart fan and played some of his songs. Then the Strawbs came on. The ceiling of the club was so low that Ron Chesterman was unable to hold his double bass upright. I remember being very impressed with Dave Cousins' between song chatter which was as witty as it is today. They must have played for half an hour or so. I remember "That Which Once Was Mine" (a favourite),"The Man Who Called Himself Jesus", "The Battle" and "We'll Meet Again Sometime" with Tony Hooper on lead vocals. Tony has one of the most beautiful voices in music. I remember Tony storing half - smoked cigarettes in the strings on the frets of his guitar. Because we had to go to school next day we had to leave quite early but before we did so we caught most of their next set on the top floor. This time they did "Josephine", a very long track that I did not know but I think must have been "Vision of the Lady of the Lake" and they did a bluegrass instrumental during which Dave changed tuning while continuing to play! I came away a huge fan.

The second time I saw them was probably the most bizarre of their gigs. This was about the time Dragonfly was released. There was a concert at the Bristol Colston Hall featuring local heroes Adge Cutler and the Wurzels. There were about 8 acts on the bill of varying types - comedians, singers etc. and among them were the Strawbs. I went to the concert with my parents. The Strawbs closed the first half. They did a short set including "Josephine", "Poor Jimmy Wilson", "Dragonfly" and "The Battle". They were excellent but I don't think the largely middle aged + audience appreciated them much (how things have changed ).They received only quiet applause but I loved them and my parents thought they were pretty good as well.

On television I remember seeing the Colour Me Pop episode when they played "The Man Who Called Himself Jesus" live from the White Bear and David Bowie miming to "Poor Jimmy Wilson".

Soon after the Colston Hall concert they expanded to a 5 piece & did the QEH gig which led to the Antiques & Curios album. At first I did not like the change and this was about the only Strawbs album that I did not buy at the time it first came out. I never saw the Wakeman band live sadly. When I first heard tracks from the Witchwood album my faith in the Strawbs was renewed. It probably is my favourite Strawbs album and it was great to hear them doing stuff from it on Friday [at Banbury].

By the time I saw them next I was a Theology student at Kings College London. They did a wonderful concert at the Royal Festival Hall just after releasing Grave New World. They used film and slides as a background to some songs. They also had some ballet students dancing to "The Flower And The Young Man" which is one of my favourite songs. Hud did a percussion solo right around the stage bashing everything in sight - it was at the end of "Queen of Dreams".

The next time I saw them was right in the middle of the glam - rock era during the Bursting At The Seams tour. It was back at the Colston Hall again and this time they were so popular I could only get seats up in the balcony and at the concert itself the girls screamed at them ! I remember they were very late coming on & the crowd was restless but they played a wonderful set opening just as they did on Friday with Grave New World. There was dry ice and sequins galore. There have been many other memorable concerts which I will write to you about another time.

It is great to see the band still playing wonderful music after 30 + years. It is also great to meet fellow fans. I love the website. It is a goldmine of information.


Peter Yearsley

I didn't actually see the Strawbs live until 1974, although I'd been a fan since 1970. The first Strawbs concert I went to see was in May 1974 at the Festival Theatre in Paignton, Devon. The concert itself was brilliant, with much material from the latest album "Hero & Heroine" being played. However the concert was particularly memorable for John Hawken's mellotron packing up about two thirds of the way through. I seem to remember the final part of the concert being virtually 'unplugged', with the two Daves playing a blistering version of "Hangman". At the end Dave was full of profuse apologies for the technical difficulties which had plagued the concert and advised us to hang on to our ticket stubs, promising to repeat the concert at a later date.

Well Dave, it's a quarter of a century later and I've still got that ticket stub somewhere, waiting for that free repeat performance! I don't live in Torbay any more but a concert at the Marlowe Theatre in my present home town of Canterbury would do very nicely , thank you !

I've seen the Strawbs many times since then. Highlights include a fantastic performance at Chelsea College in 1979, particularly an amazing "Heartbreak Hill". As we all know the album of the same name didn't appear until 1995 but it was well worth the wait. Other special memories were the concert at the Broadstairs Folk Festival in 1988, featuring a sweat drenched Dave with about one string left on his guitar, and the 25th Anniversary concert at Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall in 1993 featuring "a small but enthusiastic audience"(as Dave put it !). The Strawbs concert at Broadstairs was also memorable for having a pee next to the great man himself in the loos - I never realised who it was until he began walking towards the door !!

The only disappointing concert I've been to was the double bill with Lindisfarne at Margate Winter Gardens in 1994. The Strawbs were very much the 'junior partners ' in this billing and were limited to a 40 minutes 'Greatest Hits' set. Never mind it gave me the opportunity to see a final performance from another great British songwriter - the sadly-missed Alan Hull.

The web site is excellent Dick - I hope you can keep it going for a long time. Please feel free to use any of my ramblings - particularly reminding Dave Cousins about that promised repeat concert in 1974 !!


Added 16 May 1999

Alan Steer

I first saw the Strawbs play live at a pub gig somewhere in North London in October 70. This was just after the QEH concert. I had seen them earlier in the year on the TV programme, Disco2, as a 4-piece outfit - Dave, Tony, Ron and Claire Deniz. My initial thought at the pub gig was that Claire had grown her hair, but it was the new line-up including Rick Wakeman - how wrong can you be! They were brilliant.

I saw them a number of times while I was at college and just afterwards. The last time was at Reading University at the end of 73 or early 74. Dave seemed to be going through a bad period in his personal life and it showed in his performances. They dropped out of the limelight soon afterwards.

I am very pleased about the re-issue of their A&M records on CD. The earlier compilations on CD were very welcome, but you need the original songs in their original order to really bring back the memories of those youthful times.


Fred Smith

The first time I heard the Strawbs was about 1974 while a cub reporter in Pottsville PA. A friend and true blue Strawbs lover, Dave MacAdams, told me a song he'd heard on WMMR in Philadelphia called Queen of Dreams had blown him away. We bought Grave New World, then Witchwood, Bursting, Early and others, proceeding to add each new one that came out, eventually acquiring all their stuff.

It was about 1975 when they came through eastern Pa. We saw them at Northumberland in a tiny theater. Cousins drew deeply from a flask between numbers. We sent him a bunch of orange Round and Round bumper stickers we'd had made, hoping he would mention the gesture from the stage or stick one to a speaker or amp. But he didn't. Afterwards, I remarked to the enjoyment of my three companions that Dave Lambert's face looked like Cousins' mind.

The next night took us to the Tower Theater in Philadelphia, where a huge crowd, most of whom had not heard of the Strawbs, "had come to see them for a laugh." The Strawbs always played loud but the audience was unprepared for the crescendoing aural violence! Lemon Pie blew everyone away! When they announced they would play a single song for an encore, Cousins asked everyone to guess what it would be. Many songs were named but no one picked the obvious answer. It was logical: Stormy Down unified all Strawbsians as one of everyone's top 10. The next day, a rock reviewer for the Inquirer said the least known band in town that weekend had been the best. The Strawbs had smoked everyone else! It was no surprise to us.


terryval@cheerful.com

Excellent site - did not know all that had been happening over the years. My wife and I (at first she was my girlfriend) saw the group every time they came to Swindon. Saw them at least twice at the Folk at the Bell (Swindon Folk Club) in the Bell Hotel, Later at Mcillroys Rick Wakemen and once with Claire Deniz. The last time was at the Wyvern Theatre when they were in the charts with the union song.


McTasket@aol.com

During my senior year in high school I heard a song on the radio that I really enjoyed but the announcer never mentioned the title or artist. Seven or eight months later at Miami University in Oxford Ohio, the low power local station, WOXR, played the song again. I called immediately to get as much information as I could. It was "Part of the Union" by The Strawbs. I immediately went out and purchased "Bursting at the Seams." From that moment on I spent an incredible amount of the next eight years studying while listening to the music of the Strawbs. Many friends would enjoy the music but not to the same degree as I.

By the the time I graduated from college for the third time the old vinyl albums had very little fidelity left in their grooves, even though I even had duplicate copies. The demise of my turntable in 1991, in a job related moving accident, signaled what I thought was a permanent end to the Strawbs for me. While many of the most successful bands of the70's and 80's were re-releasing material on CD, most of the music I preferred was less than mainstream and probably would never be remastered and re-released.

An internet search for information on the band Nektar somehow provided a link to the Strawbs or maybe it was a desire to look for other music from my college days. And there it was the Strawbs Homepage. Everything I could hope for. Just three weeks later on Presidents Day, the Post Office made a special delivery on a federal holiday. You cannot believe how happy I am right now.

I was never able to see the Strawbs in concert before but hope they return to the States soon.


Tom Kohn

Hi, Dave and Brian performed in Rochester New York several years ago and gave us an absolutly wonderful show. They stayed at my best friends home and we got to talk quite late that night. I'd love to know if any plans to come to the states are in the works? I host small concerts at my record store (mostly jazz) and would like to help in getting them back to Rochester.


Added 16 Mar 1999

Al Bod

I have been a fan of the Strawbs since about 1972- 73 when I heard about "Grave New World" and that Rick Wakeman had been a member before he joined Yes. I have been a fan ever since. It wasn't long before I had purchased their earlier albums as well. I saw them as an opening act for Mott the Hoople in May '74. "Hero & Heroine" and "Ghosts" became favourite albums later. I saw them again, on their own less than 2 years later. I have attached two photos I took from this concert. It happened in London, Ontario, Canada. The venue was Alumni Hall at the University of Western Ontario. and was one of the most memorable concerts I have ever attended. Since they are an important memory for me, I thought someone who appreciated the Strawbs as much as you obviously do, wouldn't mind seeing these photos. I have several others as well, including ones of Chas Cronk, Rod Coombes and John Hawken. Hope you enjoy these.

[The photos are coming up in a (long-delayed) feature on Hero And Heroine, which was released around 25 years ago in the US. - DG]


David Palmer

It's great to see a web site dedicated to this great band. I was sitting here playing backgammon and listening to Strawbs by choice when it occured to me to look up this site. Nice site!!

I have been a Strawbs fan since the early '70's. I've seen them live at McMaster University in Hamilton,ON and at the Diamond Club in Toronto. I can't clearly remember the McMaster gig( either from the many years or a condition of my misspent youth.)

I still have most of their LP's and I do occasionally search for them while scouring the vinyl shops. I am proud to say that I do have an English pressing of By choice ( a prized possesion over here) and Two weeks last summer. Yes, I'm a flat earther who still believes in vinyl. I do, however, look forward to some material released on CD.

I would love to see this band again, so if there is any influence to be peddled by conducting a poll at this site, please do so. See how many Canadian fans want them over here.


Added 11 Feb 1999

Artun Erturk

I'm really pleased that Strawbs got aired on VH-1. I think the buzz, to which you contributed a lot, about them has finally taken off and hopefully they 'll find their much deserved places in history as being truly innovative,prolific and extremelytalented musicians,a rarity among loads of other media hyped bands and musicians ,still making big bucks.

I personally wonder if i get any chance to see them on VH-1,here in America? I really want to see (for the first time in my 27 years of life) Lambert & Cousins playing again. I wish Chas Cronk and Coombes would join them for a possible reunion tour. It's really important for me to see the band, which composed songs like "Alexander theGreat" and "Cut Like A Diamond", to finally get the respect and fame they deserve. This would be the great example of "Life can also be fair", which I consider as the most important factor in our lives to keep going.


David Lewis

I have been fascinated by this band since I was about 14 and bought Grave New World in 1974. I always preferred the folky stuff to the rocky stuff in general (my own musical tastes lean towards the singer-songwriters like Dylan, Van Morrison, Nick Drake rather than progressive rock) but I have always found the band fascinating as it went through its many changes even when I found the music not to my taste!

Partly I think this was because Cousins seemed so articulate and open in his dealings with the press (I remember reading interviews with him in 1974-75 about the changes, problems, UK press etc). I also really liked Cousins' voice - in an almost Dylanesque way, it has a harsh, abrasive quality which you either love or hate ... (I never liked the other Strawbs singers much though!!). Cousins lyrics could be really good but were sometimes either strengthened or more often flawed in my opinion by a slightly strange sense of repressed sexuality and guilt which almost sometimes bordered on misogyny (?)

Every album seemed to me to have a couple of classic songs in amonst weaker stuff, particularly by the time we got to the Burning for You era. The only time I saw them(?) was a Cousins solo gig in 1979 in Trowbridge, Wiltshire which I really enjoyed. I even got him to sign a beer mat for me!

I think what also made them interesting is this incredible sense of struggle. Their moments of mass popularity were very few but then they spent years trying to recover it by changing. I'm sure they could have been as popular as the other progressive rock bands of the day (Genesis, Yes etc) who are now in some ways critically rehabilitated; or they could have been a classic folk-rock band (like Fairport etc) a genre which has also again found favour. So I see them as an interesting part of the story of 1970s folk/rock and I'm glad you are telling it!!


Martin Nike

This is more a "Strawbs" related story. All I can say regarding the Strawbs is that in short time of space I've been listening to them (Early 90s) I never imagined I'd get to see the classic lineups back together again, and see that chemistry is still great.

Long before I'd heard of the Strawbs I went to see Marillion in Manchester in a horrible night club. It was part of Marillion's Christmas tour of small venues. Anyway, the band showed no sign of arriving and extremely late on in the evening two chaps appeared on stage and began singing wacky and lively songs (including a tribute to Marillion!). They quickly warmed up the audience, who were waiting for Marillion, and left with much applause.

I recognised the group though, not from the Strawbs, but from a cheap horror film directed by Norman J Warren called "Bloody New Year" ("Time Warp Terror" in the the US). They were called Cry No More, and I've spent many time looking for any sign of any recordings in second hand record shops. Without any luck. It came as a bit of a shock to discover that Cry No More were a Strawbs offshoot... and I still haven't found any records! Anyone out there help?


Russ Ballaam

I have been a Strawbs fan since the early 1970's and have met various band members at different venues over the years. I have a strong admiration for Dave Cousins whom I regard as one of the finest lyricists in the music industry. Alot of his work is sheer poetry and it gives me enormous pleasure to "lose myself" in the meaning and significance of his songs. I am sure, at times, he has sweated blood for his work!

My fondest memories are of the 1976 "Deep Cuts" tour of the UK, where I managed to see them at three gigs. After the Bradford University gig, the band visited an Indian restaurant and John Mealing made us laugh by dabbing his brow with a chapatti. As I recall, the tour was largely a critical success. The second gig of the tour at Newcastle City Hall received particular praise from Phil Sutcliffe, who likened the Strawb's sound to "what Lindisfarne's version of folk-rock might have become if the Geordies had stuck together." Fair praise indeed from someone who in the same review wanted to assure his readers that he was "not a Strawbs fan" and who regularly slated them.

My saddest memory is the untimely death of Sandy Denny in 1978. In 1979 when Dave and Brian were doing a folk circuit, I wrote to ask Dave whether he would consider writing a song in Sandy's memory. In his reply he said that he was going to perform a couple of "low-key gigs at the Turks Head" and that "we might be able to perform the song I have nearly finished about Sandy called 'Ringing down the years'." and then (rather graciously) "A direct inspiration from your letter."

It was some time later before I managed to see Dave and Brian perform the song at the Half Moon, Putney. A few month's later, I obtained a copy of the song on Kevin Wyatt-Lown's L.O. label, which I have to say is my favourite version. The sentiment behind the words and Brian's emotive middle-eight guitar solo really do make a connection with me. Anyone who had any regard for Sandy and her work cannot fail to be moved by this simple and beautiful tribute. "Simple and beautiful" is almost the trademark of some of Dave's finest work ("Josephine" is just one that is in the same category). We have a lot for which to thank him.


Andy Dore

My name is Andy Dore from Montreal. Although I am only 34 years old, my older brothers listened to the Strawbs religiously, along with King Crimson, Shawn Phillips, Jethro Tull, Uriah Heep, Procol Harum, and Supertramp.

Our favorite has always be the Strawbs. They never got too bizarre and you didn't need to be stoned to enjoy it. A number of years ago, I heard that the Strawbs were doing a tour in the U.S. The closest gig was about 6 hours from Montreal. I, being too young to have seen them in concert for the Ghosts or Hero tour was happy to drive the six hours to see them. When I arrived at the club (some college town in Massachusetts) I was amazed to learn that they were not "they", as in the Strawbs, but " they " were Dave and Brian W. The show was opened up by the Muffs (which Dave was genuinely fond of their passion for creating music). When Dave and Brian came onto the stage, I was shaking with anticipation.

I myself am a musician. Most musicians my age would name McCartney, Lennon, Page, Hendrix, or others as their "hero". Mine was Dave Cousins. Here he was literally four feet away from me playing those tunes that I know inside and out. The show was great even though Dave had been suffering from gallstones.

After the show, I sat at the bar with Dave and had a few drinks till the bar closed. He told stories that made me laugh and made me realize what a true artist is. A strange fellow that Dave Cousins. He talked about people and friends, shows and bands, songs and recording sessions. He answered all my questions with not a hint of arrogance or self-centeredness. And you know what? He talks just like he writes. With a melody and rhyme coupled with uncommon words and phrases. By the way Dave, don't forget to give Elvis Costello a call, he still has your electric banjo. The owner even let us stay and chat after the shutters were closed. I walked back to the hotel with Dave and Brian and they even invited me to sleep in their room since they knew I was from out of town. I declined - too much. I slept in my car till daylight. (for about one hour) and drove back to Montreal.

If you fans really want to know. Dave has a deep understanding of people, laughter, sadness and how to cherish memories, good or bad. I do have 3 regrets about that evening. One, I should have asked him if he and I could sing a song together after everyone was gone. Two, the picture someone was kind enough to take of Dave and I together never came out. Three, I never told him that he was the reason I became a musician.

Oh, and Dave........thanks for nuthin': I tried to learn how you play some of your songs during the show, but with all that weird tuning I didn't learn anything. Maybe you and David Crosby should have a tuning contest........

Thanks for the memory, thanks for the music,


Don Rodgers

Looking at your review and pics from the 30th gig brought back a lot of memories. I remember when I was attending university in Nova Scotia (St. Francis Xavier University) and heard about a Strawbs gig in Toronto at the infamous Massey Hall...I just had to go. I remember flying into Toronto on a Thursday night, heading home to Niagara Falls to visit with my parents, and then hooking up with my old football (soccer here) team to play a game in Ft. Erie, Ontario on a Sunday...no time to shower but got dressed quickly and headed up to Toronto to catch the gig.

Met the band backstage after the show and then headed off to the airport where I slept rather uncomfortably for the night and then caught a flight back to Halifax, took a 3 hour busride, and was off the next day to play football for my university team. Bottom line, the show was magic and the pics of the band members getting together gave me a wonderful feeling, and made me remember that night in Toronto.

Caught the band opening up for John Entwistle's Ox the next year (Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, New York). The show was incredible. In '87 I flew from Calgary to Ottawa and caught the band at Barrymores (this after the release of their album for Virgin Canada) and flew back the next day...about 2,000 miles of flying but every lyric, note, was worth it. I still have my old autographed Music Express magazines, autographed Nomadness poster, and the Canadian tour poster for Ghosts at home, all in mint condition. Thanks for publishing the review and pics...it warmed up this Strawbs fan.


Graham Owen

I just noticed on the setlist for the QEH gig in 1970 that the song "It's In Your Hands" is listed. Has this ever been recorded/released? [The song was recorded, as was the whole of the QEH concert, but has never been released - are you listening Polygram ? - DG]

I have a vague recollection of Dave's introduction to the song, in the early 70's, including a reference to Edward Heath. Funny how after all these years (26+) the old memory brings back something like that, from a Strawbs concert at the Music Hall, Shrewsbury. I can also "see" Hud's drum antics, going round the stage and tapping out rhythms on various locations and instruments.


Lance

I first got into the Strawbs when Grave New World came out. They played in Philly in a small club called the Main Point. It seated about 200. The power and the passion of the Strawbs that night was just great. I remained a fan for life.

Some years ago they did a reunion tour and played another small club. Again a band couldn't be better than they were that night. Just hearing all those old songs was great. Also the new songs were great. And of course they did my favorite "Heavy Disguise". My friend David recorded the show on a Walkman and I still love listening to it.


John Bonfiglio

I am an old line fan. My aunt booked the band on every one of their american tours, and the shows remain with me as examples of what great artists can achieve, both offstage and on.

I did a search for Strawbs on a whim while listening to Dragonfly and was lucky enough to stumble on your site. One show that stands out in my mind is on the Hero And Heroine tour at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ (74-75?) with Lambert particularly stinging. Another was the Academy of Music in NYC, Port Chester.....OK, I'll stop now.

I have many other memories of the personal graciousness of the lads, as well as early NYC-area shows. In the first half of the seventies the band would often play small clubs in Long Island (The Calderone,My Father's Place etc.) and the NJ-to-Philadelphia area (where they had rabid fan support) and we would drive an hour or two for a few nights and catch perhaps four shows in a row. As I said, my aunt was their booking agent (in the USA), so my friends and I could get on the list for these expeditions outside of NYC.

I was 10 or 11 when I first saw them (72-73)?, but I had been going to rock shows for half my life by then. We must have been a sight - it was standing room only in our aisle, even in half-empty halls. I carry those shows with me for longer than most others of the time. My twisted little self sang "The Hangman and the Papist" before a summer camp gathering of 500 or so bewildered folks in 1975. What I thought I might be achieving is still open to debate.

Like so many major talents, the members (almost every member of the family tree over the years) always seemed to be truly thankful for and respectful of their fans. It kinda makes you want to keep the side up.

It's delightful to see that so many others have had similar experiences. Through your page I have already corresponded with a guy who was at the same show - one night 24 years ago - whom I have never met (and most likely won't), who now lives an incontinent away.

Gary Green of Gentle Giant (whew! Alliteration alert!) taught me how to play "Thick As A Brick" before a show at the Academy of Music on the "Power And The Glory" tour where they shared the bill with The Pretty Things, Strawbs and the Gary Wright-less Spooky Tooth.


Steve Peck

I don't know how many letters you get from brand new fans, but here I am. I've only begun listening to this amazing band this past year. I don't know how I never dug into them before. It was just one of those things. I cut my teeth on so many great British bands from the same era and same scene, it is weird I hadn't hooked up with the Strawbs before. It is also ironic that I began listening to Wishbone Ash this year too. Oh well, it's never too late! By the way, I am 41 years old.

I've picked up a couple of used vinyl albums as my introduction, "Bursting At The Seams," "Antiques and Curios," and "Ghosts." This began to whet my appetite. Next up, I just bought the American version of "Halcyon Days" last weekend. MAN!!! Phenomenal!!! I just love it, and have been playing it non-stop.

While I kick myself for having missed this music all my life so far, I guess I'm in an enviable position of it all being new to me now. What fun! I can't wait until I have all the Strawbs albums, and can sing along like an old fan. I've truly enjoyed this web page, soaking up all the info I can. I can almost recite the various band lineups from memory, and that is no small feat! Once I get into something, I go full bore!


Tim Cohan

Congratulations on Strawbs Web! It is without a doubt one of the best organized, most comprehensive, and informative artist-related sites I've come across. I've been a big Strawbs fan since "Grave New World," and nearly wet my pants when I recently came across the remastered CD. Since then, of course, I've purchased the other five A&M remasters, as well as the US version of "Halcyon Days." My next step is to build my collection to be as complete as possible, buying whatever is available via your site and other outlets.

As a long-time music fan (and songwriter/musician), I've been astounded that artists that were virtually unknown in the US (or at least to the average US music fan)--Strawbs, Stackridge, Brian Protheroe, et al--have made it into the CD age. It just goes to show that quality will out!

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