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ACOUSTIC STRAWBS - JAN/FEB 2010

Updated: 4 Mar 2010

Contents
Red Lion, Kings Heath, Saturday 16 Jan 2010
  • What It Says On The Can - Review by Eamonn Harvey
  • Absolutely Brilliant Tonight - Comments from Nigel Bennett
  • Setlist
  • DAVE COUSINS & IAN CUTLER: The Village Pump, Trowbridge, Friday 29 Jan 2010
  • Not One To Miss And Being So Close To Home - Review by Nigel Bennett
  • Setlist
  • Fisher Theatre, Bungay, Wednesday 10 Feb 2010
  • Particular Power And Poignancy - Review by Eamonn Harvey
  • Long May The Never Ending Journey Last Review by Barry Smith
  • Setlist
  • Huntingdon Hall, Worcester, Thursday 18 Feb 2010
    St Johns Church, Newhall, Friday 19 Feb 2010
  • Those That Were Lost Are Found Review by Andy Slack
  • Half Of Bitter For The Vicar - Review by Lindsay Sorrell
  • Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Saturday 20 Feb 2010
    The Ferry, Glasgow, Sunday 21 Feb 2010
  • Setlist
  • The Globe, Cardiff, Tuesday 23 Feb 2010
    Borderline, London, Thursday 25 Feb 2010
  • Borderline Brilliant - Review by Dick Greener
  • Triumphant Sounds - Review by Neil Lamb
  • Comments from Chris Parkins
  • Setlist
  • Plaza Suite, Sevenoaks, Friday 26 Feb 2010
    Mission Theatre, Bath, Saturday 27 Feb 2010
  • Rousing Finale - Review by Nigel Bennett
  • Comments from Gordon Hughes
  • Setlist

  • Setlist from Eamonn Harvey

    Benedictus/Simple Visions
    A Glimpse Of Heaven
    Josephine For Better Or For Worse
    Hangman And The Papist
    Oh How She Changed
    Another Day
    New World

    Ghosts
    Copenhagen
    Cold Steel
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Autumn
    Lay Down

    We'll Meet Again Sometime

    RED LION, KINGS HEATH, SATURDAY 16 JAN 2010

    WHAT IT SAYS ON THE CAN - Review by Eamonn Harvey

    The 'Red Lion' is like returning home after a long period overseas and seeing your favourite armchair and other possessions again after a long absence. It is what it says on the can. A 'folk club' in every sense: dodgy 'support acts' - timing in the lap of the Gods and the inevitable 'raffle'. Acoustic Strawbs seem to regard it as something of a 'homecoming' too and, brilliant as ever, they never strayed too far from their comfort zone. A great night and a privilige to witness such brilliant musicians doing their stuff. I just wish they'd take a chance with some of their newer, less familiar material, from time to time. Highlights for me were a brilliant rendition of "Copenhagen" from the last album and a chat with DL in the smokers area about the true story of 'Lucky' - very moving - and told by one of the most self-effacing, gentle talents I've ever met! How about a 'Best of Dave Lambert' compilation, Witchwood Records!


    ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT TONIGHT - Comments from Nigel Bennett

    Ah what better way to blow away the recent days of snow than the now traditional Strawbs annual debut show at the Red Lion folk club in Birmingham, where they always get a great reception and turnout.

    Sorry to say, looking ahead that the Club has lost it's Saturday slot in the room above the pub and from May will then be running there on a Wednesday.

    A fine night we had tonight too with a support act that switched easily between jigs and reels, self written songs, sea shanties (but not as many would recognise it) Bob Dylan covers and a bit of the blues. I'm sorry to say their name escaped me, so hopefully someone else can help out with that.

    The were two sets from Acoustic Strawbs, with some well tested and tried numbers such as "Josephine", sounding absolutely brilliant tonight and everyone was thrilled with songs like "New World" and "Hangman And The Papist" and "Cold Steel" and a whole lot more.

    A journey through the years, a journey through the albums, tonight's journey to Birmingham was certainly worth it.

    Julie had escaped from snowy Matlock, Bob and Lou from just up the road and with the two Birmingham brothers Dave and Paul also in attendance, there was enough of a quorum to ensure at the end of the traditional end of evening chat to be around long enough to get our prompt to tell us it was "time to be leaving".


    Setlist (from DC himself)

    On A Night Like This
    Grace Darling
    Song Of A Sad Little Girl
    Where Silent Shadows Fall
    Ways And Means
    The Call To Action

    Never Take Sweets From A Stranger
    Beside The Rio Grande
    Blue Angel
    The Shepherd's Song
    We'll Meet Again Sometime.

    DAVE COUSINS & IAN CUTLER: THE VILLAGE PUMP, TROWBRIDGE, FRIDAY 29 JAN 2010

    NOT ONE TO MISS AND BEING SO CLOSE TO HOME - Review by Nigel Bennett

    Ah in the Eastern sky, the magnificent full moon rose against the backdrop of some slate grey clouds that crept singularly across the clearing canvas of a pink and hued stratosphere bringing a depth to its unusual shades, whilst to the West, the blazing sun, made its trail across the horizon like some burning flame. And yet one hour later as I set off for Trowbridge, snow flecked the car , the hillside was adorned with freezing temperatures, snow on the roads and a wonder if I would get home. But a West Country gig for Cousins and Cutler was not one to miss and being so close to home.

    The car park was icy the cold was creeping in and by the time I got to the village pump - a famous venue, with music and memories it's forefathers seeping out of its walls, I had decided to take an alternative way home, through lowland Somerset and a clever decision that was to be found as it seemed warmer late into the night.

    Phil Gregory, of Witchwood fame, and entourage were already seated by the time I took my place and to be fair, it was probably likely that some less hardy individuals had been put off by the demanding cold. Still those that made it enjoyed their night, with entertainment not just by the two boys but, John Alderslade - a stalwart of the local folk scene, Fred Wedlock and a few others that my age prevents me from remembering. All were very good and entertaining including a recent penned song about politicians' expenses.

    And so to the show, Ian as ever was terrific, his playing enhanced the mood of many a song and DC did with his energy and emotion to create an atmosphere that long term fans will know.

    I had no notes and today trying to recall the set list (Phil help me out) as I'm thinking was "Skip To My Lou" in there ? That's one problem with seeing so many gigs you can't remember if it was last night or the time before. What I do remember is that at the finale of "Song Of A Sad Little Girl", I heard the gentle playing of cymbals, but there was somehow not a cymbal in sight, imagination running wild but it added to the experience !

    I'm afraid the first few bars of "Where Silent Shadows Fall", did for me again.


    Setlist from Eamonn Harvey

    Benedictus/Simple Visions
    A Glimpse Of Heaven
    Josephine For Better Or For Worse
    Hangman And The Papist
    Oh How She Changed
    Another Day
    New World

    Ghosts
    Copenhagen
    Cold Steel
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Autumn
    Lay Down

    We'll Meet Again Sometime

    FISHER THEATRE, BUNGAY, WEDNESDAY 10 FEB 2010

    PARTICULAR POWER AND POIGNANCY - Review by Eamonn Harvey

    'It's not too often I'm fortunate enough to catch Acoustic Strawbs twice on the same tour and the evening kicked off with a bang. Literally! DL's guitar lead and the PA system had a major difference of opinion but, troopers and true pros that they are, this didn't faze the guys one bit.

    There were no surprises in the set delivered. It was the same as the Birmingham gig. "New World" had a particular power and poignancy this evening. My family home town in nearby Bury St. Edmunds has played host to many memorial services to the fallen servicemen in recent conflicts and that great song is as relevant today as it always has been. "Copenhagen" was ,once more. played beautifully and the structure and feel of the song suits the Acoustics perfectly. DC's skill as a raconteur was well to the fore this evening and he has the ability to make stories and intros that have been heard on several occasions still sound fresh.

    Bungay is probably 'picture postcard' pretty on balmy summer days - but it has an air of desolation on cold winter's nights and the Fisher Theatre was the 'place to be' in town on Wednesday.

    I've had many conversations with DC over the years and, though unfailingly affable and polite, there is an enigmatic quality about him that is sometimes hard to penetrate. This evening, he and I had a very long, open chat in the bar afterwards which I thoroughly enjoyed - as he told me some of the stories behind the songs - a real eye opener and which I'm happy to report (as long as I'm not giving away something he'd rather keep under wraps for now) will shortly be consigned to print and will surely be a must for all Strawbs fans. Soon there was only he and I left in the bar and it was time to wish each other good night and safe journeys in the morning. So thankyou "Magic Mountain Music Man-who's really rather shy" - for your excellent company, your kind words about my own album, and for giving me a glimpse into what makes you tick. It's really heartening to find you so enthusiastic and upbeat these days.


    LONG MAY THE NEVER ENDING JOURNEY LAST Review by Barry Smith

    What a great last twelve months it has been for me and my wife and fellow Strawbs fans. The fantastic 40th anniversary celebrations at Twickenham, the Strawbs show at Cromer on the electric tour, the release of the DVD of the Hampton Court show as guests of Rick Wakeman. The legends tour with Wishbone Ash and Focus, and the release of the most refreshing Strawbs albums in years - Dancing to the Devils Beat. And now tonight, 10 February, I have gone with my wife and brother on the most atrocious night to the Fisher Theatre in Bungay, Suffolk.

    We made it through very dangerous and slippery ungritted roads and got there just in time. However when we arrived even though the theatres web site said the last few tickets were left the place was almost empty, so the show was delayed for 15 minutes. Even when the show started people kept coming in right up to last song in the first set to almost fill the theatre. We are a tough lot in Suffolk nothing was going to stop us hardy Strawbs fans.

    When the Strawbs came on stage they displayed class not just in the music but also by the way they dressed. Chas wore a brown shirt that matched his brown acoustic bass guitar, Dave Cousins wore a blue silk shirt with red flowers that matched his red guitar, and Dave Lambert wore an embroidered shirt with a design that matched his classy blue guitar you're not going to tell me that was an accident.

    The lads started with "Benedictus" that flowed into "Simple Visions" with Chas Cronk's twelve string guitar beautifully driving one of my favourite Strawbs songs. What I liked more than anything about tonight's show was the inclusion of "Another Day", "Josephine" and "Copenhagen".

    "Another Day" is one of those classic magical early Strawbs songs and I have always loved the start "An orange balloon on the distant horizon the air had a nip for the sun was still rising, a delicate fusion of ambery tones brought warmth to the shore where I walked all alone, another day begins", pure lyrical magic.

    The set list was a very well planned arrangement of many superb numbers like "Oh How She Changed", "Ghosts", "Autumn" and "Shine on Silver Sun". The only criticism I could make was that on "Cold Steel" Dave Lambert's voice was drowned out by Chas Cronk's foot pedals. Although the foot pedals are an important and skilfully executed part of the Acoustic Strawbs performance and complement the other songs, this one does not need them in my opinion.

    What was so noticeable tonight was the fantastically beautiful sound of the guitars especially with "Copenhagen" it was studio quality, and on the final encore "Well Meet Again Sometime" was so brilliant if you closed your eyes you just drifted away in this glorious sound of rolling guitars and superb vocals that you never wanted to end. But end it had to and we walked out of the warm and welcoming Fisher Theatre into the cold night air but very happy and as usual uplifted.

    I sometimes wonder if the band realise what their words and music mean to people especially when my wife said just as we were pulling up outside the front of our house "The Twickenham weekend was one of the highlights of her life" ,as much as it meant the same to me I did not realise how much that show and the Strawbs meant to her.

    What just amazes me and is what Eamonn Harvey aptly put in his review about how after speaking to Dave Cousins after the show how enthusiastic and upbeat he was. It is so true even after over forty years the sparkle is still there, Dave is "the road that's ever winding, a never ending journey has just begun", and long may the never ending journey last.


    ST JOHNS CHURCH, NEWHALL, FRIDAY 19 FEB 2010

    THOSE THAT WERE LOST ARE FOUND Review by Andy Slack

    Arrived with long time fan, Keith Brown, just in time for the start of the concert having been directed by my SatNav down a closed lane. First people I bumped into were usual suspects Lindsay, Ali & Ralph. Then spotted Julie who is aiming for the "Superfan" status having done Worcester the previous night and next heading up to Edinburgh.

    Delightful venue, a church in a village location, whose only problem seemed to be its defence against the sub-zero temperatures outside. A full house of an audience that generally appeared to be locals rather than regular Strawbs followers.

    No support so straight into the main act. Didn't write down full list but I'm sure someone will add later. However, pleased that "Hangman" is back; always one of my favourites along with "New World".

    There were however welcome additions of "The King" (played live for the very first time the night before) and "On My Way", great to hear those. "Copenhagen" represented the recent album.

    Those hearing the group seemed suitably impressed and full marks to the organisers for having the initiative to use a church for this sort of event as the acoustics are good without the volume cranked up. Only disappointment was that it finished very early (about 9.30) , perhaps they go to bed early in these little villages!


    HALF OF BITTER FOR THE VICAR - Review by Lindsay Sorrell

    Newhall may have been lightly snow-covered, but the St. John's Church acoustic Strawbs' experience added a welcome touch of warmth in this hard, hard winter. That was despite the inside of the church proving to be a chill zone in every sense, as already mentioned by Andy Slack and alluded to by Dave Cousins a couple of times from the stage. Brrr!

    Ali, Ralph and I arrived fairly late to find St. John's pretty full with most tables and chairs already occupied apart from a few empty seats right at the front. Guessing they must have been reserved for visiting VIPs, our little party and most of our fellow Strawbophiles therefore took our places ;-) to enjoy the most advantageous of vantage points (hopefully a few photos will soon follow). Frostbitten extremities apart it was lovely to meet up with Andy, his Strawbs fan friend Keith Brown, and Julie Longden, champion collector of Strawbmiles who greeted us from the well-stocked merchandise desk which she "manned" for much of the evening.

    I had a pleasant chat with a couple of friendly locals already seated at "our" table - apparently Pentangle played at the church quite recently which went down well. I learned that Bob the Vicar (who introduced proceedings) is something of a folk/Strawbs fan and assume that's how we came to be blessed by this most joyous of gatherings. Each song, and DC's banter, was met with appreciative applause and cheering.

    It was great to hear some "fresh" additions; "Those That Were Lost Are Found" (or "The King", as the single released with Maddy Prior on vocals was called - not sure exactly when it was released - I've checked my copy and can't see a date anywhere). Anyway, it was excellent with some lovely harmonies. "On My Way" was also superb, and several songs sounded as though they had been reworked quite substantially, with lots of stunningly gorgeous guitar. The song which made most impact on the night was an absolutely blistering rendition of "The Hangman and the Papist", with "Autumn" (and, more specifically, "The Winter Long") also proving totally mesmerising. Maybe this unusually long and dreary winter which we seem to have been suffering forever and a day made it all the more compelling, or maybe I could feel the vibrations of Andy's "Bilston sway" flowing through the air. Whatever, it was an excellent night all round, with acoustic Strawbs looking and sounding great and everyone who ventured out in the cold amply rewarded. Grateful thanks to Paul for sound perfection and to Neil for doing all those Neily things. A quick post-gig chat with a few members of the assembled throng confirmed a general concensus that it had been a night of delights, and any worries that Strawbs in a church might prove a sobering experience were unfounded with beer and wine each on sale for a 1 a glass!!

    I must just add a little note of commiseration for those who didn't make it to Worcester the previous night and are wondering what they missed. There was some sort of freakish snowstorm (the words "Worcester" and "blizzard" were overheard on the TV news shortly before the gig was due to start!). Poor Nigel Bennett, Bob and Lou, and countless others didn't make it due to gridlocked traffic. I had one gleeful text from Nigel saying he was on the M5 on his way to see Strawbs, followed by another a couple of hours later saying he was back home making a mushroom omlette by way of consolation for missing the gig, having been forced to turn round just 3 miles away! Apparently only around half of those who had bought tickets in advance actually made it to the Huntingdon Hall due to the weather. Those who were disappointed have my sympathies and I very much hope they find another opportunity to catch some outstandingly good acoustic Strawbs action before long.


    Setlist from William Wilson

    Benedictus/ Simple Visions
    A Glimpse Of Heaven
    Josephine For Better Or For Worse
    The Hangman & The Papist
    New World
    The King
    Oh How She Changed
    Ghosts

    Tell Me What You See In Me
    Copenhagen
    On My Way
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Cold Steel
    Autumn
    Lay Down

    We'll Meet Again Sometime

    THE FERRY, GLASGOW, SUNDAY 21 FEB 2010



    Setlist

    Benedictus/Simple Visions
    A Glimpse Of Heaven
    Josephine For Better Or For Worse
    The Hangman And The Papist
    New World
    The King
    Oh How She Changed

    Ghosts
    Copenhagen
    Tell Me What You See In Me
    On My Way
    Cold Steel
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Autumn
    Lay Down

    We'll Meet Again Sometime

    BORDERLINE, LONDON, THURSDAY 25 FEB 2010

    BORDERLINE BRILLIANT - Review by Dick Greener

    The Borderline is a great place for the Acoustics, great sound. I went there a few weeks back with a mate to see some bands I'd never heard of (which were a bit louder) and the sound wasn't nearly so good.

    My first opportunity to hear the two new entrants to the set, "The King" and "On My Way" (well I know strictly the latter is a re-entrant, but hey ..). "The King" works very well indeed, the rising three-handed harmonies at the end of each verse particularly striking, and Lambert's duet with Dave on the vocals effortlessly replacing the high tones of either Maddy Prior or Cathy Lesurf (depending which version you're listening). Lambert has constructed and the whole thing ends up with an Acoustics trademark accapella close. Lovely.

    A different arrangement to that played when Brian was in the band (presume it was the arrangement used at the 40th). Just as effective, again benefitting from the three vocal harmonies, with Dave Lambert as usual taking the Hooper parts, which I guess leaves Chas as Sandy Denny (!)

    A highly appreciative audience, and the main part of the club pretty well filled so a good turnout too. The show was Acoustic Strawbs at the top of their game, so pretty much everything got a good reaction, and I thoroughly enjoyed it it's the first time for a varierty of reasons, that I've been able to see the tour. But with a venue 5 tube stops away ie about 20 mins travelling time, they were virtually playing in my backyard, and even the pelting rain would not have stopped me seeing this show.

    Other highlights for me were "Josephine" (glad that's not been ritated out to make room for the new ones, there's just something really perfect and sweet about that song, Dave L's very 60s feel acoustic solo) and "Oh How She Changed" which was a really good end to the first set. "New World" was a belter too. In the second set, "Copenhagen" was fine and delicate, and of course "the big ones", "Ghosts", "Autumn" and "Lay Down" were great too.

    Definitely ought to get back there (not just for my sake), as it was a great show and a good audience.




    Photo by Chris Bates - more pictures from Chris


    TRIUMPHANT SOUNDS - Review by Neil Lamb

    As ever I'm pretty much in agreement with Dick's review of a very successful night for the Acoustic Strawbs on the fringes of Soho. The Borderline is an atmospheric small venue, the acoustics of the venue are outstanding and the sound-set-up on the night was one of the best I've heard for the Acoustic Strawbs. If anything the sound was balanced towards the vocals, and with all three in fine fettle this made quite an impact in an intimate venue.

    Just to confirm I was there (and listening !) I think Dick missed out "Tell Me What You See In Me" in the second set (after or just before 'Copenhagen') - this was finely executed with the three voices in unison on the chorus giving it real presence. As well as Dick, I was mightily impressed with "Josephine" which was listened to in rapt appreciation by an appreciative audience despite the presence of bars on two sides. "Oh How She Changed" continues to showcase the full vocal and instrumental range of this top trio and Dave L's guitar work and phrasing before and during "The Winter Long" closing of "Autumn" remains unbearably, achingly beautiful and moving.

    Unlike Dick, I'm not yet totally convinced with the inclusion of "The King" , I felt there was some strain in reaching the high pitch elements of this number and it is difficult to dissociate yourself from remembering the use of Cathy Le Surf and Maddy Prior in this song previously with their high tenor contributions.

    At the end though it was so pleasing to see both an act and an audience who recognised that they had both delivered and received such a glorious symphony of harmonies in many and varied triumphant sounds.


    Comments from Chris Parkins

    I was there too, and totally agree with Neil and Dick. Great venue, excellent sound, DC was in fine voice and seemed well at ease and very chatty, altogether an exellent gig. Plus I had the privilege of observing Dick's superb air guitar...


    Setlist

    Benedictus/Simple Visions
    A Glimpse Of Heaven
    Josephine For Better Or For Worse
    The Hangman And The Papist
    New World
    Oh How She Changed

    Ghosts
    Copenhagen
    Tell Me What You See In Me
    On My Way
    Cold Steel
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Autumn
    Lay Down

    We'll Meet Again Sometime

    MISSION THEATRE, BATH, SATURDAY 27 FEB 2010

    ROUSING FINALE - Review by Nigel Bennett

    The early year tour leg finished last Saturday with a rousing finale in Bath.

    Although I have been to quite a few venues in the City , this was a new one for me. May be a little un-inmpressive from the outside, inside, it felt perfect as the lighting enhanced the atmosphere with shades of iridescent blues and purples. An ex-chapel, the band played from where you imagine many a preacher had stood to deliver their sermon over preceding years.

    A full house too, although a few seats remained unfilled, I heard a rumour that some "walkups" had to be turned away at the door, which I am sure would have been very disappointing, especially if you found yourself in that position.

    Of course apart from me, there were quite a few friends of Strawbs present, including Phil G, Heather, Gordon, Julie from the Northern Hills, who all post on Witchwood from time to time. It was good to see so many that I knew and many more that I hadn't seen ,or perhaps recognised, from other shows. Indeed, I was also introduced by description, to a Strawbs virgin, but I shall avoid naming them, so their secret remains with me. Except of course, they no longer are, but were kind enough to tell me afterwards, that they had very much enjoyed it all.

    There may have been an odd moment or two where sound levels needed adjusting, but in all honesty, I'm not getting picky over that, that sort of thing can happen to anyone anytime and for all, but those moments, it was fine.

    But the final memory would be, after "Lay Down" at the end of the second set, where the applause went on so long that DC had to wait and wait before finally interjecting with his goodbye words or otherwise, I'm not sure when they would have been able to get off the stage.

    The encore followed of course after yet more applause and stomping and then plenty of chat before we all departed to various parts, very quietly and dignified, looking forward to the next time, where ever that will be.

    The set didn't include "The King" , but did include those listed to the right.

    Comments from Gordon Hughes

    The highlight for me was in the second set, with the trio of songs that I'd not heard the Acoustics play before -

    Tell Me What You See In Me
    On My Way
    Copenhagen
    (I think that was the running order).

    "Tell Me" had some lovely three-part harmonies in the chorus. "On My Way" sounded so fresh, as if it had only been written yesterday, when of course it was the oldest song in the whole evening. "Copenhagen" was delightful, working perfectly in an acoustic setting, and was preceded with Dave reminiscing about the city and the Tivoli Gardens, followed by a emotional footnote to the effect that he thought it was one of the best songs they'd ever done.

    Although a Bath resident, the venue was also new to me, there being so many small venues for theatre and music in the city. The audience did seem to be a bit subdued compared with the more rousing responses that the lads got at the Rondo Theatre in Bath last year. This venue had a more intimate and cosy feel to it, and I got the sense that the audience was listening intently and enjoying every note. The prolonged applause at the end of the evening was certainly testimony to their appreciation.


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