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Dick Greener
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Dick Greener

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  • Pure Gold - review from Dick Greener
  • Setlist

  • Setlist

    The Golden Salamander
    Song Of A Sad Little Girl
    The Magic of It All
    Absent Friend
    Everybody Means Something To Someone
    The Call To Action
    Part Of The Union

    Beat The Retreat


    Pure Gold - Review from Dick Greener

    A wet and windy night brought three Fools together (myself, Pete Rand and David Claridge) to the Boston Room at the George IV pub in rain-soaked Chiswick to see that rarity of rarities, a Dave Cousins solo gig, in aid of two charities who are providing water tanks for villages in Uganda (see below).

    The first half was an onstage interview with Dave, conducted by Debbie Manners (the Chair of SafeHands) covering various aspects of Dave’s early life in and around Chiswick.

    The second was a solo concert comprising a wholly unexpected collection of Dave’s songs including two recent, as yet unrecorded, compositions. This was Dave’s music stripped bare down to the basics, just him accompanied by guitar or dulcimer, accomapnied by his stories of how, where the songs were written. A real tour de force, though Dave hadn’t made it all that easy on himself, choosing some unusual and intricate material, so there was a false step here and there, with a couple of songs restarted to get a complete version for the video, all of which the audience totally took in their stride with rapt attention.

    First off, after a story about how it was written, the first of two songs from Nomadness, "The Golden Salamander". This was followed by "Song Of A Sad Little Girl", with the added bonus that Dave’s daughter Joelle was present at the gig.

    The next song was a new one "The Magic Of It All", which was a sort of review of the band’s history, a very nice melody and guitar arrangement – be interesting to see how this works out when recorded.

    Then a real shock – a pretty flawless solo rendition of the whole of "Ghosts"! (I remember thinking around the time the Acoustic Strawbs started up – 21 years ago – that "Ghosts" would be a difficult one to pull off, but although we know that they succeeded, I never would have thought a solo version was on the cards!) It makes you realise that under the prog bombast which everyone loves about "Ghosts", much of it is basically Cousins’ acoustic rhythm guitar.

    A switch to the prominently displayed electric dulcimer for "Benedictus", then back to guitar for another Nomadness surprise – "Absent Friends" (though originally composed back in the 60s as "How I Need You", when it was performed on radio at least by the original Strawbs).

    The second new song is inspired by the sad story of Irving Berlin’s wife who died on their honeymoon. "Everybody Means Something To Someone ###" has a haunting melody and the words are truly emotional – Dave teared up from time to time during this and later at the end when talking about the work of the charities he’s involved with. This was followed by "The Call To Action", which has been in his solo set before, pounding rhythmic strumming and intense vocals.

    And, to finish the main set, yet another surprise: not "Lay Down" but a spirited "Part Of The Union", with the audience joining in on the choruses. The encore was Dave’s poignant "Beat The Retreat", which used to be a regular in Cousins and Willoughby’s set. (A second encore "We’ll Meet Again Sometime" had been on the setlist, but time was our enemy – another day perhaps.)

    The whole show felt like having Dave in your front room with a bunch of friends playing just for them, a fantastic way to listen to Dave’s music – if there are any more of these events – and I hope there will be – I’ll be there if I humanly can be! Pure gold!

    More photos from Dave Passmore


    The show was recorded on film and was streamed until 31 Mar 2023 with a view to raising further funds for the project being undertaken by charities Commonwealth Medical Trust (Commat) and SafeHands. The aim is to supply water tanks for remote Ugandan villages, which allows villagers to collect rainfall during the rainy season and store it – if not for this the women and children of the village would have to travel miles each day to bring back water to their homes. There was a fantastic and heartwarming video clip show of one of the tanks being put into place and the celebrating villagers. Dave is a trustee of Commat, and clearly has put his heart and soul into this project

    Thanks to the many Strawbs fans will supported this endeavour by watching the show.

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