THE STRAWBS Live In America Store For Music SFMCD049 (2007)
This a curious re-issue, coming some 6 years after it was last available as 'Concert Classics', and is now marketed under 'Live in America' series, even though it is apparently a BBC 'Sight & Sound' session.
This live recording finds the Strawbs sadly out of kilter with the music scene circa late 77. The music also marks a radical shift from their folk rock origins to a more keyboard heavy Prog Rock style. Dave Cousins certainly tries to inject a bit of passion but his croaky voice isn't really up to it.
There are still a few illuminating moments though, notably on 'Ghosts' for example which is a nod back to the band's Folk Rock epics of yesteryear, while the bluster of the early career 'Hero And Heroine' recalls the same sort of rootsy crossover as Jethro Tull.
'Out in The Cold' also has its moments and is built around some guitar and weird sounding bass solo's, but too often new keyboard player Andy Richards (later to appear on countless sessions from Grace Jones to Frankie Goes To Hollywood) tries too hard to include all the sonic possibilities of his synth.
The two bonus tracks are an interesting New Age duet between drummer Tony Fernandez and the departed keyboard player Rick Wakeman, which presumably had a connection with the 'Gas Tank' TV programme that they both worked on in 1983.