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Dick Greener
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Dick Greener

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BEST OF THE STRAWBS - VERSIONS

Best front

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COVER NOTES

Outer cover

The outer sleeve cover photography is by Mark Hanauer, a striking image of a hand coming out from under some strawberries to clutch a mandolin, with the discs being inserted at the top and bottom as scanned here. Musically a bit inaccurate though, as mandolin doesn't feature on many recorded Strawbs tracks ... Sleeve notes written by Michael Hooker, dated Spring 1978. Released with silver A&M label.

The UK, Dutch and Australian releases use yellow lettering on the outer cover, US and Canada opt for a more readable white. The scan of the whole outer cover at the right of this text is the US promo copy.

Inner spreads

Inside spread (except for the Australian release - see below) has album covers of Antiques through to Nomadness (the US sleeve versions with A&M logos bottom right/bottom left or top right - most UK releases had no A&M logo on the front - except for From The Witchwood, the UK version of which is included on the UK version), plus personnel and recording details for each one (on the UK version, with details of cassette versions available in 1978).

So, there are three different inner spreads (and the Australian release - see below).

  • The English release - has UK catalogue numbers and also list UK cassette releases available as at 1978 and the text of the sleeve notes uses English not US spellings ("labour" not "labor"). The picture of From The Witchwood is the UK release with the white "tree" cover, no banner.
  • The Dutch release - has UK catalogue numbers, but uses the US typography and spelling and does not list cassette details; sleeve notes use US spellings. The picture of From The Witchwood is the US/Canada release with the brown banner with "Strawbs" in big letters).
  • The US and Canada releases - list US cat numbers, nothing about cassettes. US spellings in the sleeve notes. The picture of From The Witchwood is the US/Canada release with the brown banner.
  • I think I need to get out more .... !


    UK VINYL

    UK releases

    Vinyl album (UK): AMLM 66005 (A&M, 1978, 2LP). Gatefold sleeve, outside features hand reaching from under a covering of strawberries to grasp the neck of a mandolin (though such an instrument featured on the Antiques And Curios cover, a mandolin rarely appeared on a Strawbs recording ... go figure!). Title lettering and sleeve notes on back are in yellow. UK inner spread (see above).

    Front and back covers

    Best front Best back

    UK inner spread

    Best inner spread

    Labels

    Best of side 1 label Best of side 2 label
    Best of side 3 label Best of side 4 label

    Repress/variant labels (*)

    Spotted online, UK pressing with different labels. Only particularly significant change is that, instead of Record 1, Side 1 etc, the sides are simply numbered 1-4. Not certain whether this was a variant or a repress, or if so which came first.

    Best of side 1 label Best of side 2 label
    Best of side 3 label Best of side 4 label

    US VINYL

    US release

    Vinyl album (US): SP 6005 (A&M, 1978, 2LP) . Gatefold sleeve, as UK version with US addresses etc. Unlike most releases other than the Australian release - see below), the US version is pressed with sides 1 and 4 on one disc and sides 2 & 3 on the other.

    Labels, sides 1 & 4

    Best US side 1 label Best US side 4 label

    Labels, sides 2 & 3

    Best US side 2 label Best US side 3 label

    US promo release

    Vinyl album (US): SP 6005 (A&M, 1978, 2LP) . Gatefold sleeve, as UK version, with US addresses, US catalogue numbers inside. The liner notes on the back cover are in white against a darker than usual reproduction of the strawberry background and much easier to read than the UK and especially the Dutch version. Two different types of promo sticker. US inner spread (see note above.)

    Blue Angel sticker

    Some copies also sported a sticker to promote the fact that "Blue Angel" (hitherto unreleased in the US) was included. This has been spotted on both promo and release copies.

    Best US Blue Angel sticker

    US inner spread

    Best US inner

    Labels, sides 1 & 4

    Unlike most releases other than the Australian release - see below), the US version is pressed with sides 1 and 4 on one disc and sides 2 & 3 on the other.

    Best US promo side 1 label Best US promo side 4 label

    Labels, sides 2 & 3

    Best US promo side 2 label Best US promo side 3 label

    Stickers

    Best US promo sticker Best US promo variant sticker

    Stamp

    Spotted online, copy with promo stamp on back cover

    Best US promo stamp

    US promo release (variant, possibly later release)

    Vinyl album (US): SP 6005 (A&M, ??date, 2LP) . Same as above, except that promotional wording is horizontal rather than round the rim and as this takes up less space, there is more space around the spindle hole.

    Labels sides 1 & 4

    Best US promo variant side 1 label Best US promo variant side 4 label

    Labels, sides 2 & 3

    Best US promo variant side 2 label Best US promo variant side 3 label

    CANADA VINYL

    Canadian releases

    Vinyl album (Canada): SP 96005 (A&M, 1978, 2LP) .There are two known releases of this on silver labels, not certain whether some are first issues or re-issues. On the front cover the Canadian catalogue number is overprinted in white on a black panel to cover up whatever number was previously there (probably the US, as it features the US inner spread).

    Variant 1 - labels

    Best Can early side 1 label Best Can early side 2 label
    Best Can early side 3 label Best Can early side 4 label

    Variant 2 - labels

    Vinyl album (Canada): SP 96005 (A&M, 1978, 2LP) .Differences in label typography from release above. Sleeve looks pretty much the same.

    Best of Can side 1 label Best of Can side 2 label
    Best of Can side 3 label Best of Can side 4 label

    Canadian promo release

    Note: this promo matches variant 2 release below - same silver label design with "Promotional Copy Not For Sale" additional wording. There may have been a promo copy matching variant 1 - anyone have it?

    Best Can promo side 1 label Best Can promo side 2 label
    Best Can promo side 3 label Best Can promo side 4 label


    Canadian silver label reissue

    Vinyl album (Canada): SP 96005 (A&M, 1978, 2LP) . Looks like later silver label re-issue, but not certain. Comes with nice French/English protective inner sleeves. There's also a subsequent black label reissue.

    Silver label re-issue - labels

    Best of Can side 1 label Best of Can side 2 label
    Best of Can side 3 label Best of Can side 4 label

    Canadian black label reissue

    Best of Can reissue side 1 label Best of Can reissue side 2 label
    Best of Can reissue side 3 label Best of Can reissue side 4 label

    Inner sleeve

    Best of Can inner English Best of Can inner French

    EUROPE VINYL

    Netherlands release

    Vinyl album (UK): AMLM 66005 (A&M, 1978, 2LP).. The Dutch cover looks a bit washed out and the typography on the back is a bit indistinct as though it has been poorly photographed from the US edition. Title lettering and sleeve notes on back are in yellow though, whereas the US/Canada used white. The catalogue number is the same as the UK. but set out differently on the front cover bottom right. There's a strange logo at the bottom right of the back cover ("LC 0486") and another top right ("Bx2" in a circle). The inner spread is the Dutch version (see above) - with UK catalogue number and US addresses and spellings). The labels are much smaller type than UK or US.

    Labels

    Best Dutch side 1 label Best Dutch side 2 label
    Best Dutch side 3 label Best Dutch side 4 label

    German release?

    (*) May also have been released in Germany - anyone got this


    ASIA PACIFIC VINYL

    Australian release

    Vinyl album: L45821 and L45822 (A&M/Festival, Australia, 1978, 2LP).. Gatefold sleeve. The outside is near identical to the US release - white typography - with Festival catalogue details are top right and bottom right of the back cover (adjacent to spine). BUT, the inside cover is the inside cover for Canada's Classic Strawbs! Very pretty, but, a number of issues:

  • the "continued on the inside" line at the bottom of the first para of Michael Hooker's informative sleeve notes has gone and the article just ends there on a sligfhtly odd note, having really only dealt with the band's bluegrass period.
  • the little indicators on the track listing (***, etc.) to show which album the track came from is meaningless without the standard inner sleeve.
  • Classic Strawbs inner spread

    Classic Strawbs inner spread

    Unlike most releases other than the US release - see above), the Australian release is pressed with sides 1 and 4 on one disc and sides 2 & 3 on the other.

    Labels, sides 1 & 4

    Best Aus side 1 label Best Aus side 4 label

    Labels, sides 2 & 3

    Best Aus side 2 label Best Aus side 3 label

    Korean release

    Vinyl album (Korea): B133 (HighStereoLight, 2LP) . Single green tinged sleeve, very nasty. Almost certainly a bootleg.

    Front cover

    Best Korea front

    Sample Label

    Best of Korea side 1 label

    CASSETTE AND 8-TRACK

    Canadian cassette

    (*) Can cass: CS 6005. It came out on 8-track and was reissued as budget price (see below), so presumably it came out on cassette originally at first release - anyone got one?


    Canadian cassette reissue

    Can 8trk: CS 96005. Single cassette. Track running order same as the vinyl.

    Best of Canadian cassette reissue
    Best of Canadian cassette reissue Best of Canadian cassette reissue

    Canadian 8-track

    (*) 8trk: 8T 6005, Can Spotted online.

    Pictures

    Best Can 8trk front Best Can 8trk back

    Running order

    Same order as vinyl, except "Lemon Pie" and "Part Of The Union" trade places in Programs 3 and 4.

    Program 1
    Hero And Heroine (Cousins)
    Tears And Pavan: Tears; Pavan (Cousins)/ (Hudson/Ford/Cousins)
    A Glimpse Of Heaven (Cousins)
    Round And Round (Cousins)
    New World (Cousins)

    Program 2
    Benedictus (Cousins)
    Shine On Silver Sun (Cousins)
    To Be Free (Cousins)
    Where Do You Go (When You Need A Hole To Crawl In) (Cousins)
    Autumn: Heroine's Theme; Deep Summer's Sleep; (Hold On To Me) The Winter Long (Hawken)/(Cousins)/(Cousins)

    Program 3
    Don't Try To Change Me (Lambert)
    Little Sleepy (Lambert)
    Song Of A Sad Little Girl (Cousins)
    Down By The Sea (Cousins)
    Lemon Pie (Cousins)

    Program 4
    Part Of The Union (Hudson/Ford)
    Lay Down (Cousins)
    Heavy Disguise (Ford)
    Blue Angel: Divided; Half Worlds Apart; At Rest (Cousins)


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