Blue Angel was be the first new material Strawbs release featuring the full band for over 10 years, since 1991's Ringing Down The Years. There are two distinctive electric line-ups - the UK 90s line-up (Cousins, Demick, Hudson, Weaver, Willoughby) and a more or less re-created US (Hero And Heroine /Ghosts) line up (apart from John Hawken).
Dave Lambert and Rod Coombes haven't played on a Strawbs track together for over 25 years - since 1977's Burning For You album, so this album is notable for that alone. "Rhythm Of The Night" and "Oh So Sleepy", to which they add their talents, also feature the twin-lead power-house we've come to enjoy over the last few years - with both Willoughby and Lambert on guitars. The original version of "Oh So Sleepy" was recorded for the Deep Cuts album, and Lambert's Townshend-style power chords are much in evidence.
Another key attraction for many will be, at last, a full band version of Cousins' epic "Blue Angel", performed by the 1990s line-up who played it at Chiswick (on the Chiswick DVD). "Blue Angel" is the track that everyone always wanted as a Strawbs track (notwithstanding Dave's superb solo version) - now they've got it. There is a new version of "Lay Down" from this line up too, guest-starring Mary Hopkin, which really rocks, and a powerful version of "There Will Come The Day" with both Mary and Cathryn Craig, as well as Chas Cronk, Terry Cassidy and Hud on backing vocals. Brian's playing is superb throughout.
There's also a duo version of "Sealed With A Traitor's Kiss" with Dave on piano, Brian on guitar and, as a bonus track, a remixed version of "The King" single from back in 1980 with Maddy Prior guesting on vocals.
Dave Cousins - vocals, acoustic guitar, piano (11)
Brian Willoughby - guitar
Blue Weaver - keyboards except (11,13), programming track (4), orchestration (10)
Rod Demick - bass, (1,4,5,12), harmonica (5), vocals (1,5)
Richard Hudson - drums, (1,5,12), vocals (1,4,5,12)
Tony Fernandez - drums (3,10,13) tom-toms (7)
Dave Lambert - guitar (2,9)
Chas Cronk - bass (2,3,6,9,10,13), vocals (4,9,13), bass pedals (7), programming (7,8)
Rod Coombes - drums (2,9)
Andy Richards - keyboards (13)
Mary Hopkin - vocals (1,3,4,6,8,10,12)
Cathryn Craig - vocals (4)
Terry Cassidy - vocals (4)
Roy Hill - vocals (9)
Jana Heller - vocals (9)
Tommy Lundy - vocals (9)
Maddy Prior - vocals (13)
Rick Kemp - vocals (13)
Produced by Dave Cousins, Brian Willoughby and Chas Cronk
Blue Angel/Lay Down – Produced and mixed by Brad Davis
There Will Come The Day – Produced by Blue Weaver
Mastering by Roger Wake of Bourbery Wake
Mixed by Dave Cousins and Kenny Denton at KD's Studio Chiswick October 2002
Strange Day Over The Hill – Remix by Brad Davis
Design Rod Green
Artwork Rod Green
Photograph "Bella" by Geraldine Parkinson