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DEEP CUTS - REVIEWS AND COMMENTS


Contents
  • Flawed Masterpiece - Review by Neil Punnett
  • The Most Technically Achieved Album, The Slickest And Most Polished Production - Review by Richard Poulin
  • One Of Their Best, Bringing To A Close The 2Golden Era - Review by John G
  • Comments from Witchwood
  • Back to main Deep Cuts page


    Deep Cuts cover

    FLAWED MASTERPIECE - Review by Neil Punnett

    Ah....... Deep Cuts. I remember being very pleased when I bought it. It seemed to be a strong return to form after the uneven Nomadness (in retrospect I now see that much of Nomadness is actually excellent, and "Hanging In The Gallery" and "Absent Friend" are works of genius, but the scatterbrained "To Be Free" put me off from the start).

    Anyway, Deep Cuts opens with one of the Strawbs' best singles - "I Only Want My Love To Grow In You". This is an excellent track, and the two Daves perform so well together; Lambert's guitar work and powerful vocals combine so well with Cousins' rather more downbeat performance. Great opener to the album, received a tremendous amount of airplay and seemed assured of returning the Strawbs to the top of the charts.

    Track Two, "Turn Me Round". I loved this when I bought it and I still love it now. The verse "Turn me round, let me see the tracery of the lines upon your face, as I kneel in contemplation of your majesty and grace. For the eagle in his sorrow is a man of sure disgrace" is so beautifully done, and then to be followed by the power chords and Cousins spitting out "My dove, my mediator, may you flourish in your solitude" etc. is so dramatic that it is for me a highlight of the whole Strawbs canon.

    Change of pace for track three, "Hard, Hard Winter". This is again beuatifully performed, an excellent tune which conjures up images of Canada.... Then, a downer. "My Friend Peter". Don't like it. Never have. Never will. Sorry.

    But, back to form on track five, the outstanding "Soldiers' Tale". Fantastic lyrics, a real Strawbs classic in my opinion, right out of the tradition of long story songs. And I really like the rock arrangement, although it was originally aintended as a more folky song.

    So, side one of Deep Cuts is outstanding, spoiled only by "My Friend Peter"....

    Side Two opens with the marvellous "Simple Visions". Again, one of my all-time favourites. I sing this all the time!! Starts in a straightforward, sing-along fashion but explodes into a guitar-led rush through wonderful lyrics. The instrumentation intrigues me on this - what creates that high pitched note that starts half way through and runs to the end, is it guitar, keyboard (or fluff on my needle?).

    "Charmer" - an OK track, but weak compared to what has come before. Followed by "(Wasting My Time) Thinking of You". This also feels weak - it would have been better placed straight after the drama of "Simple Visions". Then "Beside The Rio Grande" - this really is straight out of the tradition of long story ballads. I think I prefer it as an acoustic song rather than as an electric number (the reverse of "The Soldiers Tale"). Great lyrics, great song.

    Should have finished the album on that mournful note "and left his weary bones to bleach......" "So Close And Yet So Far Away" actually finishes the album. Actually a good song, it feels shallow following the drama of the Rio Grande

    So, Deep Cuts is a flawed masterpiece. One poor track and some inappropriate track placings detract from one of the band's strongest albums. It really deserved to sell in trillions. Such a shame. Even now I feel a pang at the injustice of it all.......


    Deep Cuts cover

    THE MOST TECHNICALLY ACHIEVED ALBUM, THE SLICKEST AND MOST POLISHED PRODUCTION - Review by Richard Poulin

    I first paid any attention to Deep Cuts back at the end of the '70s, when the Strawbs had already issued Deadlines, and then a series of Best ofs, at a time when the dawn had really started to fall for the group, which was only the shadow of itself. I had stopped minding about the group's productions well before that. A girlfriend of mine had bought Deep Cuts and told me she liked some of it, although she did not know any of their previous work and had not the foggiest idea that this group had initially made albums at the antipodes of Deep Cuts , such as From The Witchwood or Dragonfly. She was about as eclectic in her tastes as me, as she was digging McCartney's Venus and Mars as well as 'classical' French songs (the big "B"s: Brel, Brassens, Barbara,etc.). I had seen the record on her turntable, and did not dare to ask her to play it for me. So as she went out to buy some wine, I played a bit of every tune, but felt nothing, nothing. The magic was gone. Sour disappointment…

    True, I had already purchased Burning For You which came after, because (1) I found the cover really nice (!!) and (2) because I wanted to give a last chance to the pop version of the Strawbs that was born with Hero And Heroine. Perhaps with a title like Burning For You, and with the sentimental young man that I was at 22, I tended sometimes to identify myself with the fragile and sensitive man that I saw in David Cousins. Those who know me personally know how I was trying hard to get them interested in Cousins' eclectic world and how much I loved the Strawbs, folk/rock flavor.

    Well, Burning For You did even less for me than H&H or Ghosts. Behind the flatly pop tunes on the album, I felt a worrying sense of doom and gloom, a sense that the end was near for the group, that Cousins was not doing what he wanted to do, but was caught by the commercial constraints of the time. That feeling was so strong, I could sense the dead end (that's how I would have re-baptized Deadlines…). I listened to BFY perhaps 4 or 5 times, put it aside at the end of my chronologically ordered series of Strawbs vinyls, and then gave it to my sister who also loved the cover. And I did not even feel a regret for it.

    My interest for the Strawbs had started big time with Grave New World. Needless to say, I had effortlessly bought and fallen desperately in love with the whole Strawbs opus, including Bursting At The Seams, and ohyes! ohyes! THE masterpiece, Two Weeks Last Summer that were however announcing the pop rock flavor given by Lambert's style (on BATS, it was "The Winter And The Summer", a not too bad ballad, after all). And then the full-fledged glitter rock/pop version of the Strawbs version was born with H&H, which I liked for 4 tunes, and then Ghosts, that naturally prolonged the new flavor introduced by H&H. I also lent Ghosts to my younger sister, but she never gave me back what I was lending her. Anyway, I didn't ask her to give me the record back, which meant that it was not such a big loss after all. Remember, we were still in the vinyl album era, and I did not really want to record on cassette the 3 or 4 tunes that I really liked on each of these albums. And most of all, the thing I hated most was to get up and skip a song or two, sit back again, get back gain,…well, you get the picture. For instance, after the brilliant, very Cousinesque (!!!) Ghosts , I would have to suffer through "Lemon Pie" which was as distasteful as a Betty Crocker's one. No, I just could not BELIEVE Cousins singing that song (notwithstanding the sexual sous-entendus, the music was simply just plain flashy pop rock aiming at the charts, period). And to me, Lambert's cute standard pop rock song had a déjà vu feel to them, something like rehashed Badfinger. So, very sadly, I looked at the covers of Nomadness.. (with the frightful sight of a fakiric Cousins) and Deep Cuts at the store without even feeling the desire to spend my hardly earned student cash on them. That alone should tell how disappointed I was.

    Now I'm a Witchwooder, and an Internet surfer, and it was fairly easy for me to recently put my hands on a cheap Russian issue (at ThirdWorldCDs…) on eBay with Deep Cuts/BFY on a single CD [DG - two CDs in one case actually ;-)]. I had come to learn in the meantime that "Simple Visions" and "Heartbreaker", two very catchy rock tunes with infectious riffs that I really loved and that I had heard played by amateur rock bands in bars were …..surprisingly to me, Strawbs songs (!!!) and were actually on these records (I had forgotten completely about BFY). A small investment to check how I would react now, like many of us do with old records that sometime make a very different impression now that we're fortysomethings and beginning to feel nostalgic….

    But back to Deep Cuts: I think I would have had the same reaction to it as to BFY then , would have I bought it back in '76. I think it's probably the most typically POP album (I use it in the same sense as Beatles are POP - it's not depreciatory as such) in the Strawbs opus that I know, even more than BFY. - For instance, the first title, "I Only Want My Love to Grow in You" (can't help seeing the amused face of Dave writing the ambiguous lines…) is as standard as you can be. Well produced, very professionally played, a very catchy country rock beat, but definitely not inspiring. Shania Twain could do the song very well today, with a nice navel in bonus.

    - The music of "Turn Me Round" has Elton John's accents to me. Very catchy. Nothing outstanding, another good pop song à la Elton. One problem I have with it is that it simply does not match the strength of the lyrics. Had I never heard Cousins sing similar poetry before, I would perhaps had not noticed how much better a song a Cousins could have made with it had he been free from some need to "sound' commercial. The way DC screams these words out of his thorax, it just sounds overblown to me, and there were plenty of arena rock groups at the time who would have sung the song better than Cousins, although they would never have been able to write such good lyrics to their tunes. But we're supposed to like the Strawbs because they were different from the herd, aren't we? And to me, the Strawbs HAD to be more interesting as a group than Peter Frampton et al.

    - "Hard Hard Winter": a nice ballad for sure, but that lacks that 'je ne sais quoi' that used to make an identical song sound so much more personal, so much more moving back to the folk/rock flavor period. Now that Cousins was supported by an extremely competent band of pop rock musicians with Lambert, Cronk, Coombes and Kirby, although the poetry was still there, it has a lollypop effect rather than the tenderness that only Dave Cousins knew how to bring to a love song. BTW, another reference to "My lady of the midnight sun" in the song: the same Swedish girl who was still haunting Dave?

    - Regrettably, with "My Friend Peter", the listener is in for a mistreat of flat uninspired music about a dull story about some guy named Peter. My only question: who could possibly care? Major bump in the stream of my consciousness. Perhaps one of the worst songs by the Strawbs, but that subject was already discussed many times before...

    - I know Coombes' drumming is technically impeccable and inventive, as a few of us suggested, but does that alone make "The Soldier's Tale" a good song? Cousins strains his voice way too much on that one. The lyrics are delightfully hermetic as only DC knows how to forge them, but again, I relate to the song by any stretch of imagination because of the music and the way it is played. Another so-so pop song with very good lyrics.

    - "Simple Visions" Ah ah! At last and at least there IS something satisfying that really works. Yes, Cousins certainly knew how to throw a good rock riff, an irresistible lick à la Rolling Stones (sorry Doug for the reference!) that infects you immediately like Ebola and has simple but very efficient musical transitions. The pop rock flavor at its best (cherry, for me). An excellent rock song, to rank at the sides of other excellent Strawbs rockers "Cut Like A Diamond" or "Heartbreaker". Plus, Cousins sounds so full of optimism, so fully energetic, it is BELIEVABLE.

    - "Charmer": although the lyrics are good for a pop rock song, the music is unfortunately, of average arena rock quality. One more example of something that Cousins and consort, folk rock flavor, would have done in a so much more interesting way. Pure speculation, of course…

    - "(Wasting My Time) Thinking Of You": here, Cousins' voice seems to have found again its natural register, and the music is a Beatl-esque or musical comedy-style cute little one on mind wanderings (with the help of some Algerian wine) on the topic of confidence in love and seduction . Another one that works, effortlessly. Musicianship is also excellent.

    - What is 'Beside The Rio Grande' really about, I don't know, but I don't find the topic very inspiring, and the singing and music are awful. A number about which I really wonder.. it would like to be an epic, but I felt left somewhat behind…and it falls short of leaving the impression of an epic.

    - To conclude, the brief and 'So Close And Yet So Far Away', something not very memorable, but at least, in the Cousins' voice register, another pop rock number as quickly forgotten as heard.

    So, what is there to remember from Deep Cuts? A peak in musicianship for whoever appreciated that brand of rock music. But to me, it's merely a collection of mostly good to excellent lyrics in a good Cousins vein, trying to reach us on music that bears little relationship with the subject at hand, if one compares to the treatment of similar lyrics on BATS, for example. At least, the pop rock flavor, and the re-training of Cousins into singing that brand of rock had reached its maturity, and generally speaking, I prefer to hear Deep Cuts to the initial attempts to 'rock on' heard on earlier songs such as "Going Home…" or "Round And Round". The product (I hate to call it like that, but…) is better, but to me, it's a completely different band, a completely different inspiration. Cousins had managed to assemble a band of excellent musicians for the purpose at hand: to make the charts. Unfortunately, a number of factors did not play in favor that latter goal: to me and to a number of their followers initiated to their music with the folk rock flavor, it was the feeling of disorientation. To those who liked the pop rock flavor, may I suggest that Cousins' voice on rock numbers does not sound appropriate most of the time on Deep Cuts (except perhaps on "Simple Visions"), despite excellent musicianship to support him? May I suggest that one reason why the Strawbs lost their fans with their last productions was that pop rock was not the natural medium in which Cousins' work best flourished? No matter how hard he tried, and God, did he try hard! I think that Deep Cuts is, together with Burning For You (a better album than Deep Cuts, in my opinion) the most technically achieved album, the slickest and most polished production, with a better balanced sound instead of the overdone arrangements common to previous albums.

    The main problem, and a major one, is that Strawbs was anything but a pop rock group, deep down inside. I see Deep Cuts as a well-made curiosity, as remote from Cousins' philosophy and typical style as anything else they had done thus far. Too bad.

    I still play it, nevertheless, because of "Simple Visions", "Thinking Of You" and "So Close And Yet So Far Away". Rather meager interest, I must admit. And BFY follows, with a better string of songs.


    Deep Cuts cover

    One Of Their Best, Bringing To A Close The Golden Era - Review by John G

    I love this album. I think it's one of their best and brings to a close the Golden Era of Great Strawbs Albums heralded by Grave New World. Yep, it's that good. The production is absolutely flawless and as perfectly in tune with the prevailing musical trends of 1976 as Bursting At The Seams - which it closely resembles in feel- was in 1972. (This is important, I think. Ghosts is a classic album-out-of-time. The group was right to alter its sound. Nomadness and Deep Cuts both showed that change was possible without sacrificing the essential Strawbs sound.)

    "I Only Want My Love to Grow in You": why this wasn't a hit single is anybody's guess. It got plenty airplay. It's a perfect introduction to the album's sonic architecture - canyons of reverb on the guitars, multilayered vocal harmonies, discreet keyboards, ahh bliss!

    "Turn Me Round": awe-inspiring. A song about religious experience that actually is one! The backing vocals are magnificent, and Cousins is in ecstatic form.

    "Hard Hard Winter": Beautiful. Fantastic keyboard sound, wonderful vocal.

    "My Friend Peter" :Nice, spiteful vocals from DC. He gives good spite. I seem to recall in the Deep Cuts tour programme they were going to do this as a kind of Twenties number. I'm glad they went for this bopping version.

    "The Soldier's Tale": Rod Coombes comes off rather well on this one. Outrageously fine electric guitar,too. Who does that WEEEEOW sound?!

    "Simple Visions": it's one of their best ever, and the emotional cornerstone of a very upbeat record. Classic. Simple. Visionary. A tale of love lost and found powered along by Chas Cronk's incredibly...bouncy bass. Life affirming!

    "Charmer": a bit ungentlemanly, I've always thought. I bet she was only after a shag as well, Dave!

    "(Wasting my Time) Thinking of You": A bit of a waste of time. But in a good way.

    "Beside the Rio Grande": another spiritual epic. I always feel like leaping about at the "cripples, drunks, and whores" bit. Brilliant.

    "So Close and Yet So Far Away": it's the best of that kind of ballad that DC was writing at that time. In fact it's very good.

    I hope everyone else likes this album. They couldn't do Grave New World forever, you know. Otherwise they'd have been Barclay James Harvest. :-)


    Deep Cuts cover

    Comments from Witchwood - the Strawbs Discussion Group

    Dick Greener

    DC has been known to say of each album (i.e. the latest album) that's it's his favourite so far {grin}.

    I'm a bit pressed to come to Deep Cuts defence at present - but some of the songs on there are to me Strawbs classics -

    "Simple Visions" - of which much has already been said - to me the standout track on the album

    "I Only Want My Love" - OK, lyrics a bit trite, but a damn good pop single which should have charted.

    "Hard Hard Winter" - I just love the production on this song, especially the line "as cold as icccce" - the production "sheen" on the word still catches the hairs on my spine.

    "Turn Me Round" - dynamic Cousins rocker, as mentioned earlier, performed to superb effect on the 2001 tour

    "Soldier's Tale" and "Rio Grande" - classic Strawbs story songs

    "So Close And Yet So Far Away" - one of his best romantic slushy ballads

    I can live without "Charmer", "Wasting My Time" and "Peter" (which I think are fillers). Would have much preferred them to have finished off the version of "Blue Angel" which they started to record on those early Deep Cuts sessions with Tom Allom, which were abandoned. From what I've heard (the dynamics were very similar to the version performed live by the circa '93 band which also re-recorded it) it would have made the album something really special. I'd have put "Blue Angel" on at the end of Side 1 or 2 and had a nice long fade out .....

    Lindsay Sorrell

    I think "Simple Visions" is WELL FAT (as my 11 year old son would say). In my 44 year old way I'll say I think it is the Strawbs song that gives me the biggest buzz of the lot and can lift my spirits through the roof. Personally I think it should be played as therapy for depression. Cut the NHS bill for Prozac etc. in half.

    "Hard Hard Winter" is another huge favourite of mine. I know it was written about the bleak Canadian winter but Christine (Horsburgh) and I had just bought Deep Cuts before we set off on the hippy trail to India. We never made it because we'd spent all our money on ice cream and Sprite by the time we got to Kabul, but "Hard Hard Winter" seemed to fit the bleak never-changing landscape of our Eastern trail which took several days to travel across from Istanbul, with the most vivid "crystal moon" in the pitch black sky, and amazing red sunsets I ever remember seeing. There was the odd "lone wolf wailing" too. I could have SWORN it was written in that part of the world if I didn't know otherwise.

    I also think "Turn Me Round", "The Soldier's Tale" and "So Close And Yet So Far Away" are all well fat (sorry, I mean absolutely brilliant) Strawbs songs. Isn't it funny how we can all love (and dislike) such different things by the same band? Now't so queer as folk is there?

    Bennett Wolf

    Deep Cuts, not Ghosts was the last great Strawbs album of the 70's.As I have been monitoring Witchwood I have been greatly dissapointed by the lack of positive thoughts for Nomadness and especially Deep Cuts."Wasting My Time" is the only thing remotely resembling a weak cut in this disc.

    Rupert Holmes' production is like butter.The sound,the attention to detail (the wind at the end of "Rio Grande"......WOW!) "Turn Me 'Round","My Friend Peter","The Soldiers Tale" and "Beside the Rio Grande" actually kick butt (Cronk and Coombes burning like no other Strawbs beat section and Lambert's Wah Wah peddle adding more gasoline to it).The ballads are a sweet as any Cousins has ever written without being nearly as corny as the next two album's lyrics for the most part would become. Deep Cuts got much play and attention here in New York.A strong progressive record and radio friendly.It's a mystery that it didn't do better everywhere else.

    Terry Perkins

    Deep Cuts is an album that I bought, quickly taped my favourite songs ("Simple Visions", "Charmer") and then forgot about for several years. It was only when I went to the Chiswick House gig and heard "Rio Grande" that I was prompted to dig this one out of the archives and play it again. I had forgotten what a hard edge it has got - songs like "Turn Me Round", "My Friend Peter" and "Rio Grande" for example. Also a couple of decent ballads ("Hard Hard Winter", "So Close...") make this a very diverse album. But my favourite song remains "Simple Visions"; I find the simple, tight bass/drums arrangement and the rich guitar chords quite hypnotic. I also thought the recent live rendition of this song at the QEH was excellent and it showed just how tight the Hudson/Ford combination are.

    I couldn't honestly say that I regard Deep Cuts as a classic but, like many other Strawbs albums, if you return to it after an absence you may be surprised at how many hidden treasures you will find.

    David Claridge

    A fine waxing indeed. To breakdown the album would be to pen the same review as John G. I would like to add special 'bites' on Deep Cuts for me are:

  • The vox when Dave hits his 'spitting' lines in "Turn Me Round"..."My GOD............" His best 'angry' vocals ever, even surpassing "May You Rot";
  • "Simple Visions". The first three seconds!!! What a start! Who starts an album with "'Ere, me words 'ave blown away"? And then bang into the twelve string ovation
  • And finally, for those in the U.K., Does anyone else think that "Wasting My Time, Thinking Of You" resembles the 'Rainbow' theme?!!!! It's the 'I..can..see..you..strung..out..on..a.. or is it ' paint..the..whole..world..with..a..rainbow. If I get chance at a gig, I'll have to ask Mr Cousins this. Then again, maybe not!!!
  • Seriously though, Deep Cuts is Cousins stripped bare, with each track standing out as a song, rather than a lavish recording. Strawbs start BritPop!!!

    Tom Brooking

    So to Deep Cuts. I share DC's enthusiasm for it and am dying to hear it on CD. To me it works because the songs are tight, the playing precise and the production superb-maybe the best of any Strawbs album (that should set a few going). On record at least it never distorted no matter how loud you played it.

    It would be silly to do another track by track but "Simple Visions" remains an all time fav with its simple but unforgettable guitar line and superb arrangement. It's done well on the unfairly maligned Concert Classics and I'm delighted the band is doing it again-could be amazing with two leads. "Hard, Hard Winter" is one of DC's best ballads and "Soldier's Tale" is a killer, a superb example of how good folk rock can be because it's achored in history and reeks with atmosphere + there's a great riff and superb drumming-actually this is definitely Coombes' best album. And yes the harmonies are superb.

    Let's not forget "I Only Want My Love To Grow In You" - a truly lovely song which has stood the test of time. Anil Prasad complains of naff lyrics but "My Friend Peter" is surely tongue in cheek - a kind of upper crust blues, while bonny Prince Charlie certainly needs to be remembered as a total disaster (and I've got plenty of Highland ancestors who fought on both sides).

    All in all a pretty neat album with a mellow, Nilssonesque ending to soothe the brow after the melodrama of "Rio Grande" which I still think works best with Dave and Brian although the Chiswick version ain't bad.

    Steve

    Like many of us, I bought the original release back in the mid-70's and thought this was another fine set of songs, altho the record pressing left a lot to be desired. my copy was slightly marred with some surface noise which essentially destroyed the ambience of songs like "Hard Hard Winter", "Wasting My Time", and the final songs on each side. I salvaged what I could on to a tape and left it as such. That is, until I got the CD version some 20 odd years later. Now it sparkles like diamonds, and has taken it's rightful place in my collection.

    Can't really say I have a favorite song from this set, as I enjoy them all. A real feast for anyone, as it contains up-tempo songs, ballads, love songs and just enough melodrama to keep it all in context without being over-blown and self-indulgent. Coupled along with the Burning For You set, on the 2-for-1 disc, these songs take on a new importance, and I would gladly play them for the novice Strawbs listener, or stack them up along-side the hit albums of that time or now without reservation.

    In closing, I haven't heard a band quite like Strawbs and hope I never do. A one of a kind listening experience, that still enthralls me after nearly 30 years, when I first stumbled across this quaint little solo album from Dave Cousins called Two Weeks Last Summer and the group album Bursting At The Seams, which was one of my first 'loves', and we never forget those. That's why.

    Ken Levine

    I did not nor do I share the general enthusiasm for Deep Cuts, although I have read the reviews and understand where they are coming from. There are several features about the album that are really departures for Strawbs, at least from the previous releases:

    1. very short album in both song lengths and total duration. Given that I remember Cousins saying that there had been about a dozen tracks left over from this album, could they not have included an additional cut per "side". I assume that this was done because they weren't deemed to be in keeping with the mood of the album.
    2. much less emphasis on keyboards. The Strawbs always were more of a guitar oriented band to me, but one which included considerable use of keyboards to balance that sound. Nomadness definitely moved away from it but Deep Cuts continued that trend. Moreover, the songs tended to be harsher in tone, so they could have perhaps benefitted from the softening provided by more keyboard usage.
    3. very tight song structures. There is not a single instrumental break of any duration to speak of. This is not necessarily a bad thing but no other Strawbs album has this feature, either before or after, and it does lend a certain character to the album.
    4. almost complete exclusion of Dave Lambert as songwriter. Cousins handles all but the middle eights of two of the songs. No other Strawbs album was like this except for Heartbreak Hill, at which point Cousins really was the only singer. Note Lambert's complete exclusion as songwriter as well.

    I just could not warm up to this album. The only song I could unreservedly praise is "Simple Visions" for all the reasons already named and more. It is truly one of the Strawbs masterpieces. The layout of the song is so unique - the verses and the choruses are intertwined like autumn leaves and the instrumental touches are superb. There was a period of a year or so after the album's release that it was all over the album oriented FM station in my home town and was referred to as the Strawbs killer song for 1976. I think "Beside The Rio Grande" has become a classic with time much as "The Hangman And The Papist". But the rest of the songs are pretty much niche tunes for me, ones I need to be in the mood for, which turns out to be not all that often, less than almost any other Strawbs album.

    There is no doubt the Strawbs tried to move with the times or at least not stagnate, and they are to be commended for that, but I cannot honestly say that I was happy with the move, especially at a time when other folk rockers like Al Stewart and Chris de Burgh were just coming into their own, and proggers like Genesis were reinventing their sound after losing Peter Gabriel. A change may have been necessary, but I was disappointed with the approach chosen, and all these years later my opinion is largely unchanged.

    Steve Pritchards

    As for Deep Cuts I have to concur with Richard Poulin's review. I too had gone off the Strawbs when this album was released. Nomadness was my last; I was up in Shetland when "IOWMLTGIY" was released and an ex-girlfriend; knowing my love for the band; told me about the single, which I agree should have done far better than it did. However it didn't rekindle any further interest.

    Eventually I bought the album (yes! ye olde vinyl) at a record fair in Birmingham in the mid 90's. I bought it for "I Only Want" but fell for "Simple Visions", likewise "Turn Me Round", and "Hard Hard Winter" was a reasonably good ballad I didn't even mind "My Friend Peter" lyrically but the tune grated a bit.

    But then a strange (but true) phenomenon occurred - I couldn't be bothered to listen to the other side. I did eventually but without any real fervour. I could cheat and run through the track list by using other people's mails and comment on them that way but my lasting impression of that album is Cousins trying to be a rock singer when his voice just wasn't up to it. Deep Cuts remains one of my least played Strawbs albums, as is Heartbreak Hill. I've culled what I consider to be the best tracks onto tape (still haven't tried the CD burning yet - the hifi's in one room the computer in another) for my Strawbs compilation tapes, which I play in the car if SHE/family lets me.

    I now await the inevitable backlash(ings) for my comments.


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