DRAGONFLY - REVIEWS AND COMMENTS
DRAGONFLY - BONUS TRACKS - Previewed by Dick Greener
We'll Meet Again Sometime (studio)
Recorded about the time Strawbs came out in June 1969, some similarities with the "big" production style of that first album - eg "Oh How She Changed". Tony Hooper vocals, with DC joining in. Fuzz guitar in intro and first verse, organ later on (Wakeman ?), yielding to driving drums. Drum riff on the chorus between lines. Cello figures from time to time, particularly on third verse. Previously on Halcyon Days UK edition.
Previously released as a single back in 1970, on the vinyl only compilation Strawbs By Choice; then, in the digital age, on the Antiques and Curios CD re-issue and Halcyon Days, US edition. Would have loved to hear the live version of this from the QEH concert - still waiting. This is a great song, and fits well with the Dragonfly period. Taste included a version with Rick Wakeman playing organ; the "raw" Dragonfly tapes (pre-overdubs) also include a karaoke (ie no vocals) version of this.
Another Day (session)
Mandolin much more to the fore on this mix. Slightly different Tony Hooper backing vocal. Ken Garner's In Session Tonight records that this session features Clare Deniz, when they also recorded "Till The Sun Comes Shining Through" which hasn't yet seen light of day
We'll Meet Again Sometime (session)
Similar arrangement to the studio version, though with cello much more to the fore, and no drums (though they're not missed - the track carries on a at a great pace, with the guitars and bass carrying a good rhythm.
COMMENTS FROM WITCHWOOD - the Strawbs Discussion Group
One of my all time faves, although I always felt the production was slightly 'muddy', compared to Strawbs. Rather than list the songs, I've tried to think what are the ingredients that I love about this album...... Obviously the songs themselves, but I love the cello that is prominent on the album (but then that tends to happen with a cellist in the band). I love the 'feel'. I love the 'mellow' harmonies between TH. and DC.
"Josephine", could possibly go down as one of their best of all time. It is timeless, and I always think would make someone a very good cover version, then and now. [In fact, MOR crooner Jack Jones covered it - see Covers and Sessions]
"The Weary Song", "I Turned My Face...., "Another Day", "Young Again", all evoke memories of weekends in and around Sidmouth, where two or three of us would always head off for 'lost weekends' every May bank holidays. I remember sitting on Sidmouth Beach (and this is following copious amounts of alcohol and a couple of three foot Rizlas), having detuned my guitar to something resembling Mr. Cousins' dulcimer, and absolutely crucifying "Dragonfly" for passers by. The effect was lost by the wearing of a clown's glitter-wig, but hey! That's showbiz!!
Also, Tony Hooper's little ditty for the under fives was always heart warming, and that also evokes memories of me, singing and strumming this to my baby cousin, who was about 10 months old. I recorded it and have it on a tape somewhere. As I sung, she screamed louder. So I sung louder, and she did likewise. In the end, the mood is smashed on the recording when I say "Alright, alright, I'll put the bl**dy guitar down".
Still, this album's a real fave of mine, being slightly of the folk persuasion, and in fact, I'd probably put it in my top three, but they change every month!!
I just listened to Dragonfly for the first time in years, other than the songs that appear on the Halcyon Days compilations and "Another Day" which was one of my favourites when I used to sub on a folk show in Vancouver.
My assessment now is...trippy. The mood is very different from the first A&M album, largely because of the cello and the softness of most of the songs. I always preferred Dragonfly to Strawbs precisely because of those differences. Nowhere is the Cousins and Hooper combo as endearing as on the aforementioned "Another Day" and "Till the Sun Comes Shining Through". The title track is oddly progressive, "The Weary Song" so late 60s yet effective, "I Turned My Face Into The Wind" as deliciously bleak as it gets, sort of a precursor to "Out In The Cold".
Listening to "Josephine" reminded me that I was completely unmoved by this song until I heard the revamped Strawbs perform an electric version in 1984 in Toronto. It was Willoughby's careening solo after the bridge that sent me soaring. When I first heard Dragonfly my standout track was "The Vision Of The Lady Of The Lake", but I now think it overly long and the lyrics full of melodramatic cliches that effectively bury the spiritual significance. Nonetheless, it does claim the Strawbs greatest epics in its lineage, "Down By The Sea", "Autumn", and "Ghosts" via the live version of "Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth", but by that time the group had wisely opted for the suite format rather than the Dylan-like 15 verses. It featured Rick Wakeman on piano and Paul Brett on lead guitar.
As an aside, Paul Brett was the guy who consistently produced the right albums at the wrong times. In 1974, he did a poppy album named Clocks at a time when prog was all over the place. In 1978 and 1979 he issued two brilliant yet very different prog albums, Interlife and Eclipse which I highly recommend if you can find them. Brett was also at the helm of "Paul Brett's Sage" in the early 70s, which included members of Dave Lambert's band Fire. They did a song called "Autumn". And, actually, Rod Coombes played on Interlife!
Back to Dragonfly. Very hard to assess overall, but it is by and large an interesting and satisfying transitional album between the more straightforward folk of its predecessor and the more ancient prog folk of the From The Witchwood period.
I've just been listening to Dragonfly for the first time in...ooh 20 years? It was never a great favourite of mine, although I really love the first album. It's quite Pentangle-y, isn't it? The cello certainly adds to the feel of the album, and she knows when to stop bowing, which is always a bonus.
I never could stand "Lady Of The Lake" - you could go down the shops, buy a packet of fags, smoke them, and she's still not got her tits out. When she does, I'm like, "KILL HER NOW!!! END THIS SONG!!!":-) But it hints at future greatness.
You all love "Josephine", eh? Why? Standout track for me is "Dragonfly", which I dearly wish they'd rework a la "Witchwood", with maybe Lambert doing a bit of slide for the cello. Lyrically it's one of DC's masterpieces. The whole thing is like a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem for me, so mysterious and evocative, and a bit weird and scary too.
"Another Day" is nice too, although I prefer the version on Choice which omits the clog-dancing.