The back cover states this was recorded at the late show at "Performance Center [note spelling], Cambridge UK" on 24 Mar 1974. The timeline lists that date as "Performing Center, Boston MA, USA" - it's certainly not a UK gig, as the 1974 tour did not start till 10 Apr 1974, and in the UK we don't generally get two shows, an early and a late!
Whilst it's always good to have another Strawbs live show captured for posterity, there are serious quality issues with this release, both from the point of view of the recording used and the manufacturing quality. The recording itself has been badly edited with audible edits between tracks and there's at least one instance of audience talking captured in the recording - obviously an audience tape. It plays slightly too fast (the Lone Star 1984 disc is REALLY too fast, Strawbs meets the Chipmunks - or Pinky nd Perky for a bRitish audience of a certain age!). Though it looks brand new and shiny there are pops and crackles throughout the vinyl, and therre is no run-in or run-out to the records, so it's difficult to place the stylus at the beginning without a jump, and the stylus runs off onto the label at the end, rather than being caught by the run-out. This and its sister release Lone Star 1984 were very expensive, and on balance, taking into account the really poor quality, not really worth the money.
It's notable however for a version of the three-part "Why" (aka "Why And Wherefore"), recorded in 1973 at the same sessions as "Shine On Silver Sun", but not used on the Hero And Heroine album. The first part, "Why", appeared as the B-side of the "Hero And Heroine" single, and a different version of "And Wherefore" backed "Shine On". The studio recording, which includes the bridge between the two, appears on the UK Halcyon Days compilation.
Fascinating to see how the song has developed performance-wise since featuring on the studio live show on 20 Dec 1974 in NYC, which also emerged on CD as In Search Of The Heroine. There are a number of extensions of the song to allow Strawbs to “wig out” instrumentally (at the time there were comments on the press about Strawbs’ new “funky” approach. The song starts with one of these extras, syncopated drums and bass sequence, joined by power chords, then rock and roll piano, quietening before the familiar guitar opening to "Why" kicks in. There’s another instrumental section at beginning of The Four Queens section before the familiar guitar intro. Duet vocals from Cousins and Lambert. And finally, a longer ending with a bit more guitar and a short drum solo before the close.
And in "River/Down By The Sea" DC recites his then poem "The Writing On The Wall" over the opening notes of "The River" (The poem was later set to music and appears on A Taste Of Strawbs. There's another example of this on the Live In Atlanta bootleg (a live show recorded on either 24 or 25 Jun 1974 when Strawbs returned for a further US tour after the 1974 UK tour in April). There's also an extended solo from DL after "sirens calls" - and a little audience singalong "how your hands were softer" on the quiet section of DBTS.
There's also some nice DC chat about monitors and road crew.
Dave Cousins (vcls, gtrs)
Dave Lambert (vcls, gtrs)
John Hawken (keyboards)
Chas Cronk (bs, vcls)
Rod Coombes (drms, perc)
- Lay Down (Cousins)
- Autumn (Cousins) Side B
- Tears And Pavan (Cousins/Hudson/Ford)
- Just Love (Cousins)
- Out In The Cold (Cousins) Side C
- Lay A Little Light On Me (Cousins)
- Hero And Heroine (Cousins)
- The River(Cousins) Side D
- Down By The Sea (Cousins)
- Why (Cousins)