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LAST UPDATED 28 DEC 2021
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DAVE COUSINS - SONG CYCLE - DECEMBER 2021 - EVERGREEN  NEW 

Dave Cousins has posted on Facebook the first of aseries of links to "a year of songs reflecting on the way in which our lives have changed over time. I regard ‘Evergreen’ as one of my greatest achievements. The song was written on piano and the words become more evocative as the shadows lengthen.

Here
In the wind-chill years of our lives
We dwell in the shade
Of evergreen
Stirring
The last of the slow burning embers
Counting our way
Through a year of Decembers

The recording dates back to 1987 when I had left live music behind and was in the West Country running DevonAir Radio. A motley collection of Strawbs came together at weekends to record a bunch of new songs, essentially for fans.

Tony Hooper sings ‘Evergreen’ beautifully. It brought tears to my eyes to hear it again."

The post is accompanied by a splendid early shot of the Strawberry Hill Boys.

For the YouTube video, see https://youtu.be/awvi83WO24w

See here for the lyrics on Strawbsweb.

DAVE COUSINS - NO LIVE DATES IN 2022  NEW 

Cherry Red issued the following press release on 17 Dec:

David Cousins of pioneering rock band Strawbs withdraws from live band shows for the foreseeable future due to health issues. After more than fifty years of performing his songs around the world to thousands of fans, a series of recent hospitalisations has meant all live acoustic and electric Strawbs shows will not proceed as planned in 2022.

David says: "This has been a tough year for me with my health issues. It started at the end of March with surgery for a full-knee replacement; six months later I could walk freely for the first time in several years. However, in November I went into hospital for a routine stent change. This was rapidly followed by a priority operation which will require an indeterminate period of recovery. I have become acutely aware that I must put my health first."

With the toll that touring takes on an artist’s health, David will now concentrate on writing and recording new music for the Esoteric/Cherry Red labels. The band’s latest album Settlement was critically acclaimed and returned the band to the top of the Progressive Rock and Folk charts for the first time since the 1970s.

David Cousins goes on to say: I wish all in the extended Strawbs family well for Christmas and the New Year."

Anyone who bought tickets for any of the affected Acoustic and Electric Strawbs shows is eligible for a refund at the point of purchase. The affected dates are:

9 Apr Queen Park Arts Centre Aylesbury
30 Apr Sharrington Hall Norfolk
1 May Sharrington Hall Norfolk
14 May Marine Theatre Lyme Regis
15 May Matthew’s Hall Topsham
16 May Over Hulton Folk Club Bolton
21 May We Låve Rock Festival Cosmopolite, Oslo
10 Jun Social Club Chelmsford
11 Jun Stables Wavendon
12 Jun Cheese and Grain Frome
16 Jun Robin 2 Bilston
17 Jun Edinburgh Queens Theatre Scotland
18 Jun Gosforth Theatre Newcastle
19 Jun Cambridge Rocks Cambridge
25 Oct Oxford New Theatre Oxford (w/ Steeleye Span)

REISSUED BROKEN HEARTED BRIDE - PRESS RELEASE FROM CHERRY RED NEW 

Strawbs: The Broken Hearted Bride, Remastered And Expanded - £10.95

  • NEWLY REMASTERED EXPANDED RELEASE OF THE CLASSIC 2008 ALBUM BY STRAWBS
  • WITH THREE PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED BONUS TRACKS
  • FULLY RESTORED ARTWORK WITH NEW ESSAY
  • Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of a newly re-mastered and expanded edition of ‘The Broken Hearted Bride’, the acclaimed 2008 album by Strawbs.

    The album was recorded at producer Chris Tsangarides’ Ecology Rooms studio in Kent in April and May 2008 and saw a reunion of the Strawbs’ line-up that had recorded the legendary albums ‘Hero And Heroine’ and ‘Ghosts’, both of which were huge selling releases in North America in the mid-1970s.

    The line-up of David Cousins (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Dave lambert (vocals, guitar), Chas Cronk (vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards), Rod Coombes (drums) and John Hawken (keyboards) recorded a fine work which was heralded by fans upon its original release.

    Unavailable for some years, this new edition of ‘The Broken Hearted Bride’ has been newly remastered and features three previously unreleased additional tracks, fascinating demos of the songs ‘Too Many Angels’, ‘You Know As Well As I’ and ‘Everybody Knows’.

    The Esoteric Recordings release also features an illustrated booklet with a new essay by David Cousins.

    TONY HOOPER TRIBUTE - A STRAWBERRY TREE  NEW 

    To mark the first anniversary of Tony's death, a strawberry tree was planted in the road in which he had lived for many years in Micheldever, and the family and friends celebration that could not be held last year (owing to Covid) was held in Tony's local. Nice for Lindsay and I to meet Colette and Nick and Sara (who organised the tree) and Ian Woledge, Tony's Pitchfork partner and to catch up with Elaine C, Penny and many others.

    See Tony Hooper tribute page.

    More updates to come on Tony's page, there's a whole bunch of photos I've not uploaded yet.

    DAVE BAINBRIDGE ALBUM

    DB writes:

    New album 'To The Far Away' is now available to pre-order from the Open Sky Records online store!! The official release date is 30th September. The album will be available in the following formats:

    * DELUXE BOX SET WITH SIGNED AND NUMBERED CERTIFICATE
    5 x postcards 1 x signed and numbered certificate 1 x exclusive hardback photo book Limited Edition 2CD
    (CD2 contains demo versions, alternate mixes)


    * SIGNED 'TO THE FAR AWAY' 2CD
    (CD2 contains demo versions, alternate mixes)


    * TO THE FAR AWAY 2CD
    (CD2 contains demo versions, alternate mixes)

    * TO THE FAR AWAY CD

    * TO THE FAR AWAY DOWNLOAD VERSION
    (24bit wav / mp3 formats)

    All the recording is now completed and at the time of writing I'm about half way through mixing the album. The limited edition book of my photos is all collated and the artwork is well on its way to being completed. I see this album as a continuation of the musical sound worlds of Iona as well as my Veil of Gossamer and Celestial Fire solo albums. Special guests on the album are:

    Sally Minnear - Vocals
    Iain Hornal - Vocals
    Troy Donockley - High and Low Whistles, Uilleann Pipes, Cumbrian Voices
    Frank van Essen - Drums, Solo Violin, Ensemble Violins & Violas
    Jon Poole - Fretted and Fretless Bass Guitars
    Jonas Pap - Cello
    Nigel Cameron - Whistles
    Julie Cameron-Hall - Violin
    Martin Nolan - Whistles

    Special mention must go to Canadian/Irish poet Lynn Caldwell, whom I collaborated with on the lyrics.

    JOHN FORD ALBUM

    News of a new album coming from John Ford (always very welcome indeed!) – Life In A Foreign Town. More news and a review soon.

    THE COMPLETE FIRE - 3CD ANTHOLOGY

    Cherry Red have announced this compilation of all the Fire tracks known to exist, release date 21 Aug 2021. Assembled with the aid of chief Fireman Lambert, the 3-CD set features many rare delights, such as all four tracks (including the previously unreleased ‘It’s Not Easy Falling Out Of Love’ and ‘Boys And Girls Together’) that the band recorded in mid-1967 at the RG Jones studio under their original name of Friday’s Chyld, plus two tracks (‘Live To Love’ and ‘Back There Again’) that were recorded in late 1970 by a revised line-up, and which have never previously appeared on a Fire package.

    Disc One rounds up their 1967-‘68 work (including both Decca-issued versions of the title track single).

    Disc Two contains the album ‘The Magic Shoemaker’ plus sundry out-takes and alternative versions from the same period.

    Disc Three is the original trio’s triumphant staging of an extended, revamped live ‘The Magic Shoemaker’ over two nights in 2007.


    The booklet includes a full band history, rare photos and new quotes, ‘Father’s Name Is Dad: The Complete Fire’ is the final word on one of the most fascinating bands working on the late ‘60s British pop scene.

    Track Listing:

    DISC ONE: UNDERGROUND AND OVERHEAD (SINGLES + DEMOS)

    1. Father’s Name Is Dad (Original Single Version)
    2. Treacle Toffee World
    3. Happy Sound
    4. Spare A Copper
    5. Will I Find Love?
    6. Man In The Teapot
    7. It’s Just Love
    8. I’ve Still Got Time
    9. I Know You Inside Out
    10. Alison Wonderland
    11. It’s Not Easy Falling Out Of Love (Friday’s Chyld)*
    12. Boys And Girls Together (Friday’s Chyld)*
    13. I Just Can’t Wait (Friday’s Chyld)
    14. I Didn’t Know You (Friday’s Chyld)
    15. Can’t Be So Bad
    16. Green-Legged Auntie Sally
    17. Oh Johnny
    18. Round The Gum Tree
    19. Toothy Ruthie
    20. Father’s Name Is Dad (Remixed Single Version

    DISC TWO: THE MAGIC SHOEMAKER (1970 ALBUM + DEMOS)

    1. Children Of Imagination
    2. Tell You A Story
    3. Magic Shoes
    4. Reason For Everything
    5. Only A Dream
    6. Flies Like A Bird
    7. Like To Help You If I Can
    8. I Can See The Sky
    9. Shoemaker
    10. Happy Man Am I
    11. Children Of Imagination (Reprise)

    Bonus Tracks
    12. Only A Dream (Demo Version)
    13. Magic Shoes (Demo Version)
    14. Reason For Everything (Demo Version)
    15. Mama When Will I Understand (Studio Version)
    16. Live To Love
    17. Back There Again

    DISC THREE: THE MAGIC SHOEMAKER (2007 LIVE CONCERT)
    1. Overture (To A Shoemaker)
    2. Children Of Imagination
    3. Tell You A Story
    4. Magic Shoes
    5. Reason For Everything
    6. Treacle Toffee World
    7. Only A Dream
    8. Flies Like A Bird
    9. It Wouldn’t Have Happened In My Day
    10. War
    11. Like To Help You If I Can
    12. I Can See The Sky
    13. Father’s Name Is Dad
    14. It’s Just Love
    15. Shoemaker
    16. Happy Man Am I
    17. Mama When Will I Understand (Live Version)

    *previously unreleased

    RICK WAKEMAN CBE

    And finally, belated congratulations to Rick for his inclusion in the recent Queen's Birthday Honours List – "Richard Christopher Wakeman. Musician, Presenter and Author. For services to Music and Broadcasting. (Scole, Suffolk)"

    Ricks' response at:
    https://www.rwcc.com/notices/cbe.php

    NEW STRAWBS ALBUM WAS RELEASED - 26 FEB 2021

    Esoteric Records press release

    "Settlement is the latest album produced by Strawbs, more than 50 years on from the band's first major label release. The album comes at a time of political and social upheaval, which the lyrics and melodies of the songs reflect. Undeterred by the fact that "business as usual" was not possible because of the global COVID-19 pandemic - working remote from one another, from their own home studios - Settlement is a remarkable achievement.

    David Cousins, leader of the Strawbs says: "Settlement is something extraordinary. I can’t think of another band who can go from metal grunge to the lilt of an Irish ghost story - or from a song in 6/8 time to singing in 4/4 over a 5/4 backbeat - in half an hour." He goes on to say: "The lyrics reflect the times we have been living through: 'Once we went dancing through quicksilver days', or 'What the autocrats are selling you is Sturm und Drang', or 'All bear witness, come together, we are everyone'. I'm immensely proud of what we’ve achieved."

    Settlement is produced by Blue Weaver who played with Strawbs and Bee Gees in their 1970s heydays. The recording was coordinated from Blue's studio in Germany, where he now lives. Strawbs are David Cousins, Dave Lambert, Chas Cronk, Dave Bainbridge, and Tony Fernandez who last played together at Strawbs' 50th Anniversary Weekend in Lakewood, New Jersey in April 2019.

    Strawbs' guests on Settlement are John Ford, another former member of Strawbs, who lives in New York, Cathryn Craig, with her lovely voice and unmistakable Southern lilt, who lives in Northern Ireland, and bass player Schalk Joubert, with whom David Cousins performed in South Africa at the beginning of the year.

    Blue Weaver sums it up: "Strawbs dusted off their instruments and set up the necessary technology to make it happen - ranging from state-of-the-art recording equipment to an ironing board! It is unprecedented that a recording of this quality could be made without a single face to face meeting. There comes a time when every Settlement is due!"

    Buy the album

    CD: https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/strawbs-settlement-cd-edition
    180g Vinyl LP: https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/strawbs-settlement-180g-vinyl-lp

    Album previews

    There are preview reviews from me and long time support Jon Connolly on the Settlement reviews page. Please don't just send your reviews and comments to Facebook - send them to me at:

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    Added selection of online reviews.

    Singles/downloads

    Two singles released onto YouTube:

  • Each Manner Of Man (radio edit)
  • Judgment Day (radio edit)
  • In addition, Strawbs have streamed the title track of their upcoming album Settlement exclusively with Prog magazine.

    Videos

    To promote Settlement the Strawbs have been releasing a series of videos onto Facebook and other social media. These are collected on Strawbsweb on the Settlement videos page, for ease of reference. Check them out - more to come .....

    NEW STRAWBSWEB DESIGN

    Since the beginning of the early Jan 2021 lockdown I have been working on a new cleaner design for Strawbsweb, which, after many days work, I have now completed (apart from the "Live Reviews" and "Galleries" sections, which need further reorganisation.

  • Main change is to replace the old static logo with a small placeholder logo, which when you click on it, brings in a bigger logo from the side, freeing up more screen space for users with narrow devices such as phones
  • Two new typefaces Oswald and Open Sans, courtesy of Google Fonts, to replace the rather tired old Georgia font - I've increased the typesize too (none of us are getting any younger!) - hope you find the text and layout easier to read
  • Standardised menus and links and quite a few reorganised sections so that content is more readily available
  • A new design for this main "banner" page, the "upcoming gigs" page and the "What's new on Strawbsweb" page
  • Generally speaking, all links to pages on Strawbsweb should be in red or where there's a list, in normal, underlined type
  • I've made some updating changes as I went along, but not necessarily logged them on the What's New On Strawbsweb page, but there are a few sections eg Links, History, which need further checking/updating
  • I think I've caught all the pages - if I've missed any, you'll see the old logo, or possible an error message - let me know and I'll fix the errors. Do let me have comments by e-mailing

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