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Updated: 13 Apr 2013

Wed 6 March - The Greystones, Sheffield
Thu 7 March - The Ferry, Glasgow
Fri 8 March - Bannerman's, Edinburgh
Sat 9 March - The Green Hotel, Kinross
THE NORTHERN LEG - ie Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Kinross
  • Acoustic Strawbs Walk The Northern Leg - Review by Lindsay Sorrell
  • Thu 14 March - Plaza Suite, Sevenoaks
    Fri 15 March - New Cut Arts, Halesworth
    Sat 16 March - The Hailsham Pavilion, Hailsham
  • Strawberry Hill Boys And Girls - Review by Dick Greener
  • Setlist
  • Fri 29 March - City Varieties, Leeds
    Sat 30 March - Folk Club, Grayshott
  • Pictures from Pete Bradley
  • Fri 5 April - Parish Church, Wigan
    Sat 6 April - HRH Prog Festival, Rotherham
    Fri 12 April - Landmark Centre, Teddington
  • HALLOWED GROUND - Review by Dick Greener
  • Setlist
  • Thu 18 April - The Brickyard, Carlisle
    Sat 20 April - St Mary the Virgin, Ingleton
    Sat 27 April - Corn Exchange, Exeter
    Sun 28 April - St Andrews Hall, Norwich


    Benedictus/Simple Visions
    The Man Who Called Himself Jesus
    Josephine For Better Or for Worse
    New World
    Oh How She Changed
    The Hangman And The Papist

    Tears And Pavan
    You And I (When We Were Young)
    Cold Steel
    Lay Down

    Shine On Silver Sun


    HALLOWED GROUND - Review by Dick Greener

    What a pleasure to catch the Acoustic Strawbs in the amazing surroundings of the Landmark Centre in Teddington on Friday (despite having been there on the previous day as well, in order to hold the Witchwood Media Limited shareholders AGM - perhaps I'll just rent a flat and move there ;-).

    The Centre is an staggeringly beautiful deconsecrated church, some of which has apparently been turned into flats (there are blood curdling warnings about parking in residents' parking spaces), but the main part (I guess the nave) is used as an arts venue. Staffed by volunteers, there's a small bar at the side of the hall, and chairs set out as far back from the raised stage (where the altar would have been) as necessary. And on Friday there were plenty of chairs needed to fit in an appreciative crowd of well over 200, here, very much in the Strawbs' home turf. Absolutely beautiful space.

    As the show started at just after 8.00, the stage still had light coming through the high stained glass windows as the boys unusually added "Benedictus" back into the set - what an atmospheric song in such glorious surroundings; and "Simple Visions" went like a bullet train.

    The sound was a little patchy perhaps - could have done with more volume on both Lambert's voice and guitar from where I was sitting (2nd row, near the front, just behind the indefatigable Mr Bradley - hi Pete!), and on occasions, the bass and bass pedals could have come up a bit. But Mr Cousins' voice was just dead on throughout, ranging from expressive and soulful to bitter and haunted - despite him clearly having a bit of a cold. (How does he do that, sing so well with a cold: if I've got a cold that's it, no singing for me!) Just the right amount of reverb to fit with the majestic vaulted ceiling and stained-glass backdrop behind the black curtains.

    Highlights for me were some of the newly "returned" numbers

  • the opening two
  • "Tears And Pavan" - great vocal by Dave and a lovely interplay of guitars in each of the two parts
  • "Witchwood" - with DL's guitar a bit quieter than usual, the banjo was much more prominent (same applies to "Cold Steel", and for once it was a nice change to really hear Dave's intricate arrangement.
  • "You And I" - nice to hear it acoustically, pared down to just the basics
  • As for the others, I've waxed lyrical about the acoustic solos in "Josephine" and "Oh How She Changed" before, but Friday gave me cause to do so again - both just perfectly judged, and beautifully redolent of the decade which spawned the songs. "Jesus", "New World", "Ghosts" and "Autumn", just as powerful as ever, and of course "Lay Down" extremely well-appreciated by this local crowd.

    Well worth a trip out through the Friday rush hour traffic to get there. Must come to Teddington again ....


    Pictures from Pete Bradley

    Pictures by Pete Bradley - more of Pete's photos

    Setlist (think it's the right order)

    The Man Who Called Himself Jesus
    Josephine For Better Or For Worse
    New World
    Oh How She Changed
    The Hangman And The Papist
    Tears And Pavan
    Remembering/You And I (When We Were Young)
    Cold Steel
    Lay Down

    Shine On Silver Sun


    STRAWBERRY HILL BOYS AND GIRLS - Review by Dick Greener

    Took the 2 hour plus journey from East London to just north of Eastbourne on a dark wet, thoroughly miserable Saturday night, in order to be thoroughly cheered up by seeing the Acoustic Strawbs - the first time this year, for various reasons. Too long a gap, really and I was certainly not disappointed, by any means.

    I've been to Hailsham Pavilion before - last time was with the Electrics (the last night of a tour I think) and we headed over the road afterwards to catch a Deep Purple tribute band, as a surprise bonus. Still no bar at the venue, so checked out the pub to see if anyone was there I knew, then headed over to get seated.

    The support act, Hatful of Rain were so good I ended up buying the CD without hesitation. The most striking thing about their performance is that they don't all have microphones or have their instruments miked up (fiddle player James Shenton is wired up as is the double bass played by Welshman Phil Jones). There's a central mic stand with a mic pointed left for one instrument and right for another, and an old-fashioned looking radio style mic in the middle to pick up the vocals. So they move in and out as necessary to sing, play etc. It all looks very much like those old photos of the Strawberry Hill Boys in pre-amplification days, leaning in towards the microphone, except with a Strawberry Hill Girl in attendance.

    Vocalist and primary songwriter Chloe Overton plays guitar mandolin and a little fiddle and has a delightful voice. Double-bass player Jones has a nice line in patter and also plays the banjo convincingly, and guitarist Fred Gregory doubles up on guitars and very slick mandolin. The material is mainly self-written and delivered with gusto and aplomb. They played a number of tracks from their new CD Way Up On The Hill - standouts for me was "Strawberry Leaves" (I wonder why!) - a tale of starvation and hunger set to a rollicking beat with fabulous harmonies, "The Exit Song", about a break-up, "Trafalgar Road", a splendid instrumental and "Welcome To The Family", described on their website as "a tale of family dysfunction and warmth". Gievn the Strawbs history of bluegrass, it was an extraordinarily good choice for a support and the oranisers are to be congratulated.

    Check them out at They're playing in Camden in London on 28 April and I'm very much thinking of going to see them do a full set.

    I have to say that many bands would be unhappy to have to follow such a polished performance. Dave Cousins, Chas and Neil had all popped out to the wings to check out what was going on, and the audience had secured an encore from them - not bad going for a support band. But Acoustic Strawbs, troopers that they are, were clearly men enough for the job.

    Opening as usual with a rousing "Man Who Called Himself Jesus" and a hauntingly delivered "Josephine", we were into the journey through time (and space) which is the backbone of the current set. Cousins' anecdotal style has the audience in the palm of his hand throughout, and the only pity of having such a great support act was that there was less stage time for the main event.

    Highlights for me were "You And I (When We Were Young)" - previously a favourite in the Willoughby days, now newly reworked for the current line-up; and the newly revived "Tears And Pavan". "Lay Down" was a blast too, and "Ghosts" and "Oh How She Changed" both rocked.

    A packed house gave full appreciation for a heartfelt performance - Dave has cut the revised return limit for this venue, announced after the encore, to 20 years (away from the norm of 25, so he must have enjoyed it at least !)


    The recent acoustic Strawbs shows oop North delighted audiences with impassioned performances and stunning setlists. Sheffield Greystones was a cosy, candle-lit venue and it was great to catch up with several from the 'Wood. One of the largest selections of real ales I've ever seen in a pub added to the ambience somehow. I remember one listed was 8% in strength but I can't remember the name of it. Not sure why. I do remember speaking to a taxi-driver who had the most amazing accent - a combination of Yorkshire, Italian and Northern Iraqi apparently!

    After a pizza blow-out and a few hours rest it was onwards and upwards to Bonnie Scotland. Things became a little confusing as Welshmen in shirts of all colours as long as they were red seemed to be the dominant force everywhere, thanks to an "important" impending rugby match. The audience at The Ferry in Glasgow, one of my favourite venues, was so polite and well-behaved that applause for an encore quickly became a very hushed affair, reaching the point of "pin-drop" silence! That was despite the crowd's obvious enormous admiration for a superb set. When the band tentatively poked their heads round the curtain, thunderous applause and cheering resumed and many of the audience rose to their feet. Very strange!

    Scotsmen definitely reasserted their dominance at Bannerman's in Edinburgh, as Rab C. Nesbitt imitators swayed, sang along and swayed some more (how they managed not to spill their drinks I do not know!). They were obviously in their own little heaven and were clearly true fans who knew all the words and shared them unashamedly with the rest of the enthusiastic audience. No moody candlelight at Bannerman's, but plenty of wafting Sandalwood joss-sticks attempted to disguise the ghastly musty odour. Strangely enough, this venue provided one of the best atmospheres at an acoustic Strawbs' gig I've ever known!

    The band's performance at The Green Hotel in Kinross was possibly my favourite of this mini-tour, with another stunningly good performance which went down as well as ever. The offer of a sip of Calvados in the bar afterwards went down well too, as did some mightily forceful singing by yet more groups of Welsh rugby fans who didn't seem to notice the lack of calls for an encore. One of the characters originally hailed from Aberfan, and told me his father had been first on the scene when the coal slag-heap slid and enveloped a school in 1966, killing young pupils and teachers. He was of course astonished, and moved, to hear about Strawbs' "Not All The Flowers Grow".

    Sadly, the Northern run was over all too soon, but the combined delights of the music and company of acoustic Strawbs (not forgetting Neil, of course!) and meeting up with old friends and making a few new ones provided a welcome tonic in the middle of this hard, hard winter. Grateful thanks go to Awesome Ali for her excellent company and driving skills, and to Yorkshire, Northumberland and Scotland for providing such magnificent landscapes.

    I don't have any set-lists although I think Ali may have, along with various Strawbs' posters which somehow always fall off walls as she passes by so innocently. I do know that for me the stand-out track recently has been "You and I (When We Were Young)" - the wall-of-sound harmonies seem to appear from nowhere and practically knock me off my seat every time!

    With many more gigs lined up over the next few weeks and months (including a Jamaican jaunt on the Moodies' Cruise) I have no hesitation in urging Strawbs' fans to get along and taste the delectable delights on offer. Bon appetit!

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