DAVE COUSINS & BRIAN WILLOUGHBY
During the 80s and early 90s,k when Strawbs were fairly inactive, the acoustic duo of Cousins and Willoughby was often the only fix of Stawbs music available. Dave and Brian hooked up for an acoustic tour in 1979 when Strawbs were having a short time-out after Dave Lambert's departure. As the sleeve notes of Old School Songs note:
"Early this year I decided that it had been too long since I had played to an audience. With the high costs of touring, the Strawbs only work when there is an album to promote, so the answer seemed to be a few acoustic gigs.
I rang Brian Willoughby, an old friend from the White Bear days, and asked him if he fancied reliving his ill-spent youth. He was cajoled over a pint. So was I ! We threw guitars ands suitcases into the car and set off on a merry jaunt around the clubs and colleges. It was great fun – just like old times.
It was a jaunt that would last throughout the 80s and 90s as Dave & Brian filled the void left by regular touring by the Strawbs. An opportunity for Dave to strip the songs back to their acoustic basics, with Dave providing rhymthic accompaniment and Willoughby acoustic guitar pyrotechnics. And, though by the late 90s, the revived Electric Strawbs (including Willoughby alongside Lambert - a two lead guitar line-up which had a hell of a lot going for it - took over the spotlight, the duo would of course eventually morph into Cousins Willoughby & Lambert, aka The Acoustic Strawbs, where with two voices and three guitars, so much more was poossible, even recreating Strawbs epics such as "Tears And Pavan", "Down By The Sea", "Ghosts", "Hero And Heroine" and "Autumn".
Brian juggled his appearances with Dave and the Strawbs with a developing career alongside his partner Cathryn Craig. Assiduous touring built up a good following in the UK folk clubs, and in 2004 Brian decided to concentrate on the duo work, launching the act in Cathryn's native US, but leaving the Strawbs and his partnership with Dave to do so. Since then, the Craig and Willoughby duo has gone from strength to strength in the UK, and they are a regular part of the UK acoustic music scene, recording a number of excellent abums, blending Cathryn's extraordinary voice with he fluid fingers of Mr Willoughby.
They also have participated in Strawbs celebrations, both at the 40th in Twickenham in 2009 and at the 50th in Lakewood NJ in 2019. Cathryn also appears on the new Strawbs album Settlement.
See also Brian Willoughby/Cathryn Craig,
Full album details and more album cover pictures on Album details page.