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Strawbs, The - 1975 Nomadness



ARTIST: Strawbs, The
ALBUM: Nomadness
LABEL: A&M
SERIAL: SP 4544
YEAR: 1975
CD REISSUE: 2001, Progressive Line, PL517 * 2008, A&M, 530282-2

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Dave Cousins - vocals, acoustic guitars, dulcimer, banjo * Dave Lambert - vocals, electric guitars, acoustic guitars * Chas Cronk - bass, vocals * Rod Coombes - drums, acoustic guitar, vocals * Rick Wakeman - electric harpsichord * John Mealing - organ, electric piano, piano * Jack Emblow - cymbalum * Tony Carr - congas * Tommy Eyre - piano, clavinet, synthesizer * John Lumley-Sacile - synthesizer

TRACK LISTING: 01 To Be Free * 02 Little Sleepy * 03 Golden Salamander * 04 Absent Friend (How I Need You) * 05 Back On The Farm * 06 So Shall Our Love Die? * 07 Tokyo Rosie * 08 A Mind Of My Own * 09 Hanging In The Gallery * 10 The Promised Land

WEBLINKS: www.strawbsweb.co.uk


Background
Folk rock bards turned progressive rock powerhouse The Strawbs sold a boatload of records in America, even more than they did in their native UK and yet A&M Records were still not satisfied. Tours with ZZ Top, Santana, Ten Years After, King Crimson and REO Speedwagon opened the group to a wide variety of audiences and yet The Strawbs still couldn't reach the commercial pot of gold at the end of their rainbow. 'Nomadness' was the group's ninth and final album for the label and in an attempt to reach out to a larger segment of record buyers, The Strawbs tuned down the prog with shorter songs and a more accessible style. Sound familiar?


The Songs
As typical with such a move, 'Nomadness' alienated a lot of their fan base which I really can't understand. This holds up as a fine record with plenty of progressive rock and for the most part a far cry from what I would deem 'commercial' even for 1975. 'To Be Free' opens the record sounding like Bob Dylan if he had listened to Yes and is a masterfully executed mix of folk and rock - The Strawbs forte. 'Little Sleepy' is a sunny little charmer, far more upbeat than the title would suggest. 'Absent Friend (How I Need You)' has a jazzy Traffic feel although I admit 'Back On The Farm' and 'Tokyo Rosie' are best forgotten like so much bad Jimmy Buffett. Lessons learned and the band make up for these mistakes with the three closing cuts 'A Mind of My Own', 'Hanging In The Gallery' and 'The Promised Land' which are nothing short of classic Strawbs and some of their best work in my opinion.


In Summary
A headlining tour of the States followed comprised of small halls and theaters, one last hurrah before the label's axe fell. Down but not out, three more good albums would follow including the Rupert Holmes produced 'Deep Cuts' and my personal favourite from 1978 - 'Deadlines'. We wouldn't hear from The Strawbs again until the late 80's with the excellent 'Don't Say Goodbye' record and from this point on the group have continued to tour and record including their latest studio project 'The Broken Hearted Bride' which was released late last year and is one of the best discs of 2008.


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