Reading the Dave Cousins autobiography, I feel the need to listen to Strawbs and too, to re-up here some of the stuff I posted during the years of this blog existence (surely, as every blog, limited in time but while it lives, let it go). Here is the first album of Strawbs material officially released, although it was rather confidentially, the album being mainly issued in Denmark. It sounds more of a Sandy Denny singing Dave Cousins songs album than a true Strawbs-as-a-band album, but it is a great album, even if Sandy Denny's voice has never been a personal taste. Finally a good thing she went for Fairport Convention soon after. I used the cover that was the one to be used for the album and not the further ones. Catch it here. I'll post more material from the early Strawbs later on cos' they are more and more prohibitive to get.
In 1967, Dave Cousins meets a young folk singer called Sandy Denny and invites her to join his band. She accepts and some months later they are in Copenhagen, Denmark, to record a whole LP that they'll call All Our Own Work. Musically, it's not typical Strawbs and reminds me of the Mama's & Papa's meeting the Kinks with a strong US folk flavor. It's clear that the band is a vehicle for Sandy Denny's voice since she sings almost all the songs, but Dave Cousins composed most of them. He also sang 2 and it's apparent as early as that year that he is a great songer-composer. Sandy Denny will not stay long with them and next year they'll record their first LP without her. But we'll talk about it later on here again. Here I post the original album in its recent remastered version that you can find on a CD featuring 12 other tracks (out-takes and demos). But I always prefer to post original LPs as they were when released, than with all these bonus tracks. If you become Strawbs fans, you might decide to buy the LP. Meanwhile, enjoy this first LP with its original cover sleeve (at least the front side) and not the quite ugly one made for its 1973 reissue. Below a stream of the Kinks-like "How Everyone But Sam Was A Hypocrite" and a video hommage to Sandy Denny on one of the best song of the album: "Who Knows Where The Time Goes By", one of her only song on the LP and that she would sing again with Fairport Convention.
How Everyone But Sam Was A Hypocrite. Half a bitter for the vicar He's here to save your soul He's looking fat and jovial Though he's nearly on the dole Anne Riley cooks his dinner She keeps him washed and fed She doesn't need much prompting To jump into his bed. And they all think they're so grand Yes, they all think they're so grand Yes, they all think they're so grand But they're not Oh no they're not. Dr. Watson drinks large whiskies He's nearly always high He supplements his income Aborting on the sly Mrs. Thompson is an angel In the W.V.S. Her meals on wheels are very cheap And she cooks the books for less. Sammy Cohen is the bookie Sitting over there Drinking three star brandy He doesn't seem to care No-one wants to know him They say he's been inside They say his dear old mother Committed suicide. Dr. Watson charged Anne Riley A fifty guinea fee For Mr. Thompson's peace of mind As far as I can see Mrs. Thompson envies Annie Cooking for the preacher And everyone thinks Sam Is a quite disgusting creature But if the truth was known It would shake all their foundations It seems the preacher lives On Sam's anonymous donations.