Dave Cousins - Plays Strawbs Demos (1972 - 77)

If I re-up this compilation of Strawbs demos by Dave Cousins, it's not because anyone asked me to, but because I'm reading Exorcizing Ghosts, the Dave Cousins autobiography and for the first time of my life, I feel in complete empathy with the man behind the words. Most of these books are informative and evocative but rarely provide a sense of proximity with the author. This does. So, among the numerous Strawbs posts on FS (since it is as usual visitors may know), I decided to re-up this one cos' it's the one in which we actually feel the tightest proximity with Dave Cousins. Strange I posted it pratically 2 years ago (Dec 15th). A wonderful piece of music and a testimony of what sounded prog Strawbs songs before their band treatment. Catch it here.

Another compilation I'm very proud of. Demos by Dave Cousins playing songs he would try with Strawbs between 1972 and 1977 (actually, only the "Rip It Off Blues" made me included 1972 in the time frame since most of these demos were for the period from Hero and Heroine to Deadlines). Of course there are surely much more demos to be released in future reissues but there's enough to propose a first compilation. Cos' I don't believe that these demos are only for historical purposes. On the contrary, Dave Cousins' playing and singing are so strong, and his songs so much appropriate to an alone-acoustic format that this fake LP can be listened to as to a real solo album. And moreover, some songs (such as "Lemon Pie" and most of the Deadlines ones), are here in much better versions than once played by the band and (most importantly) badly produced. What's incredible is to realize that during his so-called progressive period, Dave Cousins was composing songs that could have been played 5 or 6 years earlier when Strawbs were an all trad. folk acoustic band (just listen to "So Shall Our Love Die", here in a totally sublime version). And even the Deadlines demos show that he had lost none of his previous talent and was still writing classic Strawbs songs. Of course there's "Deadly Nightshade", one of his best, here played to the bone and still better than with the band's skin. If ever the production and the instrumental choices (linked to this awful 1975-77 period) had not destroyed the songs, we could have appreciated it much more when they had been released on the official albums. So, I don't hesitate to say that this compilation is one of the best thing ever recorded during the seventies. Hope future reissues (of Deep Cuts and Burning For You) will give us some more of these acoustic demo gems. For the cover sleeve, I used a nice picture of a strawberry  tattooe, but I don't remember where I found it so I can't credit either the photographer or the skin owner. Sorry. Hope this will provide some beauty to those coming here to get something to hear.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This needs to be re upped. I am a premium RS user

Have you considered File Factory?