Profile for Mr. S. R. Clarke > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Mr. S. R. Clarke
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,899,920
Helpful Votes: 1

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Mr. S. R. Clarke

Page: 1
Bursting At The Seams
Bursting At The Seams
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Piece de Resistance, 14 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Bursting At The Seams (Audio CD)
Dave Cousins' song-writing reaches its peak on this album with "Down by the Sea/The River" and Dave Lambert submits his best effort "The Winter and the Summer" while Richard Hudson and John Ford pen the absolutely sublime "Lady Fuchsia". These facts should make this the best Strawbs album but what on earth persuaded the band to include "Part of the Union"? I have no problem with the song per se and think it was a really good single but it sticks out like a sore thumb in this context. Having school children singing in songs never seems to work either and gives album closer "Thank You" a horrible St Winifred's School Choir feeling to the whole endeavour.

I still give it 5 stars for the rest of the tracks. Stand outs for me include the already-mentioned "Down by the Sea" with a powerful middle eight sung by guitarist Dave Lambert and who could ever forget the hymnal "Lay Down"? It almost makes me sorry I'm an atheist!

Negatives aside, buy this album NOW for English song-writing at its best.

Hero And Heroine
Hero And Heroine
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £9.49

5.0 out of 5 stars No Dead Wood!, 14 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Hero And Heroine (Audio CD)
This album may not have the song-writing highs of previous album Bursting at the Seams but it is consistently well-written and interesting. Strawbs had suffered a traumatic loss of personnel the previous year losing songwriters Hudson-Ford and keyboard whizz Blue Weaver. Nevertheless, new boys John Hawken, Chas Cronk and Rod Coombes acquit themselves very well here. Every track has merit and the band do not fall into the trap of including "filler" or songs which seem out of place, something they have always been prone to do.

Strawbs have had some excellent keyboard players over the years but Hawken remains my favourite. He pens opener "Heroines Theme" with its menacing Moog bass lines and soaring mellotron washes. This track segues into the melancholic "Deep Summer Sleep". This is a perfect example of Dave Cousins's pastoral writing and he sings it in a suitably gentle, Autumnal way. The song reprises Heroines Theme before morphing into the anthemic "The Winter Long", another Cousins composition, superbly sung by guitarist Dave Lambert. This concludes this three part track with the overall title of "Autumn".

Drummer Rod Coombes shows his writing ability with the wistful "Sad Young Man", a slightly sad little piece which nonetheless fits perfectly. Cousins sings the verses with Lambert taking the middle eight - something they've done with other songs which I feel works well.

The mood is then lightened by "Just Love", a rocker written and sung by Dave Lambert. The middle eight to this song is delightfully unexpected with piano and mellotron from John Hawken. Lambert's compositions have been criticised for seeming out of place on some albums but I feel that this works just fine here (though not as well as "The Winter and the Summer" on Bursting at the Seams).

Side one (of the original vinyl album) concludes with another Cousins composition "Shine on Silver Sun" featuring some excellent harmony vocals from bassist Chas Cronk. This was actually released as a single but failed to trouble the top 30 (surprise surprise).

The title track actually started life as a bluegrass number with a banjo-like picking underlying the verses. However Lambert and Hawken stick the boot in with a fantastic guitar and mellotron driven riff which turned it into a bit of a progressive rock classic.

"Midnight Sun" has Dave Cousins and Chas Cronk writing together for the first time. The pair would go on to write many songs for later albums. Alumnus Claire Deniz plays the 'cello which underpins the track. I suspect Cronk played 12-string here and sang the lion's share of the harmony vocals.

"Out in the Cold" starts with some uncredited harmonica playing (I'm not sure if they ever used this instrument again) and sets the stage for the oddly syncopated introduction to "Round and Round". Hawken's Moog once again features here with some solid guitar chords from Dave Lambert. Dave Cousins sings this perfectly, especially the sinister semi-spoken part near the end.

The album proper concludes with "Lay a Little Light on Me", a typical Cousins composition interleaved with a crunching guitar riff "Hero's Theme". "Oh save me someone" cries Dave C and you believe him. I also love the quirky reversed vocals at the end. This song appears in an early form as a bonus track, arranged with quite a different feel. Thank goodness they changed it!

I quite enjoyed the other bonus track "Still Small Voice". Shame it was never completed.

Unlike many other Strawbs albums (even their classics Bursting at the Seams and Grave New World), there is absolutely no dead wood on here at all. Buy this album now.

Warm Leatherette/T.V.O.D.
Warm Leatherette/T.V.O.D.

4.0 out of 5 stars Can't Tear My Ears Away, 26 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A Crash-inspired robotic intonation which nonetheless grabs your ears. Electronica is not normally my bag but this one stands out. The flip side also entertains.

Fairytale Of New York (feat. Kirsty MacColl)
Fairytale Of New York (feat. Kirsty MacColl)

4.0 out of 5 stars A Smile and a Tear, 26 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An incredible song with a wonderful mixture of pathos and beauty. Shane MacGowan's voice shouldn't work but does. Kirsty MacColl does what comes naturally. In my top 5 of Christmas songs.

I Believe in Father Christmas
I Believe in Father Christmas
Price: £0.79

5.0 out of 5 stars A Christmas Song That Works, 26 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I consider this one of the few Christmas songs that doesn't sound twee or over-commercialised. Lake is not afraid to speak his mind while still coming across as hopeful and optimistic. Apparently he still does believe!

Page: 1