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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich Fayre from The Strawbs
For me this is the best Strawbs album, narrowly beating "Bursting At The Seams". Everyone contributes 100% to both writing and performing (don't miss Rick Wakeman's clarinet playing!). The guys treat us to a range of songs with differing moods and styles - from the joyous "A Glimpse of Heaven" through the sensual "Shepherd's Song" to the...
Published on 24 Nov 2000

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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Searching for Identity
This was something of a transitional period for the Strawbs and represented their first studio album.

The feel is of a band not really together and struggling with its identity, unsure whether to tread the boards of pure folk music or to turn into a folk-rock band, which they thankfully went on to do very successfully.

Today the band perhaps value...
Published on 11 April 2008 by Mr. Peter Steward


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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich Fayre from The Strawbs, 24 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: From The Witchwood (Audio CD)
For me this is the best Strawbs album, narrowly beating "Bursting At The Seams". Everyone contributes 100% to both writing and performing (don't miss Rick Wakeman's clarinet playing!). The guys treat us to a range of songs with differing moods and styles - from the joyous "A Glimpse of Heaven" through the sensual "Shepherd's Song" to the poignant "In Amongst the Roses".
It's good to hear those rich and full harmonies from Dave, Tony and Hudson-Ford, each of whom show that they can handle lead vocals with the same aplomb. The Hudson-Ford songs show a wonderful naivete and simplicity which work well set against Dave Cousins' more mature pastoral compositions.
The arrangements are excellent, making use of traditional "folky" instruments such as recorders and accoustic guitars and more exotic and modern instruments (sitar, moog and their first use of mellotron).
If you're a Strawbs fan - this is "The One" in my opinion. If you're only just discovering them - make this the next one you buy!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Strawbs begin the turn from folk to progressive rock, 27 Nov 2003
By 
Lawrance M. Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: From The Witchwood (Audio CD)
I actually went to go see the Strawbs in concert without owning any of their albums, but having listened to a few tracks on an FM radio station in Albuquerque, New Mexico where the David Cousins led group was a personal favorite of a couple of disc jockeys. This would have been when the Strawbs were touring off of their 1975 "Ghost Album," which followed "Bursting at the Seams" and "Hero and Heroine" and together constitutes what many would consider their three best albums. "From the Witchwood" is a 1971 release that represents the transitional period when the Strawbs went from being an acoustic folk group, where Sandy Denny was a singer for a while, to a progressive folk group, with Rick Wakeman playing keyboards, before moving on to being more of a progressive rock group in the middle Seventies. At this point in addition to Cousins and Wakeman the group consisted of Richard Hudson on drums, John Ford on bass, and Tony Hooper as the lead guitarist.
Of course it is difficult not to pick up on Wakeman's organ and synthesizer playing on most of these tracks. It sure stands out on this version of "The Hangman and the Papist," more than I remember from the other version I have of this memorable tale about two brothers on opposite sides of the fence in Tudor England. The album opens with the pastoral "Glimpse of Heaven," originally a poem by Cousins which now features Wakeman's church organ accompaniment, and which defines the merging of the folk past and progressive future of the band. The folk impulse probably comes out strongest in the cautionary drug tale "Witchwood" and the sensitivities inherent in "Sheep." I always liked "The Hangman and the Papist," but "The Shepherd's Song" is the one that stands out this time, both in terms of the vocal harmonies and Wakeman's simulated horns and strings in the background.
The bonus track on this remastered album is John Ford's "Keep the Devil Outside," which has an acoustic opening before turning to hard rock. It was recorded during the "Witchwood" sessions but was only released as the B-side of "Benedictus," a single from the 1972 "Grave New World" album, with which "From the Witchwood" has the most in common. The Strawbs are a largely forgotten progressive rock group on this side of the pond except by those of us who had all of these albums on vinyl and/or cassette. I am just happy to see that more and more of those albums are becoming available, even if I have to import them. The Strawbs are the only group I do this for.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To the forest, 2 Oct 2007
By 
D. J. H. Thorn "davethorn13" (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: From The Witchwood (Audio CD)
The Strawbs always seemed to be stuck in a netherworld between rock and folk, never totally neglected, yet never fully recognised for their talent and determination to build their own road. 'From The Witchwood' is a little gem that deserves more attention. Rick Wakeman's keyboard playing, mostly organ, is the icing on the cake rather than the whole deal. You can understand, listening to this album, why he left for a band that would impose no boundaries on him. Here, he gives glimpses of what was to come, but while he has flourishes throughout, he is more of a team player. This is just as well, because the quality of the material demands it.
It is mostly gentle acoustic music, featuring a wide array of stringed instruments, including a sitar on 'Thirty Days,' bolstered by some solid drumming and Wakeman's colour. 'Sheep' is the one overtly rock-oriented song, whereas the melodic 'In Amongst The Roses' goes to the opposite extreme. The songs contain some engaging tales and the choral-style backing vocals on 'A Glimpse Of Heaven' typify the warmth The Strawbs exude. Not an instant album, but a highly satisfying one in the long run.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit of Nostalgic Music, 4 Mar 2013
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This review is from: From The Witchwood (Audio CD)
A CD from a well remember band of the 70s. I owned this on vinyl and decided to repurchase. Just as good as I remembered from a band I was live as well as on TV. A nostalgic CD which I will enjoy playing as much as I did the original
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the 70s return., 4 Dec 2011
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This review is from: From The Witchwood (Audio CD)
Ihave this in vinyl format(havn't played it in years)so great to hear Rick Wakeman playing the keyboard in his unique and spectacular fashion!What a great 70s band the Srawbs were.From The Witchwood
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great reminiscence, 12 May 2014
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This review is from: From The Witchwood (Audio CD)
Nice to go back in time to and remember the 'good old days'. Brings back the Woodstock area to life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Strawbs Album, 9 May 2014
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This review is from: From The Witchwood (Audio CD)
At the time this very strong Strawbs album pushed folk rock boundaries, especially driven by the talents of Rick Wakeman. Sadly this form died away although Grave New World wasnt a bad follow up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Strawbs classic, 31 Dec 2013
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This review is from: From The Witchwood (Audio CD)
For me the best all-round album with four different writers and a wad of classics ,from stark imagery to light-hearted fun .Dated nah ,buy and enjoy keyboards ,sitar, dulcimer and of course drums and guitar .
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5.0 out of 5 stars 2nd best but still great, 8 Oct 2013
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This review is from: From The Witchwood (Audio CD)
If you only buy one Strawbs album do not buy this one, buy Grave New World. If you buy two then this should be your next purchase.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful oldie refound, 17 Oct 2011
By 
G. B. Henderson (Victoria, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: From The Witchwood (Audio CD)
I recall buying this on vinyl after seeing them on The Old Grey Whistle Test. They did "The Hangman.." and "Sheep" - the two rockiest tracks on the album by miles. Back then I was disappointed with the album because all the other tracks appeared a bit soft and mushie (I was listening to Hawkwind's Space Ritual at the same time I recall). I bought the CD on spec' because it was pretty cheap. What a treasure it is! The remastering seems to be the best I've heard on a CD so far. Having mellowed (though I still listen to Hawkwind too) the soft and mushie tracks are now a delight. Wakeman's work on this album is sublime - before he got lost in the mish-mash of ego's that were Yes - and the use of sitar is a treat too. Sure there are a number of influences vying with each other here and the last track "I'll Carry On Beside You" which I think works pretty well on the album) gives an indication of the guitar-based pop the band were later to produce (same can be said for the bonus track). The two rocky tracks still work well (is that a Stranglers riff I can hear in 'Sheep'?). Great album, beautiful and original songs, excellent arrangements brilliantly remastered. Must be their best surely?
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From The Witchwood
From The Witchwood by Strawbs (Audio CD - 1998)
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