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on 19 October 2008
I read a review in "Classic Rock" magazine that sang the praises of this album to the rafters, claiming it was as good as from their 70s heyday. The review prompted me to buy the album a little bit quicker than I would have done...unfortunately, I cannot agree.

Don't get me wrong, this is a good Strawbs album and certainly better than "Blue Angel", a more recent effort than the 70s (although the title track of that album is better than anything on here). "Deja Fou", however, is better.

Dave Cousins is in fine voice and the album is fairly rocky with plenty of good guitar work from Dave Lambert and less folk-rock influence than on many other of their albums but the tunes, for me, are not strong enough to transcend the album from good to great. It's good, yes, but it's not "From the Witchwood", "Grave New World", "Bursting at the Seams" or "Hero and Heroine" to name a few.

So, if you haven't got those, I suggest you get them first!
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on 25 March 2009
No-one does apocalypse quite like Dave Cousins, and if this is the Strawbs' best album since their seventies heyday then it's not surprising that it throws more than a passing nod to their "Grave New World" masterwork.

Almost four decades may have passed since then, and the threat facing the world today may be very different from that foreshadowed on "New World" (witness the title track in which the protagonist's new husband kisses her goodbye before going off to blow himself up on a train) but in his mid sixties Cousins can still pack a punch as a musical harbinger of doom.

With its eastern-influenced arrangement "The Call To Action" ploughs a similar furrow to the Eagles' recent "Long Road Out of Eden", only a lot more convincingly.

Crashing cymbals abound and massed instruments roar menacingly in familiar Strawbs style, while Dave Cousins' unmistakeable drawl presides over it all. Dave Lambert chips in with a couple of decent songs but this is very definitely Cousins' show and he seems to be relishing every moment of it.

It would be unrealistic to expect anything new to reach the heights of their seventies output - and it's amazing how fresh that old material still sounds today - but the prime exponents of prog-folk are still alive and well forty years on, even if these days they seem to be a lot more 'prog' and a lot less 'folk'.

And it seems they're not ready to grow old gracefully just yet.
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on 6 September 2008
Although nit-picky conversation about sound quality and so on usually
leaves me cold, I would like to have my little say; I have no grumbles
whatsoever along those lines. Nothing on this CD sounds uneven,
muffled, too loud, too faint or any of the other distinctly
untechnical terms I would normally apply to poor sound quality.
Everything sounds excellent and highly professional is what I'm trying
to say, which may well have something to do with the work of Chris
Tsangarides and Chas Cronk (though I confess I'm still not really sure
what all those processes involved in making a CD mean!).

On to the songs themselves then....

The Call to Action:

A heavy-duty powerhouse of a Strawbs track; having seen it performed
live several times on the band's tour earlier this year, I already
knew what to expect. I adore the Eastern feel and consider this an
example of electric Strawbs 2008 at their finest, with a fascinating
melting-pot of instrumentation blending to perfection. Dave Cousins'
voice overlays the backdrop, building in pace and urgency as each
verse progresses.

Christmas Cheer (Everything's Going To Be Alright):

I was not too keen on this track after my first listen, mainly, I
think, because I hadn't read the lyrics and couldn't quite fathom it
out. Having found my glasses it all made sense however, with
cheerful, Disneyesque choruses loudly proclaiming that "everything's
going to be alright", completely contradicting the song's true message
which warns of building religious tensions. Good to see Strawbs
tackling heavy issues in my opinion - it certainly isn't a treacle
toffee world these days and several of the songs on this album
acknowledge the unpalatable realities of modern living. Great
up-front and funky bass on this track provides a "different" Strawbs

Too Many Angels:

A gentle-sounding song which is very attractive indeed, with some
lovely guitar interspersed among the verses. Wistful, retrospective
lyrics, beautifully sung by Dave Cousins, weave a nostalgic journey
of personal regrets. Some gorgeous instrumentation includes
sympathetic keyboards and drums. On first hearing I recall feeling
unsure about the repetitive chorus, but after a few listens I am
firmly hooked on this one.

The Broken Hearted Bride:

Another dominant offering with a very big sound which increases in
intensity, peaking with highly memorable choruses at full blast in
which Dave Lambert's vocals powerfully augment those of Dave Cousins.
Again, I knew roughly what to expect thanks to having seen the song
performed live several times during the summer tour. The song differs
substantially from the "bonus" track of the same title and similar
(but not the same) lyrics, given away with Dave Cousins' solo album
"Secret Paths" when first on sale. This version really does blow you
away though in a different way from that described in the lyrics
thankfully; terrorism and its often seemingly innocuous origins
provide the subject matter.


A great Dave Lambert song, with some excellent lyrics, which showcases
his vocal talents superbly. I already own the version of the song on
Dave's second solo album "Work in Progress". Being a "Strawbs" fan,
rather than simply a "Dave Cousins" fan, for me the vocal contrasts
offered by the various band members have always been a major
attraction, both live and on record. This track offers such a
contrast beautifully in my opinion, complemented by some particularly
lovely keyboards.

Through Aphrodite's Eyes:

Strawbs at their proggy best. Another enormously big sound, which
starts with pretty, tinkly keyboards then surges into some excellent
lead guitar playing. Dave Cousins sounds extremely "at home" on this
song as far as I'm concerned; his vocals range from quiet,
almost-whispered restraint, to anguished cries to stunning effect.
The whole band produces an amazing sound on this song which
prog-rockers in Strawbs' multi-musically-cultural fan-base must surely
rave about for years to come.

Deep In The Darkest Night:

A beautiful song, which Dave Cousins wrote following the passing of
his brother. It first appeared on Dave's collaborative album with
Conny Conrad entitled "High Seas". Really attractive guitar and
keyboards on this version, though I have to say I was very happy with
the original version too.

You Know As Well As I:

I have played this song over, and over, and over! It is so
infectious, completely unlike anything else on the album or anything
else by Dave Lambert (or Strawbs) that I can think of. Again, Dave
Lambert's strong, clear vocals provide a welcome contrast to those of
Dave Cousins. More interesting lyrics to ponder, and a Caribbean feel
provides the unexpected.

Everybody Knows:

Written by Chas Cronk, this song is wonderfully laid-back and dreamy.
It seems to redress life's uglier aspects as tackled in some of the
earlier songs, with lyrics of beauty and a message of hope.
Accompanied again by some delightful keyboard, Dave Cousins is joined
on a dual vocal by Chas to provide a very interesting mix. Perfect
"less is more" drumming by Rod Coombes (as ever!) complements the song
as it fluctuates in rhythm and pace, giving the feel of a lilting
tidal flow, very relaxing. Chas is another Strawb with a voice to be
proud of, as those who have heard "A Splash of Blue" on Lambert
Cronk's "Touch the Earth" well know.

Action Replay:

This track prolongs the Eastern vibe of the early part of the album.
Nice music, but I don't consider this to be a song in its own right as
it instrumentally continues the theme of "A Call to Action". Enjoyable
listening and some great musicianship, but for me this is the one
track on the album I consider a bit of a "filler".

We'll Meet Again Sometime:

Another song I know extremely well, having owned the version on Dave
Cousins' first solo album "Two Weeks Last Summer" since 1972. I love
that early version, but for me this rendition, complete with the rich
harmonies well-known to those who have had the pleasure of seeing
Acoustic Strawbs perform the song, is a stunner. I'm delighted to
have this "full-sounding" version of the song, and with such clear
sound it is easy to close your eyes and imagine the band are just feet

In conclusion...

I adore, or at the very least, like, every track on the album and
there is nothing I am tempted to skip, which is not always the case.
The musicianship is first-rate throughout (can't keep mentioning each
and every instrument, track by track, but it really is), and as I
mentioned previously, the recording/mixing etc. sounds faultless to my

Strawbs have always been a band known for changing styles, and also a
band which has been associated with contemporary political comment in
various ways. With "The Broken Hearted Bride" Strawbs have definitely
entered some fresh territories both musically and lyrically, hopefully
not straying so far as to lose their most conservative fans, but far
enough to gain new admirers along the way.

Check it out and if you get the chance to see them live...DON'T MISS IT!!
Work in Progress Lay Down With the Strawbs Halcyon Days: The Very Best Of The Strawbs (2CD) Hero And Heroine Touch the Earth Strawbs - Live in Tokyo Grave Strawbs - Complete Strawbs: the Chiswick House Concert [2002]The Magic Shoemaker (Live Recording) Boy in the Sailor Suit Love & power (1989) Nomadness
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on 6 November 2008
This is a fine body of work which stands up alongside their most famous 1970s albums. Dave Cousins is still not afraid to tackle thorny subjects like terrorism. New World from the seventies covered the troubles in Northern Ireland whilst here, The Call To Action relates to matters further east.

If this album were released in 1975, it would be high up in the charts. Maybe it will be anyway!
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on 6 July 2013
I was disapointed with "Deja Fou" and other recent years cds by this band. Did now owned this one. As a body of work is strong and Dave Cousin s' voice and singin is his best in years. I am a big Dave Lambert fan, and regret his limited colaboration similar to the one The Who allowed the late John Entwistle. Lambert is a singer one will prefer over Cousins nasal voice and also a terrific songwriter. Dave Lambert should write and sing more. This album is highly recomended.
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