Dave Cousins

Secret Paths

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When a singer/songwriter has a good 40-year catalog of compositions upon which to draw, there's no shame in remaking some of them in different ways. When it's done well, it's a downright wise choice of action. Such is the case with Dave Cousins' Secret Paths, which is largely though not wholly comprised of reworkings of many of his songs, dating all the way back to the 1960s. He certainly can't be accused of going for a "greatest-hits" set, either; even Strawbs fans might not be overly familiar with some of the numbers first recorded in his early days, like "How I Need You Now," "Song of a Sad Little Girl," and "I Turned My Face into the Wind." Perhaps in part because the album is meant to focus on songs he was singing in solo shows shortly after this 2008 release, the settings are very spare and unplugged, Cousins' singing and acoustic guitar accompanied only by Melvin Duffy's pedal steel and Weissenbron Hawaiian guitars. There's a bit of new material and a cover of a musty old pop song ("Falling in Love Again"), but largely it's a respectful visitation of old favorites with an older and wiser (and perhaps inevitably, sometimes sadder) air from this respected folk-rock veteran.

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