The Strawbs

Grave New World

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Fulfillment! Singer/songwriter Dave Cousins finds a space somewhere between Bob Dylan and John Bunyan, Hudson and Ford come up with some superb hooks, and the electric sound is powerful and majestic. The music is serious -- perhaps too much so -- bracing, and sincere, if a bit downbeat. Reissued on CD in 1998 in remastered form, the band sounds really loud and close, so you can practically feel the room ambience of the studio. Cousins' electric guitar in "The Flower and the Young Man" crunches right in your ear, and his acoustic fills the room in "On Growing Older," with new notes and two extra tracks. Of the latter, "Here It Comes" (recorded before this album) is bouncy and pleasant enough, even if it doesn't fit the mood of most of the original album, and the previously unissued "I'm Going Home" is one of the best hard rock sides the group ever recorded -- a piece of '70s rock & roll in the manner of Badfinger's "Rock of Ages" and T. Rex's "Get It On," which it resembles.

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