The Strawbs


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Dragonfly was the second album to be released by the Strawbs, though much other material unissued in the late '60s that preceded it has since been made available. (In fact, earlier versions of two of the songs, "I Turned My Face into the Wind," and "Josephine, For Better or for Worse," appear on the archival releases Strawberry Music Sampler, No. 1 and Preserves Uncanned, respectively.) Dragonfly was also the only LP the band recorded with cellist Claire Deniz in the lineup. Though an attractive and competent record, it's not as impressive as their debut. The songs aren't as striking, and the arrangements -- even with the addition of a fourth full-time member in Deniz -- aren't as effective as the mating of folk-rock, medieval, and classical music that characterized the best songs on the first album. It's a more subdued effort, and not as grave in its mood, Deniz's cello doing much to mellow the sound. Dave Cousins retained his appetite for epics, though, in the ten-minute "The Vision of the Lady of the Lake," which had piano by soon-to-be Strawb Rick Wakeman. When the fuzz guitar unexpectedly piles into the mix a few minutes into the track, joined by strange hissing background noises, it reaches a tense height that the rest of the record doesn't match, though it's an accomplished and pleasingly introspective dawn of '70s British folk-rock.

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