Dave Cousins

Two Weeks Last Summer

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Dave Cousins' 1972 solo album was very much like a Strawbs record of the period, albeit one in which his songwriting and vocals dominated even more than they did on other Strawbs releases from the era. The Strawbs connection is enhanced by the presence of soon-to-be Strawb Dave Lambert on guitar and backing vocals, and just-ex-Strawb Rick Wakeman on keyboards. A couple of other moonlighters from star bands (bassist Roger Glover of Deep Purple and drummer Jon Hiseman of Colosseum) are onboard too, as are, on a couple tracks, the wind septet of Robert Kirby, most known for his contributions to Nick Drake recordings. Like the Strawbs albums from the time, it shows a move toward a folk-rock/harder rock blend as compared to Cousins' folkier beginnings, though a few cuts mostly or wholly feature only Cousins accompanying himself on piano. Too, some of these songs -- such as "Two Weeks Last Summer," "October to May," and "We'll Meet Again Sometime" -- had actually been recorded with the Strawbs prior to inclusion on this release, even if the Strawbs versions didn't find their way into wide release until the CD era. It's not as good as the best Strawbs stuff, however, in part because it lacks as much of a group dynamic, in part because it doesn't have Cousins' most outstanding songs. All that noted, fans of Cousins and the Strawbs are pretty solidly guaranteed to find something to appreciate here, as the songs are very much in his tradition of haunting melodies and involved lyrics, sometimes with a story-spinning, remembrance-of-things-past bent. Lingering echoes of psychedelia are felt in the distorted vocals, foggy organ, backward washes of sound, and tinkling bells of the title track; the three-part "Blue Angel" is indicative of his taste for song-epics; and "The Actor" is an above-average hard rocker, Cousins' electronically treated singing sounding as if it's rising from a boiling pot. Long unavailable on CD, it was finally issued in that format on SDR Records in 2003.

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