Digitally remastered reissue of their 1972 album for A&Mwith the original cover art intact & two bonus tracks added:'Here It Comes' & 'I'm Going Home'. 14 tracks total. 1998A&M release.
Ger Rmst ed.
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After clocking up four albums between May 1969's debut "Strawbs" and July 1971's "Witchwood" (two with Yes Keyboardist Rick Wakeman on board) - the STRAWBS (shortened from Strawberry Hill Boys) finally rewarded the patience of A&M Records A&R men with a big fat hit album - the fondly remembered "Grave New World" from February 1972.
Even without a single to plug it - but armed with a tri-gatefold sleeve and natty booklet within original copies - "Grave New World" climbed up to No. 11 in the UK LP charts and lay the ground for their 'Rock' record breakthrough - "Bursting At The Seams" in February 1973 which went all the way to No. 2. "Grave New World" is seen as their last overtly 'Folk Rock' LP and features what many feel was the classic Strawbs line-up. Here are the grim (slightly new) details...
UK released July 1998 - "Grave New World" by STRAWBS on A&M Records 540 934-2 (Barcode 731454093422) is an...
An essential,part of the Strawbs catalog, "Grave New World" showed a continued move away from the folk-rock roots where they began to a prog sound assisted by the keyboard playing of Blue Weaver and a harder, crunchy guitar sound. The songwriting continues to be earnest and powerful. Dave Cousins finds a happy medium between his roots and the prog sound the band wished to develop.
The remaster by Roger Wake is, as with most of his remasters, a bit heavy on the midrange with some mild compression applied which produces better detail at the expense of depth and dynamics however, it sounds like he worked with the best source tapes here. It's not a horrible remaster but not ideal either. The real reason to pick this up are the bonus tracks including the bouncy "Here It Comes" and the crunch rock of "I'm Going Home" which, if it had been added to this album, would have been a perfect single for rock radio at the time.
This was the album that introduced me to The Strawbs, its William Blake cover art catching my attention immediately, and it remains a favorite to this day. That's not just for sentimental reasons, but because it works so well as a coherent concept album, without the straining that marred some concept albums, where some songs never truly worked as separate songs. They all work here & can be enjoyed individually as such; but together they make up something more than the mere sum of the album's parts. The concept is the path of a man's life, as much spiritually as physically, from childhood to old age ... and beyond. While some songs are obviously more powerful than others, not one is mere filler. Yes, some listeners find "Ah Me, Ah My" a bit too twee & out of place -- but for me, it fits in with both the English sense of whimsy & the light-heartedness of second childhood, as age starts creeping in, an almost desperate attempt at jollity to deny the inevitable. As for the sublime...
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