Humble High Art
Carlo Matthews | Been Moving Around | 05/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded between Strawbs projects in the early 70's, Two Weeks lacks none of the shimmering genius evident in the band's best works (particularly of the Grave New World era). Employing the likes of Rick Wakeman on keys and Roger Glover on bass -- without forgetting the astonishing Miller Anderson on electric gtr among others -- Cousins serves up a feast of songs that will leave any Strawbs fan breathless.
The main departure is in the personal dimension these songs inhabit, making them both enchantingly private and bewitchingly mystical. Although somewhat more stripped down than the usual Strawbs outing, Two Weeks is no less intricate and ambitious. Texture variations, tempo changes, poetic lyrics, rich atmospheres and moods, and a decidely rootsy-ethereal equation behind the warm arrangements all add to make Two Weeks one of Cousins' most inspired set of songs. With every piece glowing with skillful & original craftsmanship and composition, Cousins displays his talents in full flight, reaching dizzying peaks with the mesmerizing "Blue Angel" and the equally provocative "Ways And Means."
In spite of its largely acoustic backdrop, there's more power and subtlety here than in most group efforts. An album of awe-inspiring creativity, sweep, and ambition -- as well as of a touching worldview -- Two Weeks is unmissable to any fan of the Strawbs or, for that matter, to anyone who likes their high art humble."
Its charm never diminishes
Paul Franklin | Abbotsford, BC Canada | 12/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Brilliant album, brilliant first review. I've been listening to this since 1972, and its charm never diminishes. This is one of those rare albums that makes you feel deeply while retaining a high level of artistry. Magic in a bottle. I always pair this in my mind with the Strawbs' Grave New World, but this is even finer."
A Needle in a Haystack.........
! Metamorpho ;) | Castle in Scotland | 01/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, it is a nice, quiet day at the castle. I know many of you have written to me asking me what I listen to when serenity abounds. Many things my people. How many fish are in the sea? How many birds in the sky? How many grey strands in Metamorpho's hair? (Wait a minute! I told you not to go there! ...Oops, I did!). Mental note: must remember to be more kind to me- no one else will take on this daunting task!
Anyway, what we have here (and one of the answers to the above question) is a fine solo album by David Cousins. He is still an acquired, esoteric find, but, nevertheless, after many years out of print, or just plain lost, I finally got this album and have evolved because of it.
David was (and still is) the main voice and leader of that exquisite, progressive rock band The Strawbs. Throughout their career there have been many personnel changes, however, the quality of musicianship has remained astoundingly high. David's vocals (which I have determined to have some off-center brogue accent) may be off-putting to some. But there is no question that he is totally unique and, given half a chance, you too may be mesmerized by his magic.
The songs contained herein are folk tunes, sprinkled with some rock, sauteed in poetic landscapes that harken, at times, to the Romantics. However, that said, he frames so much of this to shades of mood (sometimes with an English countryside flair) that make the whole project enriching to hear. The diversity is akin to going to a museum and coming away with a different aura and emotion after viewing. Yes, this is the Cousins song museum. And you thought you were at another circus of mine. Hah!
We begin with "Two Weeks Last Summer" which is a swirling soundscape of rememberences. Ethereal and outerworldly, it conveys the edges of memory perfectly with a lovely guitar thematic change. "October to May" is a sparse dirge with only vocals that resonate, slowly, to the death and rebirth of the seasons in human terms. I close my eyes and see myself back in 1200 England. I swear he writes with a wise, older guide by his side.
We then come, to my mind, the masterpiece of this album. It is "Blue Angel" which, with each listen, I am even more taken with it's beauty. Cousins employs superb musicians on this, especially Rick Wakeman who flows so eloquently with his keyboard talent. It is a surreal, English court tragedy about being unable to connect with his true love. At least, that is what I think. There are 3 musical motifs and changes within this song - all lush and majestic. And he sings dripping with raw emotion. I am also taken with some of the lyrics; "The best of questions have no answers, the best of answers need no questions". What a nice mind enigma that is!
Going forth we have the short musical piece "The World" with piano and flute. It moves into a sad "That's the Way It Ends". Regrets. Some things in life are regrets. "The Actor", consequently, moves with the speed of a greyhound. Cousins is not allowing you to rest at your leisure. A song about the actor who, as opposed to ones who know their true worth, never glimpses his own soul since he can be everyone and then no one. Interesting.
We then come to the heartfelt "When You Were a Child", a sparse piano song to wispful lost connections. Lovely. The next two songs "Ways and Means" and "We'll Meet Again Sometime" lend themselves to imagery of natural wonder and heartfelt honesty at connection. Cousins is very good at this sort of thing. The divine in nature.
The closing song "Going Home" rocks, but rocks at the expense of the woman that he is grateful for leaving. I love the line "I'm going to frame you as a memory, And hang you on the wall". This is a line that could have come out of Metamorpho's handbook! Bravo Cousins!
In closing, if you are looking for something out of the mainstream that you will feel good about knowing (and not many people do know), you owe it to yourself to investigate this album. He and, most definitely, The Strawbs have a treasure trove of folk-pop-rock-prog music that is superior and outshines many mainstream groups. 4 1/2 stars.
Now let me go - before my hair turns more grey! (not nice people!).
the alarmingly prolific ---- Metamorpho ;)