STRAWBS at their best!!!!!!!!!!!
luco | Panama | 02/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This cd has been hardly critizised among The Straws fans simply because the band was not the same band that did "Nowmadness" or "Hero & Heroine". The production is clean, the songs are very well played and recorded, and the band wrote more simple and straight rock songs. This cd contains songs like "Hearbreaker", "Cut like a diamond", "Burning for me", "I fell your loving coming on" or "Carry me Home" among others.
This album presents a more prominent role for Dave Lambert as a songwriter and singer, but at the same time, features David Cousins best vocals ever for the band.
I can bet you that any band that covers "Heartbreaker" could make it a hit.
Far and away my least favorite album by the Strawbs
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 05/06/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have my hand up as one of those who thinks that by the time we got "Burning for You" that the Strawbs were not the same band that had put out "Hero & Heroine," "Ghosts" and "Nomadness." The reason for the decline seems obvious to me: the group had replaced keyboard player John Hawken with John Mealing and Robert Kirby in the studio, and neither of them was adding anything special to these songs (although, ironically, Mealing's title cut is arguably the best song on the album). Certainly nothing like what Hawken did on tracks such as "Hero & Heroine." Granted, I did not appreciate Hawken until he was gone, but in retrospect he clearly had an influence and as long as I am up this particular tree let me climb out on a limb and say that Hawken was better for the Strawbs then that first keyboard player they had by the name of Rick Wakeman.
The other big difference with these songs is that David Cousins was teaming up more often with Chas Cronk to write songs, although this would not to offer as much of an explanation for the changes as Hawken's departure. The opening title track steers the album more towards the dark side. But most of the other tracks, such as "Cut Like A Diamond," just seem like pale imitations of classic Strawbs' songs. "Back in the Old Routine" sounds like a second rate version of the group's old hit "Part of the Union." "Alexander the Great" has some potential as a musical diatribe by Cousins, but it is targeted at music critics, which is not as much fun as you would think that it would be.
The production values on this album are pretty bad and you cannot tell if it is an attempt to go "popular" or some equally horrible explanation. Not only is the music less textured than before but the vocals of David Cousins are not presented in the best manner, often placed over the music rather than within (listen and you will know what I mean). All this only serves to underscore for me the importance of John Hawken's keyboard playing to the group's success. Look, if you just compare the last track, "Goodbye (Is Not An Easy Word To Say)" with the last track on the previous album, "Deep Cuts," you get the best proof of the decline between the two albums and of the group overall.
If you want to put "Burning for You" on the bottom of your list of Strawbs albums, I will not tell you nay. But by the same token if you have not gotten beyond the Moody Blues, King Crimson, Yes, Jethro Tull, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer in your music library in terms of progressive rock, then I have no problem making the case for the Strawbs being the best of the second tier of music groups in that category. Either get yourself a solid Strawbs hit collection or go back and pick up "Bursting at the Seams," at which point you can work your way through the three other albums mentioned up top that represent the Strawbs at the height of their musical powers."