Digitally remastered reissue of the group's 1975 A&M album with 'Changes Arrange Us' (the B-side of the 'Grace Darling'single) added as a bonus track, for a total of 11 cuts. 'Ghosts' was the band's first album to break th... more »e U.S. top 50. 1998 A&M release.« less
Digitally remastered reissue of the group's 1975 A&M album with 'Changes Arrange Us' (the B-side of the 'Grace Darling'single) added as a bonus track, for a total of 11 cuts. 'Ghosts' was the band's first album to break the U.S. top 50. 1998 A&M release.
Strawbs best blend of dark and light
K. A. Levine | Stow, MA, USA | 12/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Strawbs were never a strictly progressive rock group, nor were they purely a folk formation once they dropped the "Strawberry Hill Boys" moniker in 1967, nor were they ever a pop group as much as they may have tried in the late 70s. Their recordings generally presented a mix of the three with classical influences sprinkled here and there, but it is on Ghosts that the band achieves the ultimate mix, with moody epics juxtaposed among lighter ditties and maudlin moments, all extremely well written, and executed with impeccable flair and confidence. This version of the group was the tightest, the same lineup present for Hero and Heroine but with an album under their belts. Ghosts is truly a group effort. The title track fatures ancient harpsichords melded to nightmarish guitars, "Lemon Pie" was a perky near hit, "Starshine/Angel Wine" begins gently with piano and cello before seguing into Clapton like riffs and majestic mellotrons. "Where do you Go" is a boppy pop number, but then it's back into the depressive with "the Life Auction" and its harsh observations awash in mellotron and guitars. "Don't Try to Change Me" is a Dave Lambert classic and its message is profound in a simple catchy way. If all of this wasn't enough, the album terminates with two of the most stunning tunes and poems in the Cousins' repertoire, "You and I", featuring the brilliant John Hawken intro and Cousins sweetest vocals, not to mention a third verse where the band shows how harmonious it could be in the vocal department, and "Grace Darling", here in this original incarnation performed as a hymn, with choir and organ providing the grace, and Dave Cousins for all the world sounding like a man who has found it. Ghosts is the best Strawbs effort in spite of some intense competition from its predecessors and the pressures for commercial success that must have existed at the time, but, thanks to its re-release, it is not to late to discover or rediscover this work of wonder."
Almost perfect...4.5 stars
Scott T Mc Nally | ORLANDO, Fl USA | 08/12/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"On "Ghosts", the Strawbs continued in the same vein as "Hero And Heroine" but with a bit darker edge. The problem arises out of the clash between some of the lighter material with Dave Cousins' moodier pieces. Dave Lambert's "Don't try To Change Me" sticks out like a sore thumb, as did most of the songs he wrote for the Strawbs. The first half of the album is a bit lighter in mood, so why that Lambert song got placed on the second half, following one of the darkest songs Cousins ever wrote, "The Life Auction" puzzles me. Was it comic relief? Complaints aside, this disc does contain some classic material from Cousins. "Ghosts", "The Life Auction", "You And I" and "Grace Darling" rank among the best songs he ever wrote.
Keyboard player, John Hawken had a very unique sound and seemed to fit the band even better than Rick Wakeman. His fingers may not have been quite as fast as Wakeman's, but he understood mood like no other keyboard player that ever worked with the Strawbs. This was his second and sadly, his final work with the band.
"Ghosts" was the last great album from the Strawbs. They followed in less than a year with "Nomadness" which was good, but far from great. After that, they left A&M, proceeded to morph into a power pop band and failed badly."
birdtracker | Chicago,Illinois | 03/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This cd grows on you...like a strawberry! The first time I listened to this I thought it was kind of creepy. It sets a kind of dark mood. Ghosts is a masterpiece..as is The life auction. The entire cd is a work of art,and how this cd didn't become more popular,is a mystery to me."
One Of Their Best
Duane Leach | 05/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lemon Pie, Where Do You Go and Don't Try To Change Me are the odd songs here. The rest have the same haunting quality that make the title of this CD so apt. John Hawken's keyboards are especially effective and it's a shame that he left after this recording. The CD starts off with the compelling title track, very typical of Cousins' songwriting: three songs making up the whole. Though the imagery is of childhood fears I read an interview in which Cousins said the song was about drugs. "There the needle stands before me, I climb inside it towards the light." Beautiful but chilling.Starshine/Angel Wine is Chas Cronk's contribution and it's a good one. I've always thought the first part must be about his daughter though I'm not sure.The Life Auction is the high point of the CD. The dreary poem Impressions of Southall from the Train is full of imagery that will stay with you. You can picture exactly what Cousins was looking at. This leads into The Auction which is a pretty rocking tune but has a very progressive feel to it. I used to listen to this one 10 or 12 times in a row.Remembering shows the genius of Mr. Hawken again and leads into the beautiful You and I. This will make you very nostalgic, especially if you are married. Once again very powerful imagery.Grace Darling is a unique song. On the surface it is a love song to Grace with a wonderful backing choir. The cleverness lies in the fact that it was based on a true incident involving a lighthouse keeper's daughter named Grace Darling. She bravely helped rescue doomed sailors during a storm off England's Northumberland coast. The lyrics make more sense when taken literally but work very well figuratively as a love song.You definitely need to get this CD!"
Last of four epic albums
Duane Leach | 05/03/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Ghosts" signaled an end to the Strawbs' golden era. Coming hot on the heels of three previous masterpieces ("Grave New World," "Bursting At The Seams" and "Hero & Heroine") and a succssion of lineup changes, it's amazing "Ghosts" sounds as strong as it does. But a some rather mediocre songwriting was starting to creep into [bad] material like "Starshine/Angel Wine" and "Don't Try To Change Me." Dave Cousins and the band were running out of steam at this point, and the glory days of the Strawbs would soon be over. But it's nice to finally have "Ghosts" remastered and available on CD (albiet as a UK import)."