Exposé Online banner

Strawbs — Ghosts
(A&M SP-4506, 1975, LP)

by Jeff Melton, Published 1999-11-01

Ghosts Cover art

At long last, the Strawbs catalog is given proper treatment by the band’s first label, A&M, as one of five albums getting a much needed overhaul, Ghosts was the seventh album overall by the folk-rock group led by vocalist Dave Cousins and the second by this capable line-up. The album continued a trend in a more progressive rock-like vein similar to Hero and Heroine (1973) with members including John Hawken (ex-Renaissance). The album exhibits high caliber songwriting talents with a striking balance between the impassioned (title track), and the emotive “Grace Darling.” There are also distinctive contrasts between the poppish (Dave Lambert’s “Don’t Try to Change Me”) and a Cat Stevens like song “Where Do You Go When You Need a Hole to Crawl In,” a leftover from the band’s album sessions. One of two standout tracks is “Starshine / Angel Wine,” a collaboration between bassist Chas Cronk with lyrics by Cousins about the birth of Cronk’s first son. The most poignant album statement is made in the two part “Life Auction,” an attack on the greed of human nature with some excellent guitar work from Lambert. “Remembering” contains a notable Hawken intro into “You and I (When We Were Young).” To close out the disk, a wistful synthesizer lead opens the single bonus track, “Changes Arrange Us,” written and sung by drummer Rod Coombes. The CD remastering process has allowed the depth of the recording to become more apparent by smoothing various Mellotron and piano accompaniments (as on “Lemon Pie”). New liner notes from John Tobler from conversations with Cousins add a touch of historic context to the release. So get out those dollars you’ve been saving for an investment into the heyday of folk prog.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 18, 1975 releases

Related artist(s): Dave Cousins, Strawbs, Dave Lambert

Latest news

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Liberation. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Gourishankar - 2nd Hands – In 2002, Russian guitarist Nomy Agranson and keyboardist Doran Usher formed The Gourishankar, a Russian neo-prog band that now also includes vocalist Vlad MJ Whiener and drummer Cat Heady. 2nd Hands...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues