Strawbs — Lay down with the Strawbs
(Secret CRIDE 84, 2008, 2CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2009-07-01As live Strawbs albums go, this two disc set is an outstanding one, recorded in March 2006 at Robin 2, Bilston UK featuring the mid-70s lineup same as you would find on Hero and Heroine or Ghosts (and in fact the de-facto lineup since 2004, though that has recently changed with keyboardist John Hawken's departure). There is also a guest appearance by John Ford, from the 70-73 version of the band, which of course means one will find performances of "Part of the Union" and "Heavy Disguise" herewithin, the latter Ford's own composition and the former written with then-drummer Richard Hudson. At the end of disc two there is a five song acoustic set, though this writer suspects it was performed in the middle of the electric set, not at the end; within that acoustic set the listener will find another Hudson/Ford era piece "Tears and Pavan," and a new Ford composition "Kissed by the Sun." Most of the material here is a recap of the best material from the early-to-mid 70s, with suites like "Autumn," "Ghosts," and "The Life Auction," along with shorter pieces like "Just Love" and "Lay Down" among them – although "Cold Steel" from the more recent Déjà Fou album is here as well. The notes in the gatefold state that this set is also available on DVD, though I haven't been able to track down a copy as of this writing. This may not be as easy to find as other Strawbs releases simply because this is not their regular label. Its definitely worth seeking out, though.
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