The Strawbs were a folk/bluegrass band formed in 1967 by Dave Cousins and Tony Hooper. In 1968 Cousins discovered Sandy Denny playing in a folk club and invited her to join. Some studio recordings were made, but Denny left to join Fairport Convention. They released their first self titled album in 1969 with Ron Chesterman on bass. Rick Wakeman played piano on their second release, “Dragonfly”. He officially joined the band for their next album, “Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios.” John Ford and Richard Hudson, from Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera, also joined at that time. They recorded their next album, "From the Witchwood." Then Rick Wakeman left to join YES and Blue Weaver replaced him for their next album, “Grave New World.” Then Tony Hooper left because the band was moving away from it's folk roots and becoming more of a progressive rock band. He was replaced with Dave Lambert, from King Earl Boogie Band. They reached their greatest success with the release of their next album, “Bursting at the Seams.” A rift developed between Cousins, John Ford and Richard Hudson. They left to form their own band, titled Hudson-Ford. Then Blue Weaver left to join Mott the Hoople. He was replaced with John Hawken from Renaissance, but later left to re-join Renaissance. The Strawbs continued on in one form or another, but never achieved the same success they had in the early 70s.
My friends and I saw Strawbs perform at Bill Graham’s
Winterland in San Francisco on May 24th, 1973.
To see photos of that show and
read our memoirs, go to -
Dave Cousins' autograph.
From "Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock"
© Harmony Books 1986.
The inner sleeve from the album "Bursting
at the Seams" gives a history of the band.
This review of "From the Witchwood"
gives high praise to Rick Wakeman's
work on the album and even predicted
his future success. Wakeman had
already left the band when this
review was published in
Rick Wakeman's playing
is heard in these two tracks.
An interview from "Beat Instrumental" 12/71.
Their interest in theatrics on stage sounds
more like early Genesis than Strawbs.
A review of "Grave New World"
from July 20, 1972. The reviewer
didn't care for the heavy production
and studio "gimmicks".
A review of "Bursting
at the Seams", June 7th, 1973.
The new Strawbs are
announced in July 1973.
John Ford, (top) and Richard Hudson, (bottom)
discuss their new band, Hudson-Ford.
Dave Cousins displays some feelings of competition
with Hudson-Ford and details of their
break up are discussed. Dave Lambert
was split between staying with Strawbs
or joining Hudson-Ford.
Hudson-Ford discuss their success
as a new band and plans
for their future.
A long interview with
Dave Cousins in April 1974
in three parts.
Dave Lambert is interviewed
about his choice of rock
Sandy Denny's third solo album
and the first Hudson-Ford album
are reviewed at the same time.
A reveling look into Dave
Cousins' dark side.
A very negative review
of a Strawbs performance
A very negative review
of a Hudson-Ford performance
"Ghosts" received a
Dave Cousins lent his
voice to an emsemble
piece, January 1978.
Below are some of the albums
that make up the Strawbs' story.
"Tell Me What You See in Me" was written
by Cousins with Sandy Denny doing lead vocals.
It was redone for the first album with Cousins
doing lead vocal.
Sandy Denny's famous song, "Who
Knows Where the Time Goes" was
first recorded with the Strawbs.
Paper Bubble were an unknown band. Dave
Cousins and Tony Hooper were hired to produce
their first, (and only), album. Richard Hudson, John Ford
and Rick Wakeman did session work for that album.
Six months later all three joined Strawbs.
Richard Hudson and John Ford were
in the band, Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera.
The Strawbs first album was successful
in England, but unknown in the US.
Rick Wakeman plays piano on
their second album, "Dragonfly",
but was not an official member.
Their third album was live. Recorded at
Queen Elizabeth Hall, London 1970.
The band now included Rick Wakeman,
John Ford and Richard Hudson.
Their fourth was a studio album.
Rick Wakeman left to join Yes soon
after it's release, 1971.
Their fifth album was their most successful to
date. Blue Weaver had replaced Rick Wakeman.
John Ford and Richard Hudson both wrote
music and lyrics for the Strawbs . That
left Cousins with extra songs he had written.
He used them for a solo album. Rick Wakeman
and Miller Anderson, from The Keef Hartley Band,
both played on it. It was released in 1972.
King Earl Boogie Band. It included
members from the band Mungo Jerry.
Dave Cousins produced some of their music.
The album, "Bursting at the Seams" was
their most successful. It included
one of their most popular songs,
by Dave Cousins, "Lay Down".
It also included their biggest hit, "Part of
the Union", by Hudson and Ford. Dave
Cousins hated the song and it led to
the breakup of the band. In this live clip you
can see Cousins' less then enthusiasit
performance of the song.
The first Hudson-Ford album had the
song "Pick Up the Pieces" which
was a hit single.
It also included "Burn Baby Burn"
and "Crying Blues"
Their last album, "Daylight", was a
flop. They disbanded but later
formed The Monks.
The Strawb's next albums
generally sold better in
the USA than England.
Dave Cousins lent his voice to The Intergalactic Touring Band. It was not a real group; it was a science fiction concept created and organized by Stephan Galfas and Marty Scott, written by Danny Beckerman and Wil Malone, and recorded as a one-off all-star album by a large cast including Rod Argent, Arthur Brown, Clarence Clemons, Annie Haslam, Ben E. King, and Meat Loaf, among many others, in 1977.
The album "Deadlines" had striking
cover art by Hipgnosis.
The inner sleeve.
Both Tony Hooper and Richard Hudson
rejoined the Strawbs in 1988
for the album "Don't Say Goodbye".
An acoustic album, "Baroque & Roll"
was released in 2003. It included
many early Strawbs songs.
The album "Ringing Down the Years" was released
in 1984. It was, in part, a tribute to Sandy Denny
who died in 1978. The cover art shows a time piece
that is broken. It refers to her song, "Who Knows
Where the Time Goes." The lyrics to the title
song are about her.