The acoustic version of The Strawbs rolled into Proctors’ GE Theater in Schenectady last Thursday with the same youthful vim and vinegar of the band formed by singer-songwriter Dave Cousins nearly 45 years ago.
Cousins and company – also including guitarist Dave Lambert and bassist-guitarist Chris Cronk, all original members – presented a charming retrospective of their vast song catalog with both expertise and soulfulness.
The Strawbs appeared on the British folk-rock scene in 1967, featuring the legendary vocalist Sandy Denny, who sings on the band’s debut album, but left the fold before its release to join Fairport Connection.
Another notable musical figure who got his start with the Strawbs was keyboardist Rick Wakeman of the prog-rock supergroup Yes. No bridges were burned when Wakeman left way-back-then, however, and the keyboardist invited the Strawbs to open his “The Six Wives Of Henry VIII” concert at Hampton Court Palace in May, 2009. Check out the Strawbs’ magnificent DVD of that performance to enjoy a real treat.
To be sure, the Strawbs’ performance at the Eighth Step @ Proctors was not merely a bunch of old men doing their thing to make a buck-or-two on their rep. They were there to make a point – their music was contemporary and refreshingly real, regardless of when it was written.
The timeless nature of the music was evident throughout the trio’s two hour-long sets. From the opening a cappella volley of “Benedictus,” the Strawbs were casual and captivating. No fireworks. No flashy instrumental showboating. None was required. They let the music speak for itself…
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Michael Eck’s review at The Times Union