Strawbs – Preserves Uncanned (1991/2023)

Posted by Green on November 18, 2023as


A double CD of 38 previously unreleased songs (one is unlisted on the sleeve) dating from 1966-68, prior to the recording of their proper debut album. Most of these are demos, and many would surface (sometimes in altered form) on future Strawbs and Dave Cousins albums, although quite a few were never officially rerecorded. Its appeal isn’t just limited to Strawbs specialists — it’s good, versatile (if slightly derivative) late-’60s British folk-rock, recalling Fairport Convention and (to a lesser degree) Pentangle in its eclecticism, though the Strawbs were no match for the Fairports in the vocal department. Most of the songs are Cousins originals, including tuneful, almost poppy harmony numbers and wordy tracts that take their lyrical cues from Bob Dylan and Ray Davies; the traditional folk tunes and bluegrass instrumentals, though indicative of the group’s multi-faceted talents, are less interesting. Self-penned compositions like “October to May,” “Martin Luther King’s Dream,” “Where Is the Dream of Your Youth,” and “The Man Who Called Himself Jesus” are among the best (not to mention lyrically ambitious) songs Cousins has ever done; “All I Need is You” and the Beatles-ish “And You Need Me” are among the poppiest. Good sound quality, and detailed liner notes by Cousins himself.


1. Coal Creek March (02:15)
2. Sail Away To The Sea (Alternative version) (03:50)
3. That Which Once Was Mine (Alternative version) (02:00)
4. How Everyone But Sam Was A Hypocrite (Alternative version) (03:02)
5. October To May (Alternative version) (03:09)
6. On My Way (Alternative version) (03:04)
7. All I Need Is You (Alternative version) (02:54)
8. Josephine, For Better Or For Worse (Alternative version) (03:20)
9. We’ll Meet Again Sometime (Alternative version) (03:05)
10. Spanish Is The Loving Tongue (03:35)
11. Handsome Molly (02:17)
12. Hard Times (01:28)
13. How I Need You (03:29)
14. The Man Who Called Himself Jesus (Alternative version) (03:31)
15. Pieces Of 79 & 15 (Alternative version) (03:07)
16. Following The Rainbow (03:55)
17. Always On My Mind (Alternative version) (02:00)
18. Martin Luther King’s Dream (Alternative version) (02:04)
19. Bitter Sunshine (01:31)
20. All The Little Ladies (Alternative version) (02:20)
21. Just The Same In Every Way (02:49)
22. Strawberry Picking (01:36)
23. A Good Woman’s Love (02:36)
24. The Battle (Alternative version) (06:10)
25. Jenny O’Brien (02:58)
26. Sweetling (Alternative version) (02:27)
27. Flinthill Special (01:18)
28. The Blantyre Explosion (02:57)
29. Tell Me What You See In Me (Alternative version) (05:02)
30. Or Am I Dreaming (Alternative version) (02:12)
31. I’ll Show You Where To Sleep (Alternative version) (02:59)
32. And You Need Me (Alternative version) (03:12)
33. You Keep Going Your Way (Alternative version) (02:53)
34. Where Is The Dream Of Your Youth (Alternative version) (02:36)
35. Why? (01:56)
36. Lawrence Brown (03:54)
37. Wild Strawberries (01:44)
38. Song To Alex (Alternative version) (02:15)

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