The Strawbs were an English folk-rock band from Strawberry Hill, London, that released eight studio albums and a live disc on A&M between 1969 and 1975, followed by a pair of albums on Oyster/Polydor in 1976/77 and a final release on Arista in 1978. The band was founded in 1967 by guitarist/vocalist Dave Cousins and initially featured future Fairport/Fotheringay singer Sandy Denny, briefly replaced by eventual Curved Air frontwoman Sonja Kristina.
The former Velvet Opera rhythm section of bassist John Ford and drummer Richard Hudson joined the Strawbs for 1970’s Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios and stayed for the following three studio albums; they subsequently recorded as the pop-duo Hudson–Ford. Other members of note who passed through recorded Strawbs lineups include keyboardists Rick Wakeman (Yes) and John Hawken (Renaissance, Illusion). Ex-Fire guitarist Dave Lambert joined the band after appearing on Cousins’ 1972 solo album Two Weeks Last Summer. In 1977, Cousins participated in the Passport Records all-star project Intergalactic Touring Band, delivering full-throated vocals on the ballad “Heartbreaker.”
Members: Dave Cousins (vocals, guitar, banjo, 1967-80, 1983-present), Tony Hooper (guitar, vocals, 1967-72, 1983-93), Ron Chesterman [Nobby] (bass, double bass, 1967-70), Sandy Denny (vocals, guitar, 1967-68), Sonja Kristina (vocals, 1968), Clare Deniz (cello, 1969), Lindsay Cooper (cello, double bass, 1970), Rick Wakeman (keyboards, 1970-71), John Ford (bass, vocals, 1970-73, 1983-85, 1999-2001, 2004), Richard Hudson (percussion, drums, vocals, 1970-73, 1983-2001, 2004), Blue Weaver (keyboards, 1971-73, 1983-84, 1993-2001, 2004), Dave Lambert (vocals, guitar, 1972-78, 1999-present), Chas Cronk (bass, guitar, vocals, 1973-80, 2004-present), Rod Coombes (drums, vocals, 1973-77, 2004-10), John Hawken (keyboards, 1973-75, 2004-08), Tony Fernandez (drums, 1977-80, 2010-12), Andy Richards (keyboards, 1977-80)
The Strawbs stemmed from bluegrass trio the Strawberry Hill Boys, formed in 1964 by guitarist/singer Tony Hooper and singer/guitarist Dave Cousins, who also played banjo and dulcimer. Later that year, Ron Chesterman joined on double bass. They shortened their name to the Strawbs just prior to a June 1967 concert where they wanted to display their name on the stage.
The Strawbs became a four-piece with aspiring folk singer Sandy Denny, who recently appeared on the multi-vocalist project Alex Campbell and His Friends and the split-record Sandy and Johnny, both released in 1967 on Saga Eros. Setting fort in Denmark, the Strawbs recorded their debut album in Copenhagen that July. However, the band were unable to secure a record deal and the album remained vaulted until 1973 when it was issued on Hallmark/Pickwick as All Our Own Work, credited to Sandy Denny and the Strawbs.
The 12-song album features all originals, including eight by Cousins, two by Hooper, and one (“Wild Strawberries”) co-credited between the two. Denny contributed “Who Knows Where the Time Goes,” which she later recut with Fairport Convention (Unhalfbricking, 1969). However, the song was first released by American folk singer Judy Collins, who heard the original demo and recorded it as the title-track to her 1968 album Who Knows Where the Time Goes. It has since been covered by Nana Mouskouri, Barbara Dickson, 10,000 Maniacs, and numerous other artists.
Denny left the Strawbs in early 1968 to join Fairport Convention. Another aspiring folk singer, Sonja Kristina, briefly took her place but the Strawbs were back down to a trio when they signed to Herb Alpert’s A&M Records that year, becoming the first UK act on the label. (Kristina surfaced in 1970 as the frontwoman of Curved Air.)
On June 21, 1968, the Strawbs released “Oh, How She Changed,” their debut single.
The Strawbs released their debut album, Strawbs, in May 1969 on A&M.
“Where Is This Dream of Your Youth”
The Strawbs released their second album, Dragonfly, in February 1970 on A&M.
In July 1970, the Strawbs released the standalone single “Forever.”
Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios
The Strawbs released their third album, Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios, on July 11, 1970, on A&M.
From the Witchwood
The Strawbs released their fourth album, From the Witchwood, in July 1971 on A&M.
Grave New World
The Strawbs released their fifth album, Grave New World, in February 1972 on A&M.
“Keep the Devil Outside”
standalone single “Keep the Devil Outside”
Bursting at the Seams
The Strawbs released their sixth album, Bursting at the Seams, in January 1973 on A&M.
Hero and Heroine
The Strawbs released their seventh album, Hero and Heroine, in March 1974 on A&M.
The Strawbs released their eighth album, Ghosts, in January 1975 on A&M.
The Strawbs released their ninth album, Nomadness, in November 1975 on A&M.
The Strawbs released their tenth album, Deep Cuts, in October 1976 on Oyster.
“I Only Want My Love to Grow in You”
Burning for You
The Strawbs released their eleventh album, Burning for You, in 1977 on Oyster–Polydor.
The Strawbs released their twelfth album, Deadlines, in February 1978 on Arista.
- Strawbs (1969)
- Dragonfly (1970)
- Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios (live, 1970)
- From the Witchwood (1971)
- Grave New World (1972)
- All Our Own Work (1973 • Sandy Denny & The Strawbs)
- Bursting at the Seams (1973)
- Hero and Heroine (1974)
- Ghosts (1975)
- Nomadness (1975)
- Deep Cuts (1976)
- Burning for You (1977)
- Deadlines (1978)
- Don’t Say Goodbye (1987)
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