In his long and industrious music career that goes back to the late 60’s this is only the second ‘solo’ album he has released. The first one Two Weeks Last Summer was an absolute delight, so it was with great anticipation that I tore the cellophane wrapper off this CD. The ‘solo’ part of this album is a bit misleading, it just means that he his not playing with his usual partners in crime ‘The Strawbs’, but with an interesting, and musically different inclined band, The Blue Angel Orchestra. Blue Angel consist of Miller Anderson (guitar), Ian Cutler (fiddle), Chas Cronk (bass), and Chris Hunt (drums), they also have some guests, Chris Ball (Piano), Tony Attwood (Organ), and Elizabeth & Frances Tophill (Harmonies).

The first thought that came to my mind on the opening track was “this guy’s voice has not changed in almost 40 years”. And it really has not, even though Dave Cousins is now in his 60’s you would never guess it from listening to this CD. What has changed is the sophistication of the arrangements. The ‘a little bit rough and ready’ but defiantly endearing style of Two Weeks, has been replaced with a much more grown up production.

What I enjoyed about this CD was the wide range of musical styles that Dave Cousins can cover when left to his own devices. Although way back, Dave was part of the English Folk movement I can not recall a single song where the fiddle was featured, somehow the fiddle never seemed to fit in with The Strawbs ideas. Well he fixes that deficit with a wonderful version of ‘Skip to my Lou’.

But were they folk? That’s a question that many people have asked. How many folk groups do you know of bragged of owning a huge Moog synthesizer? Well The Strawbs had one. So they quickly got re-branded as a prog rock group.

The Boy In The Sailor Suit has no synth, but it does have some good ole rock on it, Mother Luck Rock, and Lonely Days, Lonely Nights are proof of his ability to play this genre. The final track Hellfire Blues is just a classic rock track, I could almost imagine The Doors doing it!

The one thing that remains constant is Dave Cousins ability to create haunting lyrics. I liked every song on this CD. If you like Dave Cousins you will want this in your collection, and if you have no idea who Dave Cousins is, you should get to know him by getting this CD. It is available from Amazon.

Simon Barrett

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