Cousins and Conrad — High Seas
(Witchwoood Media WMCD 2025, 2005, CD)
by Sean McFee, Published 2006-05-01
The old Strawbs troubadour is back on High Seas, collaborating with guitarist/keyboardist Conny Conrad. Eleven tracks totaling fifty-some minutes, with Cousins singing over backing guitar, keyboards (including Mellotron), programmed rhythm section, and so on. Rick Wakeman also contributes piano to one track. The songwriting on this particular outing is not as much to my tastes; compared to the recent Strawbs release Déjà-Fou this album seems somewhat more overwrought and the songs overlong for what’s there. Indeed, there is a great deal of drama here, and even the instrumental parts have a cinematic feel, with great sweeping string sounds and effects. The Strawbs have never been convincing hard rockers; they are at their best as a folky ensemble. In this case, taking Cousins’ songwriting and swathing it in various digitalia smothers some of his strengths, as if he had to arm wrestle wrong-handed. As a collection of songs, High Seas acquits itself well for the most part, but it’s a bit of an uneven marriage and odd fit, and the overall package seems compromised as a result. If all the extra stuff was tossed out and Cousins was singing this over solo acoustic guitar I’d probably enjoy it more. As it is, a bit too much of a mishmash for this writer, but opinions may vary.
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more