Exposé Online banner

Strawbs — Dancing to the Devil's Beat
(Witchwoood Media WMCD 2045, 2009, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2010-07-01

Dancing to the Devil's Beat Cover art

I’m not sure what the dog licking a red popsicle on the cover represents, but this latest release by the full five- piece Strawbs celebrates 40 years since the release of the band’s debut album in 1969. The booklet shows then-and-now photos of the various band members, now including Oliver Wakeman, eldest son of Strawbs alum Rick Wakeman, stepping in to fill the shoes of retiring keyboardist John Hawken. Wakeman’s ‘then’ photo showing him as an infant might even be stretching the timeline a bit, but his keyboard work fits in beautifully with the band. The focal point is, as always, the lyrics, songwriting, and vocals of Dave Cousins. Longtime members Dave Lambert, Chas Cronk, and Rod Coombes provide vocal and instrumental support, and unlike last year’s Broken Hearted Bride, which tended toward harder-edged songs, Dancing to the Devil’s Beat is more favorably varied in style, encompassing several rockers like the title track and opener “Revenge,” but also several stunning pieces highlighting the band’s polished folk side – among these “Copenhagen,” which reminisces on the early days when the late Sandy Denny was a member. Those who enjoy the longer multi-part pieces will certainly enjoy the eight-minute “Pro Patria Suite,” or the somewhat shorter “Where Silent Shadows Fall.” And what would a 40th album be without a recap of a song from the first – in this case a reworking of the classic “Oh How She Changed.” All taken, a great album, beginning to end.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 38, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): Dave Cousins, Strawbs, Oliver Wakeman, Dave Lambert

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Network (Groon) - Refusal to Comply – Guitar, bass, and drums. Groon is a three-piece instrumental outfit from the UK with a grungy free-wheeling style that owes as much allegiance to jazz and fusion as it does to rock. You might recall...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues