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

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Aegis Integer - Sand Timer – This California trio seems to have sprung fully formed from the brow of some musical god. The music is undeniably "progressive" in a number of ways, but rarely reminds me more than very...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues