In 1970, the band released their second album Dragonfly. The album featured an appearance by Rick Wakeman of Yes who would soon become a member of the band for a little over a year. The band The Strawbs would go through many personal changes over their 50 years career. Dave Cousins would be the only continuous member to last through the entire band’s history.
From 1969 to 2017, the band The Strawbs released 23 studio albums and 11 live albums. The band has released 34 singles. The band’s latest album was released in 2017 entitled The Ferryman’s Curse.
Our 10 Essential Strawbs Songs list takes a look at some of the songs that defined the band’s incredible long run in classic rock history. It was very difficult to choose 10 Strawbs songs because the band has released such an abundance of material. We tried to choose songs that showcased their different styles. We also did not want to leave out some of their commercially successful hits because as big as they may have been internationally, the band did not receive a great deal of airplay in the United States compared to Europe.
# 10 – Oh How She Changed
We open our Top 10 Essential Songs from The Strawbs list with a song from the band’s first album entitled Strawbs. The great track “Oh How She Changed,” was one of two singles released from the album in 1969. The other single was the album’s opening track “The Man Who Called Himself Jesus.” The transition on the song “Oh How She Changed,” from the music’s acoustic opening to the heavy sound of electric guitars, bass and drums was an early preview of the musical dynamic range that The Strawbs would showcase for the rest of their career. The perfect opening to this Top 10 Essential Strawbs Songs list.
# 9 – Witchwood
The Strawbs song” Witchwood,”was released on the band’s fourth album entitled From the Witchwood. The album was released in 1971. The album featured musicians Dave Cousins on lead vocals and various forms of guitar, Tony Hooper on lead vocals and guitars, Rick Wakeman on tambourine…no just kidding, do I have to say on what? The album also featured John Ford on bass and Richard Hudson drums.
# 8 – Ghosts
The great “Ghost Suite,” was featured on the album Ghosts. The great Ghost album was released in 1975. The album spawned two singles entitled “Grace Darling,” and “Lemon Pie,” which we would have liked to include on this list, but I guess we just did. Nonetheless, we have always loved the brilliant opening suite to this great album Ghosts by the Strawbs.
# 7 – Burning For Me
The dark minor chord progression of The Strawbs song “Burning For Me,” has always had a deep intoxicating effect on the listener. The song was released on the album Burning For You. A song title that was also made famous by the Stony Brook New York band, Blue Oyster Cult, which has nothing to do with the Strawbs album. The Burning For You album was released in 1977
# 6 – Autumn: Heroine’s Theme/Deep Summer’s Sleep/The Winter Long
It can be easily argued that many fans of the band The Strawbs feel that Hero And Heroine is one of the band’s best albums. We would not argue with that. It was tough to choose music from the album because every track is completely stunning. However, you can’t go wrong with the fabulous suite of “Autumn.” The Hero And Heroine album was released in 2011. It’s amazing that an album released 40 years into the band’s career can become one of their best albums.
# 5 – The Vision Of The Lady Of The Lake
The wonderful track “The Vision of The Lady Of The Lake,” was released on the band’s second album entitled Dragonfly. “The Vision of The Lady Of The Lake,” was the longest running track on the album and established the band’s roots as a Progressive Rock act in many ways.
# 4 – I Only Want My Love To Grow In You
The album Deep Cuts was one of the most popular Strawbs albums ever released in the United States. Much of that success is due to the album’s great single “I Only Want My Love To Grow In You,” The album and single were released in 1976.
# 3 – Lay Down
It would not be fair to the legacy of The Strawbs to not list these next two Strawbs Songs on our top 10 Essential Strawbs songs lists. “Lay Down,” and “Part Of The Union,” are two of the most famous songs the band has ever released. The song “Lay Down,” was released on their 1973 album Bursting at the Seams. If ever there was a crowd sing along favorite its “Lay Me Down.”
# 2 – Part Of The Union
The Strawbs, “Part Of The Union,” enough said! Well okay just a little more. The classic Strawbs song “Part of the Union,” was released on the album Bursting at the Seams in 1973. The song “Part of the Union,” was the most successful single the band ever released as it reached the number two spot on United Kingdom Music Charts in 1973.
# 1 – The River / Down By The Sea
It’s tough to pick a song at the number one position form a band that has been recording for close to fifty years. Nonetheless, that’s what makes these lists so much fun to do. So in the end our choice may not be the most conventional selection but rather a subjective choice. The great track “The River/ Down By The Sea,” was released on one of the band most recent albums entitled Prognostic. The album was released in 2014 and served as a reminder that great rock music is still being recorded and released even though most people never know anything about it. That is why we write these lists.
Updated Nov 6 2020