The Strawbs began life in the mid 1960s when
Dave Cousins and Tony Hooper
formed the bluegrass duo, Strawberry Hill Boys in London.
The double bass player, Ron Chesterman, joined them and
they then recorded an album with Sandy Denny
which remained unreleased for several years. Sandy then left to join
Fairport Convention and keyboard player
Rick Wakeman, bassist John
Ford and drummer Richard Hudson
joined in 1970. This line-up lasted for two albums until Wakeman left in 1971
to be replaced by Blue Weaver, formerly of
Amen Corner. The album
Grave New World followed in 1972, after which Tony Hooper
left the band and Dave Lambert joined.
The next album contained two hit singles, Lay Down and Part of the Union which was written by Hudson and Ford. Hudson and Ford left the band and formed a moderately successful duo as Hudson Ford and had a handful of hit singles. Blue Weaver also left to join the Bee Gees, so three new members were drafted in; Chas Cronk on Bass, Rod Coombes on Drums and John Hawken on keyboards. Two albums, Hero and Heroine and Ghosts were recorded with this line-up before Hawken left the band. The quartet of Cousins, Lambert, Cronk and Coombes produced a further three albums, Nomadness, Deep Cuts and Burning for You followed by Deadlines on which Tony Fernandez replaced Coombes on drums.
Dave Cousins then accepted a job as programme controller at Radio Tees, effectively spelling the end of the band, despite the addition of Brian Willoughby on guitar. Occasional line-ups performed during the '80s and '90s including the Dave Cousins and Brian Willoughby duo which gave us two albums, Old School Songs and The Bridge. The 30th anniversary concert at Chiswick in 1998 brought together nearly all the past members of the band for a musical feast and since then the Strawbs have been touring, either as a six-piece electric or a three-piece acoustic band and 2001 saw them release a new acoustic album, Baroque and Roll which made Rolling Stone's Richie Unterberger's top ten album list of 2002.
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