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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The breakthrough album for the old/new Strawbs lineup, February 3, 2001
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (COMMUNITY FORUM 04)   
This review is from: Bursting at the Seams (Audio CD)
It is ironic that "Bursting at the Seams" was the break through album for the Strawbs because it marked the last major transformation of the group as Lambert replaced Hudson & Ford as the secondary creative force behind David Cousins. Hudson & Ford provides the diverse offers of the airy "Lady Fuschia" and the pub favorite "Part Of The Union," while Lambert's first offering with the group, "The Winter and the Summer" is his best for my money. Hudson & Ford also team up with Cousins on the Pavan half of "Tears and Pavan," which is a personal favorite (I used it as music for scene changes in a one-act production of Christopher Fry's "The Lady's Not For Burning"). "Down By The Sea" is not only one of the first big hits for the group, but perhaps their biggest as well. One of the DJs in Albuquerque gave the song some serious airplay and as a result the group was able to do a concert in that particular neck of the woods. "Flying," "Stormy Down" and "Lay Down" are the other major Cousins efforts on the album, featuring his diverse vocal stylings, which always tended to remind me of Cat Stevens for some reason, but admittedly not everyone hears the similarities. One interesting retrospective quirk to note: when the Strawbs performed in concert their encore usually consisted of doing "The River" to set up the pounding notes of "Down By The Sea." On the album the songs appear in the reverse order, so just program your CD player accordingly. The bonus tracks are okay, although they do take away from the children singing the last track, "Thank You," one of the more interesting ways to end an album since "Abbey Road."
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strawbs for the uninitiated, February 17, 2006
By 
This review is from: Bursting at the Seams (Audio CD)
Warning: this review will begin as analysis and end in unabashed fanspeak; so it is with the things I love too much...Bursting At The Seams is the ideal place to start in getting your ears around the Strawbs catalog. The fourth of their seven-LP output while on the A@M label, it marks a transitional period between the more pastoral/acoustic earlier work and the "proggier", more electric later output.

But despite being plagued with the lineup changes that caused the stylistic musical shifts, Strawbs weren't in the business of mediocrity and Bursting At The Seams is no mere "transitional album" in their catalog. Rather it is a high-water mark, along with "Grave New World" before it and "Hero And Heroine" after--their period of greatest musical fertility and lyrical depth. New members Lambert, Hudson and Ford brought along material strong enough to stand beside--and even complement--the work of one of the most gifted writers in all of rock, David Cousins, himself at the peak of his powers. No one in all of British folk/rock or prog rock or whatever genre you place this genre-defying band had a greater gift for placing the introspective alongside the anthemic, the mystical in the company of the visceral. For a few years during this period, Strawbs (not THE Strawbs, as they are frequently misnamed) made music of a quality rarely seen before or since--a music that didn't sacrifice beauty for power, or power for beauty.

Many, many times in the years when I was discovering this music I imagined I felt the same thing Dave Cousins experienced when he wrote the song "Stormy Down" (which appears on this album). He was "high on Stormy Down thinking of my friends below...but they had gone some other way, they did not want to know..." It would have been utterly futile explaining to my 14-year-old peers the unique beauty I found in this music. Even friends who were into progressive rock seldom scaled ecstatic heights such as these. For me it was--and is--to quote Cousins again, "a glimpse of heaven". My friends at the time, for whom musical quality was measured quantitatively (by the number of decibels) had "gone some other way". But speaking for those of us who DID "want to know", I thank God someone was true enough to himself to write music about the interior life, for those of us just uncool enough in our youth to care about such things. Thank God for songwriters Like Mr. Cousins whose songs were built of such solid stuff that to this day and even in all-acoustic settings (as most Strawbs concerts now are) they bring more force and meaning to bear than the entire collected work of U2, for example. And thank God for songwriters, Cousins being a prime example, who show us rock can be so much greater and more than butt-shaking, ear-shattering party soundtrack music.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uniquely beautiful, March 19, 2005
By 
David Worthington (Oklahoma City, OK USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bursting at the Seams (Audio CD)
For more than thirty years, I have comtemplated the unusual balance and beauty of this record. No particular concept, but taken as a whole it is the ultimate concept. A combination of folk and so-called progressive rock like all Strawbs records, but somehow the inspiration never flags from start to finish. The combination of David Cousins' poetry with his own voice is always mesmerizing; something seems to have happened with this work which seems rare even by those standards. I could ultimately only describe this record as inspired and uniquely beautiful. My subjective idea of a perfect record.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Stawbs Album To Start With If You're Not Familiar With This Band, December 13, 2012
By 
Mark Anderson (Victoria, BC, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bursting at the Seams (Audio CD)
I grew up in the 1970s when the Strawbs were active and although I knew about the band back then I didn't really appreciate them. Somehow I managed to overlook this excellent band back then.

I'm currently checking out 1970s bands I wasn't overly familiar with back in the 1970s and I recently bought the Stawbs' Halcyon Days compilation as a way of rediscovering this band. Great album! I must have very negligent to overlook this band in my youth.

Having rediscovered this band through their "greatest hits album" I'm now starting to check out their individual albums. This 1973 release is the first Strawbs studio album I've bought so far.

It's a very good album. If you're not familiar with this very talented, but often overlooked, band, this is a good album to begin your exploration of their catalogue.

Yes fans may want to check out this album since Rick Wakeman played with The Stawbs after his stint with Yes. Rick Wakeman plays keyboards on this album.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The folk side of the Strawbs began to diminish as they began to become more of a Prog Rock band, December 29, 2006
By 
Rykre "The Rogue Scholar" (of the vast Western Dystopian Wasteland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bursting at the Seams (Audio CD)
Every single track on the album (well...except for "Thank You", the last track), should have been released as a pop single. Not to say that it as pop music, but because their sound offered some additional diversity to the already variable sound of pop radio. These songs could easily be played beside the songs of Cat Stevens, Elton John, Paul McCartney and Wings, Carpenters, Three Dog Night, The Guess Who, Abba, Harry Nilsson, and the such. Even Cheech and Chong had charted singles in the diversity of Top 40 Pop Radio. So, why not the Strawbs?

"Flying" and "Lady Fuschia" complement each other nicely as the two opening tracks, and "Down By the Sea" and "Tears and Pavan" made for some great dark somber progressive folk rock. "Lay Down" seems to be probably the most radio friendly, but I love the humorous creative writing of "Part of the Union". You don't really know if you're listening to the words of a proud union-protected employee, or you're hearing it in a way that they are making a mockery of how annoying the union truly is to a company that just wants to see everyone get their work done. The union usually serves as a "beacon of restraint" that hinders the work environment and protects an employer's most "proudly useless" people. At least, that's how I see it in the Post Office.

The bonus tracks on this CD are some of the Strawbs best songs. "Will You Go" is a fabulous folk song, and "Backside (Ciggy Barlust and the Whales of Venus)" which sounds like a re-invention of David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars." Anyway, the are great bonus tracks. The single version of "Lay Down" wasn't really necessary.

After "Bursting at the Seams", the Strawbs seem to start of an endless cycle of constantly changing personnel. It almost seemed like a whole new band when "Hero and Heroine" and "Ghosts" came out. I still loved the sound of the Strawbs, but they were beginning to lose their folkie traditions.

After their "Nomadness" album, the Strawbs continued to have band member changes and they drifted further away from both of their Folk and their Progressive influences and started to sound more like a typical pop music group that was already the sound that was saturating the pop music charts. It was all so easily dismissible since the Strawbs were so strong during their A&M days. Only true Strawbs loyalists continued to buy the Strawbs albums (I'm guilty of this too, nowadays) even after A&M gave up on them. Their immediate follow-up albums (from the Oyster label) were "Deep Cuts" and "Burning for You". There are a few good tunes, but these albums are easily and regrettably forgettable.

The album afterwards, called "Deadlines" ended strong. Their songs "Deadly Nightshade" and "Words of Wisdom" are two of Dave Cousins best songs ever.

Strawbs continued to perform and release albums in later years. Dave Cousins still likes to find old band members who probably have nothing better to do, and they've done some shows and released some albums. In 1988, their album "Don't Say Goodbye" and 1991's "Ringing Down the Years" are both pretty good. I think these two albums are better than their albums from the late seventies after "Nomadness".

But, alas, they were running out of creative ideas yet again, and started to lose their appeal once again. What's frustrating about the Strawbs is that Dave Cousins likes to keep re-recording earlier songs, like he thinks he's improving on them. I wish he wouldn't do this. In 2002, Dave Cousins got together with Rick Wakeman and recorded another album together. Rick Wakeman left the Strawbs back in 1971 to join Yes and to do solo projects. And even on this Cousins and Wakeman album, Cousins still did some re-recordings that Rick Wakeman had nothing to do with back in their heyday.

Dave Cousins seems to be the only member of the Strawbs that was on every Strawbs album. All the other members just came and went over the years. But, I'm sure that every Strawbs fan will agree that the Strawbs best albums were the albums of the A&M years (1969-1975). If you can find it, look for their double CD called "Halcyon Days" (the US version). It is the very best of the Strawbs put together all in one great double CD package. In fact, it was done so well that it is very obvious that A&M have no intentions of releasing their albums separately. You'd have to buy their expensive imports as I have.

I hope someday they will release the Hudson-Ford albums on CD. These two guys contributed to what made the folk side of the Strawbs so strong back in their earlier days.

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, the Strawbs, Yes, Pink Floyd, Triumvirat, King Crimson, The Moody Blues, Rick Wakeman, and Monty Python's Flying Circus. These were the strongest influences in my life as a kid. The Strawbs are still performing shows throughout England. They have a following just like the Grateful Dead had here in America. I'd like to see them come do a show here in California. Perhaps they could do a double billing with maybe Blackmore's Night. That would be a great show where they would actually compliment each other being seen together. What do you think? Strawbs fan's should check out Blackmore's Night.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great album, but this reissue isn't as "perfect" as promised., November 27, 2013
By 
Joe Gandalf (South Carolina Mountains) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bursting at the Seams (Audio CD)
I'm giving a 4 star rating to the reissue. It just isn't that much better than the earlier one that I have; it is about as good as the original LP. The work itself deserves 6 stars.

Having said that, I've gotta say that this is definitely the best work that the Strawbs put out! If you've never heard of the Strawbs (and why are you reading this if you haven't?), get this album. They are one of the finest progressive bands ever - and I don't mean "progressive" in the more restricted sense of ELP, Yes, etc. Progressive rock was a much more varied genre before the critics tried to limit it to the so-called "art-rock" groups (I have nothing against those bands, BTW).

Strawbs, Caravan, Gentle Giant: those bands (and more) will give you a new appreciation for what was the best stuff to come out of the late 60s, early 70s. Check 'em out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maybe Strawbs' Best..., March 17, 2007
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This review is from: Bursting at the Seams (Audio CD)
Okay, if you're not familiar with this band/group, don't expect all of

their music to sound the same, as they were not unique back then; constantly changing horses...er personnel. :)

As someone else mentioned, indeed "Part Of The Union" IS a Pub Fave, and mine, too.

I have the LP and the CD, I like it that much.

I disagree with the poster who said all the music on this LP could've been a 45rpm/single and compares with all the other Pop Music back then. Balderdash, I say!

They were still considered Alternative/Celtic Folk-Rock even back then.

Definitely not mainstream crap! Worthwhile, indeed. 4 1/2 Stars is my real feeling on this LP. Bonus Tracks on the CD; just a bonus.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memories 2, April 9, 2013
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This review is from: Bursting at the Seams (Audio CD)
It had been a very long time since I last heard this album, it was good to hear it again.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Strawbs:Busting out of the Seam, May 22, 2011
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This review is from: Bursting at the Seams (Audio CD)
I have been wanting to find this CD for a long time.I had forgotten the name of the album,since I had it back in the mid seventies.I went on youtube and there were a lot of videos.I finally had the name of the CD I wanted.So how do I go about it.I mentioned this to my co-worker and he asked me if I went on Amazon.com.I replied no.He said you can get almost anything you want on amazon.com.That night I went on line found the CD and purchased it.Less than a week later I received the CD and I was so excited.I will purchase more hard to find music at amazon.com!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album, March 8, 2011
By 
BJB (Prescott, AZ) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bursting at the Seams (Audio CD)
Haven't heard this album in 35 or so years. GREAT! I hear Part of the Union in my head every day!
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Bursting at the Seams
Bursting at the Seams by Strawbs (Audio CD - 1998)
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