Listen: Benedictus /The Strawbs StrawbsBenedictus.mp3
I heard ‘Benedictus’ on my local Top 40 station, once, in the middle of the afternoon. It was WNDR, the tight playlisted one as well. Huh? It sounded so out of place – and indeed pretty great. In the mix of then current nastiness, like Three Dog Night and Jim Croce, it made me believe there might be hope for the radio again, for a good couple of months even. Not so. As much as I tried to catch it once more at least, I never did. And I could not find the single – no surprise. I’d seen The Strawbs’ albums in stores, and despite my then soft spot for English folk, I never did spring for one, until now. I had to have this song. Years later I found the above promo. Probably not all that rare, so if you see one, get it.
Listen: Lay Down / The Strawbs StrawbsLayDown.mp3
‘Lay Down’ was starting to indicate these guys just might be churning out some great 7′s consistantly. By now I was nicely ensconced at my college radio station, where everyone only wanted to play, and steal, albums, so the singles were a free for all. A&M would send out stock copies often instead of promos, and I was so happy when one arrived. Released simultaneously in the UK, where it reached #12, meant I had it before I even had to worry about getting it. I was jonesing to live in England by this point. To walk around the house or drive in the car and be able to hear this stuff on the radio – enough reason to figure out a way to get there. That was around the corner.
Listen: Part Of The Union / The Strawbs StrawbsUnion.mp3
“Part Of The Union’ might be one of those songs that folks in the UK still cringe at, simply because it was played everywhere, forever. A #2 in early ’73, it was still a pub singalong by that summer, when I finally made my way to London. Like Jeff Beck’s ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’, I never did tire of it.
Just a few months prior, in April, I had to make a torturous decision. The Pretty Things and The Strawbs were playing the same night, at different venues. How fucked up was this? I chose The Pretty Things. Til this day, I have never seen The Strawbs.