DAVE COUSINS: Exorcising Ghosts: Strawbs & Other Lives

Exorcising Ghosts Front cover Hi-res (1)Witchwood Media Limited
ISBN-13: 978-0-9565887-1-5

What would have happened if Strawbs had not left A&M in the mid-70s? Just one of many questions that you are left contemplating in this entertaining autobiography by the seminal bluegrass/folk-rock/art-rock/progressive group’s founder and frontman. Other things to ponder were what if a certain radio station had not parted company with Dave Cousins some years later, or if one of the band’s key members had not left at a totally unexpected time?

Cousins is a story teller in song, to which his hundreds of compositions bear witness. But even through the decade when other interests took precedence and he wrote only half a dozen songs, he still had a fascinating story to tell. Evidently a fastidious diarist, he details many interesting goings-on throughout his involvement in the world of commercial radio, right down to one station’s profit and loss account.

Probably the most intriguing of the many unanswered questions is what were “the simmering tensions that had always plagued Strawbs” and which “erupted” once again in a later year? Cousins has written his life story in very digestible chunks, and it is a fascinating book to attempt to read – not least between the lines. Definitely recommended, whether you are a long-time Strawbs fan or would just like to get an insight into the halcyon days of the music business through the prism of one very colourful career.

Colin Bailey

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Author’s website: http://www.strawbsweb.co.uk/