DAVE COUSINS – Exorcising Ghosts


Exorcising Ghosts — the long-awaited and eagerly-anticipated autobiography by Dave Cousins, the enigmatic frontman and founder of British folk-rock band, The Strawbs — is to be published this September, distributed by Music Sales, the parent company of Omnibus Press, the world’s leading publisher of music-related books.

This explosive book promises to lift the lid on the highs and lows of Cousins’ celebrated 50-year music career. It charts how a working-class boy from West London came to sell out stadiums, discover Sandy Denny and Rick Wakeman; mix with iconic figures such as David Bowie, Richard Attenborough, and Dame Vera Lynn; meet royalty and gain the Pope’s blessings, and change the face of commercial radio in the UK.

Cousins details The Strawbs’ extraordinary rise from its beginnings in the revivalist folk scene of the 1960s to chart-topping success in the ‘70s after they became the first British band signed to A&M Records in Hollywood. And it reveals his struggles with music management and the impact of commercialism on his music.

For the first time, it also documents Cousins’ remarkable and little-known “parallel” career in radio and provides an insight into “machinations” that he believes destroyed community-based UK stations.

An essential read for Strawbs fans and music aficionados alike, Exorcising Ghosts explores the diverse personalities and relationships which have influenced Cousin’s songwriting, and contains a wealth of untold, ‘warts and all’ stories about his friends and collaborators, including:

  • Rick Wakeman (Strawbs, Yes)
  • Led Zeppelin
  • David Bowie
  • Sandy Denny (Fairport Convention)
  • Blue Weaver (Bee Gees)
  • Andy Richards (Frankie Goes to Hollywood)

Exorcising Ghosts follows the success of Secrets, Stories & Songs, an anthology of lyrics released by Cousins in 2010. It is, Cousins explains, a “document of its time, from post-war austerity to the present day”.

Cousins, who recently sailed on back-to-back rock cruises in April with the Moody Blues and with Yes, said: “I have found the experience unsettling and emotional, but cathartic at the same time. It has saved me a fortune in psychiatrists’ fees.

“I have discovered that there have been an equal number of peaks and troughs in my career. It’s been a rollercoaster ride!”

‘Hangman And The Papist’ a classic Strawbs song featuring Rick Wakeman

UK debut album by AlascA

AlascA liveOn their debut UK release ACTORS & LIARS, AlascA play eleven tales and songs that have the tendency of lodging themselves in the old grey matter. AlascA’s music has a novel and poetic quality, which to me anyway, will leave a lasting impression.

The tales grow on you and the melodies that guide the lyrics to their end have a place in the past, the present and the future. Their lingering melodies will appeal to the listeners of current indie-folk, but will likewise inspire those who loved the folk sounds, close harmonies and lyrical subtleties of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s.


ACTORS & LIARS by AlascAACTORS & LIARS was produced by Grammy-award winning engineer and producer Alan Branch (U2, Jeff Beck, Yusuf Islam, Blur, Nine Inch Nails). When released in the Netherlands in 2012 it peaked at No 9 in the Dutch charts in the week after its release (and stayed in the top 50 the subsequent six weeks) and received much critical acclaim in the Netherlands and Belgium. AlascA’s live performances are characterized by their shifts from intimate singer-songwriter tales to bombastic folk-rock explosions. AlascA are based near Amsterdam and consist of Frank Bond (vocals, guitars, bass), William Bond (harmonies, keys), Ferdinand Jonk (harmonies, banjo, 12-string guitar) and Louis van Sinderen (drums, percussion).

AlascA Photo: www.marcobakker.comThe band are inspired by a diverse collection of bands including the Beatles, Love, the Zombies, Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, CSNY, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Tim Buckley, Gene Clark, the Doors, Fleetwood Mac, Pentangle, David Bowie, Big Star, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, The Dears, The Shins, Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens, Midlake, Yeasayer and Iron & Wine. AlascA have played on De Wereld Draait Door, the Dutch leading prime time television programme and have played at most of the major radio stations in the Netherlands such as Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3FM and Omrop Fryslan.

All the songs on the album apart from Déjà Vu, written by Ferdinand Jonk, were written by Frank Bond. Frank studied English Literature and Literary Sciences at the University of Amsterdam and obtained his Master of Arts Degree in 2009. Frank’s Ma Thesis is on Bob Dylan and provided a critical look into the most prominent academic approaches to Bob Dylan’s lyrics. The thesis was praised for its line of argument and the fact that it proposes a more productive and adequate analysis which also attempts to incorporate the musical elements of Dylan’s song lyrics. After graduation, the thesis was published. Frank, however, is and was not satisfied with the scope of the thesis and is currently working on a revision of his methods of analysis. He is also working on several essays on the various aspects of the current day music industry. In line with his background, Frank’s songwriting and lyrics are inspired by literature and philosophy, in particular Shakespeare, Keats, Coleridge, Yeats, Hemingway, Rimbaud, Pound, Joyce, Lucebert, Sartre, Foucault, Fowles, Kafka, Twain and Lawrence.

For more information and the latest tour dates visit http://www.alascamusic.com/

Electric Eden now out on Universal Music…

Presenting the soundtrack to Rob Young’s ground-breaking survey of music making in the British Isles.

Universal Music Catalogue has now released Electric Eden, a new compilation, hand-picked by author and journalist Rob Young. The two disc set is designed to serve as a companion to Young’s highly acclaimed book Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music which was published by Faber & Faber in 2010.

Just as the book mapped out a native British musical voice that reflected the complex relationships between town and country, progress and nostalgia, radicalism and conservatism, so too does this compilation.

It’s a veritable connoisseur’s choice of folk music which collects together such diverse artists as Archie Fisher, Meic Stevens, Bill Fay, Comus, and Mick Softley, even David Bowie – alongside the more expected names such as Bert Jansch, Richard Thompson, John Martyn, The Incredible String Band and Nick Drake.

The two disc set is divided into an Acoustic Eden and an Electric Eden and comes with comprehensive, track-by-track notes by Rob Young.

Comments Rob young: ‘This compilation is designed to follow the flow from acoustic to electric folk in the late 60s and early 70s, a magical time in British music. I’ve tried to include a mixture of rarities, unheard versions, familiar names and unjustly neglected heroes and heroines. I’m particularly proud of including a rare original version of ‘A Sailor’s Life’ by Fairport Convention, literally the first time a rock drum kit was ever used on a traditional folk song. History in the making!’



1. Peter Bellamy – ‘Oak, Ash and Thorn’

2. Traffic – ‘John Barleycorn Must Die’

3. Bert Jansch – ‘The Waggoner’s Lad’

4. Fairport Convention – ‘Stranger to Himself’

5. Archie Fisher – ‘Reynardine’

6. Bread, Love and Dreams – ‘Brother John’

7. Bill Fay – ‘Garden Song’

8. Water Into Wine Band – ‘Stranger in the World’

9. Tudor Lodge – ‘Willow Tree’

10. Comus – ‘Diana’

11. Meic Stevens – ‘Yorric’

12. Magic Carpet – ‘The Dream’

13. Sweeney’s Men – ‘The Pipe on the Hob’

14. Tim Hart & Maddy Prior – ‘False Knight on the Road’

15. Dr Strangely Strange – ‘Dark-Haired Lady’

16. Albion Country Band – ‘I Was a Young Man’

17. COB – ‘Music of the Ages’

18. Roger Nicholson – ‘The Carman’s Whistle’

19. Bridget St John – ‘Fly High’

20. John Martyn – ‘She Moves Through the Fair’


CD 2


1. Richard Thompson – ‘Roll over Vaughn Williams’

2. Steeleye Span – ‘The Lark in the Morning’

3. Unicorn – ‘Country Road’

4. Fairport Convention – ‘A Sailor’s Life’

5. Trees – ‘Glasgerion’

6. Fotheringay – ‘Gypsy Davey’

7. David Bowie – ‘Black Country Rock’

8. John Martyn – ‘Glistening Glyndebourne’

9. Mike Cooper – ‘Paper and Smoke’

10. Shelagh McDonald – ‘Mirage’

11. Spirogyra – ‘Disraeli’s Problem’

12. Mick Softley – ‘Time Machine’

13. Shirley Collins & The Albion Country Band – ‘Murder of Maria Marten’

14. Pentangle – ‘Jack Orion’

15. Incredible String Band – ‘Painted Chariot’

16. Nick Drake – ‘Voices’

Magpie, the fantastic new album by Tess with selected album SoundCloud track…

TESS was born in 1972. In the following years, there could have not been a better education into music and songcraft! Bowie, The Doors, John Lennon -it all left a caliber of musical structure and melody that strongly imprinted on the mind of a growing child. As each newly released song was lapped up on a Sunday “chart show” afternoon, it taught him how to express what he, a quiet child, found hard to do through words alone, yet more importantly it gave him something to aspire to.

For most of his adult life, he didn’t fully embrace a music career. To him, his songs were more like intimate diary entries, recording the major passages of his life. But songs eventually led to performances; and those gigs led to a chance meeting with a cellist in a café. Through her, TESS was introduced to producer and strings arranger Howard Gott. Howard recognised the strength of the vocals, guitar structure and they began work. Howard bought an air of patience to the recording with his string parts offering sensitivity and texture. The album took well over a year to develop, often with long periods of reflection in between tracks; he was determined to give it “his all”. Every song has to be based on the truth of his life; some of the lyrics so intimate that he still finds it hard to directly address their meaning. The result? “An album that creeps under the skin with each listen” (ACOUSTIC MAGAZINE).

And so we have Magpie, 11 songs of depth and introspection. At times haunting and deeply personal – yet always unmistakable. “Not to be ignored”, say MOJO. Available via the Amazon link below: