The Boy in the Sailor Suit is the second solo studio album by Dave Cousins.
Back in the early 1970s, I was a fairly strong fan of the Strawbs, an English progressive folk band. But over the years, I drifted away from prog and into jazz. Then with the advent of the internet, I began to get back into prog, discovering new bands and rediscovering some that never actually went away. The Strawbs are just one of those and along with that comes exploration into the solo work of Dave Cousins, the lyrical and compositional heart of that band.
Cousins’ work has never been for the masses. His distinctive voice is an acquired taste and the depth of his compositions are beyond the understanding of those who have Van Gogh’s ear for great music. However, the cognoscenti will find The Boy In the Sailor Suit to be a rare treat indeed.
Backed by his Blue Angel Orchestra, Cousins draws deeply from his seemingly bottomless well of talent. Almost fifty minutes of music take the listener all over the musical map from folk to hard rock and much that’s in between.
My favorites are: the fiddle-powered rocker Never Take Sweets From A Stranger; Mellow Moon, the dreamy sound of which evokes the South Pacific; the neo-psychedelic hard rock of Mother Luck; the old-time string band jazz of Wish You Were Here; Skip to My Lou, a square-dance number with ominous undertones; Lonely Days, Lonely Nights with its swinging fiddle-driven beat; and Hellfire Blues, a pulsating, swinging number featuring fiddle evocative of the late Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and a searing guitar that gives it some real blues sting.
The CD comes with a booklet containing lyrics and pictures and despite its relatively short duration, is worth every penny I paid. Whether you are an old Strawbs/Dave Cousins fan who has drifted away over the years, or are just someone looking for something new and interesting to listen to then consider getting The Boy In The Sailor Suit. Old fans will hear that Cousins has rarely sounded better than here and new fans will be scrambling to acquire his back catalogue. (by Kurt Harding)
Miller Anderson (guitar)
Dave Cousins (vocals, guitar)
Chas Cronk (bass)
Ian Cutler (fiddle)
Chris Hunt (drums)
Tony Attwood (organ on 09.)
Chris Ball (piano on 10.)
Elizabeth Tophill – Frances Tophill
01. Never Take Sweets from a Stranger (Cousins) 4.39
02. Mellow Moon (Cousins) 6.17
03. The Smile You Left Behind (Cousins) 3.05
04. Calling Out My Name (Cousins) 5.08
05. Mother Luck (Cousins) 4.14
06. Wish You Were Here (Cousins) 5.16
07. Skip To My Lou (Cousins/Conrad) 4.47
08. Lonely Days, Lonely Nights (Cousins/Conrad) 4.52
09. Bringing In The Harvest (Cousins) 4.34
10. Hellfire Blues (Cousins) 5.41