Although this 14-song collection features Strawbs
recordings done with acoustic arrangements, it's not an album made specifically with writing and recording (or re-recording) acoustic material in mind. It's an anthology of acoustic recordings, all but two done between 2001 and 2011, and just three of which were previously unreleased (though a couple of others had only been available on DVD). As a source of possible confusion, some of these are early 21st century re-recordings of songs that had first been recorded or issued decades earlier, such as "Josephine, For Better or Worse" and "The Man Who Called Himself Jesus." Two previously unreleased bonus tracks, dubbed "Heritage Gold" on the back cover, were recorded in 1979 and 1980 with just Dave Cousins
on guitar and vocals and Brian Willoughby
on guitar. Despite the rather patchy assemblage around the acoustic concept, it does hang together pretty well as a portrait of the Strawbs
' lower-key side. The arrangements aren't overdone or self-conscious, and combined with the moody-to-the-point-of-somber folk-rock songwriting (mostly by Cousins
), a consistently reflective mood is created in tasteful settings. A couple of contributors of note are Rick Wakeman
(on "A Glimpse of Heaven") and Robert Kirby
(who did the string arrangement for "Evergreen").