Album review: CHAS CRONK – Liberty

CHAS CRONK - Liberty

Renaissance Records [Release date 11.02.22]

It’s only when you look at the Discography in the liner note that you may realise that Chas Cronk has been a long-time member of The Strawbs but also worked with Steve Hackett and Rick Wakeman in the 1980s.  Quite a pedigree.

Now, he is wholly responsible for a new solo album which features Strawbs chums Dave Lambert on one track (‘A Splash Of Blue’) and Dave Bainbridge on another (‘Slipping Downstream’).

Cronk is responsible for all vocals, instruments and production and for the most part it works well.  It should appeal to lovers of Hackett when in gentler mode and pop prog in general.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the tracks with guest appearances are the standouts and with ‘A Splash Of Blue’ he reworks a track that also appeared on his 2007 collaboration with Lambert.  ‘Everybody Knows’ is also convincing, and previously appeared on ‘The Broken Hearted Bride’ (The Strawbs, 2008).

The two instrumental interludes, for this listener, could have been expanded and embellished and – if there’s one real criticism – maybe a dedicated vocalist might have lifted all these tracks.  ***1/2

Review by David Randall

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