He started out performing the songs of Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, and other American folk icons. Then he began writing his own songs, singing them in a scratchy voice. A few years afterward, he alienated many old fans by abandoning folk music and "going electric." Bob Dylan? Yes -- and also Dave Cousins, the mastermind of the U.K. cult band the Strawbs.
A best-selling act in Britain in the 1970s, the Strawbs had a dedicated North American fan base as well, until hard times hit in the early '80s. Still, the band never really quit, as new and former members came and went around Cousins. The group's most famous ex-member is Rick Wakeman, who was on board for just 15 months in 1970-'71. The most successful one was Blue Weaver, who left and joined the Bee Gees from 1975-'82. Wakeman won't be at the Winchester on Friday, but Weaver will, along with three older alumni from the Strawbs' golden years -- Dave Lambert, John Ford, and Richard Hudson, plus folk-rocker and Cousins pal Brian Willoughby.