Dave Cousins is one of the most distinctive and enduring talents to come out of the mid to late 1960s British folk-rock boom -- indeed, along with Richard Thompson, he might be the shining alumnus within the field. Cousins is best known as the leader/founder of the Strawbs, the folk-turned-folk-rock turned progressive rock band that has been his major creative outlet -- with a few notable breaks -- since the mid-'60s. Born David Joseph Hindson in Hounslow, England, Cousins grew up in a middle class home in an area known in more recent years as the Thames Delta. He and a friend from Thames Valley Senior School, Tony Hooper, shared an interest in music. Both were captivated at a young age by the skiffle boom spearheaded by Lonnie Donegan and the Vipers Skiffle Group, but unlike most other fans of those artists, who moved on to a full embrace of American rock & roll, Cousins (and Hooper) resonated more to the folk-influenced side of skiffle music. In his later teens, Cousins was more closely attuned to the work of Martin Carthy and groups such as the Young Tradition, than to the Beatles et al. His devotion to American sounds was focused on the likes of Leadbelly and Elizabeth Cotten, and Ramblin' Jack Elliot (whom he got to see perform in those years); and most important among his early influences were Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, whose music he first discovered through a live recording from the Newport Folk Festival. Cousins had already taken up the banjo, in addition to the guitar, and he got good enough, listening to and emulating Scruggs' style, that he was soon recognized as one of the most skilled young banjo players in England.