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Gryphon: Glastonbury Carol

This new archival release of 1972 & 1974 BBC recordings from British folk/prog outfit Gryphon is a must have for any fan of the band, and even a good place for the newbie to start off with. Gryphon's music mixed folky, medieval textures with symphonic prog rock, and this collection covers many of the bands best loved songs, all performed live at the BBC Radio studio.

The first five tracks, recorded in 1972, covers the groups early, more folk based material. "Kemp's Jig" is a wild complex instrumental, with acoustic guitars, krumhorn, bassoon, and pecussion all combating in dazzling yet melodic fashion. "Estampie" , a traditional piece re-arranged by the band, features lead krumhorn, harmonium, lush acoustic guitars, and wild percussion. Other songs included in the CD's first half are "Sir Gavin Grimbold", "Touch and Go" (with cheerful recorder from Richard Harvey and Graeme Taylor's complex classical guitar lines) and the vocal piece "Astrologer."

The next four songs include the first three movements from the classic album Midnight Mushrumps, recorded for the BBC in 1974. The band kicks off with the very English sounding classical piece "Opening Number", complete with medieval recorders and krumhorns. Things shift to a more electric nature as "Midnight Mushrumps" kicks in, as Harvey's organ sets an ominous tone for the more symphonic sounds that are about to commence. The band plows through this progressive rock classic, led by Harvey's rack of keys, plus bassoon and low recorder from Brian Gulland. The 2nd Movement is especially rewarding, as Taylor throws in some electric guitar textures, and Harvey's monstrous keyboards mix well with the booming bass of Phil Nestor.

The real surpise is the inclusion of "Glastonbury Carol", a song not included on any of their studio albums, but originally released as a single in 1973, after being commissioned for the closing credits of the film Glastonbury Fayre. This piece is a very upbeat and cheerful number, starting off with some haunting keyboards but then turning into a medieval romp with majestic acoustic guitars and recorders. Richard Harvey's lead vocals are very strong, as are the backing vocals from the rest of the band. For many, this song alone will reason enough to purchase this fine CD. Highly recommended!

Added: October 16th 2003
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Hux Records
Hits: 3275
Language: english

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