Gryphon

Glastonbury Carol

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Hux's previous Gryphon BBC sessions compilation, About As Curious As It Can Be, combined a couple of appearances from 1974 and 1975. This one presents two entirely different sessions, the first from July 1972 and the second from July 1974. As could be expected, the numbers comprising the 1972 session are folkier than the other BBC dates on either of the anthologies, with all five songs having been on their debut album and all but one of them rearrangements of traditional tunes. At this point, Gryphon sounded more like a medieval-folk troupe than a rock band, although not to their detriment. The way they played the material, particularly in the use of krummhorns, recorders, and bassoon, was playful and fresh. There's more rock muscle on the 1974 tracks, and a little (not much) touch of prog-rock bombast, with most of the session devoted to their epic three-movement, 19-minute "Midnight Mushrumps," the title song from their second album. Also on hand (in its original studio version) is their obscure 1973 single "Glastonbury Carol," commissioned for the closing titles of the film Glastonbury Fayre, and (unlike much of their material) making effective use of spooky Renaissance-era vocals. It's another well-recorded and well-packaged set (with liner notes of amusing stories by Gryphon's Brian Gulland) that makes a worthwhile supplement to their studio discography.

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