GRYPHON Glastonbury Carol (HUX041)(2003)
If gadding about in doublet and hose was not considered very rock 'n' roll, Gryphon at least had the distinction
in 1972 of appearing on all four BBC national radio networks in the space of a week.
Gryphon's debut album that year was something of a novelty combining as it did medieval and folk rock, but there was no denying that some erudite
crumhorn-blowing was going on. The band's subsequent albums are said to have been influenced by
Yes and the prog-rock our doubleted men absorbed when supporting them on a US tour.
This CD is an excellent companion to Hux's other Gryphon album (two live concerts recorded in 1974-5) and
the evocative cover design perfectly sums up the inner delights. Taken from two Radio 1 sessions, the earliest
from 1972 shows the band in all their medieval finery with a splendid version of 'Estampie'. Session 2 from 1974
shows how far the band had developed, but in truth there is only so much you can do with a recorder and bassoon
in the context of prog rock. It could be argued that their subsequent prog musings had less impact and led to the band's eventual demise
although they soldiered on until 1977. Included here also for completists is the 'lost' single 'Glastonbury Carol' which was
originally featured in the film 'Glastonbury Fayre'.
Probably a little too specialist for most, and a historic relic in more ways than one. But before Ritchie Blackmore got decked out in tights,
Gryphon had been there, done that and got the tabard.
Review by David Randall