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Culpeper's Orchard - Second Sight CD (album) cover


Culpeper's Orchard


Eclectic Prog

3.31 | 34 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars When I first acquired the debut of Culpeper's Orchard I couldn't believe my ears. At the time (circa 1992) there was not even the remotest chance for me to find out anything about the band. The reissue I bought lacked not only general information about the band but the yyear aswell. Odd, one might say. I dare say that would not happen today. Internet was strictly speaking not in operation, which means that that particular well of knowledge wasn't only dried up, it had not yet begun it's flow. I took a guess based on sound and structure of the songs and concluded it was made back in 1971 or 1972. Pretty good guess.

While the first album is one of my Top5 albums and has been rated five stars by me, the decline seemed rapid for Culpeper's Orchard. The first album is flawless in my opinion. Their brand of hard rock, prog, folk and a slice of countryfied rock was and is superb. This, their second effort, is, while not bad, not all that good. In particular that is true when compared to the brilliance of album number one.

What is the matter, then? For the most parts the details that made up the tapestry of the first album are here. There's blues, hard rock, prog, folk and country all mixed up and presented in a fine fashion. The problem lies in the material. Soundwise it is an improvement on the first album, though I really appreciate the rough and raw sound found on that one. The material on "Second sight" is simply lesss urgent, less forceful and less intriguing.

The opening, "Julia", is a lovely folkstruck little thing I enjoy. It is pretty and the voice of Cy Nicklin is wonderful, as ever. "Keyboard waltz" is also a nice track and holds alot in common with the songs on ttheir debut. "Classified ads" is a hard rock stomper, which also holds similarities to their debut.

The main problem on this album really is "Late night woman blues". I have not quarrels with the blues but in this case it seems like an easy way out. Stretching out for 6.36 minutes it is really nothing more than a piece of bluesy jamming. It disrupts the flow.

"Autumn of it all" harks back to the debut, once again. A nice, little folky thing and one of the better songs on the album. It would really have suited the debut. "Mind pollution/Weather report" is the highlight, really. Nigh on 10 minutes long it is divided into two distinct parts. The opening folky one and the hard rock closing section. Really great song. Inspired and intriguing. The last track is the very countryfied "Satisfied mind" which sees them in some sort of CSN or Grateful Dead mode. Good one, especially as an ending song.

Overall one has to say that this album holds great musicianship but the problem is the material in itself, being really not that strong or intriguing as those tracks on the debut. I believe one has to judge each album on it's own merits and so I do. Even if I was to look at this album as one made by a band that never recorded another track the judgement would be the same. Nice but not that thrilling. I have struggled with this album over the years and every time I get the same experience and draw the same conclusion.

This is an album for those already into Culpeper's Orchard. I would not recommend this album anyone else. It's not bad, just not that special either. Three stars.

GruvanDahlman | 3/5 |


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