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Gryphon - Gryphon CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.37 | 257 ratings

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2 stars A relatively short album on time as well as thin in overall material, Gryphon's debut is almost if not entirely acoustic. Like much folk music from the British Isles, this has a timeless air about it, yet when considered in the context of the revival of the late 1960s and early 1970s, it is actually preceded by a number of superior efforts. For instance, by now Amazing Blondel had released 4 excellent albums which explored much wider themes. They sang better, did not overuse the precious instruments to the same degree, and performed almost entirely their own compositions. Spirogyra, Incredible String Band, Forest, Strawbs and Steeleye Span had all made several albums of consciously ancient sounds by this time. Sure, a lot of them, including Gryphon, would evolve into quite a different beast, but it is Gryphon's eponymous album we are considering here, and it is in no way a pioneering or even a significant piece of work.

What we have is one wave after another of recorders and crumhorns with occasional self conscious vocals performing versions of material better done by others. Stately it often is, but in a contrived, tight lipped sort of way, as if they were being forced to play by some petulant young prince. Even "Estampie" just comes across as the recycled motifs on speed that it is. The best tracks are the first 2, "Kemp's Jig" and "Sir Gavin Grimbold", which pretty much say everything that Gryphon has to say this time around, along with several parts of "Juniper Suite" where the mandolin all too briefly wrests the controls away from the horns. My recommendation would be to seek out the aforementioned groups' efforts from the preceding 5 years. For medieval folk completists only!

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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