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Gryphon - Spring Song CD (album) cover

SPRING SONG

Gryphon

 

Prog Folk

4.00 | 5 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars GRYPHON is one of the finest prog folk bands ever. Their wholly instrumental third album Red Queen to Gryphon Three (1974) is a unique prog masterpiece. The following Raindance (1975) is very uneven in comparison, and some of its short tracks frankly feel like mere fillers. I haven't entirely listened to the next and final album before breaking up, Treason (1977) which this single represents. The key members Richard Harvey, Brian Gulland -- both experts in Old Music -- and vocalist-percussionist David Oberlé are joined by three new members: guitarist Bob Foster and the rhythm section of Jonathan Davie and Alex Baird. Treason is more electrified rock than Gryphon's earlier albums and it contains less experimenting or folk ingredients.

On the album 'Spring Song' is a powerful 10-minute prog composition with some notable influences from YES (whom Gryphon had toured with). Especially the electric guitar has sometimes a Steve Howe -like sound during the Treason album. The single version is shortened to 4 and half minutes which naturally changes the composition's character quite a lot. Gone are the extended instrumental sections (ie. intro and outro) pointing at grand-scale symphonic prog. The track starts with a bright piano playing reminiscent of classic Renaissance songs such as 'Can You Understand', joined soon by Oberlé's vocals and the other instruments. The melodies are slightly moody but vivant like a spring brook. The chorus easily lingers in your mind afterwards. The reeds that were essential to the earlier Gryphon sound are in a minor role; I think there's only a brief bassoon solo and perhaps a little of English horn. A prog listener will undoubtedly prefer the full version, but also this tight version is very nice, and in some sense more coherent.

'Fall of the Leaf' (4:25) is another melodic song from Treason, romantically mellow and folky but not in a slow tempo. The acoustically oriented arrangement is very elegant, slightly comparable to some quartet era Genesis songs such as 'Ripples', plus the bassoon again adding old chamber music flavour typical for Gryphon.

A pretty pleasant single indeed, makes me want to hear the source album.

Matti | 4/5 |

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