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GRINGO

Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom


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Gringo biography
Founded in Somerset, UK in 1971 - Disbanded in 1972

"Like many other short-lived prog-rock bands of the early 70's, Gringo's transmutation from the late 60's pop outfit, The Toast, heralded the birth of a new, exciting musical era whilst, at the same time, casting off for good, the shackles of their pseudo-psychedelic existence.

Formed in 1968 as a three-piece, The Toast embarked upon a busy schedule of gigs culminating in the group recording eight songs for BBC 2's "Colour Me Pop" show which was televised in January 1969.

A year later, aftert having signed to CBS records in August 1969, a single "Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall", backed by the self-penned "Summer Of Miranda", was issued. The A-side, a Paul Simon cover, was, like the B-side, heavily orchestrated, which sounded, at best, cringe-inducing. "Summer Of Miranda", however, displayed at least traces of their "prog" leanings, which would soon come to the fore.

The single, produced and arranged by Tony Cox, sank without trace but work soon started on recording an album, this time with the addition of a female singer. However, the new vocalist had to return suddenly to the USA, so Cox drafted in another female, this time an Irish born lass called Annette Casey. Annette was originally from Dundalk and arrived in England in 1964 to study. In 1969 she put together a band named Casey & Friends and began to record under Tony Cox Productions. She, together with guitarist / organist Henry Marsh, bassist John G. Perry and drummer Simon Byrne formed the revised line-up.
In the spring of 1970 Toast abandoned the old, tired routine and changed their name to Gringo eager to explore the "new freedoms" offered by the burgeoning progressive movement.

One of Gringo's first assignments was a recording session for Mick Softley where they provided backing vocals on the track "Love Colours" from "Sunrise", his debut album for CBS. Early Gringo gigs saw them paired up with other CBS acts during the summer of 1970 (notably Black Widow, who had achieved near instant success, albeit short-lived).

In March the following year Gringo signed a deal with MCA to record an album and single. The track chosen for the single A-side was the catchy "I'm Another Man" which featured a nifty guitar riff sequence from Marsh and was a natural choice to be lifted from the LP and edited down to a suitable running time for a 45. "Soft Mud", the inspired B-side, is typical Gringo, full of quirky...
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2.77 | 23 ratings
Gringo
1972

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GRINGO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Gringo by GRINGO album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.77 | 23 ratings

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Gringo
Gringo Canterbury Scene

Review by 1Vinylcam

4 stars I have to respectfully take exception with the reviews concerning Gringo. While I will concede that if one's main expectation of Prog in general, is typified by the long, instrumental dominated Jazz and Classical influenced compositions found on LP's by Yes, Crimson and Soft Machine - then this recording is going to be outside your comfort zone. But if the above is the only criteria which qualifies a performance as 'Progressive', then a lot of excellent music along the lines of Kayak (Royal Bed Bouncer), Rare Bird, Wishbone Ash, late period Gentle Giant, 'Grand Hotel' era Procol Harum, Home, mid-period Caravan, Eno and numerous others are going to be needlessly downgraded. Over time, my listening habits have altered my sensibilities in terms of what defines quality. I think the length of a track falls well below whether the group is able to essentially write a good song that stands on its' own. Correspondingly, there is a lot of 'Symphonic Prog' that is quite forgettable because the melodic concept doesn't support the ambition of the musicianship.

Now - about Gringo. The songs are all well written, the vocal harmonies are superb and the tracks are well recorded. I'm a sucker for good keyboard playing, and here the focus is on the Fender Rhodes. As such, there is a nice, funky groove folded in with the jazzy prog flavor of the music. I classify the musicianship and production values as 'tasteful' - in otherwords, the playing supports the intentions of the song as opposed to virtuosity for its' own sake. The sound of Gringo is unique and therefore, I can't directly fit it in with a sub-genre of prog. The best I could do to give you an idea whether you would enjoy them is to say that the vibe is energetic and upbeat in a similar way to Capability Brown for example. I'd also say that if you (like me), believe that the first two Yes albums were, as outstanding as anything they recorded later - you will find a lot to like with Gringo. 'I'm Another Man' and 'Cry the Beloved Country' are worth the purchase of the album by themselves, but none of the other tracks are filler.

 Gringo by GRINGO album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.77 | 23 ratings

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Gringo
Gringo Canterbury Scene

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars If you believe this is a normal Canterbury scene album with all the trimmings, you will be disappointed.

The music here is a mix of musicals (Hair), Eurovision, 1970's pop music, Curved Air and Caravan. Gringo did one tour with both bands and there was an affinity between these groups. The first two tracks Cry The Beloved Country and I'm Another Man sounds like Caravan at their most accessible. Both tracks have a jazzy keyboard theme. Only those two tracks has any quality. The rest of the album is very commercial pop-rock. Commercial without any good songs. The vocals and the musicians are OK. But the songs are really letting them down. No quality and no purpose. Gringo only released one album. I cannot say I am in mourning.

2 stars

 Gringo by GRINGO album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.77 | 23 ratings

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Gringo
Gringo Canterbury Scene

Review by Gigi

3 stars Yes, of course this band is not a milestone of the Canterbury scene, and is also evident that no member of it shall give an important contribute to the progressive music. But it does not mean that this album is bad. On the contrary, from some point of view, it seems to me this album presents an interest mix between a Canterbury tradition and something of Yes (with the due proportion). So, I must recommend this rare album as a simple addition to any prog music collection. 3,5 stars.
 Gringo by GRINGO album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.77 | 23 ratings

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Gringo
Gringo Canterbury Scene

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Actually I've never heard the name of this band before and indeed some websites describe them as an overlooked early British progressive act. Well, I won't deny this assessment, at least in the broad sense of proto-prog bands hailing from that era between late sixties and early seventies. I can only imagine that their Canterbury tag is coming from the fact that they were opening act on a CARAVAN UK tour. This band comprised of Simon Byrne, Annette Casey, Henry Marsh and John G. Perry, who joined Caravan for their Girls Who Grow Plump album and played later on with Quantum Jump, Curved Air and Aviator. Traces of other band members vanished in the haze of some pop bands like Sailor or Brotherhood of Man. The songs on this album here present some pleasant, but in terms of prog rather uninspiring material. I dare saying that this album is only interesting for the general collector of early 70's prog-related music and thus not deserving more than 2,5 stars on this site here. Nevertheless it's a very nice and well-done album, if one likes to listen to some more light-prog-ish stuff. Highlights are the two longest songs "Cry The Beloved Country" and "Patriotic Song"!
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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