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MAGNA CARTA

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Magna Carta biography
MAGNA CARTA is an English 'folk' band, formed in 1969 in London by Chris Simpson, Lyell Tranter, and Glen Stuart. They were part of the early progressive wave, but without really fully stepping into the progressive realm. Magna Carta's music is largely inspired and influenced by the folk of Simon & Garfunkel, focussing on soft and gentle acoustic music, often with a traditional feel, augmented with orchestral arangements and good vocal harmonies. Influences and similar artist include the already mentioned Simon & garfunkel, Fairport Convention, Kevin Ayers, Moody Blues, Amazing Blondel, Caravan, Al Stewart, the softer folk/singer songwriter genre and Canterbury genre.

MAGNA CARTA has gone through numerous personel changes over the years, with the only constant factor being Chris Simpson. Most notable members include Glen Stuart, an amazing vocalist with a great range, Lyell Tranter, who soon departed for Australia to be replaced by Davey johnstone on guitars (left Magna Carta to join Elton John as long time band member), and Linda Taylor who would later merry Chris Simpson.

Between 1969 and 1975 MAGNA CARTA made some wonderfull albums, with the beautifull "Seasons' and 'Lord Of The Ages' as absolute highlights. Also the live album "In Concert" recorded in 1971 in Amsterdam is not to be missed. With the leaving of Glen Stuart the magical beauty was lost, and for a while the band seemed to fall apart. Chris Simpson however managed to keep the band alive and MAGNA CARTA continoud making nice highly enjoyable music.

In 1983 Chris met Linda Taylor and they continued mostly as a duo keeping the MAGNA CARTA name alive. Studio albums became rare, but rereleases of studio albums, and new live recordings kept them performing throughout Europe until today (2006).





Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :

How does Magna Carta relate to progressive rock is not an easy question to answer. The music is in itself not progressive as such, but albums like "Seasons" and "Lord Of The Ages" have a certain progressive leaning, including epic songs ("Seasons" has a side long epic, Lord Of The Ages, features an epic song of the same name that is slightly progressive). The mythic and medieval themes and lyrics sets them apart from regular folk. It's prog-lite, but highly enjoyable, and for prog fans, certainly in the acoustic folk and Canterbury scene there is something worth listening to.

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SeasonsSeasons
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$11.47
$15.76 (used)
SeasonsSeasons
Import
Repertoire 2004
Audio CD$54.39
$32.99 (used)
Tomorrow Never Comes: The Anthology 1969-2006Tomorrow Never Comes: The Anthology 1969-2006
Import · Remastered
Repertoire 2007
Audio CD$8.73
$7.73 (used)
Live at the Royal Albert HallLive at the Royal Albert Hall
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$9.35
$13.50 (used)
Lord of the AgesLord of the Ages
Import · Remastered
Repertoire 2007
Audio CD$7.98
$8.42 (used)
Songs from Wasties OrchardSongs from Wasties Orchard
Import
REPERTOIRE 2009
Audio CD$8.92
$9.00 (used)
In ConcertIn Concert
Import
Repertoire 2005
Audio CD$28.89
Midnight Blue/live And Let LiveMidnight Blue/live And Let Live
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2011
Audio CD$12.03
$9.98 (used)
Magna CartaMagna Carta
Import
Repertoire 2010
Audio CD$8.46
$11.54 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
JAY-Z-MAGNA CARTA HOLY GRAIL-JAPAN CD E75 USD $22.50 Buy It Now 1h 36m
Magna Carta Gold 2 CD Deluxe Edition SEALED R2CD 42-56 USD $39.99 Buy It Now 1h 43m
Jay-Z: Magna Carta Holy Grail (NEW-Opened CD, Jul-2013, Roc Nation) Frank Ocean USD $9.99 [0 bids]
1h 45m
MAGELLAN Test Of Wills 1997 CD on MAGNA CARTA MA 9008-2 SEALED PROGRESSIVE ROCK USD $7.99 Buy It Now 2h 59m
MAGNA CARTA In Tomorrow NEW SEALED 2 CD 1 DVD English Folk Rock USD $9.30 Buy It Now 3h 31m
JAMES LaBRIE'S MULLMUZZLER 2 ORIG CD 2001 PROGRESSIVE on MAGNA CARTA MA-9056-2 USD $7.99 Buy It Now 3h 49m
THE MOON REVISITED 1995 CD PINK FLOYD TRIBUTE by PROG '90s BANDS on MAGNA CARTA USD $7.99 Buy It Now 5h 4m
JAY Z MAGNA CARTA HOLY GRAIL ORIGINAL CD SEALED PHILIPPINE EDITION USD $17.99 Buy It Now 6h
Bozzio Levin Stevens- Situation Dangerous. Prog, psych, Magna Carta USD $16.50 [0 bids]
7h 24m
Ozric Tentacles The Floor's Too Far Away CD Magna Carta NEW SEALED USD $7.99 [0 bids]
9h 15m
Feeding the Wheel by Jordan Rudess (CD, Oct-2001, Magna Carta) Rock USD $10.00 Buy It Now 9h 42m
@ CD Altura - Mercy MAGNA CARTA ROADRUNNER 1996 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 11h 28m
MAGNA CARTA-PUTTING IT BACK TOGETHER-JAPAN ISSUE PROMO WHITE LABEL iii USD $129.99 Buy It Now 12h 4m
Magna Carta - Took A Long Time [CD New] USD $12.26 Buy It Now 13h 52m
JAPAN MINI LP CD MAGNA CARTA PUTTING IT BACK TOGETHER USD $29.99 Buy It Now 14h 37m
Magna Carta Holy Grail (Jpn) - Jay-Z (2013, CD New) USD $26.06 Buy It Now 16h 36m
Royal Hunt - Double Live in Japan (CD, Oct-1999, 2 Discs, Magna Carta) USD $18.39 Buy It Now 16h 50m
Magna Carta Airport song 7" 6006 570 G/EX UK USD $11.59 Buy It Now 17h 30m
Royal Hunt - Moving Target (CD, Aug-1998, Magna Carta) MA-9027-2 USD $17.47 Buy It Now 18h 4m
MAGNA CARTA In Concert LP 9 Track Gatefold Sleeve With Light Ring Wear UK Swirl USD $56.32 Buy It Now 19h 33m
MAGNA CARTA Lord Of The Ages LP 8 Track Pop Legends Space Ship Label Issue But H USD $28.16 Buy It Now 20h 44m
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Midnight Blue/Live & Let Live by Magna Carta *New CD* USD $12.19 Buy It Now 21h 28m
CHRIS SIMPSON - WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE... 2CDs (NEW SEALED) Folk Magna Carta USD $4.68 Buy It Now 21h 45m
JAY Z MAGNA CARTA HOLY GRAIL SEALED CD NEW 2013 USD $7.60 Buy It Now 23h 9m
Points North - Road Less Traveled [Digipak] (CD, Mar-2012, Magna Carta) NEW USD $11.95 Buy It Now 1 day
MAGNA CARTA highway to spain 7" PS EX/EX USD $10.93 Buy It Now 1 day
Magna Carta Holy Grail USD $21.25 Buy It Now 1 day
Magna Carta Holy Grail [Limited Edition] USD $11.81 Buy It Now 1 day
Magna Carta Holy Grail USD $7.85 Buy It Now 1 day
Magna Carta-Lord Of The Ages-Near Mint Lp Vinyl Record-Vertigo-6360 093- //1 //1 USD $8.52 [0 bids]
1 day
Feeding the Wheel by Jordan Rudess (CD, Oct-2001, Magna Carta) USD $0.99 [0 bids]
1 day
Magna Carta Holy Grail [PA] [Digipak] by Jay-Z (CD, Jul-2013, Roc Nation) USD $9.00 [0 bids]
USD $12.00 Buy It Now
1 day
Prog Around The World CD Magna Carta Lemur Voice Ozric Tentacles Derdian Martone USD $3.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Magna Carta - Written In The Wind CD USD $16.99 Buy It Now 1 day
MAGNA CARTA - LOT OF 2X RARE HOLLAND 7" SP 45 USD $15.00 Buy It Now 1 day
MAGNA CARTA - SEASONS - TECD251 USD $17.98 Buy It Now 1 day
MAGNA CARTA Seasons 1970 UK VERTIGO SWIRL 6360 003 1Y/2Y STEREO LP. EX !!!! USD $163.80 Buy It Now 1 day
Beach Boys Ricky Fataar Flame The Flirtations Magna Carta 1970 Programme USD $54.71 Buy It Now 1 day
Terry Reid Santana Cat Stevens Juliette Greco B Miles Magna Carta 1971 Programme USD $20.23 Buy It Now 1 day
Various ?- Supper's Ready 1995 CD NM/NM Magna Carta RR 8912-2 USD $15.50 Buy It Now 1 day
Shadow Gallery - Legacy (CD, Apr-2001, Magna Carta) USD $7.35 Buy It Now 1 day
Tempest - Balance CD (NEW 2001 Magna Carta) Folk-Rock/Celtic/ Leif Sorbye USD $6.24 Buy It Now 1 day
Jay Z Magna Carta... Holy Grail CLEAR Vinyl Limited /250 Jay-Z USD $49.00 Buy It Now 2 days
JAY-Z**MAGNA CARTA HOLY GRAIL (DELUXE DIGI/ADVISORY)**CD USD $13.63 Buy It Now 2 days
Tomorrow Never Comes: The Anthology 1969-2006 by Magna Carta (CD, Jul-2007, 2... USD $11.62 Buy It Now 2 days
MAGNA CARTA - TOMORROW NEVER COMES: THE ANTHOLOGY 1969-2006 (UK) NEW CD USD $25.51 Buy It Now 2 days
*Last 2 pieces!* Jay Z PROMO Magna Carta CARD Subway TICKET WALLET HOLDER Jay-Z USD $42.20 Buy It Now 2 days
RED ZONE RIDER: Self Titled (CD, 2014 Magna Carta) USD $17.99 Buy It Now 2 days
JAY-Z**MAGNA CARTA HOLY GRAIL**CD USD $9.98 Buy It Now 2 days
MAGNA CARTA- LORD OF THE AGES RARE VERTIGO LP+ LYRIC INSERT USD $15.62 Buy It Now 2 days
MAGNA CARTA Martins Cafe LP 11 Track Small Writing On Rear Of Sleeve DUTCH Vert USD $32.84 Buy It Now 2 days
MAGNA CARTA - TICKET TO THE MOON - NEW CD BOXSET USD $19.08 Buy It Now 2 days
Mullmuzzler S/t - 1999 Magna Carta / James Labrie USD $14.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Magna Carta - Tomorrow Never Comes [CD New] USD $13.75 Buy It Now 2 days
MAGNA CARTA Putting It Back Together 1976 UK GTO LP EXC USD $17.57 Buy It Now 2 days
Wounded by Enchant (CD, May-1997, Magna Carta) USD $7.99 [0 bids]
2 days
Advert 7x7 Magna Carta : Time For The Leaving Single USD $10.95 Buy It Now 2 days
MAGNA CARTA "SONGS FROM WASTIES ORCHARD" ADVERT 7X7" USD $10.95 Buy It Now 3 days
MAGNA CARTA "SONGS FROM WASTIES ORCHARD" ALBUM ADVERT 8X12" USD $12.51 Buy It Now 3 days
MAGNA CARTA & JOHN DANKWORTH AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL ADVERT 15x12 USD $18.76 Buy It Now 3 days
*NEW/SEALED* GLEN DROVER "Metalusion" Digipak CD 2011 Magna Carta Records USD $2.96 Buy It Now 3 days
*NEW/SEALED* LIEF SORBYE "Lief's Birthday Bash" CD 2007 Magna Carta Records USD $5.97 Buy It Now 3 days
TEMPEST "Another Dawn" CD 2010 Magna Carta Records 10 Songs *Great Album* USD $5.97 Buy It Now 3 days
Double Live in Japan by Royal Hunt (CD, Oct-1999, 2 Discs, Magna Carta) USD $7.99 [0 bids]
USD $11.99 Buy It Now
3 days
MAGELLAN - HOUR OF RESTORATION 8tracks, 1991 magna carta CD, MA 9272 2 USD $15.89 Buy It Now 3 days
Bozzio Levin Stevens - Black Light Syndrome (CD, 1997, Magna Carta, USA) USD $31.99 Buy It Now 3 days
MAGNA CARTA "Took a Long Time" 1976 DUTCH 7"/45 VINYL PS USD $5.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Magna Carta - Songs From Wasties Orchard CD REPER USD $24.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Jay Z - Magna Carta Holy Grail CD UMGD/DEF JAM USD $19.79 Buy It Now 3 days
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MAGNA CARTA GUITAR GREATS 1 / VARIOUS NEW CD USD $20.16 Buy It Now 3 days
MAGNA CARTA LORD OF THE AGES vertigo canada Lp ex USD $20.31 Buy It Now 3 days
MAGNA CARTA In concert CD USD $15.62 Buy It Now 3 days
MAGNA CARTA - LIVE IN BERGEN 1978 - NEW USD $26.57 Buy It Now 3 days
Carved in Stone by Shadow Gallery (CD, Jul-1995, Magna Carta) USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Magna Carta - Songs From Wasties Orchard [CD New] USD $12.19 Buy It Now 3 days
MAGNA CARTA - SONGS FROM WASTIES ORCHARD (IMPORT) NEW CD USD $17.49 Buy It Now 3 days
Magna Carta-Seasons UK prog folk cd USD $15.99 Buy It Now 4 days
TILES Presents Of Mind CD 1999 PROGRESSIVE METAL w/ BONUS TRX on MAGNA CARTA USD $7.99 Buy It Now 4 days
A Soundtrack for The Wheel of Time by John Berry CD Magna Carta prog USD $9.99 Buy It Now 4 days
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER TRIBUTE CD ENCORES LEGENDS & PARADOX on MAGNA CARTA 1999 USD $7.99 Buy It Now 4 days
MAGNA CARTA - SONGS FROM WASTIES ORCHARD NEW CD USD $25.51 Buy It Now 4 days
Tribute to the Titans (CD, Mar-1999, Magna Carta) Classic Rock UNOPENED! USD $6.25 Buy It Now 4 days
"THE MOON REVISITED" Pink Floyd Tribute Album Magna Carta Magellan/Cairo/Berry+ USD $6.98 Buy It Now 4 days
MAGNA CARTA ALBUMS & TOUR DATES ADVERT 15X7" USD $10.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Steve Morse Major Impacts, Vol. 2 SEALED 2004 USA Magna Carta CD Deep Purple USD $13.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Steve Morse Major Impacts SEALED 2000 US Magna Carta CD Deep Purple Dixie Dreggs USD $13.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Shadow Gallery Legacy SEALED 2001 USA CD Magna Carta Cairo World Trade Tempest USD $12.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Cairo Time of Legends SEALED 2001 USA CD Magna Carta Marillion Moody Blues Asia USD $11.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Cairo Conflict & Dreams SEALED 1998 USA CD Magna Carta Marillion Pink Floyd Asia USD $12.95 Buy It Now 4 days
To Cry You a Song Collection of Jethro Tull Tales SEALED 1996 USA CD Magna Carta USD $12.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Tribute to the Titans SEALED 1999 USA CD Rush Pink Floyd Genesis Yes Magna Carta USD $9.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Tempest Turn of the Wheel SEALED 1996 USA CD Shadow Gallery Cairo Magna Carta USD $11.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Shadow Gallery Carved in Stone SEALED 1995 USA CD Magna Carta Marillion Cairo USD $11.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Tempest 10th Anniversary SEALED 1999 USA CD Magna Carta Genesis King Crimson Yes USD $12.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Tempest Balance SEALED 2001 USA CD Magna Carta Cairo World Trade Shadow Gallery USD $12.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Tales from Yesterday Tribute to Yes Sealed 1995 US CD Cairo Magellan Magna Carta USD $11.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Magna Carta - Tomorrow Never Comes CD USD $25.19 Buy It Now 4 days
CD lord of the ages ~ USD $14.50
CD magna carta ~ USD $14.50
CD prisoners on the line ~ USD $14.50
CD songs from wasties orchard ~ USD $16.65
LP songs from wasties orchard ~ USD $23.45
CD songs from wasties orchard ~ USD $14.50


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MAGNA CARTA shows & tickets


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MAGNA CARTA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MAGNA CARTA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.17 | 9 ratings
Magna Carta (AKA Times Of Change)
1969
3.33 | 23 ratings
Seasons
1970
2.49 | 17 ratings
Songs From Wasties Orchard
1971
3.46 | 33 ratings
Lord Of The Ages
1973
2.07 | 5 ratings
Took A Long Time (also called "Putting it back together")
1976
1.51 | 9 ratings
Martin's Cafe
1977
3.04 | 4 ratings
Prisoners On The Line
1978
2.00 | 1 ratings
Midnight Blue
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rings Around the Moon
2000

MAGNA CARTA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.76 | 5 ratings
In Concert
1972
2.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Bergen
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
State of the Art
1993
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live in Grassington
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Evergreen: Live in Grassington 2
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live: Time For The Leaving
2005

MAGNA CARTA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MAGNA CARTA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Lord Of The Ages + Martin's Café
1999
4.05 | 2 ratings
Seasons + Songs From Wasties Orchard
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
A Touch of Class
2002
3.02 | 3 ratings
Ages And Seasons
2003
4.00 | 1 ratings
Ticket To The Moon
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Deserted Highways of the Heart
2007
4.05 | 3 ratings
Tomorrow Never Comes - The Anthology 1969-2006
2007

MAGNA CARTA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

MAGNA CARTA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Lord Of The Ages by MAGNA CARTA album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.46 | 33 ratings

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Lord Of The Ages
Magna Carta Prog Related

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

2 stars One of those portentous folk groups who could only have existed during the heady atmosphere of the late- sixties and/or early-seventies, British outfit Magna Carta have released a string of albums since their inception, though perhaps none have quite come close to matching the epic sound achieved on this bracing, Roger Dean-illustrated 1973 effort. Pretty much a straight folk record with occasional progressive-and-psychedelic flavours added for good measure, 'Lord Of The Ages' is notable chiefly for it's incredible title-track, a nine- minute mystical epic that starts out like a relic belonging to the 'Wicker Man' soundtrack before morphing into a truly staggering prog-rock opus complete with shrill guitar solo's and pseudo-hippie chanting. An incredible offering completely at odds with the rest of the album, it's a song that deserves multiple listens, both for it's slow, fantasy-themed intro and the blazing instrumental section which fills out the tracks surprisingly heavy middle-section. Therefore, if you do buy one Magna Carta album, make sure it's 'Lord Of The Ages'. The rest of the album alternates between twee acoustic ditties, groan-inducing celtic medleys and rather lame mystical lyricism, yet it's all worth it for what is a truly remarkable title-track and centre-piece to the album. They really don't make 'em like this any more. STEFAN TURNER, ISLINGTON, 2012

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 Lord Of The Ages by MAGNA CARTA album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.46 | 33 ratings

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Lord Of The Ages
Magna Carta Prog Related

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars I had heard two Magna Carta albums before this one, and I expected this to be more progressive than them. Actually it is quite similar to Seasons. (In fact, Seasons includes a side-long title suite whereas this album's longest track 'Lord Of The Ages' is 10 minutes. However, it is more progressive that the suite.) Could it be the great Roger Dean cover art that makes this album more celebrated among progheads? Probably, and that's just fine with me: it IS a lovely painting. This is a very nice folk album with slight prog tendencies, just as also Seasons and Songs From The Wasties Orchard are. Maybe this album is closer to perfection, but the difference is not big. (Their debut 1969 is clearly undeveloped especially in terms of production, and their later albums, post-Lord, are generally rated much lower than these three.)

Looking at the list of players, one notices that the band itself is a trio, all handling vocals and (acoustic) guitars while all other istruments are played by guests. Well, the music is mostly acoustic with warm vocal harmonies, not far from SIMON & GARFUNKEL at their folkiest. Definitely it sits better under folk category than prog. But that's not a fault at all. This is among the finest folk-pop albums I've heard. I agree with a previous reviewer that there is a bit of an American feel, perhaps it comes from the softness and the absence of the rougher (more down-to-earth) side of British folk tradition. The songs are all ejoyable, mostly very peaceful and mellow, and the production is excellent. If you like that kind of music, this won't disappoint you. A shame that the album is only 36 minutes long.

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 Songs From Wasties Orchard by MAGNA CARTA album cover Studio Album, 1971
2.49 | 17 ratings

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Songs From Wasties Orchard
Magna Carta Prog Related

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars A star studded guest list (including Rick Wakeman) should secure a good Magna Carta album.

Unfortunate, the result is a pedestrian folk rock album pretty far removed from anything Rick Wakeman has been involved in up to then. The songs here are simple, vocals based and the type of songs you do sitting around a camp fire somewhere in the forest/on the prairie/ anywhere but indoors. It is also pub folk rock which is very effective in that setting, but not particular exciting on a record. It is not effective either when the reviewer, that's me in third person, is stone cold sober either. Put me in a pub and give me ten (...5....) pints of beer and I may add a star. I think you get my drift.

The songs are not that good either. But the vocals and the instrumentations, which unfortunate is tilting towards a typical country & western set up, is not too bad. But I am not that amused by this album. Hence my lack of enthusiasm.

2 stars

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 Martin's Cafe by MAGNA CARTA album cover Studio Album, 1977
1.51 | 9 ratings

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Martin's Cafe
Magna Carta Prog Related

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

1 stars Won't set the world on fire!

I own this largely forgettable album as part of a 2 CD collection called Ages And Seasons that also includes the albums Seasons, Songs From Wasties Orchard and Lord Of The Ages in their entirety. While these other three albums range from decent (Songs From Wasties Orchard) to good (Seasons, Lord Of The Ages), Martin's Café is a disappointment. We have here a collection of nondescript, short songs; acoustic Folk ballads, Folk Pop and a few Country and Rock 'N' Roll numbers. Whatever progressive touches that could be found on the group's previous albums, those influences had wholly evaporated by this point.

Martin's Café contains 11 tracks, all of which are between two and four minutes in length and wholly based on conventional song structures and predictable instrumentation (mostly acoustic guitar, drums and vocals with minimal use of electric guitar, piano and harmonica). It is listenable, but pretty dull. The melodies are not very memorable and I doubt I will even listen to this album again. Life is too short for that and there is so much good music! Still, this lacklustre album does not take away much from the value of the Ages And Seasons double disc set which contains at least two good albums. If you buy that collection, then Martin's Café is probably worth a listen. But do not, I repeat, do not, search out this album strictly on its own merits unless you are an utter Magna Carta fanatic (and I doubt such people exist!).

In its own right, this album is for completionists only.

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 Seasons by MAGNA CARTA album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.33 | 23 ratings

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Seasons
Magna Carta Prog Related

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Too much sugar for my liking.......

But it still works.

This album consists of one long suite (twenty two minutes long) and some shorter songs. The music is a blend of pop backed up with sugar sweet orchestral production and some good vocals in the vein of Art Garfunkel. Yes, the Simon & Garfunkel references are strong here. So is the references to the stuff Elvis Presley did after he left Las Vegas. I have an album full of his post-Las Vegas stuff (my first ever bought album......... when I was six years old) and Seasons gives me the same vibes. Even some The Beatles stuff anno their Indian music period has crept in here. The Beatles is therefore a good reference point too.

The problem with Magna Carta is that they have a very charming, disarming sound which pretty much remove the venom I normally have for bands like this. Their vocal harmonies is absolute excellent and in the same class as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Their music is not in the same class as CSN&Y, but it is still good. The twenty two minutes long suite Seasons has a good dynamic and is more than leaning on Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Which is good in my books. The shorter songs is not that good. But this is still a good, charming album from one of the best acoustic bands out there. I am not fond of this type of music. But Seasons is one of the better albums in this genre. A major plus for the cover artwork too.

3 stars

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 Martin's Cafe by MAGNA CARTA album cover Studio Album, 1977
1.51 | 9 ratings

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Martin's Cafe
Magna Carta Prog Related

Review by toroddfuglesteg

1 stars This is a pretty dreadful way of ending a day, listening to and reviewing one of Magna Carta's weakest albums. If not their weakest album.

The music here is pretty aimless country pop. Most of the songs seems to be made for the commercial pub-gigs market. Magna Carta's normally strongest card is their vocals and guitar harmonies which normally rivals the likes of Crosby, Stills & Nash. But even they are not present on this album. What remains is soulless pub-songs. Some of them are beefed up by some honky-tonk piano and harmonica in a probably attempts to get some airplay on the morning radio programmes. This only makes this album worse. The lyrics too is pretty dire. This album is a fully fledged turkey with all it's trimmings. Pass me the gravy, please.

1 star

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 Took A Long Time (also called Studio Album, 1976
2.07 | 5 ratings

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Took A Long Time (also called "Putting it back together")
Magna Carta Prog Related

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars MAGNA CARTA had always held a fascination for American folk and country music even on earlier albums where their English origins could not be denied. After a several year lay off, they returned with a decidedly more convincing American country sound at turns reminiscent of JAMES TAYLOR, MICHAEL MURPHY, LOGGINS AND MESSINA, and other bands and artists operating in that era.

While the tweeness is almost banished, and the muscle of the rhythm section which includes Pick Withers later of DIRE STRAITS is impressive, this is ultimately not a very distinguished recording, even if it marks an uptick over "Martin's Cafe". "Took a Long Time" (one of their least self consciously beautiful ballads), "My Dear Rose", "Wild Bird" (like Magna Carta's "Free Bird" if you will), and "Tomorrow is a Long Time" all show a comfort level with this genre that the group has rarely exhibited before, but the rest simply lack sufficient inspiration to transcend the generic.

The progressive quotient entirely absent, "Took a Long Time" didn't take a long time to assess as a 2 star effort of interest for historians only.

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 Ages And Seasons by MAGNA CARTA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2003
3.02 | 3 ratings

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Ages And Seasons
Magna Carta Prog Related

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars

For a group that has not released an original studio album since the late 70s, Magna Carta has been busily churning out compilations and live testaments to their generally subdued harmonic and occasionally countrified folk. It's a tough call whether to spring for this 4 LP on 2 CD set in order to obtain 2 good Magna Carta albums and a mere couple of good tracks from the other 2, and largely depends on the costs involved and on how much of a completist you want to be. Unfortunately, the other 2 compilations produced along the bloodlines of the original LPs also divide more or less evenly along quality lines. The two albums worth owning are "Seasons" and "Lord of the Ages", both of which are contained herein. The booklet also contains a reasonable group history, but I assume that the original CD reissues would have done the same, so they might represent a more satisfying and uniform purchase.

Magna Carta's loyal fanbase and not insignificant sales figures from their heyday are both somewhat surprising for such an unassuming group and sound. For my part as a fan of folk, folk rock, and prog folk especially of the British variety, I consider them to be in the second league, with the potential to have left a more distinctive legacy than that with which they may be remembered. But that's one for the ages. Just over the 2.5 star threshold.

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 Martin's Cafe by MAGNA CARTA album cover Studio Album, 1977
1.51 | 9 ratings

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Martin's Cafe
Magna Carta Prog Related

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars When listening to MAGNA CARTA in general, I don't feel in the presence of some great well of emotion, but "Martin's Cafe" is a dispirited affair even by those standards, a weak agglomeration of light country pop that is miles away from the relative sophistication of "Lord of the Ages".

Apart from two outstanding tracks, "Tomorrow's Up for Sale", with its biting and timeless social commentary, and the surprisingly edgy acoustic blues of "I'm gonna take you down", everything here is virtually interchangeable and unappealing.

The mid 70s were rife with this type of low rent sub FM tripe, but Martin's cafe's bill of fare brings new meaning to the concept of stodgy and bland British cuisine.

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 Songs From Wasties Orchard by MAGNA CARTA album cover Studio Album, 1971
2.49 | 17 ratings

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Songs From Wasties Orchard
Magna Carta Prog Related

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars "Songs from Wasties Orchard" was actually my introduction to MAGNA CARTA via a friend in the 80s. It was framed as their classic album. While that may or may not be true for fans of soft, even country inflected folk rock, it is assuredly not the case for progressive aficionados. But for those whose ears perked up, this is not even the hard country approach of LINDISFARNE, but a genteel music hall in a barn type of country, that consumes about half the disk.

The presence of Strawbs standbys Rod Chesterman, Rick Wakeman and Tony Visconti does not translate to any of the musical sophistication or potency one might expect; instead we have the more typical MAGNA CARTA of "Time for the Leaving", "Isle of Skye", and "Sunday on the River". Lead guitar here and there is more prominent but not at all distinctive. The upbeat surprises of "Good Morning Sun", "Home Groan", "Parliament Hill" and "Country Jam" are not particularly welcome if they do change the pace, as they just sound like MAGNA CARTA trying to do country, that is, restrained and self consciously.

Probably the best work here is in "Knaresborough Town" with its sitar accompaniment and old Englishe melody, and the pretty "White Snow Dove", which manages to sound as progressive as anything here, and in less than 150 seconds.

If you want to start with MAGNA CARTA, this probably isn't the place; whatever your musical preference, the prior or subsequent orchards will offer you more if limited pleasures for the picking.

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