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CRESSIDA

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Cressida biography
CRESSIDA were an excellent band of early British symphonic progressive scene. Their sound is mostly dominated by the most beautiful and symphonic Hammond organ (dirty, and mellow), piano, bass, guitar, and drums. The instrumental sections are equally good, and tend to be typical of early 70s English prog rock. Thanks to the captivating atmospheres and the technical ability of the musicians. Similar bands include FANTASY, BEGGARS' OPERA, CIRKUS, GRACIOUS, and SPRING.

Both CRESSIDA albums are excellent and very rare now (both were original Vertigo "Swirls"). Their self-titled debut is an early seventies forgotton classic with delicate vocals, gobs of organ and acoustic guitar. CRESSIDA's second "Asylum" is the best of the genre represented by BEGGARS' OPERA, SPRING, FANTASY, FRUUPP, and many more. The combinations of instruments used for this album featuring the flute and different keyboard configurations accompanied by acoustic guitar works. This album, though, was by far the better one, with long instrumental passages and more elaborate arrangements. Thus, if you're interested, "Asylum" is a recommended starter of great early British rock. DEFINITELY A CLASSIC!

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Cressida/AsylumCressida/Asylum
Import
Bgo/Ieg 2009
Audio CD$11.64
$24.72 (used)
Vertigo Years Anthology 1969 - 1971Vertigo Years Anthology 1969 - 1971
Remastered · Import
Esoteric 2012
Audio CD$13.66
$20.28 (used)
AsylumAsylum
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$8.83
$9.71 (used)
Trapped in TimeTrapped in Time
Import
Esoteric 2012
Audio CD$11.31
$19.02 (used)
CressidaCressida
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
Audio CD$7.38
$9.71 (used)
TRAPPED IN TIME THE LOST TAPESTRAPPED IN TIME THE LOST TAPES
DIW Records (JAPAN)
Audio CD$34.22
$44.91 (used)
CRESSIDACRESSIDA
INDIE (JAPAN)
Audio CD$39.99
$19.96 (used)
AsylumAsylum
Import
Polygram Int'l 2001
Audio CD$71.47
$27.00 (used)
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CRESSIDA discography


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

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

3.47 | 121 ratings
Cressida
1970
3.52 | 117 ratings
Asylum
1971
3.67 | 6 ratings
Trapped in Time: The Lost Tapes
2012

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

CRESSIDA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

3.83 | 18 ratings
Cressida/Asylum
2004

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

CRESSIDA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Asylum by CRESSIDA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.52 | 117 ratings

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Asylum
Cressida Symphonic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

5 stars Let me stand up and declare: This is a true amazing album, perfectly suited for my 70s prog- nostalgic ears. I have heard them live, just a week ago and incredibly they're still as good as they were 1971. Asylum is Cressidas second and last studio record and features a new guitarist in John Culley, and as before Angus Cullen on vocals, guitar and percussion, Peter Jennings on organ and piano, Kevin McCarthy on bass and Iain Clark on drums and percussion. The cover picture is fun with many blank heads of whom one is burning. I don't agree to the common review "good, but non-essential". Well it doesn't seems to be essentiel but it could have been if it became more known. I warmly recommend you to listen to this record.

Since the debut Cressida here has perfected its sound to an artistic flower that shines through my loudspeakers directly against my soul. This music is so light and fair. They don't reflect themselves in hauteur, but they don't have to, their music speaks proudly enough. Some prog bands looses themselves in extravagant keyboard music where it's hard to regognize clear sounds but here we have the fantastic sound of organ and Jennings shows he's as good as Jon Lord, Tony Banks or Hugh Banton. Cullen's voice is so emotional, thank you for that and the band's wild progressivity plays around for us in incredible 41 minutes.

Everything here is amazing but if I shall pick favourites it'll be "Munich" and "Summer weekend of a life time". The least good song is "Reprieved". That is just very good and not marvelous.

I wrote warmly about Cressida's first record and did it honestly. That was a five star record as well as this, but I think I speak for more than me when I say this is the best of their efforts. Cressida made a development that is perceptible. But what a shame they didn't continue! Think about how it would have been with a ten-record discography! Perhaps I'll dream about their third record tonight.

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 Cressida by CRESSIDA album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.47 | 121 ratings

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Cressida
Cressida Symphonic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

5 stars This was really a band I like! Cressida was a no-name for me before I went on a cruise to wonderful Riga last weekend. On way back Cressida played and made us all totally amazed. This was an amazing reunion 42(!) years after their second and last record. This is Cressidas first record with an artistic cover showing fragments making a symbol and some clouds in the back ground. It feautires Angus Cullen on vocals, John Heyworth on guitar, and vocals on track 5, Peter Jennings on organ, harpsichord and piano, Kevin McCarthy on bass and Iain Clark on drums. Of them sadly Heyworth is dead but the other's still going strong, very strong actually.

Ok, then was then, and a good one! The sound of Cressida is light and very artistic. The perhaps most obvious is Peter Jennings talanted organ play and of course Angus Cullens soft emotional voice. If you don't know how they sound, think about a micture of Caravan and Van der Graaf Generator. Do you like those bands, I do, and so I like Cressida. On twelve almost similar good tracks they let their music talk to us is an honest manner. Unlike most other proggers these men mostly did short songs and they're so sweet. The album is even so it's hard to pick the best songs for you but the sweeping organ solos in "Winter is coming again" or the friendly vocals in "Lights in my mind" could make them that. Or perhaps(as usual) the longest track's the best: "Tomorrow is a whole new day" is a perfect song if you just would like to listen a little. I like Clark's tasteful drumming, McCarthy's bass and Heyworth elegant guitar. I also find Cullen's pure voice unique even if clear similarities could be felt to Hammill or Hastings. But what is making this record a five star record is the progressive organ which takes inspiration from classical and mainstream music but mostly from its own player. I look forward to review their next: "Asylum". I find this perfect!

Favourites: Tomorrow is a whole new day (10/10), Lights in my mind(10/10), WInter is coming again(10/10), Home and where I long to be(10/10), Depression(10/10), Cressida(9/10), The only earthman in town(9/10) and Down down(9/10)

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 Asylum by CRESSIDA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.52 | 117 ratings

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Asylum
Cressida Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Cressida's second album slipped out posthumously, the band having broken up a few months before. That's a shame, because it sounds like they were going in a very interesting direction with this one, both allowing in some jazz-rock influences filtered via the Canterbury scene as well as playing up the psychedelic side of their sound. The end result is a curious mixture both of the current progressive sounds of the early 1970s and the head music roots of the prog scene. It's a charming listen which manages to be accessible without dumbing down what the band are trying to do, and provides a sound which grew on me rapidly. A slightly different prospect than their debut, but the musical growth on display is substantial; that they never managed to take it further at the time is a real loss to the prog scene.

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 Cressida by CRESSIDA album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.47 | 121 ratings

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Cressida
Cressida Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Cressida's first album proves that you can have rich symphonic prog textures without long, extended track durations. Part of the Vertigo stable (in fact, it was issued along the debut albums by Black Sabbath and Rod Stewart), it's a charming piece which straddles the prototypical psychedelic-leaning progressive rock sound of the 1960s with the symphonic prog sound which was beginning to creep in following King Crimson's debut album. Angus Cullen's vocals are a particular treat, as are the warm harpsicord, organ and piano textures of Peter Jennings. One of those special albums which on the one hand is quintessential progressive rock but on the other hand offers none of the grandiosity or pomposity of other proggers but retains a clear connection to the psychedelic underground the genre emerged from.

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 Asylum by CRESSIDA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.52 | 117 ratings

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Asylum
Cressida Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars CRESSIDA's second and final album "Asylum" was released in 1971 and for this one they've added a flute player and changed the guitarist. Unlike the debut we do get a couple of lengthy tracks and overall this album is more proggy.They used real strings instead of the mellotron from their debut this time.They would break up sometime after this release and drummer Iain Clark would go on to play for URIAH HEEP for a year while guitarist John Culley would join BLACK WIDOW.

"Asylum" has a good beat with organ then vocals before a fuller sound join in. An organ solo before 1 1/2 minutes then the vocals return after 2 1/2 minutes. "Munich" is mellow with spacey organ to start. When the vocals arrive they sound like Peter Hammill when he sings those more laid parts. Strings in this one too. A guitar solo 2 1/2 minutes then we get a change as the tempo picks up with guitar and organ leading.The organ solo before 5 minutes is great. It settles right down 6 minutes in then the original vocal led passage returns. Nice. So good. It picks back up late to end it. "Goodbye Post Office Tower, Goodbye" features strummed guitar before a full sound joins in.This is catchy with piano standing out. An explosion ends it. "Survivor" is a short urgent sounding track with vocals although it does calm down at one point. An organ solo on this one too. "Reprived" opens with piano, light drums and vocal melodies.Piano then leads.

"Lisa" is different as it it really is all over the place.Tough to enjoy.There are strings on this one and a guitar solo later. "Summer Weekend Of A Lifetime" is a folky track with floating organ, intricate guitar and vocals standing out early. An organ solo 2 minutes in followed by guitar as they trade off for a while. "Let Them Come When They Will" opens with strummed guitar and vocals.Strings before a minute. It picks up and gets fuller. Organ before 3 minutes then the percussion leads a minute later. A calm after 4 1/2 minutes then the vocals return in an emotional manner. A change 9 minutes in as bass and cymbals take over then a full sound follows. A guitar solo 10 1/2 minutes in.

I do prefer the debut but i'm rounding this up to 4 stars because I really like their sound.

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 Cressida by CRESSIDA album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.47 | 121 ratings

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Cressida
Cressida Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This was such a pleasant surprise. I've seen this band associated with some Proto-Prog bands so I wasn't expecting much considering most of these organ / mellotron led late sixties bands just don't do a lot for me. Add to that the poor rating on this site and I just assumed this would be a disappointment. Well check out the first review for this album on here from a Collaborator (Sean Trane) and also the high ratings on the Gnosis and RYM site and you'll see I am not alone in my praise for this 1970 release.The vocals are so appealing, kind of a cross between Hayward (MOODY BLUES) and Hastings (CARAVAN) plus a little Robert Wyatt.The songs are fairly short and samey but i'm just drawn to their sound with the floating organ and the odd guitar solo.Well crafted tunes are the strength of this record.

"To Play Your Little Game" opens with vocals that remind me so much of Wyatt then it kicks in before a minute.Vocals become more passionate as contrasts continue. A guitar solo ends it. "Winter Is Coming Again" builds as reserved vocals join in. It gets fuller on the chorus each time. Nice guitar melodies and laid back organ here. "Time For Bed" is uptempo with strummed and picked guitar along with piano and vocals standing out. "Cressida" features pulsating organ with bass and drums as the vocals join in. Far out stuff right here. Mellotron too as It turns dreamy 2 1/2 minutes in then back to the original programming. "Home And Where I Long To Be" is another relaxing song with vocals that does pick up at times. I like the guitar melodies in this one.

"Depression" opens with organ then it kicks in with vocals and a full sound. A guitar solo 2 minutes in followed by an organ solo after 3 minutes to end it. "One Of A Group" is mainly organ and drums early. A piano solo 3 minutes in then the guitar joins in to end it. "Lights In My Mind" is such a great little track. Some tasteful guitar too. Drums shine late. "The Only Earthman In Town" picks up before a minute with vocals leading the way. Some beautiful guitar melodies 2 1/2 minutes in then the organ solos. "Spring '69" has some cool lyrics with sad vocals and gentle guitar. "Down Down" has these floating organ melodies and reserved vocals leading. I like it. It picks up when the vocals stop. Mellotron in this one too. "Tomorrow Is A Whole New Day" opens with organ then it picks up with vocals and drums.The guitar leads then organ. Some vocal melodies later. Moving stuff.

A great and enjoyable album.

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 Cressida by CRESSIDA album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.47 | 121 ratings

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Cressida
Cressida Symphonic Prog

Review by 1967/ 1976

4 stars I do not have the idea that in the world there is a band more romantic and poetic of these Cressida, a band with a short career but with a Vertigo label's evergreen "To Play Your Little Game". Cressida is classified as Symphonic Prog band. If correct this is a Folk Rock band but if you read Cressida as Folk band is correct that Cressida is classified as Symphonic Prog. This fact is important because you read in correct manner the music of Cressida.

The sound is light but with tons of organ: some moments light, some moments heavy. But generally sweet because the music is romantic: a sort of post Folk in Beat/ psychedelic field. Is not difficult to see a cottage garden in the England countryside but at the same time the smoky chimneys of the steelworks during the Industrial Revolution. Not common in Prog, Cressida have a role vocalist, Angus Cullen, a good vocalist, pefect to sing this type of music. Organist Peter Jenning is great in Cressida but the rest of the band is not great as technique: so the Cressida music is this. The songs are not long: maximum 5 mins. As for this fact the music present tons of symphinicisms in Folk field or tons of Folk moments in Symphonic Prog, depend which side you want to watch Cressida's music. I am not mad. If you remove the organ the music is simply Folk!

So, for me, Cressida is a great band, a sort of band that have a perfect role in Prog world and that deserved better luck. Genesis not have Folk moments in their music, Cressida have Folk moments in their music!

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 Asylum by CRESSIDA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.52 | 117 ratings

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Asylum
Cressida Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars As the second one goes, this is quite a deception, really. I was exspecting more after their ok debut. It seems that Cressida didn´t grow much since then. And remember, the year was 1971, with so many great things happening prog wise, it is a bit of a let down to think this band was still into 60´s pop psychedelia, (even if with some jazzy bits thrown in for good measure). Nothing wrong with the sound: organ, guitar, vocals. the musicians are quite good, but not particulary skilled or outstanding. The singer has a fine voice too. But their songwriting is definitly achilles heel. They tried to write two epics, but they seem unable to handle it properly, i.e. they lack the real competence to deal with such undertaking.

Of all the 9 tracks only the last one, the 11 minute Let Them Come When They Will moved me enough to make hear it twice on the first listening. After repeated spins it is still the only track that I think showed some real good stuff on it, but I can hardly call it an epic: it is more like several good bits put together in a long track. The last two minutes are the best, reaching a nice crescendo that got my atention. But that´s too little too late. Small wonder they didn´t go too far after this one. The remaining tracks are nice, ok, but again it already sounded dated at the time and didn´t add much to the vast 60´s pop rock scene.

There are so many greater bands aroung that time that I can only recommend this CD to fans and collectors. 2 stars.

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 Cressida by CRESSIDA album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.47 | 121 ratings

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Cressida
Cressida Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Interesting obscure little band from England that recorded two little known Lps in the early 70´s. Their sound surprised me a lot because it is labeled here as symphonic prog, while what I hear is the typical psychedelic rock of the late 60´s. There are no epics, only short songs that I can call proto prog at the most. Not bad at all, by the way. Very nice keys (mostly the Hammond organ sound you´d expect from a 60´s band, but there are also some nice harpsichord, piano and even a timid mellotron here and there). the group also had a very capable singer (Angus Cullen) and a fine guitarrist (John Heyworth, who also sings on one track). But it is clear that keybaordsman Peter Jennings who gives the band its best prog credentials.

I really don´t see why they became a kind of cult band among progheads, at least judging their work by their debut CD (I haven´t heard their second yet). Their style differs very little from more well known bands of the day, like The Moody Blues. Heyworth may have a little more jazzier side that brings the Canterbury sound a bit in mind. But I also should point out that the songwriting here is quite strong and promising for a first album. Nothing really new or too much progressive, but good anyway. The production is good and there are no fillers (but also I can´t really point out a highlight either).

I can only recommend Cressida for the ones who love the late 60´s sound (specially the West Coast influenced bands like The Doors). Those will certainly enjoy this little known album, that certainly have its moments. Rating: something between 2,5 and 3 stars.

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 Cressida by CRESSIDA album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.47 | 121 ratings

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Cressida
Cressida Symphonic Prog

Review by Lozlan

5 stars I rate this a five after very careful consideration. Ultimately, the organ lines won out: this band has to be heard to be believed. Angus Cullen's vocals are warm, rich, and complicated, with an impressive amount of control, and Peter Jennings is a magician, weaving complex organ lines that seem, in the moment, effortless. Often compared to other early English prog groups (Fantasy, Gracious etc.), and likewise often intimated to be the least of this august company, I would argue the inverse. There is a competence of songwriting, a sense that is both holistic and powerful - putting on a Cressida album is, for me, an act of complete trust in a band. There are no moments of sudden mediocrity or forgettable filler. Consistency, coupled with some of the best lyrical work in early prog, elevate this the status of completely necessary music. Find it. Listen. Enjoy.

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