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Magna Carta - Songs From Wasties Orchard CD (album) cover


Magna Carta


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2.59 | 28 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Don't pick this one

This, Magna Carta's third album, was one of their least progressive efforts. Founding member Lyell Tranter left the band to return to Australia for romantic reasons. His place was filled by a young Davey Johnstone who had appeared as a guest musician on the previous "Seasons" album. After just one studio album, Johnstone would leave Magna Carta to join Elton's John's band, where he has remained ever since.

For "Songs from Wasties orchard", the band retreated into their folk roots, even touching at times on country. The opening two tracks, "Time for the leaving" and "Isle of Skye" both sound like traditional songs, but are in fact Chris Simpson compositions. Their pleasant understated acoustic nature follows on naturally from the second side of "Seasons". Davey Johnstone contributes two songs, and co-writes a third. Of these, "Sponge", an acoustic guitar workout, would sit well on any Fairport Convention album, especially "Angel Delight" (which it sounds like an outtake from).

There are a couple of upbeat numbers ("Good morning sun" and Parliament Hill") where the Simon and Garfunkel sound of Magna Carta is very much to the fore. They are pleasant but very lightweight. "Home groan" and "Country jam" see the band venturing into country rock, a misguided and fortunately brief foray.

"Songs from Wasties orchard" is a relatively prosaic and uninspired offering from Magna Carta. It lacks the originality of the albums released both before and after it. The guest musicians, who include of Rick Wakeman and Ron Chesterman, are woefully under exploited, indeed it is all but impossible to identify their contributions. While much of the music, especially the soft reflective numbers, is pleasing to the ear, there is little here to get excited about and certainly nothing to enhance the band's prog credentials.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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