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Cressida Cressida album cover
3.54 | 158 ratings | 26 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. To Play Your Little Game (3:15)
2. Winter is Coming Again (4:42)
3. Time For Bed (2:18)
4. Cressida (3:57)
5. Home And Where I Long To Be (4:04)
6. Depression (5:02)
7. One Of A Group (3:35)
8. Lights In My Mind (2:45)
9. The Only Earthman In Town (3:32)
10. Spring '69 (2:14)
11. Down Down (4:15)
12. Tomorrow Is A Whole New Day (5:19)

Total Time: 45:17

Line-up / Musicians

- Angus Cullen / vocals
- John Heyworth / guitar, vocals (5)
- Peter Jennings / harpsichord, organ, piano
- Kevin McCarthy / bass
- Iain Clark / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Teenburger

LP Vertigo ‎- VO 7 (1970, UK)
LP Repertoire Records ‎- REP 2225 (2014, Europe) Remastered

CD Repertoire Records ‎- REP 4299-WP (1992, Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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CRESSIDA Cressida ratings distribution

(158 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

CRESSIDA Cressida reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Cressida's short career will be unfortunately unnoticed, despite having a lot of trumps in their hands. Just two albums, but both fetching small fortunes (partly due to the fact that they were released on Vertigo's Swirl label), but the music quality is simply excellent on both records although there are very notable differences between them. This first album came with a disturbing artwork that started out from a good idea, but somehow ultimately failed as the collage is rather amateurish, which is rather surprising given the Vertigo label. Actually sonically, Cressida defies easy description using other names, but if one has to try I would say a cross between Caravan, a jazzy Savoy Brown (with Chris Youlden around the Raw Sienna album) and Spring.

This first album is rather song-based (max-track length: just over 5 minutes and an average under the 4-min mark), but let this not deter you: their luscious organ-dominated sound is so gorgeous and the inventive arrangements on their pot-pourri influences are more than enough for the proghead's enthusiasm. Winter, the eponymous title track, Depression (which is anything but, really), Lights In My Mind (sounding like Hendrix's version of Watchtower), Spring 69 and Earthman, are the many highlights but overall, all of the 12 tracks are relatively even in quality. The singer has an excellent and unique voice timbre and all of those musicians are good. There is a rather peculiar happy melancholy throughout the album, and it is certainly a major part of its appeal.

A rather promising debut, and original enough to warrant the fourth star, Cressida's two albums are essential to early 70's-loving progheads

Review by lor68
3 stars Among so many "Proto-progressive bands" from the late '60s/early '70s CRESSIDA was that one more similar and inspired too, by the MOODY BLUES. Other bands like FANTASY, BEGGAR'S OPERA, CIRKUS, and SPRING, produced successful albums in the same period. It's an organ-drive Proto-progressive, supported by the guitar, often with a "Mellotron-keyboard background", in the vein of early KING CRIMSON. Flute is used throughout. Recommended to the fans of such particular genre only, while every symphonic, fusion, or heavy-prog fan may decide to stay far away from this kind of stuff!! Make you choice!!
Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Cressida is one of those groups that fell short of the greatness that was within its reach. Throughout the course of the two albums these guys cut for Vertigo in the early 70s you always get the feeling that a really great blockbuster of a prog track is coming up, but with the odd notable exception (the title track of the second album Asylum is absolutely superb), Cressida doesn't quite deliver often enough on its considerable promise.

Despite being released in 1970, the first album has a distinct 60s proto-prog sound (that isn't entirely absent from its successor either!). The songs, that are largely written by either guitarist John Heyworth or lead vocalist Angus Cullen combine a strong Moody Blues influences and touches of nascent jazz-rock but with a dominant organ sound (the "Moody Blues meets The Nice" description is a dismissive but not altogether innaccurate way of describing Cressida's sound). Keyboardist Peter Jennings and drummer Iain Clark (who would later join Uriah Heep) are probably the most impressive of the band's instrumentalists, but I'm not sure that the compositions always work in their favour.

You should be warned that this album starts off with its least impressive songs. The 60s pop crooning and the faux art feel of To Play Your Little Game and Winter Is Coming Again sound pretty dated, and might tempt you to give up on Cressida ... don't, though! Because there is real quality in the quartet of songs at the centre of this album ... the sprightly pysch-jazz title track, Home And Where I Long To Be (which has Jennings on harpsichord and a lead vocal from Heyworth that sounds rather like Cullen!), the power jams of Depression which will absolutely thrill fans of the likes of Colosseum and One Of A Group which veers from classical organ to psych guitar freak out and jazz-waltz piano in just over three minutes.

Elsewhere, there's nothing to scoff at in the rocky Lights In My Mind (well aside from the moments that recall All Along The Watchtower!), the acoustic guitar jazz of Time For Bed, the mournful reflective folk of Spring '69 and the seemingly aimless, but actually quite subtle Down Down. I still get the feeling that the overpowering 60s vibe will ensure that Cressida actually appeals to psychedelic rock fans more than the hardcore symphonic crowd (not that the two are mutually exclusive, of course!) and I repeat my assessment that these guys should have done more than they did. But despite not being a long lost gem, Cressida is still a very nice proto- prog album. ... 62% on the MPV scale

Review by hdfisch
3 stars The debut by mostly forgotten proto-Prog band Cressida was dominated by highly harmonic and easily approachable songs quite typical for bands from that era like Moody Blues or Procol Harum. Of course we're in 1970 and therefore it's not surprising that their sound still owns much to 60's flower power era. But this band incorporated already quite well some classical and also jazzy elements in their mostly solemn compositions rooted in the British folk tradition. All the songs presented here are pleasant more a kind of romantic, at times maybe a bit too pathetic ones and in some of them like "Cressida" even anticipate a slight touch of Canterbury. Dominating instruments are the Hammond and guitar, sometimes played acoustically but an occasional harpsichord adds a very nice baroque flavour. Vocals by lead singer Angus Cullen are very palatable and fit nicely into the music. Certainly one should not expect anything extraordinary here and I don't think this work can be considered an essential addition but anyway this album had been a remarkable debut by an interesting little known early Prog band. Their second (and unfortunately last) album had been ever better than this one which is nonetheless worth to be checked out by fans of Proto-Prog (***1/2 really)!!
Review by kenethlevine
2 stars If Peter Jennings' organ is the trump card of the Cressida sound, and it is, then John Hayworth's lead guitar is its deuce. For every impressive run and atmosphere on the Hammond, we have an aimless, or overlong and grating guitar solo. Take "Depression", which starts off as a lovely Moody Blues tribute and degrades quickly. Even when the organ comes back the magic is gone and all you have is an average passage. Angus Cullen's voice fits well with the music in general, but it disappears after a third of this song never to return. "Depression" is only one example of an all too common trend on this album.

The best cuts are those that showcase Jennings and downplay Hayworth, and where Cullen seems to be emulating the best of what the Moody Blues had been doing, such as "To Play your Little Game", "Home and Where I Long to be", and "Down Down". But it's all rather obtuse while not revealing any redeeming complexity.

When compared to other proto prog bands of their era, such as Beggars Opera, Gracious, and certainly Procol Harum, Cressida does not quite measure up. They do seem a bit of a darling among prog rock fans, and so I would classify them as overrated in spite of their minimal commercial success.

Review by Matti
2 stars This short-lived British band made only two albums in the early 70's, both of which have gained some cult status typical of rarities. Well, I don't care much of the (vinyl) rarity aspect, these are well available on CD anyway, but I agree with fellow reviewer about some overratedness. They simply were in a minor league. But who knows how much they could have improved with a longer career...

Cressida's second album Asylum made a strong impression on me some years ago, and eventually I later bought this debut. I was disappointed because this is quite another kind of an album. Whereas Asylum had a lot of variety in the structure - including small-scale epic approach and instrumental sections - , here songs are more or less in the same vein, ie. tight, shortish and mostly upbeat songs. More like 'Proto-Prog' than 'Symphonic Prog'. But once you get over that, you find also this album quite enjoyable. Angus Cullen's Justin Hayward -type of vocals are again very nice (I'm NOT making other statements of the presumed MOODY BLUES similarity!), and the overall sound has aged charmingly. You hear a lot of mellow organ. The DOORS was my first association (actually only a certain part of Doors' repertoire, perhaps best represented on Waiting For The Sun album). Several associations can always be made but Cressida had a sound of their own. Anyway, I would have wanted more of the emotional and calmer side of music I found on Asylum. Maybe I'm still not familiar enough with this album to get rid of the sense of sameness between tracks. I'm giving this 2,5 stars, hesitatedly.

The cover art really doesn't work at all in the CD reproduction.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars By the first listen the thing to be mentioned here is that Cressida's debut is deeply rooted in 60's rock and classic rock and thus it should be categorized rather as a proto-prog album than a symphonic prog one...Hints of bluesy rock of the 60's ,THE BEATLES as well as classic rock elements are obvious during the listening of the disc...But along with these rather unprog stuff you are in front of some fine art rock like the great organ work and also some symphonic arrangements...I would also notice as a minus that the whole album is very much vocal-oriented without allowing the music to delevop during the songs,although I can't overlook that Angus Cullen's voice is stunning and suitable to the band's music...Best tracks in my opinion are ''To play your little game'' and ''Tomorrow is a whole new day'' which are closest to the symphonic sound of the band...All in all just a good proto-prog album worth listening to but I have heard that their second one is much better so try that one instead...3 stars for me...
Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars There are tons of those unknown bands who released good albums in the early seventies. Usually, it is left to the Italian genre to have generated a huge amount of one album bands but this is a UK example. Not that ''Cressida'' only released only one record. They will go on for a second one, but still they will face a very short career.

When you listen to this debut, there are hardly little symphonic feel out here. Some fine psychedelia and upbeat stuff like ''Winter Is Coming Again''; but this is hardly what one can expect from the band.

Jennings is of course great on the keys and he is giving most of the good orientations to the band. I am saying so because when I am listening to the acoustic oriented ''Time For Bed'', I can't be thrilled with these jazzy moods.

Don't expect any epic here: each song is radio formatted unfortunately. It is quite strange to be mentioned. At the time of release, prog bands were rather writing epics than radio formatted music. But there were some exceptions as ''Cressida''.

This album is of course not bad at all: some fine mellotron, very much acceptable vocals and some genuine symphonic passages (''Cressida'') are to be considered. But to discover one highlight on this album is like the search of the Holy Grail. One might well seek for it, but no one will ever find it. Right?

If some reviewers believe that short numbers are fine, I belong to the ones who were (almost) born with side long epics. And I quite LOVE them. No sight of one here. Some fine moments of course are available (''Depression'') but none are grandiose IMO. Little symphony to be honest.

This is an album which aged with difficulties. It can hardly be considered as a precursory work. And since the band was very short lived, there is little question of this one being the source of great things to come.

Some good psychedelia, combined with great keys: this is what you can expect from this album. To consider this work as creative is definitely beyond my capabilities. Three stars with no problem because one is faced with pleasant and genuine music we love so much.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
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.

Review by Mellotron Storm
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.

Review by Warthur
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.

Latest members reviews

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1031676) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Tuesday, September 10, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 Cr ... (read more)

Report this review (#360228) | Posted by 1967/ 1976 | Wednesday, December 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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, ... (read more)

Report this review (#257773) | Posted by Lozlan | Friday, December 25, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars What do you get when you crossbreed The Nice with Caravan ? The debut album by Cressida. The vocals are very much like Caravan anno the The Land In Pink & Grey. The moog and most of the rest is not too far away from The Nice. There is also a lot of Canterbury jazz hanging over this album to ... (read more)

Report this review (#235334) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, August 27, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In the late '60's and early '70's, I bought a lot of records "on spec", based largely on the album art. This album instantly intrigued me with its dark, surrealistic, and inexplicable imagery, and I was pleased to discover that the mood of the music complemented the cover art very nicely (and ... (read more)

Report this review (#229405) | Posted by BarrettSinclair | Saturday, August 1, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Well, I tried. A cardinal rule when listening to any progressive rock album is to attend to it closely and to hear it repeatedly. Only then will its true worth become evident. Any one-off and superficial listening so often ends in disappointment. I had high hopes for Cressida's eponymous album - ... (read more)

Report this review (#211812) | Posted by Kiwi1 | Monday, April 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Very fresh debut album, I'm really glad to have discovered Cressida; pop can be interesting and proggy, indeed. The album comprises of a dozen well crafted, enjoyable progressive pop songs with distinctive sound and soft atmosphere. Folk, classical, psychedelic and jazz influences are also foun ... (read more)

Report this review (#180863) | Posted by Mlaen | Tuesday, August 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For me this is the ultimate melodic Progressive masterpiece ! 12 amazing songs here..Brilliant melodies , great musicianship , haunting organ ,dreamy guitar passages with hints of jazz..And above all, Angus Cullen's melancholy voice that takes the listener to the realms of pure euphoria!His vo ... (read more)

Report this review (#122914) | Posted by Fantasyman | Sunday, May 20, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Four and a half stars really! I've been meaning to write about this for awhile, having heard the album many times and not really to be sure of where I stand on it. Cressida were short lived and all but ignored at the time, but when progressive/proto-prog rock became collectable they were one ... (read more)

Report this review (#98512) | Posted by | Sunday, November 12, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I don't know about anyone else...But the first thing I said when I heard the first few songs were....Caravan? Though there is few original aspects of this band...I find them to be a very good "wanna be" Caravan band. "To Play Your Little Game" is my favorite on the album, The verse lyrics ... (read more)

Report this review (#86540) | Posted by EssentialFaris | Friday, August 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Although this album is not as brilliant as the follow-up, Asylum, this is a very good album. The tracks are short (well, for a progressive band anyway) but that doesn't mean the music isn't adventurous or progressive. The music is like a transition between the sixties and the seventies. The tr ... (read more)

Report this review (#75322) | Posted by Agemo | Tuesday, April 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Debut board released in 1970 "Cressida". This work that looks like DOORS is a link to the next work. There are a lot of one of music to show the composition steady while short. The melody with a peculiar, pitiful feeling has been established. A classical accent is good. There is a little loose ... (read more)

Report this review (#61255) | Posted by braindamage | Thursday, December 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Do you like the 60's Grateful Dead? Iron Butterfly and Quicksilver Messenger Service? Cressida is an English band that seems to have one foot in the England and the other in San Francisco. I hear Genesis and early Yes as well as the aforementioned American groups when I listen to this album. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#25341) | Posted by dalt99 | Tuesday, July 20, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Songs don't have to be lenghty and complicated to fill the musical needs of a prognick, as Cressida is able to show here. The dreamy hammond sound of Peter Jennings and the delicate voice of Angus Cullen make this album a worthwhile listening. Highly recommended. ... (read more)

Report this review (#25336) | Posted by | Wednesday, January 7, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Great UK of those "forgotten" progbands from the UK. Smooth vocal....fine guitaring... laidback themes.....wonderful tunes. This is laidback prog in its prime !!! OOohhh just listen to that keyboard.......the sheer brilliance of the deliverance....great stuff!!! Any pop prog freak . ... (read more)

Report this review (#25333) | Posted by Tonny Larz | Thursday, November 27, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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