Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Prog Folk

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gryphon Midnight Mushrumps album cover
3.75 | 286 ratings | 30 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Midnight Mushrumps (18:58)
2. The Ploughboy's Dream (3:02)
3. The Last Flash of Gaberdine Tailor (3:58)
4. Gulland Rock (5:21)
5. Dubbel Dutch (5:36)
6. Ethelion (5:15)

Total Time 42:10

Line-up / Musicians

- Richard Harvey / recorders, soprano, alto & tenor crumhorns, harmonium, pipe organ, grand piano, harpsichord, electric piano, toy-piano, glockenspiel, mandolin, vocals
- Brian Gulland / bassoon, bass crumhorn, tenor recorder, keyboards (4), vocals
- Graeme Taylor / guitars (acoustic, electric, semi-acoustic, 12-string & classical), vocals
- Philip Nestor / bass, vocals
- David OberlÚ / drums, timpani, percussion, lead vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Clive Boursnell (photo) with Ann Sullivan (art direction)

LP Transatlantic Records ‎- TRA 282 (1974, UK)

CD Canyon International ‎- PCCY-00345 (1992, Japan)
CD Curio Records ‎- ITEM CD5 (1995, UK)
CD Belle Antique ‎- BELLE-162574 (2016, Japan) Remastered

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy GRYPHON Midnight Mushrumps Music

GRYPHON Midnight Mushrumps ratings distribution

(286 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

GRYPHON Midnight Mushrumps reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Much better than their firstalbum and so much more accomplished songwriting.The progressive Gryphon is taking shape but the suite is over-rated in my opinion and as will be shown in the BBC sessions of the album Glastonbury Carol it was certainly better live than this relatively tepid version. This is the sort of album that needs to be discovered by the folkies to get them into prog rock simply because of the complex structures developped throughout the album. The sound of the Krummhorns is very bizarre-sounding and the over-use of it is irksome, but this is the only other flaw of the album besides the flat recording techniques.

This album can be seen as the first real classic Gryphon but certainly not their peak.

Review by slipperman
3 stars 'Midnight Mushrumps' bridges the gap between the folk of their first album and the jazzy prog of their forthcoming albums. Its centerpiece seems to be the title track, a 19- minute excursion that never seems to get off the ground completely. Most parts are delicately presented, dynamics on a pretty even keel, everything generally quite mellow. Most passages are based around acoustic guitar, bassoon, krumhorn (!) and recorders. Most of the segments sound like intros, wanting to build into something much grander than they actually become. It's a wonderful pastiche, but the flow is a bit uneventful. There's no real climactic center, no theme strong enough to latch onto to. It seems to wander like a minstrel, and given the band's forest-dwelling, mushroom- loving medieval image on front and back cover, maybe that's the idea.

The second half of the album begins with "The Ploughboy's Dream", a song that would've easily fit on Strawbs' 'From The Witchwood'. This is a traditional piece that Gryphon arranged to fit their approach, and one of the very few times you'll hear vocals on a Gryphon song. Next is "The Last Flash Of Gaberdine Tailor", a rather sleepy piece written by guitarist Graeme Taylor. It seems incomplete to me--good ideas, good playing, but no real resolution. Somehow it reminds of something from Anthony Phillips' 'The Geese And The Ghost', which is a good companion album to 'Midnight Mushrumps' if you're in such a mood. Finally, the album stands up and asserts itself with three very good tracks. "Gulland Rock" is a beautiful dramatic piece. It is mostly without beats, which helps to attain an angelic, floating kind of feeling. It offers a nice juxtaposition between tension and peacefulness. "Dubbel Dutch" offers something a bit complex. Its busy symphonic arrangement makes for an engaging listen, some excellent synergy between the stringed instruments (guitar, bass and mandolin) and tasteful percussive embellishments from David Oberle. Album highlight "Ethelion" ends things on an exciting note, reminding of the less traditional folk-jazz-prog mix that would come on 'Red Queen To Gryphon Three'. Lots of parts and a wide variety of instrumentation, utilizing just about every instrument listed in the credits. Regal and bold, "Ethelion" is quintessential Gryphon, which is more than you can say for a majority of this album. A textbook example of an enjoyable yet flawed "transitional" album.

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Conventional wisdom holds that Gryphon started off as a talented bunch of classical musicians larking about on Renaissance instruments before going on to produce a landmark progressive recording on their classic third album Red Queen To Gryphon Three. While that is certainly true, it does give one the impression that Gryphon got progressively better. The truth is that while their second album Midnight Mushrumps saw a drastic move towards rockier material, it was in some ways, a less appealing album than Gryphon's eponymous debut.

The sole reason for this was that the side-long title track was a misfiring epic that somehow managed to fill 19 minutes of one's time with well-played music that lacked any sense of direction whatsoever. The utter dreariness of listening to the piece's numerous false starts in the hope that the brilliant Richard Harvey plans to take his listeners somewhere exciting is enough to kill the enthusiasm of many a budding prog fan.

If you could get past the enormous disappointment of the title track, it would however become clear on the quintet of shorter songs that Gryphon's music had evolved from the strictly traditional music of the first album into something distinctly more compelling.

Every song, from Gulland Rock to Ethelion (wierd laughs and all) to The Last Flash of Grberdine Tailor has some really nice melodic moments. Yet, none of them were full-fledged classics that could compare with the first album's The Juniper Suite and The Unquiet Grave. Nobody who heard Midnight Mushrumps when it first came out could possibly have predicted the magnum opus that would unfold later the same year. ... 54% on the MPV scale

Review by Tony Fisher
4 stars After the first album, which was very much folk based, this sees the electric instruments come a little more to the fore. There's still a profusion of krumhorns, bassoons, recorders and acoustic keyboards as well, all played as well as could be - after all, most of them were classically trained and it shows. Only a very few bands (Gentle Giant, Renaissance, Strawbs, Horslips perhaps) can claim to have moved from traditional folk or classical music to progressive with such aplomb. The eternal problem is that Gryphon, whilst making some brilliant music, never quite managed to achieve consistency across an album (Red Queen being a possible exception). Here, the title track is an utter masterpiece. It was commissioned as prelude to a Shakespeare play and it shows Richard Harvey's composition skills off well, perfectly setting the scene. They played it on my first sight of them in 1977 and it's one of the concert moments I will remember for ever. The problem is that nothing at all on the second side really makes the grade, being pleasant, melodic and inoffensive but somewhat uninspiring - until Ethelion. This builds and builds with excellent percussion, keyboards and wind instruments to climax around a superb guitar melody around which the rest of the band elaborate - quite magical and a perfect finale. Overall, well worth buying.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I have listened for the first time this album 15 years after the other Gryphon's records : let me tell you that I had great expectations. I am however a bit disappointed: this record is a bit like "The lamb lies down on Broadway": an "only" very good album made between two outstanding ones.

This is a very acoustic Baroque-medieval progressive record. Gryphon have their unique sound mainly because of the wonderful mix of percussions and wind instruments (krumhorns and bassoon). The keyboards (mainly organ, piano, harpsichord, and harmonium I think) are not too much in the foreground so that the acoustic parts can really be appreciated. It definitely sounds like "Red Queen to Gryphon Three", but the compositions here are a bit less complex and loaded. The eponymous track nearly lasts 20 minutes: it starts very well, but there are moments that seem to lack inspiration, even sounding a bit experimental. The other side contains beautiful & short tracks, sounding very acoustic.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Music from the fun-guys

Gryphon's second album sees them developing the traditional influences of the first, while exploiting the classical background of the principal members, especially Richard Harvey.

Harvey is the sole composer of the title suite which occupies the whole of the first side of the LP. His affection for the sound of the Crumhorn (he uses three different ones and Brian Gulland uses its younger cousin, the Bassoon) and other traditional instruments give the piece a distinctly mediaeval flavour. The addition of bass to the line up, plus the adoption of some electronic instruments including organ and guitar, has only a limited impact on the band's overall sound, which is still largely from previous centuries. While the track is pleasantly diverting, overall it lacks spark, being gentle on the ear but unassuming.

The second side consists of 5 unrelated tracks. Apart from the traditional "Ploughboy's dream", they are all band compositions. The focus is very much on the understated traditional sounds of the title suite, with occasional louder electric passages. The music is primarily instrumental and acoustic. While the overriding impression is pleasant, there is a lack of real dynamic to the tracks which gives the album something of a new age, easy listening feel.

In all, a decent but undemanding album.

Irrelevant footnote - I still have my ticket stub for Gryphon supporting Yes at the Glasgow Apollo in 1975, ticket price ú2.25!

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In my opinion, "Midnight Mushrumps" stands as one of the most beautiful prog folk suites ever. I never thought the long composition is pointless. On the contrary, it clearly reveals a wide range of invention from all the band's members and it's probably correct to say it's the best Gryphon's track in all their cathalogue.

As the many fans know, the band's sound developed from pure acoustic-medieval tunes to more varied and electric fields, in a similar vein to other important english prog folk bands, as "Strawbs" for example.

At the time the second album was released, acoustic instruments still were the fundamental rule. Notwithstanding, all the compositions sounds exciting, captivating and varied as many couldn't even imagine. This is due, as I said before, to the long self titled album's opener (18,59 mns) which stands as the cornerstone of their discography. The long instrumental piece is composed by several changing parts and tempos, mixing medieval and liturgic flavour to classical parts and instruments as flute, oboe (the Gryphon's trademark), organ and guitar. Its rare beauty is almost indescribable but, please, don't excpect "rock" interludes. We're far from "Red Queen ..." or from "Raindance".

Side two of the album features more short and simple tunes as "Last Flash of Gaberdine Taylor" (3,57 mns), "Ethelion" (5,37 mns) and "Gulland Rock" (3,58 mns) that reminds me of medieval dances at the court of the king. Probably the first one is the best due to the most intriguing variations. "The Ploughboy's Dream" (3,03 mns) is the only sung piece here. It's delicate and fresh as the spring. "Dubbel Dutch" (5,21 mns) is somehow different, being based on more introvert feel thanks to (dramatic) organ and (baroque) harpsichord interludes. Acoustic guitar's and mandolin's passages in the second part are simply the icing on the cake.

This album is stunning. The final rating is a serious problem. Between 5 (side 1) and 4 (side 2). Highly recommended. A must for every aficionado of the english prog folk scene!

Let me point out that the site's general rating of the album doesn't make justice to its real value.

Review by obiter
4 stars The nation's favourite Krumhorn Kings return with the resplendent Midnight Mushrumps

"and you, whose pastime is to make midnight-Mushrumps, that rejoice To hear the solemn curfew"

Side One The curtain rises with a gentle mood setter, then a subtle krumhorn and guitar riff backed with excellent percussion. The piece fows through different moods, reaching a Tempestuous crescendo before the gentle and peaceful finale.

Side Two Plough Boys Dream returns to the more familiar ground of humorous medieval ditty with a modern touches. The modernity is more pronounced than in Gryphon. Guitar, piano and bass guitar are more prominent. Vocal harmonies are strong and striking. The last few tracks are instrumentals. Interesting as the blend of modern and medieval matures and develops. These short offerrings show maore cohesion and are more pointed than the title track.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars This second album is a large improvement over the first one. While the debut was basically pure medieval Folk music, this is more eclectic and instrumentally more interesting. I hesitate to call it Prog rock, though. There is not much rock in it, even if much more so than the debut, of course.

The all instrumental 18 minutes plus piece has a Mike Oldfield structure; it jumps from one theme to another, and then to another, and then to yet another - but it does not really progress. It is full of interesting musical ideas, but it is utterly directionless. You get the feeling that they set out to do a long piece just for the sake of it, and it does sound a bit forced at times. While there is no doubt about their instrumental prowess and their ability to spit out many fun musical ideas, they had a lot to learn about composition and arrangement (same with Oldfield at the time, I think).

The second half of the album consists of shorter pieces more in line with the debut album, but clearly more developed instrumentally. Some of these have vocals and they generally work a bit better than the vocal pieces on the debut.

Not really my cup of tea, I'm afraid. For fans only.

Review by MovingPictures07
5 stars Gryphon's second album is a transitional album in sound, connecting the more progressive tendencies that were going to be expanded on in the next album yet still holding onto the pure straight-forward folk influences of their debut. This is an amazing album even if for the title track alone.

1. Midnight Mushrumps- Wow. Just wow. This may take a few listens to grow on you because of the length, but it's SO worth it. The title track here is definitely among the best tracks Gryphon ever made, if not the best track. Everything is perfect; the instruments are played with so much emotion and I love every second of it. The medieval influences are so intriguing and encompassing, I always feel like I'm listening to something extremely unique when I hear this song. This is one of my favorite pieces of music ever. The ending is so beautiful in particular. Flawless. 10+/10

2. The Ploughboy's Dream- The majestic keyboard introduction here is very interesting, and then the song goes into a Gryphon folk song that is similar to many of the songs on their debut. It is a good song, nothing absolutely revolutionary after the title track, but very good. 8/10

3. The Last Flash of Gaberdine Tailor- The instrumentation here is more interesting than the previous track for my tastes, notably the introduction with its medieval structure. The bassoons and Krumhorns are extremely pleasant on this track and really add so much to the magic of the music. This is Gryphon at their best. 10/10

4. Gulland Rock- This song interestingly starts off with a darker piano introduction until other instruments continue the chaos about a minute into it. The organ in the middle does a wonderful job of continuing the established haunting mood and everything in this song flows so naturally, almost like a forest scene being revealed before your eyes. Neat! 10/10

5. Dubbel Dutch- Immediately the more upbeat traditional folk feel can be sensed in this song, but that makes it no less complex (in fact, the introduction is quite layered). Again Gryphon really creates another unique composition with their unusual yet loveable style, and it really is a pleasant listen. This song works as relaxing background music or as a source of primary focus (as does the whole album). It's hard to come across music with such beauty. 9/10

6. Ethelion- The laughing in the opening here was actually unexpected when I first heard it and gives the song a somewhat manic tone to it. The song then develops into a surprisingly extremely beautiful folk anthem. This is wonderful music! 10/10

I have such a hard time rating this album because it is so unique and I enjoy it so much. There's no reason to say it isn't a masterpiece of what it tries to accomplish, so I think it deserves every star.

This is such an excellent and magical addition to any collection of anyone who is thirsty for something refreshing and different. Just pick up Red Queen first.

Review by Dobermensch
3 stars I have to say, I was a wee bit disappointed with this album. Mainly because I was hoping for more of the superb first album. I think it's the first track 'Midnight Mushrumps' that does the damage. No one likes one track per album side more than me, but this just seems to go in one ear and out the other and is simply far too long. It's still quite nice though and there's a lot of interesting instruments used. In particular that wacky 'Krumhorn' thing, which I love. The second side is a lot better. It's more mediaeval, sounding reminiscent of the first self titled album - which I think is their best effort by a long shot. I'm going to give this 3 stars just like 'Red Queen to Gryphon 3', although I think this is slightly better.
Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is a transition album for Gryphon. the first, self titled album was in a traditional medieval style, sounding quite authentic. This album has just a but more rock stylings, but still is very medieval, although much of the album sounds to me like the band has mixed a few later periods of chamber music into the compositions as well.

The music is very nice, the musicians are quite accomplished at this style, using many period instruments as well as some modern ones. My only complaint is that there is a bit too much solo acoustic guitar for my tastes.

A sold four stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A highly respected band among prog rock fans,GRYPHON were the brainchild of multi- instrumentalists Richard Harvey and Brian Gulland,who shared the same passion for medieval,folk and Renaissance-period music.Initially starting as a trio with the addition of Harvey's friend Graeme Taylor on guitars,the band explored the sound of ancient music with the use of pre-20th century instruments.In 1972 GRYPHON became a quartet with David Oberle on drums/percussion and signed with Transatlantic Records,not coincidentally I would say,as this was the label promoting Pentangle.1973 sees the release of their self-titled debut,a pure Folk album with non-rock elements.However a year later the band should discover new sounds with ''Midnight Mushrumps'',featuring new member Philip Nestor on bass.

From the opening cut,the grand 19-min. sidelong eponymous epic,you can take GRYPHON nothing less than seriously.Though the track is fully folk-oriented,the musicianship is trully demanding and intricate.The acoustic side of GRYPHON is now mixed with the organs,pianos and harpsicord of Harvey and the light bass lines of Nestor,offering beautifully arranged acoustic Folk Rock music deep into medieval tunes with Baroque leanings,heavily based on ancient flutes,basoons,crumhorns and strong percussion,where something happens all the time.This is one of the best Folk suites I have ever heard,which doesn't need any rock instrument to be categorized as progressive.

''The Ploughboy's Dream'' reminds me heavily of JETHRO TULL,a song-based track with nice vocal lines and some pleasant tunes.On ''The Last Flash of Gaberdine Tailor'' the instrumental face of GRYPHON returns and continues from where the suite stopped.Highly challenging Folk music with lots of acoutic material,wind instrumentation and really nice interplays.''Gulland Rock'' is obviously a Brian Gulland-centered piece,where the musician delivers some dark organ parts before the calm acoustic/flute-driven end.Though ''Dubbel Dutch'' has nothing new to offer,it keeps the high quality of the whole album,being in the same vein of the previous track.Heavy timpani and laughing will open for ''Ethelion'',before bassons and flutes take over,while a dreamy melody under flutes,percussion,keys and bass will carry the listener until the beautiful end of this journey.

It's quite scarce that an almost pure Folk Rock album thrills me that much.But I can't help returning to this album from time to time.''Midnight mushrumps'' is perfectly balanced between crystalline Medieval music and adventuruous folk interplays with a catchy edge and,thus, my rating will stick on 4 solid stars.A great Folk/Medieval-based experience for all fans of serious music.

Review by progpositivity
4 stars Gryphon, (or The Kings of Krumhorn as I like to call them), began as Royal Music College students exploring, playing and sharing artistic folk of the renaissance and medieval eras. On their second album, "Midnight Mushrumps", they begin to subtly incorporate rock music elements into the repartee. Despite the addition of an electric bass guitarist, instrumentation is still largely based upon arrangements from many centuries ago. If you enjoy the medieval elements of Gentle Giant's music and are willing to digress slightly off the "rock" pathway, this CD of excellently recorded historic art folk music may be a gold mine for you. Many scholarly groups performing period pieces like this today unwittingly strip it of its vitality by presenting it in an overly elegant, polished and refined manner. Although Gryphon plays their instruments well, there remains a certain lively jig in their step that works in concert with a vocal style that I will only described as 'rough around the edges' to create a "sound" convincingly reminiscent of the period in which this style of music was originally performed.

Note to Prog rock fans who are new to Gryphon (or to medieval art-folk in general): IF you took advantage of the bargain "two albums on one CD", I strongly recommend that you do NOT start on song one. Set aside the debut album for now and begin with the album "Midnight Mushrumps". Better yet, skip all the way to the final track "Ethelion". Catch a glimpse of the direction in which the band would soon move on their classic "Red Queen to Gryphon Three". Continue to move backwards through the running order, listening to the upbeat "Dubbel Dutch". From there, check out the vocal song "Ploughboys Dream". Then progress onward to the 11+ minute title track. Once you finish sinking your teeth into and growing an appreciation for "Midnight Mushrumps", you may pleasantly discover that you have become well attuned to the early Gryphon groove, ready to strike out in any direction, charting your own adventurous course through the variety of fascination period songs on their debut self titled album.

Review by Flucktrot
3 stars Gryphon certainly are not for everyone, but they do have a very charming sound on this album. Although if you're not in the mood, it's too easy to tune out their happy, medieval style, when you are paying attention, it's hard not to be impressed by the sheer variety of instruments, with various flutes, all the krummhorn you can handle, and plenty of additional texture from the harpsichord, bassoon, and other winds. Perhaps I'd benefit from seeing some of these songs live, so that when I listen, I can picture the band switching between instruments and then be more appreciative of the different sounds produced.

Though the epic title track does not come out and grab you like parts of Red Queen, I believe it's on par with the quality of that album. It's just a more measured, casually paced journey than the general craziness of Red Queen, and only building to a moderate-intensity finale. However, there is a unique richness due to the variety of instruments that really keeps my attention (of course, when it's just the guitar, things do indeed get a bit boring). In addition, although the order of the sections--particularly the middle ones--seems a bit haphazard, they do transition to one another reasonably well.

The B side contains more traditional length songs and is somewhat forgettable. In some ways, they remind me of Gentle Giant-type non-rock songs, but without the attention deficit factor that characterizes the Giant. I'm glad they expanded on the epic songwriting in subsequent albums, although I think their shorted pieces would improve as well (such as on Raindance).

The following two albums (Red Queen and Raindance) are generally better than Mushrumps, but I think proggers who enjoy those albums will find a slightly different--and enjoyable--dimension of Gryphon to be found on Midnight Mushrumps.

Break out some ale and a turkey leg and enjoy some Midnight Mushrumps as a worth nightcap!

Review by Warthur
4 stars Gryphon's breakthrough album has a reputation built mainly on the side-long title track, and that's probably fair; it's an excellent piece which mingles the band's medieval stylings with progressive rock along the lines of the more acoustic bits of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells. The second side is a bit less interesting, with only Ethelion attaining the same standards as the title track, though the traditional folk runthrough of The Ploughboy's Dream is entertaining enough. The praise for the title track would inspire Gryphon to go all-instrumental and produce an album-long suite, which would come to fruition on Red Queen to Gryphon Three, but here they're still in transition. Worth it if you like their medieval-prog approach, but try Red Queen first.
Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars I quite dislike the debut from this band. No prog at all could be noticed; but this was not an isolated case within this "prog" folk category.

Things are getting better with their second album, to tell you the truth. Not that this is blowing me away of course but there are some fine moments available. Like during the side long suite and title track. Fine acoustic guitar parts combined with nice medieval moments. Now, don't expect any great prog epic either. We are far away from form THAB or even APP to remain in this prog sub-genre.

I wouldn't deeply describe the tracks available on the second side of this album; from a classic folkish "Ploughboy's Dream" with no interest, the "next" key (which you all know) brings you to the mediocre "Last Flash?". This is only middle-age music, no more as far as I am concerned. Did you say prog? In this case, Henry VIII (or some of his predecessors) was one of the first sponsors of prog music?

I will rate this album with two stars.

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars Gryphon's second album strikes a fine balance between the unplugged whimsy of their 1973 debut and the more calculated Prog Rock of later LPs. The addition of an electric bass guitarist didn't alter the band's unique medieval sound too drastically (not yet, anyway), and David OberlÚ's modest drum kit still sounded like something played while sitting cross-legged in a garden.

The album also marked a quantum leap forward in compositional maturity, even on some of the less distinguished shorter tracks, like "Gulland Rock" (which doesn't, alas). Standouts among these include the cautionary fable of "The Ploughboy's Dream", and the energetic Elizabethan dance "Ethelion", cued by Brian Gulland's maniacal laughter. Both songs show a canny knack for updating traditional melodies without sacrificing any of their original antique charm.

And then there's the side-long title track, adapted from the band's own score to a National Theatre staging of "The Tempest", and in retrospect a career highlight. This is textbook classical rock, beautifully arranged and performed, although it needed digital technology to finally be heard as intended: on vinyl the more subtle harmonium and pipe organ grace notes were hard to discern amidst even the slightest analog pop and dust scratch.

The 19-minute suite is an unassuming epic, to be sure. But unlike the disjointed cut-and- paste exercise of their more popular "Red Queen to Gryphon Three" it flows easily and organically from theme to climax to resolution.

The siren song of commercial success would soon lure the group into troubled musical waters. But before hitching their fortunes to the back of the Prog Rock bandwagon Gryphon was able to enjoy a brief moment of comfortable equilibrium, one foot planted firmly in Olde English soil and the other resting lightly on the pulse of the post-Beatles British music scene. Even an establishment broadsheet like The Times would praise the band as being "stately and discreetly turned on", and I couldn't imagine a better, more economical description of their sophomore album.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars The passion to recreate authentic medieval folk music which began on the first album becomes corrupted by the exponentially exploding world of progressive rock on the second album MIDNIGHT MUSHRUMPS and is a veritable transition between the authentic period style of the eponymous debut release to the fully fledged progressive rock folk behemoth "Red Queen To Gryphon Three" which would emerge a mere few months later. With this second release GRYPHON caught the attention of Steve Howe, who fell for the sprawling title track (which clocks in at 18:58 and took up side one) and offered them the coveted spot of opening for Yes' 1975 tour allowing the band to gain a much larger audience. With this new album came a new full-time bassist with Philip Nestor who undeniably added the proper crossover aspects in the rock / folk hybridization.

MIDNIGHT MUSHRUMPS is an exponential leap in sophistication for unsuspecting GRYPHON fans. Whereas the debut album was solely a collection of medieval English folk songs performed in a bona fide period style complete with authentic instrumentation, album number two steps up their cross-pollinating process with progressive rock aspects. At this point all of the medieval folk instruments are still on board performing their retrospective duties in creating an authentic achronistic snapshot of the past but with the addition of Philip Nestor's rock oriented bass skills and Richard Harvey's symphonic prog sensibilities on pipe organ, harpsichord and piano, they all conspire to create an impression of time traveling having occurred of a true blue medieval folk band having suddenly popped into a 70s symphonic prog band's rehearsal and suddenly spontaneously bringing a totally new strange hybrid of music into existence. Richard Harvey would also become the main composer of the band leading the sextet deeper into the contemporary world.

The sprawling title track which swallows up half the album is a progressive folk rock masterpiece that never strays from the mood building medieval folk music that the band is famous for but it seriously revs it up with ever changing passages, progressive time signature and tempo changes like there's no tomorrow sounding like they are making up for lost time in catching the prog rock wave of the era. The music is serenely ambitious never sounding forced. For two disparate unrelated genres being mashed together, it all sound quite natural which is quite the major feat if you ask me. Like the debut album, MIDNIGHT MUSHRUMPS is entirely instrumental with the mere exception being the traditional "The Plough Boys Dream" sounding more like a hangover from the pure folk covers of the debut.

You can feel the energy gestating on MIDNIGHT MUSHRUMPS and as exciting as the development from the first album is with the marriage with progressive rock and all, it really feels like the band is only beginning. As the album progresses it seems like the tracks get more audacious with their bold time signatures and tempo changes. The band tackle these challenges with grace and the odd juxtaposition of authentic folk instrumentation with progressive rock compositional styles makes this utterly unique in the musical world for there is no comparing this band to Jethro Tull, Comus or other English folk rock bands of the era. GRYPHON sounds like no other and likewise MIDNIGHT MUSHRUMPS sounds like no other album in their very own discography. Perhaps not as sophisticated and completely satisfying as "Red Queen" but i find this to be an exciting album that in the midst of their gold rush progification process which creates an incomparable yet satisfying ratio of prog rock and medieval folk aspects.

Review by ALotOfBottle
5 stars Before what arguably was Gryphon's greatest album, "Red Queen To Gryphon Three" came this - "Midnight Mushrumps". Now, I might be a minority, but I think, this record beats Gryphon's following work by a whole country mile. Overall, I think it's a much more solid effort and far more exciting.

Showcasing multiistrumentalist abilities of Royal Academy Of Music graduates, "Midnight Mushrumps" has an incredibly English factor to it. This album is really a definitive prog folk work. An unmistakeable sound, which despite sounding familiar is unrepeatable.

The title track, a side-long epic is probably the highlight of the album with highly-educated folk instrument work. Many new, fresh sounds are to be heard, with familiar motives, which come far from falling into a folk cliche category. "The Ploughboy's Dream" is Gryphon's arrangement of a traditional English tune. This track once again blisses the listener with great, fascinating sounds that are only to be found in this group's catalog. "The Last Flash of Gaberine Taylor" is a very moody instrumental with a really catchy motive. "Gulland Rock" is a song which serves as a romantic part of the album. Again, flashing English-ness here. "Dubbel Dutch" is a humouristic track, which is quite similar to a previous one. "Ethelion" is another great piece with a heavier acoustic rhythm and some more English folk motives, a great closing of the album, which leaves the listener with rather postitive feelings.

Gryphon's second release is an incredibly mature, original effort. The music on here is really able to succesfully fuel listener's imagination and put them in England of the middle ages. This album definitely deserves 5 stars and is an overlooked essential. A must have for progressive folk and rock fans!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Bringing forth the more mediŠval side of folk music, Richard Harvey's Gryphon could almost be given their own category for the more ancient, traditional instrumentation and typcially totally acoustic arrangements of their songs. 1973 brought forth two albums, Midnight Mushrumps and Red Queen to Gryphon Three, which are their most highly acclaimed--at least by prog rock aficionados. I find myself enjoying the collection of older folk-feeling songs of Mushrumps--and, even more, its 18-minute epic--more than the four cold, ─nglagňrd-like instrumental pieces of the Red Queen. I have a private theory that Midnight Mushrumps' title song had quite a little effect on former Genesis guitarist Anthony PHILLIPS, for his debut album, The Geese and The Ghost, released four years later in 1977, displays quite a mediŠval flavour of its own--both topically and stylistically as well as instrumentally. I wonder if either David BEDFORD or Mike OLDFIELD had heard their music before they embarked upon their own careers--and especially their collaboration for the very medieval-sounding Hergest Ridge.

1. "Midnight Mushrumps" (18:58) opens with harmonium and bassoon in a pretty duet until crumhorns and "distant" piano join in during the second minute. In the third minute the bass crumhorn and acoustic guitar take over while bass and drums/percussives join in. At 3:20 a 12-string guitar joins in while horns and recorders take their turns at the fore. The royal processional feeling of this music strengthens in the fifth minute until at 5:05 a bouncing piano chord introduces another section, this one more receptive to the participation of louder and electric instruments--bass, harpsichord, electric piano, electric guitar, and pipe organ. At 6:20 everything quiets down for a pipe organ solo before bass joins in and takes the lead. Organ takes over again in the second half of hte eighth minute before acoustic steel stringed guitar takes a turn (with calming pipe organ in the background). At the 9:00 mark everything switches again as a persistent electric piano arpeggio forms the baseline for a bunch of instruments to join in and take turns exposing the melody--horns, bass, crumhorm, mandolin, toy-piano, organ, bassoon, and then dropping away for classical guitar to have a turn (again, pipe organ supported, as in church service). A church-like organ solo follows in the twelfth minute before a carnivalesque section bursts forth at the 12:00 mark. Fun and frivolity seem the theme of the moment for the next minute as crumhorns, timpani, and harpsichord and, later, recorders share the lead in a kind of rondo weave of the main melody. At 13:40 things are brought together by the soprano recorder and pipe organ. But then, halfway through the fifteenth minute, things quiet down as pipe organ, bass, and timpani slowly build a blanket of sound until guitars, bass crumhorn, bass, harmonium and glockespiel merge into a festive crescendo which then falls away to leave an organ-supported echoed-soprano recorder and glockenspiel section as cymbals help out. Kind of an angelic entry into Heaven or sleep or out of the mystical reverie, it feels. How does mediŠval-inspired music composed and played by modern musicians get any better than this? (38/40)

2. "The Ploughboy's Dream" (3:02) a wonderfully bucolic tale of the toils and tribulations of farm life. The song is particularly remarkable to me for its reminder of how similar the vocal approach of Gryphon can be to contemporaries GENTLE GIANT. (8.5/10)

3. "The Last Flash of Gaberdine Tailor" (3:58) more mischievous melodies worked out by these ancient-instrument-obsessed artists. So glad they found each other! (8/10)

4. "Gulland Rock" (5:21) the piano-based beginning gives this one a classical feeling until the ancient church organ and harpsichord take over at the 1:20 mark. The third minute is dominated by a recorder before the jarring entry of a guitar's strums at the 3:00 mark. Guitar softens and eventually takes over as the lead instrument before percussives and horns burst in. The song ends rather oddly with a less-than-resolute guitar and organ softness. Still, a pretty instrumental. (8.5/10)

5. "Dubbel Dutch" (5:36) opens with full band playing what sounds like an old dance song. The second section is speedier and different, but everything reverts back to the motifs of the opening section for another "stanza" of that before the second offshoot takes the instrumentalists into a little more noodling sort of weave. Then a slowed down, very melodic Mike Oldfield-like section takes ver for the third minute. The fourth switches to a very pretty melody brought forth by the horns over the wonderfully supportive strings beneath. All very staccato and woven from multiple layers throughout. At the 4:30 mark we move back toward the opening theme and style, though in a varied and more spirited form. My favorite song on the album. (10/10)

6. "Ethelion" (5:15) opens with wild human laughter with bass and bass drum in staccato accompaniment before crumhorn and toy piano join in. As usual, several themes are worked into the order of things with many instruments playing their supportive or integral parts to the weaves. (8.75/10)

Total Time: 42:10

Five stars; a minor-masterpiece of anachronistic music performed by dedicated virtuosi of period musics--all fitting into the Prog Folk and Progressive rock umbrellŠ by virtue of the eclectic and electric nature of the artists' recording preferences.

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
3 stars I was not too fond of Gryphon's first album. I thought it was dull and boring. However I definitely saw they had room to grow. Like mushrooms from the spores, they sure as hell did in a surprisingly good fashion. With this album I feel like they created a sort of middle ground with their medieval folk music and progressive rock, to create this very classy sort of music with very interesting introspectives.

The first track here is their 18+ minute suite, Midnight Mushrumps. This track is very well done. Instead of most Prog suites where they constantly build and build into the next part with big crescendos and vocal ranges, they instead go for a more textural and scenic sound. Already when I heard this song, I knew they improved massively from their sound on Gryphon, and you can tell their creativity has reached an explosion of sound. However I definitely can say it can get a tad boring due to it not trying to be ginormous like tracks like A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers or Tarkus.

The next track is The Ploughboy's Dream is much like a lot of tracks on Gryphon, however it feels like the best elements on that album is now fully realized with this song, and it makes for a nice folk track to listen to. It's definitely not the best song on the album, but I'd wouldn't mind hearing this song on a playlist.

The next track after that, The Last Flash of Gaberdine Taylor, is much like the former, however it's instrumental, but it fits the same niche the previous 2 tracks had, being a nice folk song that I wouldn't mind to hear.

The next track, Gulland Rock, is sadly a very weak track. It's very boring and a bit too quiet. Obviously their sound isn't meant to be loud and bombastic, but even then I feel a bit skewed on this track in terms of the rest of the album's sake. It feels a bit too long, and a bit too dull in a lot of unnecessary areas. Honestly this song is very skippable.

After that sludge, we got my favorite song off this album, Dubbel Dutch. It's just very joyful and playful, but it brings way too more calm and scenic sounds. It's super nice to hear the improvement from their last album to this album with this song alone. It's very much full of great creativity and beauty that cannot be dismissed.

Well, after that, where can the band go from here? Well in a weird territory. This is when I feel like they fully went Prog. This track has the same scenic folk sound, but has a ton of weird sounds and instrumentation, giving this very odd medieval folk tale that kinda sounds a bit creepy. I definitely like it a lot, though they clearly have some elbow grease to work up in terms of truly becoming progressive rock.

So this is a major improvement from their last album. Definitely isn't the best due to the sound getting a bit boring here and there still, but I won't deny this album doesn't have a lot more to enjoy than something you'd might hear from their last. Definitely one of their better works already.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Let me begin by commending the artistry and creativity that was put into Gryphon's 1974 album "Midnight Mushrumps". This album is not only a cult classic but also a reflection of the exceptional talent and unique musical arrangements of the band. I really would like to compare them to Harmonium, but ... (read more)

Report this review (#2786790) | Posted by Mspy1 | Saturday, August 27, 2022 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The second album from medieval folk prog specialists Gryphon exhibits a sound that is maturing and becoming more sophisticated, as the band take the compositional standard of their work up a significant notch and begin to take their music beyond straight folk and into more progressive territory. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2077924) | Posted by Chaser | Friday, November 23, 2018 | Review Permanlink

3 stars An original and musical evolution. Evolving from their debut medieval cover album, Gryphon here offer a new and original vision. While not yet as outstanding as their third album would be, this sees the band take the original impetus for reproducing medieval English music and use it to establis ... (read more)

Report this review (#1824586) | Posted by Walkscore | Saturday, November 18, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars No Gryphon album ever sounds the same! Midnight Mushrumps doesn't have the same chirpy medieval spirit as the group's debut but I still love it. It's much more subtle and moody.This is more of a keyboards-oriented album. I really like the nineteen minute suite which takes up the album's first half. ... (read more)

Report this review (#451761) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Wednesday, May 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 2nd release. Close to or a real Masterpiece ? Gryphon releases their second full-length album, ''Midnight Mushrumps''. After an interesting, but out of prospects debut (mainly because of the non-existent notice from a larger audience), Gryphon present an excellent album. The compositions ar ... (read more)

Report this review (#236256) | Posted by FatalV | Tuesday, September 1, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If you have never heard Gryphon before, you should probably start with their acknowledged masterpiece 'Red Queen To Gryphon Three'. If you have heard RQtGT and you are wondering if any of the other albums come close to that level, well, in my opinion, this is the closest. The opening epic tun ... (read more)

Report this review (#186203) | Posted by digdug | Friday, October 17, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The second work released in 1974 "Midnight Mushrumps". It is a real ancient music machine concert. In a steady performance, it has an extremely natural intonation. Moreover, the Electric base and Drum support the ensemble very naturally. It is indeed fresh in the ear that becomes accustomed to ... (read more)

Report this review (#60364) | Posted by braindamage | Thursday, December 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I first saw Gryphon open for YES on the Relayer tour in 1974. Their first album was mostly acoustic and very folky. Here with Midnight Mushrumps they've taken the next step, and it works out very well. The title track is a piece that Richard Harvey Keyboards/Recorder) was commissioned to writ ... (read more)

Report this review (#2988) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 28, 2004 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of GRYPHON "Midnight Mushrumps"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.