Gryphon Reviews

Salmacis <>
Just had to comment on something: Gryphon's "Raindance" makes for an excellent and enjoyable listening while reading e-progdigests after a long (10-hour) shift at work! :o) I am exceptionally tired as I write this, but such a nice album makes it all worthwhile! Anyone else dig this album? I know it doesn't compare to the classic "Red Queen to Gryphon Three", but I do enjoy it; I'd say it's a little underrated, in fact. BTW, what are the rest of their albums like? I only have the two I mention, as well as their debut album on cassette. (Great cassette, BTW, with Univers Zero's debut on the B-side.) Anyone care to comment?

From: "drj_saro" <>
1st album "Gryphon"- mainly acoustic, fairly folky, I like it, but it's not very "proggy" and it would be too "soft" for many on the list. 2nd album "Midnite Mushrumps" - side one made up of shorter songs (including one keyboard extravaganza), side two is a side long suite written for a production of one of Shakespeare's plays - more acoustic than RQ2G3, but moving along similar lines compositionally. 3rd album "Red Queen" - the CLASSIC!  4th album "Rain Dance" - for me, they lost it here - too much of a conventional rock influence, the idiosyncrasies that made them fun were gone. 5th (and last) album "Treason" - imo, even worse than "rain Dance".

From: Otso Pakarinen <>
IMO, "Treason" is very good and maybe the most "e-prog" of them (like somewhere between Genesis and Gentle Giant). I absolutely LOVE the opening track "Spring Song". "Gryphon" and "Midnight Mushrumps" have been re-released as one CD, as have "Red Queen" and "Rain Dance". I say: one could do worse than buy them all...

From: "Mark Fonda" <>
Salmacis, Julius, Otso, Grant and Peter all talked about Gryphon's 'Red Queen to Gryphon Three' in the past few months and I finally got around to getting it... all's I can say is that it has catapulted into the e-Prog Top 50 (in place of Jean-Pierre Alarcin's 'Tableau No. 2... too classical). I know you guys raved about this already... but it is a *classic* recording of fabulous keyboards, horns, drums, guitar and recorder circa England 1974. All instrumental... classical at times, playful at others... powerfully moving throughout... highly recommended for e-Proggers !! Before finding RQtG3 I tried the newly re-released Gryphon/Midnight Mushrumps (1st 2 LPs one 1 CD)... sorry, not even close... stick to the classic above... anyone care to comment on 'Raindance' and 'Treason' (last 2 albums) compared to Red Queen..? Otso, you said Treason was the most keyboard-laden.

From: Roy DeRousse <>
Pretty amazing, isn't it?! If you want to be even more amazed, check this out: I have a solo album by Richard Harvey, _Divisions on a Ground_, subtitled "An Introduction to the Recorder and its Music." It consists of classical pieces played on the recorder by the leader of Gryphon. Harvey was only 21 at the time of this album's release, and this was recorded after his first 4 albums with Gryphon! So he was under 21 when Red Queen was recorded! BTW, I saw them open for Yes in support of the Red Queen album. Never heard of them before in my life. Needless to say, I was blown away! Bought the album the very next day.

From: "drj_saro" <>
well, i think the title track (side-long suite) of MM is pretty close and 'The Last Flash of Garbardine Taylor" is a real treat, as well. >anyone care to comment on 'Raindance' and 'Treason' (last 2 albums) compared to >Red Queen..? I think that they lost their direction completely after RQtG3, everything that i found _charming_ about the band was _gone_! (in retrospect, they aren't as absolutely awful as i thought they were when they first came out, but they still aren't very good, imo)

From: "drj_saro" <>
>I have a solo album by Richard Harvey, _Divisions on a Ground_, subtitled "An Introduction to the Recorder and its Music"
he has a later album that i've been trying to find for _years_, called "Nifty Digits" (or something quite similar)....can anybody out there help?

From: Otso Pakarinen <>
I'm glad you liked RQtG3, Mark! As for the first two albums, they are more folk rock than prog. I rather like them, and in any case they show where Gryphon's roots were. The last two (btw RQtG3 and Raindance are also available as one CD) albums see the band going to a still more Gentle Giant/Jethro Tull/Genesis-oriented prog rock direction - but at the same time, losing much of their originality. And it was too late, they missed the boat! I listened to Treason a lot when it was released in '77 and loved it. Looking back, it has got some marvelous songs (like The Spring Song) and great playing especially from Harvey, but it isn't a complete masterpiece like RQtG3. And some may dislike Dave Oberle's voice. Still, I would encourage you to try it, Mark.

From: Salmacis <>
Well, I think you'll find that 95-98% of prog fans will tell you RQ2G3 is the best of the albums, and I will include myself in that list. However I quite like Raindance. It has been slagged a little on this list, but it remains a great prog work, IMO. Naturally, others will disagree, so you may have to make up your own mind on this one. I haven't heard Midnite Mushrumps, in fact I was just conisdering ordering it a couple of days ago! Treason is a little poppier and less inventive, but necessary, obviously, for the band completist. I have the first album, Gryphon, on cassette, and it is much folkier. They seemed to be trying for an authentic medieval sort of folk sound on many of the tracks. Lots of jigs. :o) I enjoy all Gryphon on some level, but mainly RQ2G3 and Raindance.

From: "Mark Fonda" <>
> From: RAM <> I hate being the oddball of the group, but what exactly do you guys like about Gryphon ? I went to their web-site and checked out the MP3 clips and what I heard was fake Medieval music.
I don't care for their first two albums at all, but I love RGtG3 because of the rich keyboards, intricate harmonies, symphonic instrumentals and no vocals, which really bothered me from the first two. Don't take our word for it, here's a couple of reviews from GEPR:
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Gryphon started out as a medieval folk band, and ended up as progressive-rock band several years later. The basic lineup was: Richard Harvey (recorder, krumhorns, keyboards, etc), Brian Gulland (Bassoon, Krumhorns, keyboards, vocals), Dave Oberle (drums and vocals), and Graeme Taylor (guitars, recorder, vocals). Beginning with the second album various bass players came and went, and the last album features an expanded six-piece lineup with a new drummer, Oberle being a full time vocalist by this time. The first album is strictly a folk album, featuring mostly covers of anonymous traditional English folk tunes, although their unusual baroque instrumentation makes them more interesting than you might expect. Midnight Mushrumps began to move more into a progressive musical direction, although their folk roots are still the strongest element. With their third album, the folk element diminished and they became more influenced by the likes of Gentle Giant and Yes (who they toured the US with in 74): Red Queen To Gryphon Three is truly their masterpiece, a 35 minute four-part progressive instrumental opus without one dull moment. Raindance reintroduced vocals on about half the album's tracks, and offered more variety of style than any of their previous outings. Treason, the final album in their first incarnation, retained the general musical style of its predecessor, maybe a bit more accessible, all with vocals, and a more polished production. It's an album that would've broken the band beyond their cult status had it been released a couple years earlier, but by 77 it was no longer fashionable for big record companies to have fledgling progressive bands on their roster, so they were dropped and at that point it seemed like as good a time as any for the band to call it a day. The Collection is a retrospective containing mostly material from their first second and fourth albums, the longer tracks being edited. Collection II is similar, offering the balance of material from the first two, some selections from three and four, plus some unreleased material from the vaults. The place to start is RQTG3, most will agree this was their finest moment, it stands as a landmark of originality.
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I know this is old news to a lot of people, but with the re-issue of the first four Gryphon's on CD via Japanese import, many more people have a chance to hear this remarkable music. Unlike their first two, this, Gryphon's third album, does not take such a folk/medieval approach, but instead combines the listenability of progressive rock with their folksy roots. The result is a well-written, complex, light-hearted 40 minutes of music, consisting of only four tracks. There is counterpoint galore, enough to please a hard-core Gentle Giant fan, but no vocals to distract you from the brilliance of the music. When taken at once, it's hard to follow the mesh of interweaved harmony, but each instrument alone shows a restrained playing since their individual lines must fit into the pattern of the counterpoint. This is one of the most exciting recent releases. If you don't want to spend $25 on the CD, a taste of Gryphon can be found on their two Collection CDs, both of which are domestic in the US. Speaking of which... Collection is a compilation CD put out by Progressive International. Yes, those honest, incorruptible businessmen who brought us Aragon are actually putting out some killer CDs these days. I bought this as a money saving attempt, rather than buying the first two Gryphon CDs on Jap import. Many of the tracks on Collection are from Gryphon and Midnight Mushrumps. If you like the folkier side of Gentle Giant, or if a progressive rock version of the Pogues or Steeleye Span interests you, this disc is worth checking out. Several of the tracks are arrangements of traditional and/or anonymous pieces of music from 200-500 years ago. Back then, your average bit of music was more complex than what passes for popular music today. It may have intricate polyrhythms and counterpoint, but still be accessible enough to dance to. But the rest of the tracks were composed by the band members, and - surprise! The originals are as wonderfully complex as the covers! Two members of Gryphon being graduates of the Royal Academy of Music may have something to do with this (isn't that where a certain Mr. Wakeman attended class?) There are few bands that combine the writing and performing talent of Gryphon. They surpass bands like Yes, King Crimson and Renaissance in pure virtuosity. This is a very worthwhile CD from a great band. Listen with an open mind an you'll be rewarded.
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From: "mellotrongirl <>" <>
Date: Mon Dec 16, 2002 10:13 pm Subject: Gracious! vs Gryphon (!)
I recently won an auction on eBay for the Gryphon twofer "Red Queen To Gryphon Three"/"Raindance" CD. I caught washes of Acquiring-era Gentle Giant, Trespass-era Genesis, Fairyport-era Wigwam, Fruupp, Druid--what a busy, ever-changing pair of gems...all for $9.99. No one else bid on it. The real thrill of this is that it's been well over twenty years since I had heard them (my Gryphon LP's went away years ago--for whatever unexplained reason), and I recognized a number of the songs well enough to whistle/hum along with them through all the everchanging gearshifting...isn't it great to have a fleeting flashback like that after soooo long? I had to laugh at the recent comment about Gracious!' retro elementary lyrical prowess. May I add "I am aware of one child; she is turning me on on-n-n-n-n".

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