02. The Ploughboy's Dream (3:02)
03. The Last Flash of Gaberdine Tailor (3:58)
04. Gulland Rock (5:21)
05. Dubbel Dutch (5:36)
06. Ethelion (5:15)
- Richard Harvey / recorders, soprano, alto & tenor crumhorns, harmonium, pipe organ, grand piano, harpsicord, 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 guitar, vocals
- David Oberlé / drums, timpani, percussion, lead vocals
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.