'About as Glastonbury Carol' cover
CD - Hux Records, HUX 041
(UK, 2003)
Glastonbury Carol

1. Kemp's Jig
    (trad. arr. Harvey, Oberle, Taylor, Gulland)
2. Sir Gavin Grimbold
3. Touch & Go
    (Taylor, Harvey)
4. Astrologer
    (trad. arr. Harvey, Oberle, Taylor, Gulland)
5. Estampie
    (trad. arr. Harvey, Oberle, Taylor, Gulland)
6. Opening Number
    (trad. arr. Harvey, Oberle, Taylor, Gulland)
7. Midnight Mushrumps, 1st Movement
8. Midnight Mushrumps, 2nd Movement
9. Midnight Mushrumps, 3rd Movement
10. Glastonbury Carol
    (A. J. Marshall/Harvey, Gulland, Taylor, Oberle)

Musicians: Richard Harvey - keyboards, recorders,
    crumhorn, harmonium
Brian Gulland - bassoon, bass krumhorn
David Oberlé - drums, glockenspiel
Graeme Taylor - guitar, mandolin
Philip Nestor - bass guitar (tracks 6-9)
Other credits: Produced by Jeff Griffin (BBC)
Tracks 1-5 recorded for BBC Radio 1 session
    18.07.1972, at Maida Vale Studio 4.
Tracks 6-9 recorded for BBC Radio 1 session
    10.07.1974, at Langham Studio 1.
Tracks 10 recorded in 1973
Mastered by Russell Pay at The CD Clinic
© 2003 Hux Records Ltd

Booklet Notes
HAT an extraordinary few years they were, to be sure, for all involved in the curious hybrid thing that called itself GRYPHON. Unless I have forgotten to remove the rose-tinted specs, much of the music arrived comparatively effortlessly, as we were not hidebound by any expectations as to what we should sound like. Has a wing-spinet ever been accompanied by a pair of bongos hit with timpani beaters before or since? Or a folk melody rendered on 4 krumhorns in the manner of a Vaughan-Williams hymn-tune? The instrumentation on the first record was dictated very much by what we could lay our hands on: the serendipity of stumbling over the prototype "Yamaha harmonium" in a Central London Music Store, and the 37 minutes it took to coax it into the back of a Morris 1100. And how on earth did we find a keyboard glockenspiel made in Illinois?

            Spending nearly all our waking hours together, thus living in each other's pockets, became a crash-course in tolerance and consideration. Huge amounts of winding-up went on too. One in particular springs to mind, mainly because I've never been allowed to forget it!
Driving back home over Wandsworth Bridge, after a tesky pesky rehearsal, I flipped, pulled over to the side, and ordered the other three to "get out of my car!"
"It's not your car, it's your father's car", came the pithy retort from the back seat. "Well, get out of my father's car !" I thundered. The hilarity with which this was greeted, instantly defused my anger. Anyone who's ever been in a pro band can relate to this!
We four originals were all such different types, it's nothing short of miraculous that we stayed together for as long as we did. Lest I appear to be painting a sombre canvas, nothing could be further from the truth. Most of it was fun-filled, thanks to a shared over-grown schoolboy humour. A favourite prank on tour always followed the same pattern: on arrival in the town of that evening's gig, no matter where in the UK we were, the passenger window was wound down, and a poor unsuspecting denizen of that place was asked " can you tell us the way to the Manchester Free Trade Hall please?!" The total incredulity/panic on the face of that stout yeoman sent us off into sniggers and paroxysms of laughter. Ah well, the folly of youth.

            A piece of just-remembered Gryphonic trivia: Our first gig as "Gryphon" was at a folk club called "The Upstairs Coal Hole" in a room over a pub opposite Wimbledon Station. Rough date, anyone? The folk club scene welcomed us with open arms, at the start they were the only category of music-giving to embrace our quirky, curious hybrid mix of styles. This, despite our constant piss-taking of all things folk. Thank you, and excuse us, folkies everywhere. At one time, we seemed to be getting booked for what felt like an endless stream of "last night" closing of various clubs. When it came to the turn of "The Hanging Lamp", in the crypt of a Church in Richmond, run by our great friends and supporters Pat and Ian Elliott-Shircore, there was a starstudded. Ensconced in the dressing room during Ralph McTell's set, Al Stewart and I were delighting in a spontaneous version of Del Shannon's Runaway (electric organ solo on bassoon), when an organiser rushed in and told us to shut up, as we were clearly audible to all. Another disgraceful episode occurred whilst waiting for a photo session outside Wandsworth Prison, where we'd just played to a captive audience ! Deciding to improve my golfing skills, I teed-up a discarded Benson & Hedges packet. All went well until the downswing, when my improvised 3-wood (in actuality the Bass Krumhorn) separated into two pieces, the krum (bent end) striking the ground a savage blow fully six inches behind the "ball". Bless you, Richard, for your subsequent carpenteering skills.

            Whilst on the subject of things disgraceful, for some strange unaccountable reason, stealing non-valuable items insinuated it's way into our "rock and roll" lifestyle, and was considered ok, as long as this was from an institution or company, and no individual suffered. I blush and shudder with shame now, because it quite obviously isn't ok. However, in 1973, we spotted, in a garden centre in Kingston-on-Thames, a large concrete imitation-stone Gryphon. This was too tempting for words. We returned about 2 o'clock in the morning, and it was "liberated", involving carefully passing it over an eight foot high wire fence, and thus into the van.
This, we felt, would look great in the garden of our communal house, (82 Elm Walk, Raynes Park). Which it did, for a time, until karma caught up with us, and it fell over, busting off a wing, subsequently resisting all our best attempts to glue it together again. Remember kids, crime doesn't pay!

            The recording of the first album took place mainly at Adam Skeaping's house in Barnes. This must surely rank as the most bizarre, eccentric 8-track system of all time. Four stereo Revox machines were synchronised together with "Bill's Box". All went well until an edit was required, which then necessitated four separate splices. Adam was amazingly skillful and used to cut freehand diamond-shaped edits into the tapes. No wonder this record has a particular, undefinable sound! For the larger scale pieces, we decamped to Livingston Studios, in a converted chapel in Barnet (RIP dear Nic Kinsey), where much fun was had with tape-phasing everything in sight, in particular the atmospheric bassoon interlude in the middle of The Unquiet Grave.

            Like all enterprises of splendidity, Gryphon never felt like work - after all, we were doing what we loved, music we'd "cabled together" together, and although, with the exception of the first record, we always entered the studio not having written a note, this was somehow a plus. It galvanised us into periods of intense creativity, and much joy emerged. The hard part was subsequently trying to work out how to play the new pieces live! Some never made it ! Once we'd evolved into the pastoral rock band or whatever it was we became, recording keyboard parts was the most time-consuming part of the process. Synthesisers in that epoch were all mono, i.e. they could only play one note at a time. Producing chords from them, therefore, involved several different recording "passes", and if the musical passage was swift, which ours often seemed to be, this posed big timing challenges, even for one as dextrous as Richard. Remarkable he ever had any time off, but he occasionally did, leading to one of those never to be forgotten episodes………..

            The recording of Raindance, our fourth album, took place in the idyllic setting of a converted sawmill, standing on the banks of it's own creek, just off the tidal River Fowey. It was the ultimate isolated undisturbed location for us to get on with the music-making. The only two ways in were by boat at high tide, or walking along the single-track railway line, which enabled the 3 times a day journey of the little English China Clay Train from it's quarry up in Lostwithiel, down to the Dock in Fowey Town. We rented a rowing boat from one of the fishermen in the nearby village of Golant (no relation), to make it more fun/quicker to get to and from the little village pub of an evening. One evening, there was a massive thunderstorm whilst we were in the pub. We rang up the studio, and Richard Elen obligingly put out a pair of microphones in the porch to record it. You can hear some of this storm at the conclusion of the track Raindance.

            All this, and the gorgeous heatwave of July 75. So far, so good. Richard, on a rare day off, woke early, to find a beautiful day awaiting him. "Let's go for a tranquil row", thought he. {Both Richard and Graeme are graduates of The Tiffin's School in Kingston, which specialises in athletic rowing ("Give Way Together!")}. Making good headway with the incoming tide, Richard reached Lostwithiel at the head of the river. On the return journey, however, the tide was by now fast receding. Stuck on the mudflats, having run out of water, an attempt to wade to shore was quickly eliminated when, on leaving the boat, he sank up to his middle in said mud. Clambering back in, there was no option but to await the next incoming tide.

            By mid-afternoon, having spotted the absence of the boat, we were all extremely worried. A search over the river from the adjoining hill produced no sighting. Around 7 that evening, he arrived back, having rowed home against the tide. How he accomplished this, God only knows, (Guardian Angel working overtime?). Having been exposed to a merciless sun all the day long, he was lobster-coloured, and suffering severe sunstroke. Calamine lotion was liberally administered, and large quantities of re-hydrating water having been quaffed, it was nevertheless a very uncomfortable night. Just another day in the office…….!

            Space prohibits more anecdotes (they abound), but do come and visit us on our website. Gryphon was, for all of us, an unforgettable vehicle into our respective professional musical careers.

            Warmest Greetings to all our Friends, known and unknown.

Brian Gulland
April 2003

Glastonebury Carol

            This song, commissioned for the closing titles of the film "Glastonbury Fayre", was recorded in '73, and was always one of our favourites. It was released as a single and sank without trace, not helped by our dear record company, who not only used the cheapest vinylaround, but contrived to get the hole not quite in the middle, resulting in the most God-awful seasick inducing pitching and tossing towards the end. No tapes survived, the song has been missing for 30 years, and we were reconciled to never hearing it again, when last year up popped Richard Elen, our erstwhile recording and live engineer with "Oh, I've got a mix of that, I'll send it you on CD. "Bless you, Richard, and welcome back to the UK. The words are by a friend, Austin John Marshall (John, do get back in contact !)

 'About as Curious' album      'Ethelion' album