CRESSIDA - Cressida (1970) & Asylum (1971) [Remastered 2009]
Cressida was a British art rock band formed at the tail-end of the 1960s in the shadow of (and their music very much in thrall to) the Moody Blues, with a heavy organ and Mellotron sound courtesy of keyboard player Peter Jennings. The original lineup of Jennings, Angus Cullen (vocals, guitar), John Heyworth (guitar), Kevin McCarthy (bass), and Ian Clark (drums) was signed to Polydor's progressive rock imprint, Vertigo Records. The group had a dense, lyrical sound, and Cullen's singing was of a pleasing, almost pop nature, in a vein similar to Justin Hayward, Paul McCartney, et al. Their self-titled debut album was filled with hauntingly beautiful melodies and relatively accessible, straightforward song structures. It was somewhat derivative of antecedents such as the Moody Blues, but it did well enough to justify a follow-up in 1971. Heyworth had departed by the time of the second album, entitled Asylum, replaced by John Culley and Paul Martin Layton (of the New Seekers) on guitar, and with Harold McNair added on flute as well. That album, produced by Ossie Byrne, was more ambitious instrumentally and, surprisingly, given Byrne's previous work with the Bee Gees and Eclection, less focused on Cullen's vocals. By 1972, however, the group had run out of steam and recording contract, and they never really had a chance to develop a history. Ian Clark moved on to a brief stay with Uriah Heep and John Culley became a member of Black Widow.
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