Midnight Mushrumps (1974) is a lesser known but highly impressive masterpiece of 70’s progressive Rock music.
Other band bands like Jethro Tull and Gentle Gaint flirted with a combination of Progressive Rock, Traditional Folk and elements from Classical Music. Gryphon what doing the same thing to the extreme, where the Rock elements was toned down, and the music was clearly sending you to a time long gone, blended from many different periods, instruments, structures, all mixed together from Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque; Classical and Folk with a touch of modern rhythmic music.
Gryphon’s self-titled debut, released the previous year, was more clearly relying on European folk, with several song based tracks played on traditional instruments, on this their second album however, only one of these track are left, “The Ploughboy’s Dream”, the only “song” on the album.
Gryphon wrote and recorded music for a National Theatre performance of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and the music inspired the almost 19 min title track for the Midnight Mushrumps album. The track is one of those brilliant 70’s progressive rock “ Epics, very unique in style, very complex, and timeless in its beauty. Taking up a full A side of the album, back in vinyl days.
After “Midnight Mushrumps”, Gryphon released another highlight with “Red Queen to Gryphon Three” later in 1974, a step even more in direction of the British Progressive Rock scene of the time, but I prefer the instrumentation and sound of “Midnight Mushrumps”, which I find to be more authentic and unique than their later albums. That said “Red Queen to Gryphon Three” is combined of excellent composition and great musicianship, and can only be recommended to anyone interested in Prog Rock inspired by the music of the past.