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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
Cressida / Asylum
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£6.98+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 9 February 2006
I can only concur with the previous reviews of this superb double-CD. For anyone who likes their music bright, melodic & full of flair, this is essential.
I was lucky enough to hear the 1st album on its release in 1970 (BBC disc jockey David Symonds played a couple of tracks & I immediately purchased the album), so I've enjoyed appreciating its splendour for over 30 years now.
The theme of the album is TIME - how we use & abuse it, and the hope it offers for a brighter future - if we but seize the opportunity, a concept that seems richer and more relevant with the passing of that very thing, time. All the musicians stand out for one reason or another, but drummer Iain Clark deserves a special mention, his light, nimble touches adding something very special to the mix (how refreshing to hear a rock drummer with subtlety and imagination). To go one better than the reviewer who rated the album as a PROG ROCK top tenner, I place it in my ALL-TIME Top 20 - of any era or genre.
ASYLUM could not hope to match up, but it doesn't fall far short, and the 2 extended tracks, in particular - 'Munich' & 'Let them come when they will' provide much genuine excitement.
I can't shed any light on where they are now (I don't even know where they came from!), but - well, thanks, lads!
P.S. One slight grouse: a lyric-sheet would have been welcome. (It's a bit annoying to still not catch words & phrases after 36 years!)
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on 18 May 2009
Talent-spotted by hip new label Vertigo, this obscure British five-piece's 1970 debut and its successor are models of early progressive rock. Their intelligent, melodic compositions are inflected with English whimsy honed by Peter Jennings' piping church organ and Angus Cullen's affecting vocals to a state of sweet pastorality. With Ossie Byrne (Bee Gees) back on production duties, the following year's 'Asylum' was a dramatic leap forward. Compositionally more sophisticated and rounded, a bigger recording budget enabled the hiring of music director Graeme Hall (fresh from Marvin, Welch & Farrar), and his unobtrusive orchestration together with deft jazz flute from the late, great Harold McNair contribute much to a memorable set. And yet, and yet...despite the high quality of material and performance, 'Asylum' stalled commercially. Vertigo, spoiled for choice as pop-turned-prog acts queued for deals, called time and the band folded: drummer Iain Clark and guitarist John Culley moving to Uriah Heep and Black Widow respectively, guitarist Paul Layton, who had only just joined from The New Seekers, back to the bosom of his old band, while the others somewhat enigmatically, just disappeared. Cressida's work has acquired some mystique and a growing cult following over the years: for a change, it is deserved. Seemingly, so rich was the talent vein on offer, success in the dawn of prog could be determined almost arbitrarily. It's a pity Cressida didn't stick with it. Far from being the foot soldiers one might imagine, they were up there, leading the charge.
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on 23 May 2011
I have just received my copy of this double set by Cressida. I will not add much to what has already been said by previous reviewers, other than to say that the comments re the singer sounding like Justin Heyward was a true observation. The music and singing is brilliant. What I cannot understand is how I missed these LP's all those years ago. In 1970/71/72 I was listening to any new LP that I could beg, borrow or steal and managed to hear almost all the new groups around at the time - however, these LP totally missed me. Still, it is great to hear them for the first time, after all these years. Could I mention that I feel that Cressida's Hammond player sounds very much like that from that other great group from that time, Scottish group Beggars Opera. If you liked the Cressida cd's then you will enjoy the Beggars Opera cd'S Waters of Change & Pathfinder.
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on 14 June 2010
The Asylum disc is pretty special. I have just played track 8 about five times back to back but the rest of the album is very good. My wife listened through twice as well so its not just me.

yes it sounds like the Moody Blues at times (and I don'y particularly like them) and the guitar playing is not flash or clever but the Hammond sounds great and for a guitarist that is praise indeed.

If you like well sung, well played music with light and shade and at times a real good groove then you should buy this.
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on 14 July 2013
genius double pack fro the 70is from the first song to the last song a relaxing m,
pleasure advantage prog
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VINE VOICEon 30 September 2005
Great writing, great singing, great playing. The first Cressida album is one of those that seems to pack a double album into a single album. There's so much going on in the twelve tracks that it deserves five stars alone. "To Play Your Little Game", which opens the album, is superbly crafted and features a memorable organ part. Guitar plays a secondary role for much of the album, but the sporadic solo bursts all count. There's certainly no filler.
Inevitably, the follow-up, "Asylum", doesn't match those standards but is creditable nonetheless. The compact, intense nature of the first album is dropped in favour of slightly looser, lengthier workouts and that little bit of slack is noticeable. This is territory that's been done better by the likes of Camel and Caravan, who Cressida occasionally sound like. There are also faint echoes of the Moody Blues, but this band are no clone. Superb value for anyone who likes inelligent, imaginative, well-crafted 1970s rock music.
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on 8 March 2005
Maybe its because there was so much good music around at the time that i missed out on these two gems and gems they are. Tight, efficient playing with the emphasis on the hammond and some truely wonderful songs. The first album is THE one, twelve masterful tracks with no filler and a vibe that reminds me of Caravan around the time of those wonderful second and third albums. Cressida are that good and dare i say it at times better and the great thing is they keep the songs short and sweet without resorting the dreaded fade out. I would rate this album as one of the top ten prog albums of all time. The second album dispensed with the mellotron and employed strings as well to brilliant effect 'goodbye post office tower' is truely majestic and this two-on-one c.d standout. The tracks are longer on this second album but veer away from the self indulgent that mared other albums of the time. So what became Cressida? Well the drummer joined Uriah heep for a (very) short time and looked extremely miserable about it and as for the others..well whatever they're doing they need congratulating for coming up with these two classics!
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on 19 July 2008
As a fan of the great hammond b3 sound this was a real find. That the songwriting vocals and rhythym sections are equally as good make this one of my favorite purchases of the last few years. Sound wise they are in the caravan territory but I have to say I prefer these guys as they have such exellent melodic structures to their songs. Having not heard the original releases I dont know how much the Re Mastering has improved them but I can say the production sounds as good as many cds by current bands that I have bought recently.
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on 2 October 2009
Two fantastic albums that are essential for any 70's progressive rock collection. My personal preference is for "Asylum" which I owned on vinyl for many years. Apart from the quality of the songs and performance, this was one of the better productions from that era and puts many of today's over-compressed and processed recordings to shame.
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