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Culpeper’s Orchard - Culpeper’s Orchard (1971/2014) review

Culpeper’s Orchard “Culpeper’s Orchard” (Shadoks Music, 1971/2014)

The debut album by this Danish progressive psych band (named after the British botanist who studied hallucinogenic plants) was originally released on Polydor in 1971 and has a little of everything to please almost any fan of adventurous ’70s European rock. They start with a brief banjo-driven singalong (!) before tearing into the steamy, hard rocking ‘Mountain Music Part 1’, which features some amazing fretwork from lead guitarist Niels Henriksen. ‘Hey You People’ illustrates the band’s softer, folkier side and the self-referential ‘Teaparty for an Orchard’ suggests a fascination with the burgeoning prog scene, boasting interesting chord changes and warm organ flourishes courtesy multi-instrumentalist (bass, flute, organ, piano) Michael Friis.

               Friis also contributes a gentle flute backing to ‘Ode To Resistance’, while the tender, cozy harmonies on the acoustic ballad ‘Blue Day’s Morning’ remind us favourably of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young at their peak. The album ends with ‘Mountain Music Part 2’, bringing the set full circle and returning to their hard rocking, progressive passion (albeit with a nifty banjo finale!) Shadoks’ usual excellent packaging includes a full-colour 16-page booklet with lyrics, rare photos and interviews with several band members.

Review made by Jeff Penczak/2015
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