Week of November 25, 2007

Culpeper's Orchard

Cy Nicklin - vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, mandolin
Nils Henriksen - electric, acoustic & slide guitars, vocals, piano
Michael Friis - bass, organ, piano, sitar, vocals
Rodger Barker - drums
Ken Gudman - drums
Niels Vangkilde - guitars
Nils Tuxen - pedal steel, dobro
Thomas Puggard-Müller - guitars
Tom McEwan - drums

Culpeper's Orchard, 1971 Polydor 2380 006
CD: Progressive Line PL 502, 2001

Second Sight, 1972 Polydor 2380 019
CD: Progressive Line PL 514, 2001

Going For A Song, 1972 Polydor 2380 020

Album As Culpeper:
All Dressed Up And Nowhere To Go, 1977 Sonet SLP1558

The Englishman Cy Nicklin had previously been part of the folk-rock trio Cy, Maia & Robert (and also in Day Of Phoenix prior to their first album). The Frenchman Robert Lelievre later went on to another great group named Pan. It is generally agreed that the first Culpeper's Orchard album is among the finest from Scandinavia as a whole. A superb combination of heavy progressive and folk stylings, the album also has its very own identity and haunting songs. The English vocals are very good, often with harmony lines similar to Crosby, Stills & Nash. The powerful music might be compared to Jethro Tull, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, but, as I said, with a strong personal touch.

"Second Sight" (1972) was a more relaxed affair, focusing on Cy Nicklin's rural folk ingredients. Here his warm voice characterises the long cuts. Nils Henriksen and Ken Gudman then left the group to play heavier, more blues-influenced music in Mo-I-Rana, but Nicklin and Friis remained and recruited three ex-members of Blast Furnace. "Going For A Song" (1972) strengthened their rural rock elements, and at times it even bordered on country rock. The album didn't sell too well, causing their record company to withdraw financial support for their albums. The group remained active, though further changes in personnel soon followed. Thomas Puggard-Müller of Delta Blues Band and Pan played with Culpeper's Orchard from 1974 onwards (the group shortened their name in 1976 to Culpeper).

"All Dressed Up And Nowhere To Go" (1977) didn't sound much like their earlier efforts, being more modern and lightweight - almost a pop-rock album. Still Nicklin's songwriting was of a high standard and the album was greatly underrated by people expecting another dose of progressive folk-rock.

Taken from Scented Gardens of the Mind - A guide to the Golden Era of Progressive Rock (1968-1980) in more than 20 European Countries, by Dag Erik Asbjørnsen, Borderline Productions, ISBN 1-899855-12-2

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