Magna Carta - Seasons

Kev Rowland, Magna Carta - Seasons

There are two bands that I will always associate with my student days, the first is Barclay James Harvest, while the second is Magna Carta. My flatmate was a huge fan, and at the end of many a drunken evening it was Magna Carta that was played. ‘Seasons’ was the second album from the trio of Chris Simpson (guitar, vocals), Lyell Tranter (guitar) and Glenn Stuart (vocals), and was the one when they truly came of age. The title cut is some twenty-two minutes long, impressive for a folk/crossover group, and performing this live gained the band many new fans. It also brought them to the attention of famed producer Gus Dudgeon, who was soon on board to record the album. More musicians were brought in to fill out the sound, including Rick Wakeman, Tony Visconti undertook the arrangements, while Chris convinced Gus to also use a young guitarist called Davey Johnstone. And the rest, as they say…

Originally released in 1970, this 2014 remaster is still as vibrant and powerful as it ever was. Some bands and music transcend the years, and this album is very much one of those. Acoustic, crossing over into the mainstream without really leaving their folk roots behind, it is hard to pick a favourite and even harder to pick a flaw. This is one of six Magna Carta albums to be awarded gold status, and the way it moves from just the three of them into full band and orchestral arrangements is seamless and simply wonderful. The band managed to keep some of the naivety of the Sixties, but this was very much an album for the new decade, by a band who were making a statement. Released as a digipak, with notes from Chris Simpson, this is an essential purchase for all lovers of great music.

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