Culpeper's Orchard: S/T (1971)

Dipping back into my vast file of obscure late 60s and early 70s lost gems, I introduce the self-titled debut from Danish rockers Culpeper's Orchard. While less colorful and whimsical than the trippy cover may suggest, it's still a way-above-average example of late 60s European psychedelia as it started moving into a harder rocking, more progressive rock-oriented ethos.

Following a brief intro, "Mountain Music Part 1" wastes no time in setting the tone for the album, beginning with a jangly, mellow blend of folky psychedelia before blasting off into a blistering, Cream-like jam session, ultimately seguing back into a nice folky outro. Others, like the Moby Grape-like "Hey You People," showcase the band's solid harmonizing; "Ode To Resistance" extends a similar vibe from a Byrds-y opening to a Jefferson Airplane psychedelic blast-off.  The multi-part suite "Teaparty for an Orchard" blends British folk/prog  (part Fairport Convention, part Jethro Tull) with some psychedelic sonics and harder rock.

It may lack any truly transcendent stand-out tunes to catapult it into the top tier of either late-period psych or early prog, but it's fun and energetic throughout, with an amped-up edge that avoids the more meandering tendencies of some bands in this space. Plus, it sounds great on headphones.

Here's a YouTube audio rip of the entire album:
Here's some live footage from 1970, the band performing a couple non-album tracks from a contemporaneous single:
The band soldiered on for a couple more albums, dropping most of the psychedelic vibe and the harder rock, moving into a more pastoral, folk-tinged space, like the Strawbs' or Tull's quieter moments, perhaps less distinctive-sounding but quite pleasant, the acoustic sounds still augmented by some riveting electric jams.