Spirogyra was a progressive rock and folk music band from Canterbury, England, which was initially formed in 1967 by a duo in Lancashire, and gradually expanded to include fellow students from the University of Kent around 1969. The group’s final tour during their initial run happened in 1974, though the group has since reunited for live performances and new albums in the late 2000s and early 2010s. The group released a total of three albums during their initial time together, but have released three more albums in recent decades, one of which is a collection of demos from their initial run. This album, Old Boot Wine (1972), is the group’s second album, and appears to have be regarded well in different forums and circles on the internet. I’m pretty stoked to give this album a listen, so with that said, I’m going to jump on into the music.
Oh wow, “Dangerous Dave” starts out with some super smooth and inviting acoustic guitar. Oh wow, the bass guitar and beat come in with what very much seems to be a prog rock sort of sound, while the acoustic guitar gives the tune an airy folksiness. The vocal harmonizations have a super light, upbeat feel that I’m really digging. Oh wow, the track seems to take various turns into rockier territory at times that keeps the soundscape very dynamic. Holy smokes, the track takes a turn down a folksier path with what sounds sort of like an old eastern European folk song between the vocals and acoustic guitar, while the bass guitar still adds in a rock-oriented element. Oh wow, the track jumps back into the movement from earlier that’s comprised of a sort of prog rock rhythm section with light, airy acoustic folk guitars. Great track, and I’m excited to hear more.
Holy smokes, “Van Allen’s Belt” gets started with a sudden change to a soft, soothing folk movement off of the heels of the previous track. Oh wow, I really dig the vocal harmonizations set to some super sweet piano while the acoustic guitar gradually continues flowing. Oh wow, the vocals at the end of a really soft mystique about them that I really dig. Super sweet track.
“Runaway” gets started with some super groovy prog rock organs and a dynamic beat and bass line that are accompanied by some somewhat percussive strumming from an acoustic guitar, which all take the tune into a sort of psychedelic prog rock area. Oh wow, the track has changed up into a sort of sweet folk rock movement with some piano that adds some sweet melodies to the track alongside the rhythm. Oh wow, there are some really interesting vocal lines that give me flashes of The Beatles and particularly John Lennon. Oh wow, this movement reminds me a bit of John & Beverley Martyn with the acoustic guitar and piano. I really dig the way the bass and drums seem to accentuate the piano in this song. Great track.
“Grandad” starts out with some folksy arpeggios from an acoustic guitar, accompanied by a super sweet violin and a super nasally vocal that sounds sort of like Bob Dylan with a British accent. Oh wow, more orchestral strings have joined in and now I’m sort of reminded a bit of a mellow, folksy version of Scott Walker’s orchestral baroque movements in his songs. I really dig the vocals in this track. Holy smokes, another person comes in and harmonizes with the nasally vocals, bringing an almost psychedelic feel for a moment. I’m also kind of reminded of the Incredible String Band between the vocals and overall sentiment of the track. Super sweet tune.
“Wings of Thunder” gets moving right away with a bit of a pop-y groove between the light, airy acoustic guitar strumming set to an upbeat bass line and drums. Oh wow, I really dig the electric guitar that comes in, which has a sort of psychedelic-tinge to the overall tone and style of the licks. Oh wow, the drums pick up a bit of airiness at certain points as the track progresses along. Oh wow, the track seems to really lock into a more rock-oriented groove as the song comes to a close. Super sweet tune.
Oh wow, “World’s Eye” starts out with some mellow folksy flavors in the vocals and guitar work that has a bit of a raga-inflection at first and seems to get increasingly psychedelic as the track continues. Holy smokes, the track drops into a super groovy and exploratory psychedelic prog rock movement for a moment that I really dig, and resolves back to the psychedelic folk movement from the intro of the track. Oh wow, there were some super interesting spacey synth effects as the track mellows back out again. Oh wow, the track gets grooving into a different movement that seems to blend the psychedelic folk and prog rock sounds. Holy smokes, the resolution of the combination movement is super sweet as things seem to be continually building up into a progressive folk manner with increasing use of folk rock elements. Oh wow, I’m really digging the way the bass line and piano seem to play off of each other. Holy smokes, the track feels like it continually breaks through to more epic-sounding movements as the track progresses along. Holy smokes, the end of the song has a really groovy psychedelic prog rock jam that I really dig. Great track.
“Don’t Let It Get You” begins with some super sweet, light folksy guitar that sets a somewhat mellow mood coming off of the heels of the previous track. Oh wow, I really dig the flowing sound of the bass line in this track. Oh wow, the raspy vocal harmonies bring a really nice earthiness that contrasts nicely with the light instrumentation. Holy smokes, it almost sounds like there’s a mandolin for a moment as some super sweet high notes rain into the soundscape. Super sweet track.
“Disraeli’s Problem” has a classic melody between the acoustic guitar and electric guitar that I almost immediately recognized, but I’m not quite sure from where, as I don’t recognize the lyrics or the name of this track. Oh wow, there are some super sweet distorted guitar lines that seem to add some layers of psychedelia to the soundscape. All of the instruments really come together to give the song a really pleasant weightiness with a really sweet prog folk sound reminiscent of artists like Roy Harper. Great tune.
“A Canterbury Tale” begins with some mellow acoustic folk guitar, which is soon joined by some somewhat raspy vocals that seem to get a bit nasally-er as the track continues. Oh wow, the acoustic guitar picks up a psychedelic effect that adds a bit of a mystique to the soundscape, especially as the sweet female vocalist’s voice seems to come in and envelop the entire soundscape in a manner that sounds as though she was just eating some sweet honey as though to make her vocals even more calming. Wow, great track, and a super sweet way to finish the album.
Holy smokes, this album is super sweet. I was reminded of a few different prog folk, psychedelic folk, and folk rock artists throughout the listening experience, including Roy Harper, Relatively Clean Rivers, as well as John & Beverley Martyn. There were also some really interesting progressive rock flavors in the instrumentation that reminded me of groups from the early 1970s like Joy or Fuchsia. The album felt very dynamic throughout, with a very natural sounding ebb and flow in the building up and releasing of tension throughout the album. If you’re into progressive folk/folk prog and psychedelic prog rock at all, then you might want to consider checking out this album. If you do decide to give this album a listen, then I sincerely do hope that you enjoy the listening experience at least as much as I did.