Cressida were a British progressive rock band, known for their mellow, symphonic sound. They were an excellent band of the early British symphonic prog scene. Their sound is mostly dominated by the most beautiful and symphonic Hammond organ, piano, bass, guitar, and drums. The instrumental sections are equally good, and tend to be typical of early 70s English prog rock thanks to the captivating atmospheres and the technical ability of the musicians. Both Cressida's albums are excellent and very rare now. Originally known as Charge, they were active from 1968 to 1970, and recorded two albums. The roots of Cressida were sown in March 1968, when guitarist John Heyworth answered an advertisement in Melody Maker, and later travelled to London to join The Dominators, a band whose situation he later described as "hopeless, until Angus Cullen applied for the lead singer spot". He and Heyworth hit it off immediately, and Heyworth was invited to stay at Cullen's family flat in Barkstone Gardens near Earl's Court. The pair settled down to some serious writing, eventually welcoming bassist Kevin McCarthy and drummer Iain Clark to the fold and now calling themselves Charge. The band's early setlists included covers of songs by The Doors, The Drifters and Spirit, alongside original compositions by Cullen and Heyworth. In the Summer of 1969, shortly after returning from a German tour, the band's organist Lol Coker decided to leave and move back to Liverpool. He had stayed just long enough to play on the band's first demo, which got them a recording contract with Vertigo Records. Peter Jennings then joined. Jennings' previous musical experience included blues gigs playing 12-string guitar with several short-lived bands. At this point the band settled on the name Cressida taken from the William Shakespeare play Troilus and Cressida. Their first gigs as Cressida were in Germany, including the Star-Club in Hamburg sharing the bill with Colosseum and East Of Eden, in the autumn of 1969. Their manager at the time, Mike Rosen, also drove their Transit van and, being a trumpet player (he later joined Mogul Thrash), occasionally joined the band on stage for some of their more extended numbers. But Rosen soon fell out with producer Ossie Byrne (of early Bee Gees fame), and from that point Mel Baister assumed managerial duties. Other forays into Europe included a trip to Bratislava, a week supporting Black Sabbath at Brussels' Theatre 140; and a performance at the Open Circus in Rouen, France, alongside Brian Auger, Barclay James Harvest, Man and Circus. Cressida mostly played the university and college circuits, as well as London clubs such as the Speakeasy, Revolution and Blaises and the Marquee Club. The first LP, Cressida , was recorded at Wessex Studios with Byrne producing and released in 1970. It consisted of songs by either Cullen or Heyworth (who handled lead vocals on one), plus one contribution each by Jennings and Clark. Their debut album is an early 70s forgotten classic with delicate vocals, gobs of organ and acoustic guitar.

Winter is coming again

The only earthman in town

Cressida went through a difficult phase when Heyworth was forced to leave in early 1970. Heyworth (who would contribute one last piece to the second album, although he did not play on it) was replaced by John Culley, who had been playing with Geno Washington. The new line-up recorded Cressida's second LP, Asylum, later in 1970 (again with Byrne producing, and with orchestral arrangements by Graeme Hall), but it was released posthumously in 1971, the band having broken up in September 1970. Noted jazz flautist Harold McNair guested on the song "Lisa". The combinations of instruments used for this album featuring the flute and different keyboard configurations accompanied by acoustic guitar works. This album is the better one, with long instrumental passages and more elaborate arrangements. 



After the band split up, Clark joined Uriah Heep. McCarthy joined Tranquility on  vocals and rhythm guitar instead of bass. Culley linked up with Black Widow and from 1981–1984, joined Colin Tench to launch the London six-piece progressive rock band Odin. In 2012 Culley guested on a debut album by Corvus Stone. Heyworth died in January 2010. In 2011, three of the four surviving original members of the band, Angus Cullen, Iain Clark, and Kevin McCarthy got together again with organist Peter Jennings. The band were prompted to play a one-off live gig at The Underworld, Camden Town in London on December 2, 2011. Coinciding with the show is the limited edition release of a vinyl album of previously unreleased demos that Cressida made before their first album, to be followed in 2012 by a CD release under the title Trapped in Time: The Lost Tapes.

Mental state

Studio albums

1. To Play Your Little Game (3:15) 
2. Winter is Coming Again (4:42)
3. Time For Bed (2:18)
4. Cressida (3:57)
5. Home And Where I Long To Be (4:04)
6. Depression (5:02)
7. One Of A Group (3:35)
8. Lights In My Mind (2:45)
9. The Only Earthman In Town (3:32)
10. Spring '69 (2:14)
11. Down Down (4:15)
12. Tomorrow Is A Whole New Day (5:19)

1. Asylum (3:33) 
2. Munich (9:33) 
3. Goodbye post office tower, goodbye (2:50) 
4. Survivor (1:34) 
5. Reprieved (2:28) 
6. Lisa (5:08) 
7. Summer weekend of a lifetime (3:25) 
8. Let them come when they will (11:44)

2012-Trapped in Time: The Lost Tapes:
1. To Play Your Little Game 
2. Winter Is Coming Again 
3. Cressida 
4. Depression 
5. Sad Eyed Fairy 
6. Lights In My Mind 
7. Let Them Come When They Will 
8. Situation 
9. The Only Earthman In Town 
10. Down Down 
11. Mental State 
12. Silent Light (previously unreleased) 
13. Situation (alternate version previously unreleased)