Magna Carta - Songs from Wasties Orchard

The ALL MUSIC GUIDE gave this album a score of 4.5 stars!

AMG REVIEW - Magna Carta's third album was the first with guitarist Davey Johnstone on board, one reason for its subsequent immortality in collecting circles. Another is the extravagant packaging that accompanied the original Vertigo release. The gatefold sleeve was designed to open up like a box, with a layer of apples (from Wasties Orchard, of course) within. Add a crystalline Gus Dudgeon production and, of course, the popularity among collectors of the original swirly Vertigo label design, and Songs from Wasties Orchard emerges a seldom seen but much sought-after gem. For anybody familiar with the group's first two albums, Magna Carta's own style remained constant, a collection of beautifully stylized folk ballads sung and gently strummed with a warmth and versatility that saw the group endure (and, presumably, enjoy) constant comparisons to mid-period Simon & Garfunkel. The addition of Johnstone to the original duo does little to derail those remarks indeed, his own musical versatility puts one firmly in mind of the Americans' more ambitious moments, as mandolins, sitars, and harpsichords dance behind Glen Stewart and Chris Simpson's magically melded vocal harmonies. Highlights of the album are manifold. Songs from Wasties Orchard is one of those rare records where every song contributes something massive to the overall mood. But the (by comparison) rocking "Wayfaring," Johnstone's virtuoso "Down Along Up," and the evocatively reflective "Isle of Skye" are genuine milestones, while the curiously titled "Home Groan" closes the album with a shockingly electrified country-rocker that is hard to shake out of your head. Songs from Wasties Orchard has rightfully been proclaimed Magna Carta's finest hour. Certainly neither of their subsequent studio albums can touch it, while its two predecessors sound positively tentative in comparison to the confidence that carries the dozen songs here. All are worth checking out, but this is where your journey should begin.

Track list

Side 1
7. The Bridge at Knaresborough Town
8. White Snow Dove
9. Parliament Hill
10. Wayfarin'
11. Down along up
12. Country Jam

Side 2
1. Time for the Leaving
2. Isle of Skye
3. Sponge
4. Sunday on the River
5. Good morning Sun
6. Home Groan


There are several vinyl versions of this album. The original UK edition has a sepecial fold-out cover, that opens in different parts and reveals a beautiful crate full of red apples. An amazing and rare design. This fold-open cover can also be found with some international versions. Other versions have a 'normal' lp sleeve.

For some reason the cd versions (including the combination cd's) start with Side 2.

More about the Japanese lp: see below.

Magna Carta - Songs from Wasties Orchard


The fold-open versions of this lp have a beautiful fold-out cover, with these apples inside.

Magna Carta - Songs from Wasties Orchard (Japanese lp)

Japanese lp (1972)

The Japanese lp version (see photo on the left) is maybe a bit disappointing. Usually Japanese pressings have something 'extra', they are often much nicer than the originals. However, where the UK original of "Wasties" has a great fold-out-cover, this Japanse version does not. It is just a normal sleeve, although on very thick paper.

The front design is a bit different. It has part of the inside photo (the apples) on the top. The lp itself is a full swirl, with English texts and 'Magna Carta' in Japanese characters.

Inside is a seperate insert, with the English song texts on one side and a Japanese explanation on the back.

Magna Carta - Japanese
Japanese version

This is side 1 of the Japanese lp version.

More information on this album will follow.