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Caravan - In the Land of Grey and Pink CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.30 | 1821 ratings

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3 stars Caravan had already taken care of their fame prior to the release of their second album, gigging in the UK and even landing over to Europe for some shows next to big names such as Frank Zappa, Yes, Santana or Skin Alley.Dave Sinclair recalls their show at the monster Kralingen Pop Festival in Holland in front of 250,000 people!Facing the autumn of 1970 they entered the Air Studios in London for the sessions of their upcoming album ''In the land of grey and pink'', this time David Hitchcok sits on the producer's chair and Caravan could take advantage of their ideas.Four tracks were recorded there, but what appeared to be the epic of the album was recorded later at the Decca Studios.The album was eventually released in April 1971 on Decca's branch label Deram and on its sister company London Records in the USA.

The horn opening section of ''Golf girl'' kicks off another great Caravan album and this is propably the best track of the first side.Beautiful mix of singing Pop sensibilities with very dense instrumental parts, drawing influences from Jazz and Classical Music, led by Pye Hastings' brother Jimmy on flute and David Sinclair's clever use of Mellotron and offering smooth but noticable interplays.''Winter wine'' is almost on par with the previous tracks with more stretched instrumental passages but always based on the poppy side of Progressive Rock.This time the emphasis is on Jazz and Psychedelic Rock inspirations with more of a jamming attitude in the organ parts and a tendency to combine structured song themes with loose music sections.The short ''Love to love you (and tonight pigs will fly)'' recalls Caravan early days.Pure Psychedelic Pop with beautiful, romantic vocal parts, colored by Jimmy Hastings' incredible flute solo at the end, while Sinclair's work on organ is discreet but still very nice.Same goes for the title-track, where the use of acoustic guitars is more apparent, building the base for Sinclair's later piano solo, while the jazzy interludes at the middle are absolutely well-executed and ethereal.

Of course ''In the land of grey and pink'' is mostly known among prog fans for the inclusion of the 22-min., 8-part long composition ''Nine feet underground'', which pretty much defines what Canterbury Prog/Fusion is all about.The vocals won't enter the scene before the 6-min. mark in a track, where most of its strength comes from the extended instrumental textures and solos.Caravan eventually fit the old-styled rhythmic tunes of Psychedelic Rock with the freedom of Jazz and ''Nine feet underground'' is characterized by multiple, flawless grooves overpowered by loose soloing mainly on keyboards and even on saxes (another appearance by Jimmy Hastings).Despite the very rich musicianship and the constant presence of instrumental solos, the atmosphere remains smooth and elegant all the way.For the second time on the album there is a slight presence of Classical vibes in the symphonic breaks, led by Sinclair's Mellotron and Hastings' light flutes.Very good tempo changes and calm, lyrical parts help the track's coherence, resulting to a nice example of Canterbury-style Progressive Rock.

A monumental album of the Canterbury scene, an excellent addition for fans of Prog/Fusion or even Psych/Prog and a strong recommendation to all fans of Prog in general, which should definitely lend an ear on this...3.5 stars.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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