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Caravan - In The Land Of Grey And Pink CD (album) cover

IN THE LAND OF GREY AND PINK

Caravan

 

Canterbury Scene

4.27 | 1157 ratings

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alextorres2
5 stars Together with BJH's "Time Honoured Ghosts" and Camel's "Moonmadness", Caravan's "In the Land of Grey and Pink", completes the trio of what I would call my favourite three, seminal albums.

Like the other two bands, Caravan have been with me since my early teens; their music always inspirational, but probably never so much so as on this album, "In The Land of Grey and Pink". Their third album, it is one of three in a four year period that most Caravan fans pick out as their best, the other two being 1970's "if I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do It All Over You" and 1973's "For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night".

Caravan are still playing and recording to this day despite having suffered many line-up changes in the 40 years of their existence: the only ever-present member being its inspirational leader, Pye Hastings. Pye's sweet voice is a hallmark of the Caravan sound, whatever reincarnation of the band you listen to. On this album the band also comprised the cousins Richard and David Sinclair (on bass and keyboards) and Richard Coughlan on drums. Significantly, the band also brought in Pye's brother Jimmy for this album and his contributions on flute, tenor sax and piccolo are a significant factor in the overall mystique of the soundscape created. David Sinclair's keyboards are another big factor in this; the music on this album is almost like a painting; different songs corresponding to different areas of the canvas, but clearly all being a significant part of the overall picture, such is the nuance of the musical thread running through the album.

The album is made up of 5 separate pieces: four are relatively short whilst the final one, "Nine feet Underground", is a relatively lengthy composition of over 22 minutes which originally took up the whole of side 2 of the LP. The complexity of this piece, together with the interweaving of similar complexities and soundscapes into the shorter pieces, have led to Caravan being labelled as a progressive-rock band. Certainly, for my money, this album is better than anything more famous prog-rock bands such as Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd ever produced.

Melody is a strong feature throughout: even during "Nine Feet Underground", there is plenty to hum or whistle along to. And by the time you get to it, your voice is already warm as you've sung along to some gorgeous songs - the boppy, tongue-in-cheek love song "Golf Girl", "Winter Wine", "Love to Love You" and the title track itself, "In the land of Grey and Pink". This is unashamedly about the pleasures of taking drugs and it is one of life's little mysteries to me why I, who have never taken drugs (and I wasn't even a boy scout!) should so much enjoy music either about drugs or obviously composed under the influence: Caravan, Hawkwind, Steve Hilllage, Spirit and many more.

A truly great album!

alextorres2 | 5/5 |

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