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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 | 1086 ratings

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Chris H
Prog Reviewer
5 stars The pinnacle of the Canterbury Scene!

With Caravan's 1971 release "In The Land Of Grey And Pink", the Canterbury genre of music peaked and then was born again. Of course, since it is the true gem of the genre, it contains all of the necessary elements for an amazing Canterbury album, such as the psychedelic surrealism and the funny and goofy approach to writing lyrics. Another thing that makes this album the Canterbury crown is the use of the organ. Never has a keyed instrument sounded more raw and original than David Sinclair's did on this album. The fuzz organ provides an amazing outlet for some incredible soloing along the course of the album, but the rest of the band is tight as well. The rhythm section is at it's finest and the average skills Pye Hastings are showcased very nicely here, even though the occasional awkward moment is stumbled upon.

Before we go song by song, I must say that if you are expecting some deep lyrics that showcase the inner mechanisms of the human mind at work, these won't suffice. However the set of lyrics on this album are incredible in their own way, providing a perfect blend of poppy and happy melodies with an occasional psychedelic twist.

"Golf Girl" is an uplifting song to start the album, very upbeat and melodic with an awesome organ going in the background to set the tone. One thing I love about the song is how the accompanying rhythms change for every chorus repeat instead of the same old boring repeats used by virtually every other performing artist. Incredible intro as well, must give that a nod. "Winter Wine" presents the age old Caravan related question, "who the heck is playing the solo?", but as we all figured out 30 years later, it is the fizz organ of Dave Sinclair, not the guitars of Pye Hastings. A little bit heavier in melody, but still very upbeat and tap-your-feet-to kind of music. The crystal-clear voice of D. Sinclair is the icing on the cake for this song, and a true masterpiece in itself.

Here's the concept for the next track. 3 minutes of pop. What's this? Oh what the heck, it is still a listen worthy song, no matter the concept or outcome! "Love To Love You (And Tonight Pigs Will Fly") a perfectly acceptable song, what with it's poppy lyrics and whimsical air. Keeping the album rolling in 7/4 time signature for a little is never a bad thing, is it? The title track, "In The Land Of Grey And Pink" follows up in a fine fashion. Keeping in tradition, only good things can be said about the song! The hippie references and humorous noises and sounds during the song are all well and good, but what really blows me away is Mr. Sinclair's amazing fingers or fury, once again. His keyboard dominance cannot be matched, at least in this era or to my ears.

The B-side of the original LP is their epic of the album, the 22+ minute "Nine Feet Underground", which is composed of 8 smaller pieces that flow together to create a massive piece of music. As many have said before me, it is evident that band had way too much fun naming these pieces. just have a look see! "Nigel Blows A Tune" is the first part, and the organ takes the stage while the rhythm section hums away relentlessly. "Love's A Friend" sees an organ transformation, hitting the blues/heavy distortion side of things. The funky bass guitars and melodic leads make this a staple section of Canterbury rock. "Make It 76" and the beginning through middle of "Dance Of The Seven Paper Hankies" are a little softer and a little more laid-back, tracks meant to showcase once again the organ talents of Sinclair. The ending of "Dance Of The Seven Paper Hankies" throws the melodies out the windows and slams percussion instruments all the way through "Hold Grandad By The Nose". "Disassociation" slows everybody down for a little breather and gives the mood back to the song. Once again, the organ propels the song into a massive force of nature, and the build-up is setting the tone for the almost-too-heavy-for-Canterbury "100% Proof". And with this amazing, hard-hitting piece, my personal favorite journey through the Canterbury genre has come to an end.

Like I said right from the top, this is the defining album of the genre. An incredibly fun album to listen to, I would recommend this album to everybody I know. Start with this album if you haven't experienced Caravan yet, if you haven't been introduced to the world of Canterbury yet, or if you are just looking for an album that is very musically intelligent yet fun at the same time, all while staying clean and interesting.

You simply cannot go wrong here, 5 stars over and over!

Chris H | 5/5 |

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