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




Canterbury Scene

4.30 | 1818 ratings

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4 stars Another classic album for which so much has been written, most of it glowing. I have to concur while acknowledging there is some truth to those who say Caravan is pretty safe music for hard core proggers.

Nonetheless this album is a joy. Pop, rock, jazz is all here swirled into one delightful work that has a very hippie vibe and a strong sense of humor. While it refuses to take itself too seriously there is little argument that these songs are very well constructed and the ensemble playing is just fantastic from all the musicians. The sound is also killer for 1970 when this was recorded. All of the instruments are heard very clearly and the mix is near perfect on the remastered CD.

"Golf Girl" and "Love to Love You" is the ammo for the critics contending this is pop music with light prog touches. These are very catchy songs that will get anyone bouncing around. But the latter especially is not to the quality of the other songs and should have been replaced with something else, perhaps the excellent bonus track "I don't know its name." The title track and "Winter Wine" are still very sweet but are also such solid, gorgeous songs that really build a strong fantasy mood they were shooting for. Winter Wine has always been a favorite of mine, the perfect acoustic opening before the thumping bass kicks in but always remaining sort of lilting and light. The lyrics conjure images of a utopia that might have been. One look at the amazing gatefold album cover is enough to get anyone in the fantasy mode! The title track feels the same as Winter Wine to me, just blissed out longing for a simple life along with the delicious instrumental interplay. I'm a big fan of whimsy and it's all over this song in the vocal and in the perfect solos. All the while you have tight acoustic rhythm guitar which is such a nice touch.

The nearly 23 minute "Nine Feet Underground" is the big kettle of fish that prog fans will point to as proof of this album's validity. It's a very good song that ebbs and flows but consistently features stellar playing and painstaking arrangements. Just kick back and marvel at the amazing drum fills and solid bass lines cooking near the 13-14 minute mark. Nice soloing, great vintage keyboards, flutes, mellotron. There's so much here to enjoy. This whole album really makes me wish I was at an after-party with them in 1970. I'm guessing a good time was had by all.

While not quite masterpiece status on my shelf this is an excellent album by any stretch and is recommended to everyone. The 2001 remaster I have features a very nice history in the booklet and a level of sound quality that will please the fussiest audiophiles. It also comes with five bonus tracks.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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