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Caravan - The Unauthorised Breakfast Item CD (album) cover

THE UNAUTHORISED BREAKFAST ITEM

Caravan

 

Canterbury Scene

3.24 | 76 ratings

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alextorres2
5 stars I have only this year caught up with this 2003 release of Caravan's but am very pleased that I did so as it is a splendid record! In fact, I would go so far as to say that "The Unauthorised Breakfast Item" is on a par with their best records from those halcyon days of the 70s, "If I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do It All Over You", "In the Land of Grey and Pink" and "For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night".

The sound and feel of this record are very much of Caravan at their best. It is perhaps a bit poppier than those early masterpieces but when that is only an element of the sound in a pop-rock-jazz-progressive mix then it is no bad thing to have. Compared with the landmark "Canterbury Sound" of those early albums, Caravan have added an extra aural texture in the form of Doug Boyle's lead guitar playing: it is added so skilfully that it merges in seamlessly and enhances the band's hallmark soundscape. Many of the musicians responsible for creating Caravan's soundscape feature on this fine record: Pye Hastings, in such wonderful voice; Geoffrey Richardson's viola; Jimmy Hastings's sax and flute; Jan Schelhaas and Dave Sinclair's keyboards; Richard Coughlan's drumming. As such, it should be a very enjoyable record for anyone who enjoyed the band in the 70s.

Of the 10 songs on the album, two are instrumentals and both are gorgeous - Doug Boyle's "Linders Field" closes the album in fine style whilst Geoffrey Richardson's "Wild West Street" acts as a very natural prelude to Dave Sinclair's "Nowhere to Hide", one of the album's highlights (sung beautifully by Jim Leverton, the only time that Pye relinquishes the lead vocal spotlight).

Even on the non-instrumental numbers there are lengthy passages of instrumental music, beautifully conceived in the best Caravan style. Whilst the whole of the album is excellent the highlights that I would pick out (in addition to the three above) would be the pacey opener "Smoking Gun (Right for Me)", the slower tempo "Tell Me Why" with Jim Hastings's sweet sax contribution, another Jimmy Hastings influenced song, "It's Getting a Whole Lot Better" and "Head Above the Clouds" which picks up the pace nicely from the preceding two.

I can see myself playing this album often!

alextorres2 | 5/5 |

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