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




Canterbury Scene

4.30 | 1829 ratings

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The Ace Face
4 stars When i first listened to this album, I wasn't terribly impressed. However, it's grown on me. Pye Hastings has a soft tone to both voice and guitar that takes you away to the fantasy dreamworld of grey and pink. David Sinclair uses his canterbury-tone organ to maximum effect. Richard Sinclair and Richard Coughlan make a tight rhythm section, neither very talented, but they serve to move the vehicle of Hastings' songwriting onward and upward.

Golf Girl: A nice horn intro from Jimmy Hastings, brother of Pye who is classically trained on many wind instruments. the lyrics tell a silly story, typical of Caravan, and this song is very good in its simplicity. The chords work so well you'd think it would be very complicated, but its not a difficult song to play at all. The organ solo in the middle is quite good, and the horn brings us into a key change, repeating the whole story again, and ending with a fluttering flute solo again from Jimmy. He puts Gabriel, Anderson and Latimer to the test with this solo.

Winter Wine: This song, more than any of the other ones, conjures images of faraway places and puts such a mystical, fantastic feeling into my heart when I listen to it, its probably my favorite Caravan tune. The delicate acoustics from Hastings set the mood, as does his voice. the backing vocals help to create the mystical aura. The pace picks up for a bit, and settles down again as an angelic voice croons behind Pye's lead voice, and the tinkling piano accompanies perfectly. this leads perfectly into the organ solo, another masterwork from Sinclair, a very underrated keyboardist. the drums pick up again, and then the singing leads us to the magical outro.

Love to Love You (And Tonight Pigs Will Fly): Here's the one song I don't like as much as the rest, and the reason why this album only gets 4 stars. The intro and main riff is in 7/4, and thats cool, but the lyrics and melody are a bit to sappy, but I suppose taken in stride with the rest of Caravan's oddities, its ok. Plus the flute solo in the background near the end is cool, as is Coughlan's great drum work.

In the Land of Grey and Pink: A combination of the bounciness of Golf Girl and the mysticality of Winter Wine, this song is another Caravan classic. The reggae-like guitar chords make for a unique feel, as does Pye's voice. the lyrics evoke images of the strange creatures that might live in the Land of Grey and Pink, and what they do. the organ in the background fills out the sound, and the bass is quite audible and jumping around. the delicate piano solo in the middle is unexpected and gorgeous, as is the lip bubbling noises, and then the classic organ kicks in. with a reprise of the vocal part and the intro, we are led to the end of side two with some cool acoustic musings from Pye.

Nine Feet underground: the most talked about Caravan song, this song does not fail to deliver. Immediatly kicking off into a keyboard solo from Sinclair, it tells you right away: this is gonna kick butt. the solo goes on for a bit before slowing turning into a great sax solo from Jimmy Hastings, Jack of all Trades, but then Sinclair jumps right back in with that classic organ sound. all this time, Pye is content to strum the chords, with the Rhythm section gets to do some funky stuff, with the bass line jumping about. It seems like David is soloing on 2 different organs, because the tone frequently changes and also switches speakers. at a little before the 6 minute mark, the solo ends and a steady riff starts up, followed by some singing with the organ mimicing the vocal melody. no matter how many times that trick is used, I will never get tired of it. however, the vocal section is shortlived, and we get sent right back into another amazing organ solo, followed by a reprise of the chorus. now the song slows down a bit and gets funky. the organ continues to be fantastic, I just cannot say enough about David Sinclair. Without him, this song wouldn't be as incredible as it is. now it slows down alot, with low piano chords setting the mood, a little more spacey. I have never been able to say when one subtitled section begins and another ends, but its not that important for this song. the organ soon begins to (yup, you guessed it) solo once more, a little more restrained now. now it jumps into 6/8 time, and the organ continues to solo, while the bass jumps acrobatically around. the drums are also quite talented, but I cannot hear what Pye is doing at this exact moment in the song. it moves from this into a darker, slightly heavier section featuring (insert organ solo here). this is followed by a piano-based vocal section with organ soloing lightly in the background. I guess this would be either disassociation or 100% proof, but I don't know. the song ends with this riff repeated many times on the guitar, organ and bass. the ending mess is very dissonant and non-Caravan, but thats ok. the whole song goes through as many moods as the other 4 songs put together. A great epic up there with close to the edge, lizard, supper's ready, thick as a brick, plague of lighthouse keepers, etc.

Overall, a great album, not a masterpiece, but I really enjoy listening to this album as I fall asleep, its like a magical story that unfolds over 43 minutes. Very talented musicians doing what they do best.

The Ace Face | 4/5 |


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