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Caravan - If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.24 | 930 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Caravan's second album signals the band's moment of plain maturity just achieved. Destined to become an undisputed classic of Canterbury prog, "If I Could." stands out as an album that comprises an excellent material craftily performed: the pristine melodic sense that made Caravan the most accessible Canterbury act is refurbished with inventively superlative arrangements all throughout the album's repertoire. Before I go on, let me state that this my all-time fave Caravan recording. The funny title track kicks off the album, as an exercise in jazz-pop in a 7/8 pattern: a proper sense of joy that does not anticipate the density of the following numbers - 'And I Wish I Were Stoned' and 'As I Feel I Die' are both constructed under the logic of an initial serene introspective section and a groovier, jazzier second section that releases some kind of emotional explosion that seemed to be kept off during the serene part. None of these explosive passages are metallic or incendiary: the explosion is more focused on enthusiasm, humor and jazz-rock textures than on anger. This same pattern is reiterated in 'With an Ear to the Ground You Can Make It', only in this particular case the density is developed into a more eerie level: definitely, one of the highlights of an album full of so very good songs. After all this display of structural complexity the poppy tune 'Hello Hello' is welcome as resource of relief and refreshing fun by the listener: its catchy melodic line is wisely portrayed on a 7/4 pattern. It won't be long before 'For Richard' - the prototypical Caravan song - hits the listener's heart and takes it by storm with its successive captivating motifs, fluidly linked together in a majestic amalgam. This is just as epic as Canterbury - a non-symphonic prog trend per se - could ever be!! 'For Richard' is preceded and followed by brief pieces: 'Asforteri' is a weird tribal sequence that actually might have been developed as an interesting longer track in a parallel prog universe, while the closure 'Limits' is a delicious bossanova oriented ballad that soon fades out as the sun in a springtime sunset. Well, enough for the album's official repertoire. Now, although a whole is more than a mere sum of its parts, I feel it would be unfair of me not to mention that each individual member's amazing musicianship is responsible for the amazing brightness that is comprised in "If I Could." - Richard Sinclair's bass playing is both intricate and immaculate, clearly featured without having to steal the limelight; Coughlan exhibits his percussive mastery with a touch of distinction; and David Sinclair is an exquisite maestro who makes his organ and piano parts shine strongly with a sense of delicateness. If only guitarist/vocalist Pye Hastings had been confident enough to play more solos..., but around there always was Pye's brother Jimmy, ready to guest with an extra horn or flute solo. The CD edition includes 4 bonus tracks: three of them are demo versions of some of the previous numbers, while the newcomer 'A Day in the Life of Maurice Haylett' is pretty reminiscent of 'And I Wish I Were Stoned' in structure. The way I see it, these bonus tracks serve mainly the purpose of emphasizing the most fundamental truth about this album: it's a masterpiece!!
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |


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