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




Canterbury Scene

4.30 | 1819 ratings

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4 stars This is one of the big boys allegedly, a perrenial favourite flagship of those "weird nerdy nostalgic idiots who seem to wallow in Progressive Miuwzik", much to the deliriously inane attitudes of the unchallenged masses. The biggest 2009 release will be Michael Jackson funeral tribute, hypocritically by all the "deeply hurt" megastars, damn money talks, eh? So for this one we wander way back into the past, in 1971 precisely, when things were so rosy, but at times also quite bleak. Prog was still in fetal infancy, tubed to a effervescent musical culture in full-blooming explosion and England was leading the charge, Canterbury's Caravan being the first "oddball" super group (though never remotely attaining Yes, KC, Floyd, Genesis, ELP and Tull market supremacy). Armed with 2 world class vocalists in the breathtaking Richard Sinclair and mellifluous Pye Hastings, things could hardly go wrong. Add on some scintillating keyboard work from David Sinclair, on fuzzy organ (clearly the redeeming feature of Canterbury). Drummer Coughlan is no slouch either, sustaining the rolling bass of Richard Sinclair with utter ease. There are some poppy jewels here (as was so prevalent at the time) that recall a breezier era, perhaps more optimistic (or na´ve) than it deserved, like the oh so Brit "Golf Girls" and the Kinks-like romper ballad "Love to Love You" (no not Donna Summer, you dorks!) On the other extreme, we have some serious instrumental workouts like on "Winter Wine", the title track and the monster 22.40 "Nine Feet Underground" where these accomplished musicians really get quirky , albeit silkily engulfed in a simple tonal spirit, ripping off extended solos without any self-doubt. For the times, it was quite a remarkable revolution, moving away from the "hit single" in 45 rpms towards an imminently upcoming Supper's Ready, Ummagumma, Thick as a Brick or Close to the Edge. I guess you had to be there (and lucky me each day, I was there!) to wallow in the massive amount of variety that existed back then, way more than today's highly compartmentalized musical scene. Anyway, back to "the Land of Grey and Pink"! This is one of those Prog anthropological albums; you absolutely need to have it while not being necessarily on your current heavy rotation list. Just like the aforementioned, In the Court and a hundred other gems, this serves also a historical perspective and not just an occasional folly in the CD player. Fans of dense organ roaming , rippling groove beats and amusing vocalized social comments would do well getting into this highly rated album when they have reached a learning stage that requires a visit back to the early years. This is the one to get after the Hatfield /National Health are all in hand and even before veering into the murkier world of that other Canterbury megalith, Soft Machine and its numerous offshoots. 4.5 distinct Hankies.
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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