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Caravan - For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.16 | 684 ratings

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TGM: Orb
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Caravan's 1974 album comes with more line-up shifting. The loss of Richard Sinclair, much as he's one of the relatively few really distinctive and charming voices in the Canterbury scene, we can deal with. Firstly, Pye Hastings is on a creative peak, with tighter guitar work, superb melodic writing and winning lead vocals (I think a couple are also taken by John Perry, with a bit more balance inside songs than the Hastings/Sinclair pair had). Secondly, the fantastic John G. Perry (whose very respectable solo album is worth checking out) is on bass. While not a showy lead bassist, he is extremely melodic and supportive and his choices of tone are superb. Thirdly, they have a violist. So, one of the best bass albums of all time, David Sinclair at his most subtly wonderful, Pye Hastings writing, playing and singing better than ever, a violist, two pieces with orchestration, a load more guests to add a little more flavour to various pieces (Rupert Hine on synth and Frank Ricotti on congas in particular) and a brilliant title.

A truly superior and very professional Caravan album but not without the charm of earlier efforts.

The opening of Memory Lain, Hugh/Headloss is one of the essential Caravan jams with some solid brass orchestration, awesome feedback solos from David Sinclair and a Jimmy Hastings flute solo (which is always a good thing). However, the departure from this jamming is arguably even better... Headloss is a solid display of melody writing with superb rhythm section work.

Hoedown is a more decisively rock song and arguably feels more lively here than in the more participational A Hunting We Shall Go version. Of note, the melody is great and the various moody David Sinclair twinkling over that riff is wonderful.

Surprise, Surprise has the two new elements of Caravan's arsenal in the foreground. Geoffrey Richardson on viola adds a pastoral character and a heart-warming solo, while Perry's basswork is stronger than ever. Pye Hastings' vocals are gorgeous, and the lyrics are some of the best disjointed ones around: 'when the years are gone, and we live on memories/Will you still remember me that way?'

C'thlu thlu is a bit of an odd one, turning through ironic creepiness to a hilarious chorus, 'so we ran ? YEAH! ? as fast as we can'. Somewhat liquidy, and the mellotron-like organ work and killer blues solo is (like most of Sinclair's washes on this album) a highlight that doesn't jump out at you but waits and creeps up. Again, Perry's basswork is more than excellent, and the addition of Frank Ricotti's congas to the rhythm section shakes things up a little.

The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again... great pop song with Caravan's typical flair for light humour and unusual parts. Pye Hastings gets credit for some of the best light melodies this side of Paul McCartney and some curious winning lyrics: 'You're naive if you really do believe/that the world is so full of sin'. The jam replete with handclaps is every bit a match for the wonderful layered vocal sections.

Be Alright/Chance Of A Lifetime isn't very well opened. I don't like the vocals all that much, the riff is a bit laboured, solos (although we have a very good Pye Hastings guitar solo) are tacked on over the top. However, the continuation is just gorgeous ? a liberated Geoffrey Richardson adds a melting texture over the top of some gorgeous vocals to a great, great melody. So, yes, the opening of this is my only real doubt about the album but the rest more than compensates.

A Hunting We Shall Go is English pastoral rock at its finest.

Anyway, get some good speakers, get this album, find a relaxed Summer afternoon when hayfever keeps you indoors, listen out for the details and enjoy For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night.

Rating: 13/15. Four Stars that would be a comfortable five if it weren't for the minute and a half of Be Alright. Favourite track: hm. A Hunting We Shall Go, if only for the viola riff.

P.S. Bonus tracks are mostly just WIP versions plus another mix of Memory Lain, Hugh/Headloss and I can't think of anything hugely remarkable about them. The track left over from the Austin/Evans sessions is at least a bit different and, if memory serves, pretty good, with the heavy organ use, so that's maybe worth having as a curiosity ? the remaster sound is fantastic, so I wouldn't shy away from getting it despite the generally weak bonuses.

PPS. Noticed I haven't mentioned drummer/constant member Jimmy Coughlan once in the earlier review. This is largely because he's generally very solid and while his style helps make the album, he only really stands out all that much on Hoedown and A Hunting We Shall Go.

TGM: Orb | 4/5 |


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