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Caravan - Caravan CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.69 | 501 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Bear in mind, this album was released in 1968, the very dawn of prog.

All of the tracks on this record lie around the four minute mark, with just one notable exception being the nine-minute epic closing track (I'll come to that later). The other tracks on this record are understandably psychedelic in nature, though to varying degrees. Even though it's the same classic line-up of Caravan (Hastings, Sinclair, Sinclair and Coughlan) there's very little similarity between the music here and the music they would release on subsequent records. However, this album is still worth checking out.

For one thing, there's hardly a bad track on here. Out of all the tracks, I'd say Magic Man is my least favourite, as it's quite dull, but at just 4:03, it's hardly offensive. Talking of being offensive, some tracks on here are quite... naughty shall I say. Cecil Rons is a nightmarish experimental song, with childlike lyrics: 'So we all go to wee in the garden'. Grandma's Lawn contains some of the weirdest lyrics and bizarrest imagery in any Caravan song.

On the lighter side, Place Of My Own is a fun radio-friendly number with a good melody, and Love Song With Flute does exactly what it says on the tin (although the Jimmy Hastings' classic flute sound only comes in at 2:43, and carries the song to the finish. Ride is a quieter piece, but theres some good moments in there, and Policeman is another track with amusing lyrics.

The highlight of the record however, is surely the nine minute opus Where But For Caravan Would I?. This track is essentially two songs stuck together, with an epic instrumental section joining them. The first section and the instrumental are entirely in 11/8, adding to the already very progressive nature of this song. The first song is a mysterious track with mystical progressive lyrics, and the second song is more uplifting. This song is the earliest sign of where Caravan's sound would go in later years.

One thing that is worth mentioning is the sound quality. One does have to admit, listening to this record sounds a bit like listening to the band if they were in another room. This being their debut, it's easy to forgive this, and it adds to the naive nature of some of the tracks.

This isn't the best place to start listening to Caravan, but this is a lovely little record that's well worth picking up if you're a fan of the band or of the Canterbury Scene in general. It would only get better from here!

baz91 | 3/5 |


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