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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

4.25 | 963 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars An astonishing improvement from their first album!

After releasing their eponymous debut album in 1968, their label Verve decided to close down their rock and pop division. As such, the band had to wait two years before finally becoming signed to Decca, and releasing their second album. Their first album was fun listening, and certainly quite underrated, but now Caravan were poised to write some of the best and most iconic albums to come out of the Canterbury scene. In fact, the next four albums in this series are worthy of 5 stars in my opinion. With one of the best titles for an album, 'If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You' is not as hippy-esque as the cover photograph would make you believe.

We start with the title track If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You, which is the first in Caravan's list of songs with double entendres as titles. This is also the first in a series of short, fun tracks written entirely in 7/8, from Caravan, this list containing Love To Love You, Hello Hello and Hoedown. Needless to say, Caravan get off to a fun start in this great track. The 7/8 time signature is subtle and you wouldn't notice it unless your looking for it, which is a difficult achievement for any band to accomplish (yet Caravan would do this over and over). A short song that is very progressive.

The next track is in fact two joined together. And I Wish I Were Stoned starts off this medley with bizarre lyrics and a good melody. By itself, this song could have easily belonged on the first album, but at around the 4 minute mark, the track launches into a different melody and even a guitar solo! This very much draws our attention to the beginning of Don't Worry. In my opinion, this is the better song of the two. As the song progresses, the song gets louder and louder, and the dynamics are just right. The song itself is also very catchy. After the song finishes, a seemingly impromptu drum solo enters our left channel, stays for a while then leaves through the right channel. Something about having a 40 second ending that has no relevence to the rest of the song reminds me very much of Genesis' In The Cage even though these two songs are worlds apart.

As I Feel I Die is Caravan showing that they are not one-trick ponies, and they can stop being fun and carefree at points. This song is quite dark, with haunting lyrics and a very serious melody played at breakneck speed at later points. The second half of the song is entirely devoted to a signature David Sinclair keyboard solo, which ends very abrubtly at the 5 minute mark.

In my opinion, the next track is the most progressive on the album. This is the first in a list of Caravan tracks with multiple parts that have silly names. I generally refer to this as the With An Ear To The Ground You Can Make It medley. This song is progressive because it indeed has many different sounding parts all with verses that are unsimilar to each other. Beginning at the 3 minute mark, there is a sensational keyboard solo, followed by guest Jimmy Hastings on the flute. This piece goes through an astonishing number of moods in 10 minutes, but when you analyse it, it seems simpler than it appears to be. To this day, I'm always surprised at how good this song is, and parts I never payed attention to before suddenly come to life. A blissfully progressive number indeed.

Hello Hello is a short ballad with a 7/8 rhythm and lyrics to mirror Winter Wine from the next album. Compared to other tracks on the album, this is a relatively simple piece, but it is nonetheless enjoyable, with a catchy melody and good keyboard solo. The snare heavy coda is quite good too.

Asforteri is the weirdest thing on the record. At just 1:22, this track sounds nothing like the others on the record. With a simple thumping beat, this track employs a cappella singing over a bizarre melody. This isn't an awful track, but it is very very strange.

Next up is arguably the best-known Caravan track, For Richard, which has apparently been played at each Caravan gig since it's inception. This is an epic, sprawling track lasting an astonishing 14 minutes. However, this track in all its awesomeness is not as progressive as you might hope. From the outset, you should know that this track is basically a sombre 3:30 song followed by a 10 minute jazz-rock instrumental, and might not instantly be to the taste of people who haven't heard the Canterbury scene before. It's quite easy to say that this is nothing like Yes, Genesis or ELP. With that now said, the music itself here is quite spectacular. The opening is very moody, with the cryptic lyrics sounding very quiet. It's a slow start, but at 3:39, the real music begins. After this, we have a long instrumental that flows beautifully for it's duration. Upon the first listen or two, this instrumental may sound repetitive, but the more you listen to it, the more you'll find tightly written parts that the otherwise extremely loose instrumental together. I have managed to dissect this piece so that you too may understand its intricacies. At 3:39 the first theme is played like a siren, but is then shifted to the bassline until 5:51 where it is discarded in favour of a new theme. The music here is very lively and exciting. After 5:51 the music becomes more subdued, and more melancholy. The keyboards are now replaced by Jimmy Hastings playing the flute with astounding results. The most notable point in this section is 7:57 when the music cuts out for a short bass guitar solo. Afterwards, the music returns but now Hastings is playing the sax with equally amazing skill. At 9:47, we are suddenly greeted with the riff we heard at 5:51 which leads us into an entirely new section. This new section sounds more upbeat and lasts until 10:58, where we enter the final act of the song. The final section is a repeating riff in 15/8 with other instruments soloing on top, until the dramatic close to the song. I hope that by reviewing this track piece by piece, I have perhaps helped you understand it a bit more.

The final track Limits is a short encore, with a beautiful melody and wonderful flute work from brother Jimmy.

To those of you arriving from Yesworld or Van Der Graaf Generatorland, your going to be very shocked at what you hear on this record, and there's a chance you won't like it at first, but the whole idea of progressive rock is to be open minded, and you should give this record a few more listens before you write it off completely. To be honest, if you are from these camps, you should try 'For Girls That Grow Plump In The Night' instead because that has a wonderful symphonic instrumental on there. This record shows Caravan getting into their stride, and without a duff track on the record, this easily deserves 5 stars. The best was still to come though!

baz91 | 5/5 |


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