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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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Prog Sothoth
4 stars Still trapped in 1970, I figure it's time to review one of the biggies as far as acclaim is concerned. Being a huge fan of the girl who went plump in the night (love the album too), I figured this would be a no-brainer as far as my next exploration of the mighty Caravan was concerned. I have to be honest in that the first time I put this on, I fell asleep at some point during the second track, although it could've been the third for all I know. Damn. My second listen was better, and yet halfway though I was screaming "I need a jumbo mug of coffee NOW or I'm gonna DIE!!", and practically reeling in frustration. You see, I HAD to love this album. I mean, it has the greatest title in the history of music, and the cover itself was groovy with that trippy font. I wanted to hang with those dudes 'cause they seemed like a cool bunch. Yet as I kept listening to it I yearned for Cthulhu, hoedowns and oral sex (not all three at once or I'd be an utterly awful mess). Around the fourth time or so, I began to see the Light, and it was good.

I still can't bring myself to proclaim it a masterpiece, but I at least understand the love it gets. It's certainly an innovative bugger with fantastic musicianship and a welcome unpretentious attitude, but for those first few listens I was clearly missing the 'fire' I got by the bucketload from "For Girls...". It just had this soothing mellow quality as a whole that lulled me into a lethargic state. At first, if I had this on in the car I could've parked in the neighbor's driveway and passed out on the wheel without even realizing it. But it's a grower. Now, this release actually peps me up and gives me that sense of "life is good" to wave at the people next door, who usually respond by muttering something about potholes in the street or crazy neighbors.

The album starts off in cute trippy fashion involving repetitive verses sung by gentle voiced chaps held together by a 7/8 time signature, or something akin to that. There's a bit of groovin' & soloing by this distorted keyboard that show up quite a lot throughout the album. It's cool, but being a guitar enthusiast I wish there were a few more guitar leads taking the place of some of these keyboards that seem to ape guitar solos at times. Not to say there's none, because they do pop from time to time to give me a jolt. I just had to get used to the style the band was going for here in 1970.

"And I Wish I Were Stoned" keeps the happy-on-shrooms flag waving and even throws in a good bit of guitar at the right time before the tune hits its second half. I certainly can't knock the lyrics, since I say that a few times a week even to this day. I suppose I say "don't worry" at times as well, being married & all.

"As I Feel I Die" starts off reeeeall mellow before launching into this jazz-tastic piece that moves like a jackrabbit on fire, and yet still feels somehow calm and soothing. The band sure is tight though, which does bring out an interesting point. Caravan has this ability to sound loose and free-wheeling, but technically it's got some serious structure and complexity. Few 'jam bands' could ever pull this sort of thing off without sounding like, for lack of a better word, crap.

"With An Ear To The Ground..." is probably my favorite tune off the album. That whole "Waiting for the band to come" line is catchy as hell and for some reason reminds me of John wailing "Waiting for the van to come!" during "I Am The Walrus". Don't ask why. I also dig the fuzzy keyboard solo here; it rocks out pretty cool. Then there are some sweet vocal harmonies that suit the singers quite well. Quite pretty. The atmospheric ending is a nice touch as well. In retrospect, I kinda 'love' this song.

"Hello Hello" is another one of those non-danceable pop-prog numbers, and that's ok by me. Playing that bass lick would drive me bonkers after awhile.

Bookended by a couple of vaguely interesting interludes, the famous "For Richard" starts off like a quiet little dreamy thing before it erupts with that WILD riff and taking off into the land of solos and more solos. Great ones too. Hat's off to Jimmy. The song is a gas for much of its running time, but does go on just a little bit too long for my taste, although it's nice to have the guitar make a loud entrance for a near the denouement.

So yeah, the Canterbury style is a much needed respite from some of the downer and heavy rock being churned out in 1970. This album still gives me images of those women in flower dresses you see frolicking across meadows in maxi pad ads I grew up seeing on TV. I'm guessing it's due to the wistful, airy yet 'always moving' vibe I get when listening to it, and I can imagine those dudes on the cover have to be looking at 'something' out there in the field.

Prog Sothoth | 4/5 |


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