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Caravan - In The Land Of Grey And Pink CD (album) cover

IN THE LAND OF GREY AND PINK

Caravan

 

Canterbury Scene

4.27 | 1149 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Add this album to that exclusive list of classic recordings in the Progarchives database hardly needing the validation of yet another five-star rating. With a score of 4.27 after almost 800 reviews to date, I think by now a reliable consensus has been reached.

But my own immunity to such infectious music has always been chronically low. So, for better or worse, here's another unqualified endorsement to pad an already overcrowded page.

Older fans can fill you in on the background and biographies. As a relative newcomer I can only respond to the music itself, which is nothing short of perfection: jazzy but punchy Prog- Pop with silly song titles, pithy lyrics, and ace musicianship all around. The band was unusually tight for its era, at a time when other Rock musicians were looking to Jazz for permission to flaunt their chops at (often indulgent) length. And in David Sinclair they could also boast one of the more unassuming keyboard wizards of the early 1970s. I don't think I've ever heard anyone employ a mellotron the way Sinclair does in the song "Golf Girl", jamming on the ersatz string ensemble like it was a Hammond B3 organ.

Good luck trying to find a weak spot or wasted note. The four shorter songs are quintessential Canterbury ditties, catchy as hell and sporting a dry English wit not always evident elsewhere in Progressive Rock. Even the bonus tracks on the 2001 CD reissue reveal a deprecating sense of humor, including a pair of songs-in-progress titled "I Don't Know It's Name" and "It's Likely To Have a Name Next Week" (the latter resurfaced on the LP as "Winter Wine").

And the side-long, nearly 23-minute opus "Nine Feet Underground" has to be one of the most intimate epics ever written, although in truth it's a medley of related songs held skillfully together by some tasteful jamming. Celebrated Prog touchstones like "Close to the Edge" and "Supper's Ready" probably have more episodes of sheer, symphonic grandeur. But "Nine Feet" holds together as a better unified composition, and proves you don't need to stab your keyboard to maintain an effective solo.

You'd have to be a real sourpuss (or one of Sinclair's nasty grumbly grimblies) not to acknowledge the undiluted joy of it all. Brian Eno had his Music For Airports and Music For Films; Caravan's 1971 album might well have been subtitled "Music For Grinning Stupidly At". And if you could see my face right now, you'd recognize the truth of that statement.

Neu!mann | 5/5 |

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