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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 | 1085 ratings

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The Wizard
Prog Reviewer
5 stars This is my favorite Caravan album. It has every: the whimsical atmosphere, driving jazz rock, great playing and wonderful singing. Much of this album is dominated by Pye Hastings, he does most of the singing and writing. He proves himself a great hook- writer, making the music somewhat poppy. But progressive and jazz rock tendencies are in full force here. And so is the recognizable Caravan sound. You can tell by the tongue-in-cheek album title (what crazy bunch of loonies these guys are) that this is pure Caravan and your in for a ride of British lunacy and tight jazz rock.

The atmosphere that Caravan create manages to be both mellow (and even trippy) yet have a powerful jazz-rock drive. Yet it is rarely heavy, which is very interesting to hear. Of course in typical Canterbury fashion, the organs are distorted and of course play almost all the solos and are very up front. These guys rock out-but in a very strange way. There is also still a very psychedelic element to the sound also, trippy sound effects and organs wahs are prominent here.

Richard Sinclair mostly plays an excellent funky bass, but doesnt open his mouth too much. But his bass playing is a very important part of the bands sound and never fails to entertain. Pye Hastings does most of the singing and his voice could be compared to Robert Wyatt. It's very innocent and pure, full of optimism. Sinclair's is lower and more humorous, and could be compared to Kevin Ayers. Richard Coughlan plays a mean drum kit with much power and precision. His cymbals at the beginning of 'As I feel I Die' are wonderful and his cool percussion effects on 'Hello, Hello' give John Muir a run for his money.

Jimmy's woodwind work is also an excellent addition to the bands sound. In the mellow parts he is essential for the atmosphere. In the jazzy suite 'For Richard' he is a vital and his solos are full of energy. Same with organ ace David Sinclair, who does about 70% of the records soloing but makes each one sound fresh. He produces lots of cool effects on his organ to, but instead of toying around he uses them well in the song. Pye Hasting's guitar mostly plays rhythm, only soloing in 'I wish I were stoned' and 'For Richard' his solos are tasteful, but he excels as a tight rhythm player playing jazzy chords.

This record also shows the band playing great melodies. Even in the fast jazz sections, melody is not abused. This and Pye Hasting's great hooks make this album a surprisingly easy listen. But experimentation and progression is rampant, while pretension is not. I'm confused as to why this band was not commercially successful. The title track and 'Hello, Hello' would have made great singes, and are still very experimental. 'If I could do it over again..' is somewhat similar to fellow Canterbury gods The Soft Machine's 'We did it again', with it's repeating figures. 'Hello, Hello' manages to be short and accessible while packing lots of great ideas.

The lyrics here are beautiful and heartfelt at times, and at others hilarious and British. 'And I wish I were stoned', a lovely song, has great lyrics like:

"Got down in the road Crossed my heart and cried When you told me how you'd love To live and not to die"

The delivery is also great. A positive and optimistic atmosphere runs amok here, and you can't help but to sing along to these great lyrics. I find that this record is almost guaranteed to make me feel happy and glad.

Many of the songs like an 'Ear to the Ground', 'As I Feel I die', and 'For Richard' Begin mellow and atmospheric which prominent organ and woodwind, then seamlessly transfer to exciting jazz rocks which cant help but to tap your toe to. There are changes of moods and melodies happening all the time, especially in 'Ear to the Ground' and 'I Wish I were stoned'.

In conclusion, this record is a pure Canterbury masterpiece. It has all of the Canterbury essentials and more and it's wonderfully listenable and free on pretension. You can tell these guys had fun making this record that is so complex yet well, fun! So get this, as soon as you can, it's the perfectly place to start exploring Canterbury.

The Wizard | 5/5 |


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