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5 stars My No.1 Caravan album (and they have made plenty good albums!) maybe its because it was my first.....anyway its an album of great variation and still it has the Caravan trademarks all over ("all over you again...") Kings of Canterbury-prog style.....i actually love most of their albums. But this one remains my favorite !!!!Full of great songs and wonderfull music. Its belongs in every good prog collection !!
Report this review (#21367)
Posted Thursday, November 27, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars There three highlights of particular note on this record: The opener, the closer, and the one in the middle ("C'thulu"), though it's worth the twice the purchase price to hear one particular flute solo that's only one minute and forty-six seconds long. The record starts off with "Memory Lain," a jumpy, infectious, insistent traveling beat that lends their name a new meaning as the band jumps straight into the action with both feet. After two short verses and a repeated theme, one of the most melodic, well-thought out, and powerfully evocative guitar solos quickly takes hold, followed by a flute. THAT flute solo. This is played by one Jimmy Hastings, elder brother of the lead guitarist/singer Pye Hastings, and in trying to describe its sheer mind-crushing power and brilliance, I'm completely at a loss for words. This guy can play circles around the likes of Ian Anderson or basically any other wind player you can think of working vaguely the same general musical territory, and I base this on this ONE performance, the only disadvantage being the fact that the flute is just a tad buried in the mix. The closer to this whole affair - "L'auberge Du Sanglier" (my high school french fails me) - is a ten minute *instrumental*. That's right boys and girls, not a word spoken or sung for ten full minutes. After a brief guitar/viola introduction, the band unleashes a fury in 5/8 that lasts about four minutes, (which after two guitar leads is just a bit overstated), and gives the feeling of driving 90 into a tree as the noise and energy evaporates, leaving only a solo piano, then joined by an alto saxophone, then a synthesizer (which should have been toned down a bit, I think), then strings, then guitars, then drums, then the kitchen sink.. you get the idea. For the next four minutes, the tempo stays easy but the layers continue to pile on, as first this instrument sings the melody, then that one, then another, and reaches a near-fever pitch - stopping abruptly, shifting gears without a clutch, and then jarring you out of your blissful state into that violent 5/8 section from before, which is quickly restated once and closed with a tremendous thunderclap. That's it - the record's over. A marvelously remarkable piece, one that will make you replay it frequently to find hidden gems in the layers of outstanding musicianship.
Report this review (#21370)
Posted Monday, February 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars The return of one Sinclair and the departure of the other and the arrival of Richardson makes you realize that another era has started . By all means another great piece of meat you can sink your teeth into as Thlu , Lifetime , Sanglier , Dog are still regularly played in concert nowadays. The Dog is one of the most hilarious and sexist set of lyrics (Lear Ricks as the Caravan pun goes) as he decided to make an Ode to a Blowjob. The bonus tracks includes a lenghty composition of a very short-lived line-up with yet another bassist and keyboardist and if the sound quality is not great , it sure is interesting. The cover was almost banned in the formula you see , but the original idea was to have the pregnant woman naked on the bed.

This explaining that , it does get another halfstar.

Report this review (#21371)
Posted Monday, February 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars This one gets favourable reviews from die-hard Caravan fans, but I am at a loss as to why. This album sounds more 'canned', more produced for radio, with an annoying mid-1970s commercial-rock sensibility to it. None of the songs are great (the last track is the best, but most of it is not even original, instead being written by Mike Ratledge of the Soft Machine!). At least Cunning Stunts, though mostly poorer, has one great (long) song on it. This one is mediocre through-and-through.
Report this review (#21372)
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is Canterbury progressive rock music. CARAVAN has definitely his style here. The presence of excellent viola gives personality to this band. There are very good electric and acoustic guitar parts. The ensemble is catchy and rythmic, but rather mellow, and can be entirely listened without any problem. The keyboards can be rythmic melodic and slightly floating; they are rather subtle and refined. The bass is present and quite sophisticated. The lead vocals are absolutely outstanding. The drums patterns are never monotonous. This is not dark or aggressive music. It implies happiness in a peaceful way.
Report this review (#21373)
Posted Thursday, April 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The band, the band, they're at it again

A superb album from start to finish. After Caravan had appeared to lose their way with "Waterloo Lily", they came back in top form here. Richard Sinclair and Steve Millar, who both wanted to continue to explore the jazz direction of "Waterloo Lily", left the band prior to the recording of this album, leaving the way clear for Pye Hastings and the remaining members to revert to the more rock focused, melodic style of previous albums.

"For girls.." leads off with one of the many the live favourites it spawned. "Memory Lain/Hugh Headloss" is a track which sums up all that is good about the album. It is melodic, adventurous, interesting, tight, and very well performed. "The dog, the dog.." is my personal favourite, with its inspired lyrics, and simple melody.

The closing track, "L'auberge Du Sanglier" is one of those Caravan epics, this time nominally in 5 parts, but very much a complete piece.

Had the band continued to pursue the jazz route of "Waterloo Lily", I believe they would have rapidly lost their following and imploded. Fortunately they didn't and, as they say, the rest is history.

The recently remastered CD has 5 additional tracks, mainly early versions of album tracks, including the wonderfully named "He who smelt it dealt it".

Report this review (#21374)
Posted Tuesday, May 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Theres a lot of relief on this album, like a return to their roots after WL. So What? They kept going onward following a groove regardless of fan criticism. In saying that FG's is a beautiful 'hoedowny' album that has wonderful pieces of music that beckon back debut creations like ' A Place of my Own'. In chaotic splendor they bring home songs like 'L'auberge,,' but in essence the fundamentals ring thru with classics like' Cthlu', 'Headloss', ' Hoedown' and the nostalgic ' Chance of a Lifetime'. Ah but where for Caravan would I be......
Report this review (#21375)
Posted Saturday, July 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yet another masterpiece! An album with a slight inclination towards funky and hard-rock. It kicks off with a bewitching composition "Memory Lain, Hugh" recorded with the participation of an 8-person-section of brass instruments and concluded with a 10 minute instrumental suite "L'auberge du Sanglier/A Hunting We Shall Go/Pengola/Backwards/A Hunting We Shall Go (reprise)". This extraordinary piece is full of ingenious musical ideas. The two last parts were recorded together with the powerfully sounding symphonic orchestra; and on top of that with synthesizers, which at that time were still a novelty. And between the fascinating beginning and great ending there can be found such pieces as: "Be All Right/Chance of a Lifetime", a composition which owing to the electric viola became demonically rapacious. With such a background the solo on the guitar sounds simply wonderful! The first dynamic part gradually evolutes into crying "Chance of a Lifetime" with the aquatic guitar and solo performed on the viola.
Report this review (#21376)
Posted Thursday, January 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I didn't know what to expect when buying this, and talk about pleasant surprises! Nice relaxing melodies, great vocals and use of diverse instruments. Highly recommended to people not introduced to caravan or cantebury for that matter. I enjoy every minute of this album, great to relax to. 4 stars.
Report this review (#21378)
Posted Sunday, March 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Every band going through a change of personnel goes through a serious crisis and a change in dynamic, especially when the exiting members were an important creative force. The crisis could be even more so for an act with a credible history and a string of albums. For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night, now with the returning David Sinclair who probably passed Richard Sinclair on the way, has more energy but lacks the progressive punch Caravan have been known for and the album does tend to have songs with a more direct rock slant rather than conjure up themes of old Caravan, ala In The Land Of Grey And Pink. The albums starts with the pacy and urgent "Memory Lane, Hugh Headloss" which merges into the equally solid "Hoedown", the first side of the album is consistent to a fault and by the second side tapers off and at a slow rate, so slow it is hard to explain or just simply decide if the album is any good at all! Most of the better songs can flatter to deceive, and while the addition of viola is a nice distraction and the inclusion of a Mike Ratlegde (Soft Machine) track a welcomed one For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night is in the main a passive affair with the odd inspired burst of inspired energy dragging the album to a stable condition.
Report this review (#21381)
Posted Wednesday, May 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars "For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night" of announcement in 1973. It listens to the brilliant performance in the final tune though it has misgivings when the turn of Dave Sinclair decreases to the extent that the viola enters. The guest is also gorgeous. This is CARAVAN. The last masterpiece has improved the entire album with a jerk though it is made to be surprised in the first half of the country sound. It is a masterpiece that overflows romantically in the thrill. Moreover, the tone of the viola is extremely fresh.
Report this review (#43512)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Different a lot from In The Land... but very good album from Caravan under the influence of Pye Hastings' rocker conceptions. Very good (and rich) instrumental parts: clarinet; tenor, baritone and alto saxophones; piccolo; flute; trumpet and trombone; congas; syntesizer on the "memorable" Memory Lain, Hugh/Hedloss. The last one (L'auberge du Sanglier / A hunting we shall go / Pengola / Backwards / A hunting we shall go -reprise- 10:05) features a splendid orchestral arrangement by Martin Ford who has previously worked with Barclay James Harvest.

Good Decca 2001 remastered edition, rich and complete booklet with lots of bands informations and photos, 33mns of bonus tracks material!

Highly Recommended!

Report this review (#44425)
Posted Saturday, August 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Unlike my tepid reception of the acclaimed "In The Land Of Grey And Pink" for which I had great excpectations, this album surprised me with its quite different music style and playing. Instead of dominant keyborads, "For Girls..." is carried on by guitars and viola, giving it a folky feel. At times it even reminds of certain American "southern rockers". This album is far more adventurous and diverse. I never felt bored during listening because the tracks are sometimes very different and easily recognizeable. From the guitar-driven opener "Memory Lain" with melodic vocal harmonies in the vein of DOOBIE BROTHERS, through the closing "symphonic" multi-part suite with orchestra "L'auberge du...", this album is excellent listening experience, which forces you to listen again. The sound is similar to CURVED AIR due to viola play, so the fans of the mentioned are particularly advised to grab this album. Apart from them, "For Girls..." should be easily enjoyed by most of prog fans and the general music lovers equally.
Report this review (#51879)
Posted Saturday, October 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my oppinion this is THE best Caravan album, and in fact, one of my favourite albums of all time, (next to 'In The Court' 'Fuzzy Duck' and 'Mirage') Every song provides such an impact and I often find myself getting goosebumps while listening to the end of the final track, A Hunting We Shall Go, when all the strings come back in and join the 5/8 riff after the 4 minute long layed back part, its almost sounds like the brilliant score for an amzing movie that never was. Memory Lain, Hugh -Headloss is at all parts amazing. One of the best Caravan songs by far. With amazing sections, rhythms, and vocals throughout, it proves to be one of the few 10 minute prog songs that dosent lack in any way, no noodeling in this one folks. Hoedown is a fun little number. It enforces Caravans favorite meter, 7/8, and stays that way throughout the whole song, with an amazing viola solo in the middle. Suprise, Suprise is a great mellow song that owes dues to the likes of "And I Wish I were Stoned" and "With An Ear To The Ground" from If I could Do It All Over Again. Great hook and catchy chorus. 'The Dog, The Dog, He's at it Again' is a great peice of satirical canterbury style music with amazing harmonies, and a great middle section with a grooving bassline and synth solo. The long outro chorus uses a 'quod libet' technique, where many lines of music and words are song at the same time, and it still sounds good. (Medicine gone, it's coming on strong, etc.) The only track that stuck out for me was Be Alright/Chance of a lifetime. This track seemed kind of repetative, and with Ozzy sounding vocals on 'Be Alright', frankly I was a bit confused. Luckily it wasn't a bad piece, and Pye comes in later to save it with Chance of a Lifetime, a great minior key melodic song. The other stand-out track is of course C'thlu Thlu- An amazing peice of music and overall musicality. With a eary guitar riff and time signature, and creepy vocals, all which leads into a fun, swinging chorus provides such contrast that it makes you jump out of your seat. The middle section is also great in this song, and the best part is at the end when Richard Coughlin takes the beat down over 1/2 time and the band continues to do the riff over the backwards sound effects. Overall, this is an amazing album that captures Caravan at maybe not their most defining state, that which is 'In The Land Of Grey And Pink' but in my oppinion, their best state musically. An essential addition to any music collection.
Report this review (#68502)
Posted Sunday, February 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars My 2nd Favorite Caravan LP and one of my all time favorite covers, I had a terrible crush on that Girl (who ever she is). Sadly Richard Sinclair's voice is missing from this record but Pye voice is almost as good. The Music is a little more intense than The land of Gray and pink and but that is not a bad thing. This one is more rocky and possible at little less proggy than some Caravan sets but all in all it delivers the goods. The inclusion of a symphony Orchestra shows just how important a band Caravan where (not cheap) but was also in keeping with the times. In this case it works quite well , which was not always the case. Caravan are certainly a prog band and seem particularly to work well in 7/8 meter which is unusual to most peoples ears. The musicianship is excellent throughout. Sadly Caravan never made the transition from progs 2nd division to super stardom but that may be down to the constant and irritating personal changes which dogged this band. We have here an LP that is worth the entrance fee and which belongs in any good prog collection. If anyone knows who the lovely lady is I would be interested in knowing who exactly got my heart fluttering all those years ago.
Report this review (#96453)
Posted Wednesday, November 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars What a great album! Not only does it feature the usual (and superb!) flute and keyboard solos (played by Jimmy Hastings and Dave Sinclair respectively), but it turns out that viola player Geoff Richardson is a crucial acquisition, and Pye Hastings comes up with some of his best ever songs. The opening duo of "Memory Lain, Hugh / Headloss" and "Hoedown" (played with great gusto by the band, fortified by a horn section) is one of the most cheering moments in early 1970s prog. The remainder of the album is superior as well. "The dog, the dog, is at it again" must be one of prog's most irresistible singalong ditties - far more charming than "Your move", for example. Enjoy!!!
Report this review (#98429)
Posted Sunday, November 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars "For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night" marks a return to the CARAVAN sound I know and love.The Jazz sounds that influenced "Waterloo Lily" are all but gone along with Richard Sinclair and Steve Miller who still wanted to pursue that direction. Enter John Perry on bass and the returning David Sinclair on keyboards after a stint with MATCHING MOLE. The addition of Geoffrey Richardson can't be underestimated, as his viola play brings a fresh sound to the band. Although this is in the mold of their earlier works it does sound lighter, smoother, catchier and maybe more symphonic. I suppose you could say this is Pye Hastings baby now, no not the pregnant lady on the cover, but the band. He writes pretty much all the songs and it's good to hear his brother Jimmy playing the flute on the first track as well as conducting and arranging the woodwind and brass section on that song.

"Memory Lain, Hugh / Headloss" has such a good beat to it with some pastoral sections with flute in between. Some prominant drumming and great guitar melodies. The "Headloss" section is uptempo with guitar, vocals and drums all shining bright. This is great ! "Hoedown" features a fast paced melody and vocals to match. The viola is a nice touch.My least favourite track though. "Surprise, Surprise" is slower paced than the first two songs.This one is light and breezy. The vocals are great, they really make the song. The drumming deserves special mention as well. "C'Thiu Thiu" has a dark, eerie intro and this is contrasted with an uptempo catchy passage.This contrast continues throughout. Organ 4 1/2 minutes in.

"The Dog,The Dog, He's At It Again" features whimsical vocals and viola. This is so charming. Haha. This has such a catchy melody. "Be Alright / Chance Of A Lifetime" is a much more powerful and aggressive song. A nice ripping guitar solo a minute in. The song suddenly slows right down with reserved vocals and viola. The tempo changes continue. "L'Auberge Du Sanglier / A Hunting We Shall Go / Pengola / Backwards / A Hunting We Shall Go (Reprise)" is the longest track just under10 minutes. Some beautiful orchestral arrangements in this one. Tempo changes often, and the electric cello is a nice touch. Piano and guitar take the spotlight at seperate intervals, and the song ends with an explosion.

4 stars.

Report this review (#140538)
Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Starting more rocking then any of their past classics, "For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night" (a classic title if there ever was one), 'Memory Lain, Hugh/ Headloss' is a super beginning with more upfront guitar by Pye Hastings with viola and flute puncturating the track wonderfully. I love how halfway through the song sounds like its reaching a climax when it delves into part 2, 'Headloss' which sounds very American with Richardson's viola taking center stage ala Kansas. Pye sings great throughout the album, but I do miss Richard Sinclair's bassy but sophisticated voice. Hoedown" continues the Americanized prog, one just needs to notice the title of the song. "Surprise, Surprise" has Hasting's typical fragile and sweet singing with nice bass by newcomer Perry. By now you may notice that David Sinclair's signature keyboard work is somewhat underutilized which, for me, marks this album as a lesser of the main five by the band. Things are rectified by the following killer of a track, "C'thlu Thlu" a downright chilling and spooky number, very appropo for the coming Halloween season ;-). Sinclair's keyboard work is fantastic on this weird but excellent song, just check it out about 4 minutes in until the end, CLASSIC! Now for those who miss their whimsical side, "The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again" will satisfy you to no end. Funny lyrics and an infectious melody it would fit in nicely on any of their previous albums. "Be Alright/ Chance of a Lifetime" is a rousing number with Richardson's viola leading the charge again sounding very much like Kansas with orchestra taking up much of the background and fiery guitar by Hastings; a track that doesn't get the accolades by Caravan fans. I think it's one of their best rockers ever. Finally we reach the mini-epic track 7, (too many sub-titles for me to type, sorry). If you like orchestral prog you'll be in ectasy with this number, hypnotic and thundering it's another classic. With the bonus tracks the standout is the last track, "Derek's Long Thing" instrumental and awesome sounding like something from their earlier days, I only wish it would have ended up somewhere because it's that good. As their first album was psych/prog, the second more prog than psych, the third a whimsical/prog and their fourth a jazzier/prog, this album leans more towards the symph side of prog yet still has their Canterbury prog roots. I say it fits in well with their whole canon of early albums, not as good as "The Land of..." or "If I Can Do..." but is a marked improvement over the last album, "Waterloo Lily". I give it a 4.5 leaning towards 5 easily.
Report this review (#142375)
Posted Saturday, October 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Caravan returns to shape in full swing, and in order to do so, they had to refurbish its line-up decidedly: the return of a keyboardsman, the entry of a new bass placer and the decisive entry of Geoff Richardson on viola (and later on, on clarinet and other woodwinds). The rocking energy that somehow had got missing in "Waterloo Lily" returns on "For Girls who Grow Plump in the Night" in a very evident manner, although the fact remains that Caravan still lean son heavily on elements of melodic artsy rock and jazz in order to construe its own typical progressive voice. This is also the first time that the band allows the synthesizer get in as part of its arsenal, albeit only for occasional ornaments: sometimes it is not played by Dave Sinclair, but by Rupert Hine. There is also an enhancement of the sonic power in the rockier numbers, and that's something to thank new bassist John Perry for. As usual, there is a myriad of guests (including an orchestral ensemble) that help a few songs to exploit some specific ideas contained in the basic compositions. That is, for example, the case of the building climax that gets expanded during the second half of the strong opener 'Memory Lain, Hugh'. Next come 'Headloss' and 'Hoedown' (the former, segued to 'Memory Lain, Hugh'), which make the album keep a very strong vibe during its first 13 minutes. 'C'Thlu Thlu' bears a moderately weird ambience, with the viola laying some psychedelic sounds over the catchy guitar riffs, and both Hastings and Perry sharing vocal duties perfectly. On the other hand, 'Surprise, Surprise' and 'The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again' showcase Hastings' particular taste for kind-spirited songwriting: these two pieces feature the presence of acoustic guitar (strumming and harmonies) as the nucleus of the whole instrumentation, while Richardson delivers nice viola solos. My favourite tracks in this album are the last two. The pair of 'Be All Right' and 'Chance of a Lifetime' displays an interesting set of variations, starting with a Blood Sweat & Tears kind of groove, then coming to a second section based on a slow, melancholy Latin-jazz infected acoustic section. Once again, a special mention has to go to Richardson's viola interventions, really magical. The closure is a very epic 'A Hunting We Shall Go', one of the most demanding compositions ever written by Hastings. This multi-part track includes an interesting expansion on a Mike Ratledge's piece that was part of Soft Machine's "Three". The section is called 'Backwards', and here it is retaken under a more symphonic treatment. The whole track is a monster of a closure, and it will find its definitive incarnation in the live album released by Caravan plus an orchestra one year later. All in all, comparisons are annoying most of the times, and this studio version is very good in its own terms. Conclusion: "For Girls." is an excellent Caravan effort that tends to be a bit overlooked due to the relevance of previous albums such as "In the land of Grey and Pink" and "If I Could Do It Again", but in my opinion, this one should not be overlooked at all, but be labelled as an excellent piece of prog rock.
Report this review (#155070)
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A slight return to form after Waterloo Lily, with David Sinclair rejoining, and a new bassist, John Perry. The newer member is Geoffery Richardson, viola and flute player, who adds a lot to Caravan's slightly new sound. The major difference between this album and their other great album, in the Land of Grey and Pink, is that Pye's guitar is more in the front spotlight, and he shows he is not untalented.

Memory Lain, Hugh/Headloss: Starting with an acrobatic riff from Pye, this song is a classic opener with many different sections. When the bass jumps in, its a big sound, unlike anything Richard Sinclair ever did. The viola comes in with Pye's voice, playing the same melody. Here, Coughlan gets to show us what he's capable of. Soon the flute comes in with a cool riff, and the guitar underlies it, harmonizing. this sets the stage for the organ solo. Sinclair brings us back to the land of Grey and Pink with his tone, but unlike that album, this organ sound does not dominate the album. The viola leads us into this solo with a mini solo of its own. Then it slows down into a softer section with the flute taking the lead. Now a brass/wind section comes in courtesy of Jimmy Hastings. Coughlan gets to show off a little, and the mood is darker. the songs seems to be ending as the drums go wild and the flute soars skyward, but then Pye brings us back with an upbeat little riff. I suppose this is the Headloss section. The wind section is underlying the vocal melody carried by Pye and someone else singing backup, and the mood is very upbeat and positive. soon a viola solo comes in, and it jumps around all over the place. this song keeps you busy, and thats a very good thing. The outro has another viola solo and lots of showy drumming.

Hoedown: This song starts off with another good riff from Pye in 7/4. However, this song isn't all that good. its folk influenced, but its just a little simple, much like Love to Love You, from Grey and Pink. The drums are nice, however, with lots of bongos and creative cymbal use. The viola manages to save the song by coming with a great solo.

Surprise, Surprise: A bit of a ballad, with acoustic guitar and viola introducing us to Pye's voice. The bass, when it comes in, is superb, just the right volume and a great bass line. The chorus has some great vocal harmonies and powerful drumming from Coughlan, and the lyrics are very optimistic. after the second chorus, there is another fantastic viola solo. the lyrics are also very nostalgic and seem to reference love a lot.

C'thlu thlu: This song could not contrast more with the previous 3 upbeat tunes. The dark, march-like riff is somewhere Caravan has never explored before. The riff is accompanied by Pye singing mysteriously along with some strange spacey keyboard sounds in the distance. However, the chorus is very bouncy and lighter, funkier. then it goes back to the verse and slows down again. the lyrics for this song are all a little scary, even in the chorus, telling about running away from something, which is described in the verses. this thing appears to be evil and dark. the second chorus ends with some angular riffing by Pye. Then we get introduced to a new riff, just as dark as the previous one. The drums pound along with it, leading us into an organ solo from Sinclair. again, he takes the Canterbury tone, but its not in a light mood now. the dark riff below it belies the urgency of the solo. After the solo, we get taken back into the chorus without words, but with some sax instead. The outro is a repetition of the verse riff very slowly and deliberately.

The Dog, the Dog, hes at it again: According to Pye, this song was written as an Ode to a Blowjob. the goofy lyrics and light chord changes are a step away from the previous song. The viola gets some good riffs in, and the words come at you so fast you cannot hear them properly. The synthesizer solo in the middle is awesome, something Caravan had never used up until then. the clapping in the background is cool and creative. the solo gets really weird at the end, and the viola reintroduces us to the vocal part. the synth underlies the repetition of the chorus and mini end chorus overlaying one another. Usually, Caravan is not known for good vocal arrangements, but this song is an exception. they seem to be as complex as Gentle Giant's craziest arrangements, and thats not a compliment to be taken lightly.

Be Alright/Chance of a Lifetime: An interesting riff introduces us to another slightly heavy song. At the one minute mark, a guitar solo enters and blows us away! Pye Hastings can solo? Wow! Granted hes no David Gilmour, he can certainly bust out a good solo, which he never used to do. After a couple verses and choruses, the acoustic guitar leads into the next section, while the bongos just jam away and the viola solos behind Pye's voice. Much more relaxed than the previous section. Again, gorgeous backing vocal harmonies, which is rare in Caravan. The guitar turns electric again, but only to accentuate the upcoming viola solo. Wow, Geoff Richardson only in the band for one album so far, and he gets almost as many solos as there are songs. He is quite talented. As the solo crescendos, the bass climbs the strings in the background. the lyrics in this part hark back to the Land of Grey and Pink again, with their mystical quality and the tone. It makes me think of Winter Wine.

A Hunting We Shall Go: A gorgeous, masterful epic with lots of orchestra backing and wide use of acoustic guitar and viola to set the sad mood. Perry even appears to be playing an acoustic bass, but I'm not sure. A big explosion leads us into the main section, with organ and distorted viola taking the lead, and electric guitar jumping in when appropriate. There is another great electric guitar solo about 2.5 minutes in, followed by a viola solo. all of this is underlaid by one main riff seemingly in 5/4, but it could be something else. Soon this section ends with a dreamy chord. then the piano takes the lead, giving us a slightly sadder mood. the orchestra can be heard in the background, strings especially, and there is a clarinet solo, followed by a synthesizer solo from Sinclair. these solos are both very restrained and slowly crescendoing. the orchestra starts to come to the foreground, with the brass being heard now. The strings and brass take two different leads now, with the bass guitar starting to really go crazy along with the drums. the synth comes in again and uses a lot of octave jumping to its advantage. then it starts to jump into the 5/4 riff from before, but is aburptly cut off by an explosion, ending the album.

Overall, a very good album, on par with Grey and Pink in a whole different way. Grey and Pink was an album that took you places. This album just makes you happy when you listen to it. its not perfect, with Hoedown and Surprise Surprise being slightly sub-par, but overall, the album is classic Caravan. On the bonus tracks, Derek's Long thing is work taking a look at, much like A Hunting with no orchestra and lots of piano and hammond organ. Derek was their keyboardist between Steve Miller and David Sinclair, and he was no slouch either.

Report this review (#158258)
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This recording, the reissued CD with bonus tracks, represents only the second of my exposures to Caravan's 1970s material. The previous recording I reviewed, In the Land of the Grey and Pink, was a lovely piece of early progressive rock with vestigial psychedelic elements. The current recording under discussion, however, is dramatically different in many respects: It is far more progressive than the earlier statement, drawing on many influences including folk, classical music and a limited amount of jazz. The rhythmic underpinnings of Memory Lain, Hugh interestingly and strangely seem to predict the future development of the disco movement without actually being disco. Despite this aberration, the track is actually quite a rocker. The flute and viola add very nice touches. Pye Hastings' guitar is far more prominent on this cut and on the entire record and it is superb. The songwriting is terrific and the vocal arrangements are excellent although the singing demonstrates thinness and a rather limited range. The presence of the strings, reeds, brass and woodwinds all add a lushness to the sound on the album. There is a decidedly American feel on Headloss as well as on Hoedown. Keyboard work by David Sinclair, is in general, less prominent on the recording but with moments of subdued brilliance. The first few tracks on the recording are decidedly positive, upbeat, feelgood music. C'thlu thlu opens with a somewhat bizarre and atmospheric (but very effective) section that is simply addictive. The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again is a funny, albeit dated off-color song with somewhat sexist lyrics about fellatio. Be Alright/Chance of a Lifetime contains some warm viola colorings by Richardson. The L'Auberge du Sanglier epic contains a positively lush and rich orchestral arrangement that serves as a fitting conclusion to the original album. The tracks following this are primarily the earlier pieces of the record in various stages of embryonic development. It is interesting to hear how many of the tracks changed in terms of orchestration and embellishments overtime. Ordinarily, I don't particularly care for outtakes and demos but in this case, I actually feel it adds something to the record to have an insight into the development of this excellent album. This recording rates 4.5/5 stars, with the only major detraction being the quality of the voice singing the excellent arrangements.
Report this review (#158618)
Posted Monday, January 14, 2008 | Review Permalink

This is probably the question that David Sinclair is asking in those days. His first come back within "Caravan". But not the last one of his hesitant musical life.

This album holds some very good songs. Rockier than in any previous of their releases. It opens on the excellent suite "Memory Lain.". Rather dynamic, a tint of funky sounds, very good violin play, a powerful (but short) fluting sequence and a vigorous finale.

"C'thlu Thlu" features a scary mood with an oppressive bass play, combining almost heavy riffs with these incomparable joyful "Caravan" moments. Another good song.

I have a special tenderness for "The Dog, The Dog, He's at It Again". A candid and optimistic tone : fully in-line with their so characteristic style. But the lyrics are not candid at all! I quote : "Wo-o-o lonely girl, would you like a sweet to eat? I've got some that I'd like you to hold, and my brother will tell you that it's good for your cold". Quite explicit!

The band reverts in these rocking territories with the powerful "Be Alright.". The violin play is very performing and sustained during the first part and so subtle during the quieter second half. One of my fave from this album.

Another highlight of this very good album is the strangely titled "L'Auberge Du Sanglier". A wonderful crescendo song which features a sublime and very powerful violin solo and reverts to some quieter and aerial mood. Very melodic and almost spacey at times. I'm not really convinced by the symphonic arrangements of the second half though (horns, cellos).

IMHHO "For Girls." is the best "Caravan" album. The most melodic but the most rocking on at the same time. The remastered edition features several bonus tracks of which "Derek's Long Thing" (almost eleven minutes) is really of added value.

Four stars.

Report this review (#159813)
Posted Saturday, January 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars The last really great album by the legendary Canterbury band is a definite improvement over the somewhat directionless "Waterloo Lily", which hovered between Pye Hastings' poppier sensibilities and Richard Sinclair and Steve Miller's jazzier leanings. Even though I am a big fan of Richard S.'s velvet-smooth voice and skillful bass playing, I have to admit that Caravan managed to weather his departure admirably, replacing him with the excellent John G. Perry, and adding a secret weapon to their already rich, multilayered sound, in the shape of violist Geoff Richardson. The return of keyboardist David Sinclair to the fold didn't hurt either, especially since his replacement with Steve Miller had been a rather ill-advised choice.

Left to his own devices, Pye Hastings displays his skills as a lyricist with all sorts of innuendo, starting with the title and album cover, which shows a heavily pregnant woman fast asleep. The lyrics to "The Dog, The Dog, He's at It Again" are based around a rather explicit double entendre, which climaxes (no pun intended) with the chorus of it's coming on strong /it's coming on and on and on. However, it would be wrong to depict "For Girls..." as a sort of smut-fest in the lyrical sense. With the sole exception of the rather disturbing "C'thlu Thlu" (probably inspired by HP Lovecraft's malignant deity, Great Cthulhu), most of the songs on the album have distinctly upbeat, optimistic lyrics that match the musical content perfectly.

As a matter of fact, "For Girls..." sounds for the most part like the ultimate feelgood album. The rich, well-rounded, uplifting music strikes the right balance between melodic potential and musical intricacy, avoiding the meanderings of some parts of "Waterloo Lily", though somehow lacking the intriguing wistfulness of Richard Sinclair's compositions. The song that probably best represents the nature of the album is opener "Memory Lain Hugh/Headloss", a 9-minute-plus composition featuring a catchy-as-hell refrain, and enough instrumental complexity to keep the most demanding prog fan happy. The already mentioned "C'thlu Thlu" briefly interrupts the cheerfulness of the mood with his dark, doomy pace and heavy, plodding bass lines.

The naughtily amusing "The Dog, The Dog..." is then followed by the schizophrenic "Be Alright/Chance of A Lifetime", divided in two sharply contrasting sections. The first, an unusually rocky, hard-edged offering for the band, features bassist John G. Perry on vocals, who sounds distinctly like a singer very few would associate with the likes of Caravan - the Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne. The second part is instead airy and romantic, with an almost Latin groove and Geoff Richardson's beautiful viola playing. Richardson is the undisputed protagonist of what, in my opinion, is the album's best track, and one of my favourite instrumentals ever - "A Hunting We Shall Go" (L'Auberge du Sanglier), a five-part suite with a crescendo structure, bolstered by a sumptuous orchestral arrangement, overall a very exhilarating listening experience. <

The remastered edition features unreleased versions of "Memory Lain Hugh/Headloss", "Surprise Surprise" and "Be Alright/Chance of a Lifetime", plus the 11-minute instrumental "Derek's Long Thing" (named after a former band member, and referring to the track's length, not something else's...), which is interesting in parts, but not on a par with other Caravan compositions of the same kind.

All in all, a highly recommended album, even if Richard Sinclair's absence is sometimes felt in the vocal department - Hastings' voice being pleasant and melodic, but slightly annoying after a while. Nevertheless, the superb musical quality of the compositions more than makes up for any such shortcomings - and it will put a smile on your face as well, which is never a bad thing.

Report this review (#160643)
Posted Sunday, February 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Caravan keeps surprising me every time I pick up a new album and this one is no exception. There´s been a bit of a change in the lineup since Richard Sinclair left to form Hatfield and the North. I really enjoyed Richard´s voice on the previous Caravan albums but here Pye Hastings has solely taken over the lead singer role. This is very much his album in many respects.

The music is typical Caravan even though For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night seems to have this extra positive vibe. The songs are excellent each and every one of them and if you have the CD version there´s even an extra track called Derek's Long Thing which is a really nice jam. Songs like Memory Lain, Hugh / Headloss, C'thlu thlu and The dog, the dog, he's at it again are essential songs in the Caravan discography, the latter even with some pretty explicit lyrics. Just great fun. A little like Genesis Counting Out Time which has a similar theme.

The ending instrumental on the original album is also a very exciting song. It starts out with a great instrumental interplay with nice melodies and ends with a symphonic blast with an orchestra. Great prog rock indeed.

The sound quality is really high throughout the whole album as usual with Caravan albums.

For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night is almost a masterpiece in my ears, but it lacks that last thing I can´t quite point out, so it will be a big 4 star rating from me. As I understand from most reviews this would be the last really great Caravan album, but I will still be looking forward to hearing the successor to this one and judge for myself. This one was definitely worth my time and I will listen to this over and over again for the next many years.

Report this review (#161186)
Posted Thursday, February 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favourite all time Caravan album.

The songs are simple yet complicated, with an aura of happiness that can be enjoyed over and over again. This album is essential if you enjoy psychadelic/canterbury music, its not that hard to find either. Please, buy it!

Good job Caravan :)

Report this review (#162895)
Posted Thursday, February 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars Okay, Canterbury is another musical neighborhood I don’t wander into very often, but now that I’m here it has become pretty apparent where one of my more modern fave bands got a lot of their ideas (Super Furry Animals). I always thought of them as some sort of fresh and innovative bunch of self- amusing artists, but after playing this album a half-dozen times or so I can hear far too many similarities to think they are coincidences. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just that I didn’t expect Caravan to sound like this. I remember the album titles back in my teen days, but these guys never made much of an impression on America back then so I really don’t know their music much.

This was an album I picked up recently, and solely because of the too-clever title (and album cover), plus also because I just had to hear what it was the dog was doing again. The sense of humor here rides a line between droll and sophomoric, which is to say that I love it.

David Sinclair and Rupert Hine are the pivotal keys to making these tracks work in my opinion. The keyboards and synth parts are exceptional, and the easy flow of the tempo of each song is very polished. And the clarinet and various saxophones on “Be alright / Chance of a Lifetime” make this my favorite track. In addition, the way the band integrates the various orchestral instruments into the sound without making them sound like cheesy attempts at faux symphonic additions is quite brilliant. There is also more than a little of this band’s sound in the three Tangent albums I own. It seems that Caravan has only been a secret kept from me all these years, nobody else. I must hear more of this band.

I don’t know what more to say about this album except that the easy flow of each track makes listening to them a true pleasure, and the melodic nature of the music overall caught me a bit by surprise since my only previous exposure to Canterbury has been the considerably less melodic Gong. This is an exceptional album and one that has a legitimate place on most progger’s shelves. Easily four stars and highly recommended.


Report this review (#165384)
Posted Sunday, March 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night is better by far (pardon the pun) and is definately my favourite Caravan album.

The addition of a violinist to the line up was a fantastic idea, and the sound here is rich and full (it's actually a viola and not a violin, but I can't tell the difference). The warm acoustic instruments; the viola, the flutes, the acoustic guitars, together with the sweet vocals contrast very well with the electric guitars, the organ and the electronic keyboards. The violin is sometimes played in a folky way (think Fairport Convention), and sometimes in a grand symphonic way (think Kansas).

The melodies are often very sweet and lovely, but on the other hand, the music sometimes rocks quite hard! This is definitely Caravan's hardest rocking record, something not often associated with the Canterbury Scene. This balance between the soft and sweet vocals and melodies and the harder guitar riffs is also very appealing. This album has a bit of everything and yet is flows perfectly from start to finish.

Yet another thing that I appreciate is the relative absence of silly and whimsical songs like Golf Girl and Love To Love You (And Tonight Pigs Will Fly), I never could get into those songs. Sure, there is The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again, but it doesn't stick out as much as the two other ones I mentioned (both from the In The Land Of Gray And Pink album). Besides, there is an excellent instrumental break in The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again.

Caravan's best and highly recommended!

Report this review (#177460)
Posted Sunday, July 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is really an album to my taste. This record has, diversity, good compositions, dynamics, virtuosity and funny typically british voices, although Sinclair isn't there. This album has a typically Caravan-sound, but the record seems to be a little bit less raw and a little bit more structured, than the work before. Maybe that's because there is also an orchestra on this record (which is a really good addition). This also makes the record very dynamic. I think 'L'auberge du Sanglier / A hunting we shall go / Pengola / Backwards / A hunting we shall go' is one of the best progressive orchestra rock instrumentals ever made.

The violin gives a nice folky sound at the 'song' moments. (Hoedown for example). The new bassist fits very well. The drums are great and the vocals are what you would except from Caravan. The new keyboardist can also play very well (listen to the keysolo on Memory Lain, Hugh when he plays his solo, also supported by some brass and flutes.)

Enough reasons to call this a masterpiece.

Report this review (#190648)
Posted Thursday, November 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.1 stars, rounding up to 4 ...

Actually, I must admit that it is one of the best musical experiences of the Canterbury scene. The Caravan is distinguished within it to have clear and vainglorious ability to summarize all the bucolic and peaceful atmosphere typical of this subgenus of Progressive.But we know are the rare bands that can maximize their whole expressibility and creativity in all its albums (except those that produce only one or two, as we have the example of the magnificent canadian band Harmonium). In face of it, despite being a huge fan of the Caravan, I confess that I'm interessed in only three of their primary works.

About the''For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night'', should be said that it's one of the rare albums in Prog that reflect a happy and rich atmosphere from beginning to end. My highlights on this route go to''Hoedown'',''The dog, the dog, he's at it again''and''mix L'auberge du Sanglier / A hunting we shall go / Pengola / Backwards / A hunting we shall go''. The voice of Pye Hastings and set of tools specifically for this album (although other albums like''In the Land of Gray''and Pink also stand out for this) play a huge wealth for the musical that album. Finally, despite the fact that not a great connoisseur of Canterbury scenario, if you ever ask me for advice and information that subgenus albums,''For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night''will surely be within that select list. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#199342)
Posted Friday, January 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars CARAVAN were having a personnel crisis after recording Waterloo Lily (1972); the jazz keyboard player Steve Miller had drawn the Caravan sound in the wrong direction, at least if Pye Hastings was asked, and on top of that, also Richard Sinclair left the band. The liner notes of the 2001 edition - which has 5 bonus tracks I'm talking about soon - tells thoroughly the phases of the unfocused lineup changes of the time. That all ended up as an album which is very clearly Pye Hastings' own composition, a bit more rocking than earlier works. If you love R. Sinclair's contributions to In The Land Of Grey And Pink, you probably won't enjoy this album as much. But although there are some tracks I don't like at all, there also pure CARAVAN highlights.

Most notably the 10-minute instrumental L'Auberge du Sanglier / A Hunting We Shall Go, which continues the style of Nine Feet Underground from the Pink album. Surprise, Surprise is a nice good-humoured song with fine harmony vocals. Chance Of A Lifetime is a calm and beautiful song, but alas, it is clued together with Be Alright which I don't like. The same kind of irritating pairing is made of Memory Lain, Hugh and Headloss. The former includes woodwind & brass arrangements quite unfamiliar to Caravan, but it's quite a nice energetic tune anyway. The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again is another classic happy Caravan song but I dislike the way it carries on after its halfway. All these details make this album very uneven to me, not as easy to enjoy as it could be otherwise.

Now to the bonuses. Gosh, you have to be a die-hard fan to give them much value. Shortly put, they're just work-in-progress versions of album songs, often without lyrics (as Hastings explains, he always writes them later). To me maybe the instrumental No! ("Be Alright") / Waffle ("Chance of A Lifetime") surpasses the finished version because in it the first part is less harmful. Unlike four other bonuses, the last one has another kind of story. For a brief time the lineup had a keyboard player called Derek Austin who mostly wrote the long instrumental piece titled as Derek's Long Thing. It starts beautifully with the piano in lead but continues a bit too long as a Hammond-led jamming. "The problem was that it didn't sound like Caravan, so we clashed a bit there", says Hastings. So, if you're not a dedicated collector, never mind about the 78-minute edition of this album, it simply isn't worth the length. But I also would rather recommend In The Land Of Grey And Pink and the albums before it.

Report this review (#211516)
Posted Friday, April 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars There had been major ructions within the Caravan camp over musical direction after the more jazz orientated approach of previous album Waterloo Lily. This resulted in the loss of Richard Sinclair who was in favour of this more jazzy style to Hatfield And The North. Keyboard player Steve Miller who was brought in to replace David Sinclair after only one album with the band was also to go. Fortunately for their next album, For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night David Sinclair would return. In also is John G Perry on bass and on viola Geoff Richardson joining Pye Hastings and Richard Coughlan.

Pye Hastings desire to steer the band back to a more rock based style was to produce one of the bands best and most accessible albums.

Memory Lain, Hugh gets things off to a fine start and it's immediately apparent that Hastings guitar is taking more of a front seat on this straight forward rocker. It's straight into Headloss and then Hoedown for more of the same, though more up tempo. Less whimsical than early days but still recognisably Caravan, but harder hitting than anything previously.

Surprise Surprise takes things down a notch, a lovely tune more in keeping with older Caravan. The album keeps throwing great songs at us being consistent from start to finish. Continuing this run of excellent tracks is C'thlu thlu though a change of mood and tack is present being a darker sounding piece. Sinclair really makes his stamp here with an excellent keyboard solo.

Caravan continues their tradition of coming up with great song titles on The Dog, The Dog He's At It Again, full of their humour and a strong melody too. Two songs in one next, Be Alright and Chance Of A Lifetime make a pairing of another straight and hard hitting rocker (vocals from Perry on the first part) with a more laid back groove to finish.

The final piece L'auberge Du Sanglier consists of a number of named parts as one. A Hunting We Shall Go into Pengola, Backwards and a reprise of Hunting. Richardson's viola really makes its presence felt on this instrumental tour de force, the track ranging from the bombastic to sublime and effective use is made of orchestration too.

Regarded by many as a return to form after the jazz inflected Waterloo Lily, an album incidentally that I enjoy very much, For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night is a very immediate and enjoyable release and would make a great starting point for anyone just starting to explore their back catalogue.

Report this review (#225931)
Posted Saturday, July 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars After some repeated listenings whilst on my travels, it's Caravan's "For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night" thats got the monicker of most listened too, overtaking "If I Could do it again.....". Not sure why that it is but there is a solid melodic theme running through the album that suits my style as I reach forty-something plus a bit.

"Memory Lain/Headloss" is a great opener and most of the tracks are good standalone items, with no really weak (ie skip) ones. I'm not much for band family trees and history and prefer to listen to the music for what it is. Caravan came to me late and having owned the vinyl in the late seventies it didn't suit me then, so why does it seem so good now. It's British (or English) prog at its best, querky, good fundamental rhythm and it sucks you in.

"C'Thlu Thlu" stalks you and like Stockholm syndrome you begin to love your attacker. Bit cheesy ? maybe a great change from some of the other tracks. "The dog, the dog, he's at it again" picks itself up and leads out with an enticing melody which keeps you interested through-out......

Overall, recommended easy going prog that captures the aura of cheesecloth shirts, the use of the flute and melodic prog from the 70's. Good stuff....

Report this review (#246789)
Posted Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album was a sort of new depature. Richard Sinclair was gone and his cousin found his way back on keyboard. But it was all Pye Hastings. The sound is harder and the previous charm is gone. Instead we are served a soiid bunch of tunes, perfectly preformed with Richardson and Perry on board. But i do miss the charm of the old line up. But you still found some "Cantarbury style" tunes, most prominent on "The dog ..." This is a well produced and preformed album. It is a shame that Dave Sinclairs contribution is low key (he did not write anything for the band at this stage). and his classic organ is not at the front. For me, Caravan was at their top when they managed to mix solid performance and eclectic British humour!
Report this review (#250338)
Posted Friday, November 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars After hearing the highly appreciated In The Land Of Grey And Pink I acquired a taste for Caravan music that could only be satisfied by yet another album purchase!

Since there are only two other album's have been as generally praised as the band's third album there wasn't much deliberation upon my next pick. Unfortunately it was quite difficult to find If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You at the time especially since I didn't start purchasing music online until the end of 2007 which meant that I had to rely on the limited supply of the downtown music stores. Imagine my joy once I actually found For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night in one of the record stores!

This album's track-listing features a completely different line-up of compositions where none dares to go beyond the 10-minute format but there are quite a few medleys which still seemed promising enough when I first glanced at it. The opening Memory Lain, Hugh/Headloss just so happens to be one of these numbers and it features an interesting transition halfway through the performance. Although this composition is considered one of the album's definite highlights I've never given it more than a lukewarm reception because the best is yet to come!

C'Thlu Thlu is a surprisingly dark performance by Caravan standards since it features a distinct electric guitar melody and atmospheric background sounds. This is of course only a temporary disguise and once the vocals kick in you're once again in the familiar territory. What I really love about this composition is its instrumental section towards the end which is just fantastic, but I'll keep the details a secret since the description just won't do it justice!

The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again is another favorite of mine just for the top notch melody and I love the music arrangement. The instrumental passage in the middle of the performance is an added bonus since I would have loved the song just as much even without it.

This album does have a great deal of interesting moments but the material doesn't hold together all too well for me. Come to think of it, I also lacked this consistency on In The Land Of Grey And Pink but that album's second side made it into a masterpiece. As for this record, all the magnificent moments still definitely make it worth a while but do expect a bumpy ride.

***** star songs: C'Thlu Thlu (6:12) The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again (5:38)

**** star songs: Memory Lain, Hugh/Headloss (9:14) Be Alright/Chance Of A Lifetime (6:35) L'auberge Du Sanglier/A Hunting We Shall Go/Pengola/Backwards/A Hunting We Shall Go (10:05)

*** star songs: Hoedown (3:18) Surprise, Surprise (4:05)

Report this review (#274188)
Posted Thursday, March 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is one of those albums you wonder why is rated so highly. It starts off well with Memory Lain, but the 2nd half of that song(Headloss) reminds me of the Partridge family playing something proggy. I really like the Memory Lain part and I just fade it out after about 5 minutes. Hoedown is a good tune but the next few tunes bring the album down. The dog, Surprise and Cthlu are mainly blande album fillers but Cthlu ends well. There's nothing really nice about the acoustics they just sound a bit plain and Pyes voice isn't sounding as good as it did on Waterloo or later albums. The band obviously miss Richard Sinclairs melody. It's alright is the best song on the album and L'audberge starts off well but drags on a bit. The bonus track Dereks long thing would have been a better choice than Surprise and Dog imo. The remaster is worth 4 stars almost but without Dereks long thing it's just over 3 star. I'll give it 3 to drag it's PA rating closer to 4 ;)
Report this review (#284971)
Posted Friday, June 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars The Canterbury darlings of the UK had a stellar year in 1973 releasing arguably one of their finest albums and following up soon after with a tour resulting in the amalgamation of performing with a symphony orchestra their new compositions. "If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You" certainly began what would be known as the classic period of Caravan, and then followed up by the quintessential "In the Land of Grey and Pink". The marriage of English folk whimsy merged with classical jazz was a trademark sound for the band, and the music matured with "Waterloo Lily" in 1972, a much more jazz oriented album.

"For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night" ushered in all of the previous styles with a distinctive symphonic sound. Some of the band's best material features on this such as 'Memory Lain / Hugh Headloss', an incredible piece of showmanship. Pye Hastings sounds as dynamic as ever on vocals and guitar, and the keyboard work of Sinclair is incredible. 'Hoedown' is another highlight; the violin prowess of Richardson is always masterful and incredible John G. Perry on bass with Coughlan's drums are a force in themselves.

Certainly a drawcard of the album is the full orchestra that is used and this became one of the live experiences captured perfectly on "Caravan and The New Symphonia" that same year. Other highlights include 'The Dog, the Dog, He's at It Again' which became a favourite over the years. It has a great lead break and the melody is memorable with fun lyrics; "my mother said that I should stay out of bed but I know that I like it in there, legs and thighs, hello's and goodbyes and you're there".

'Surprise, Surprise' is another outstanding track as is 'C'thlu Thlu' which is one of the darkest and best things they have done. The huge epic at the end of the album is a typical suite of songs on most Caravan albums in the early years called ' L'auberge du Sanglier / A hunting we shall go / Pengola / Backwards / A hunting we shall go (reprise)'. It is a fantastic album with some of the most incredible music including brass, violins, woodwind, all played virtuoso by the orchestra, along with Caravan. The sound is full and lush providing compelling music that is highly revered in prog history.

Report this review (#285475)
Posted Monday, June 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
4 stars Caravan's 1974 album comes with more line-up shifting. The loss of Richard Sinclair, much as he's one of the relatively few really distinctive and charming voices in the Canterbury scene, we can deal with. Firstly, Pye Hastings is on a creative peak, with tighter guitar work, superb melodic writing and winning lead vocals (I think a couple are also taken by John Perry, with a bit more balance inside songs than the Hastings/Sinclair pair had). Secondly, the fantastic John G. Perry (whose very respectable solo album is worth checking out) is on bass. While not a showy lead bassist, he is extremely melodic and supportive and his choices of tone are superb. Thirdly, they have a violist. So, one of the best bass albums of all time, David Sinclair at his most subtly wonderful, Pye Hastings writing, playing and singing better than ever, a violist, two pieces with orchestration, a load more guests to add a little more flavour to various pieces (Rupert Hine on synth and Frank Ricotti on congas in particular) and a brilliant title.

A truly superior and very professional Caravan album but not without the charm of earlier efforts.

The opening of Memory Lain, Hugh/Headloss is one of the essential Caravan jams with some solid brass orchestration, awesome feedback solos from David Sinclair and a Jimmy Hastings flute solo (which is always a good thing). However, the departure from this jamming is arguably even better... Headloss is a solid display of melody writing with superb rhythm section work.

Hoedown is a more decisively rock song and arguably feels more lively here than in the more participational A Hunting We Shall Go version. Of note, the melody is great and the various moody David Sinclair twinkling over that riff is wonderful.

Surprise, Surprise has the two new elements of Caravan's arsenal in the foreground. Geoffrey Richardson on viola adds a pastoral character and a heart-warming solo, while Perry's basswork is stronger than ever. Pye Hastings' vocals are gorgeous, and the lyrics are some of the best disjointed ones around: 'when the years are gone, and we live on memories/Will you still remember me that way?'

C'thlu thlu is a bit of an odd one, turning through ironic creepiness to a hilarious chorus, 'so we ran ? YEAH! ? as fast as we can'. Somewhat liquidy, and the mellotron-like organ work and killer blues solo is (like most of Sinclair's washes on this album) a highlight that doesn't jump out at you but waits and creeps up. Again, Perry's basswork is more than excellent, and the addition of Frank Ricotti's congas to the rhythm section shakes things up a little.

The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again... great pop song with Caravan's typical flair for light humour and unusual parts. Pye Hastings gets credit for some of the best light melodies this side of Paul McCartney and some curious winning lyrics: 'You're naive if you really do believe/that the world is so full of sin'. The jam replete with handclaps is every bit a match for the wonderful layered vocal sections.

Be Alright/Chance Of A Lifetime isn't very well opened. I don't like the vocals all that much, the riff is a bit laboured, solos (although we have a very good Pye Hastings guitar solo) are tacked on over the top. However, the continuation is just gorgeous ? a liberated Geoffrey Richardson adds a melting texture over the top of some gorgeous vocals to a great, great melody. So, yes, the opening of this is my only real doubt about the album but the rest more than compensates.

A Hunting We Shall Go is English pastoral rock at its finest.

Anyway, get some good speakers, get this album, find a relaxed Summer afternoon when hayfever keeps you indoors, listen out for the details and enjoy For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night.

Rating: 13/15. Four Stars that would be a comfortable five if it weren't for the minute and a half of Be Alright. Favourite track: hm. A Hunting We Shall Go, if only for the viola riff.

P.S. Bonus tracks are mostly just WIP versions plus another mix of Memory Lain, Hugh/Headloss and I can't think of anything hugely remarkable about them. The track left over from the Austin/Evans sessions is at least a bit different and, if memory serves, pretty good, with the heavy organ use, so that's maybe worth having as a curiosity ? the remaster sound is fantastic, so I wouldn't shy away from getting it despite the generally weak bonuses.

PPS. Noticed I haven't mentioned drummer/constant member Jimmy Coughlan once in the earlier review. This is largely because he's generally very solid and while his style helps make the album, he only really stands out all that much on Hoedown and A Hunting We Shall Go.

Report this review (#288465)
Posted Sunday, June 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Their masterpiece. I gave Waterloo Lily a 5, but that was rounded up from a 4.5 (they lost that half point mainly because of "Songs and Signs"). But this one is flawless. This, not In the Land of Grey and Pink, is the one which should be forever embedded in the site's Top 100.

Pye Hastings has mastered the art of songwriting by this time. He's the main writer on it and the only singer. Dave Sinclair is back in the band, but he doesn't make that much difference, and Richard Sinclair is gone to join Camel. I always found it funny that his departure from Caravan ended in their going more poppy, while his arrival in Camel resulted in the same change for that band. At any rate, Pye handles the duties on his own just fine (Richard Coughlan is still on board, of course, and his performance, as always, is outstanding).

The texture of the album is immediately pleasing. The electric guitar is used to craft hooks rather than rattle the walls, and the acoustic guitar bits are pensive and tasteful. Other tricks are employed with voice overdubbing and orchestration, and every experiment works (except, perhaps, for C'thulu Thulu). Each song is worth discussing.

The first, Memory Lain, Hugh / Headloss is one of the funnest songs they ever did, featuring a great, catchy riff that eventually dissolves into a chaos with flutes and everything slurring around, then reemerges with a different, immediately as identifiable riff. Hoedown, which follows it, is essentially a waste, sticking to the same basic idea as the first song but speeding up the process. Still, it's not a bad song; it neither helps nor harms this album.

What DOES help this album is every single other song on it. The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again ought to register as the catchiest thing they ever did, and the ending, with the overdubbed vocals coming in and out of one another, each singing the melody but starting from different points to create a sonic collage, is one of their most cathartic moments. And this is also the song on which Dave Sinclair really shines - his solo is one of his best, maybe second only to Winter Wine.

Surprise, Surprise is in the same department, wildly catchy, and C'thulu Tulu, although it doesn't do so much for me personally, is certainly no bad song and might just as easily be your favorite on the album. Something about it just kind of irks me - the difference between the dark, ominous riff and the catchy chorus doesn't sit well, but the dark, ominous riff rules and so does the catchy chorus. Should've just kept them separated or eased from one into the other or something. Who am I kidding, that's a great song too, but nitpicking is possible even on masterpieces.

The last two songs are both longer epics, and they both rock. There's not a lot about them that registers as immediately memorable, but the reprise of "A Hunting We Shall Go" is incredible. I'd call that their most successful synthesis of hard rock and orchestration. Lots of Caravan records go out with a bang, but none bang as loudly or aggressively as this one. The horns are incredible.

If you have any interest in prog-pop, this ought to be your first purchase by anybody. I consider it the masterpiece of the genre. It is absolutely indispensable to my prog collection. When I bought it, I worked in an independent record store where most of the employees listened to artists inspired by Cat Stevens, but without that man's genius and grace. Nothing I played ever struck any bells with them, but this one they loved. And with good reason. Outstanding record by one of the most unlucky bands I ever heard - too prog to be pop, too pop to be prog (for some people). But on this one, the balance is perfect, and I don't see how anyone, from a Schubert fan to a Madonna fan, could disagree.

Report this review (#290264)
Posted Tuesday, July 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars It is nice to see that the ratings for this wonderful album are pushing it closer to the best rated of all Caravan albums, because it is without a doubt the best. Geoffrey Richardson was the missing link on the earlier albums and, I feel his ambitous ideas gave the band another dimension. It revolutionised the Caravan sound. The wonderful Chance Of A Lifetime has got to be one of the finest prog songs of all time. On this album of very powerful and extremely well written songs that seem to run into each other as though a continuation of the previous song but move on to the next. Caravan have always possessed that happy sound. Sort of SING ALONG WITH US ! Canterbury scene humour but more importantly Canterbury scene musicainship of the highest order. It´s not for me to review every crook and cranny of this album,I´d better leave that business to people that get paid for it. WE THE PEOPLE (Garland Jefferies) are the real listeners. In 1974 I was fortunate enough to see Caravan play this album live in Bristol. The supporting act on this particular evening was none less than Renaissance.
Report this review (#308579)
Posted Saturday, November 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Previous Caravan album, "Waterloo Lily", was quite different from their usual sound, more jazz rock one. For "For Girls.." their keyboardist David Sinclair returned back, changing Steve Miller. As a result, band left jazz-rock direction and returned back to their pop-folk version Canterbury sound. This time, besides of slower,better textured and more mellow songs, they added viola sound in almost all their compositions.

Result of all this changes is the best you can expect - in fact this album is one of their top releases , on the same level of " In The Land Of Grey And Pink ". Even if previous album wasn't bad at all for me, and the band testing jazz-rock direction had its moments for sure, there on " For Girls... " they play they know the best.

One of the most representative Caravan's album and their last great release ever.

Report this review (#329918)
Posted Monday, November 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars A very different album to what had come before. Bassist/vocalist Richard Sinclair has left and joined Hatfield & The North. The brother of Hatfield's guitarist Phil Miller, keyboardist Steve has left as well. But we get Richard's cousin Dave back on keys, after he played with Matching Mole...which also featured Phil Miller. Confused yet? In the bass department we get John G. Perry. Another new addition is viola player Geoff Richardson. I can't tell the difference between violin and viola most of the time. When I listen to this, it sounds like violin to me. Richardson's viola playing is equal parts classical and country.

This album is a lot more symphonic than any of the earlier albums. As I mentioned with the viola playing, there is also a Southern rock/Country rock vibe here as well. The music here is not typical Canterbury. Caravan were always a pop band at heart, and even their most adventurous albums have poppy moments on them. The production is well done and there is synthesizers here. I don't believe there was any on Waterloo Lily but I might be wrong. In addition to the synths, D. Sinclair also makes good use of organ, Rhodes and clavinet.

"Memory Lain, Hugh/Headloss" goes back and forth between Southern rock and symphonic sections. Love the bass sound in this song. The viola mimics the vocals. Later some nice flute. Then fuzz organ solo. Flute solo. Then horns, some drum fills. Next the song goes into an upbeat part that reminds me of the theme song to the Patridge Family. Ends with guitar and viola trading solos. "Hoedown" is the instrumental version of "Be Alright/Chance Of A Lifetime". Or that song is the lyrical equivalant of "Hoedown", whichever you prefer.

"C'thlu Thlu" is named after the H.P. Lovecraft monster. Starts with a slowed down drum sound. Some guitar and call and response vocals. Then changes to more upbeat section with what sounds like electric violin and clavinet. Later you hear a scream and the music changes to a more menacing part with a great riff. After an organ solo. "The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again" has humourous lyrics. Basically a pop song with an awesome synth solo. During the solo you hear handclaps. The viola is very prominent in this song.

"Be Alright/Chance Of A Lifetime" is basically "Hoedown" with lyrics, but played faster. The "Chance" part is more of a ballad. More prominent viola. "L'Auberge du Sanglier / A Hunting We Shall Go / Pengola / Backwards / A Hunting We Shall Go(reprise)" is pretty much a Symphonic Prog instrumental. Starts with acoustic guitar and viola. You hear a rumbling from an explosion, then full band comes in. Later a guitar solo. About halfway the music dies down and there is just subdued classical piano and some orchestral sounds. Then rhythm section and some synth. After the orchestra is more dominant. Later a drum roll and the song reprises the earlier "Hunting" part. Ends with the rumbling sound, or thunderstorm, or whatever.

Highly recommended to Symph fans. This is alot better and more consistent than the more popular Gray & Pink album. Unfortunately, the band would not live up to this potential again. A good introduction to Caravan, and to a lesser extent, Canterbury in general. 4 stars.

Report this review (#358623)
Posted Monday, December 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I remember being dazzled by a couple of Caravan albums already and going into this one thinking that I was going to get the same brand of Cantebury. Boy, was I wrong, but I really didn't care because I really liked (and still do) what I heard. Right from the opening guitar lick of ''Memory Lain, Hugh'', I was thrown off guard. I wasn't sure that this was a Caravan album until Pye started singing; guitars are never that hard sounding or to the forefront on Caravan albums before. The surprise happens to be pleasant until the band meanders around viola solos; then ''Headloss'' brings the band back to exciting territories, reminding me of ''I've Seen All Good People'' from the group we all know and love.

The band offers a couple of country-esque surprises in the next two tracks, ''Hoedown'' sounding exactly as you're thinking only in 7/8. ''Surprise, Surprise'' has more pop leanings, but it's one of the stronger sounding songs of the album. Typical Caravan aspects (notably Pye's voice) are still here in pockets, but only in ''The Dog, the Dog, He's at it Again'' do we get a traditional sounding Caravan tune; even then, the synth in the middle throws you off, yet it's so good you don't care.

''Chtulu Thlu'' is the weirdest Caravan tune because it sounds so close to heavy metal in the verses and instrumental middle, but it's so haunting that you cannot resist playing it. The more classical tunes can be found on the last two numbers, but this classical-influenced-rock is sprightly and won't lull you to sleep. Particularly ''A Hunting We Shall Go''; that number might just cause you to grip your chair wildly due to the exuberance and intensity of the piece, only to withdraw to a calm halfway through. It reminds me of that ''Awaken'' epic we all know....four years before ''Awaken'' was unleashed to the public.

The one drawback that Caravan fans might have is that the intangibles of Richard Sinclair aren't here; Perry is a good bassist and singer in the prog rock sense, but Sinclair had something about him that gave earlier Caravan albums a charm. But the fact that this album totally surprised me in a good way, the stack of great tunes and the underrated feel GWGP has is enough for me to brand this as a prog album that is both excellent and isn't on your mind right now.

Report this review (#385885)
Posted Monday, January 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars

Swapping the Sinclairs....

Respect to Waterloo Lily this album represents a step back in the ambient as the strong jazzy flavour wanted by Richard Sinclair is gone with him while the old dreaming keyboard backgrounds are back with David Sinclair. As result, this album is more "Caravan".

We are still in 1973 and the band is not yet in its descending path. Unlike the previous albums, this time the opener is a long and complex track which inherits some of the jazzy mood of its predecessor, but with a great old-fashioned flute performance by Jimmy Hastings and is effectively compsed by two different songs, the second of them practically British glamour rock.

Also Hoedown has a glam mood on a country-rock tempo but it's nothing more than a nice short song.

The optimistic side of Caravan is shown by "Surprise, Surprise". A song that can be defined by single word: English. Regerdless the lyrics, the sensation that it gives me is of a Sunday morning in a small English town, even if the cello solo may give it a touch of yankee.

"C'Thlu Thlu" is a discutible track. Good from a musical point of view is totally unable to recreate the dark evil situations of Lovecraft's weird horrors, something that Arzachel did very well, instead. So forget the lyrics and the inspiration and just enjoy the song that in the second half is at the level of the instrumental parts of Winter Wine.

"The Dog, The dog He's at it Again" is another typical Caravan's song. Richard Sinclair's vocals are missing but they supply with more choirs and with less acid sounds coming from the keyboards.

I don't want to say that this album starts weakly, but it really goes better while proceeding to the end. "Be Alright" is unusually uptime for this band and the choirs make me think to Wishbone Ash more than to Canterbury. Also the guitar is a bit different: Pye is very less acid so his guitar sounds more Floydian, even if in the background. Also "Chance Of A Lifetime" (physically the same track as the previous) is mellow and has something of Ash's "Front Page News" (released 3 years after this). The part with the cello solo is very Canterbury instead. It's very good but I don't understand why using the cello instead of Jimmy's bass flute.

The last track is a medley of 4 songs opened by the cello again helped by a classical guitar. When the odd signature arrives the song is comparable to the best things of the 2nd and 3rd album.

I'm undecided between three and four stars. It's surely good, but is it an "excellent" addition? If they weren't Caravan and they hadn't released two masterpieces before I'd say yes. Trying to separate this album from the Caravan's history I think every progger can like it, so I'm rounding up to 4 what I think is a 3.5 stars album. One of the last good ones from this band.

Report this review (#424298)
Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
Prog Sothoth
Prog Metal Team
5 stars Boasting one of the better album titles in the prog world, this effort added just a bit more oomph to the Caravan sound by adding more emphasis on guitar rhythms, resulting in what happens to be my favorite album by the band. It brings the prog, but with a bit more swagger than the "prog to go with your tea and crumpets" feel I get from some of their output, while not losing the sense of humour and lack of self-importance to go with their musical chops.

The opening guitar riff sets the tone...a groovy bluesy little ditty that soon gets punctuated by a solid beat, but it doesn't take long until the listener realizes this isn't some Doobie Brothers clone. A nice opening epic split into two parts, it's basically like two separate individually cool songs cohesively joined at the rump. By the following track, there's a sense of inspiration that branches out from the Canterbury scene to include aspects from the San Francisco jam scene, some country flair and rootin' tootin' that doesn't detract from the quality, but gives it a fresh style. In fact, this album seems to have aged far better than most prog albums from the golden era by having many traits associated with the much later Burlington Vermont jam band scene, for better or worse. The amusing and occasionally raunchy lyrics, the guitar sound (fairly distorted but not heavy by any means), the rock riffs that combine with an overall jazziness, the soft pleasant vocals...yeah, it can occasionally sound just a bit phishy, but with cooler tunes and more variety of instrumentation. Playing this for your typical dreadlocked bike couriers & Bohemian babes just might have them gorging on an extra helping of Ben & Jerry's ice cream as a sign of approval (maybe growing plump in the night as a result). Maybe I'm wrong due to the lack of limp white reggae, but whatever.

There's a pretty good scope of what this particular incarnation of the band could pull off, from the trippy folk of Surprise, Surprise to the great and almost doomish C'thlu thlu, a song which automatically makes this album essential by default. The instrumental with the crazy long title at the end is quite a nice adventure through various soundscapes on its own accord, ending the album on an epic note much like it began. Truth is, every song is fantastic in its own way, with a unique blend of styles for its time and a strong sense of creativity. It's definitely the album I first turn to when I'm in the mood for some Caravan.

Report this review (#480557)
Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album reminds me of a scenario in which the 70s group AMERICA tried to play like THE WHO, or if HARRY NILSSON joined up with THE MOODY BLUES, or if THE OZARK MOUNTAIN DAREDEVILS decided to play CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG. Such a different feel from the only other Caravan album I own, "In the Land of Grey and Pink"--it has a very countrified, bluesified, folked-up, 'Southern Rock' like feel to it. I can't help but notice the greater importance lyrics have in this version of Caravan. Clever lyrics. Nice vocal harmonies. I love Hasting and Sinclair's playing off of the beautiful orchestration in "L'auberge..." (a longer "Macarthur's Park") Very nice album; very enjoyable listening experience. Solid drumming well recorded. Definitely a poppier side of prog. Solid 4 stars- -excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection.

Personal faves: "Memory Iain Hugh" (9/10), "Be Alright" (9/10), "L'auberge du sanglier" (8/10)

Report this review (#505087)
Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars A number of lineup changes following Waterloo Lily would see Caravan's musical style changing direction. This time around, they're trying to fuse their whimsical Canterbury sound with a more mainstream-friendly musical approach, a project which after several albums would result in the band's prog audience drifting away and no mainstream audience drifting in to replace them. Here, however, the compromise between the conventional and the experimental is perfectly judged. The closing epic deserves particular props for combining a sweeping Hollywood orchestral buildup with, at the climax, a frenzied rendition of Backwards (a Mike Ratledge composition originally performed by Soft Machine). I wouldn't put this alongside the likes of If I Could Do It All Over Again or Land of Grey and Pink, which are the absolute cream of the Caravan crop, but it's certainly one of the better second-tier Caravan albums.
Report this review (#510297)
Posted Saturday, August 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Caravan is at it again.

Caravan returns again to the formula they laid down on In The Land Of Grey And Pink. That means whimsical pop with some folk and jazz influences. There are some driving catchy songs like Hoedown, A hunting we shall go and The dog, the dog, he's at it again. Solid live favorites. There are also some rather intricate rock songs here too.

The Caravan sound is very much present here. But this is not one of their more light hearted easy listening albums.

This is still a great album though in my ears. The songs are great and the album has some hidden debts I appreciate a lot. It is an album that has cemented their position as one of the better English bands. Hence, it is recommended.

4 stars

Report this review (#583665)
Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Caravan plays a blend of crossover prog and canterbury prog. The Girls Who Grow plump in the Night is no exception. With David Sinclair back on the keys the line-up is about the same as in The land of Grey and Pink.This record shows many quality optimistic crossover prog songs with enough instrumental interventions to please the more prog-minded listener.

For the first time in their career they played a dark and spooky song ("C'thlu Thlu", strange name: what should it mean?) although the couplet is (far) more optimistic. This song sounds if you are sneaking in some secret area. The sinister echoes are great! This song shows some nice progression to the end. This song is the ending track of the first side and also the best song of this side. The other songs have some nice violin parts or vocals, but belong more to the standard material of Caravan: good, but not essential.

The last composition Pengola / Backward is the highlight of the record. This is an up-tempo instrumental-only track with some great melodies and room for some guitar and violin solo's. After about four minutes this composition changes to Backward and moves into an atmospheric and slow orchestral arrangement with some great key solo's. This fantasy soundscape is great and a worthy end for this record. Total score: 3,5 stars.

Report this review (#743717)
Posted Tuesday, April 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars "For girls who grow plump in the night" from 1973 is Caravan's fifth studio record and of the cover I guess the music appeals to your dreams(and not just girls'). I see this record as a successfull attempt to do harder music with the same progressivity and catchy melodies as before. The sound of Caravan a la 73 is rich because of many instruments. Aside the group Caravan (Richard Coughlan, Pye Hastings, David Sinclair, Geoff Richardson and John G Perry) they took help from twelve guest musicians and an orchestra. This music is so well performed and produced. And Caravan was such an original band I think only was posible in the 70s. Catchy melodies as a bubble gum pop band mixed with symphonic passages and hard rock, jazz and unnamable sounds was a perfect progressive being named Caravan.

What I have hard to understand is the next album, Cunning stunts' low rating, because I think these albums are rather similar, which in this case is good. This album featured three 10/10 songs and four 7-8/10 songs so my rating will be a solid four and a record I absolutely will continue explore. The opener "Memory Lain, Hugh / Hedloss" (10/10) is one of the best. It has both the rock style and the soft Canterburian style(here represented of great flute solo). A clever and rather perfect bit of music. "Hoedown"(7/10) is a typical 60s rock song. It is enjoyable and nice and also contains a whirling viola. "Surprise, surprise" (8/10) is a feel good track with happy vocals in choir and a taste of country and pop. "C'thlu Thlu"(10/10) is a marvelous track which is weird in its variety. Starting with dark bass as in heavy metal and changing to very happy, folk rock and flaunting in organ solo it's a perfect weird progressive AND approachable track. I would say the same about "The dog, the dog, He's at it again" (10/10) which is so happy and light, and alos bright. After hearing that song I want to say: More Caravan to the people!. "Be allright, Chance of a lifetime"(8/10) is most of all a medley of a pretty pure hard rock song a la Deep Purple or Uriah Heep in "Be allright", that is good but not very insteresting and the other part of the song is closer to ordinary Caravan sound. Finaly we have the song "L'Auberge Du Sauglier / A Hunting we shall go/ Pengola / Backwards/ A Hunting we shall go(reprise)" which is an instrumental piece which starts classical and becomes very symphonic in the end. It's an enjoyable time but not the epic I would have liked to hear as the closer of this great record.

I have much to say to praise Caravan. Soft guitar and vocals, naive great keyboards and a fantastic attitude. This was not very far from perfection and sure it's one of the band's best efforts.

Report this review (#988757)
Posted Saturday, June 29, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars The golden age of the band has passed, but here are some essential material.

My first contact with the band was double CD entitled Canterbury Tales, a good collection of 1976. I expected to listen more jazz/rock that symphonic/rock, but it was the opposite, thankfully.

The essential songs here are: Memory Lain, Hugh / Headloss; two unified songs, containing force and delicacy at the same time, characteristic of Caravan. The same is true about Be Alright / Chance of a Life; one of the best musical legacies left by the ephemeral Canterbury scene, with memorable expressions such as: "Somehow I feel there's something unreal about the way money means everything That'll be the fall of all of the worlds you love ".

At last L' Auberger Du Sanglier confirms how essential this album is, not only in the discography of Caravan, but for every good taster of the best art music. An overwhelming song till 4.30 minutes, entering a nostalgic way since then on, superbly orchestrated.

The Dog, The Dog, He 's at it Again: No discussion is a classic, with controversy lyrics courtesy of Hastings. But it's not one of my favorites. Surprise, Surprise is a good contribution. Instrumental Derek's Long Thing contains good passages.

Pye 's effort to collect part of the band with the addition of Geoff Richardson in Viola, worth it.

Report this review (#1089937)
Posted Saturday, December 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars After Caravan produced "Waterloo Lily" the dissension among the members proved to be too much. Pye Hastings and Richard Sinclair were obviously on two different paths. Richard Sinclair and Steve Miller would leave and be replaced by John G. Perry on bass/vocals and Geoff Richardson would provide electric violin. Also Dave Sinclair would come back as the keyboardist. This time though it would be Hastings who would be the main driving force with John G. Perry providing excellent vocal harmonies and Geoff Richardson providing a lot of the instrumentation with his violin rather that Dave Sinclair's keyboards. What we get is a very different sounding Caravan record. But it turns out to be an amazing record. From the beginning to the end. Very upbeat. The Canterbury sound only comes through rarely. The album rocks more often too and has more af an American sound without losing progressive ingenuity. A fun album through and through. One of those records that just never lets up being great, track after track. Even though this record is uncharacteristic of earlier Caravan albums, they broke new ground and came up aces.
Report this review (#1644452)
Posted Friday, November 18, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another great album by Caravan. "For girls who grow plump in the night" is their fifth album and to be honest is way too different from the first four.

Here we can appretiate a heavier sound, in some points this album reminds me to some works by bands like Atomic Rooster or High Tide, those sounds mixed with the classic Canterbury style that Caravan has.

This is probably Caravan's most experimental album, at least that's what I believe; not only because the introduction of the obvious new style, but also I think here we have the first part of a not- all-CanterburyScene-style that continues in "Cunning stunts". Here they were trying to get new sounds, that's clear.

There's a chance that people who had listen Caravan's first four albums to like "Plump in the night", or maybe they can get disappointed. I like it, not as much as I like the previous ones, but I do.

Four stars!

Report this review (#2077697)
Posted Thursday, November 22, 2018 | Review Permalink

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