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Caravan - Ether Way: BBC Sessions 1975-77 CD (album) cover



Canterbury Scene

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars I could subtitle this album as BBC Sessions/Tapes volume 3 (chronologically speaking) and the fourth album overall coming out of BBC archives. First to come out was BBC Live Radio 1 concert (75 at the Paris Theater) and then Green Bottles for Marjorie (sessions from 69 to 72 ) , Songs for Oblivion Fisherman (Sessions 71 to 74) and this one that features sessions from 75 onwards and deals with the later 70's albums. On this album we return to excellent quality BBC tapes (this was not the case for the other Beeb sessions with all Caravan sessions tapes disappearing and the Cds being reconstructed from other sources). It is unfortunate , however , that Caravan was not quite that excellent anymore but could still pump out some good stuff. The tracks here are from Cunning Stunts , Blind Dogs , Better By Far but present another side of them.

Only for Caravan buffs as I, though.

Report this review (#21447)
Posted Tuesday, December 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Never really liked much of Caravan after "The New Symphonia". However, what he have here are some excellent renditions of their more commercially produced sounding albums rcorded live at the BBC from 1976-1979. The feeling I get from this disc is that of the "Waterloo Lily"-era. I would suggest these recordings and renditions are much better than those of studio releases since we Caravan playing these versions "live!". There seems to be that impovisational mood missing in the studio recordings, and especially that rawness Caravan fans are known to love. This disc is worth searching out for the track "Nightmare" alone(what an impressive guitar crescendo at the end!). "All The Way" has some of their most ethereal vocals, and if you close your eyes - you'd swear it was Robert Wyatt on back-up. The version of "Dabsong Conshirto" is more impressive and "raw" than that of the version on "Cunning Stunts". Sound quality is A+. This is classic Caravan not to be missed.
Report this review (#129813)
Posted Sunday, July 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Late 1970s Caravan has had a bad press, but it will do you no harm, provided you take it in small doses. ETHER WAY is a first-rate live compilation of almost ALL of the best material from CUNNING STUNTS, BLIND DOG AT ST DUNSTAN'S and BETTER BY FAR.

Admittedly, "Dabsong Conshirto", the one mini-epic included here, is not on quite the same level of inspiration as earlier (and even more ambitious) Caravan material like "For Richard" and "Nine Feet Underground". Furthermore, I must admit I positively dislike the rather glib "Oik" sequence of songs.

But that whole "Oik" thing takes no more than ten minutes, and take a look at all other riches you'll find here. "The Show of our Lives", "All the Way" and "Better by Far" are romantic ballads which must be counted among the loveliest Pye Hastings has ever sung. No self-respecting Caravan freak should be without them, and these performances are impeccable. Similarly, both "Stuck in a Hole" and "Behind You" are superior pop-prog which would have graced any of Caravan's early (and more legendary) studio albums.

Finally, let me point out that "Nightmare" and "The Last Unicorn" (the latter is a dreamy instrumental, with a leading role for viola) are among the most haunting tunes in the entire Caravan canon, easily on the same level as anything on GREY AND PINK or GIRLS WHO GROW PLUMP. If you've never heard these, do yourself a favour and get a copy of ETHER WAY. The live versions will take your breath away - as other reviewers have pointed out, they're actually superior to the original studio performances. Strongly recommended!

Report this review (#284145)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2010 | Review Permalink

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