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Caravan Blind Dog At St. Dunstans album cover
3.30 | 309 ratings | 20 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Here Am I (6:19)
2. Chiefs and Indians (5:13)
3. A Very Smelly, Grubby Litle Oik (4:15)
4. Bobbing Wide (1:30)
5. Come on Back (4:50)
6. Oik (reprise) (2:26)
7. Jack and Jill (6:26)
8. Can You Hear Me? (6:17)
9. All the Way (With John Wayne's Single-Handed Liberation of Paris) (9:03)

Total Time: 46:19

Line-up / Musicians

- Pye Hastings / electric (1,7) & acoustic guitars, vocals
- Jan Schelhaas / piano & electric piano, organ, clavinet, ARP & Mini Moog synths
- Geoffrey Richardson / viola, flute, electric guitar, whistle
- Mike Wedgwood / bass, congas, vocals & arrangements (2)
- Richard Coughlan / drums

- Jimmy Hastings / alto (9) & tenor (2,5,6) saxes, flute (9), clarinet (4,5)
- Irene Chanter / backing vocals (6)
- Doreen Chanter / backing vocals (6)

Releases information

Artwork: Archer Associates with David English

8-Trk Arista 8 301-4088H (1976 US)

LP BTM Records - BTM 1007 (1976, UK)
LP RCA RVP-6083 (1976 Japan)
LP RCA 26.21746 AS (1976 Germany)
LP BTM Records BTM 1007 (1976 Netherlands)
LP Arista AL 4088 (1976 US)
LP BTM Records BTM-1007 (1977 Spain)

CD Repertoire Records - REP 4501-WY (1994, Germany)
CD HTD Records - HTD CD 60 (1996, UK)
CD Repertoire Records - REP5138 (2005, Germany)
CD Air Mail Archive - AIRAC-1230 (2006, Japan) Remastered by Yoshiro Kuzumaki

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy CARAVAN Blind Dog At St. Dunstans Music

CARAVAN Blind Dog At St. Dunstans ratings distribution

(309 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (43%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

CARAVAN Blind Dog At St. Dunstans reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars There are still a fair bit of moments where you can see the bright past of this group but the constant personnel change is ruining this band. Yet another bassist Messakar (coming from Daryl Way's Wolf or Curved Air or both, if my memory serves me well), Jan Schelhaas (from the National Head Band but a Liverpudlian himself) is replacing the again-departed David Sinclair on KB and he does not fill up in the writing dept and this hurts group deeply.

Nevertheless, some tracks are still quite fine in their typical style, progressive enough to interest us and others are more straightforward in what would come close to AOR if it didn't sound so Caravanesque. Musically (sonically) speaking, we are really close to Cunning Stunts and there is still a very usual Caravan humour (Very Grubby little Oik) on this album. In the late 90's they re-recorded a few of these numbers, shedding a new light on them

Blind Dog just received in 2003 a remastering (as had all previous albums) but I have not yet heard it but I hope that the sound is better.

Review by loserboy
4 stars Here is one of the most under-rated CARAVAN album of all time and is one of my personal favs. "Blind Dog at St. Dunstan"'s is a lesson in the prog Cantebury school of music really with some wonderful song writing. I think unfortunately the highest this album ever made it on the charts was something like 50 (UK) and never was really regarded as a classic CRAVAN album for some bizzare reason. Lineup juggles included Mike Wedgwood (CURVED AIR) on the bass/congas, Pye Hasting's wonderful guitar/voice, the lovely flute and viola of Geoff Richardson and the organ, moog, clavinet of Jan Schelhaas. Songs are quite soulful actually with some great deep song writing and complex musicianship throughout. When the band really gets groovin' their music actually reaches a semi-funk groove while holding onto a very much overriding Cantebury style. Brilliant music which really progresses...
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Blind Dogs showed maturity with more jazz overtones and is IMHO a highly underrated follow up to the ' Cunning Stunts'. These guys created strong melodies when prog music was seriously being eroded by the onslaught of punk which is why perhaps they were trying harder to be mainstream, Pearls are ' Here am I', ' Chiefs and Indians' and ' All the Way'. Pye Hastings oozes creativity on a well balanced offering of high quality songs.' Bobbing wide' is a beautiful instrumental up there with any of their earlier albums. Don't mess around and add it to your collection.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars John Wayne comes to the rescue again!

Not one of Caravan's best by any means, most of the tracks being Caravan by the numbers. It is however saved by the excellent final track, "All the way (with John Wayne's single handed liberation of Paris)". This is a laid back nine minute piece, with a lengthy ending refrain, and a beautiful melody.

I love the music of Caravan, but for me the rest of the tracks are pretty forgettable, being sub-standard soft/jazz rock tracks with little in the way of inspiration.

St. Dunstan's by the way is a home for blind people in the south east of Great Britain, hence the (play on words) title. The LP has a clever cartoon on the cover with plenty of dog related puns, this of course is completely lost on the miniaturised CD version.

Review by Proghead
4 stars Just when I thought CARAVAN sunk to the bottom with "Cunning Stunts", I really felt they rebounded with "Blind Dog at St. Dunstans". The band at this point consisted of Pye Hastings, Richard Coughlin, Mike Wedgwood, Geoff Richardson, and new keyboardist Jan Schelhaas (David Sinclair left, once again pursuing other projects). The orchestrations, luckily were thrown in the trash, plus Mike Wedgwood is relegated back to CURVED AIR status by sticking mainly to just bass, and this time around only contributing one song. A lot of the whimsy has return as well.

The opening cut, "Here Am I" sounds encouraging, where I don't hear the orchestrated mush on "Cunning Stunts". Mike Wedgwood's only contribution here, "Chiefs and Indians" is luckily a more rocking number, which oddly reminds me of the ALAN PARSONS PROJECT (CARAVAN was recording for Arista at that time, just like the ALAN PARSONS PROJECT would soon be). The next song is really a suite consisting of "A Very Smelly, Grubby Little Oik", "Bobbing Wide", "Come on Back" and "Oik (Reprise)", which are stuffed with that wonderful CARAVAN whimsy I'm so glad has returned, same for "Jack and Jill", which harkens back to "For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night". "All the Way" is the only real soft rock number on this album, having an almost ALAN PARSONS PROJECT-like feel to it. This is the kind of album ALAN PARSONS should've produced (he didn't, David Hitchcock did, who produced their previous albums, as well as GENESIS' "Foxtrot"). The new keyboardist, Jan Schelhaas seems to have a more conventional prog rock approach than David Sinclair, as he tended to use Mini Moog, Hammond organ, clavinet, and Solina. Nice album, and definately their best album from the second half of the 1970s.

Review by Prog-jester
2 stars This was the first time when I lost my faith in these guys. Rock’n’rolls, pop songs, kind of attempt to create an epic (the oik story which lasts for 13 minutes in a sum) and pretty catchy tune of “All the Way” in the end – this what “Blind Dog” consists from. Disappointing and bleak album, rather primitive and cheesy at times, it’s not recommended for newbies. Better start with “In the Land of Grey and Pink” or “For Girls…”
Review by ZowieZiggy

I guess that "Caravan" has listened many times to "Perpetual Change" (a great YesSong). It is really difficult to follow the "ins" and "outs" here. Countless!

Still, the opening number is rather catchy. More on the rocking side, but this is not a new feature for "Caravan". Their excellent album "For Girls" had already investigated in this direction. It is a very good start IMO. And even if "Chiefs & Indians" starts on the weak side, the upbeat instrumental part is more convincing : solid bass play for this jazzy section. This song is alternating with soft and mellow passages. Not bad after all.

Fortunately, the cement of this band (Pye Hastings) is still present. The incomparable sound of his voice is at least still very much there which confines to some track a definite "Caravan" mood even if not genuinely in accordance with their early production. "A Very Smell, Grubby Little Oik" is one example of this. And another good song from this album.

The band reverts to a very soft mood for the beautiful instrumental "Bobby Wide". A good ambient break, somewhat jazzy towards its end. Actually it sounds more as a second movement of a longer track since it is linked with the previous and the next title which gives some flavour of a suite (there is even an "Oik" reprise). The latter being somewhat too gospel oriented to my ears.

At times "Jack & Jill" sounds very melodic but too jazzy/funky to fully please me. An average song, I should say. Same mood for "Can You Hear Me". But the vocal parts are pleasantly executed and by far the major attraction here. Extremely fresh and positive. The violin is also very well played and more than welcome.

The closing number is another very decent "Caravan" song. On the softer edge, melodic and harmonious. A beautiful flute part adds so much to it. The most emotional of all the numbers from "Blind Dog". My fave.

At the end of the day, this album is a good one. No outstanding track but a solid global work, slightly too much jazz-oriented to my taste but three stars seems a fair deal.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Blind Dog at St. Dunstans is the seventh album from Caravan and the follow up to Cunning Stunts from 1975. Blind Dog at St. Dunstans has many similarities to itīs predesecor who IMO was a very good album which unfortunately had some big flaws too. I gave Cunning Stunts a 3 star rating. There has been a major change in the lineup since Cunning Stunts as David Sinclair left Caravan for the second time. His replacement is Jan Schelhaas who after a couple of albums with Caravan would also jump ship in favour of a spot in Camel. Jan Schelhaas has a style that is a bit different from that of Dave Sinclair, but generally he fits well into Caravanīs sound.

Quality wise Blind Dog at St. Dunstans is a bit of a mixed affair. The first four songs are all very good songs and we even get some real Canterburian clarinet playing in the short instrumental Bobbing wide from Jimmy Hastings. Here am I, Chiefs and indians and A very smelly, grubby litle oik are all excellent Caravan songs just the way I like them. Soft rocking with light jazzy hints and great humour. Had the rest of the album been in this quality I would have rated the album one star more than Iīm gonna give. Unfortunately the quality drops to an absolute lowpoint with Come on back and the even worse Oik (reprise). Trivial and a bit too happy pop songs and Oik (reprise) even has a gospel choir which is something I loathe. The last three songs Jack and Jill, Can you hear me? And All the way (with John Wayne's single-handed liberation of Paris) are all good but nothing more. In the lyrics department Pye seems to be in love or something as there are lots of love songs on both Cunning Stunts and Blind Dog at St. Dunstans and without knowing anything detailed about Pye Hastings life my guess is that he met his big love just around this time. I must say I think his love songs are a bit too cheesy for me and Iīd much rather enjoy his more humorous song lyrics.

The musicianship is great on Blind Dog at St. Dunstans. As mentioned the big change in the lineup has affected the sound a bit but not much. There is a hideous organ playing in Can you hear me? For instance and a modern sounding synth sound in the beginning of All the way (with John Wayne's single- handed liberation of Paris) that I donīt recall David Sinclair using that much ( maybe a bit on Cunning Stunts). Geoffrey Richardson who was very dominant on Cunning Stunts is superseeded by Pye Hastings this time. Pye even plays guitar solos on the album.

The production is very good, and everything comes out as it should. Really enjoyable.

This is unmistakebly a Caravan album and it could be considered a twin album to Cunning Stunts as the sound of those two albums are very much alike. I will rate Blind Dog at St. Dunstans 3 stars which is the same as I gave Cunning Stunts. There are some really great things on Blind Dog at St. Dunstans but unfortunately the quality isnīt high all the way through the playing time. Itīs an album I enjoy on occasion though and I can recommend it to fans of the Canterbury scene.

Review by progrules
4 stars I owe this album for quite a long time by now and it's a bit of an odd one in my collection. Well, it was for many years because it was my only Canterbury album. By now I bought their masterpiece as well and one of the Hatfield albums. So I'm getting more and more into this peculiar style of prog. How to define Canterbury ? Maybe not the official definition but how I experience it that it's symphonic prog with jazzy undertones played by English intellectuals mainly.

But since I absolutely love both symphonic prog and jazz it should fit me perfectly. Well. it certainly does as long as it can be called melodic music. As soon as it gets too profound and the musicians prefer the more challenging and out of the ordinary (eclectic) stuff I tend to call it a day. Here we have an example of how I like it best. Slightly accessible music creating a delicious atmosphere. Especially the first six songs of this album are delightful to me. Both strong rocking moments and very jazzy elements determine the style here.

Last three songs the band changes the direction in an obvious way. Jack and Jill almost sounds like a funky pop song, the violin and a short organ solo and a bit of flute make it at least a bit special but that's about it. Can you hear me ? is more or less the same story where accessibility is concerned. Less funky but also here with prominent Hammond organ and violin. Both songs are still enjoyable by the way but the jazzy aspect is suddenly gone or at least strongly diminished. The real disappointment is last track All the Way. First half of the song is ok but second half is extremely repetitive for several minutes. What a shame since it almost ruins a very good feeling I have about this release.

Let's call it 42 minutes of great music and 4 extremely poor and annoying ones. So the outcome where the rating is concerned is not difficult here. It's simply an excellent album. Maybe an album in the declining phase of their career for the real fans but it doesn't bother me that their peak days are gone at this point. This album suits me much better than their magnum opus In the Land of Grey and Pink. This is Canterbury how I like it best. Four strong stars for Blind Dog !

Review by fuxi
2 stars I've got a soft spot for BETTER BY FAR (1977) and I feel BLIND DOG (1976) is on almost the same level, but not quite.

Most of BLIND DOG is "Caravan Lite". Jolly pop songs like "Here Am I", "A Very Smelly, Grubby Little Oik" and "Jack and Jill" are very, very similar to the material that would emerge on BETTER BY FAR one year later, but BETTER BY FAR sounds much glossier, courtesy of producer Tony Visconti. BETTER BY FAR also benefits from one of the most beautiful Caravan instrumentals ever ("The Last Unicorn") and one of their most haunting ballads ("Nightmare"). There's nothing quite as amazing on BLIND DOG, although the (nearly) nine minute "All the Way" is the sort of torchsong only Pye Hastings can write: not too dissimilar from "The Show of Our Lives" (on CUNNING STUNTS), but one helluva album closer!

To be sure, BLIND DOG has its moments: there's some exciting soloing on guitar (Pye Hastings and Geoffrey Richardson), viola (Richardson again), ultra-fat sounding bass (Mike Wedgwood), keyboards (Jan Schelhaas) and various wind instruments (mainly played by the inimitable Jimmy Hastings), but all solos are kept within bounds. Mike Wedgwood's vocal on "Chiefs and Indians" is a delight. Everyone who's even remotely interested in Caravan's history should get a copy of this album, but I can't help thinking that, after the first four tracks or so, most of the remainder (i.e. "Come on Back", "Oik (Reprise)", "Jack and Jill" and "Can You Hear Me?") sounds like filler.

As previous reviewers have pointed out, St. Dunstan is associated with the blind. The full meaning of "BLIND DOG AT ST DUNSTANS" is explained in the wikipedia entry devoted to the album. It's a fascinating story (involving Noel Coward and a pair of dogs) which I never knew until today, so take a look when you can!

And so on to the album cover. St Dunstan was archbishop of Canterbury, and an entire neighbourhood (just west of the town centre) was named after him. On the front cover you see the most exciting part of this neighbourhood (called St Dunstan's, of course), with Canterbury's West Gate at the top. Apparently, this is the oldest surviving city gate in England, and it's well-known for the fact that double-decker buses only just manage to squeeze through.

I don't know what the street here depicted looks like nowadays, but when I was a student at Kent University (1983-84), most of the shops in the picture were still there, including that pub with the curving roof on the left. (Needless to say the names of shops and pubs on the sleeve are full of dog-related puns, e.g. "Barkley's Bank" for "Barclay's Bank".) I used to find it delightful to walk or ride through an actual album cover... (And doesn't the cover suggest Caravan were the most "Canterbury" of all Canterbury bands?) Unfortunately, back then there were no further traces of the entire "scene". The local record shops didn't even stock Canterbury albums anymore. Sic transit gloria mundi...

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars No more Sinclairs....

At least David was replaced by Jan Schelhaas who later will join Camel and is a very good keyboardist, but the sound is no longer the same. This is a pop album whose songs are a bit too noisy for this band.

"Here I Am" is just glam rock for the first half, until Geoff Richardson's viola starts a second half more in line with Caravan's standards.

"Chiefs And Indians" is a good song. It starts mellow then goes uptime and jazzy. It's only that the sounds are no longer that mix of dreamy and acid that was characteristic of the first albums. It sounds like American disco-funky in the brass arrangements and in the vocals even if the musical themes are still in Caravan's style and for this reason very good.

"A Very Smelly Grabby Little Oik" seems a reprise of "Stuck in a Hole". Recycled stuff, but it's effectively a sort of short suite which ends with Oik Reprise. "Come On Back", in particular is one of the best songs of the album even being the most pop oriented. Pop can be good sometimes.

"Jack And Jill" sounds like they are trying to copy themselves. It too appears already listened. The funky bass is remarkable but it gives me the impression that the creativity of this band is going to a dead end.

"Can You Hear Me?" is on the same line, jazzy in the chords, funky in the rhythm and with falsetto vocals. Not a bad track also this, but it doesn't light any led in my mind.

"All the way" opens promising. Jan's keyboard is dreamy and subtle. The song develops as expected and the result is very close to what Camel will do later on Rain Dances and on Breathless. This song is the reason why I'm rating 3 stars an album that in its entirety would probably deserve just two.

Just an advise: this is not the right album for who wants to start with Caravan.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars All the way... down

The ridiculously titled Blind Dog at St. Dunstans begins well enough with Here I Am, the best tracks of the album, but it soon becomes apparent that the band had lost something essential that made their previous two albums so good. The band feels uninspired and somewhat unsure of where they wanted to go. It still manages to sound like Caravan, but it is Caravan by the numbers.

What we have here is dominated by slick Jazz grooves and generic Pop melodies. They still knew how to pull off some nice solos from time to time, but the material here is less than memorable. The opening track is followed by a series of lesser tracks, some of which are plainly dull and others of which are downright embarrassing. The boogie-woogie number Come On Back is among the latter. It is tediously repetitive. Only towards the end does the album regain some of the strength of the opening track, but even the better songs here fail in comparison with the previous two albums. It becomes painfully clear that, at this point in their career, Caravan was past their prime.

Blind Dog at St. Dunstans is one of Caravan's weaker albums. It was the first one of a long series of less than inspired albums from the group.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Cunning Stunts was a Caravan album which took a long time to grow on me, and now I've finally gotten around to visiting Caravan's Blind Dog At St. Dunstans I think I understand why. You see, Cunning Stunts was a transitional album - marking more or less the mid-point of the band's shift from the more resolutely prog-oriented style of their early albums to a more progressive pop style. (Early echoes of this can be heard on For Girls Who Grow Plump In the Night.) In retrospect, it's no surprise Cunning Stunts ends up being a little awkward.

If you only care about the Canterbury prog side of Caravan and find their prog-pop dimension undesirable, you'll find this album a bit of a dog's breakfast... but I actually like it more than Cunning Stunts. Having more firmly committed to the new direction, the band have a decent stab at it, and whilst I found that the pop aspects of Cunning Stunts have dated a little poorly, there's a charm to Blind Dog which I find quite endearing.

The jazzier side of Caravan isn't wholly absent, but is largely turned to coming up with engaging hooks, and as far as longer pieces go the "Grubby Little Oik" suite is rather fun. Really, I think the album's biggest problem - and the aspect which probably turns off more listeners than any other aspect of the package here - is the production.

Don't get me wrong - David Hitchcock, the band's long-running producer since In the Land of Grey and Pink, does a perfectly technically competent job here. That said, I think - in keeping with the general goals of the album - he ended up turning in a rather plasticy, over-polished, slightly cold production job, which doesn't tease out the warmth of the material as well as his work on earlier albums. (Come to think of it, this slightly plastic production also affects Cunning Stunts.)

In retrospect it's no surprise that this was a bit of a commercial and critical flop at the time - come 1976 the nation was primed for something rawer and angrier, with the punk wave just about to break. Nonetheless, I don't think it's any sort of cataclysmic career misstep so much as it represents the full flowering of the style which Caravan were workshopping on Cunning Stunts. I think it ends up being the better album of the two as a result - but at the same time, the style that they're going for here isn't for everyone, even if you're a fan of their earlier stuff.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Blind Dog is, in my opinion, the final essential Caravan album. Much better than the still-good Cunning Stunts that came before, it's mostly bright and fun poppy tunes, but it absolutely retains the progressive aspect for now at least. I've seen a lot of people say that this is their favourite album ... (read more)

Report this review (#3055401) | Posted by cloth canopy | Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Blind dog at St. Dunstans from 1976 is Caravan's seventh studio record. It feels like an even and well produced Caravan fragment. The cover is funny with a clothed dog in the front. The people on this record is mostly the same as on "Cunning stunts" with the difference that David Sinclair has ... (read more)

Report this review (#1039158) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Thursday, September 19, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The seventh studio album of Caravan is more or less author project of Pye Hastings, who wrote and sang eight of nine songs. For this reason, it is the most pop album in the history of this band. But pop music for the Caravan is nothing in the style of contemporary bands. This music is intelligent, ... (read more)

Report this review (#512666) | Posted by Burbuja | Thursday, September 1, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I like to make a pitch for albums that otherwise might go less noticed on this site when I listen to one and it strikes my fancy. So here's my pitch for this fine piece of work by Caravan that typically does not get the attention that several of their other wonderful classic works get. This ... (read more)

Report this review (#170497) | Posted by mapman | Saturday, May 10, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A real return to form. I agree with other reviewers that this album is very under-rated. The Cantebury humour is probably more apparent here than any other Caravan album. Most tracks are strong with the album culminating with an excellent "All the Way". "Chiefs and Indians" features some gr ... (read more)

Report this review (#93061) | Posted by Mark Roberts | Monday, October 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is one of my favorite prog albums. Caravan seemingly achieves the perfect medium between jazz, prog, and pop with BLIND DOG AT ST DUNSTANS. Caravan uses keyboard, moog, flute, sax, clarinet, and VIOLA! on this record and fuses these beautiful sounds with memorable melodies and vocals by PYE ... (read more)

Report this review (#69088) | Posted by Blind Camel | Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Album of CARAVAN released in 1976 "Blind Dog At St.Dunstan". Long song was disappeared. However, it is a work of a considerably wonderful content in the point of cool pop lock where country flavor overflows. The sound of the piano and the synthesizer is fresh. Music became mellow a little, too ... (read more)

Report this review (#53480) | Posted by braindamage | Wednesday, October 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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