Header

BETTER BY FAR

Caravan

Canterbury Scene


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Caravan Better by Far album cover
2.86 | 97 ratings | 14 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


Write a review
Buy CARAVAN Music
from Progarchives.com partners
Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Feelin' alright (3:30)
2. Behind you (5:08)
3. Better by far (3:30)
4. Silver strings (4:05)
5. The last unicorn (5:50)
6. Give me more (4:42)
7. Man in a car (6:12)
8. Let it shine (4:30)
9. Nightmare (6:26)

Total Time: 43:53

Lyrics

Search CARAVAN Better by Far lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search CARAVAN Better by Far tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Richard Coughlan / drums, percussion
- Pye Hastings / vocals, guitars
- Dek Messecar / bass, backing vocals
- Geoff Richardson / viola, guitars, flute, sitar, mandolin, vocals
- Jan Schelhaas / keyboards, backing vocals
+ Vicki Brown / vocals (6)
- Fiona Hibbert / harp (7)
- Tony Visconti / recorders (5), electric double bass (7)

Releases information

Lp. Arista Records SPARTY 1008

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
Edit this entry

CARAVAN MP3, Free Download (music stream)


Open extended player in a new pop-up window | Random Playlist (50) | How to submit new MP3s

Buy CARAVAN Better by Far Music


In the Land of Grey & PinkIn the Land of Grey & Pink
Import · Remastered
Polygram UK 2005
Audio CD$4.85
$3.96 (used)
In the Land of Grey & PinkIn the Land of Grey & Pink
Import
Universal UK 2011
Audio CD$16.67
$22.98 (used)
For Girls Who Grow Plump in NightFor Girls Who Grow Plump in Night
Import · Remastered
Polygram UK 2005
Audio CD$5.46
$7.49 (used)
Waterloo LilyWaterloo Lily
Import · Remastered
Polygram UK 2001
Audio CD$5.44
$10.98 (used)
If I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do ItIf I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do It
Import · Remastered
Polygram UK 2001
Audio CD$5.44
$9.00 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Ulrich,Peter Collaboration - Painted Caravan [CD New] US $9.91 Buy It Now 29m 42s
Ultra Rare George Jenkins Last Call on Tampa TP112 45 rpm Caravan RS11 NR NM US $9.99 [0 bids]
1h 19m
GREGG A. SMITH - CARAVAN OF DREAMS * [845121045574] - NEW CD US $10.27 Buy It Now 1h 38m
ART BLAKEY Jazz Messengers Caravan NM- Wayne Shorter lp US $34.95 Buy It Now 1h 41m
LAURA J MARTIN - Dazzle Days. rare UK 13 track CD (Static Caravan, Bonus Skor) US $1.67 [0 bids]
1h 49m
CARAVAN & THE NEW SYMPHONIA NM PROMO London PS-650 Live Symphony album vinyl US $34.95 Buy It Now 2h 4m
CARAVAN 'A HUNTING WE SHALL GO' BRAND NEW SEALED RE-ISSUE LP ON 180 GRAM VINYL US $38.75 Buy It Now 2h 13m
CARAVAN 'THE ALBUM' FRENCH IMPORT LP US $21.93 Buy It Now 2h 13m
Caravan (CD, Apr-2000, Nonesuch Records (USA)) US $2.50 Buy It Now 2h 21m
Steel Guitar INSTRUMENTAL 45 Santo & Johnny "CARAVAN" / "SUMMERTIME" US $9.99 [0 bids]
2h 23m
DUB CARAVAN meets HORNSMAN COYOTE - Breath Of Peace - 2xLP US $30.39 Buy It Now 2h 28m
ULRICH PETER COLLABORATION - PAINTED CARAVAN - MSMCD162 US $17.61 Buy It Now 2h 31m
LYMAN,ARTHUR-CARAVAN CD NEW US $12.22 Buy It Now 2h 31m
MADISON VIOLET - CARAVAN - PSMV070506 US $20.31 Buy It Now 2h 38m
SPEED CARAVAN - KALASHNIK LOVE - CDRW167 US $19.48 Buy It Now 2h 38m
THE HOUSEMARTINS - CARAVAN OF LOVE 7" 86 VG US $1.65 [0 bids]
2h 49m
ALICE COOPER BB KING YOUNGBLOODS STONEGROUND MEDICINE BALL CARAVAN LP 511 US $8.99 Buy It Now 2h 51m
Jazz 45 rpm PROMO The Riverboat Five "Twelfth Street Rag / Caravan" Mercury US $7.99 [0 bids]
3h 7m
CARAVAN Waterloo Lily, LP, Psychedelic Rock US $28.00 [0 bids]
3h 57m
THE VINTAGE CARAVAN - VOYAGE [BONUS TRACK] (727361326326) - NEW CD US $11.29 Buy It Now 4h 37m
CARAVAN - Place Of My Own: The Collection - low-price CD US $8.44 Buy It Now 4h 51m
Mercury 10" 78/Ralph Marterie/While We Dream/Caravan/VG+! US $4.50 Buy It Now 5h
The Housemartins - Caravan Of Love / When I First Met Jesus 7" Vinyl 45 USA US $4.98 [0 bids]
5h 3m
The New Sound Les Paul Box Set Capitol F15584 Brazil Hip Billy Boogie Caravan US $4.47 [0 bids]
US $5.93 Buy It Now
5h 23m
BOBBY VEE and VENTURES Ep Rare Spain 1963 Caravan+3 7" 45 PS SPANISH. US $50.00 Buy It Now 5h 26m
78 RPM Who? Me? & Foolish Years Sung By Tex Williams And His Western Caravan US $2.70 [0 bids]
5h 30m
Caravan - Blind Dog At St. Dunstans (Mini Lp Sleeve) [CD New] US $44.12 Buy It Now 5h 33m
CARAVAN Hello Hello Demo UK 7" f13063 1970 DECCA US $20.00 Buy It Now 5h 53m
Tim Story-Caravan CD NEW US $18.78 Buy It Now 6h 41m
WYNTON MARSALIS~CARAVAN 12" **RARE** PROMO~NM~1987 COLUMBIA RECORDS US $4.99 [0 bids]
7h 4m
voyage THE VINTAGE CARAVAN cd ( FREE SHIPPING ) LTD DIJIPACK US $11.93 Buy It Now 7h 9m
Caravan - In the Land of Grey and Pink PS 593 US $99.95 [0 bids]
7h 21m
Space Circus Funky Caravan Japanese Mini LP Sleeve 2 CD Promo Box OBI Prog US $2.98 [3 bids]
8h 15m
THREE JONAH JONES '60S JAZZ LPS- SEALED- ST. LOUIS BLUES-LIMEHOUSE BLUES-CARAVAN US $12.00 [0 bids]
US $24.00 Buy It Now
8h 15m
Cathedral-Caravan Beyond Redemption RARE CD 1st Press Sabbath Trouble style US $8.99 [0 bids]
8h 16m
Caravan Japanese Mini LP Sleeve box BOX ONLY Canterbury Prog US $4.00 [8 bids]
8h 19m
BARBARA DICKSON EP 7" VINYL JANUARY / SUITCASE / ANSWER ME / CARAVAN SONG US $6.74 Buy It Now 8h 47m
EARL HINES / COZY COLE - Earl's Backroom & Cozy's Caravan LP '86 Affinity UK US $19.96 Buy It Now 8h 51m
CARAVAN - BLIND DOG AT ST. DUNSTAN'S [LIMITED] - NEW CD US $41.14 Buy It Now 9h 2m
CARAVAN The Unauthorised Breakfast Item RADIOACTIVE Sealed 180 Gram Vinyl LP US $18.00 Buy It Now 9h 2m
1949 Antique Caravan 78 ? Record The 3 Little Pigs Narrated by Barry Thomson US $4.85 Buy It Now 9h 31m
1950 Antique Caravan 78 ? Record Gingerbread Boy Narrated By Milton Cross US $4.85 Buy It Now 9h 31m
ROBIN TROWER "Caravan To Midnight" Chrysalis promo 1978 NM c US $6.99 Buy It Now 9h 32m
Caravan - Back Catalogue Songs [CD New] US $30.99 Buy It Now 9h 35m
1950 Antique Caravan 78 ? Record Edward Disney Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs US $4.85 Buy It Now 9h 37m
Dance Caravan dcr1969 teacher lp jazz , tap class & recital music all levels US $8.00 [0 bids]
9h 37m
Buddy Rich SEVEN CLASSIC ALBUMS VOL 2 In Miami BLUES CARAVAN New Sealed 4 CD US $10.99 [1 bids]
10h 16m
Gypsy Jazz Caravan - Pour Les Zazous [CD New] US $13.14 Buy It Now 10h 30m
factory sealed GOSPEL SINGING CARAVAN CHRISTMAS CARD CD US $5.75 Buy It Now 10h 40m
SWING BIG BUCKS CARAVAN MIRAGE NEAR MINT ORIGINAL PROMO FROM 1981 US $1.69 Buy It Now 10h 47m
Gypsy Caravan: Music in & Inspired By Film - Near Perfe US $6.94 Buy It Now 10h 53m
Joe Valino: Garden of Eden / Caravan (VG+) 1950's US $2.98 Buy It Now 10h 55m
DJ 3000/VARIOUS - Galactic Caravan - unmixed CD US $70.49 Buy It Now 11h 5m
(EI608) The Peter Ulrich Collaboration, The Painted Caravan - 2013 CD US $10.30 Buy It Now 11h 16m
1978 CLASSIC ROCK Robin Trower Caravan To Midnight Profile Haram Solo Lp @ US $1.99 [0 bids]
11h 29m
Anthony Phillips:6 Promo Box [Japan Mini-LP no cd genesis rupert hine caravan Q US $251.75 Buy It Now 11h 38m
Caravan:For Girls Who Grow Empty Promo Box+Box Obi [Japan Mini-LP no cd camel Q US $104.50 Buy It Now 11h 38m
Canarios: s/t Empty Promo Box [Japan Mini-LP no cd spain gong caravan camel Q US $38.00 Buy It Now 11h 38m
Terpandre: s/t Empty Promo Box [Japan Mini-LP no cd atoll pulsar caravan camel Q US $42.75 Buy It Now 11h 38m
CARAVAN PALACE BY CARAVAN PALACE (CD) US $21.53 Buy It Now 12h 5m
GERMANY import Open Air Burg Herzberg: Best Of Part II CD ASHRA Caravan NEW! US $14.88 Buy It Now 12h 8m
MILTON CROSS Christmas Eve In A Toyshop 10" Caravan Records C-8 RED VINYL US $6.79 Buy It Now 12h 18m
Caravan by KRONOS QUARTET (CD, 2000, Nonesuch) US $9.99 Buy It Now 12h 24m
ROBIN TROWER Caravan To Midnight LP US $9.00 Buy It Now 12h 29m
CARAVAN - IF I COULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN I'D DO IT (IMPORT) NEW CD US $19.95 Buy It Now 12h 58m
BLACK SABBATH Paranoid War Pigs Luke's Wall Planet Caravan Iron Man CASSETTE US $9.99 Buy It Now 13h 13m
ROBIN TROWER +Caravan to Midnight /Long Misty Days+ 2LP+NM+ Heavy Blues+ US $8.98 [0 bids]
13h 14m
"7"-Caravan-Love to Love you/Golf Girl '71 UK prog psych US $24.99 [0 bids]
13h 49m
Dance Caravan dcr1969 teacher lp jazz , tap class & recital music all levels US $7.20 Buy It Now 13h 57m
Robin Trower Caravan To Midnight CHR-1189 Chrysalis Records 1978 LP US $12.75 Buy It Now 13h 59m
Eddie Layton At The Hammond Organ Very Rare Stereo Caravan Mercury Sealed! US $20.00 Buy It Now 14h 16m
Hoctor Records Dancin' at the Caravan Vol. 1 Hoctor HLPS-4250 LP private dance US $17.63 Buy It Now 14h 18m
(LP) ''GLEN GRAY AND THE CASA LOMA ORCHESTRA / CASA LOMA CARAVAN / 1957 CAPITOL US $1.99 [0 bids]
14h 32m
Caravan In the Land of Grey & Pink Promo Original London Prog Psych LP EX US $59.99 Buy It Now 14h 40m
Pantera Planet Caravan Limited Tour Edition German CDS US $59.99 Buy It Now 14h 43m
Caravan - Blind Dog at St. Dunstans (1994 Repertoire pressing of the 1976) US $4.29 Buy It Now 14h 54m
Alkin Engineering/ Vector Lovers 2003 Static Caravan Limited Edition Split 7" US $4.99 Buy It Now 15h 12m
ROBIN TROWER CARAVAN TO MIDNIGHT LP US $8.99 Buy It Now 15h 34m
Southern Rhythm Kings -- BLUEBIRD B-7075 -- Caravan & Josephine US $10.00 Buy It Now 15h 36m
78 RPM Trend 83 Hal Thomas and His Californians, Glory, Glory, Caravan VG++ US $7.95 Buy It Now 15h 58m
Caravan Beyond Redemption (CD) by Cathedral US $4.11 Buy It Now 15h 58m
Caravan (CD, Apr-2000, Nonesuch Records (USA)) US $11.72 Buy It Now 16h 6m
INSPIRAL CARPETS Caravan +1 1991 PROMO DJCD CD US $3.99 [0 bids]
16h 10m
ROBIN TROWER CARAVAN TO MIDNIGHT LP 494 US $8.99 Buy It Now 16h 36m
Xhol Caravan- Altena 1969 US $19.99 Buy It Now 16h 58m
Caravan & the New Symphonia by Caravan (CD, Feb-2001, Universal/Decca) US $12.00 Buy It Now 17h 9m
For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night [Remaster] by Caravan (CD, Feb-2001,... US $10.37 Buy It Now 17h 9m
Waterloo Lily [Remaster] by Caravan (CD, Feb-2001, Universal/Decca) US $7.75 Buy It Now 17h 9m
Live at the Fairfield Halls, 1974 by Caravan (CD, Feb-2002, Universal/Decca) US $6.95 Buy It Now 17h 9m
Dreamwheel [EP] by Spirit Caravan (CD, Apr-2005, Meteor City) US $5.25 Buy It Now 17h 9m
Caravan to Midnight/Victims of the Fury by Robin Trower (CD, May-1997, Beat... US $11.37 Buy It Now 17h 9m
The Mulcays Caravan Drifting and Dreaming Orig 50's 45 NM Harmonica Pop Instro US $9.95 Buy It Now 17h 15m
Xhol Caravan- talking to my soul (DVD) US $19.99 Buy It Now 17h 38m
BENNY GOODMAN-STARDUST-C/W-CARAVAN--GERMANY-PHILIPS-300569 BF US $5.05 Buy It Now 18h 19m
Caravan For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night SEALED Rem 2001 CD w/ 5 Bns Trx US $13.95 Buy It Now 18h 57m
Caravan If I Could Do It All Over SEALED 2001 Rem UK CD w/ 4 Bns Trx Jethro Tull US $13.95 Buy It Now 19h 5m
University Of New South Wales Regiment Band - caravan - RARE OZ CD US $18.59 Buy It Now 19h 6m
Caravan Waterloo Lily SEALED 2001 Rem UK CD 4 bns trx Jethro Tull Steeleye Span US $13.95 Buy It Now 19h 20m
INSPIRAL CARPETS Caravan 3-track UK CD Single 1991 OOP! US $6.54 Buy It Now 19h 23m
Caravan & the New Symphonia SEALED '01 UK rem CD w 4 bns trx Fairport Convention US $13.95 Buy It Now 19h 26m

More places to buy CARAVAN music online Buy CARAVAN & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
  • AmazonMP3: Search for CARAVAN DRM-Free MP3 Downloads @ AmazonMP3 (USA Only) | AmazonMP3 (UK Only)

CARAVAN Better by Far ratings distribution


2.86
(97 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
7%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(11%)
11%
Good, but non-essential (40%)
40%
Collectors/fans only (32%)
32%
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)
9%

CARAVAN Better by Far reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars After Cunning Stunts, If I Could, I think they made another one of their jokes with the album title here as this is certainly not so . Avoid. Even a die-hard fan such as me has no interest in this - I believe this has never been released on CD, until very recently, so don't waste time hunting it down although it is not very rare and should not be expensive. Last Unicorn and Nightmare would have been fillers on Blind Dog and unfortunately are the highlights on this album. This should give you a good idea of how this album is.

While re-touching some other reviews, late 2004 saw the release of this album onto CD format on the Eclectic Label with a few bonus tracks. Still does not make it wortwhile, though.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#21418) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 02, 2004

Review by Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I thought this was CARAVANn's worst album up to that point. After what I felt was the overproduced and over-orchestrated "Cunning Stunts", I felt the band was moving back on track with Blind Dog at St. Dunstans. But they didn't stay on track for long, as this 1977 followup, "Better By Far" clearly demonstrates. At this point, the band consisted of Pye Hastings and Richard Coughlin (of course), with Geoff Richardson and keyboardist Jan Schelhaas. Mike Wedgewood was now out of the picture, replaced by Dek Messecar. Unfortunately, with the exception of the excellent "Man in a Car", written by Schelhaas, most of the album simply consists of sappy ballads, of the kind I don't find particularly engaging. At least the orchestra, for the most part, was thrown in the trash, just like their previous offering, but this album just proves that CARAVAN's best days were behind them. Listen to "Better By Far", and listen to their acknowledged classic, "In the Land of Grey & Pink", there's just no comparing, it's quite obvious what one is the vastly superior album.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#21419) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, May 01, 2004

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Well I have to disagree. This was a very good album released in 1977 and the majority of the songs are fine. What is equally enjoyable is the return to the smutty lyrics and inane humour on some of the tracks which always reminded you that for a lot of the time Caravan were just having a good few sessions!

As I said most of the songs are great but the highlights on this album are the title track, Give me More, The Last Unicorn and the icing on the cake is the incredibly serene ' Nightmare'. it sound like something off their debut from 1969!

Three and a half stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#21420) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Review by fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I perfectly understand why diehard Caravan fans find this album painful to listen to. 'Classic Caravan' this is not; just as DRAMA isn't 'Classic Yes', and yet I find both of these albums excellent in their own right.

Having just listened to BETTER BY FAR for the first time in more than twenty years (a CD version was released only recently), I just can't believe how refreshing Pye Hastings' vocals and Jan Schelhaas' minimoog (among other things) still sound on such bright, simple but by no means negliglible pop songs as FEELIN' ALRIGHT and LET IT SHINE.

I have always found the title tune a very seductive love song, probably because I was deeply in love when I first heard it! SILVER STRINGS is amusing (sort of Caravan- meet-10CC-meet-Johann Strauss) and MAN IN A CAR contains some ravishing harp interludes. But best of all: THE LAST UNICORN is one of the most succesful instrumentals in Caravan's career (wonderful viola playing from Geoff Richardson, followed by an inspired uptempo jam) and NIGHTMARE is one of their most ravishing songs altogether. (Thank you, Pye Hastings, for your lovely singing and for that climactic, yet restrained, guitar solo.)

An additional fascination is the fact that this album was produced by Tony Visconti, who introduced some of the same experiments with phasers (whatever they are!) that he had perpetrated on David Bowie's LOW and 'HEROES'. I was a big Bowie fan when BETTER BY FAR came out, but only now, so many years later, did I notice how much this Caravan album has in common with LOW: virtually the same prominent drum sound, with a clearer bass guitar sound than on any other Caravan record. If you know LOW but haven't heard BETTER BY FAR, imagine, if you like, a warm, cosy, non-alienated twin brother to Bowie's famous album. Now who would have thought a band like Caravan could pull this off?

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to fuxi (BETA) | Report this review (#71153) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, March 05, 2006

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Better than the previous one.

I have always felt deep appreciation to CARAVAN – who can hate albums like “In the Land of Grey and Pink” after all? They’ve led me to Canterbury Scene and related bands, and this is still kinda matter to explore for me. Unfortunately, “Cunning Stunts” was probably their (CARAVAN I mean) last good album. “Better by Far” deserves these 3 stars only because of “The Last Unicorn” alone – one of the best instrumentals I ever heard, very CAMELesque and catchy. Other songs fall into “easy listening pop-rock” category (even with a touch of soul) and even have some self-plagiarism moments (“Give me more” sounds very much like “No backstage pass”). Nice album, but not for a CARAVAN/Canterbury newbie.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#124836) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Try not to stare at the parts that are bare!

"Better by far" falls outwith the classic Caravan Deram label years of "Land of grey and pink", "For girls who grow.." etc., which were indeed better by far than this album. That said, the music here is enjoyable if relatively unchallenging.

Recorded in Spring 1977, the line up is essentially that which recorded the previous "Blind dog at St. Dunstans", with Dek Messecar replacing Mike Wedgwood on bass. The band moved labels once again for the album, this time to BTM/Arista, with the legendary Tony Visconti taking on the roll of producer. Pye Hastings is once again the dominant force throughout, writing all but three of the tracks.

The album sets out in reassuringly traditional fashion with the upbeat "Feelin' alright" (no relation to other songs of the same name), which has the sound of the lighter Caravan songs of old. The song sets the mood for much of the album. The following "Behind you" tells a raunchy tale in the best traditions of "Golf girl":

There could be no way I was going to stay with a man like that on my heel He was six foot four and could eat a door and his fists were like great blocks of steel But his wife was rude and it seemed so good to have fun while he was away While he lived in hope of the sale of soap, like the cat and the mouse we would play

The title track is a slower ballad type song which finds Hastings in particularly melodic tone vocally.

The dedication to the talents of the violinist ("Silver strings") is understandably a Geoff Richardson composition. It is not a great song either lyrically or melodically, the clever arrangement enhancing what is actually a pretty ordinary number. Richardson remains in the song writer's chair for "The last unicorn", a fine instrumental dedicated to Peter S Beagle, the author of a book by that name. The early part of the tracks which features strings is reminiscent of Stackridge, before a more familiar synth solo lifts the tempo. This track has distinct echoes of the great Caravan days, and shows the band still willing to work out instrumentally, at least on occasions.

"Give me more" features some more of Caravan's wonderfully smutty lyrics. Who can resist smirking to lines such as "She's got ill repute, and an over-size foot, bad breath and drives a Mercedes" and "Though I tried not to stare at the parts that were bare, she said: "Would you like to touch?" (complete with female vocal), I said, "Very much"". The naive innocence of Hastings voice countered by the erotic screams of guest vocalist Vicki Brown only add to the fun.

Keyboard player Jan Schelhaas sole compositional contribution to he album is "Man in a car", which he also appears to sing. The vocal sections are rather prosaic, but his bursts of synth are positively striking. The songs marks a change of lyrical style for this track and the remainder of the album, the nudge-nudge innuendoes being replaced by more obscure fantasy based poetry.

"Let it shine" starts of with a slight country twinge before settling into a pretty orthodox Caravan pop song of the type the band would utilise more and more on subsequent albums. Guitar and keyboards duet effectively for the track's play-out. The album closes with "Nightmare", the longest track at around 6― minutes. The lyrics here are particularly troubled and un-Caravan like, but at least have a positive ending. Richardson's swan-song on viola is superb, the track making a good case for its inclusion in any list of Caravan greats.

In all, a surprisingly good offering from a less familiar Caravan line up. While some of the tracks point towards the pop direction the band would later pursue, those pop undercurrents were there even on their best albums; they are essentially one of the band's characteristics. There are enough reminders of the band's great albums here to make this a worthwhile acquisition for those who appreciate those releases.

Despite a reasonable promotion effort by the band's new label, the album failed to find significant success. Geoff Richardson would leave within a year of its release to pursue a career in session work, and the band was once again in turmoil.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#136133) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Caravan confirms their very good sense of humour, not only with the title of this album but with some other ones as well.

"Feelin' Alright" is not really my state of mind when listening to this weak opening number and the poor and upbeat "Behind You" is not any better. Just a rock song with some funky rhythms. Not my cup of tea.

The "Caravan" sound is back for the title track even if this song is more on the commercial side. Still the melody is fine and vocals are pleasant. One of the best numbers from this album (but there aren't that many).

None of the tracks are dramatically bad but they are seriously lacking the freshness, the spontaneity of their earlier counterparts. I pretty much liked "Blind Dogs" so, it is not a question of era. More a problem of song writing IMO. I can't get thrilled with such a song as "Silver Strings".

Things get better with "Unicorn", a dynamic instrumental track which starts sweetly and evolves into an upbeat jazzy part. The first half of this number is obviously the one I prefer.

Most of the remaining songs won't be remembered for their creativity nor their brilliance. Average songs, no more. Some being really poor ("Let It Shine").

The highlight of this album IMO is "Nightmare". A lovely ballad with superb vocals, perfect harmony and a great violin section. "Caravan" as I like.

But this won't avoid this album to be the weakest "Caravan" album so far. Two stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#160254) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Better By Far is the eigth studio album from Caravan. Mike Wedgwood has left the band and in comes new bassist Dek Messecar. Both Cunning Stunts from 1975 and Blind Dog at St. Dunstans from 1976 where albums with good moments, but unfortunately also with some really bad ones. I rated both albums 3 stars. Better By Far is unmistakably a Caravan album, but sadly it has more boring moments than good ones.

The music is more or less soft rockīnīroll by now and all hints of progressive rock are gone except for the only good song here which is the instrumental The last unicorn. Allthough I said this is unmistakably a Caravan album itīs a really uninspired one.

The musicianship is good, itīs just too bad the great musicians donīt use their abilities playing good music.

The production is allright. Itīs in the same soft rock vein as the two previous albums.

The cover artwork displays the typical Caravan humour but itīs not that pretty.

Better By Far has been a great disappointment for me and itīs not an album I will return to in the near future. This is only for fans of soft rock. Donīt expect anything progressive on this album ( except for The Last Unicorn). Consider yourself warned. Iīll rate this 2 stars which is only because the musicanship is good and the compositions are as such well done even though I donīt enjoy them.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#179162) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, August 08, 2008

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
2 stars Bitter by Bar...

It's clear that Caravan were trying to enter into the mainstream area, but it was not their pot so the result is just another brit-pop album with songs who could have been performed by the Abba.

Effectively the lineup contains just half of the original one and the composing skills at this point seem to be decreasing at each new release.

This album is good for a ride by bus with all thess easy things in the background covered by the motor's noise. Nothing to pay attention to.

The songs are not so bad to be disturbing, but they are totally empty. Before listening to anything barely interesting we have to wait for the intro of "The Last Unicorn". However its only merit consists in not having the brit-pop flavour of the previous songs, but it's not so good to save the whole album from its mediocrity. Another song that sounds good enough is "Man In A Car", and in general the B side is really better than the A side as it happened with Cunning Stunts, but it's not enough and even in side B things like "Let It Shine" keep the level low.

This album is no more than a collector's item.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#427387) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, April 04, 2011

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Something about even this perceived poorer album `Better By Far' from Caravan still brings a smile to my face. I love the cheeky lyrics, wonderfully upbeat sound and energetic playing. There's a real infectious quality to this album that makes me proudly place it alongside their classic discs.

Although some listeners may be a little dismissive of the fact that a lot of the music on this album is full of pop arrangements, this has really been a classic Caravan trait from even their first album. Think about it - `Place Of My Own', `Hello, Hello', `Golf Girl', `Love To Love You', and so on are all very much pop songs, filled with great ideas and wonderful playing, and there's still a lot of that same vibe present on this album. The band also seem very happy and re-energized throughout.

Pye Hastings vocals have never sounded so confident, distinctive and full of character, and he seemed to be really pushing his guitar playing on this one. Drummer Richard Coughlin is all over this album, constantly dropping in busy drum fills and really driving the energy of the record. Jan Schelhaas performs endless `crowd pleasing' keyboard/synth and minimoog runs, and large parts of the album feature his wonderfully subtle electric piano playing. Geoffrey Richardson on violin steals all the dramatic and serious moments, and Dek Messecar's bass is always loose and upfront.

The album kicks off Richard's pummeling drumming, a minmoog intro and pumping bass before properly launching into a punchy and up-tempo poppy number, similar to `Memory Lain' and `Headlong' off `Plump'. Very upbeat and hand-clapping chorus. Listen to Coughlin really bash away on this one! The energy present on this track pretty much maintains throughout the whole album. Abrupt ending though!

`Behind You' is a very perky and naughty track, with some morally suspect (but quite comical!) lyrics, great catchy chorus too, and it's full of the band's usual humour and positivity. Killer solo in the middle, pure Caravan. Keyboards solos all over this track!

"Better to have tried than never...than never to have tried at all." How cheerfully naïve and innocent! Sweet vocals from Pye and heartfelt lyrics on the title track, which wouldn't have sounded out of place on `Cunning Stunts' alongside pieces like `Lover'. Lovely synths and electric piano all the way through, far more understated and effective than drowning it in orchestral strings. Has a nice melodic and low-key guitar solo in the middle too. OK, so the `wanna make love tonight' bit is a little cringe worthy, but you'd have to be made of stone not to smile at the loved-up sentiment of a line like "I got a love, and I just wanna let it grow, a gift from above, telling me to let it show!" If anyone could sell that kind of sweet romantic ideal, it's Caravan! OK, so perhaps I'm just a wimp...

Nice upfront bass on `Silver Strings' and some pleasant group harmonies, even if the song itself is a little schmaltzy and tacky. Even if it's trying to be more of a pop song, it's really kind of loopy and a little bent! Pye's "do-bee-do!" bits are amusing, but the middle chant out call bit of "yay!" is just hideous. Effective violin from Geoff Richardson in the middle, and it ends with a very quirky synth solo that gives it that very typical Caravan identity.

Of course the absolute highlight of the album is the wonderfully atmospheric and stirring instrumental `The Last Unicorn'. It's a vivid title that conjures up all sorts of wondrous imagery, and all the band gets to shine on this. Geoff Richardson's grand violin playing sets a reflective and thoughtful mood during the first half, and then out out nowhere, the bass kicks in and it really takes off! Richard Coughlin's drumming is absolutely furious on this, and Pye lets rip with a wailing guitar solo. Proof that Caravan still had what it takes at this point in their career, and it's one of their greatest moments ever committed to vinyl. Bit of a classic.

Despite wonderfully absurd lyrics ("I tried not to stare at the parts that were bare"!) and trademark Caravan naughtiness, `Give Me More' is a little sickly-sweet and let down by a hideous wailing female vocal in the chorus. There was similar problem with this on the previous `Blind Dog' album, shame to hear it again. Disappointing, because Pye's singing is actually really rather good, and the lyrics are frequently highly amusing.

`Man In A Car' has a very slight country feel with smooth harmonies. A number of really quick minimoog solos throughout, with two very brief dreamy and atmospheric sections that make for a very pleasant track.

The slight country sound remains for the start of `Let It shine', which has yet another catchy and well sung chorus, is well played and still recognizable as Caravan, but it's probably one of the most commercial and straight-forward tracks on the album. Perfectly lovely and forgettable at the same time.

`Nightmare' is a little bit darker for Caravan, and probably the most serious moment of the album. Very restrained vocals from Pye through the whole track, and his guitar solo at the end is a real example of subtlety and precision without show-boating. There's a very moving violin solo about two minutes in with some nice upfront bass really heightens the drama. Despite the lazy fade out at the end, and the fact that the track still feels too short, it's finishes off the album in a grand way.

So it's not going to ever be considered a classic along the lines of their first few albums, but I think it's still got more than enough interesting ideas, great playing and classic Caravan charm to justify grabbing a copy. It's the sort of album that makes me smile if I'm a little down or had a bad day at work, and Caravan is a band that has provided my friends and I with so many wonderful musical moments.

Three and a half stars really!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Aussie-Byrd-Brother (BETA) | Report this review (#805955) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, August 18, 2012

Latest members reviews

4 stars I have had hard to find this record. All songs don't exist on internet, neither on Spotify or Youtube. Yesterday, though I found the vinyl at a record store on Sankt Eriksgatan and I was of course happy. Another Caravan freak had expressed his love for this record and now I have also heard Car ... (read more)

Report this review (#1054197) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Saturday, October 05, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I guess that Canterbury musicians charting the well-worn waters of pop music could be a turn-off for "fans" of Caravan's earlier work, but pop when it's more than pop is great. This is one of my all time favorite Caravan releases and I believe that the first side of this album is smart pop par ex ... (read more)

Report this review (#293322) | Posted by LionRocker | Tuesday, August 03, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I like this album very much. I have a weak spot for it. And it doesn't matter how many times I listen to it, it stays fantastic. Maybe it is a bit less canterbury style than a few years before this one, and a bit softer, but it sounds o so sweet to my ears. There are many highlights, like the ... (read more)

Report this review (#253748) | Posted by Sander | Monday, November 30, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album really rocks your socks off. It has great music, lyrics, and humor to boot like "Behind You" and "Give Me More." The classic sound of "The Last Unicorn" and "Nightmare" take you away with Geoff Richardson's violin. Pye's singing is unique but very strong in capturing the mood set by ... (read more)

Report this review (#72998) | Posted by | Friday, March 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of CARAVAN "Better by Far"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | GeoIP Services by MaxMind | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 0.58 seconds