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Caravan The Album album cover
2.32 | 154 ratings | 14 reviews | 5% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Heartbreaker (3:06)
2. Corner of Me Eye (3:37)
3. Watcha Gonna Tell Me (4:48)
4. Piano Player (5:24)
5. Make Yourself at Home (3:26)
6. Golden Mile (3:12)
7. Bright Shiny Day (6:17)
8. Clear Blue Sky (6:25)
9. Keepin' Up the Fences (5:17)

Total Time 41:32

Bonus tracks on Eclectic remaster (2004):
10. Heartbreaker (single version, A-side) (3:40)
11. It's Never Too Late (single B-side) (6:24)

Line-up / Musicians

- Pye Hastings / guitars, vocals
- David Sinclair / keyboards (piano, electric piano, organ, synth)
- Geoff Richardson / guitar, viola, flute, vocals
- Dek Messecar / bass, backing vocals
- Richard Coughlan / drums

Releases information

LP Kingdom Records - KVL 9003 (1980, UK)

CD Kingdom Records ‎- CDKVL 9003 (1991, UK)
CD Eclectic Discs ‎- ECLCD 1011 (2004, UK) Remastered by Paschal Byrne w/ 2 bonus tracks and different cover art

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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CARAVAN The Album ratings distribution

(154 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(5%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(10%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (35%)
Poor. Only for completionists (20%)

CARAVAN The Album reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars I think that the title says it all. No inspiration. Only Clear Blue Sky - a reggae - manages some interest from my ears , the rest being really a lacklustre collection of uninspired songs . I am so sorry one of my favorite band ever got so low . This one did come out on Cd but look elsewhere as there are tons of Caravan records to investigate before delving for this one.

While rewriting my Blind Dog review, I had a chance to add this and tell you that this got a second release (remastered ) with a few Bonus Tracks - not that it would make it less un-essential - on the Eclectic label.

Review by Prog-jester
2 stars Even in their worst times CARAVAN are intelligent enough. Solid and even record, “The Album” is somewhere in between “Blind Dog…” and DONOVAN or THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS. Not recommended in any way, but it’s interesting journey for early CARAVAN fans. Unfortunately, they didn’t get better after it, and their later studio albums fall into the same line. Nice and inescapable addition for die-hard CARAVAN fan collection, but don’t bother if you still haven’t made your mind towards their best efforts.
Review by ZowieZiggy

This is frankly the question. Dave is back again in the band. But what for? This is a major flop IMO. One out of many of course in the early eighties from a prog point of view. At the end of the day, where were the great bands of the seventies (even if "Caravan" has never belonged to my fave ones)?

Gone are the days of their exquisite and so personal music that could be found on "For Girls". This one is just a poor I don't know what album. No genre can be associated with this album. Only that it is poor from start to finish.

Attempts to rock like "Make Yourself At Home" completely fails. And the awful disco "Golden Mile" just show you the quick way to the toilets. Run fast if you want to avoid the vomiting thing to happen onto your pants.This is the absolute nadir of this band (so far).

There are not a single track that stands out on this album. A shame of course for Caravan. But they won't be the only ones to produce a crappy album I these eighties, right? There is even one ridiculous attempt to a reggae song in here. This genre was rather commercially successful at the time, and I liked quite a lot bands as Culture and Steel Pulse during those days to know what great reggae was all about. This one is just boring and useless. Does anyone need "Caravan" to turn into poor reggae? Definitely not!

One star and this is way too much for this extremely poor album.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The Album is the ninth full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Caravan. Itīs been three years since their last album Better By Far (1977) was released and one could expect that those three years had been used wisely. Better By Far (1977) was a below standard album from the band though and I had my worries before listening to The Album.

The music is soft rock with only a few of the progressive elements left that made earlier albums by Caravan so great. The only song that gives small hints to their past greatness is Watcha Gonna Tell Me. Itīs be far the best song on the album with flute and those quirky fast vocal lines that I love from the old albums. Opener Heartbreaker and the song Piano Player are also respectable ( remember I didnīt say good), but the rest is rather bland and forgettable. Thereīs even a poor attempt to play white man reggae in the song Clear Blue Sky ( and no it doesnīt sound like UB40). Thatīs a disaster to my ears.

The musicianship is as good as usual and itīs rather interesting that David Sinclair has returned on the keyboards once again.

The production is good. Warm and pleasant and it suits the music perfectly.

The Album is unfortunately another below average album by Caravan and itīs hard not to get the thought that they really didnīt have much more to offer to the world of music at this point in their career. A 2 star rating is warranted. I must say that I had expected much more from the band after a three year recording break.

Review by Gooner
3 stars "The Album" is quite good. In fact, I like it a lot. It's very much like a pick & mix bowl of candies. It's a contribution of individual songs "played' by members of Caravan. I don't really consider it a Caravan album per se. "Heartbreaker" is a great pop rock song that would sound great on Waterloo Lily. "Corner Of Me Eye" is a track by Geoffrey Richardson that sounds like it may be a Caravan tune until it turns into progressive bluegrass during the instrumental part of the track. A great twist(Dixie Dregs/Little Feat anyone?). "Watcha Gonna Tell Me" has some nice electric piano and beautiful flute colourings and a flute solo from Geoffrey Richardson...and a great guitar/keyboard/guitar/keyboard exchange between Pye Hastings and Dave Sinclair. This is the best track on the album. Another track that would not sound out of place on Waterloo Lily. "Piano Player" has lyrics about drinking and smoking that only Caravan sing about with expertise. It's a very flighty piece with Geoffrey Richardson delivering an inspired solo on the viola. A track to listen to after a warm rain. "Make Yourself At Home" starts out like a Doobie Brothers track, then the unmistakable english vocals are present with a relaxed/loose/slacker sound in the playing by the band. There's a weird vocoder effect on the vocal. Very cool! Uh oh, in comes the disco with the track "Golden Mile". No worse than "Summer Lightning" from Camel's Breathless, really. "Golden Mile" reminds me of something one might here on the Cafe Jacques album "Round The Back"(which also features Geoffrey Richardson). "Bright Shiny Day" is just that. A happy track. Off to Jamaica with the reggae of "Clear Blue Sky"(Police meets Dire Straits?). Nice guitar work from Pye Hastings. "Keepin' Up De Fences" is another great track and it concludes the album. Caravan with timbales? Yes, indeed. This one reminds me of something off Gentle Giant's "Civilian", yet I can't put my finger on it. A lively track this one - the boys sounding like "Caravan" with a nice keyboard/guitar/keyboard exchange. I have to say that I love albums like this on The low ratings are unwarranted. it all depends on your taste. If you enjoy the Camel albums "Breathless" and "I Can See Your House From Here", then you'll certainly find something to enjoy with "The Album". An initial listen may not impress, but try it over several listens and you will be rewarded. A great rock & roll album for fans of Steely Dan and Dire Straits. Not very "progressive" but very competent. A great addition to anyone's collection, regardless.
Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars First of all let me say that my vinyl copy of the album doesn't have that anonymous cover sheet that's on PA. It has a sort of aztec pyramid with "The Album" written in the stones.....

Unfortunately it's the only "epic" thing that I can find in it.

The return of David Sinclair didn't bring all the good that one could have expected and what they were perhaps intending as a sort of reunion resulted in a big disappointment.

The opener is enough to understand what this album is made for. "Heartbreaker" is a mixture of Supertramp and Climax Blues Band. Nothing to do with the band of Winter Wine. The finger picking of "Corner Of My Eye" is not bad if you like country music. I personally like this song, but it's absolutely non-essential.

"What'cha Gonna Tell Me" is a partially successful attempt to sound as in the past, but it's clear that it's not Jimmy Hastings to play the flute. The piano riff is good and the song sounds "Caravan enough".

I'm relistening to this album after years and it's not so awful as I was remembering. "Piano Player" is not a masterpiece but I don't dislike it.

Going to the B side we find a piece of trivial brit-pop like "Make Yourself At Home" followed by the disco-funky of "Golden Mile". Two tracks to skip, but after them the brit chill-out of "Bright Shiny Day" is not that bad. A kind of newage....

What do Caravan have to do with Reggae? It's not their pot. This song makes me thing to Wishbone Ash. They have a little piece of reggae in Pilgrimage, but their one is good. At least this should have been "reggae" also in the chorus.

"Keeping Up The Fences" just doesn't do anything for me. I had totally forgotten this song, probably because I've rarely been able to run the whole album in a shot. This song is not bad if you like things like Wishbone Ash "Front Page News", but this is not what one can expect from Caravan.

I'm undecided between one and two stars. Looking at my other one-star ratings on PA I think I can be generous and go for two, but if you are not fans there's no reason to invest money in this stuff.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars The Disco Album

Caravan entered the 80's with this Disco-infected Pop Rock album, simply titled The Album. The first two tracks are upbeat, simple Pop-Disco tunes that feel void of inspiration, but with Watcha Gonna Tell Me there is at least some first indication that they still had at least some progressive aspirations. Some nice flute and keyboard sounds there. Piano Player is a pleasant enough piano-driven semi-ballad not far away from the style of Supertramp. Electric Light Orchestra (of the late 70's) is another reference point for this album. It only occasionally sounds like a Caravan album.

Several more dull and uninspired tracks follow, and it is not until the Reggae of Clear Blue Sky that there is again anything even slightly interesting. But interesting does not equal good. The Album is another one of a long string of rather uninspired albums from Caravan.

Like the previous two albums, this one is recommended for fans and collectors

Review by Warthur
4 stars After Better By Far was at best ignored, at worst reviled, Caravan took a nap for the rest of the 1970s and woke up again to star a brief 1980s run with The Album. On the plus side, it does seem to be a logical continuation of the approach of Better By Far - on the down side, that's an approach which will turn off many fans of classic Caravan.

Simply put, if you're into Caravan for the prog epics... well, they aren't here, the band having apparently decided that the Grubby Little Oik suite on Blind Dog At St. Dunstans' was the last hurrah for that side of their songwriting. That isn't to say there's nothing here with a touch of prog about it - Piano Player, in particular, is a nice bit of prog- pop - but Caravan seem to be splitting their time between lighthearted soft rock (usually in a laid-back mode, though uptempo album closer Keepin' Up De Fences is a real banger) and Caravan-style novelty songs (the latter represented by the jaunty Make Yourself At Home.

They even break out into a bit of reggae on Clear Blue Sky, but I actually found that song more impressive than I was expecting it to be. Yes, it's a stylistic left turn, but I'd been dreading listening to it for the first time, fearing it would be a badly-dated parody number (possibly delivered with a somewhat racist-sounding parody of a Jamaican accent). Luckily, it was nothing of the sort - indeed, it seemed to be a serious-minded stab at the style, the sort of thing which I don't think you could really pull off unless you had a sincere respect for the source material, with Pye's guitar solos making me think the idea of a prog-reggae crossover isn't necessarily a recipe for disaster.

So really, the isn't bad - yes, this is Caravan doing 10CC (with perhaps a pinch of Supertramp, or a nod to what Camel were doing around this era), but it turns out they're alright at it - but it certainly won't scratch the itch if you were more in the mood for In the Land of Grey and Pink or If I Could Do it All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You.

One begins to suspect that Caravan at this point weren't feeling all that inspired in the studio, but needed to knock out a studio album to bankroll their live endeavours - but this album isn't horribly incompetent, and in fact I can see myself deliberately putting it on if I were in the right mood. But it wouldn't be a "Caravan" or Canterbury prog mood - it'd be a prog-pop mood, because this is the sort of thing which is only fun if you like mixing both, but awful if you dislike getting pop in your prog (or prog in your pop).

However, if you do like your prog-pop mashups, Caravan are damn good at it. I'd even put this head and shoulders above Better By Far - taking a bit of time off seems to have recharged the group's batteries, to the benefit of the music.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Caravan's ninth record which opened up the eighties was a step down for the band. Just look at the cover. It's black and has a minimalistic design and I don't like to look at it. "Better by far" hadn't a very nice cover either but it was better. This album is the lowest rated Caravan album of ... (read more)

Report this review (#1088556) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Wednesday, December 11, 2013 | Review Permanlink

1 stars It's really hard for a Caravan-fan to say this, but listening to this album is just torture. The only decent song is Keeping Up The Fences and by that I mean listenable for a minute. I know this is harsh but where is the energy? Maybe I understand now why Dave Sinclair needed a breeze of fresh ... (read more)

Report this review (#344550) | Posted by BrainStillLife | Monday, December 6, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Not a masterpiece, but not a disaster. Dave Sinclair is back, and, needless to say, his stuff is the best: "Watcha gonna tell me" and "Piano Player" * are good indeed. "Make yourself at home" ** and Pye's "Keeping up De Fences" are nice songs, too. There are also some strange episodes such as disc ... (read more)

Report this review (#282816) | Posted by pied piper | Thursday, May 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A very solid album. It's mostly pop/rock, but Caravan is doing a good job. They write memorable songs and write great melodies and all the songs have a different character. There's so much energy and I must say that Geoff Richardson adds a lot of colour to the sound of the band. The music he ... (read more)

Report this review (#189361) | Posted by Kingsnake | Saturday, November 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Oh dear - such a great band - such a poor album (for their high standards). I disagree with other reviewers who pick out the reggae track "clear blue sky" as this track apitomises the root of the problem with this album - which is this viola and guitar player Geoff Richardson was given too mu ... (read more)

Report this review (#93058) | Posted by Mark Roberts | Monday, October 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

1 stars If after "better by far" you thought, that it can't get worse, you were wrong. Most of the songs here are depressingly soapy, boring and uninspired "ballads" sung by Pye Hastings. If "clear blue sky"(with a touch of reagge) or "golden mile" seem a little bit better than the rest of the album, ... (read more)

Report this review (#44112) | Posted by kajetan | Wednesday, August 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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