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Caravan Surprise Supplies [Aka: Here Am I] album cover
3.10 | 23 ratings | 3 reviews | 18% 5 stars

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Live, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Here Am I (6:15)
2. Chiefs and Indians (5:22)
3. Can You Hear Me? (6:26)
4. All the Way (7:17)
5. A Very Smelly Grubby Little Oik / Bobbing... (13:01)
6. Love in Your Eye / To Catch Me a Brother / Sub (16:57)

Total Time 55:18

Line-up / Musicians

- Richard Coughlan / drums
- Pye Hastings / guitar, vocals
- Geoff Richardson / viola
- Jan Schelhaas / keyboards
- Mike Wedgwood / bass, vocals

Releases information

1999 HTD CD 96

Released under licence to Talking Elephant Records in 2005 as "Here Am I".

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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CARAVAN Surprise Supplies [Aka: Here Am I] ratings distribution

(23 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (14%)

CARAVAN Surprise Supplies [Aka: Here Am I] reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars A smelly oak?

"Surprise Supplies" is one of those albums which started life as a bootleg, but became legitimised when the band's then current label HTD released it officially.

The recording by a Japanese fan of the band was made in the US during the tour to promote the "Blind dog at St Dunstan's" album. All but one of the six tracks here are therefore taken from that album, "The love in your eye" from "Waterloo Lily" being the only other song.

"Blind dog.." was a decent, if unremarkable album, and while the performances here are competent and enjoyable, they do nothing to alter that situation. The stand out song by some way is "All the way", a laid back piece with an infectious hook.

"A very smelly grubby little oik" is substantially extended through a lengthy improvised section, and as a whole there is a jazz tinge to the entire set. The "Waterloo Lily" track is therefore appropriate given that that album had a much jazzier basis that the rest of the catalogue.

Perversely, the most notable thing about the album is the omission of a performance of "For Richard", surely the only live Caravan album to do so.

For collectors only.

The album was released in 2005 in identical format under the title "Here I am". With admirable attention to detail, the track title becomes "Very smelly grubby little oak"!

Review by Alucard
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This record was recorded on 04/05/1976 in the New Victoria Theatre in London and not as stated by a former reviewer during the 76 US tour. I base my informations on the Calyx Canterbury website which contains IMO in this case more accurate informations then the official Caravan site. It was also for sure not recorded by a fan in the audience as mentioned on the Caravan site. It's a good two channel soundboard recording that was re-mastered for the official CD release on HTD. The recording is slightly unbalanced and the drums are a little to low in the mix, but the overall audio quality is good. The 76/77 band with Mike Wedgwood and Jan Schelhaas , that I saw myself in 1977, was an excellent live band and had a funky driving feeling. The majority of the tracks come from the Blind Dog record presented here with a looser more relaxed and bluesy feeling. The band was joined during this concert by Brother James Hastings on flute, sax and clarinet who delivers some great solos on the aforementioned instruments. The interplay of the band is great and the tracks sound more natural and groovy on this live recording with a special mention for Chiefs and Indians, All The Way and A Very Smelly Grubby Little Oak with extended instrumental passages. The classic Love In Your Eye is the least convincing track of this concert recording. The recording gives a good overview of this particular live band and apart from some BBC studio (live) recordings this is the only existing official live recording of this band and worth buying.

Review by Warthur
4 stars This is something of an "official bootleg" in Caravan's discography, since a soundboard tape of this show had circulated for a while before a nicely tidied-up version came out via HTD. It would later be rereleased by various outfits, including under the title Here Am I: its most recent rerelease is on the career-spanning megabox Who Do We Think We Are?

It's an apt choice to turn into an official release, though, because as well as decent sound quality it offers something rather different to most Caravan live releases. Hailing as it does from the Blind Dog At St. Dunstans tour, it offers live renditions of almost the whole album - the sole missing song being Jack and Jill, and the only earlier material being a rendition of The Love In Your Eye.

This is a bit of a revelation, because Blind Dog is a rather critically snubbed release in the Caravan discography - perhaps because it continued the poppier direction of Cunning Stunts, as well as a somewhat plastic, cold production job which lacked the warmth and authenticity of earlier Caravan albums. Here, the live energy added to the compositions really helps, and set next to The Love In Your Eye they don't feel like quite such a major departure as their studio renditions may have seemed in isolation.

As such, Surprise Supplies offers an interesting alternative look at where Caravan was at in 1976 which much indeed surprise listeners who found their studio efforts from that year underwhelming.

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