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CARAVAN

Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom


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Caravan biography
Formed in 1968 in Canterbury, UK - Disbanded in 1978 - Reformed several times (1980-85, 90-92 and since 1995)

CARAVAN were the other half of the WILDE FLOWERS - the SOFT MACHINE being the other - that originated in Canterbury, Kent. The band itself was originally formed in early 1968 by guitarist/vocalist Pye HASTINGS, keyboardist Dave SINCLAIR , bassist/vocalist Richard SINCLAIR (later of HATFIELD & THE NORTH, NATIONAL HEALTH, etc.), and drummer Richard COUGHLAN. All four members of CARAVAN were, at one time or another, in that band. They were a leading exponent of what became known as "the Canterbury sound".

The band's 1968 self-titled debut was a hybrid of jazz and psychedelia. Things became serious with the second album, "If I Could Do It All Over Again,I'd Do It All Over You" and would mark the start of their classic period. The material was a very original mixture of styles including classical, jazz, and traditional English influences. A MILESTONE IN THEIR HISTORY. This recipe was used to great success on the next album, "In the Land of Grey and Pink". This album was a perfect blend between simple northern-English pop and complex progressive rock. Quite simply one of the greatest progressive rock classics. The style dominated the next album, "Waterloo Lily", released in May of 1972, which marked a clear step towards jazz. Yet, Richard SINCLAIR's influence was clearly apparent on the first side. "For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night" marked another change in the band's sound, this time towards a more streamlined symphonic approach. This album is not a bad album taken by itself, but the classic Canterbury sound stopped here. For a more representative look at CARAVAN in their prime, check out the preceding three albums. This lineup also recorded the live album "Caravan and the New Symphonia", a live 1973 performance accompanied by a full orchestra.

"Cunning Stunts" (1975) marked the beginning of a series of mediocre releases and lineup changes, eventually leading to the reunion of the original members on "Back to Front". Many different compilations and live albums were released in the intervening twelve years before a new studio album, "Battle...
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CARAVAN discography


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CARAVAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.70 | 592 ratings
Caravan
1968
4.25 | 1147 ratings
If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You
1970
4.31 | 1928 ratings
In the Land of Grey and Pink
1971
3.77 | 639 ratings
Waterloo Lily
1972
4.17 | 847 ratings
For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night
1973
3.19 | 401 ratings
Cunning Stunts
1975
3.30 | 291 ratings
Blind Dog At St. Dunstans
1976
2.91 | 184 ratings
Better by Far
1977
2.32 | 148 ratings
The Album
1980
2.62 | 146 ratings
Back to Front
1982
2.86 | 150 ratings
The Battle of Hastings
1995
3.39 | 149 ratings
The Unauthorised Breakfast Item
2003
3.19 | 116 ratings
Paradise Filter
2013
2.95 | 21 ratings
The Back Catalogue Songs
2014
3.17 | 57 ratings
It's None of Your Business
2021

CARAVAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 221 ratings
Caravan & The New Symphonia
1974
3.67 | 31 ratings
The Best of Caravan "Live"
1980
3.17 | 17 ratings
Show of Our Lives
1981
3.42 | 48 ratings
BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert
1991
2.88 | 27 ratings
Live 1990
1993
3.82 | 22 ratings
Live: Canterbury Comes to London
1997
3.38 | 13 ratings
Back On The Tracks
1998
3.60 | 24 ratings
Ether Way: BBC Sessions 1975-77
1998
3.10 | 23 ratings
Surprise Supplies [Aka: Here Am I]
1999
3.23 | 16 ratings
Green Bottles For Marjorie
2002
4.47 | 126 ratings
Live At Fairfield Halls - 1974
2002
3.88 | 21 ratings
Live UK Tour 1975
2003
2.70 | 10 ratings
Nowhere to Hide
2003
3.14 | 18 ratings
Live in Nottingham
2003
2.75 | 8 ratings
With Strings Attached
2003
4.23 | 63 ratings
The Show Of Our Lives: Caravan At The BBC 1968-1975
2007
2.54 | 23 ratings
A Hunting We Shall Go: Live in 1974
2008
2.38 | 13 ratings
The European Tour 2011 - Live at Shepherds Bush Empire
2012
3.25 | 4 ratings
Live in Concert at Metropolis Studios, London
2012

CARAVAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.38 | 25 ratings
Classic Rock Legends (DVD)
2001
2.39 | 14 ratings
A Knight In London
2003
3.80 | 21 ratings
A Night's Tale: Live In The USA
2004
4.06 | 17 ratings
Caravan - The 35th Anniversary Concert
2005
2.90 | 10 ratings
The Anthology/The Ultimate Anthology
2007
3.17 | 6 ratings
Classic Rock Legends: Caravan Live At Metropolis Studios
2011
2.80 | 5 ratings
Live At Rosfest Gettysburg USA
2014

CARAVAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.25 | 4 ratings
The Best Of Caravan: From 1970-1974
1974
4.00 | 4 ratings
This Is Caravan
1974
3.50 | 4 ratings
Dos
1976
4.22 | 28 ratings
Canterbury Tales - The Best of Caravan
1976
3.00 | 2 ratings
Caravan (Compilation)
1979
2.09 | 6 ratings
The Canterbury Collection
1984
4.00 | 2 ratings
And I Wish I Were Stoned Don't Worry
1985
3.00 | 2 ratings
Songs And Signs
1991
4.05 | 9 ratings
The Best Of Caravan
1993
3.77 | 39 ratings
Canterbury Tales: The Best Of Caravan 1968-1975
1994
2.47 | 29 ratings
Cool Water
1994
3.14 | 27 ratings
All Over You
1997
3.00 | 5 ratings
Travelling Man
1998
3.31 | 22 ratings
Songs For Oblivion Fishermen
1998
3.47 | 25 ratings
All Over You ... Too
1999
3.04 | 5 ratings
Headloss
1999
3.00 | 4 ratings
The HTD Years
2000
3.21 | 15 ratings
Where But For Caravan Would I?
2000
2.29 | 10 ratings
Travelling Ways
2002
4.88 | 35 ratings
The World Is Yours - The Anthology 1968-1976
2010
3.00 | 4 ratings
Place of My Own: The Collection
2014

CARAVAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.21 | 9 ratings
Place of My Own
1969
3.60 | 10 ratings
Hello, Hello
1970
3.33 | 6 ratings
If I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do It All Over You
1970
3.38 | 14 ratings
Golf Girl
1971
3.38 | 8 ratings
Love to Love You
1971
3.80 | 5 ratings
A Hunting We Shall Go
1974
3.25 | 4 ratings
Headloss
1974
3.00 | 6 ratings
Stuck in a Hole
1975
3.67 | 3 ratings
All The Way
1976
1.80 | 5 ratings
Better By Far
1977
2.25 | 4 ratings
Heartbreaker
1980
2.00 | 3 ratings
Keepin' Up De Fences
1980

CARAVAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Paradise Filter by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.19 | 116 ratings

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Paradise Filter
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After The Battle of Hastings, Caravan would settle into a pattern of only producing one all-new all-original studio album per decade; Paradise FIlter is the one they put out in the 2010s. Mark Walker takes on the drums here, band co- founder Richard Coughlan having been too unwell to participate in the sessions. (He would die shortly before the album's release). As a result, Pye Hastings is the only original member left at this point, though the other band members aside from Walker are all Caravan veterans of a fairly reasonable vintage.

For a good long while - at least since the mid-to-late 1970s, I'd argue - Caravan have been more interested in cultivating their poppy soft rock side than their prog side; they still play their old prog standards in concert, but they show little inclination to produce new ones, instead producing mellow, grown-up pop-rock with Canterbury accents. For some listeners, that probably sounds terrible - but those listeners likely jumped off the Caravan bandwagon back around Better By Far. If, on the other hand, you don't mind Caravan's poppier moments, this will likely be a pleasing continuation of that direction.

For the most part, the album is fairly mellow, though there are some pieces like Dead Man Walking which incorporate enough drama and foreboding to be exciting even if they aren't that complex, so as far as Caravan's pop album goes, it's one of the more adventurous in terms of mood and tone.

 The European Tour 2011 - Live at Shepherds Bush Empire by CARAVAN album cover Live, 2012
2.38 | 13 ratings

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The European Tour 2011 - Live at Shepherds Bush Empire
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This Caravan live release sees Mark Walker take over as the band's live drummer - though co-founder Richard Coughlan was still officially a member of the band, he was suffering from ill health at the time and would pass away shortly before the release of the next album, Paradise Filter. By and large it draws its track list from the band's classic years, with only a small proportion of recent picks - as has largely been the case for Caravan live shows for the past few decades - but with material this good and performed this well it's hard to go wrong.

That said, the set comes perilously close to going wrong. The original issue of this was through Concert Live, who also were responsible for the recording. Concert Live's schtick is "instant live recording" - they take the soundboard feed and use it to knock out a live album right there on the spot, burning the first few CDs in time for punters at the concert to buy on their way out. This is a fun gimmick in theory, but in practice it means that there really isn't any time for any care and attention to be given to adjusting the mix or performing any of the other functions which can make a live recording sound better. In addition, it seems like their technology didn't work perfectly this time - other reviewers have reported glitches on the original CD issue of this live set, including one of the songs (Why? Why? Why?/And I Wish I Were Stoned) cutting out at 1:16.

As far as tracks being cut off, the latest rerelease of this live set as part of the Who Do You Think We Are? box corrects this, so perhaps a corrected standalone release is on the cards. Still, there's the odd bit of feedback and other technical glitches which are still here, and which largely seem to be artifacts of the way Concert Live's recording practices don't really leave much room for later corrections.

Interesting though it is to have Mark Walker playing on some of these tracks, the fact is that as far as the vast majority of this set goes, there's already plenty of better live recordings of the songs - and the newer material isn't enough to make this one a keeper. Perhaps a more polished presentation would help, but the speed-over-quality approach of Concert Live dooms this one.

 It's None of Your Business by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.17 | 57 ratings

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It's None of Your Business
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars It's been eight years since the last studio album of new material from legendary Sixties rockers Caravan, and 2021's `It's None of Your Business' has just enough to offer more forgiving fans of the iconic Canterbury-related group. Admittedly side-long keyboard dominated epics may be mostly out, replaced instead with pleasant AOR, gentle rock and cheerful pop, but band leader Pye Hastings' charming persona is still front and centre, and there's thankfully a welcome increase in little `Caravan elements' this time around that were largely absent from their rather anonymous 2013 effort `Paradise Filter'.

An instant plus for the album is long-serving member Geoffrey Richardson's viola and the returning Jimmy Hastings on flute (in particular, his contributions immensely lift much of the disc and call to mind fleeting memories of the Caravan of old). Richardson's instrument of choice drifts stirringly through sedately strolling opener `Down from London', and swoons dramatically throughout `Ready or Not'. The encouraging `I'll Reach Out for You' is enlivened by warmly quivering Hammond organ, Mark Walker's peppy drumming and Geoff's ringing mandolin, its eight minutes allowing for a little longer of an instrumental reach-out.

`Wishing You Were Here' benefits from a couple of heavier up-tempo bursts (cool little Hammond run from Jan Schelhaas too, though it should have been triple the length!), `Spare a Thought' is a sweetly chiming acoustic ballad with breezy flute, and `Every Precious Little Thing' a strident acoustic rocker with trilling organ percolating in the background.

`If I Was to Fly' is one of the best foot-tapping clap-along ballads with a lovely melody, dreamy lyrics and a positive vocal, and the delicately melancholic `There Is You' holds a thoughtful longing. Both of these tracks could have slotted in sweetly on many of the classic earlier albums.

Special mention needs to go to the near ten-minute, two-part title-track `It's None of Your Business'. It may not quite reach the much-cherished heights of `Memory Lain, Hugh/Headloss' or `I Wish I Were Stoned/Don't Worry' of past Caravan eras, but there;s so much good still contained within this one! A brisk tempo, spirited acoustic strums, confident piano runs, Lee Pomeroy's busily murmuring bass and a sprightly Pye vocal weave together, before a brief ambient middle then joyfully romantic finale. The longer length means the band takes the opportunity to work in a number of extended instrumental flourishes, and it's likely to be the standout favourite among listeners here.

The album closes on a haunting and mysterious instrumental `Luna's Tuna', with crystalline synth shivers, aching viola and sparkling piano ringings evoking memories of the more sedate parts of `Better by Far's `The Last Unicorn;. It's a shame that it's just over three minutes, but it does close the LP in a very evocative and elegant fashion.

Yes, there's a bit of blandness that creeps in, the band is pretty much operating on nostalgic goodwill these days, and they certainly sound their age, but...real fans of the group know that whimsical moods, cheery ditties and thoughtful tunes were just as much `trademark' touches of the classic Caravan era as the dynamic keyboard workouts were (and the increase again of flute and viola helps bridge that gap a little more here). The album also proves to be a charming grower after plenty of listens.

Expect a constant prog-blowout and you'll be sorely disappointed, but go in with a soft heart and listen closer for those `other' Caravan trademarks, and an undemanding and pleasing listen with hints of the old magic can still be found here.

Three stars.

 For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.17 | 847 ratings

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For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review N 524

Caravan was formed in the Canterbury Province in UK and was disbanded in 1978. However, Caravan was reformed by several times all over their very extensive musical career. Actually, for all bands that emerged in Canterbury, and despite be reformed by several times, Caravan was the most consistent of all and is also the band that lasted longer.

"For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night" is the fifth studio album of Caravan and was released in 1973. Richard Sinclair and Steve Miller left the band prior to the recording of this album. They were replaced by John G. Perry and the returning of David Sinclair. Geoff Richardson was added to the band. Thus, the line up on the album is Pye Hastings (vocals and guitars), Geoff Richardson (viola), David Sinclair (organ, piano, electric piano, Davoli synthesizer and ARP synthesizer), John G. Perry (vocals, bass and percussion) and Richard Coughlan (drums, percussion and timpani). The album had also the participation of Jill Pryor (vocals), Rupert Hine (ARP synthesizer), Jimmy Hastings (flute), Paul Buckmaster (electric cello), Tony Coe (clarinet and tenor saxophone), Pete King (flute and alto saxophone), Harry Klein (clarinet and baritone saxophone), Tom Whittle (clarinet and tenor saxophone), Henry Lowther (trumpet), Chris Pyne (trombone), Barry Robinson (piccolo) and Frank Ricotti (congas). We have also here the New Symphonia Orchestra.

"For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night" has seven tracks. The first track is divided into two sections, "Memory Lain, Hugh" and "Headloss". It's the track that gives the initial kick to the album. This is a dynamic track that contains a great sound nuance. It has an excellent beat, a well developed and acrobatic guitar work, a bass that not only marks but imposes itself in great lines. The flute raids give the song a more pastoral atmosphere and the brass splatters some jazzy reminiscences. Caravan is a band that, while at the same time sounding sweet, also adds a vigorous sound to their songs. This is a good example of that. The second track "Hoedown" keeps the same idea as "Headloss", but with a faster cadence. The guitar solo is certainly the biggest highlight here. The third track "Surprise, Surprise" reminds the listener of what the band had done on the previous albums. It's a ballad with a beautiful melody. It starts with guitar and voice, so when the band comes in, the very creative bass line stands out. The chorus has great vocal harmonies and the drums are quite energetic. The lyrics are upbeat and nostalgic. Again another great guitar solo enhances the music. The fourth track "C'Thlu Thlu" couldn't have a sound that contrasted more with the previous tracks. A change of mood and a darker atmosphere starting with guitar riffs, mostly at a walking pace. Nevertheless, it has a lighter and livelier chorus. The lyrics are kind of scary. Sinclair's organ solo puts a dark cover on the song. The fifth track "The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again" has a sincere and optimistic tone that is very much in line with the characteristic style of the band. The track has some good guitar riffs. The synthesizer solo in the middle of the song is amazing. The use of some clapping in the background is cool and creative. But, an interesting thing is that although the band has never been known for making good vocal arrangements, there is one exception here, and the complexity found can be compared even to found in Gentle Giant's creations, which isn't a small feat. The sixth track is divided into two sections, "Be Alright" and "Chance Of A Lifetime". It starts with another interesting riff and introduces the listener at a slightly heavy moment. It has a performative violin piece and a great guitar solo. After a few verses and choruses the sound of the song drops to a softer line. Once again we have the beautiful supporting vocal harmonies. Electric guitars come back again before another guitar solo that grows in music until it calms down again in Pye's vocals. The seventh track is divided into five sections, "L'Auberge Du Sanglier", "A Hunting We Shall Go", "Pengola", "Backwards" and "A Hunting We Shall Go (reprise)". It closes the album with a golden key, a beautiful and masterful epic with a lot of orchestral sound. It starts smoothly with a guitar before a sound explosion takes us to the main section, having distorted organ and guitar taking on the lead role, while the electric guitar plays the music. This is an excellent way to close the album.

Conclusion: I remain a staunch advocate of "If I Could Do It All OverAgain, I'd Do It All Over You" and "In The Land Of Grey And Pink" as the quintessential Caravan's albums, not least because a Caravan without both Sinclair cousins just isn't quite the real deal for me. But, for evidence of their principal songwriter at his naughty, esoteric and consistent best, "For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night" is an essential addition to your collection. So, this is overall an excellent album with great musical quality in its compositions and the flow with which it unfolds turns your listening into an extremely pleasurable experience. To my ears, this is a better album than "Waterloo Lily". Most of the piano and jazz influences were gone, and the band had added both synths and violin to their sound. I really think this worked very well. It's a great album, but you should start with "In The Land Of Grey And Pink" if you aren't familiar with Caravan yet.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Waterloo Lily by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.77 | 639 ratings

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Waterloo Lily
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review N 520

For many aficionados of the creative progressive rock music that surfaced in the heady days of the end of the 60's and the beginning of the 70's, the bands who surfaced from the English provincial city of Canterbury released some of the most consistently interesting progressive rock music of that period. And of all the great bands that emerged from the so-called Canterbury Scene, in my opinion, none of them was so original, so unique and as enduring as Caravan was.

When their previous third studio album 'In The Land Of Grey And Pink' was released, it was received enthusiastically by both, critics and the Caravan faithful fans. Its unique fusion of folk, jazz and rock created an album that, nearly thirty years later, is still highly regarded whilst some other albums of that era are looked upon with derision by some critics. It's usually regarded as their best and most fine album and considered one of the best albums of the Canterbury Scene.

'Waterloo Lily' is the only album of Caravan with Steve Miller as the keyboard player. The keyboardist Dave Sinclair had left the band and was replaced by Steve Miller, a guy who obviously preferred the piano instead of organ. So, the piano was a substitute for the powerful organ. Miller brought a jazzier feel to the sound of Caravan than had been heard on the previous album through his stylings on the Wurlitzer piano rather than the Hammond organ favored by previous keyboardist Dave Sinclair. However and in my humble opinion, the album is ok but is a bit weaker than the two previous albums. A lot of the classic early sound of Caravan was gone too. Anyway, it remains for me as an excellent album too.

So, 'Waterloo Lily' is the fourth studio album of Caravan and was released in 1972. The line up on the album is Pye Hastings (vocals and guitars), Steve Miller (Wurlitzer electric piano, grand piano, Hammond organ and electric harpsichord), Richard Sinclair (vocals and bass) and Richard Coughlan (drums). The album had also the participation of Lol Coxhill (soprano saxophone), Phil Miller (2nd lead guitar), Jimmy Hastings (flute), Mike Cotton (trumpet) and Barry Robinson (oboe).

'Waterloo Lily' has six tracks. The first track is the title track 'Waterloo Lily'. The title track is an obvious highlight. It has a set of really hard rockin' riffs, a vocal melody that defines 'catchiness', and Hastings' ever improving vocals. Here we have an instrumental section where Miller uses sharp, shrill organ tones with his wah-wah pedal. I love when a jazz musician employs the wah-wah pedal on his organ. The second track 'Nothing At All/It's Coming Soon/Nothing At All (Reprise)' is just a blues rock jam. It's very good with imaginative guitar parts, moody blues piano, and a great bass line to hang it all upon. In the middle it goes into the beautiful 'It's Coming Soon' piano interlude for a couple of minutes. Maybe they could have made it a couple minutes shorter, but I'm not really complaining when the music still functions as first rate background music. The third track 'Songs And Signs' has less than four minutes long, opens with very quiet, mellow vocals and a fairly bare musical backing. But, a certain musical atmosphere is created. It's not a song packed with thrills or melody but it does withstand repeated listening, and actually gains from such listening. The fourth track 'Aristocracy' is a nice little piece of funky playing and in fact it would have made a great album's opener, if it was the case. It has indicated a change of style and pace but it doesn't alienate the usual fans of the previous albums of Caravan. The fifth track 'The Love In Your Eye/To Catch Me A Brother/Subsultus/Debouchement/Tilbury Kecks' is a suite with twelve minutes long. It opens with some nice string parts around very quiet and mellow vocals. The bass comes in and with the drums the song picks up pace whilst remaining nicely mellow. The strings add to the track rather than become an unnecessary embellishment. This is an enjoyable listening. It does descend slightly towards a jam to close it. The sixth track 'The World Is Yours' actually becomes a true highlight of the entire album. This is a lot simpler in structure than much else of what is contained on the album. It has a nice melody and comes across as charming within well played instrumental parts rather than relying on well played instrumental parts to carry the track alone.

Conclusion: It's quite interesting how far removed this album is from its preceding album 'In The Land Of Grey And Pink'. Still, 'Waterloo Lily' is another highly competent offering following on from their two previous offerings. The title track has become one of Caravan's most celebrated tracks. The album adopts a jazzier oriented outlook which they cleverly transform into the progressive rock music genre very well. It's complex and not an easy album overall to take too but once you become involved and appreciate the approach it evolves to become a very rewarding, well constructed and satisfying musical offering indeed with some first class musical interplay around the vocals. So, we have here good stuff, indeed. It's true that it isn't as good as the two previous albums and it isn't my personal favourite Caravan's album but it's indeed a very good package full of strong material. Still there is plenty here for the prog fan.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 The Unauthorised Breakfast Item by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.39 | 149 ratings

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The Unauthorised Breakfast Item
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars For a while now, Caravan have eased off on their production of studio albums - indeed, since the 1990s they've only averaged about one album of original material per decade. (Remember, the Cool Water release was mostly recorded in the late 1970s, and the All Over You and All Over You Too projects were re-imaginings of Caravan classics, leaving The Battle of Hastings as the only album of all-original studio tracks recorded entirely in the 1990s.)

Their noughties release was The Unauthorised Breakfast Item, which makes an interesting change of pace. From as far back as Better By Far, Caravan's albums had really been about indulging the poppier side of the band's sound more than their progressive side; in contrast, The Unauthorised Breakfast Item finds them shifting their sound for the good time in a while. It's not a full-blooded return to the style of their 1970s peak, but it's an interesting sort of laid-back dreamy style which has a somewhat rockier feel to it, in part because of the further integration of Doug Boyle's guitar into the band's repertoire.

Although it is in no way as essential as their run of albums from If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You through to For Girls Who Grow Plump In the Night, it's still a very strong release, and probably their most prog-leaning for a good long while.

 All Over You ... Too by CARAVAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1999
3.47 | 25 ratings

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All Over You ... Too
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Caravan's four studio albums of the 1990s are an odd bunch, not least because they only recorded one album of all- original material in the decade (The Battle of Hastings). Cool Water consisted of demos from the late 1970s with some extra tracks tacked-on from a studio session, and then there's All Over You, which consisted of rerecorded material from their classic albums given radical rearrangements to give them a more modern sound.

Then there's All Over You... Too, recorded in mid-1999, which is the sequel to All Over You. It's another set of updated songs, and is recorded by essentially the same lineup - with the addition of Jim Leverton on bass (who'd sat out the All Over You sessions despite having joined the band for Battle of Hastings) and Doug Boyle on guitar (offering an extra twist similar to those he contributed on the Canterbury Comes To London live album), and with a guest spot from Hugh Hopper of Soft Machine on one track.

This feels like a more successful take on the same general experiment that All Over You was trying. It helps that Caravan aren't necessarily messing with their most beloved material here. That's not to say they don't touch any of their sacred cows - some of the tracks here (like the cuts from For Girls Who Grow Plump In the Night) are highly-regarded Caravan tracks which are undeniably in the top tier of their catalogue.

At the same time, they're more willing this time around to dip into material which perhaps isn't so well-remembered - many consider Caravan to have been on the wane a little on Blind Dog At St. Dunstans' and at a low ebb on Better By Far, but they're happy to dip into those albums for that material, and arguably Nightmare (from Better By Far) the sections of the Grubby Little Oik suite (from Blind Dog) they rework here have never sounded better - and it's less of a shock to hear the experiment because even if you are a Caravan fan you probably don't regard the original versions with quite as much fondness as, say, any of the material on In the Land of Grey and Pink.

That said, even the reworkings of truly first-class Caravan classics here are somewhat interesting, the band doing a decent job of casting their classic material in a more modern form which suggests that their perceived unfashionability in the 1990s may well have been one of the great musical injustices.

If you only care for Caravan as a 1970s classic prog act and have no desire to hear that material played in a way which substantially differs from the original albums, you won't like this album regardless of how well-executed it is. If, on the other hand, you're open to a different take on familiar and not-so-familiar Caravan songs, it's worth a punt.

 In the Land of Grey and Pink by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.31 | 1928 ratings

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In the Land of Grey and Pink
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by eduardico21

4 stars I really really like this album, but I can't see it as the masterpiece that everyone say. I'm going to start with the things I love about In the Land of Grey and Pink. Firstly, the bass work of Richard Sinclair is one of the best I have heard in my life. It may not be as flashy as Chris Squire, nor as recognizable as Roger Waters, but indeed his basslines are what carry the songs forward. They are very catchy but never stop being the solid foundation of the song alongside the drums, which is something that many playful bassists tend to forget. In the performing department the other outstanding musician is David Sinclair, a terrific keyboardist and one of the most underrated.

They truly shine in my two favorite songs from the bunch. The first being "Winter Wine", a mix between the folk magic from Jethro Tull and the jazz softness from Camel, and the monstruous suite "Nine Feet Underground". The later is truly a marvelous piece, which was intended to be an instrumental song for David to show off. Well, objective accomplished, as the keyboard solos in this one are out from this world. On the other hand, I don't really like that much the other songs from the album. "Golf Girl" and "In the Land of Grey and Pink" are nice and fun, but they are really simple. And "Love to Love You" doesn't do it for me at all, and his 60s pop patterns take me out of the experience.

The other things I don't really enjoy that much from this albums are the vocals and the guitars. Although I consider Richard an excellent bassist I believe him to be a very mediocre vocalist. He doesn't have the virtuous high pitched vocals of Jon Anderson, nor the theatrics of Peter Gabriel, nor the warm tone of Greg Lake or Ian Anderson, so he falls a little on no man's land. He's not bad, but he's nothing really special either and a better vocalist would have benefited the album a lot. The same could be said about the guitars, which are not bad in itself but are a little absent at times (with too much prominence of the keyboards, while I like a combination of both) and nothing that interesting when present.

I still really enjoy this album every time I listen to it, but I can't put it on the same level of things such as Close to the Edge, Wish You Were Here, Thick As a Brick or Foxtrot. So I believe that 4 stars is the perfect rating for In the Land of Grey and Pink.

 Live: Canterbury Comes to London by CARAVAN album cover Live, 1997
3.82 | 22 ratings

BUY
Live: Canterbury Comes to London
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Canterbury Comes To London finds Caravan performing with the same lineup that made the Battle of Hastings album, plus Doug Boyle providing additional electric guitar here and there. This was recorded in between All Over You and All Over You Too, the two albums of rerecorded Caravan classics which the band produced in the latter half of the 1990s, but don't expect radical re-imaginings of the old material here - aside from some additional Zappa-esque guitar solos from Boyle, the songs are more or less in their original configurations, albeit with then-current equipment for 1997.

As it stands, the set is actually pretty good. Caravan seem to have accepted that the fans are largely here for their material from the first half of the 1970s, and so the set list is constructed as a sort of sandwich: a good chunk of classic- era Caravan material at the beginning and end of the set, then some newer songs slipped into the middle (as it turns out, all the newer tunes hail from the Battle of Hastings album). Though I wouldn't put it on the top flight of Caravan live albums, it's still a pleasant enough listen which proves that the band could still conjure the old magic onstage, even if their studio offerings from this period might have been a bit hit and miss.

 All Over You by CARAVAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1997
3.14 | 27 ratings

BUY
All Over You
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I guess "All Over You" makes senses as the title of a Caravan album providing radically reworked takes on their classic material - after all, they told us back in their early career that if they "Could Do It All Over Again", they'd do it like that.

There's certainly a lot of imagination involved in the renditions of the material here. Album opener If I Could Do It All over Again, I'd Do It All Over You sounds strikingly modern, whilst Place of My Own is given this foreboding, dramatic acoustic guitar intro which helps lend the song a new gravitas, though this is largely lost once we start getting into the almost samba-esque musical breakdown midway through the song. Other picks feel substantially closer to their originals, such as The Love In Your Eye (though there's a punch of Latin music there too which the original didn't have.)

The lineup here consists of three Caravan founder members - Richard Coughlan, Pye Hastings, and Dave Sinclair - plus long-standing regular guest performer Jimmy Hastings and the well-established Geoffrey Richardson. It's not like we're dealing with a unit that actively has contempt for the original versions of these songs, or who haven't done a fine job performing live renditions close to the original format in the past. Instead, you have five guys who absolutely know these songs inside and out giving their best go at putting a fresh coat of paint on them.

Part of the intent here seems to have been to provide a more modern take on the songs. Even when it comes to those presentations which are close-ish to the originals, you can catch Coughlan slipping some decidedly 1990s-esque drum loops (or playing which sounds remarkably like a drum loop) here and there. At the same time, in keeping with the mellow pop direction that Caravan had been committed to for a couple of decades or so when this came out, the approach here seems to be to provide a somewhat more sedate take on a lot of the material. Electric guitar and orchestra is scaled right back, acoustic guitar is in. (A major exception is towards the end of the rendition of For Richard here, which takes on an almost industrial trip-hop quality to it.)

As such, whether All Over You is worth it to you really hinges on whether the idea of "chilled-out acoustic Caravan" sounds good to you. If you're into the mellow pop side of Caravan as well as their more celebrated prog side, this might well be the case, though odds are you'll find some of these experimental tweaks to the old material more successful than others, and that you'll still come away preferring the originals. If you only care about the prog side of Caravan's work, you'll probably dislike this, but then you'll probably dislike most of their discography outside of that window in the 1970s when their prog side came to the fore.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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