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CARAVAN

Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom


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Caravan biography
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 of Hastings", which was released in 1995. This album was a nice collection of poppy tunes retaining the classic CARAVAN sound (organ, violin, flute, sax and HASTINGS' inimitable vocals). CARAVAN is still active today, playing many live dates in Britain and Holland and in 2000 saw the beginning of renewed activity (festival, concert, etc.). In February 2001, all the albums from "If I Could..." to "Cunning S...
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In the Land of Grey & PinkIn the Land of Grey & Pink
Import
Universal UK 2011
Audio CD$15.11
$14.99 (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$5.23
$4.98 (used)
CaravanCaravan
Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 2002
Audio CD$3.85
$3.84 (used)
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LP american antarai
CARAVAN
~ USD $38.96
CD blind dog at st. dunstans
CARAVAN
~ USD $13.02
CD cunning stunts
CARAVAN
~ USD $13.02
LP if i could do it all over again i 'd do it all over you
CARAVAN
~ USD $33.39
CD in the land of grey and pink
CARAVAN
~ USD $11.21


More places to buy CARAVAN music online Buy CARAVAN & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
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CARAVAN shows & tickets


  • Fuji Rock Festival '15 on 24 Jul 2015
  • ? CARAVAN vs MARTIN TURNER plays WISHBONE ASH ? on 15 Sep 2015
  • ? CARAVAN vs MARTIN TURNER plays WISHBONE ASH ? on 16 Sep 2015
  • Cruise To The Edge 2015 on 15 Nov 2015
  • Caravan at Union Chapel, London on 14 Mar 2016

CARAVAN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.66 | 388 ratings
Caravan
1968
4.23 | 738 ratings
If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You
1970
4.27 | 1280 ratings
In The Land Of Grey And Pink
1971
3.75 | 407 ratings
Waterloo Lily
1972
4.15 | 550 ratings
For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night
1973
3.05 | 252 ratings
Cunning Stunts
1975
3.25 | 179 ratings
Blind Dog At St. Dunstans
1976
2.86 | 106 ratings
Better by Far
1977
2.10 | 92 ratings
The Album
1980
2.34 | 84 ratings
Back to Front
1982
2.79 | 91 ratings
The Battle Of Hastings
1995
3.29 | 86 ratings
The Unauthorised Breakfast Item
2003
3.11 | 58 ratings
Paradise Filter
2013
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Back Catalogue Songs
2014

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

3.87 | 136 ratings
Caravan & The New Symphonia
1974
3.64 | 18 ratings
The Best of Caravan "Live"
1980
3.21 | 10 ratings
Show of Our Lives
1981
3.36 | 31 ratings
BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert
1991
2.80 | 16 ratings
Live 1990
1993
3.81 | 12 ratings
Live: Canterbury Comes to London
1997
3.83 | 6 ratings
Back Of The Tracks (Live On The Continent)
1998
3.61 | 12 ratings
Ether Way: BBC Sessions 1975-77
1998
2.70 | 12 ratings
Surprise Supplies (AKA "Here I am")
1999
3.09 | 10 ratings
Green Bottles For Marjorie
2002
4.47 | 90 ratings
Live At Fairfield Halls - 1974
2002
3.85 | 11 ratings
Live UK Tour 1975
2003
3.50 | 6 ratings
Nowhere to Hide
2003
3.13 | 11 ratings
Live in Nottingham
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
With Strings Attached
2003
4.05 | 29 ratings
The Show Of Our Lives: Caravan At The BBC 1968-1975
2007
2.22 | 12 ratings
A Hunting We Shall Go: Live In 1974
2008
2.67 | 6 ratings
The European Tour 2011: Live At Shepherds Bush Empire
2012

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

3.40 | 16 ratings
Classic Rock Legends (DVD)
2001
2.48 | 10 ratings
A Knight In London
2003
3.94 | 13 ratings
A Night's Tale: Live In The USA
2004
4.27 | 11 ratings
Caravan - The 35th Anniversary Concert
2005
2.98 | 6 ratings
The Anthology/The Ultimate Anthology
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Classic Rock Legends: Caravan Live At Metropolis Studios
2011
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live At Rosfest Gettysburg USA
2014

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best Of Caravan: From 1970-1974
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
This Is Caravan
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Dos
1976
4.19 | 19 ratings
Canterbury Tales - The Best of Caravan
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Caravan (Compilation)
1979
2.07 | 4 ratings
The Canterbury Collection
1984
0.00 | 0 ratings
And I Wish I Were Stoned Don't Worry
1985
0.00 | 0 ratings
Songs And Signs
1991
4.06 | 6 ratings
The Best Of Caravan
1993
3.72 | 29 ratings
Canterbury Tales: The Best Of Caravan 1968-1975
1994
2.30 | 19 ratings
Cool Water
1994
3.19 | 15 ratings
All Over You
1997
3.00 | 2 ratings
Travelling Man
1998
3.23 | 16 ratings
Songs For Oblivion Fishermen
1998
3.32 | 18 ratings
All Over You ... Too
1999
3.05 | 3 ratings
Headloss
1999
3.00 | 2 ratings
The HTD Years
2000
3.19 | 12 ratings
Where But For Caravan Would I?
2000
2.16 | 6 ratings
Travelling Ways
2002
4.95 | 20 ratings
The World Is Yours - The Anthology 1968-1976
2010
2.33 | 3 ratings
Place of My Own: The Collection
2014

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

3.09 | 4 ratings
Place of My Own
1969
3.80 | 5 ratings
Hello, Hello
1970
3.00 | 2 ratings
If I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do It All Over You
1970
3.12 | 6 ratings
Golf Girl
1971
3.40 | 5 ratings
Love to Love You
1971
2.00 | 1 ratings
A Hunting We Shall Go
1974
2.00 | 1 ratings
Headloss
1974
2.92 | 3 ratings
Stuck in a Hole
1975
2.00 | 1 ratings
All The Way
1976
2.00 | 3 ratings
Better By Far
1977
2.00 | 1 ratings
Heartbreaker
1980
2.00 | 1 ratings
Keepin' Up De Fences
1980

CARAVAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Caravan by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.66 | 388 ratings

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Caravan
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Born out of the implosion of the Wilde Flowers which was pretty much the big bang of everything Canterbury Scene, CARAVAN took the opposite approach of their other band mates who became The Soft Machine and steered their approach more into the realms of the psychedelic pop rock world of the 60s rather than retreating into the free-for-all jazz fusion world. The band was started by Pye Hastings (guitar, vocals), Richards Coughlan (drums), Richard Sinclair (bass) and David Sinclair (keyboards). The two bands stayed amicable after the split. The Soft Machine was gracious enough to lend the band all the necessary equipment to record this album while on tour with Jimi Hendrix and the result was this eponymous debut album which was released in 1968 and really sounds like it belongs to that era.

While not reaching any particular progressive heights like they would venture into on their second album, album number one is an interesting mix of Barrett era Floydian psychedelic pop songwriting sensibilities glossed over with Procol Harum sounding keyboards and nice jazzy psychedelic jazz guitar leanings. The songs are all well crafted and this has become one of my favorite albums of the era. It blows away other strictly blues rock bands of the era like Jefferson Airplane by adding mild progressive touches such as slightly off time sigs, nice wah- wah guitar action and contemplative vocals. There is also a slight The Doors feel in some of the jamming methodology without sounding like them. This album has a slightly spacey psychedelic feel, a touch folky with the Tullish flute and a heavy psych feel in the drum department which is pretty technical for the era.

I have always considered CARAVAN to be one of the least Canterbury sounding of all the bands that are categorized under that banner but they are clearly in that camp with their humor albeit more subtle than say Hatfield And The North or Quiet Sun. There is an overall feel that connects the dots. I am rotating on an opposite spin than most CARAVAN fans in finding that their magnum opus "In The Land Of Grey And Pink" is overrated while finding this debut to be woefully underrated. I actually choose to listen to this over that one any day of the week. There is a sophistication of the sound heard here that is above and beyond the contemporaries of the day with possibly only the exception of the other half to the Wilde Flowers, The Soft Machine. Personally i find this to be a great melodic moment of the late 60s that shows a band carving out its distinct path in the progressive rock world that was in its infancy.

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 Golf Girl by CARAVAN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1971
3.12 | 6 ratings

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Golf Girl
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars As every CARAVAN listener instantly knows already by looking at the titleless cover design, this single is an outtake from the beloved album In the Land of Grey and Pink. The album's title track is placed on the B-side. Both of these 5-minute songs appear in an unedited form.

I deeply enjoy the album as a whole, but without the presence of the longer, more fascinating tracks ('Nine Feet Underground' and 'Winter Wine') these simple songs remain...hmm, certainly sympathetic and nice, but a bit boring on the long run. As compositions per se, that is. However, the charming overall sound of the album is well present on them too; David Sinclair's fuzzy organ, Jimmy Hastings' lighthearted flute, Richard Sinclair's gentle and elegant voice. The Englishness, the wit, and above all, the good-humoured atmosphere of Caravan and its related acts in the Canterbury family.

I was once asked to name quickly five albums with which I would introduce [classic] prog to a newcomer, and In the Land of Grey and Pink was one of my picks, thinking that it might appeal to friends of jazz. How is it with these two songs alone? They're hardly progressive as compositions, nor jazzy, so they can't really be thought as introductions to the prog genre, in other sense than just to show how accessible and happy songs a prog context can contain. And who knows how valuable that notion can be to someone with prejudices about progressive rock. 3' stars rounded down for being a mere album outtake.

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 If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.23 | 738 ratings

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If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by ster

5 stars Very few albums sweep me up and whisk me away. This is one of them. Trippy, but not with sound effects, trippy because of song structure and feel. Seriously, this album had my undivided attention at first listen. 1970 saw psychedelia starting to give way to prog rock and If I Could.. is a perfect representation of that.

If I Could Do It All Over Again I Would Do It All Over You opens this album with a quirky fun English pop song with catchy verses and a nice jazzy jam in the middle, very good but quite unlike the rest of the album.

And I Wish I Were Stoned, Don't Worry is a actually two songs fused together. This one has that really nice ethereal feel that then turns into what should have been an anthem for the counterculture during the pre chorus and chorus. It then segues into Don't Worry an incredible ending to a great tune. Out of nowhere we get a drum beat for the outro, cool twist.

Next up is As I Feel I Die, a very mellow first 2 minutes that blasts into a couple of jazzy verses and into an all out jazz rock jam with Dave Sinclair leading the way and then stops on a dime. Amazing.

With An Ear To The Ground You can Make It, Then comes Pye Hastings voice, very low in the mix asking "Would You Like To Ride With Me While You're waiting for the band To come?" before rocking that theme and then we get the first taste of Dave Sinclairs distorted organ sound ala "Nine Feet Underground." Around the 4:30 mark we are treated with James Hastings' truly wonderful flute playing that soars and flutters around the verses before we reprise the opening themes and then float away with an echoed, piano line gently fading out. Epic track.

Hello Hello is a nice quirky English song a little more tightly structured with interesting lyrics about hearing someone sing yet not able to find him. A lot of fun with great bass.

Asforteri is a nice interlude before we launch into the best part of the album..

Can't Be Long Now - Francoise - for Richard - Warlock, I don't know why everyone calls this just "For Richard" what about the rest of the titles? Oh well, who cares, the whole thing is great. Very ethereal start with Pye singing and brother James fluttering a way on the flute beautifully before getting SLAMMED with the opening riff from "for Richard" then its pure Canterbury jazz rock bliss with great sax playing from James giving way to Dave Sinclair going back to James but this time on flute then back to sax before launching into the Sabbath like riffs (well sort of) of Warlock. An outstanding piece of music on an already strong record.

Limits ends things with a nice little jazzy melody and a couple of vocal lines "If your world is big enough for you, don't go spoiling it for someone else.

If you get the 2001 version you'll get the excellent "A Day In The Life Of Maurice Haylett." which fits in perfectly with the rest of this record with a similar song structure with crazy lyrics and a nice jazz jam.

Highly recommended. A VERY underrated album.

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 Paradise Filter by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.11 | 58 ratings

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Paradise Filter
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

4 stars Caravan was pretty much dead when it comes to Studio Albums. During 80's they had two, during 90's one and 00's one more (but they released a huge load of live albums during this time).

In 2013 the band announced a crowdfunding campaign for their new studio album Paradise Filter (2013) and I was happy to see that the campaign was 146% completed. I was happy because is nice to see a crowdfunsing campaign that is fair when it comes to the values and rewards and unlikely so many others that try to rip of their own fans.

Anyway, I wasn't very excited when I've heard some snippets of the album and I thought that the album would be a huge flop. That's why it took me over a year to actually listen to it.

Another huge thing on Caravan world in 2013 was that original drummer of the band Richard Coughlan passed away in December of that year and had been in poor health for quite some years. Paradise Filter (2013) is the only album of Caravan that doesn't have Richard playing his unique style...

Well, it turned out that Paradise Filter (2013) is a damn solid album that can stand well against many of the classic works of the band. They have what they always had, a feet in the Pop a feet in the Prog. I've seen many people saying that the band went Pop on this album.... I think they really don't know what Caravan was really about as they were always a big Pop act all the way. Weird because some many really Pop bands are labeled as Prog... anyway.

Paradise Filter (2013) is a bit less than 50 minutes long and is a solid 4 stars and although is no masterpiece you can hear it at any given time. Tracks like the opening 'All This Could Be Yours', 'Fingers In The Till', 'Pain In The Arse' and the title track that closes the album show they still have gas to go.

I recommend!

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 In The Land Of Grey And Pink by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.27 | 1280 ratings

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In The Land Of Grey And Pink
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by Horizons
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

3 stars Not as colorful as I imagined.

The Canterbury Scene as a genre really appealed to me early on during my explorations of the genres here on Prog Archives. It was light, quirky, playful, yet had wonderful musicianship mixing fusion into catchy pop-like songs. Every album I touched in the genre failed to disappoint and so I simply just ran down the list of artists and gave each of their higher rated albums a go. I was blown away by the experimentation of Soft Machine's Third, the virtuosity of National Health, the power behind Quiet Sun and so on as I continued looking into the bigger names of the genre.

Caravan was a slightly different experience. Now being one of my favorite Canterbury Scene band, I absolutely love their first 5 albums - except this one. I began with this album because it was, and still is, the highest rated Canterbury Scene album on Prog Archives. I was immediately annoyed by some of music on the album and was just quickly turned off by it. I continued to If I Could I'd Do It All Over Again..and just was in love. The stark difference in enjoyment between the two "masterpieces" of Canterbury Scene was just confusing. Even today, after more listens to In the Land of Grey and Pink, I just don't enjoy it nearly as much as any other Canterbury enthusiast. I find Caravan's other early work and other Canterbury Scene albums in general to simply be more successful and enjoyable.

For Side 1, we have shorter compositions and the pop-song qualities that Canterbury so often brings. Unfortunately we start off with the aggravating "Golf Girl". Richard Sinclair's vocals on this track and throughout the entire first half just are just grating on me. I find Pye's lead vocal contribution on "Love to Love You" not only tolerable but actually enjoyable. I've never disliked Sinclair's vocals prior, but I think when they're stuck in the middle of Golf Girl's weak, boring instrumentation and just lackluster lyricism they just are dragged down even further. I hate to come off so strongly, but even the ending piccolo solo and general outro can't save Golf Girls falling flat as a Canterbury pop song. "Winter Wine" brings things up a bit with more a more enjoyable delivery from Richard. His voice sounds airy and gentle. The extra two minutes we find on Winter Wine, compared to Golf Girl, really shows with a more tight composition with Pye's great lead guitar and other small, but noticeable offerings in passages leading up to the ending. "Love to Love You" is the shortest track on the album, just clocking over 3 minutes and somehow pulls off the bouncy, merry pop song more successfully than Golf Girl. Pye's lead vocals are great, the chorus is quick and catchy and we are given a wonderful flute solo for the outro. Overall this song takes Golf Girl's style and composition, compacts it and delivers a more enjoyable song. By the end of Side 1, we're given the title track, and by then I'm a little bored. Again we have a very simple, accented bouncy song with no edge, twists, or stand-out attributes. This song just embodies the first half overall unfortunately: a little too samey and far too weak especially when being compared to the brilliant album before this.

Now onto an interesting matter: Nine Feet Underground. Taking up the album's entire second side is a 22- minute epic by Caravan. This piece is a bit of a mixed bag for me. While it has some fantastic moments such as some great singing by both Richard Sinclair and Pye Hastings (to whom I prefer), fiery leads and solos, enjoyable keyboard textures, and some feel-good bass grooves, I just feel the song drags a bit sometimes. It has a hard time getting started, sure you can see it as coming out with some solos but I feel nothing is really being said by them and the structure comes off a little "by the numbers". Takes about 8 minutes for the rhythm section to really get an interesting pocket going and personally I think the song as a whole gets a little lost after it goes through some of the distinct phase changes. Enjoyable some of the time, though I feel that the ambition of the epic loses me.

In the Land of Grey and Pink just falls flat for me. Their previous album "If I Could I'd Do It All Over Again.." is a dignified masterpiece, and my favorite Canterbury album, but I just get a sense that a lot of the magical melodies and Canterbury flair was all used up around the time of this record. A Side 1 plagued by monotonous compositions and a surprisingly annoying sound while Side 2 just can't keep the heat it builds up every so often, ending up with a semi-enjoyable but obviously 22-minute long composition. In the end I would recommend any other album from Caravan from their '68-'73 period.

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 Waterloo Lily by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.75 | 407 ratings

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Waterloo Lily
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars ''In the land of grey and pink'' was well received by the press, but didn't bring much of a commercial success to Caravan, who thought that the main reason was the limited promotion by Decca.As long as David Sinclair was proposed a place in the emerging Matching Mole by Robert Wyatt he left the band and his replacement was Carol Grimes and Delivery's Steve Miller.Actually Carol Grimes and Delivery would have a good representation on the next Caravan album with Steve Miller's brother Phil playing lead guitar and Lol Coxhill playing the sax.Caravan entered the Tollington Park Studios in London in November 1971 to record ''Watreloo Lilly'', helped also by Jimmy Hastings on flute, Mike Cotton on trumpet and Barry Robinson on oboe.The album was released in May 1972 on Deram, front cover is part of the painting series ''A rake's progress'' by William Hogarth.

Now the band should be partly regarded as old Caravan and partly as Delivery with this combination affecting the material, which obtained a twist towards jazzier backgrounds, always surrounded by sophisticated arrangements and the familiar dashes of British Pop.While Caravan were always known for their positive music, ''Waterloo Lilly'' even enters the territories of a happy state of mind.The music is full of changing tempos but with reduced dramatic instrumentals and leaning more towards tricky, soft and elaborate Canterbury-spiced Jazz Rock, where the instrumental parts still play a major role, but the overall atmosphere is extremely optimistic with charming vocals and naughty jazzy experimentations.With Steve Miller playing the Wurlitzer piano, grand piano, organ and harpsichord Caravan's music has a certain depth, this time featuring more loose instrumental parts with light jamming sections, while the addition of flute, oboe and trumpet will turn the music often to more orchestral enviroments.With a looser approach the album is reasonable to contain a couple of long pieces with some furious and more laid-back jazzy arrangements, containing careful guitar plays and double keyboard/piano interactions, especially the 5-part ''The love in your eye / To catch me a brother / Subsultus / Debouchement / Tilbury kecks'' is an epitome of Canterbury Prog with orchestral and jazzy overtones over complex instrumental arrangements.The short pieces contain lots of poppy vibes, especially in the vocal parts, cause the music is still grounded in a less intricate yet deeply jazzy basis.

Not the best album of early Caravan.The choice of the band to switch towards more jazzier tunes was welcome, but resulted to a lose of their strong identity as proposed in the previous album.However all tracks are really good and the aforementioned mini-epic is particularly great with some impressive instrumental ideas.Warmly recommended, albeit not totally representative of Caravan's stylistical momentum during early-70's.

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 The Unauthorised Breakfast Item by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.29 | 86 ratings

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The Unauthorised Breakfast Item
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by Kjarks

4 stars Here's a gem of subtlety, which is not surprising because Caravan is composed of musicians who have demonstrated in their heyday how much they could be inventive. What is astonishing is that they have recovered their whole creativity after 25 years of very poor albums.

We find ourselves 30 years in the past, always with this mixture of humor and virtuosity, lightness and seriousness that are the marks of the so british Canterbury style. And they have kept their admirable melodic sense. What has however changed is the purity of the sound in the many brilliant instrumental parts of the album. Even the only weak song of the disk, unfortunately placed in the second position, "Revenge", is transcended by a splendid instrumental final.

This perfect sound, from the beginning to the end of the disk, could probably be seen as a loss of the Canterbury soul. But it also removes a rough side, some kind of draft aspects that were not always relevant during the 1970's.

And modernity in the sound does not pollute or interfere with the Caravan identity which is so specific. It can greatly distinguish this album from those the band produced in the past, while still providing an undeniable continuity in the style.

This disc would deserve, in my opinion, between 4 and 4.5 stars if we could further refine the notes.

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 Paradise Filter by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.11 | 58 ratings

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Paradise Filter
Caravan Canterbury Scene

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

3 stars It's been a sad time for Caravan and their followers with the loss of founding member Richard Coughlan in 2013, no doubt shaking the group up, but through the support of fans, by way of a successful online Pledge Music pre-order campaign, we now have a thirteenth Caravan album entitled `Paradise Filter'. Truthfully, as much as fans can have good-will towards this beloved act, the results delivered offer only a slight interest to progressive rock fans, but there's still traces of the Caravan humour, good nature and musical taste. It's not like anyone should have expected any more side-long epics or quirky arrangements, so a bulk of `Paradise Filter' is straightforward oldies pop/rock, AOR tracks and ballads, but admittedly there's still the instantly recognisably warm and dignified voice of Pye Hastings. While initially somewhat unexciting, stick with the album for a few tracks and the better material starts to emerge.

A bunch of pleasing, melodic but mostly forgettable pop/rockers takes up the first sections of the album. With a bit more energy and life, `All This Could Be Yours' could have been one of those peppy little openers that appeared on earlier albums like `Feelin' Alright' off `Better By Far'. It's got a fairly catchy chorus, and Geoffrey Richardson's viola shows up briefly throughout the final minute, but it's mixed very low when it really needed to stand out! Mid- tempo rocker `I'm On My Way' has an almost flat wheezy chorus, but some gently bluesy guitar licks save it. With a title like `Fingers In The Till', one of those trademark silly and sprightly Caravan poppy tracks was expected, but it's a rather melancholic and serious plodder, only getting more infectious in the chorus towards the end. There's nice synths but they're mixed so far to the back they may as well have been left off altogether.

`This Is What We Are' shows the first signs of life and promise, a catchy chorus and stand- out vocal break mixed with menacing heavy piano and surprisingly murky snarling hard- rock riffs. `Dead Man Walking' has nice dusty western movie style harmonica, with a welcome extended instrumental second half built around striking acoustic guitar and dramatic piano, Hammond organ bristling away in the background. `Farewell, My Old Friend' is a touching piano ballad in honour of the late Richard Coughlin sung with sincerity by Pye and the whole band playing with great heart and emotion, and `I'll Be There For You' is a lovely romantic and optimistic light banjo ballad with classy synth orchestration.

Thankfully we also eventually get some of those cheekier numbers starting with the slinky jazz rocker `Pain In The Arse'! The hostile and very bitter `relationship gone wrong' lyric is a little shocking, but it's worth it to hear Pye deliver the classic line `While I think of it, you look just like a horse!' - now that's the Caravan I like to hear! `Trust Me I'm A Doctor' has nice jangling guitars over sly lines like `I'm here to look after your health, and maybe I'll add to my wealth', or even more amusingly `I told him that my throat hurt and that I couldn't sing, he said "Don't worry, Pye, neither can I!" Speaking of classic Caravan, Geoffrey Richardson takes the lead vocal on the title track album closer, a dreamy ballad that deters into a 70's style Caravan instrumental, not unlike the middle of `The Dog, The Dog He's At It Again'. Trilling flute, soft acoustic guitars and energetic synths all weave beautifully together, and it's the absolute highlight of the album.

I do believe the band should really `play the prog card' like that final piece a little more if they decide to release further albums in the future, just throw in more zippy synth soloing, more instrumental passages, even if it's kind of clichéd and predictable, because that's the sound Caravan fans really want to hear. A majority of vocal based straight-forward rock pieces from any progressive band are going to wear a little thin, no matter how much goodwill you have towards them. But many nice moments pop up throughout, so `Paradise Filter' is not without its charms, and it's really hard not to be taken in by this good-hearted band. Therefore it's still a worthy release for the more forgiving of their fans, and Caravan and Canterbury Scene completists will likely want to add either the CD or vinyl LP to their collection right away.

Three stars.

Note - Well done to all the fans who pre-ordered the album and got their names printed in the CD booklet. Nice big letters, easily to read and clear, they must be stoked to be a part of Caravan history! Good on them!

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 Paradise Filter by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.11 | 58 ratings

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Paradise Filter
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by FXM

4 stars This is Caravan's thirteenth studio album and is released ten years after their last one "The Unauthorised Breakfast Item". I find it hard to believe that it is ten years since that was released and it is something I still listen to quite regularly.

"The Unauthorised Breakfast Item" represented a return to form after some mediocre releases. So I was eagerly awaiting the release of "Paradise Filter". While it may not be as excellent as the previous album it is still very good and is an album that can stand proud amongst their discography.

It starts well with an uptempo track "All This Could be Yours" displaying some nice guitar riffs. There are a few of those quirky humourous songs such as "Trust Me I'm a Doctor"so typically of Caravan throughout their career.

Highlights on the album include I'll Be There for You" which features a banjo played by Geoffrey Richardson who manages to make the instrument sound good. "This Is What We Are" is another good one. The final track is the title track and is a nice soothing piece of music initially but livens up half way in with some fine guitar work followed by nice flute before it returns to the earlier mood. Another highlight is "Farewell My Old Friend" which is a fitting tribute to their former drummer Richard Coughlan who passed away last year

On their past albums there were often one or two tracks that I found annoying but not in this case. Overall it is a mellow album with fine musicianship, reflecting the maturity of the band members. Its a recording to chill out to, maybe on a summer's evening watching the sunset with a glass of fine vintage wine.

A definite 4 star recording!!!

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 In The Land Of Grey And Pink by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.27 | 1280 ratings

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In The Land Of Grey And Pink
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by JCDenton

2 stars For years I thought "Nine Feet Underground" was the only good track.

I returned to this album years later with little memory of the rest of the album. They all sounded okay another time through, except "Love to be Louis the Canterbury Kingsmen". Wow. I'm surprised these tunes didn't sound bad anymore. I almost was going to say that I enjoyed them.

But then "Nine Feet" came on. A very short time had passed when I realized this song completely blows the rest out of the water. It's not even that the other tracks are bad. They just seem tame and not so captivating by comparison. "Golf Girl" and "Winter Wine" are good tunes. All the potential is there, but the band doesn't jam when it's time to grow loud and heavy. The soloing is pretty good, but after a time just feels typical, undistinguished and seems like noodling to fill up some more time. By the time the title track comes about, I'm impatiently waiting for the reason I dug up the recording. Why overshadow the other lesser tunes with the lengthy epic containing most of the interesting ideas and melodies? Each part of "Nine Feet" is better than nearly all other songs on the album.

In the Land of-.. Hell, just skip to "Nine Feet Underground".

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