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Caravan - In the Land of Grey and Pink CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.30 | 1821 ratings

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4 stars Standing on a golf course, dressed in PVC...

... is probably the most often quoted line from this album among those who know it. As such it is the first line by Caravan I ever read, and not surprisingly, also the first line I heard - right after the trumpet blows the final note of the Golf Girl track. The beginning of a funny, Canterbury style album full of humour.

The mix of late 60s, early 70s pop and progressive rock elements on this album is very appealing, but also makes it a bit difficult to see it as a full blown prog album. Luckily the brilliant musicianship, and the great vocals (not only lyrics wise - some people know how to sing!) still make it very enjoyable to my ears. Addictive almost, the first week I've had it I played it from WinAmp nine times, and multiple times on the road as well.

The poppy opener Golf Girl has some interesting proggy instrumental breaks, and there's a lot of instruments to be heard. A catchy track that sticks in your head, and is followed by the more progressive Winter Wine. By coincidence, I came across a forum discussion about whether this track contains a guitar or an organ solo, and I must admit that it is very hard to hear that it's an organ at first. The vocal line in this track sometimes reminds me of the Moody Blues.

The following Love To Love You is almost a 60s pop song, if a decision would have had to be made between this and Golf Girl as the first single I would have put my money on this one. It's enjoyable, but not the proggiest on this album. It does get an extra credit for the subtitle (And Tonight Pigs Will Fly) though.

The title track is just great - lyrics wise and music wise. Is that another organ solo? Some of the vocal 'effects' in this song remind me of Gong's Pothead Pixies - checking the time lines of Canterbury might reveal who influenced who, but the first part of Gong's trilogy was released in the same year as this one, so we cannot be completely sure. And who cares anyway?

To top it all of, we get a 22 minute epic, which consists of 8 movements if we believe the subtitles, but is said to be actually constructed out of 5 individual pieces. Who can tell - it's a great, almost completely instrumental piece.

All in all, a very enjoyable album for someone like me, who has discovered Canterbury only less than a year ago. The large contribution of 'standard' late 60s and early 70s mainstream pop-rock prevent me from seeing this as a prog masterpiece, but it's definitely an essential piece in the history of Canterbury. Alas, 4 stars it is....

Angelo | 4/5 |


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