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Caravan - For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.17 | 821 ratings

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3 stars CARAVAN were having a personnel crisis after recording Waterloo Lily (1972); the jazz keyboard player Steve Miller had drawn the Caravan sound in the wrong direction, at least if Pye Hastings was asked, and on top of that, also Richard Sinclair left the band. The liner notes of the 2001 edition - which has 5 bonus tracks I'm talking about soon - tells thoroughly the phases of the unfocused lineup changes of the time. That all ended up as an album which is very clearly Pye Hastings' own composition, a bit more rocking than earlier works. If you love R. Sinclair's contributions to In The Land Of Grey And Pink, you probably won't enjoy this album as much. But although there are some tracks I don't like at all, there also pure CARAVAN highlights.

Most notably the 10-minute instrumental L'Auberge du Sanglier / A Hunting We Shall Go, which continues the style of Nine Feet Underground from the Pink album. Surprise, Surprise is a nice good-humoured song with fine harmony vocals. Chance Of A Lifetime is a calm and beautiful song, but alas, it is clued together with Be Alright which I don't like. The same kind of irritating pairing is made of Memory Lain, Hugh and Headloss. The former includes woodwind & brass arrangements quite unfamiliar to Caravan, but it's quite a nice energetic tune anyway. The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again is another classic happy Caravan song but I dislike the way it carries on after its halfway. All these details make this album very uneven to me, not as easy to enjoy as it could be otherwise.

Now to the bonuses. Gosh, you have to be a die-hard fan to give them much value. Shortly put, they're just work-in-progress versions of album songs, often without lyrics (as Hastings explains, he always writes them later). To me maybe the instrumental No! ("Be Alright") / Waffle ("Chance of A Lifetime") surpasses the finished version because in it the first part is less harmful. Unlike four other bonuses, the last one has another kind of story. For a brief time the lineup had a keyboard player called Derek Austin who mostly wrote the long instrumental piece titled as Derek's Long Thing. It starts beautifully with the piano in lead but continues a bit too long as a Hammond-led jamming. "The problem was that it didn't sound like Caravan, so we clashed a bit there", says Hastings. So, if you're not a dedicated collector, never mind about the 78-minute edition of this album, it simply isn't worth the length. But I also would rather recommend In The Land Of Grey And Pink and the albums before it.

Matti | 3/5 |


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