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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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3 stars I'm going to deliberately get myself in a lot of trouble...

First, either I'm missing something pretty obvious (which is unlikely), or "the emperor has no clothes" (or, at least, only some basic jeans and a t-shirt). Yes, this album is fairly early as prog goes and thus deserves some respect and, yes, there is alot of creativity going on here and, yes, the musicianship overall is quite good (especially for its time) and, yes, Sinclair's voice is pretty and soothing and, yes, the album is unquestionably great fun to listen to...but "essential?" "Masterpiece?!?!" Mmmm...not even close. "Golf Girl" is a cute, fun song. "Winter Wine" is a very nice composition, with some beautiful changes. "Love to Love You" might have been a great parody if the band were not taking itself so seriously. "In the Land of Grey and Pink" is another pretty composition.

Now, about "Nine Feet Underground"... Although there are snippets of true creativity (especially for its time), there is far too much "repetition" (the band gets "locked" for too long into one groove), and thus it feels largely "uninspired." And although the "homage" to Cream in the final four minutes is nicely done, the whole thing sounds more like an extended jam session than a truly cohesive composition.

Now for the part where everyone throws their old ABBA CDs at me...

Over one-third of the "Nine Feet" suite reminded me suspiciously of Traffic - right down to a long section that sounds suspiciously like "Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys." Then I checked the history: Traffic predates Caravan by a year. And although "Low Spark" came out the same year as "In the Land" (and thus the two compositions may have been contemporaneous but un-influenced by each other), "John Barleycorn" came out a year before "In the Land," and there are numerous "snippets" on "In the Land" which sound suspiciously like sections of songs on "Barleycorn"...

It may be that the two groups were influencing (and influenced by) each other. Indeed, there is almost no question in my mind that that is the case. (Which makes me wonder: if Caravan is considered "prog" - and included on this site - why is Traffic not on this site?)

Ultimately, I liked "In the Land of Grey and Pink" and, as stated, I found it great fun to listen to, and will undoubtedly do so again. Indeed, I might even give it an extra half- star if I could. But given my reservations (for the reasons noted), I am not even sure whether this is an "excellent addition to any prog rock collection," much less a "masterpiece."

maani | 3/5 |


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