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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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Prog Reviewer
3 stars An Alternative Side to 60's Psychedelia

Caravan's In the Land of Grey and Pink leads the Canterbury top albums list here on PA and not surprisingly was the first album in the genre I picked up. My first impression was being completely underwhelmed. The first side of the album is well-executed pastoral folky psychedelia, which is actually a type of music I enjoy quite a bit. Intentionally whimsical (how many times has that word appeared in these reviews) the music is entertaining but does very little to truly impress. There is a nice long jam that comprises the entirety of side two, but again the instrumentation is only slightly more complex typical 60's rock. At the same time, this was Caravan's 3rd record, released in 1971! So this emerges at the same time as Nursery Cryme, The Yes Album and Fragile, and already more daring sounds were coming out of Canterbury with Khan, Egg, and Soft Machine.

To be fair, this is a very good piece of music that succeeds at pretty much everything it attempts to do. The word "Prog" probably never entered the musician's minds. They were updating some of the giants of psychedelia, the Doors and the Beatles, and upping the ante on musicianship in the genre. Richard Sinclair's vocals are accessible, well sung, not the acquired taste of some of other Canterbury singers. The musicians complement each other well, the humor works, the production is appropriate. This IS a good record, clearly a successful piece of music.

But where other prog artists were putting out music that looked forward, this Caravan album is looking most definitely back at the previous decade. The prog elements are scattered, and the songs themselves lack depth beyond the simple pleasure of the humor and the mood. There are not many composed interlocking lines that are what really draw me in as a prog fan. (The very end of the sidelong jam is a pleasant exception) There are no harmony vocals. The jazziness is more in feel and rhythm than actual chord progression or true stretching of musical boundaries.

I like this album. I like this kind of sound, as it is well done here. But it is not my prog buttons that get pushed when I listen to In the Land of Grey and Pink. Over many listens, my appreciation has grown quite a bit. But I find it hard to rate this even as excellent on a prog site. 3.5 stars rounded back to the middle.

Negoba | 3/5 |


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