A Progressive Rock Sub-genre

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Canterbury Scene definition

With many other types of English progressive music developing mostly in London, it may at first seem strange that the old pilgrimage centre and relatively quiet cathedral city of Canterbury, became the centre of this very English form of progressive music and jazz fusion. Originally the Wilde Flowers, a teenage band of members living in and around Canterbury, playing a mix of pop, R'n'B and band members with a developing love of jazz, was formed in the 60's and became the seedling from which the Canterbury Scene grew. Australian beatnik Daevid Allen during a long stop-over at Robert Wyatt's parent's home, a refuge for many left field artists, was to catalyse the evolution of the Wilde Flowers into the fledging Soft Machine and the development of some avant music during the English psychedelic and underground period. From 1963 to 1969, the Wilde Flowers included most of the figures who later formed Canterbury's two best known bands, (The) Soft Machine (Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, Hugh Hopper) and Caravan (Pye Hastings, David Sinclair, Richard Sinclair, Richard Coughlan).

Canterbury was then to be the cradle for several of the more freewheeling British bands of the post-psychedelic era. While fans would suggest this is the home of an English musical quirkiness tempered with quite a bit of whimsy, within the Canterbury Scene's musical spectrum any similarities between Canterbury's major bands, (e.g. Soft Machine, Caravan, Gong, Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, Hatfield & the North, Egg, National Health), are not immediately obvious*. Most bands will be found employing a clever fusion of rock rhythms and jazz improvisation with intellectual song-writing and varying strengths of psychedelia - some would too include folk elements (e.g. Spirogyra), others blues (e.g. Carol Grimes and Delivery). In addition, a number of bands employed various elements from classical music, for instance those bands with Dave Stewart playing keyboards. Whilst there have been a handful of excellent and distinctly different guitarists to play with Canterbury bands (e.g. Andy Summers, Allan Holdsworth, John Etheridge, Steve Hillage, Phil Miller), the lead instrument of choice has been keyboards. One English peculiarity of Canterbury is what the late John Peel called the 'School of Anti-song' because of particular Wyatt, Ayers and Richard Sinclair's approaches to vocals and perhaps the whimsy. More recently Richard Sinclair's vocal style has perhaps accurately been labelled as 'English jazz singing' by Jazzwise (i.e. singing jazz with an English rather than the usual American accent). In addition Canterbury musicians have experimented as avant garde, free jazz players, e.g. instance Elton Dean, Lol Coxhill, Steve Miller.

(*However, once you've heard some Canterbury bands the commonality becomes more obvious - chord sequencing e.g. Caveman Hughscore's electric piano opening on the tune 'More Than Nothing', the vocals, the lyrics etc.)

Both the Soft Machine and Caravan were popular in England's psychedelic/ underground scene before releasing their first albums in 1968, with Machine completing on level footing with Pink Floyd. However, by the early 70's a series of fragmenting changes of bands' line-ups, (Soft Machine went through about 30) and the subsequent formation of new bands, rapidly broadened Canterbury's range, with many newer musicians with only loose and in fact, no previous Canterbury connections. Early Soft Machine member Daevid Allen formed Gong in Paris. Both Kevin Ayers and Robert Wyatt left the Softs because of musical developments they did not like, to begin their own solo careers. By the mid-70's, most the old and new Canterbury bands had progressed away from psychedelia, developing their distinct forms of progressive rock some embracing jazz fusion, many playing extended jams with now limited lyrical input (e.g. Hatfield and The Norths, National Health, Gilgamesh). Caravan became more folky. However, as the 70's progressed several Canterbury bands would lose most of the rock element from their music. Gong retained their psychedelic side longest, but with the departure of Daevid Allen and Steve Hillage in the mid 70's, the band evolved into the percussion-oriented, jazz rock group Gong, which eventually became the modern day Gongzilla. Daevid Allen regained Gong's name in the 90's and through his solo work and with his University of Errors, is still evidently producing psychedelia. Steve Hillage's form of psychedelia evolved into the glissando rock of his own band and then into electronica, by the end of the 70's. In particular, Hillage through his work as a successful record producer of new bands from the 80's, develop his form of electronica through other bands. This music lost much of its complexity e.g. few riffs played over and over, rather than dozens per tune that previously had often typified prog, into a very popular form that is the antithesis of prog, i.e. the various forms of house music, with associated remixing/turntablism. For instance, Gong's "You" got the remix treatment in the 90's - but then to reflect his range of activities, Hillage has also produced and played guitar for Algerian Rai singer, Rachid Taha for over 20 years.

Many of Britain's better known avant-garde and fusion musicians of the 70's and 80's - including Fred Frith (Henry Cow), Allan Holdsworth (Gong, Soft Machine, UK, Bruford) and Peter Blegvad - were involved during their early careers playing in Canterbury bands. And still new musicians join the Canterbury Scene's ranks, Theo Travis being perhaps the most notable recently (Gong, The Soft Machine Legacy). The Canterbury scene was to have a major influence on musicians in Europe, especially France (e.g. Gong, Moving Gelatine Plates), the Netherlands (Super Sister)and Italy (Daedalus), and more belatedly in the USA (Hughscore). Caravan reformed in the mid 90's, while ex-members of Soft Machine could be found in various avant jazz and straight jazz fusion groups, e.g. Just Us, Soft Heap, Soft Works and most recently The Soft Machine Legacy. From the Canterbury Scene, RIO it its various forms has developed.

FOOTNOTE: As indicated above, many Canterbury Scene bands are acknowledged as having played/are playing jazz rock fusion. However, because of their strong Canterbury affliations are listed under "Canterbury Scene" in Prog Archives.

Dick Heath
Based loosely in part on the source: http://www.allmusic.com
(Edition 3, Aug 2009)

Current team members as at 14/02/2014:
Steve (HolyMoly)

Canterbury Scene Top Albums

Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Canterbury Scene | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.27 | 1285 ratings
4.29 | 626 ratings
Wyatt, Robert
4.25 | 747 ratings
4.28 | 494 ratings
4.24 | 744 ratings
4.26 | 559 ratings
Hatfield And The North
4.21 | 744 ratings
Soft Machine, The
4.15 | 555 ratings
4.24 | 286 ratings
National Health
4.17 | 414 ratings
Hatfield And The North
4.29 | 208 ratings
Quiet Sun
4.10 | 510 ratings
4.13 | 315 ratings
Hillage, Steve
4.23 | 161 ratings
4.12 | 267 ratings
National Health
4.24 | 150 ratings
4.06 | 404 ratings
Soft Machine, The
4.08 | 287 ratings
4.02 | 359 ratings
Soft Machine, The
4.08 | 204 ratings
Picchio Dal Pozzo

Canterbury Scene overlooked and obscure gems albums new

Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Canterbury Scene experts team

Moving Gelatine Plates
Miller, Phil
Jakszyk, Jakko M.

Download (Stream) Free Canterbury Scene MP3

Open player in a new window

Download (Stream) Free Canterbury Scene MP3

Latest Canterbury Scene Music Reviews

 The World of Genius Hans by MOVING GELATINE PLATES album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.35 | 75 ratings

The World of Genius Hans
Moving Gelatine Plates Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars MOVING GELATINE PLATES followed up their debut album only a year later with the phenomenal THE WORLD OF GENIUS HANS. This was the pinnacle of the first wave of progressive rock when every band was trying to one-up the other and by the time we get to 1972 we have some of the most complex musical machines pumping out some of the most creative and bizarre music ever. MGP were particularly ambitious in their approach as even to this day, albums like THE WORLD OF GENIUS HANS remain as some of the most ambitious and progressive music to ever hit the market. Like many similarly minded musical acts of the day who were pushing themselves so far and evolving musical ideas at the speed of light, the band found it impossible to coax the album buying public to hop onto their prog train and ended up breaking up after this album due to lack of sales, however time has been very kind to MOVING GELATINE PLATES and both of their first two albums have become regarded as two of the most adventurous musical extravaganzas to be had in the early years of prog and all of prog history for that matter. This is super complex music that takes time to seep in. There is simply too much to take in on after one, two or even ten listens but the rewards for the dedicated lover of complex music are immense due to the fact there are more than 450 developments leading to a fast and non-repetitive musical motif.

The distinct influences on board are from Soft Machine and Frank Zappa's jazz-fusion era only everything here is on steroids taking everything in the Canterbury Scene and jazz-fusion world and increasing the complexity manyfold while jettisoning the irritating solos of the debut album leaving behind a cohesive and mind-bending musical masterpiece. Despite the band only being a four-piece unit of Gerard Pons (drums), Didier Thibault (bass), Gerard Bertram (guitars and vocals) and Maurice Helmlinger (trumpet, saxes, flute and hammond organ)and a few additional guests that add trombone, bassoon, vibes and backing vocals, the music sounds more complex than an entire symphony in a music hall as it is the themes are elaborate offering instantly catchy melodies that turn into the hundreds of combinations of themes, instrumental tradeoffs and ridiculously labyrinthine song structures that keep this whole affair on a seemingly different musical plane.

This is for the seasoned prog lover and would surely alienate the uninitiated abecedarian. As much music as i have consumed in my ever growing addiction i would have to rate THE WORLD OF GENIUS HANS to be one of the most challenging and difficult-to-grasp albums that i have ever heard, yet it is not so far out as to not be able to pick melodies up from first listen, it's just that the sheer number of melodic developments, their brevity and overall musical structure is a staggering affair. I love these kinds of albums and wish there were more of them. MOVING GELATINE PLATES is a band that has gained recognition over time due to their being so ahead of the pack at the time of release. Thanks to Musea Records for bringing this kind of music into the current era for this music is timeless. On the CD releases there are five extra tracks that are half of the third MGP's release that came out in 1980 only under the moniker MOVING. They are randomly distributed between the first two albums and although not anywhere near the complexity of the first two releases still make for a decent listen. THE WORLD OF GENIUS HANS is a mega-masterpiece in my world and a desert isle pick for sure since even after a gazillion listens i can still listen to this at any given moment.

 Rock Bottom by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.29 | 626 ratings

Rock Bottom
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars (This is my amateurish translation of a chapter from my Finnish-language prog book published in 2013. "Aforementioned" refers to a chapter on MATCHING MOLE. Now I must confront the question of rating. I believe it would be 4½ stars, but because in the end I haven't listened to this album so often, I round it down. To be changed later if I come to realize how wonderful this album really is.)

Matching Mole collapsed after two albums mainly because of the lack of leadership. The winter of '72-'73 Robert Wyatt spent in Venice where his girlfriend participated in making of the film Don't Look Back. Unaccustomed to have nothing to do, he passed his time writing songs with a tiny keyboard, and after the return to London gathered a new version of Matching Mole (featuring e.g. Francis Monkman who had left Curved Air). The day before starting the rehearsals occurred the aforementioned accident, with a consequence of Wyatt being hospitalized for eight months. After three months of lying in bed he was given a wheel chair, and rather than participating in therapeutic activities he spent some time on the piano in the guest room and continued shaping the songs he had started in Venice.

The paralysis from the waist below brought inevitable changes into the musician's career, but the optimistic Wyatt turned them to a freedom: without gigging he could concentrate on album-making and use various musicians on each track if he wanted to. Rock Bottom, recorded early in 1974, was released the very same day when Robert Wyatt married Alfreda "Alfie" Benge, who was also responsible of the cover art. [Side note: there are two versions of the cover, the other one is a colour-drawing of a dive.]

Wyatt's ethearal keyboard and vocal style is accompanied on two tracks ('Sea Song' and 'Alifib') by a bass guitar only, whereas other tracks feature a variable cast of musicians and articulators. Laurie Allan's plentiful use of hi-hat underlines the jazzy esthetics of 'A Last Straw', and the fast-tempo 'Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road' gives a central role to a trumpet. On 'Alife' that starts with slightly dissonant bass clarinet sounds, Wyatt's word play is affectionately answered by the love song's object herself. On the intense final track Wyatt's lyrics are articulated by a Scottish poet Ivor Cutler sounding like a loonie. This album produced by the Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason is by far the most appreciated classic in Wyatt's long and respected solo career. it was met with a fairly good reception, even though Wyatt's only hit was the Neil Diamond cover 'I'm a Believer' two months later.

In 1975 appeared rather uneven Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard, after which the discography expanded in the 80's with politically coloured albums Nothing Can Stop Us (1982; covers only) and Old Rottenhat (1985). Recommended albums for those who enjoy Wyatt's airy and chamber-jazzy style might include Shleep (1997), Cuckooland (2003) and Comicopera (2007).

 Moving Gelatine Plates by MOVING GELATINE PLATES album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.09 | 67 ratings

Moving Gelatine Plates
Moving Gelatine Plates Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars MOVING GELATINE PLATES was a short-lived band formed by Gérard Bertram (guitarist) and Didier Thibault (bassist) who met in 1966 when they were both wee teenagers at 14 years of age in school. These guys had a huge interest in the jazz-fusion scene that was blossoming in the late 60s and were especially influenced by Soft Machine and Caravan. MOVING GELATINE PLATES are also notorious for being the first non-English band to fall into the Canterbury Scene. These guys came from from Sartrouville, France but because of their strong influences and willingness to eschew the political leanings of the early 70s and worship the whimsical and predominantly instrumental instead, they have been lumped into the Canterbury Scene labeling. The music sounds very Canterbury and yet maintains a strong uniqueness at the same time.

After acquiring the extra talents of Gérard Pons (drums) and Maurice Hemlinger (organ, trumpet, soprano and tenor sax, flute) the band found the right chemistry and talent to create one EXCELLENT debut album. This album is so packed full of musical integrity that it is hard to believe that it is only slightly over 36 minutes long. These guys hit all the right notes and created all the best aspects of rock and jazz-fusion with tight sophisticated melodic compositions. This is one of the most energetic albums i've heard from 1971. The band is simply on fire with all the hooks, leads and infectious grooves that somehow maintain an accessible and seductive melodic systematic approach married with the extreme complexity that every progressive rock band of the day was striving to create in order to outdo the others. This is catchy enough to keep you entertained but complex enough that you keep coming back for more.They simply created a perfectly balanced sound that took all the complexities of progressive rock, all the addictive melodic approaches of jazz and classical musical, put them in a blender and dished them out like the tastiest of fresh pastries on the Champs-Élysées.

Despite this being a brilliant debut album that blows away most of the competition, i am in agreement with everyone else who feels that the drum solo on "Last Song" is waaaaaaaay too long for its own good, but other than that one faux pas (and really it isn't bad, it just ruins an otherwise perfect album) we have a ridiculously consistent album that more than stands the test of time. In a perfect world this band would have made the cover of Rolling Stone. Yeah, that perfect world that i wish i was in, but hey! This album is real. It was made and believe it or not, the next one is even BETTER :P

If you own the CD you will find that in addition to the original 5 tracks there are 4 bonus tracks that come from their comeback album under the truncated band name MOVING. For some reason someone deemed it wise to disperse these tracks in no particular order between the debut and album and the second "The Genius Of Hans." Makes no sense but if you own the first two albums on CD you will essentially own the third one as well. No it's not as good as the first two but not totally shabby either. 4.5 rounded up!

 Now is the happiest time of your life by ALLEN, DAEVID album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.25 | 34 ratings

Now is the happiest time of your life
Daevid Allen Canterbury Scene

Review by sl75

4 stars This continues in a similar direction to the preceding album, Good Morning, using some of the same musicians (though not the full ensemble), with similar European folk influences, and still avoiding drumkit for the most part, although there is a greater role for percussion. The Planet Gong mythology returns here, though still mixed with the more direct moral language of Good Morning. There is also the incorporation of performance poetry, I rather enjoyed "Poet For Sale", and though I see it's divided reviewers here, I rather liked the inclusion of Daevid's children on "Tally & Orlando Meet The Cockpot Pixie". There is no standout highlight this time (like "Wise Man In Your Heart" on the last album), and a couple of slightly jarring moments (like "See You On The Moontower" which almost turns into conventional rock n roll), but generally I think anyone who enjoyed Good Morning should like this almost as much. A low four stars (probably more 3.5).
 Caravan by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.66 | 392 ratings

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.

 Camembert Electrique by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.77 | 288 ratings

Camembert Electrique
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars No this isn't quite the "Radio Gnome Triology" despite the first short track being titled "Radio Gnome" but despite the lack of Steve Hillage's spaced out echo guitar trippiness, Daevid Allen in cahoots with Gilli Smyth manages to create a healthy dose of Canterbury psychedelia on his own terms. CAMBERT ELECTRIQUE is the second release by Daevid Allen's GONG and probably one of the most rockin' of the entire GONG discography. On this release it is Daevid Allen who plays guitar and bass as well as handling the expected vocal duties. BTW although my remastered copy says the first track is "Radio Gnome" i see it listed as "Radio Gnome Prediction" on the very first vinyl release as well as other subsequent releases. How clever, hmmm?

This is an interesting transition album that feels like it has connections to the heavy psych of the 60s while branching out its tentacles into a new 70s space rock style garnished with all the zaniness and humor that the Canterbury scene was so famous for. If you listen to the old Wilde Flowers and Soft Machine demos with Daevid Allen still in the band, you can trace some of these riffs to those days, only with the addition of Gilli Smyth's famous space whispering and the excellent addition of Didier Malherbe's excellent sax and flute to create some really good solid musical madness on this one. This is a great example of how to combine the Canterbury whimsy with space rock, progressive heavy rock and healthy doses of anarchic psychedelia with totally original experimental elements.

This indeed was time of the birth of the space age hippie music and Daevid Allen's decade long roster of ideas that were suppressed and underdeveloped really were allowed to bloom for the first time on CAMBERT ELECTRIQUE. This is really a fun album! Musically, lyrically, rhythmically etc. Just look at the zany titles of the songs: "Mister Long Shanks, O Mother, I Am Your Fantasy," "Dynamite: I Am Your Animal," "Fohat Digs Holes In Space!" This is just wonderful music being melodic, demented, innovative, unique, experimental, daring, sacrilegious, comical, uproarious and above all spaced out, maaaan! While most of GONG's discography displays complex band interactions, this is the one that screams out that it's Daevid Allen's baby and what a cute and adorable little baby it is! Sadly Daevid passed away recently on 13 MARCH 2015. Thank you Daevid for all this excellent music and R.I.P. No doubt this music will entertain for a very long time to come :)

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

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.

 Kew Rhone by GREAVES, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.14 | 36 ratings

Kew Rhone
John Greaves Canterbury Scene

Review by Dobermensch

2 stars I always look forward to hearing 'Kew Rhone' and am continually underwhelmed by the time I'm half way though it. With a line up of eleven clearly talented musicians you'd think you'd be in for something special. Such a pity then that they seem to continually overlap and intrude each other in the most annoying of manners. They create a messy, sprawling sound that is at once academic, clearly being a scored soundtrack, but it is difficult to listen to. It brings very little enjoyment to my decades old poor bludgeoned ears.

Apparently this album is full of anagrams and palindromes. I've certainly not heard any. Maybe it's because my mind keeps wandering to more important things like: 'what time do I have to get up for work tomorrow'. I try so hard to like this but always find it ultimately boring and directionless. 'Allmusic' calls this a masterpiece of 70's electronic rock. God knows why. I must have listened to this around 15 times and all I can think on is of a wizard throwing a bag full of musical notes down a flight of stairs.

Lisa Herman's vocals irritate throughout the duration with her tuneless leaping from one octave to another. I can't make head nor tail of her intentions. I can't even say she has a good set of vocals. They're all too random and willy-nilly, almost an afterthought as if she's just heard the backing track for the first time and has decided to give it a go despite the consequences.

It's all too clever for its own good. Listening to 'Kew Rhone' is like tying to decipher an algebra equation. No fun at all in other words. The separation of isotopes by gaseous diffusion is easier to understand than this.

I will admit though - it does have a great sleeve by Charles Peale called 'Exhuming the First American Mastodon'. That's as high praise as you'll get from me I'm afraid.

 Let's Eat (Real Soon) by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1974
3.96 | 5 ratings

Let's Eat (Real Soon)
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars I like this too forgotten band a lot, as I like the Canterbury scene in general. Their music is witty, charming, happy and humorous. Or is 'humorous' an appropriate word? The so called humour music has never much appealed to me; for example the humorous side of Frank Zappa - even as he's roughly on the same musical map, ie. jazz-rock - tends to irritate me, and Spike Jones and such sonic slapstick is just awful. Actually melancholic music has averagely a bigger chance to move me than cheerful and happy. But in Canterbury I have the best exception to that rule.

This single was released the same year as the eponymous first album; the CD edition features both tracks as bonuses. 'Let's Eat (Real Soon)' is a happy, slightly naive song in the unmistakable Hatfield style. Richard Sinclair's vocals are light and elegant as always, there's the fuzzy organ of Dave Stewart, the easily identifiable guitar tone of Phil Miller and the relaxed, jazzy rhythm. The lyrics could be frankly any nonsense and still I'd like the song, but they're very nice too.

'Fitter Stoke Has a Bath' is composed by drummer Pip Pyle (who co-wrote 'Let's Eat' with Richard Sinclair). Though he's not as prolific composer in the Canterbury scene as e.g. Sinclair and Stewart, not to mention solo artists such as ROBERT WYATT and STEVE HILLAGE, he has done some very fine songs for the two bands that in my opinion are the best examples of what Canterbury is all about. NATIONAL HEALTH's 'Binoculars' may be the best Pyle song I know, but this one's also a pleasant slice of the style, featuring Sinclair's vocals.

A proper sleeve with a cover art would be nice, but this pair of (originally non-album) songs is worth four stars to me.

 If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.24 | 744 ratings

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.

Data cached

Canterbury Scene bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
KEVIN AYERS United Kingdom
THE BOOT LAGOON United Kingdom
BRAINVILLE United Kingdom
CARAVAN United Kingdom
CLEAR FRAME United Kingdom
COS Belgium
DELIVERY United Kingdom
EGG United Kingdom
THE GHOULIES United Kingdom
MICHAEL GILES United Kingdom
GILGAMESH United Kingdom
GONG Multi-National
JOHN GREAVES United Kingdom
GRINGO United Kingdom
STEVE HILLAGE United Kingdom
HUGH HOPPER United Kingdom
JAKKO M. JAKSZYK United Kingdom
KHAN United Kingdom
THE LODGE United States
MATCHING MOLE United Kingdom
MILLER & COXHILL United Kingdom
PHIL MILLER United Kingdom
MOOM United Kingdom
THE MUFFINS United States
PANTHEON Netherlands
PAZOP Belgium
JOHN G. PERRY United Kingdom
PIP PYLE United Kingdom
QUANTUM JUMP United Kingdom
QUIET SUN United Kingdom
SHORT WAVE United Kingdom
SOFT HEAP United Kingdom
SOFT MOUNTAIN Multi-National
SOFT WORKS United Kingdom
VOLARÉ United States
ROBERT WYATT United Kingdom
ZYMA Germany

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community

Server processing time: 0.28 seconds