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Richard Sinclair - Caravan of Dreams CD (album) cover


Richard Sinclair

Canterbury Scene

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Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is a definite recommendation for collectors only. Appreciating all that Richard Sinclair has done musically in his past, his contributions to classic sounds within Caravan, Hatfield and the North and some may even argue Camel, as an individual artist or solo artist on Caravan Of Dreams he fails to deliver. There is the unmistakeable Canterbury feel, the musicians hearts are all in the right places but at times the lyrics are so inept and lame they make ' Golf Girl' sound like ' Stairway To Heaven'. The album overall falls into major easy listening category with no real progressive testers, if anything simple Herne Bay pub songs.I do like ' Going For A song' and the live ' Felafel Shuffle', even the quirkiness of a loved one on ' Heather'. A great cast of musicians too, Andy Ward on drums, the irreplacebale Jimmy Hastings and cousin David Sinclair on keyboards. The bass lines delivered by Richard Sinclair as usual so distinct to his style of playing. Enjoyable at times but for Canterbury fans only.
Report this review (#104828)
Posted Friday, December 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Two decades after "Winter Wine" and "Golf Girl," canterbury singer and bassist Richard Sinclair released his first solo album with an band containing Jimmy Hasting on woodwinds, Dave Sinclair on his trademark fuzzy keyboards, and Andy Ward on drums. Two thirds of the album are studio recordings of never before seen tracks while the last third is an excerpt of a live concert, containing a couple Hatfields classics and some amazing vamps. The set starts with "Going for a Song" a never recorded Hatfield and the North warhorse with a gorgeous jazzy melody carried by guitar, flute, and Sinclair's beautiful voice, which has only improved with age. It sets the tone for the entire album, gentle and breezy compositions which combines whimsical folk with jazz in short 3 to 7 minute bursts. The lyrics, written by Pip Pyle, Hugh Hopper, and Richard himself are of the same quirky and good natured style as classic Canterbury. "Only the Brave" brings us up to speed on the non-musical endevours of scene stalwarts Pye Hastings, Richard Coughlin, Dave Sinclair, and Daevid Allen in a little under two minutes. The high point of the studio work is the recording debut of Sinclair's 80's composition "Keep on Caring" which is one of his best compositions ever, with lyrics imploring you to keep on dreaming even though you have abondoned the dreams of youth and got a job. Heavy stuff, but in the Sinclair style it sounds profound and childlike; "all week struggle/to earn those green vouchers/to pay for the beer/and somewhere to sleep it all off." The concert material is highlighted by the new quirky instrumental "Felefal Shuffle" and spritely versions of "Didn't Matter Anyway" and "Halfway Between Heaven and Earth," segued together with an exciting passage of the band trading 8's. Canterbury's smoothest crooner is still playing and still writing songs that live up to the legacy.
Report this review (#120589)
Posted Wednesday, May 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Hinting to Heather?

This album is actually credited to a band called Richard Sinclair's Caravan of Dreams. Sinclair is of course one of the founding fathers and general good guys of Canterbury Prog. He is probably best known for his work with Caravan, hence the band name. The line up here draws from the great and the good of Canterbury, including Richard's cousin Dave, Jimmy Hastings of Caravan, and Andy Ward, drummer with Camel. Assistance with the lyrics came from the luminaries Pip Pyle and Hugh Hopper.

There are two distinct aspects to the album. The first seven tracks are studio recordings on which Sinclair is very much the main player.He is assisted by the who's who of Canterbury mentioned above but, for these tracks at least, this is very much a solo effort. Several of the songs feature the whimsical flippancy of Caravan's lighter numbers such as "Golf girl" and "In the land of grey and pink". It is though the more sensitive songs such as the corny named "Plan it earth" and "Keep on caring" which are the signature tracks, with both running to over 7 minutes.

"Heather" is a touching dedication to Richard's long term partner, who is now his wife, perhaps inspired by the wedding bells at the end of the song! "Emily" appears to be an altogether much younger lady.

The latter part of the album has five songs performed live at the Wilde Theatre in Bracknell in the south of the UK, hence the titles of tracks 10 and 11. These tracks tend to be much looser affairs based around improvisation. As such they are closer to the prog side of bands such Caravan and Hatfield and the North. The final four tracks, although listed individually, merge together to form a coherent whole.

Being essentially a solo album, this release naturally focuses on one aspect of what made Caravan such a fine band. It does though remind us what a significant part of that band Sinclair was (is?). This release can easily be accepted as a lost Caravan album, it is certainly worthy of such an accolade.

"Caravan of Dreams" is currently out of print, but Sinclair's website promises a re- release "this year".

Report this review (#243930)
Posted Saturday, October 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This feels like two separate albums. The first seven tracks are studio recordings. These all have a light, jazzy vibe (in a Canterbury way, of course). The last five tracks are live, and are much more energetic.

The studio tracks are not bad, but all are much too pastoral to have any lasting impression on me. Despite that, I do enjoy Sinclair's fretless bass work on these songs. And to me, they provide a nice soundtrack to hot summer nights on the front porch.

The live tracks are where the action is. Felafel Shuffle opens the set. It's a nice, uptempo blues-based instrumental, with some cool fusion breaks. After that, the last four songs are strung together, with the beginning and ends being the Hatfield & The North songs Halfway Between Heaven & Earth and It Didn't Matter Anyway. It's a very nice medley, that really makes the album worthwhile.

3.5 stars, rounded up.

Report this review (#433741)
Posted Thursday, April 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Where but for Caravan would I?

In the early 1990's Richard Sinclair formed a band around himself called Richard Sinclair's Caravan Of Dreams (the band name obviously hinting at Caravan, the band Sinclair is most known for being part of). At the time of the release of this self-titled debut of Richard Sinclair's Caravan Of Dreams in 1992, Caravan had not released any new studio material during the last ten years. (The most recent Caravan album at the time was still 1982's Back To Front in which Sinclair had participated.) Caravan Of Dreams thus came out during a real dry spell of Caravan music with the "real" Caravan having been dormant (as far as new material was concerned) for a long time (though they played live together in the early 90's, and a few years later they would return with a new studio album in Battle Of Hastings; without Sinclair).

Caravan Of Dreams featured two other previous Caravan members in Jimmy Hastings on flutes and Dave Sinclair (Richard's cousin) on keyboards, as well as Andy ward of Camel fame on drums (with whom Sinclair had played when he was part of Camel in the late 70's). The other participants are Rick Buddulph, Michael Huepel, and Alan Clarke.

The sound of this album is strongly reminiscent of Caravan, especially the aspect of that band that was brought by Sinclair. Some of the songs here are very much in the same style as Golf Girl and the title track of In The Land Of The Grey And Pink. Quirky, whimsical Pop tunes with jazzy and "dreamy" aspects. Fans of this side of Caravan will certainly enjoy this album. Indeed, this is a Caravan album in all but name and, in my opinion, this album is actually superior to all albums that were released by Caravan during the 90's, 80's, and second half of the 70's (from 1976's Blind Dog At St. Dunstans to 1995's Battle Of Hastings).

The first seven tracks are studio recordings, and these make up what I consider to be the album proper (they run for about 36 and a half minutes in total), while tracks eight to 12 are live recordings that I think are best considered as bonus tracks (even if they are not clearly demarcated as such on the sleeve).

Recommended for fans of Caravan

Report this review (#1134262)
Posted Thursday, February 20, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Great Album.

The first few songs are ok~ 3/5

The highlights that bring this up are Keep On Caring, Emily, Halfway Between Heaven, Earth, Five Go Wilde, Flowered and Didn't Matter Anyway.

Keep On Caring is a great show of what Richard Sinclair does, thick bass lines and soft vocals that cradle the music.

Emily is a beautiful song, strong singing and excellent instrumentation with a gorgeous saxophone bridge

The Falafel Shuffle, like the name suggests is a quirky song, fortunately, it's an instrumental. The song I think is memorable and adds a nice respite from vocals, allowing Richard to work in a different style.

The last four songs are one lovely suite, playing into one another seamlessly to form a cohesive piece.

Halfway is a Hatfield song that wasn't recorded on any albums, but can be found on the rereleased Rotters Club as an extra track. Five Go Wilde andDidn't Matter Anyway Five Go Wilde and Flowered are instrumentals that connect Halfway to the classic Didn't Matter Anyway.

Great album, brought down a little by some average songs at the beginning. If you can tolerate them, then definitely keep listening. Overall, just shy of four stars.

Report this review (#2568998)
Posted Saturday, June 5, 2021 | Review Permalink

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