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Caravan Caravan album cover
3.70 | 614 ratings | 51 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1968

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Place of My Own (4:01)
2. Ride (3:42)
3. Policeman (2:44)
4. Love Song with Flute (4:10)
5. Cecil Runs (4:07)
6. Magic Man (4:03)
7. Grandma's Lawn (3:25)
8. Where but for Caravan Would I Be (9:01)

Total Time 35:13

Track List of 2002 Verve remaster:
1.-8. Full album Mono version
9.-16. Full album Stereo version
17. Hello Hello (single version) (3:12)

Total time: 73:38

Line-up / Musicians

- Pye Hastings / guitars, bass (3,7), vocals (1,2,4-6,8)
- David Sinclair / organ, piano (?), backing vocals
- Richard Sinclair / bass, guitar (3,7), vocals (3,5-8)
- Richard Coughlan / drums

- Jimmy Hastings / flute solo (4)

Releases information

Artwork: Richard Bennett Zeff (photo) with Peter Dale (design)

LP Verve Forecast - VLP 6011 (1968/9?, UK) Mono version
LP Verve Forecast ‎- SVLP 6011 (1968/9?, UK) Stereo version

CD HTD Records - HTDCD 65 (1996, UK)
CD Verve - 8829522 (2002, Europe) Remastered by Paschal Byrne including both Mono & Stereo versions + 1 bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy CARAVAN Caravan Music

CARAVAN Caravan ratings distribution

(614 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

CARAVAN Caravan reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars This is a prime example of the links between psychedelic rock and its progressive younger brother. All of the qualities present in the following albums are present and this is no bias towards what is one of my favorite artists. A Place Of My Own and Love Song With A Flute and Where But For A Caravan are typical delightful numbers but listen to Grandma's Lawn or Cecil Rons to realize of progressive this Psychadelia is. The sound is quite different than the next albums but then again this is a different label and producer.
Review by loserboy
4 stars I have always held a certain spot in my heart for the music of CARAVAN and none come so finer as their debut album. Opening Cantebury classic "Place Of My Own" remains to this day one of my most beloved tracks. Tragically CARAVAN's first album is far too oft overlooked in their discography and in most cases forgotten completely. Songs on this album carry an early Cantebury-psychedelic edge to them with some great organ sweeps , guitar, bass and drumming. Richard Sinclair's vocals are choice with some great vocal harmonies and pure sounding voice.
Review by Proghead
5 stars The sound quality of this album absolutely suck! The recording sounds like it was made in a trash can, with bad mixing (where you hear Richard Sinclair's voice in one speaker, and the instruments in the other). Despite the crap sound quality, this an incredible debut from one of the Canterbury greats, full of great psychedelic pop prog goodies such as "A Place of My Own", "Ride", "Love Song with Flute" (in which Jimmy Hastings makes his first appearance, on flute, on a CARAVAN album), and the most progressive number, "Where But For Caravan Would I". Great stuff, would be made even greater if they had better equipment to record on.
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hard to criticize this album much considering it was their important debut. All tracks are strong particularly ' Love song with flue'. the opener ' A Place of my Own' and the brilliant' Where but for Caravan would I be' To think they went on from here from strength to strength and they were already great songwriters.Four stars plus a half :-)
Review by soundsweird
3 stars As other reviewers here have noted, this debut album suffers from unorthodox mixing and production techniques (apparently, even the band members themselves were not too keen on seeing this released on CD). However, there are some good tracks, and as a whole it's a very interesting document that hints at the great albums that followed. Try to find a copy for under $15, and you've got a pretty good deal.
Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Amazingly mature debut from CARAVAN is among the best British psychedelia albums of the era. Sound mixing is bad, with that "primitive" stereo effect division between vocals and instruments, but there is a hell of a good songs on it! Outstanding numbers are "Place of My Own", "Love Song with Flute", "Cecil Rons" and a proto-epic suite "Where But For Caravan Would I Be". There is some wonderful organ playing and one would wonder how David Sinclair is not often mentioned as a great organist. Now, this may sound as sacrilege, but this album is much better and more interesting for my ears than the highly overrated "In the Land of Grey and Pink", despite its weak production. A gem of early Canterbury style!
Review by NJprogfan
4 stars A definate product of the times. Caravan's first album is pysch all the way, but their whimsical Canterbury sound is just under the surface. The first song, 'Place of My Own' is catchy as hell, and their first single. The following songs are very Pink Floydish, ala Syd Barret, especially 'Cecil Rons' an absolute crazy pysch song. 'Love Song With Flute' has Pye Hastings brother Jimmy playing the flute, it's one of the most beautiful flute solos I've ever heard and to think it was done on the spot without practice! Being a HUGE fan of David Sinclair's keyboards, his playing is the highlight for me. Being sinister sounding, 'Cecil Rons', or whimsical, 'Policeman' or downright ornery, the album closer and epic 'Where But For Caravan Would I?' you hear the seeds planted for the groundbreaking and classic Canterbury albums to follow. But be warned, this is psych/prog. For those looking for that classic Caravan sound you may be disappointed. But if you are adventurous, and want to hear how they sounded way back when, give it a try. BTW, if you buy the re-mastered version, you get both stereo and mono. The mono, to me, sounds better. The stereo versions need to be cranked up a bit. Parts of the songs seemed to get washed out at low volume.
Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Don't expect anything resembling the classic Caravan sound on this, their debut album. What you get here is much more closely related to Pink Floyd's debut, the legendary "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn", than to the monumental second and third albums of the Canterbury band. This is quite evident in the remastered version, which includes the delightful "Hello Hello" from "If I Could Do It All Over Again..." - the differences in style and sound between the latter and the rest of the album couldn't be more obvious. That said, however, Caravan's debut is much more interesting that it is usually credited for. Their take on psychedelia is highly original and entertaining, and the members of the band, in spite of their youth, are more than capable as musicians and songwriters.

The album's opener, "A Place of My Own", released as a single, attracted quite a lot of attention at the time. It's an endearing ditty, sung by Pye Hastings in a slightly more uncertain voice than usual, with great organ work by Dave Sinclair. The keyboardist is possibly the real star of this album, as his trademark organ makes the overall sound fuller and richer, as well as adding complexity and interest to the compositions. His contribution to the closing track, the 9-minute "Where but for Caravan Would I?", the album's most convincing stab at fully-fledged prog, is outstanding, the sinuous sound of the organ weaving in and out of the vocal interludes sung by Pye Hastings and Richard Sinclair. The latter's presence is more restrained than in the two following albums, which of course is a pity. He sings lead in the Beatles-flavoured "Policeman" and the distinctly Syd Barrett-ish "Grandma's Lawn", backed up by cousin Dave's haunting organ - a slightly disturbing song with weird lyrics, further enhanced by Richard's smooth delivery. His best vocal performance, though, comes towards the end of "Where but for Caravan Would I", where his voice achieves that velvety tone that I find so irresistible.

The sinister, almost discordant "Cecil Rons", another track haunted by the ghost of Syd Barrett (both vocalists, especially the usually soft, mild-mannered Hastings, are utterly unrecognizable!) is probably the most uncharacteristic of the band's output. On the other hand, the romantic "Love Song with Flute" (the latter superbly played by Jimmy Hastings) is almost classic Caravan, beautifully sung by Pye - possibly his best vocal performance on the album.

In spite of the very poor production and sound quality, "Caravan" shows quite clearly that the band had potential in spades. Things could only get better, as they did. The follow-up album was a rather giant leap forward in terms of songwriting and overall sound; but this endearingly homespun album, for all its shortcomings, deserves recognition of its own for being a gem of late '60s psychedelic prog. You could do much worse than add this to your collection.

Review by The Wizard
4 stars There's something about the innocence and naive beauty of this album that tells me it couldn't have been made in any other time period. This is the 60's in Britain put into the form of a collection of poppy, mildly jazzy, psychedelic songs. Whenever I listen to it, I feel plain happy. I feel like I can do anything, I want to go be friends with the Policeman, lay in Grandmas Lawn and stare at the sky, make love in the park, or just sit around and waste my time looking at the beauty of the world. Few albums make me feel exactly like this.

All of the songs are about simple subject matter and are not very ambitious. 'A Place of My Own' is about getting a new flat. 'Policeman' is exactly what it's title states. 'Ride' is about finding a place in your mind where your comfortable. The song of the band may not be groundbreaking but it's definitely original. The focus in on the funky wah organ, with undistorted jazzy guitar, walking bass-lines, and powerful rhythmic drumming. There are melodies everywhere and Pye Hastings voice is so innocent and full of glee that you'll want to sing along with him the whole time through.

'Where but for Caravan would I' probably sounds the most like the Caravan of the future which is jazzier and more complex. The instrumental sections of the song definitely forecast the more complex elements of the bands music in the future. There's also some dissonance features in the song, giving it a darker edge in some parts. Another thing to note is that every song on the album features an incredible organ solo. David Sinclair is definetly master at his instrument.

Sure the music on here is outdated, but that's part of what makes it great. It's a celebration of the simplicity of life and all the joys to be seen. It's not a masterpiece. It's not perfect. The production is far from perfect. But all of that thrown aside this album makes me feel great. Therefore it's a great album.

Review by Gooner
4 stars Very similar to the first Soft Machine album, although not quite as experimental. Sort of a groovier "Piper At The Gates Of Dawn"(Pink Floyd). Worth it alone for "Where but for Caravan would I" and "Love Song For Flute". Some fine rustic sounding keyboards familiar to Canterbury bands. With the band Caravan, it all starts here. The "Caravan sound" is firmly in place from the get go. Also, think of an entire album where the pop/psychedelic songs have a Procol Harum "Repent Walpurgis" feel to them. Recommended.
Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I guess that it won't surprise anybody if I say that the debut album of Caravan sounds psychedelic. Don't forget that this album was released in 68, a year during which most of the prominent bands were playng this type of music (even if it started already in 66- 67 with Airplane, Floyd, The Beatles, The Who, The Doors, Vanilla Fudge, etc.).

One will think of "Piper" while listening to this work. But a more softer one. More "Caravan". Don't expect any wild or disjoined songs; this album is a collection of tranquil psyche but not only. One of my fave is the sweet and melodic "Love Song With Flute". You can imagine that the flute sounds outstanding. Really brilliant.

Several songs are on the mellowish side and not really appealing like "Magic Man" for instance. Of course "Grandma's Lawn" is more upbeat. It features great organ sounds ("The Doors" have been listened to). Another highlight of this album.

This debut album has this typical sound of the mid late sixties. At times childish, innocent. It is a snapshot of an era. And Where But For Caravan Would I is another great example. It is my absolute fave of this recording. Switching between peaceful and rockier passages. Vocal harmonies are excellent and again David Sinclair's work on the keys is superb.

This album sells for very cheap (just over 4 ?+shipment on Amazon Marketplace for the remastered version). So it wouldn't hurt too much your wallet to get it.

A good debut album. Three stars.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Caravan" is the eponymously titled debut full-length studio album by UK artist Caravan. The album was released through Verve Forecast in October 1968. Caravan was born out of the Canterbury based Wilde Flowers where all the founding members of Caravan had been active at one point or another (not all of them at the same time). Wilde Flowers had also featured future Soft Machine members Robert Wyatt and Hugh Hopper.

The album features 8 tracks of laid back and intricate psychadelic rock. Subdued male vocals, an organic sounding rhythm section, well performed rhythm guitar work, and an omnipresence of organ (and occasionally piano). The album opens strong with the catchy psychadelic tinged rock track "Place of My Own" and more or less continues down that road for the remainder of the playing time. Sometimes a bit more mellow (like the opening to "Ride") and sometimes a little more intense, but there is a musical read thread throughout the album, which as a result is a consistent quality affair.

The lead vocals are shared by guitarist Pye Hastings and bassist Richard Sinclair. The former performs lead vocals on little over half of the tracks, while the latter performs lead vocals on a couple of tracks. While both have a laid back and almost sedated vocal style, they have quite different voices, and itīs an asset to the album to have two different voices singing the songs.

"Caravan" is not the most well sounding release, and sometimes it sounds like some of the instruments were recorded in the room next door. Thereīs a "distant" sound to them, and the mix isnīt perfect by any means (the chorus effect on the vocals on some songs is a bit disturbing for the listening experience too). You can still hear every detail in the music and the sound production isnīt a catastrophy, but it certainly could have been better and maybe even have helped the material shine a bit more.

Upon conclusion "Caravan" is an interesting and promising debut release by Caravan. Some tracks are relatively simple in structure and execution, but still manage to impress, while others are sligthly more intricate. The 9:01 minutes long closer "Where but for Caravan Would I Be" is the most adventurous track on the album (some parts are even what Iīd call a little futuristic in sound), and itīs quite the creative song. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars It may be only a Caravan, but it's a place of my own

As with the remastered version of Hawkwind's first album, the remastered CD of Caravan's first album includes the whole album twice on a single disc. Both the mono and stereo mixes are included in full, the actual original recordings used for both being identical.

Formed in the mid-late 1960's from the Canterbury scene band The Wilde Flowers (which also included Robert Wyatt and Kevin Ayers in its ever changing line up), Caravan recorded this self titled debut in late 1968. Most of the songs here had been rehearsed and performed live by the band for some time before they got around to recording them and indeed some of them had been instrumental in helping to secure a recording contract. As was customary at the time, the band were forbidden from being involved in the mixing of the album, which focused primarily on the more lucrative mono version, (since stereo was still in its infancy at the time, and stereo albums were actually dearer!). The band were not entirely satisfied with the results, as they felt producer Tony Cox had not captured their sound well.

The album starts with a song which even today is a Caravan favourite. The balance between the band's whimsical interludes, strong melodies and progressive inclinations is captured perfectly in "Place of my own". The distinctive keyboards of David Sinclair, which for many represent the band's signature, are a feature of this wonderful song. The track was subsequently released as the band's first single.

In general, while many of the tracks here fall short of the standards attained by Caravan on subsequent albums, especially those recorded during their period with Decca records, they show the promising glimpses of what was to come. Tracks such as "Policeman" and "Cecil Rons" are rooted in the psychedelic sounds of the period, with strong nods to the Barrett era Pink Floyd and the likes. Tony Cox's production emphasises such leanings more strongly than perhaps was necessary.

"Love song with flute" is interesting, as it features future band member Jimmy Hastings playing the wonderful flute solo. The song is a soft reflective piece with decent vocal harmonies, which develops into a faster more pop orientated number. The latter part of this track indicates far more clearly how the band would mature.

The focus of most of the attention for prog fans is the 9 minute closing song "Where but for Caravan would I?". This mid-paced organ based number may pre-date many of the Caravan classics, but it is an early product of the same mould. In the context of the greats such as "For Richard" and "Nine foot underground" it is a little clumsy and naive, but when we bear in mind that this is a 1968 recording, it shines brightly.

In all, a fine first album from Caravan. It may sound a bit of its time now, largely due to the production; but the quality of the songs, the proficiency of the performances, and most of all the promise of what is to come, is clear for all to see.

In general, the sound quality of the mono recordings, even in remastered form, is at best adequate. The stereo mixes have brushed up far better though, and are the ones to head for on the 2002 CD. That release includes a single version of "Hello hello", a track on the following "If I could do it all over again.." album. It was originally intended that the single version be added to the remaster of that album, but the master tapes were only located after it had been released. As the remastering of the debut album was carried out later, the opportunity was taken to include it here.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Caravan's debut studio album shows the first seeds of the band's unique sound, but is equally rooted in tranquil mid-1960s pop. In this sense, the atmosphere of tracks such as "Place of My Own" is reminiscent of the tracks on sister band The Soft Machine's "Jet Propelled Photographs" demo from 1967, suggesting that both bands had been soaking in similar influences since their founder members had been working together in the Wilde Flowers, but by this point in time the Soft Machine had developed their own distinctive voice, whereas Caravan are still working towards theirs. That said, there's plenty of pointers towards what's to come: in particular, "Cecil Runs" reminds me of all the more foreboding parts of "Nine Feet Underground" or "C'thlu Thlu". If you are a Caravan fan who has already collected their classic albums (from If I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do It All Over You to For Girls Who Grow Plump In the Night), I think their debut is definitely worth checking out before any of their later works, but I wouldn't call it a major priority.
Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Like Soft Machine, Caravan came about as the result of the split of Canterbury band The Wilde Flowers, the band that spawned the so called Canterbury scene, a scene which most of the musicians playing in that area at the time deny even existed.

Caravan's eponymous debut while showing promise doesn't bear much resemblance to the quirky progressive style they would become better known for in the near future. It's an album of the time, that being 1968 and the blend of psychedelic pop/rock like many albums of the era does sound somewhat dated. Nevertheless it's enjoyable enough the 2 best tracks book ending the album at start and finish. Place Of My Own is an instantly accessible and melodic organ driven rock song but it's closing track Where But For Caravan Would I? that shows promise of what was to come. Starting off somewhat restrained it develops over its 9 minutes into a psychedelic fuelled mini epic with David Sinclair's organ taking centre stage.

Overall then Caravan debut is far from essential but a pleasant enough way to pass 40 minutes and an album that anyone who's already investigated their better known work will want to come too eventually.

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Naive, mature or both?

This debut self-titled album of Caravan is my second experience with the band, after the widely-acclaimed ''In the Land of Grey and Pink'' (considered to be their masterpiece). Someone who has heard the latter, and bearing in mind that this is the debut, would have possibly expected a not so mature album - this is only partly true.

Released in 1968, Caravan's debut is strongly influenced by the 60's psychedelia sounds and the ''flower-power'' movement (but only to an extent). The hammond-like sounds are dominant and the percussion reflects a feeling of freedom. However, with a strong touch of melancholy, obscurity and well-structured melodies, Caravan leave their own personal stigma in the late 60's that differentiates them from most of the bands at the time. Along with psychedelia and strong rock influences, the level of complexity is relatively high for its time.

The album generally flows in slow-tempos, without diverting from this path in only but very few exceptions (i.e. Cecil Rons, Grandma's Lawn) where mid-tempos are more likely. Examples of their ''musical maturity'' can be found in tracks like Live Song with Flute (impressive use of flute!) and Magic Man where the exceptional vocal melodies remind of URIAH HEEP's later releases. The term ''naive'' might be a bit too harsh to describe some of the musical approaches in this effort, but may apply to tracks like Policeman (although it might just be an intentional ''ironic'' reference).

Special mention should be credited to the opening and closing tracks with the former being the most lively and energetic one with lots of guitar and keyboard work supporting it. Probably the most impressive and most diverse song in the album is the closing Where but for Caravan Would I? - which is also the longest track and Caravan's first long composition. Multiple variations in mood, speed and structure comprise this ultimately progressive track. Percussion and basswork are the strongest points in this impressive composition which starts off at a slow melodic mood and evolves to a highly creative musical piece.

Overall, a pleasant and very promising debut from Caravan which at that time would have created lots of expectations to their fans. Being simultaneously naive and mature (at least to my ears), this would definitely be an interesting addition to your collection, especially if you are a fan of the genre.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's funny to hear this proto-Caravan sound. Half elements of later albums, half psychedelic sound and also partly The Beatles (Policeman). Magical, hallucinating, drugs were involved "fer" sure, but it's playful, nice little album that stands as predecessor to our beloved following albums "If I Could" and "In the Land". I mean, this is not major Canterbury release, there are just some parts that sounds like "something more". The rest is just psychedelic, which from some reason is not "just" for me, but "fortunately" Psychedelic. I love it that way. But we should draw a line here, there is Psychedelic normal and there is this Psychedelic Caravan. There's not as much repeating as in some other Psych projects, there is also more of interesting ideas that makes their music interesting even in terms of 80's - 90's releases. It's this undefined flavor that made them interesting for us.

And it is here, for your to find it out, even the dosage is not as big as in next years.

4(-), proto is the word.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars WILDE FLOWERS were a mid-sixties band that originally consisted of Wyatt, Ayers, the Hopper brothers and Richard Sinclair. This lineup would change over the coming years and the first big band to come out of it was SOFT MACHINE who were having some success along with PINK FLOYD playing at the UFO Club and Middle Earth Club in London. The last incarnation of the WILDE FLOWERS were Richard and Dave Sinclair, Pye Hastings and Richard Coughlan.They actually were playing Soul music at that time until they realized that Psychedelic music was becoming very popular. So they changed their name to CARAVAN and this is their first album released the same year (1968) as SOFT MACHINE's "Volume One". What a great year for music ! Many consider CARAVAN's debut as the first true Canterbury Scene album.

"Place Of My Own" was one of the first songs that Pye had ever written. Drums build as the vocals come in quickly. Both stand out on this track. It's the organ's turn after 1 1/2 minutes as we get an instrumental interlude. Vocals are back after 3 minutes. "Ride" opens with percussion as gentle guitar joins in and builds. Reserved vocals join in as well. This is very mystical sounding. It kicks in at 1 1/2 minutes including organ. Contrasts continue. "Policeman" is a Richard Sinclair tune so he both sings and plays lead guitar (Pye's usual roles) while Pye takes over on bass.This also happens on Richard's other song "Grandma's Lawn". The song "Policeman" is part Psych and part Canterbury. Great tune. It also reminds me of Barrett's compositional style on "Pipers...". The lyrics poke some fun at the paranoia many drug users have.

"Love Song With Flute" features a guest appearance from Jimmy Hastings on flute. It's laid back with vocals. Vocal harmonies on this one too. It picks up before 1 1/2 minutes. Nice. Flute before 3 minutes. Amazing tune. "Cecil Rons" is experimental to start followed by vocals, drums and organ. This is fairly aggressive at times. "Magic Man" is such a feel good song with lots of organ. "Grandma's Lawn" is very 60's sounding. Love this one. Some nice organ work 2 minutes in. "Where But For Caravan Would I ?" is the bands longest track at 9 minutes. It was originally a song from the WILDE FLOWER's days co-written by Brian Hopper and Pye Hastings. It was re-worked here. Strummed guitar to open before a full sound comes in quickly but it's still fairly laid back until after 2 1/2 minutes when it kicks in. Great sound ! It settles back and vocals return 5 1/2 minutes in before kicking in again at 7 1/2 minutes.

A very important album just like SOFT MACHINE's "Volume One".

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars I had to wait for the CD reprint to hear how the Caravan's debut was. I have the vinyls of If I Could Do and In The Land of Grey and Pink and I've been very curious for years about this debut that was impossible to find in its original form (I think it's a valuable collector's item).

I have to say that for me it's better selling a 35 minutes CD instead of filling it with everything you can find just to give it a CD length. Quantity is not always quality and in this case putting the mono and stereo versions of the same album on CD to make it stick to about 70 minutes is an useless operation. Just a bit more interesting is the original version of Hello Hello as bonus track. This song was, if I'm not wrong, the Caravan's first hit single and re- releasing this version it has a bit of sense.

Now the album itself: the songs are more or less as I was expecting (and hoping for). Pure Caravan style with the typical vocals and the instrumental parts that I loved on the two following albums. The athmospheres are a little more psychedelic respect to the pastoral ambient of If I Could Do... and the gnomes, fairies and elves of In The Land Of Grey and Pink, but the trademark is clear.

I want to underline "Policeman", an instrumental that sounds very psych and makes me think to Steve Hillage's Arzachel. For this reason I see this album as a bridge between psych and Canterbury as well as that band was.

Another interesting track is "Cecil Rons". A dark and crazy song quite unusual for Caravan. The choral parts can be compared to Hello Hello, but the instrumentals, specially the keyboards have a connection with Syd Barrett. With the chorus they come back to more familiar territories, but this song represents a path that they abandoned quickly. Also "Where but for Caravan would I be" is quite Floydian.

In brief, it's not very different in the genre from the two following albums that I consider masterpieces, but it doesn't have heights like "For Richard" or "Nine Feet Underground". It's just a good album and an excellent debut for a band that could have been one of the greatest but we have gradually lost down the road and wasn't able to resurrect.

Review by baz91
3 stars Bear in mind, this album was released in 1968, the very dawn of prog.

All of the tracks on this record lie around the four minute mark, with just one notable exception being the nine-minute epic closing track (I'll come to that later). The other tracks on this record are understandably psychedelic in nature, though to varying degrees. Even though it's the same classic line-up of Caravan (Hastings, Sinclair, Sinclair and Coughlan) there's very little similarity between the music here and the music they would release on subsequent records. However, this album is still worth checking out.

For one thing, there's hardly a bad track on here. Out of all the tracks, I'd say Magic Man is my least favourite, as it's quite dull, but at just 4:03, it's hardly offensive. Talking of being offensive, some tracks on here are quite... naughty shall I say. Cecil Rons is a nightmarish experimental song, with childlike lyrics: 'So we all go to wee in the garden'. Grandma's Lawn contains some of the weirdest lyrics and bizarrest imagery in any Caravan song.

On the lighter side, Place Of My Own is a fun radio-friendly number with a good melody, and Love Song With Flute does exactly what it says on the tin (although the Jimmy Hastings' classic flute sound only comes in at 2:43, and carries the song to the finish. Ride is a quieter piece, but theres some good moments in there, and Policeman is another track with amusing lyrics.

The highlight of the record however, is surely the nine minute opus Where But For Caravan Would I?. This track is essentially two songs stuck together, with an epic instrumental section joining them. The first section and the instrumental are entirely in 11/8, adding to the already very progressive nature of this song. The first song is a mysterious track with mystical progressive lyrics, and the second song is more uplifting. This song is the earliest sign of where Caravan's sound would go in later years.

One thing that is worth mentioning is the sound quality. One does have to admit, listening to this record sounds a bit like listening to the band if they were in another room. This being their debut, it's easy to forgive this, and it adds to the naive nature of some of the tracks.

This isn't the best place to start listening to Caravan, but this is a lovely little record that's well worth picking up if you're a fan of the band or of the Canterbury Scene in general. It would only get better from here!

Review by Einsetumadur
4 stars 13/15P.: The Piper at the gates of Canterbury, so to say. It's perhaps the most underrated and most groundbreaking album by this band and worthwile alone for David Sinclair's impassionate organ playing. This guy enriches the whole album with wooly organ carpets and breathtaking counterpoints, components which were sadly reduced significantly on the subsequent Caravan albums.

I don't know Caravan for too long. Still spending my time in school at the moment, I unfortunately wasn't allowed to enjoy this music when it first appeared, so I had to investigate the so-called Canterbury Scene 40 years after it was in its full blossom. The first record I bought was Camel's "Mirage", then came Soft Machine's "Third" in 2008, Khan's "Space Shanty" in late 2010 and the third one was Caravan's debut album in early 2011. Soon, some later Caravan albums found their way into my shelf, actually all from 1970 to 1974 - but my striking conclusion is, especially regarding the big mass of reviews in the WWW: none of these albums is as consistently good as this one. In The Land of Grey and Pink has good compositions, but a thin sound due to David Sinclair playing more solos and less chord textures.

Of course - it's 1968, and there's plenty of dated 60s psychedelia which is assimilated here, but - as I've just said - Caravan really assimilate the spirit of the time and thus create a piece of music which stands the test of time. It is as mindblowing today as it most probably was in 1968. And the huge advantage is that Caravan are more concise than on all their later records. The organ solos start where they have to start and are followed by the next stanza or by a new part just before they run the risk of becoming overlong. The songwriting is top-notch, too - less hooks

Place of My Own, the opener, already points out where the journey shall go: a distant drum roll, then a melange of floating organ loops, restrained rhythm guitar (a Rickenbacker, by the way - the Fender XII guitar with the golf-club headstock for which Pye Hastings would become famous isn't used here yet) and high-pitched lead vocals which can't deny that the singer grew up with R&B and soul. It's Pye Hastings, who played with Robert Wyatt in the band Wilde Flowers before and whose voice interestingly sounds just like Robert's (and Robert certainly doesn't have a most common voice!). The chord progression actually isn't too difficult, but Pye's melody isn't really the one you would expect, and that's what good songwriting is all about. The creepy stanzas are followed by quite up-beat choruses, and inbetween there is an awesome Hammond organ solo. It's just one minute long, and there's neither a Leslie nor a Wah Wah pedal used, but it cast a spell on me the first time I listened to it. It's just a Hammond L100 the organ with a loud key-click played through a guitar amp, and it grows and floats on top of a groovy rhythm until a breakdown around 2.30. Organ and guitar enter again, with organist Dave Sinclair trying out his typical wah-organ sound the first time. The last chorus, played twice this time, and the song ends after a short organ outro.

Ride is the typical psychedelic thing, albeit without any sitars: the whole piece stays on a minimal drum beat (think Steeleye Span's Boys of Bedlam) and one drone while guitar and voice wind around each other, based on a really successful melody. The introspective verses (I try and find a place in my mind, where I know I can go and leave all behind) find relief in the upbeat instrumental interludes which already sound quite like Canterbury music, complete with rising Hammond organ chords and a fairly simple bluesy chord progression. But the more 'scalic' approach in the stanzas, i.e. moving the scales up and down, and the steady Hammond sound (without the usual swirling of the Leslie) - both factors are present on most of the pieces - actually make me feel reminded of Medieval church music, Gothic sounds in the truest sense of the word, conjoint with early 70s rock music. The plethora of reverb, limiting and compression effects enhances this mood furthermore. Actually I have rarely heard a late 60s record which makes such a sombre impression on me without sounding like a stoned-out experiment. Perhaps this is the point which the band takes up in the liner notes: they complain that the sound is quite fat and compressed, but not exactly what the band was aiming at when recording it.

I don't know if it's meant this way, but Policeman makes me think of late-60s drug razzias, such as the infamous Rolling Stones incident in 1967. forty people more locked behind the door In the bathroom, Hope you don't go in for at least an hour. However - with less than 3 minutes it's the shortest track in the album, and one of the two pieces which Richard Sinclair composed. Everybody who knows Richard Sinclair's later compositions knows that his songs are always full of strange chord changes (Golf Girl), and this piece makes no difference. Again, the production stands out; Pye Hastings is on bass guitar this time and has a really chunky sound while the drums sound as if they were recorded in a church.

Magic Man is as simple as a late 60s piece can be, perhaps The Tremeloes' Call Me Number One is even more complex, both in composition and in arrangement. But in a way both pieces are quite alike. Of course Magic Man is more hymnic, based on a slow 6/8 metre with atmospheric harmony vocals, but both pieces are examples of what I mentioned in the first lines of this review. There's no denying that this is music from the 1960s, but it still sounds impressive and fresh. Richard Sinclair's and Pye Hastings' voices blend wonderfully in the chorus, there's quiet 12-string-electric guitar strumming all the way through and Sinclair's organ loops provide the 'cerebral' component with the dreamy wah wah effects. Yes, it's not only an ok track, I really do approve of it very much!

Love Song With Flute is the album's torch song, a slow soul number, a tasteful British love song with an awesome jazzy melody and the full dynamic bandwidth: soft vocals, quiet guitar picking and a few hi-hat strokes in the first stanza, reverberated harmony vocals and Hammond organ in the chorus and a wonderful bossa nova rhythm in double speed in the second stanza. A slightly weird jazz vamp (at 1:24, for instance) keeps it all together, dominated by Sinclair's tight organ playing. Pretty much going on here in terms of arrangement! Jimmy Hastings, Pye Hastings' cousin, also has his first Caravan performance in this song and delivers an absolutely fantastic flute solo in the end of the song. Interestingly, this is take 1 of the flute solo, and Jimmy didn't listen to the track before - it's spontaneous jazz and a breeze to listen to. Caravan also performed this piece live for the BBC in 1971 as Love Song Without Flute (honestly - Caravan's song titles are dead cool in their own special way!). Buy the new re-issue of "In The Land Of Grey and Pink" and enjoy this BBC version with upfront electric piano and Hammond organ replacing the flute.

The two pieces left unreviewed are Cecil Rons and Grandma's Lawn, and both sound as if the musicians were totally out of their minds. Cecil Rons starts off with a totally crackbrained electric guitar drone with an even more crackbrained organ backing until a steady acid rock drum/bass rhythm (think The Nice's Rondo in half speed) enters. The rest of the piece consists of nursery-rhyme-like melodies, church-organ-like sounds which seem to be taken straight from a horror film and bloodcurdling screams inbetween. Except for the Beatles-like chorus and the majestic ending (yes, "The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack" is a definite influence) the band does not care about beautiful - or at least memorable - melodies at all; this piece is complete madness, but performed really well.

Grandma's Lawn is not as mad, but completely uncatchy - and that's why I don't give this album the full rating. This is the second Richard Sinclair song on the debut album and the combinations of completely unintellegible lyrics (I don't know if I should recommend you to read them or to not read them) with Sinclair's baritone voice and loads of organs somehow resemble the sound of Pink Floyd's "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn". But the things which it lacks is a good melody and a bit of structure, it sounds as if the band was trying hard to run through the lyrics.

To me, Where But For Caravan Would I? is the greatest song the band has ever recorded. Basically, this song is motored by a really strong riff which relies on the 11/8-metre in which the whole piece is written. Seemingly Brian Hopper, Hugh Hopper's brother who played saxophone in the Canterbury scene of the early 1960s, contributed to the composition and maybe it's to him one has to owe this clever idea. The song begins really mellow and pastoral with the jangly 12-string electric guitar chords, a creeping drum rhythm and atmospheric organ work before Pye Hastings' soulful vocal part begins. The first two stanzas are followed by a more enthusiastic middle 8 before it goes back to the stanza again: awesome song-writing which the band are yet able to force up. An aggressively dissonant scale heralds the piece's extended organ solo at 2:35. From now on you may enjoy 3 minutes of David Sinclair's improvisation towering on the aforementioned riff, including wah-wah pedal, rapid organ runs and moments of complete escalation. Every tone color of this instrument is at least hinted at during the course of this solo, But instead of savoring the whole 9 minutes in order to jam the band enters a second, 2-minute vocal part, this time sung by Richard Sinclair in his baritone voice - it's a different piece, or rather a fragment of a song which is written in the more accessible 6/8 metre, but it has found its perfect place here. Actually when listening to this song it feels like a trip or a hike: slow rising from the ground in the beginning, then gaining height and momentum in the first instrumental part in order to drift and fly for some minutes in the second vocal part. A pulsation of guitar and organ (I love those sounds from 8:40 onto the end) finishes the album, but not before reprising the organ solo with increased power; indeed, the 80 seconds of the second organ solo are really welcome since they give this piece the finale it deserves to get.

In a way, For Richard and Where But For Caravan Would I? seem to be quite similar: a vocal part in the beginning, an instrumental part following and extended organ melodies inbetween. But this earlier piece has two vocal parts and it really goes somewhere, the organ parts aren't only there, but also home on a specific point and are twice as concise than in For Richard. I do get the point that Caravan are one of the bands that invite the listener to a journey on a meandering river of music, similarly to what modern minimal/techno musicians do (I thoroughly recommend Deadmau5's Bored of Canada!), and I like the album In The Land Of Grey And Pink for what it does and what it conveys, but a free improvisation becomes much more inspired when it's framed by composed parts and moves freely in a fixed scope.

Unfortunately, the album is merely half an hour long (34 minutes or so). Yes, okay - thanks to this short length the CD features both the mono and the stereo version of the album (although I like the mono version more), but why didn't they include the 1968 BBC recordings (Place of My Own/Ride/Feelin Reelin Squealin/Green Bottles for Marjorie) instead? Contractual obligations? Anyway, we get the single version of Hello Hello as an additional bonus track. It actually belongs to the reissue of the following album, but the responsible persons couldn't find the master tapes of the single when "If I Could..." was reissued. It's a damn fine song, with a good percussion backing (hedgeclippers, tambourine, zils, shaker, +whatever...), a groovy 7/4 metre and a great melody - a nice easter egg which enhances the de-facto-length of the album to scarcely 38 minutes.

However, this album is plain awesome. The last piece is spectacular, many more pieces are utterly great (Place of My Own, Ride, Love Song Without Flute, Magic Man, Hello Hello[#]) and the other pieces (Policeman, Cecil Rons and Grandma's Lawn) are less convincing, but also no fillers by any means. Perhaps I'm emotionally biassed, but until now this is my favorite Caravan album and - also regarding its age and the impact it must have made then - it deserves a 4 star rating which really is situated close to the 5 star realms. (I even gave it 5 stars when I first wrote this review.) Highly recommendable, in any case.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Dave Sinclair, Pye Hastings, Richard Coughlin, and Richard Sinclair are wonderful progenitors of the Canterbury scene and have produced masterpiece albums. This debut is no masterpiece but features some of the indelible sound that became their trademark. Hammond organ that shimmers and quivers, distant reflective vocals, strong time sigs, and melodic phrases with extended jamming.

A Place of My Own encapsulates the late 60s where people were seeking respite from the crazy world. There was a harmless theme of searching for peace that permeates and it is refreshing to hear.

Ride has a great rhythm and some psych musicianship, with strong Eastern melodies and lyrics; "here I am alone in your sky, with my mind passing by the thoughts in your mind, if I were you and you were me could you feel how unreal your world seems to be." The phrases are in perfect melody and rhythm to the music and work as very psychedelic sounds capturing the spirit of the dreamscape of hallucigenic acid and hash that must have been fuel for the inspiration.

Love Song With flute is dreamy escapist lush and once again is just a hippies reflection on wanting to escape though "my mind draws a blind" and "look into my eyes tell me what you see". There are shades of psychedelia throughout of course but it is accessible and nowhere near as freaky as what was coming out of the scene. The flute solo is chillingly beautiful, rising and soaring on waves of organ phrases.

Magic Man spaces out with slow grinding organ and some acoustic flourishes. The slow pace reflects the lazy adolescent doing nothing but lying in the flowers and dreaming of a better world of freedom and love; the flower power scene is unmistakeable with tracks like this.

Where But For Caravan Would I? reminds me of the type of music the band would create in subsequent albums. A lengthy dreamy piece with an extended instrumental break. It builds gradually to the strong Hammond crunching break. This is Caravan at their best typifying the greatness to come on such masterpieces as "In The Land Of Grey And Pink".

The album is more of a monument to the time it was created but it is an archival source of great worth thanks to some delightful melodic tracks and lashings of trippy lyrical whimsy and staccato 60s organ hammering. A great start to a brilliant band.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars 7/10

"Caravan" is a wonderful little gem that will contribute in launching the band towards future fame and inspiration.

Some debate that Psychedelic Rock is really just a passage between Rock & Roll and Progressive Rock, but others believe that it is the golden age of music. In this period, other than all the greats like Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, the Doors, there were also an infinitude of smaller, very young bands that started their career with embracing the typical sound of Psychedelia and afterwards became part of the so called Prog Rock movement. Caravan, one of the greatest Canterbury bands, are one of these -at first- humble musicians, struggling to find some room for themselves. Their debut album was released in what was one of the greatest years for music, 1968, and relatively few people recognized this band's potential at the time.

Caravan was not a typical Psych band, even from the start: the atmospheres they created were, yes, a bit na've sounding, just like many bands at the time, but they never had that cheerfulness incorporated in the music: instead, they focused on being either dramatic, romantic, melancholic, or simply relaxing, for the quieter moments. From the start, Caravan incorporated sounds that were very similar to the future Canterbury Scene movement, for which the band played an essential role. Also from the start Caravan had more Prog than Psych within them, because of the massive use of the organ and more elaborate song structures. This seriousness of the overall sound makes the music's na've tone much less evident, but there is still a great dose of immaturity within Caravan's first album. However, the songwriting of the LP is at considerably high levels, and whether it is na've sounding or not, it becomes completely irrelevant.

Already with this first album Caravan deliver some of what will become classics of the band, especially the final track of the album, the nine minute long 'Where But For Caravan Would I?', a clever premonition of the Canterbury Scene. But some of the best songs are the more straight-forward ones, such as the dramatic and dragging 'Place of My Own', the quieter and more mysterious 'Ride', or the memorable 'Love Song For Flute'.

Overall an album that, even though showing some immaturity, is unquestionably entertaining from start to finish, a wonderful little gem that will be sure to launch Caravan to success and inspiration.

Review by friso
3 stars Caravan - st (1968)

Perhaps Caravan is the progband that allows us to be a child again, just for a short moment.

The transitional period, as a prog 'nd psych collector a man's got to love it. Canterbury classic Caravan emerged from the 'Wilde Flowers', whereas other members from that band went on to form the Soft Machine. Both bands recorded a debut in '68 that was dwelled in the sixties echo- psych sound, pre-Canterbury style organsounds, gentle yet dopey vocals and extremely catchy songwriting.

Actually, I was suprised how much fun this record turned out to be. Don't come here seeking your developed and technical prog, it's just the sheer vibe and feel that make this a great records to listen to. Songs like 'Place of my Own', 'Ride' and 'Magic Man' just make you feel like a happy sensitive child. 'Cecil Runs' was a bit hard to understand at first, but this song has a great construction and some nice heavy psychedelic screams. 'Where but for Caravan would I be' is a longer and slightly more darker track and is perhaps the most progressive effort. The organ themes mght have inspired the not yet recording VdGG a bit here.

The only thing the record does not have is a totally unproblemetic recording. Whilst it sounds brilliantlly bright and warm during small arangements (got to love the vocals on 'Ride'), it sounds like a garage take during heavier parts. This normally puts me a bit off, but I can't help to fall in love with the songs here.

Conclusion. Here the birth of a progressive movement, yet it is like the other sixties debuts (think of Soft Machine, VdGG and Procol Harum) a record that has its roots deep in the psychedelic rock scene. Perhaps a bit of Frank Zappa if you will. If you like me happen to find psych really nice and like the development of the progressive genre, this is safe buy. Four happy children.

Review by Sinusoid
3 stars The year 1968 unknowingly ushered in a new style of British psych-pop later to be dubbed ''Cantebury''. The Soft Machine and Caravan both emerged from the demise of the obscure Wilde Flowers to have critical acclaim in the progressive rock world. Neither got off to the greatest of starts, but thankfully for both bands, they still had the best left in them.

If you are discovering the album CARAVAN as I am, you have likely heard other Caravan albums before this one, so the review has a more retroactive approach. Those of us that have are quick to point out that the production isn't as stellar as what the future has to offer. It's often fuzzy and thin, usually resulting in unintelligible vocals. That's disappointing considering that Caravan often employs whimsical English humour, particularly on the tracks in which bassist Richard Sinclair sings lead (''Policeman'' and ''Grandma's Lawn''). And to add, the bonus edition has a mono version of the album as well as stereo, which makes me ask the question, ''Why would I want to listen to mono when the stereo option is right there?''.

There are some delightfully fun psych-pop tracks on the first half, notably ''Love Song With Flute'' and ''Place of My Own''. ''Cecil Rons'' is a bit different as it goes more angry and heavy (for the band), yet still pulls off that joy that one expects from Caravan knowing the future. The rest of the poppier songs (particularly the first two tracks on the second side) sound muddled and struggle through lightweight and tiring melodies.

Then the track that might set the course for the band's future progress comes at the end of the album, well in time for the listener to breathe a sigh of relief. ''Where but for Caravan Would I'' brings the band's sound into full focus, mostly swelling the organ into tightly constructed solos. The vocal melodies are quite perfect, especially Sinclair's that comes halfway into the track. I actually think the best part of the song is Pye Hastings's guitar; the jangly chords under all that heavy organ and drums provide a stable foundation for the solo section and makes the song that much better. I don't think Hastings gets enough credit for his guitar playing.

Caravan would go on to record better produced albums, so this is pretty non-essential. But it is still a good Caravan album, and if you're a fan, if you like the Hammond organ, CARAVAN is ecstasy. And watch out for the ferocious drum pounding of Richard Coughlin.

Review by siLLy puPPy
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.

Review by ALotOfBottle
4 stars The roots of Caravan can be traced back to a Canterbury-based group The Wilde Flowers, which played art rock with strong influences of hard-bop. Most of future Caravan members had been in the band at one point or another. The drummer Richard Coughlan, bassist Richard Sinclair, and keyboardist David Sinclair (Richard Sinclair's cousin) founded a new band in 1968 and called it Caravan. The band's initial plan was to follow footsteps of Soft Machine. It is said that the four often sought suggestions from the more established Soft Machine and borrowed their gear, while they were busy touring United States with Jimi Hendrix. In October of the same year, they were signed to Verve records to record their self-titled debut album, released in January of 1969.

The style of Caravan's debut owes a great deal to psychedelic rock. The genre may have lost most of its freshness and piquancy by then, but its influence was very much present. Elements of jazz are expressed in rhythmical feel on most of the tracks, as well as modality. However, the album is really song-oriented. Phenomenal songwriting is what really sets this apart from the more improvisation-based Soft Machine debut. The pieces are emotion-filled and give the impression of being written with great care. Rarely does this album approach fast, lively or loud territories. The moods are rather soft and mellow, but kept in a psychedelic fashion, a little stoned and "cooked". Lyrically, the album explores some peaceful hippie themes, which correspond well with the smooth sound of the band.

The song-oriented approach that Caravan has partly chosen becomes clear since the very first note coming from Pye Hastings' 12-string electric guitar. Although he rarely finds himself playing "epic" guitar solos, he sounds to be incredibly proficient in a role of a rhythm guitarist, laying down simple patterns. Hastings takes the lead vocals on the first half of the album. His voice is very gentle and delicate. It pairs incredibly well with Richard Sinclair's vocals, who sings primarily on the other half of the album. His now legendary vocals are a bit goofy and wacky, but play a prominent role in Caravan's sound. Sinclair also handles bass guitar parts, quite competently I might add! His cousin, Dave Sinclair is the group's keyboardist. His Hammond organ provides a lush, dreamy sound, perfectly suited for the band's sound. His style owes a great deal to American soul music as well as Anglican music traditions. The great late Richard Coughlan is a fantastic drummer, finding himself comfortable in odd time signatures as well as use of multiple percussion instruments. A flautist Jimmy Hasting guests on one of the tracks.

The album consists of eight tracks. These have a good diversity between them, but are kept in a rather similar feel. This creates an impression of a logical, consistent whole. One track such as "Ride" can have a little bit of an Indian influence, reminiscent of psychedelia, while the next piece, "Policeman", has more of a pop ballad-oriented sound to it, but in a very good taste. The album opener, "Place Of My Own", one of Caravan's classics takes a simple theme and enriches it with sparkling jazz bits. "Magic Man" is another favorite from the band with Dave Sinclair's characteristic organ play. "Love Song With A Flute" is probably the jazziest of the tracks with a strong hard-bop influence. It also is the only track to feature a flautist, Jimmy Hastings.

While numerous debuts of many of our favorite progressive rock bands might lack consistency, self-assurance or just plain skill, Caravan's self-titled debut is definitely the opposite. With a post-hippie escapist vision, this is a wonderful experience. Obviously, it is not flawless, but let's not forget that this is one of the albums pioneering the Canterbury sound. All in all, a very solid effort. Recommended!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Out of the ashes The DAEVID ALLEN TRIO and THE WILDE FLOWERS comes this debut album from one of the three most important contributors to the Canterbury legacy. Daevid Allen has moved to France, Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers and the Hopper brothers are moving all over the place (Soft Machine to Matching Mole, et al.) which leaves the Hastings, Sinclair, and Coughlan families to sort out their own directions and desires.

1. "Place of my own" (4:01) nice vocal melodies for this organ-based tune. (8/10)

2. "Ride" (3:42) rather bland and ordinary with Pye singing the lead up close and personal. (7/10)

3. "Policeman" (2:44) Richard Sinclair taking a turn at the lead--he's more conservative than we'll hear in a year or two. Quite a little similarity to THE BEATLE's "I am the Walrus" without the crazed, surreal lyrics. (8/10)

4. "Love song with flute" (4:10) a very catchy and almost perfectly polished prog pop song (using melodic themes that they would return to over the course of the next few years). (9.5/10)

5. "Cecil runs" (4:07) opens with experimental guitar chords, spaciousness and a new synth to play with. Chorale harmony vocals enter to announce the telling of a story. Animated organ play provides the action here. I love the beat to this one. And the theatric vocal displays. My favorite song on the album due to both it's experimental play and its unbound theatric storytelling. (9.5/10)

6. "Magic man" (4:03) serves notice to the fact that the boys are struggling to find the voice of their own, instead they are talented singer/musicians taking on sounds and styles others have had success with. This one is more of a combination of PROCUL HARUM's now-classic "Whiter Shade of Pale" and ELP's recent monster "underground" hit, "Lucky Man" (bass and guitar). Not bad! (9/10)

7. "Grandma's lawn" (3:25) Richard in lead again, organ and guitar are quite a bit looser here and the MOODY BLUES-like lyrics and vocal flow more extemporaneously. (8.5/10)

8. "Where but for Caravan would I be" (9:01) their first prog epic--containing a lot of elements reminiscent of contemporary bands like THE BEATLES, THE DOORS, THE ZOMBIES, and even THE MOODY BLUES, this organ-based blues-rock song is musically quite rudimentary yet contains some very interesting vocal and lyrical choices. The final 90 seconds is the best. Tidings of things to come. (8/10)

The best is yet to come.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nš 250

Caravan was one of the most formidable progressive rock acts to come out of England in the end of the 60's. Still, the band has never achieved the great success that was widely predicted for them at the beginning of their career. They were never much more than a very successful cult band at home, really. Apart from a brief moment in 1975, they were barely a cult band anywhere else in the world. They only ever charted one album in their first six years of activity, but they made a lot of noise in the English rock press, and their following fan base has been sufficiently loyal and wide to keep their work in print. But, despite all I said before, they were nevertheless considered a key part of the Canterbury scene, blending psychedelic rock, jazz and classical influences to create a very distinctive progressive rock sound.

"Caravan" is the eponymous debut studio album of Caravan and was released in 1968. The line up on the album is Pye Hastings (lead and backing vocals, guitars and bass guitars), David Sinclair (backing vocals, organ and piano), Richard Sinclair (lead vocals and backing vocals, guitars and bass guitars) and Richard Coughlan (drums). The album had also a participation of the brother of Pye Hastings, Jimmy Hastings (flute), as a guest musician.

"Caravan" has eight tracks. All tracks were written by Pye Hastings, David and Richard Sinclair and Coughlan. The first track "Place Of My Own" starts with a powerful intro and a sad, yearning, organ dominated motif, after which the fragile, almost childlike vocal of Pye Hastings intones a lyric and melody of the most heartfelt beauty. There's an instrumental passage on the song that features what just might be one of the most glorious organ solos on the album. Then, we have a perfect chorus again, quieter and more subdued, with a louder reprise. The second track "Ride" was built around a very 1968 eastern inspired melody line interspersed with loud instrumental breaks in which Richard Sinclair shows what a bass legend he truly is. The third track "Policeman" shows even more the pronounced vocal talent of Richard Sinclair. It's an early example of his perky, charming and very English compositional style that would grace the future works of Caravan. His cousin David shines, as always, on his mighty organ. The fourth track "Love Song With Flute" is another glorious Pye Hastings song. It has the hallmarks of Caravan's best songs, a slow minor keyed intro, a simple and divine vocal melody building up to a satisfying, resolving chorus with gospel like vocal harmonies and a big ever so slightly dischordant, crescendo. The track then moves with a lovely flute solo by the guest musician Jimmy Hastings. The fifth track "Cecil Rons" begins in free form. It evolves into a tone bass driven in one verse that alternates a nursery rhyme with manic exclamations and an atypically atonal vocal line from Pye Hastings. But, Caravan can never resist to the big chorus in an absolutely perfect contrast with the chaos around it. A kind of a waltz coda from totally different world closes the track, the like of which Caravan never attempted again on their following works. The sixth track "Magic Man" is a delicious and a very beautiful simple song in waltz time with a chorus you will never forget. It makes an amiable lyric reference to their Canterbury buddies, Soft Machine, and features David Sinclair at his very best. It represents the most beautiful moment on the album, a truly magic moment. The seventh track "Grandma's Lawn" represents Richard Sinclair's second showcase in terms of vocals. It's a big propulsive gem of a track in a similar vein to Syd Barrett's unreleased classic song "Vegetable Man". The echo effect on the vocals is just right for the cavernous general mood of the song. The eighth track "Where But For Caravan Would I?" encapsulates all that is great about the rock in the beginning of prog. In fact it's the best track on the whole album. The quiet verse melody is glorious. After two and a half minutes, the song explodes into an amazingly riff over which David Sinclair rocks and grooves. The harmony vocals take the tune even further past sublimity. The riff returns, faster then slower, and the song ends on jarring, repeated guitar dischords and a massive crash on Richard Coughlan's ever awesome drums. Unremittingly complex yet bursting with infectious melody, this is the sound of a great progressive band at the height of its powers.

Conclusion: For their first album, Caravan was surprisingly strong. While steeped in the same British psychedelia that informed many of the bands in those days, Caravan relates a certain freedom of spirit. Caravan's debut straddles the fence between psych and prog. I think this album was always underrated. It has a lot of beautiful psychedelic songs and represents a perfect example of the music in the end of the 60's and of what would be the prog and the beginning of the classic golden era of the prog rock music in the glorious days of the 70's. In fact only the lengthy final track "Where But For Caravan Would I?" really goes further than simply flirting with prog. This is clearly a great prog track. I always considered Caravan the best and most representative band of the Canterbury scene. Their five first studio albums are all excellent and represent a great intro into this sub-genre of prog. This is definitely an album not to be missed, really.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

5 stars HUMBLE BEGINNINGS. Let it be known, Let the whole world know, that the only negative point of this record is the quality of the recording, newer releases with remastered audio came out, but there's so much you can do to bad recording, even so that they did what many albums of that period of time ... (read more)

Report this review (#2576501) | Posted by Paprizio | Sunday, July 4, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Solid debut from the classic band Caravan. An early release for progressive rock, hailing from nineteen sixty eight that still should be here because of its content (released today it would probably be accepted under crossover) Anyways I review based on the content of an album rather then by hist ... (read more)

Report this review (#2536873) | Posted by Beautiful Scarlet | Tuesday, April 20, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The debut album shows quite good instrumental capabilities and sonic maturity but first of all, showcases the band's ability to create melodies which laid foundation for Canterbury sense of cosy and mellow melodicism. The main building stone of the sound seems to be the fuzzed organ alongside t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2457572) | Posted by sgtpepper | Monday, October 19, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of my favourite debut albums of all time! This is a very unique album, I think this album along with Soft Machine's debut were the solid bases that made the Canterbury Scene classic sound we know until today. First of all, I have to say that I love every single song in this album, t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2077413) | Posted by YourJefa | Wednesday, November 21, 2018 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Where but for Caravan... This album is, to my mind, very similar in many ways to the first Genesis album. Like that album, it is rooted in a 1960s lower-fi sound, with shorter arrangements and a more poppy orientation. Also, like that album, it is clear both that the main songwriters are hugely t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1697045) | Posted by Walkscore | Sunday, February 26, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great debut from the best band in Canterbury! Highlights include Place of my Own, Where But For Caravan Would I Be?, Love Song with Flute and Magic Man. Is no doubt that there is still some degree of immaturity and in the following steps of the band would see clarity and decisiveness in their ... (read more)

Report this review (#1158006) | Posted by sinslice | Sunday, April 6, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I honestly can't see why this album is so lowly rated. For me, it's undoubtedly a 5-star album - one of my Canterbury favourites and right up there with their magnum opus "In The Land Of Grey And Pink", "Caravan" is where it all began for the band. An excellent psychedelic rock album, with flavours ... (read more)

Report this review (#1016973) | Posted by Xonty | Monday, August 12, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Better than Genesis! At least if we are talking about debut records. In that case Caravan is better than most rock bands. Beatles debut wasn't fantastic, not Genesis and Yes' was good but not as good as this. Sure even Caravan developed but their original sound was almost precised. The di ... (read more)

Report this review (#980600) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Monday, June 17, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A lovely debut album from the zany Canterbury pop brigade. Despite being a Canterbury band, Caravan had never strayed too far into jazz-rock territory; the reluctant leader Pye Hastings has always made sure that the pop sensibility was always there. The band's humour and lightness is like a br ... (read more)

Report this review (#933749) | Posted by Hailemon | Friday, March 22, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The second half of Wilde Flowers finally debuted under the name Caravan. The other half of Wilde Flowers called themselves Soft Machine. I just want to start this review with this piece of fact so you, the reader, understand where I come from and where this review is going. My first impressio ... (read more)

Report this review (#225128) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, July 8, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Place Of My Own - a nice up and down flow to the opening track with excellent keyboard work, simple yet effective lyrics, and lovely singing Ride - Coughlan's drumming sets the pace as lyrics are more narrated than sung with the distorted guitar and other instruments breaking around the minut ... (read more)

Report this review (#199991) | Posted by manofmystery | Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I think this is a great 60's British psych classic. I don't understand why fans of the band seem to look down on it so much. Surely the sound quality is that of the sixties, and obviously won't stand next to an album such as In the Land of Grey and Pink ( In sound quality at least, what the he ... (read more)

Report this review (#199977) | Posted by himtroy | Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Caravans debute album and what a debute then, this is no doubt one of the best debute albums ever by any prog band, yes its maybe not 100% prog its pretty similar to Pink Floyds masterpice debute psycadelic pop songs but this one have more of a prog sound then piper hade and its a bit more seriu ... (read more)

Report this review (#156966) | Posted by Zargus | Friday, December 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Where but for caravan would I be? Well, I for one would be in a much less satisfying musical status :) Caravan is one of the first Canterbury bands I listened too and as a habbit I usually start with a bands debut album and work it out chronologically. As a debut, Caravan's "Caravan" is sur ... (read more)

Report this review (#139543) | Posted by Verwuestung | Friday, September 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Song number One:::Place Of My One is one out of eight reasons why this album is a perfect example of the Canterbury Scene, a delightful pop song with a strong psychedelic jazz to it. #2 (Ride) Nice Intro. Soft Percussion. Soft mellow lyrics lead us through. BOOM. Here comes the warm sound. Cant ... (read more)

Report this review (#134377) | Posted by Jake E. | Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is among the most influential and important albums in the progressive rock canon, but more than that, it is just a damn good album. It is the confident, fully-assured work of a band that had already figured everything out and was primed to break new ground while still retaining enough of a p ... (read more)

Report this review (#129497) | Posted by Stughalf | Friday, July 20, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 3.5 stars. Surprisingly good debut from my personal favorite Canterbury band Caravan. In my opinion this is an unfortunately underrated masterpiece, though not entirely of progressive music. This was my second album (after Grey and Pink) from this great band, and what let me know that Cara ... (read more)

Report this review (#124015) | Posted by Speesh | Wednesday, May 30, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first work of CARAVAN announced in 1968 "Caravan". Goods of initial British rock with which fantasy and deep lyricism are filled. As a romantic organ rock, it might be an eminent work in my opinion."Love Song With Flute", "Cecil Rons", and "Where But For Caravan Would I" are masterpieces ... (read more)

Report this review (#52379) | Posted by braindamage | Thursday, October 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars At Sunday, 13th of March 2005 there was a Caravan's concert at The Bajka Theater and Cinema in Warsaw, Poland. Audience was very happy ( estimated 400 ) because it was first time when that progressive rock legend visited us in Poland. Contert started from "Headloss", there were also "Nine Fee ... (read more)

Report this review (#21283) | Posted by | Wednesday, March 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Being a lover of the Canterbury sound, I give this the obligatory 5 stars. While most critics point to In The Land Of Grey And Pink or For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night as the group's best recordings, this debut has a helluva lot going for it. The first two tunes, "Place Of My Own" and ... (read more)

Report this review (#21281) | Posted by | Sunday, January 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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