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Caravan Back to Front album cover
2.61 | 154 ratings | 12 reviews | 6% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Back to Herne Bay Front (5:55)
2. Bet You Wanna Take It All / Hold On Hold On (5:20)
3. A.A. Man (5:02)
4. Videos of Hollywood (5:11)
5. Sally Don't Change It (4:06)
6. All Aboard (4:08)
7. Taken My Breath Away (4:52)
8. Proper Job / Back to Front (8:19)

Total Time 42:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Pye Hastings / guitar (solo on 8), vocals (2,6-8)
- David Sinclair / piano, organ, Minimoog & Prophet synths, lead vocals (5)
- Richard Sinclair / bass, guitar solo (3), vocals (1,3,4)
- Richard Coughlan / drums, percussion, spoken voice (8)

- Mel Collins / saxophone (2,4,7,8)

Releases information

Artwork: Michael Lloyd

LP Kingdom Records ‎- KVS 5011 (1982, UK)

CD Kingdom Records ‎- CDKVS 5011 (1991, UK)
CD Eclectic Discs ‎- ECLCD 1010 (2004, UK) Remastered by Paschal Byrne

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy CARAVAN Back to Front Music

CARAVAN Back to Front ratings distribution

(154 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(13%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (29%)
Poor. Only for completionists (12%)

CARAVAN Back to Front reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars this is from the original line-up and although better than its predecessor still a disappointment but the times would not allow them greater freedom. It seems the band enjoyed enough Videos , that this popped-up regularly in the 90's concert. Really a bunch of uninspired songs , but still one can hear somehow , how this was still Caravan. The opener and the final number are the better numbers on this album but the rest is rather unexciting.

This album had already been released on Cd but got a remastering (and probably a few bonus) on the Eclectic Label in late 2004

Review by ZowieZiggy

This is another existential question that the Sinclair cousins might have considered before rejoining "Caravan". Lots of hopes when you see the line-up. The original one, yes! But the least I can say, is that this album is not very much inspired.

Very pleasant vocals of course, some upbeat and pop songs ("Hold On", "Videos Of Hollywood"). Not bad but way off expectations. This reminds me more of the poor "Camel" of the late seventies (but both bands have profound links of course).

I have never been a great fan of the band but I have to say that they released very few bad albums so far (actually only one : "The Album") but to be honest, there is very little to retain from this one. A major deception if you considered the musicians involved here. The core of a band which created a style on their own. I have always been granted "Caravan" for this. But such an album won't add anything great to their fame.

Mellow mood with "Sally Don't Change It". Press next (but you could already have hit this key with "Videos)

This album is not very good. Might be OK when you listen to it abstractedly. But does "Caravan" music need to be listened to that way? I guess not. The finale of "All Abroad" is awful and disco oriented. And it is not the reggae-ish "Taken By Breath Away" that will convince you (nor myself). What the hell did happen to "Caravan"? Probably the same dreadful eighties syndrome.

I guess that the very few reviews for this album indicates sufficiently that it isn't really an essential album (even for die-hard fans).

Three out of ten (max) is the rate. Since it is still not possible on PA I will downgrade it to one star. A poor album indeed. Don't bother with this album.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars I took years, after the first spin, to find the courage to retry this album. When I have bought it in 1982 it was a total disappointment as I was expecting a lot from the original lineup of a band able to release to of my all time favorite albums: If I could.. and In the Land...

The first disappointing thing was the cover sheet. It's a clear remind to Escher with flowers turning into birds, but what does it have to do with the album?

"Back To Herne Bay Front" is not a bad track at all. It has lost the disco-funky mood of some songs of the previous "The Album", even if I really dislike the sound used by David Sinclair on the solo. It's jazzy and the bass and vocals are quite good.

What's now? " Bet you wanna take it all / Hold on hold on" an uptime glam-rock&roll, I don't need anything like this. What's the sense of releasing a pop song that would have been good in 1970 while in 1982? It wouldn't have been a success in 1970 either. In the second half (or the second song) when it slows down is a bit better. Mel Collins plays a nice solo even on a trivial base.

I have controversial feelings about "A.A. Man". It features non-trivial passages, odd signatures and Richard's voice, but it doesn't do much for me. inserted in a different album would have been different. It could have been a good filler if part of a good disc.

"Videos Of Hollywood" is a song that seems taken from Camel's I Can See Your House From Here. Probably because of Richard's vocals. If only the guitar was played by Andy Latimer.... Also the sounds used by David Sinclair are similar to those used by Camel on that album. Add Mel Collins' sax and this is a "lost Camel's song".

"Sally Don't Change it " is on the same strings but almost without drums. It's Camel more than Caravan but without Latimer. I don't know where Pye Hastings is. He could have found room for good solos on songs of this kind, but there's very few guitar here.

"All Aboard" is nothing special, a pop Caravan song to let go in the background.

"Take My Breath Away" is in my opinion the poorest track of the album. I can't find a sense in this song. It seems survived from the disaster of The Album. Already heard and already discarded.

"Proper Job" starts similar to Nine Feet Underground. Of course it's just few seconds. It sounds like an attempt to return to the good moments and effectively there are moment in this closer that can remind to better moments. Add to this Mel's sax and the result is not that bad.

Back to Front is not totally back. Even if surely better than "The Album" (doing better wasn't a hard thing to do), it still doesn't deserve the third star, but apart of 3 weak songs all the rest is listenable and there are tracks of the old goodies.

2.5 stars

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Better. But not by far

Caravan soldiered on during the early 80's with Back To Front, another entry in a series of weak albums from the group that began with Blind Dog At St. Dunstans. Back To Front is better than the previous The Album, but it is not better by far. The material is still uninspired, but at least here they again sound like Caravan. I find it a pleasant enough listen, but it fails to make an impact or leave any lasting impressions. After this album there would be a longer silence from the band and not until 1995 would they release another studio album. I think it was clear that they had come to the end of the line here. And like for most other classic progressive Rock bands, the 80's were not kind to them.

The song Videos Of Hollywood was previously familiar to me from Caravan's entry in the Classic Rock Legends video series. It is a rather simple Pop number, but at least it has a memorable melody and a characteristic lead vocal.

Back To Front is another Caravan album for fans and collectors

Review by Warthur
4 stars Caravan's Back To Front is notable because it's the reunion album - the original quartet of Richard and Dave Sinclair, Richard Coughlan, and Pye Hastings got back together (Hastings and Coughlan having been the only consistent members of the band since beginning) and assembled a studio album for the first time since In the Land of Grey and Pink - and alas, with the death of Coughlan in 2013, it would prove to be the last time.

The long-absent Richard even gets to lead off the album with one of his songs - Back To Herne Bay Front, a gentle pop- ish number about a visit to the seaside - but anyone hoping to get back to that grey and pink land of yore would be disappointed by this. In keeping with recent Caravan albums, this is something of a pop-prog release rather than a prog-oriented thing; the band hadn't put together a truly epic track since the Grubby Little Oik suite on Blind Dog At St Dunstans', and show no intention of doing so here.

In some respects, this allows for a nice level of stylistic range - the album sounds even more diverse than The Album in this respect - since in effect each band member is contributing their own songs and doesn't seem to feel obliged to stick too close to a single defined sound. That said, the group members' musical trajectories more or less work together. Just as Caravan had been in a pop-prog vein for a good while now, Richard Sinclair had been onboard for some of Camel's more successful attempts at pop-prog blends (and indeed Dave Sinclair had also joined Camel for Breathless).

It makes sense, then, that for this reunion album the group members would contribute songs in this sort of pop-prog vein: if you've found common ground after so long apart from each other, concentrating on that is just sensible. And to be fair, from their debut album to songs like Golf Girl, the original Caravan lineup had included a dose of pop sensibilities into their formula right from the start. Still, I can see why fans for whom the long, epic Caravan workouts were the point of the exercise would find little to enjoy here (though the closing number of Proper Job/Back to Front attains some of the climactic drama that classic Caravan were so good at).

For my part, I think this is just as charming a prog-pop album as, say, Camel's Raindances or Breathless, which thanks to the presence of Richard Sinclair's voice this would make a great companion piece to. Adding Mel Collins on sax for the wistful Visions of Hollywood just makes it all the better (and makes the Camel comparisons all the more apt).

Latest members reviews

3 stars I've dived three records deep after "For Girls who grow plump" and they were disappointing (not terrible bot nothing to be excited about) so I stopped. I've found more caravanish sound on Camel's 'Rain Dances' and 'Breathless' when Sinclair joined the band. Checked Hatfield and The North for the ... (read more)

Report this review (#2510987) | Posted by Artik | Friday, March 5, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I read a lot of negative reviews on this recording, but I dare to disagree with them. No, this isn't the big prog reunion some Caravan fans might have hoped for. But... yes, this is the classic line-up and yes, they sound like classic Caravan! I admit this album is very poppy, but I can rememb ... (read more)

Report this review (#1649953) | Posted by Borik | Monday, November 28, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Caravan is back! And then I really mean it. "Back in front" from 1982 is the best Caravan album since 1975 and I would call it equal to "Girls..." and "Cunning...". What's so awesome here is that Richard Sinclair and Dave Sinclair are back. Although Caravan is amazing even without them, they w ... (read more)

Report this review (#1072767) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Tuesday, November 5, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Before listening to this album I had my hopes up. After a couple of lousy albums (Better By Far & The Album) Caravan returned to their classical form with Richard Sinclair back. Maybe Back To Front isn't as bad as The Album (whose name is already a cry for help), still it remains at the bottom of th ... (read more)

Report this review (#344551) | Posted by BrainStillLife | Monday, December 6, 2010 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Ewwww. They should really put a warning label on hazardous music like this: "May induce intense bouts of frustration, disgust, nausea, vomiting, and thoughts of suicide." It's true the thoughts of either ending my life or the disk's life did cross my mind, after it being my aural displeasure of h ... (read more)

Report this review (#293883) | Posted by LionRocker | Monday, August 9, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars OK, granted, this isn't in the top flight of Caravan albums; but I think most Caravan fans will still appreciate this album. Especially with the welcome return of Robert Wyatt and Richard Sinclair to the line-up. AA Man and Proper Job make the album worth buying on their own. For me the low-p ... (read more)

Report this review (#164719) | Posted by AYoungErrol | Sunday, March 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A great comeback by a classic canterbury band. After the collapse of The Album lineup, the original quartet got back together and released an album with a more canterbury feel than anything since Cunning Stunts and with compositions better than anythin since Blind Dog at St. Dunstans. The Sincl ... (read more)

Report this review (#39374) | Posted by beterdedthnred4 | Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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