There was a burgeoning musical scene in Canterbury in the psychedelic era of the later sixties, much of which stemmed from a band called the Wilde Flowers. Groups to emerge from this original nucleus included Gong, Soft Machine, Kevin Ayers and the Whole World, Hatfield and the North and of course Caravan, now based in nearby Whitstable, who evolved out of the remaining members of Wilde Flowers during 1967 when they decided not to be a soul band anymore. They were signed to Verve Records in 1968 with a line-up comprising singer and principal writer Pye Hastings, the brothers Richard and David Sinclair and Richard Coughlan.
Their first album, Caravan, was released in October 1968, with the first two tracks, A Place Of My Own and Ride, extracted as a single the following January. It was in some ways a groundbreaking album that captured the whimsical and exploratory moods of the times with a sound that built on the changing styles of the contemporary underground and took them further.
Pye's brother Jimmy played on the dreamily evocative Love Song With Flute, never having heard the song and recording the flute solo on the first take. The following song, the stage favourite Cecil Rons (a disguised Cecil Rhodes?) is in contrast a rowdy powerful piece with a yelled chorus. Guitar and bass are swapped over on two songs so that Richard Sinclair can take over on lead vocal for his songs Grandma's Lawn and Policeman. The closing track was a complex nine-minute piece inspired in part by a melody written in Wilde Flowers days by then member Brian Hopper. Where But For Caravan Would I? was the precursor of the direction Caravan would take on future albums, alongside their other strengths.
On this edition both mono and stereo mixes of the album are included, and as a bonus track, the single version of 1970's Hello Hello, recorded for Decca as Verve/MGM had folded by this time, rounds off the CD