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4.8 out of 5 stars70
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 26 March 2007
Caravan have been with me since my early teens; their music always inspirational, but probably never so much so as on this album, "In The Land of Grey and Pink". Their third album, it is one of three in a four year period that most Caravan fans pick out as their best, the other two being 1970's "if I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do It All Over You" and 1973's "For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night".

Caravan are still playing and recording to this day despite having suffered many line-up changes in the 40 years of their existence: the only ever-present member being its inspirational leader, Pye Hastings. Pye's sweet voice is a hallmark of the Caravan sound, whatever reincarnation of the band you listen to. On this album the band also comprised the cousins Richard and David Sinclair (on bass and keyboards) and Richard Coughlan on drums. Significantly, the band also brought in Pye's brother Jimmy for this album and his contributions on flute, tenor sax and piccolo are a significant factor in the overall mystique of the soundscape created. David Sinclair's keyboards are another big factor in this; the music on this album is almost like a painting; different songs corresponding to different areas of the canvas, but clearly all being a significant part of the overall picture, such is the nuance of the musical thread running through the album.

The album is made up of 5 separate pieces: four are relatively short whilst the final one, "Nine feet Underground", is a relatively lengthy composition of over 22 minutes which originally took up the whole of side 2 of the LP. The complexity of this piece, together with the interweaving of similar complexities and soundscapes into the shorter pieces, have led to Caravan being labelled as a progressive-rock band. Certainly, for my money, this album is better than anything more famous prog-rock bands such as Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd ever produced.

Melody is a strong feature throughout: even during "Nine Feet Underground", there is plenty to hum or whistle along to. And by the time you get to it, your voice is already warm as you've sung along to some gorgeous songs - the boppy, tongue-in-cheek love song "Golf Girl", "Winter Wine", "Love to Love You" and the title track itself, "In the land of Grey and Pink". This is unashamedly about the pleasures of taking drugs and it is one of life's little mysteries to me why I, who have never taken drugs (and I wasn't even a boy scout!) should so much enjoy music either about drugs or obviously composed under the influence: Caravan, Hawkwind, Steve Hilllage, Spirit and many more.

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VINE VOICEon 13 July 2007
This is the first Caravan album I heard and, as a result, I sought out as many of their others as I could find. Only its predecessor, 'If I Could...etc,' is possibly better, but this one is perhaps a little more instantly accessible. Bright, imaginative and yet a little reserved in manner, this is the sort of work that could only come from an English band. 'Golf Girl' is a gentle, melodic, but engaging opening, a trait continued by the next three tracks. 'Love To Love You (Pigs Might Fly)' is a little more rhythm-oriented, but there's no raucousness with Caravan.
The 22-minute 'Nine Feet Underground' is the track you hold your breath over. Triumph or disaster? Definitely the former, the portentous opening keyboard riff grabbing you straight away. According to the track listing, it's divided into several sub-tracks, but as with all instrumentals, trying to work out where the divisions are is a pointless exercise. Suffice to say, this is a marvellous album for anyone with an inclination for so-called progressive rock of the 1970s.
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on 16 October 2004
In the Land of Grey and Pink is one of the best albums of the 70's. The humorous and whimsical charm of 'Golf Girl' and 'In the Land of ...' are a sheer joy to listen to. The lyrics of the latter piece always remind me of Edward Lear, and help make this a very English album (despite Lear's extensive travels). 'Love to Love You' is rather naughty (as Caravan tended to be!) and a typical Pye Hastings composition. 'Nine Feet Underground' is a huge, rambling and ambitious piece which works brilliantly because of the band's ensemble playing, and in particular Dave Sinclair's keyboard work. But my favourite piece is 'Winter Wine'. It manages to create a happy-sad feeling, somehow, and makes you think of memories that you might have had ...
It's hard to find another album that matches this one for variety and strength of song-writing. Although the band may not be the most accomplished musicians about, it doesn't matter as they play together so well. This album should be in everybody's record collection, if they have an interest in English rock/pop music of the 70's - even my sons, from the age of 7 - 14, love it.
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on 16 June 2002
Re-listening to this album is a feast. The musicianship, originality, quality of production--all contribute to a stunning album. I feel sorry for today's youth, with my kids among them. Music as a source of energy and joy peaked some decades ago. It is now less than a travesty, and somehow I don't care if new technologies are killing the record industry--they've asked for it. But Caravan (who never reaped the benefits of talent which many far less talented groups did reap, and in abundance), Caravan must be thanked indefinitely for having released at least three marvellous, marvellous albums. And this one is not only their masterpiece, but an absolute masterpiece. Let us not call it "prog rock", it is reductive. This, back then, was, in a sense, world music--a blend of rock, pop, folk, jazz, and fantasy. Keep listening. And thank you David, Richard, Pye, Richard, and, occasionally, brother Jimmy.
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on 21 August 2003
Nine Feet Underground was one of my favourite tracks of all time back in the 70's, and since I got the cd, damn if it isn't still! This gentle, humorous, wonderful album will enrich your life. Punk it isn't. Hard rock it isn't. Fine music beautifully played it is. Don't deprive yourself any longer.
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on 5 November 2003
one of the best albums of the 70's and one of my personal favourite albums of all time. very free music. they weren't trying to be smart or show off they just got together and made some damn good music. this album will have your head nodding the whole way through and its also music you can space out to.
: )
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on 25 September 2002
After all these years I can remember every word of "golf girl." To be able to listen to this album again is a true joy. Caravan transcended the normal, the average: well you know what I mean! Bless the members of the band for producing this album. Grey and pink were the colours of my love of those days--I can't tell you more...
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on 23 February 2001
This classic combination of hummable tunes and complex keyboard driven instrumental work is without doubt the definitive example of the 1970's Canterbury progressive sound. A far more humorous and gently uplifting proposition than Genesis or any of the other seventies progressive giants, Caravan's music is quintessentially English and somehow comfortably familiar. Stand out tracks are the whimsical "Golf Girl", "Winter Wine" and the 20 minute plus instrumental tour-de-force "Nine Feet Underground". Without doubt this is one of my all time favourite albums and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to all fans of 70's prog.
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This is a very creative album from Progressive Rock band Caravan. The album is a very English classic pop album with a great deal of originality. The album was released in 1971.
Caravan was a leading figure in what was known as the "Canterbury sound". This is a combination of music styles including Jazz, classical and traditional influences. It is easily a Progressive Rock album.
The project has five important parts with the last part "Nine feet Underground" lasting over 20 minutes. The whole album has complex sounds. There is a fairy, dream like set of themes with very original lyrics and strong instrumentation and arrangements.
The album has the classic feel of the hippy, drug-induced influences of the late 1960s and early 1970s with wonderful pictorial imagery.
If you like the wide range of Progressive Rock band influences and Rock groups from the likes of Procal Harum, Yes, Pink Floyd, Wishbone Ash, Jethro Tull, Genesis, Jefferson Airplane etc then you will like this.
It is clear that the musicians are all very professional. The whole band has created something special here. This is a great release with good strong and clear sound on a classic album,
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on 8 September 2006
So, why does an album sound so incredibly fresh & alive well over thirty years after its release? Well, if there was an easy answer everybody would be doing it, but sometimes things just work... and Caravan's masterpiece does just that. First time through its bizarre, often childish lyrics may leave you feeling that you've dropped into a whimsical Edward Lear-esque hippy-fest... but careful because it'll get to you, and once it does you'll be hooked. Why? Well in addition to being infused with catchy melodies, perfectly metered lyrics, excellent playing, clever arrangements, and a highly distinctive feeling of pastoral "Englishness", there's something running through it all that elevates it from an interesting, relatively obscure slice of early 70's folk-jazz-rock into a "classic". Don't ask me what but it's different, unforgettable and above all timeless.
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