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4.7 out of 5 stars31
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 16 March 2006
It was 1973, and after the magnificent "Land of Grey and Pink" but less "Caravan-ish" "Waterloo Lily", bassist Richard Sinclair had joined Hatfield and the North to pursue his jazz-rock urges, his cousin and Caravan keyboardist Dave Sinclair had left as well, and all looked pretty depressing. But Dave returned to the fold. In the mean-time, Pye had come up with some fantastic songs and recruited viola player Geoff Richardson (with Caravan to this day) and Jon Perry on bass. The result was "For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night", a brilliant return to form, full of eccentic English prog, accompanied by string and brass sections. The climax of the album - "Pengola / Backwards..." is orchestral prog rock par excellence, the main theme being lifted by Pye from a Mike Ratledge riff off the track "Slightly All The Time" from Soft Machine's "Third" album. For Caravan fans who think the group was nothing without Richard Sinclair, think again after listening to this.
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on 7 May 2006
Until recently, "prog" for me consisted of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Genesis, Yes & Tull. King Crimson are just too hard! That is, until I read in MOJO about the "Canterbury Sound" and bands like Caravan, Soft Machine and Camel.

From nefarious sources, I obtained a copy of "For Girls..." and was blown away. I now own a legal copy! Wonderful intelligent, melodic songs played superbly if not ostentatiously. There are more ideas on this album than in a lifetime of albums by many of the so-called rock greats. Just when you think there's nothing new under the sun, there's....Caravan. I went on and bought two more Caravan albums on the strength of this one, and it doesn't actually rate as their supposed best album!
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on 19 July 2007
I have very little to add to all the other positive reviews of this 1973 classic. It was the only one of their albums with John G. Perry on bass, who seems to have exerted a strange and powerfully positive influence on the entire proceedings, despite not having actually written any of the music (almost all of that was undertaken by the redoubtable Mr Julian Hastings), with the five man lineup excellently rounded off by Peter Geoffrey Richardson on viola ~ a master stroke, if ever. Apart from that, this is a superbly confident and coherent album that marked the pinnacle of their career.

One other thing ~ the new "Digitally remastered" sticker is completely phony, as the current issue sounds no different from (if anything, marginally inferior to) the original from 1990. All you get is a few previously unreleased tracks, none of which is particularly inspiring, and extended sleeve notes. This is all the more annoying, in view of the fact that after all these years, it really could benefit from skilled remastering. The mere pretence of having done so is, therefore, decidedly reprehensible. I did raise this with someone whose e-mail address is shown in the jewel case insert, but he wasn't having any of it ~ must have been brainwashed, because I know what my ears tell me and I compared the two side by side.

But the album itself will always be one of the greats of its era and the high point of this much loved band's career.
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on 5 November 1999
Quite frankly one of the best albums ever made IMHO. This album is possibly Caravan's finest hour. To prove it, many songs from it are played each year at the annual gig in Diss. Certainly if you were looking for a Caravan album to start your collection you could do much worse than this.
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VINE VOICEon 18 December 2007
Having first heard their earlier albums, 'If I Could...' and 'In The Land Of Grey And Pink,' this one surprised me. While those two albums have an airy, late 1960s feel and a sharper production, 'For Girls...' is more abrasive and heavier. 'Memory Lain, Hugh/Headloss' is the kind of driving rock that you don't get on the earlier material. At one point, 'Headloss' sounds more like a Wishbone Ash number. With the woodwind and brass, however, you get more than guitar rock. Geoffrey Richardson's viola also gives the band more options. He gets his first party piece on 'Hoedown' with a riff that mimics a lead guitar.

Although Caravan never really did great 'songs' as such, 'The Dog, The Dog...' is an exception, with a lovely ascending melody and a lyric designed to face off against prudery. 'Be Alright' returns to more abrasive rock territory and the album proper concludes with one of those multi-part compositions that they're so fond of. It's more of a mood piece with drastic shifts in style and an orchestra thrown in. It noodles around ineffectually at first but improves with repeated plays.

The playing is turbulent and quite intense across the album. Caravan were already well-rehearsed for this album, having played much of the material live. Of the extra tracks, only 'Derek's Long Thing' (another title from the school of 'Carry On' humour) is completely new. Its eleven minutes are pleasant enough, led off by one of their less-favoured instruments, the piano, but it isn't as good as anything on the original album. I'm not convinced that this is better than the earlier material but it's a great album nevertheless and the band seem more energised than ever.
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on 17 January 2010
Apart from its nice price, everything about this recording is just right. The hard work obviously put into it, combined with the inspiration that was a hallmark of so many groups of the late sixties-early seventies, and the general high quality of Caravan's work, makes for an excellent album. I was afraid this one couldn't match their earlier efforts (especially "If I could..." and "...Grey and Pink") but my fears were unfounded. Well-crafted, jazzy rock that carries you along effortlessly. Lovely stuff! Even the cover art is just right (despite the comment in the well-written liner notes that suggests the girl they wanted to depict on the original sleeve was to be much closer to the original Eve prototype). And the bonus tracks add over 33 minutes of equally enjoyable alternative versions and unreleased material for thore who still want more. So, 1973 was not such a bad year, after all, despite the fact that most of the music around at the time was to be eclipsed by -yes, you guessed it- the dark side of the moon.
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on 13 October 2009
This is the best studio work from this great band. 'Grey & Pink' is also a great album of course, but this one feels fresher and more dynamic. Right from the opening track you know this is going to be special. The groups new line up included John Perry on bass and he makes a difference. Pye Hastings is very clear in the notes on how renewed the motivation was at that time and it comes through in the songs. 'Memory Lain', 'The Dog' and 'Chance of a lifetime' are my pick of the bunch but there is nothing weak on this one.
The remastered version is a lesson in how this should be done. The disc is full of relevant, interesting and valuable extras. Some tracks even outshine the released versions. This would be the place for anyone less familiar with Caravan to make their entry point.
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on 26 March 2014
After the patchy 'Waterloo Lily' this 1973 release sees Caravan in excellent form despite the departure of bass player Richard Sinclair. In his place arrived John G. Perry (who sadly left after this excursion) bringing a dynamic contribution to the bass/vocal berth whilst Dave Sinclair returned, briefly, to the fold to boost the keyboards. In addition, Geoff Richardson arrived on viola to diversify the already luscious Caravan sound.

Material wise, principal writer Pye Hastings is on fine form with the opening salvo of 'Memory Lain, Hugh / Headloss' kicking things off powerfully. 'C'thlu Thlu' has a lovely menace to its intro, 'The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again' is classic Pye whimsy (and naughtiness!) whilst 'Be Alright / Chance Of A Lifetime' is simply brilliant; Perry's powerful vocals are to the fore on 'Be Alright' whilst 'Chance..' is a lovely ballad with Pye's vocals combining beautifully with the strains of Geoff's viola playing.

The final track on this album is a 5-part creation lasting nearly 10 minutes ('A Hunting We Shall Go' forms the main body of the opus) and has sections written by John G. Perry and Mike Ratledge - a member of Soft Machine. Apparently, Pye needed help to realise his vision for this track but, even so, this is a wonderful piece to round off this glorious album. O.K, let's be controversial - overall, I think this album is better even that the classic 'In The Land Of Grey And Pink'. Discuss.
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on 11 March 2004
I have loved this album since I got a vinyl copy when it first came out. Great songs, great arrangements. John G Perry's bass stands out for subtlety with variety, Pye Hastings must tbe one of the best rhythm guitarists ever, Geoff Richardson's viola is aver-present without being obtrusive, Richard Coughlan's drums fit perfectly and as for Dave Sinclair, the man was always wildy under-rated.
I don't know if it is just when I first got the album, but it has a lovely warm feeling that always makes me think of autumn evenings, coming in from the cold and relaxing in front of a roaring fire.
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on 13 November 2003
This is a great album which is full of great tunes to which the lyrics were added seemingly at the last moment. It has tunes which you hum thirty years later often oblivious of their provenance. This album takes time to creep up on you but the moment of revelation is delightful and enduring. It is of its time, and yet somehow not so.
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