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This review is from: Canterbury Tales (Audio CD)
The British underground wasn't all Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett, and Caravan shows you a different take on what British hippies could achieve.
The band produced a stunning first album - represented by two tracks on this collection - and despite a wobbly period of personnel changes went on ploughing their own distinctive and very English furrow long after their commercial peak in the mid 70s.
This is a truly wonderful collection, riveting listening from the very first track, the irresistable "Place of my own". This track has all the elements of what made the band great locked up in 4.01 minutes.. a testament to its excellence is that it seems far longer, a lush mix of David Sinclair's prowess on the hammond organ (he is a real master of the instrument) and Pye Hastings' fey, pastoral imagery - delivered in a clipped middle class accent that makes it all the more endearing. When I bought this CD I had not heard that track since 1969, and was bowled over by it all over again.
The anthology faithfully follows the band's history, including two tracks from a surprisingly successful album recorded with the New Symphonia, as well as some lengthy epics and the joyous "Golf Girl".
Not all the music stands the test of time - but where Sinclair's organ prowls, expect fireworks.
Caravan was not easily labelled, and to just label them as part of that nebulous "Canterbury Scene" .. which included Soft Machine, Kevin Ayers and Daevid Allen.. does them an injustice.
They were not exactly "progressive" or "jazz-rock" or "folk".. but just for a few brief shining moments they show the very best of what bands in that era could achieve. Imagine Pink Floyd without the angst, Yes without the pomposity, Fairport Convention without the nasal folk songs, and even a dash of early Deep Purple and that gives you a hint of their sound.
This collection is astonishingly good value, well chronicled - tho the sleeve notes are a little hard to read given the size of the print- and is a must-have for anyone interested in Rock music from 1967-1975. Go get it, you won't be disappointed!!