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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Caravan

Songs for Oblivion Fishermen

Review by Steve Alspach

Caravan was one of the bands to come out of the Canterbury progressive scene of the late 1960s. The band's early output could cause one to roll one's eyes, such as the reference to Boy Scouts as "grumbly grimblies" and the gargling vocals on "In the Land of Grey and Pink." (It must have come with the territory with those Canterbury bands and their rather bizarre sense of humor.) The band, however, could go on some fascinating instrumental excursions, and the quality of the musicianship left little to be desired. They recorded from 1968 to 1982 and went through a revolving door of musicians. "Songs from Oblivion Fisherman" is a compilation of the band's early work recorded between 1970 and 1974. The songs were recorded from Top of the Pops sessions, Alan Black sessions, and John Peel sessions. The personnel on this CD is: Pye Hastings, guitar and vocals; Dave Sinclair, keyboards and vocals; Richard Sinclair, bass and vocals; Richard Coughlan, drums; John Perry, bass; and Geoffrey Richardson, viola.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2002 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Hello Hello
The verses, in 7/4, are made all the more off-beat by Hastings' guitar chording. Dave Sinclair gets in a few good solos in this short piece.
If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You
This is more of a rock number even though it stays in seven. Falsetto vocals waft over the chant "Do…you…think you are." The vocals, in fact, may sound like Gentle Giant may have been listening in at this time.
As I Feel I Die
The songs starts off in a slow, somber mode. It then goes into an 11/8 jam section, marked by Dave Sinclair's jazzy excursions on the organ.
Love Song Without Flute
The composition starts in a slow waltz, but then shifts to a more upbeat 4/4 while staying in a jazzy mode.
Love to Love You (And Tonight Pigs Will Fly)
Well, with couplets like "He said without a tonal fleeting glance / I'd like to get deep down inside your pants", what else can you say? This is a bouncy little tune that is little more than a I-IV-V tune in 7/4.
In the Land of Grey and Pink
Sounding a bit like their big stab at a hit single, this is a straight 4/4 tune, complete with gurgling vocals and hippie-folky lyrics ("We'll wash our teeth in the sea" "You won't need any money, just your fingers and your toes"). Richard Sinclair takes lead vocals on this song.
 
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