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Progressive Rock CD Reviews


Canterbury Comes to London

Review by Steve Alspach

Though not really recording anymore, Caravan still gets together for the occasional prog rock fest or a concert. This concert, from London's Astoria Theater in September 1997, shows the band to be quite sharp when the need arises. Along with the longtime nucleus of Pye Hastings, Richard Coughlan, David Sinclair, and Geoffrey Richardson, the band is also augmented by bassist Jim Leverton, lead guitarist Doug Boyle, and percussionist Simon Bentall.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Memory Lain, Hugh / Headloss
The one-two opening combo off 1973's "For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night" kick off the show here. Headloss is quite good, the double guitar work giving it added oomph. Boyle's solo in that segment quotes Joe Walsh's "Life's Been Good," and don't think he doesn't know it.
Nine Feet Underground
The group goes right into this epic from "In the Land of Grey and Pink." This is a curious decision to provide this song so early in the CD. The lengthy instrumental section in the middle, a Caravan staple, is quite good. Boyle's solo is quite good on this one.
The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again
Another straight-ahead version of an old Caravan classic.
Cold As Ice
This is the first of four songs from the "Battle of Hastings" CD that Caravan came out with in 1995. This one is about as close to a ballad as this outfit gets, the lazy 6/8 feel is interrupted by an extra beat here or there so the song always stays on edge.
Somewhere In Your Heart
This is a very relaxed mid-tempo number, and rather conventional by Caravan standards. Given that the Battle of Hastings album was released in 1995, it's easy to see where the band's edges have softened.
I Know Why You're Laughing
After a soft intro, the band kicks in. Simon Bentall's tambourine drives the chorus. There is some hot soloing from Sinclair on keyboards as well.
The innocuous verses belie the lyrics' sentiment (Hastings introduces the song as being inspired by someone who screwed the band out of some money), and the chorus has a good sing-along hook in it.
For Richard
The group goes back to the older material to close out the end. Richardson's violin takes the lead in this lengthy number.
Golf Girl
After a down-the-wrong-path intro where Sinclair and Boyle trade riffs (Boyle sounding a bit like Jerry Garcia!), the band goes into this. Geoff Richardson gets a great solo with the most underplayed of prog rock instruments, the spoons.
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