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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Caravan

If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You

Review by Gary Hill

This album from 1970 was reissued in 2001 and includes several demo versions as bonus tracks. I’ve personally never been overly enamored with the “Canterbury sound,” but I have to say that I like the majority of this disc. There are some extremely strong tracks to be found here and it’s a great showcase of the skills and diversity of Caravan.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You

I really like the multiple layers of vocals on this cut. It's a high energy piece with a great old school rock sound in the mix. I really dig the smoking hot organ solo on this thing.

And I Wish I Were Stoned/Don't Worry
They bring this one in with a texture that reminds me a bit of Procol Harum. The verse is certainly in keeping with that sort of sound. The bounding chorus is more playful psychedelia, though. We get a couple killer instrumental sections along the road and the second half of this track, the “Don’t Worry” section has a great “hippie” meets prog sound to it. There’s a false ending that gives way to a percussion solo to close it out.
As I Feel I Die
As this starts I’m reminded of Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd, but I also make out a bit of the Moody Blues. The track grows into a slow moving movement but then powers out into something that sounds very much like Flash. They create some alternating movements and this is a great track – my favorite so far. The organ solo section again makes me think of Pink Floyd quite a bit. It fires out from there in a scorching jam. You might hear Emerson, Lake and Palmer on that section. It serves as the extended outro. 
With an Ear to the Ground You Can Make It/Martinian/Only Cox/Reprise
It starts out mellow and turns to a bouncy sort of psychedelic pop romp from there. At around two minutes they drop it back and give us a Western theme song sound and then build up on top of this motif. As they continue to build up they power this out into another fiery progressive rock musical journey. After a while it resolves out and drops down to another mellow motive, this one reminding me quite a bit of The Moody Blues. They take it through another instrumental section from there, then move out into a cool section beyond. It eventually goes into a mellower segment to end.  
Hello, Hello
The old school Pink Floyd comparisons are valid on this cut, too. It’s a bouncy and fun sort of piece that’s doesn’t do a lot for me. That said, there’s a tasty keyboard solo. They take it into some weirdness before they close it out. 
Asforteri
At less than a minute and a half in length, this is short, but very cool. It’s got a lot of percussion and some non-lyrical vocals arranged in a musical motif that’s powerful and steadily building up. It leaves you wanting more. 
Can't Be Long Now/Francoise/For Richard/Warlock
This is mellow and pretty. It’s rather jazzy and very much in a balladic format. I can see comparisons to Traffic. After a time, though, a bass line rises up and begins to drive this to new heights. That section crescendos and they burst out into some killer progressive rock that’s more along the lines of Emerson Lake and Palmer. There are killer solos by the keyboards, violin and saxophone. This thing is a scorching jazz inspired piece of music that’s incredible as it is further developed. It resolves out to a more pure progressive rock journey from there. Eventually, though, after a series of twists and turns, it makes its way back to more Traffic-like jazz jamming. Eventually we get more smoking hard rocking progressive music. At times this leans towards the sounds of groups like Black Sabbath. 
Limits
At only a little over a minute and a half, this is a short folky prog number. It’s pretty and tasty. 
Day in the Life of Maurice Haylett
For a while this alternates between loud bombastic music and mellow textures. After a while, though, they scream out into a killer hard rocking prog jam that’s exceptionally tasty. That sound takes it to the psychedelic mellow outro. 
Why? (And I Wish I Were Stoned)
A demo version, this is not exceptionally different from the version we heard earlier. It’s good. 
Clipping the 8th (Hello Hello)
Here we have the demo version of “Hello Hello.” I like this track a lot more than the one that wound up on the album proper. It’s a cool rocker with lots of that psychedelic Pink Floyd texture. I love the section that sounds like garden clippers. 
As I Feel I Die
The final cut and final bonus track, this is also the final demo number. It’s a great song in either form and this is an excellent way to end things in style.

 

 
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