Caravan - Caravan (1968)

Even though this is their debut, the confidence of Caravan just leaps from this record, and ranks with sensational debuts like 'In The Court Of King Crimson' rather than lukewarm ones like 'Camel' and 'From Genesis To Revelation' as unlike those two, there are no weak points to speak of, bar the production, which both of those albums also suffered from, but this one has terrific material... 'Place Of My Own' is one of the best psychedelic songs of all time in my opinion, showcasing the superb organ work from the underrated David Sinclair, and Pye Hastings' soft but effective voice to dizzying effect. It has a particularly potent organ solo, which is as good as most solos I have heard from the period. 'Ride' is another classic, and was the B side of 'Place Of My Own' when released as a single. The backing vocals are very effective, and allow one to drift away with the music on a great voyage, with more excellent keyboard work. The vocals on 'Policeman' is almost rendered inaudible by the echo, and were even worse on the record, but the CD improves it a fair bit. It's a typical Caravan song with whimsical lyrics, from what I can hear anyway, so that is another good number. 'Love Song With Flute' is one of my favourite Caravan songs, as Pye Hastings' vocal is splendidly moving as ever- and the flute work from Jimmy Hastings is amongst the best I have heard on record. The organ propels this song throughout. 'Cecil Rons' is a typically naughty ditty that fans of Caravan would expect. However, they are always great fun, and charming pop songs, and nobody could be offended by their tone. More excellent organ work, and a truly splendid finale with some nice percussion work from the ever reliable Richard Coughlan. 'Magic Man' is another gem, and has some truly divine vocals from Pye and Richard Sinclair with some more organ work that works perfectly. This is true psychedelia- and it's easy to drift off with this album to a truly utopian atmosphere, as the music is so blissful. 'Grandma's Lawn' is another jokey number, with some good work from all the band, but again, it's hard to hear the vocals in the swarm of echo in the mix... 'Where But For Caravan Would I' is an epic comparable with 'For Richard' and 'Nine Feet Underground'. It's hard to believe this was a debut- the confidence of the playing belies that fact 100%, as this is one of the great prog rock epics to me, David Sinclair being outstanding throughout, but every aspect of the piece is amazing, the vocals again being tranquil and beautiful, and a climax that is similar to 'Apocalypse In 9/8' from Genesis and just as effective, with a quite cacophonous ending of morse code guitars and drums, ending a truly magnificent song. All of these reasons show why this album gets a high rating, and though the production is dated, the songs are good enough to forgive it. Some of the songs are amongst the best Caravan, have ever done, making this one of their best records. - Review by salmacis (James Jeffery)

Track Listings

1. Place of my own (4:01)
2. Ride (3:42)
3. Policeman (2:44)
4. Love song with flute (4:10)
5. Cecil runs (4:07)
6. Magic man (4:03)
7. Grandma's lawn (3:25)
8. Where but for Caravan would I be (9:01)

Total Time: 35:13

Track list of Verve remaster (2002)
1. Place of my own (mono mix)(4:01)
2. Ride (mono mix)(3:42)
3. Policeman (mono mix)(2:44)
4. Love song with flute (mono mix)(4:10)
5. Cecil runs (mono mix)(4:07)
6. Magic man (mono mix)(4:03)
7. Grandma's lawn (mono mix)(3:25)
8. Where but for Caravan would I be (mono mix)(9:01)
9. Place of my own (stereo mix)(4:01)
10. Ride (stereo mix)(3:42)
11. Policeman (stereo mix)(2:44)
12. Love song with flute (stereo mix)(4:10)
13. Cecil runs (stereo mix)(4:07)
14. Magic man (stereo mix)(4:03)
15. Grandma's lawn (3:25)
16. Where but for Caravan would I be (stereo mix)(9:01)
17. Hello Hello (single version)(3:12)

Total time: 73:38

- Richard Coughlan / drums
- Pye Hastings / vocals, guitars, bass
- David Sinclair / keyboards, vocals
- Richard Sinclair / vocals, bass, acoustic guitar
+ Jimmy Hastings / flute
Releases information

LP Verve Forecast (1968)
CD HTD Records HTDCD 65 (1996)
CD Verve 8829522 (2002 remaster)


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