Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Caravan - In The Land Of Grey and Pink

Towed By A Rocket

Took this for a ride in the car yesterday, just a short journey up the road to Nostalgia and back again.

This is the quintessential progressive rock album, and, if it actually existed, the prime player in the Canterbury Scene. Released in 1971 it embraces everything Punk later felt it needed to usurp: up to 22 minutes a single song, twee and absurd lyrics/titles, and virtuoso instrumentals. There's jazz and pop mixed throughout, and the singing can be so tender you are embarrassed to acknowledge it as such.

First song Golf Girl is a playful and jolly love ditty

Standing on a golf course
Dressed in P.V.C.
I chanced upon a Golf Girl
Selling cups of tea
She asked me did I want one
Asked me with a grin
For three pence you can buy one
Full right to the brim

whilst second track Winter Wine begins with a folk tune and the folklore of

Sail scene, sea green - sailing forward to a new land
Treasure waits, paradise gates, for the taking, can't start waiting
All you need, but take heed, remember it pays to pay the sandman well
Make no fuss, for you must - in stardust, he
puts all the colours in your dreams

then introduces the mesmerising mellotron of David Sinclair taking its own magical journey through gorgeous playing and tease of sound effects to be heard more fully later on. It is this 'progressive' sound that entices and delights, especially in the title track and then fifth song on the cd, or first track on side two of the album, Nine Feet Underground.

This consummate progressive suite is broken down into the following movements

1 Nigel Blows a Tune 
2 Love's a Friend 
3  Make It 76 
4 Dance of the Seven Paper Hankies 
7 Hold Grandad by the Nose 
6 Honest I Did! 
7 Disassociation 
8 100% Proof

and the jazz infused, organ/mellotron led prog symphony takes you on a 22 minute Caravan ride about as wild and wonderful as being towed through space by a psychedelic pink rocket. After the instrumental booster launch into orbit, it glides on a sweet and, dare I say it again, tender vocal before journeying onwards through more instrumental self-propulsion. And more apt then ever: far out!

1 comment:

  1. Far out indeed. This one rather appeals to me in a bonkers sort of way! I like the chaos here.