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Caravan: Live UK Tour 1975

One of the original stalwarts of the Canterbury scene, by the time Cunning Stunts appeared in 1975, the band had already begun moving toward a slightly heavier, thicker sound. Thanks to modern technology, this archival live release is blessed with great sound quality, and will prove a worthwhile introduction to newbies while Caravan completists will have something new to buy. The band was affected by numerous lineup changes; keyboardist Dave Sinclair had left a second time, and in his place on Live UK Tour 1975 is Jan Schelhaas. Guitarist-vocalist Pye Hastings and drummer Richard Coughlan are the only original members present on this document, taken from gigs late in the year when the band was without a record deal—violinist Geoff Richardson, and bassist Mike Wedgwood (formerly of Curved Air), completed the lineup for the tour.

Seventy-seven minutes long, Live…1975 consists of six tracks; ”The Show Of Our Lives” is the only short number—under five minutes—and a fairly straightahead opener that, excepting certain Caravanisms, wouldn’t sound out of place in pre-Works-era ELP. “The Dabsong Conshirtoe” (12:30) features some great jamming—the fuzzed guitar sound & violin/keyboard interplay should work just fine for progfusionheads. Violinist Richardson adds a great flute solo, as well. The track’s last third is the best, and heaviest; Coughlan pounds away, sounding like two percussionists, and Wedgwood generates a huge bottom sound which makes for a somewhat evil-sounding atmosphere. For a different lineup & sound, this could be the disc’s best selection. The classic albums Caravan and the New Symphonia and For Girls That Grow Plump In The Night are ably represented by the fourteen-minute medley of “Virgin On The Ridiculous~Be Alright~Chance Of A Lifetime.” Schelhaas whips up some great, long organ solos, adding his touch to the parts originally recorded by Dave Sinclair.

About thirty-five minutes of listening combined, the last two, heavily instrumental epic cuts are “Love In Your Eye” (culled from a porno?—just kidding!) and “For Richard.” On the former, the band’s chemistry shines in a statuesque way; the changes aren’t so much meter or key-related, but stylistic—one segment may sound bluesy, the next may blend rock and funk (to no great degree), the next may resemble Krautrock. Schelhaas has some great (and long) Bardensesque synth solos not long after the beginning, and nearly of the way in—he & Hastings dual some of their parts, too. Richardson is never far behind, playing rhythmically as well as melodically to add tension where it’s needed. Originally from (get ready for it) If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You, “For Richard” begins quietly but the players' binds are loosened quickly enough to crank out many great solos and more in this extended jam. I’d just as soon not spoil all of the fun, and allow you to acquire this album.

Added: May 12th 2003
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Related Link: Caravan-Info
Hits: 3294
Language: english

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