March 20, 2012

Caravan - putting Canterbury somewhere in the epicenter of things.

After running Gentle Giant last night, it only seems fair to also offer another pioneering band in the genre of Prog-Rock. Caravan actually pre-dates Gentle Giant by a couple of years and was considered right in the middle of the Progressive movement coming out of Canterbury, England. Having initially begun as The Wilde Flowers, members split off to become another Canterbury legend, Soft Machine, as well as Caravan.

Call it the whims of fate or sheer luck, but Soft Machine went on to achieve much greater acclaim than Caravan did, even though they were very much alike musically. Caravan got off to a rough start, signing with a somewhat half-assed record label who not only didn't do much to promote them, but promptly got absorbed by the parent label the year their first album was released (1968). Soft Machine, on the other hand, got the ear and producing abilities of Chas Chandler who in turn landed them on the 1968 Jimi Hendrix tour. The exposure certainly helped.

But Caravan did have a loyal following and have gone on to achieve something of an underrated, largely unappreciated band who, even though they didn't crack the mainstream, became something of a "musician's-musician aggregate", and in that sense they proved very influential to numerous groups throughout the world.

Tonight it's one of their first sessions for the BBC, recorded just around the time their first album for Decca (UK) was released. Recorded for the Top Gear program on August 19, 1970 they cut three tracks:

1. Hello Hello
2. If I Could Do It Again I'd Do It All Over You
3. As I Feel I Die

If you've never heard them before or only heard about them, now's your chance.

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