Caravan
If I Could Do It All Over Again...


4.5
superb

Review

by Matthew Hopkins USER (46 Reviews)
February 12th, 2016 | 16 replies


Release Date: 1970 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Canterbury Rocks!

Caravan are often regarded as one of the greatest psychedelic rock bands to emerge from the sleepy Kentish city of Canterbury. Caravan, along with Soft Machine, both rose from the ashes of the band The Wilde Flowers, which was active during the early sixties. All the founding members came from The Wilde Flowers, and both Caravan and Soft Machine upheld the psychedelic style that the band was known for.

In the Land Of Grey And Pink is regarded as being the most successful album produced by Caravan, but If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You, is probably truest to the form that Canterbury Style embodies. When compared to later albums, If I Could Do It All Over Again is loaded with keyboard and organ led parts and large portions of it are dedicated to extended pieces of music. It feels very reminiscent of the style King Crimson used in In The Court Of The Crimson King, except rather than going down the route of having reduced vocals, the vocals in IICDIAOA are extremely important and are one of the pillars that this album uses to create such a brilliant and atmospheric mood. It is a very similar style to the type used by the progressive band, Gentle Giant.

This album gives off a joyous, almost carefree attitude, from the opening vocal melodies of the title track or the floating organ and keyboard work that leads the second track ‘And I Wish Were Stoned’. As is appropriate for music from this genre and era, the lyrics are at best nonsensical and at worse completely random. But the important thing to remember is that this album doesn’t actually need lyrics to go anywhere, and in an odd way, they work extremely well. Musically, the album is incredibly solid, with excellent pieces of constructive drumming combined with various other instruments and sounds, including the bass and guitars, but also including bongos, saxophone solos and flutes.

The album itself is best described by the several longer songs that make up the greater portions of side one, and the epic ‘For Richard’ that graces side two. Each of them is epic in their own way, but all of them pale in comparison to the song ‘For Richard’, which is a brilliant piece of Canterbury Rock. It originally started out as various pieces of music, which were carefully placed together to create a longer, more complete song. The style itself is very arty, and feels very much like an artist piece of progressive rambling, without straying into the domain of self-indulgence that psychedelic, and progressive rock can fall into. This is aided by the shorter length of the second side of the vinyl, which barely reaches twenty minutes total.

However, ‘For Richard’ is only one part of what is an incredibly good album to listen to. And the whole album comes across extremely well. Even the production has managed to more or less stand the test of time, despite being self-produced. However one of the downsides, is that the occasional error has made it on to the album, partly due to the production, and partly due to the fact that it was recorded live in studio. Sure, the music is not for everyone, you have to be able to appreciate this type of music in order to enjoy it. So if you have ever listened too, and enjoyed any of the bands that came from Canterbury, such as Camel or have only ever listened to In The Land Of Grey And Pink, then IICDIAOA should really be very high on your to listen list.



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user ratings (92)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Hoppoman
February 12th 2016


717 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hello, I've come out my early retirement to bring you Caravan!

smaugman
February 12th 2016


2542 Comments


even paragraphs? have a pos

Digging: Vauxdvihl - To Dimension Logic

Hoppoman
February 12th 2016


717 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Paragraphs are my life. A world without paragraphs is a world not worth living in.

TheCrocodile
February 12th 2016


2312 Comments


thank fuck for this review, album rules

KILL
February 12th 2016


77852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

finally gets a review you rock hard



with an ear to the ground is grey n pink level easily

Hoppoman
February 12th 2016


717 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

In some ways, this album is better than Grey and Pink......

wacknizzle
February 12th 2016


14412 Comments


Need to check this, I love Land of Grey and Pink

Digging: Surgeon (PHL) - Beast of Light

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2016


25474 Comments


Best Caravan album right here.

Props for reviewing this, it needed one badly.

Digging: DjRum - Forgetting

Jethro42
February 12th 2016


14110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was to say ''Jamie is gonna be happy'' :D

Maybe better than Land of Grey and Pink but by a real thin marge. I think that LOPAG is probably a better starting point though.

''Can't be long now (For Richard)'' rules hard on here. It's surely inspired by God himself.

KILL
February 12th 2016


77852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pink has nine feet underground tho bros

Hoppoman
February 12th 2016


717 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

IT does, but this has Richard.

KILL
February 12th 2016


77852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

damn!

TheIntruder
February 14th 2016


142 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review of a great album. Have a pos.

e210013
February 15th 2016


678 Comments


It gave to me great joy read your review. Finally, someone did a review of it.

Personally, I always loved Caravan and particularly this album. It always had a very strong relationship with me. Probably because it represents my first purchase of the group. I bought it in the distant 70's, and for many years it was the only album I had from them. So, I really don't know if I prefer this one or In The Land Of Grey And Pink, usually consider their best album.

I particularly enjoyed that you have added Mirage of Camel to your recommendations. Despite the clear differences, I always thought that Camel has something of the Canterbury scene into their music. However, in my opinion, it's less evident on Mirage, but particularly evident on Rain Dances and Breathless.

Cheers.

Hoppoman
February 15th 2016


717 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well Camel were one of my first 70s prog experiences outside of the traditional big four. I have quite a few of them on Vinyl. And they all came from the same area. I lived in Canterbury for a few years, and I spent quite a bit of time in the Canterbury Rock shop. So that's how I picked up all the similar stuff.

e210013
February 15th 2016


678 Comments


I didn't knew that you are located in Canterbury, Hoppoman. I must confess that I didn't checked it, in a first sight. So, you are a privileged person with the Canterbury style of music. I'm not sure what do you really meant with the traditional four. I'm almost sure that you wanted to mean Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd. The other, I presume that you wanted to mean King Crimson. Anyway, those are also my first big experiences with music, with some others names like Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant, Van Der Graaf Generator and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, besides Camel, of course. These were, perhaps, besides many others, my huge references in the rock music, more properly in the what conventionally decided to call, the prog rock music.

Cheers.



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