IF I COULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN, I'D DO IT ALL OVER YOU (1970)
1 If I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do It All Over You (3:05)
2 And I Wish I Were Stoned/Don't Worry (8:12)
3 As I Feel I Die (5:12)
4 With An Ear To The Ground You Can Make It / Martinian / Only Cox / Reprise (9:51)
5 Hello Hello (3:44)
6 Asforteri (1:20)
7 Can't Be Long Now / Francoise / For Richard / Warlock (14:17)
8 Limits (1:32)
9 A Day In The Life Of Maurice Haylett (5:40)
10 Why? (And I Wish I Were Stoned) (4:22)
11 Clipping The 8th (Hello Hello) (3:13)
12 As I Feel I Die (4:39)
Richard Goughlan (drums, percussion)
Pye Hastings (vocals, guitars)
Dave Sinclair (keyboards)
Richard Sinclair (vocals, bass)
1970/LP/Les Disques Motors/MT44002/France (see image top right)
1972/2LP/Deram/DCS150323/Spain (b.w. In The Land Of Grey And Pink)
1977/LP/Les Disques Motors/2445202/France
1979/LP/Les Disques Motors/MTO77010/France
2000/CD(Unofficial)/ADA Sound Ltd./ADASD07126/Russia
2013/LP/4 Men With Beards/4m239/US
REVIEWS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES
Caravan followed up their eponymous debut with the cryptically titled If I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do It All Over You in the fall of 1970. If I Could Do It All Over Again contains significant progressions over the first album. These include the intricacy with which compositions are sculpted around some of the finest instrumental improvisation in British rock at the time -- or arguably since. Caravan's uncanny ability to create a montage that effortlessly maneuvers through acoustic folk and electric progressive rock is best exemplified on the "With an Ear to the Ground" suite. The extended instrumental passages weave in and out of each other, creating a hypnotic and otherwise psychedelic soundscape that would become a trademark of the European progressive rock movement.
Another epic, "For Richard" quickly found solid standing as the Caravan live performance closer for decades after first appearing on this album. Juxtaposed against these pieces are several shorter works, which in essence clear the palette for the longer ones. The title track, as well as "Hello, Hello" are perfect examples of how Caravan was able to one-up many of their progressive contemporaries, creating shorter and more accessible songs for radio airplay -- resulting in a guest appearance on BBC TV's Top of the Pops program.
Lindsay Planer (ALLMUSIC)
"Don't follow leaders or watch a parking meter..." (Bob Dylan). This, THIS is the strongest, most adventurous and magical Caravan album. It's guaranteed! You won't find any pop shit or too sweet melodies in here. "If I could..." bears THE Caravan Song ("For Richard") and it is more than a great leap forward after their psyke pop debut, it is as far as they would ever reach.
Rolf Hüffer 13.06.2017 (ALLMUSIC)
They got a nice sound going, but the jazziness is really superfluous.
Tee hee, gotta love those smutty titles. Never mind; the important thing is, Caravan's second album is almost universally proclaimed to be an improvement over the debut and one of the band's pinnacles. Not to my ears, though. What my ears are able to discern is that on their second album, Caravan drifted off into a somewhat different direction, and while that might have been enough to gain a huge support from prog fans worldwide, it's exactly the direction that I don't like prog bands to take: namely, making things more complex for complexity's sake. First of all, the songs now grow long. And I mean long - the majority of the album is taken up by three 'mini-suites' with separate part titles and lots and lots of instrumental passages. Second, the stately majestic organ-drenched medieval atmosphere of the debut somehow vanished into thin air; amazing, seeing as how it would eventually work its way back into the band's sound, but for now, they sack it in favour of a jazzier, somewhat more 'playful' approach. Lots of sax and diddly diddly playing guitars (you know what I mean, don't you?), jazzy time signatures and stuff - apparently these guys decided to somehow justify the 'Canterbury rock' tagline. Doesn't work, really. Too often, I get the feeling they're just showing off: I could count the memorable melodies on this record without having to use my second palm. Essentially, the album is only saved by the fact that I can't deny it some atmosphere - if you're searching for a bit of soul and spirit, it's here all right, it's not just a bunch of jazzy guys who consider themselves above playing emotionally-oriented music. There's still a lot of sadness, introspectivity, majesticity, whatever: If I Could... can work as decent background music if you really want to dedicate yourself to that kind of sound. And they're still going strong in their "uniqueness", although, to be fair, some parts of this album don't sound much different from contemporary King Crimson wank-offs, and both Yes and Genesis were already on their way to the top. Unsurprisingly, my two near-runners for the title of 'best song' are the two shorter tracks. The title track is jazzy, avantgarde jazzy even in parts, something that would be quite fit for Soft Machine. But it's all based around an energetic and interestingly constructed riff and witty vocal harmonies intricately entwined around it, with a lively keyboard/guitar break to spice things up. For me, it works as one of those 'Zen-style incantations' that should be appreciated for their very weirdness and bizarredness if such a thing is possible at all, see Gentle Giant's 'Knots' for instance. However, it's also a very untypic track for the album - nothing else on here can boast the same 'lightweight', almost ridiculous atmosphere. The second track, then, is radically different, but it's also untypic for the album. That's 'Hello Hello', the record's only more or less straightforward venture into medieval-folk stylistics with an intriguing mystical tale to boot. Not the most memorable thing on earth, but pretty solid by the record's standards. I also love Sinclair's organ tone on this thing - granted, he uses it in a lot of other passages here as well, but the riff-solo of 'Hello Hello' is the most impressive bit. And supposedly that's it: no matter how much I listen to the lengthy monstruous suites, I just can't make head or tails over 'em. Atmospheric and supposedly meaningful (well, how can a song entitled 'And I Wish I Were Stoned' not be meaningful? You tell me!), but displaying a tremendous lack of ideas, if you axe me. There's ONE big idea on here - 'hey guys, we know how to make our brand of music, let's make our brand of music, then'. Take the fifteen-minute megalithic horror of 'For Richard', for instance. Its full name is 'Can't Be Long Now/Francoise/For Richard/Warlock', but who cares? The first three and a half minutes are just slow 'atmospheric' (god how I hate this word already) noodling, with lazily strummed guitars and idly puffed flutes that don't go anywhere and don't do nothing.
Then, all of a sudden, there's this sharp, thrilling keyboard riff that breaks in and you utter a sigh of relief - the guys start to rock! And then it suddenly loses all the sharpness and the thrill after about five seconds and you get an endless mid-tempo keyboards/sax jam that just bores everything that can be bored out of me. Lengthy improvised sections that never know when to stop and all sound basically the same - definitely not the kind of thing that's supposed to work in a respectable prog band.
Unless you dig in the groove, but seriously, I don't even know why you should, as Hastings' and the others' playing style aren't all that unique. Pye does get a little bit more involved in soloing, though, and his solos are good: soaring Gilmour-ish guitar parts that are just as emotionally strong but more minimalistic and less cliched in their essence. But again, there's not that much of 'em. The two other lengthy monsters aren't any better - I vaguely remember that I enjoyed Hastings' vocal sections on 'And I Wish I Were Stoned' just fine, while they were one, but one thing that song never possessed in the first place was a solid vocal hook. Just... nice singing, nice playing. Everything NICE. NICE guys. Well, no more Mr Nice Guys then. In the end, if it weren't for the vibe and Hastings' having developed a very nice, warm vocal tone, I would have given this album even less than I gave it; as it is, it's a very weak ten. And I really can't get it into my head how this album can get that much respect; I suppose it's some kind of a Wind & Wuthering syndrome - the record goes for a 'grand' feel with complex song structures, lengthy suites and pompous arrangements, but never really has that much melodic substance. And of course, the latter thing isn't that important for diehard prog fans. At least the tones these guys work out on the album are far more soothing than Banksynths, but that's small consolation if you take the album on its own. Extra points for the pretty pretty album cover, though. I love nice forest groves like these.
George Starostin (STARLING)
I would say this: Caravan's second album helps them pass, with flying colors and all, all the necessary qualifications for a legitimate prog-rock outfit — however, it does not do an excellent job in establishing them as, you know, Caravan, a band with its own unique and unmistakeable brand of prog-rock. All the technical requirements are there, as they place severe restrictions on their pop instincts (only 'Hello Hello', specially recorded to capture a small share of the singles' market and landing them a spot on Top of the Pops, qualifies as a bona fide pop song), stretch out song length by gluing together separate parts, Abbey Road-style, and combine folk, classical, and jazz influences like the good King Crimson textbook taught us. The result is an intelligent, perfectly enjoyable and energetic album that, nevertheless, still shows the band in the process of searching for a vibe that best agrees with their personalities, rather than saddling and riding that vibe like there was no tomorrow. One thing that I sense very acutely is the major influence of Caravan's closest competition — The Soft Machine. It shows up not only in such minor things as the twisted, enigmatic song titles ('With An Ear To The Ground You Can Make It' almost sounds like a response to 'Dedicated To You But You Weren't Listening'), but also in the band's frequent excursions into psychedelic-tinged jazz (title track; 'As I Feel I Die'), and in the overall feel of (intentional) chaos and confusion that permeates the album. In some ways, If I Could Do It All Over Again is the most experimental and risk-taking record that Caravan would ever produce — which would certainly make it the best Caravan album, period, in the eyes of those who think that taking risks and failing is always preferable to not taking risks and succeeding. But on the other hand, for a risk-taking album If I Could Do It All Over Again is not very risk-taking: they never really go all the way, like the Wyatt-led Soft Machine, and the result is an album that does not quite understand itself if it wants to present an experimental challenge or an emotional experience. That said, what could one expect from a record that begins with the mantraic chant of "Who do you think you are, do you think you are?" and answers "I really don't know"? It might indeed be all about a search for one's identity in a world with rapidly changing values, so that Pye Hastings' pleading request "gimme that stuff, enough to slow me down..." can be understood almost literally (and agrees perfectly well with Pye's musical conservatism in the upcoming decades). The band has neither the chops nor the desire to go completely wild with their music-making, yet at the same time "slowing down" is really not an option, either — so most of the tracks are caught between two extremes, a slow, dreamy, balladeering section with Pye's vocals as the center of focus, and an energetic, often aggressive jam section where the lead is usually taken by Dave Sinclair and his frenetic organ work. The best example is the suite 'For Richard', which would go on to become a quintessential staple of the band's live repertoire — beginning as a slow, chilly, introspective mood piece, where Pye sings in tune with Dave's organ to produce the effect of a slightly ominous lullaby, and then crashing into a lengthy jam, where said organ begins to sound like Jon Lord at times (distortion ruling over all), but aggressive parts still alternate with relatively quiet moments, particularly when Pye's brother Jimmy takes over the saxophone and then the flute. The problem is that I do not feel much of an internal logic here — and although the same could be said about the Abbey Road medley, the individual constituents of 'For Richard' are not all that great on their own: a few good hard rock riffs here and there, a lot of pleasant, but unexceptional jazz-folk noodling in between, and a vicious finale that makes it seem as if we've just been on some cathartic Odyssey of sorts... but we haven't, really. So I'm a bit torn about this, and the same feeling applies to everything else on the album, because mood-wise, everything is based on the same contrasts. Everything, that is, except for the Soft Machinian tracks and the 'Hello Hello' single — the latter, with its slightly childish and nonsensical lyrics, is a catchy folksy ditty that actually defines the general spirit of Caravan better than most of the long tracks (and could be qualified as a spiritual predecessor to 'Golf Girl'). Oh, actually, there's also 'Don't Worry', the second part of the second track, an optimistic-melancholic pop song that would be right at home on In The Land Of Grey And Pink — the problem is that the messy structure of the album makes me feel disoriented and get lost in these intricate multi-part mazes without a set plan or a good sharp system of contrasts. In the end, it is still a thumbs up, and I can perfectly understand those who would see it not only as a tremendous musical leap from the level of the self-titled debut, but even as the band's finest hour in general. Personally, though, I do not think Caravan had really hit their stride until they learned properly how to put that «Canterbury» essence in their music — which wouldn't really occur until the next album.
George Starostin 01.03.2017 (ONLY-SOLITAIRE.BLOGSPOT.COM)
Absolutely essential and full of surprises!
Wow! I had forgotten just how great this album really is. I put on the remastered cd last night with a good pair of headphones and was instantly transported back in time. Beautiful melodies smoothly but quite unexpectedly segue into hard-hitting (though highly structured) jams that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Dave Sinclair's keyboards absolutely rock while the rest of the band cooks right along with him. The addition of Jimmy Hastings' flute and sax adds so much colour and depth to the extended pieces--top notch playing all around! I really love the "Englishness" of the vocals and lyrics, with their typically understated humour and charm. What else can I say? Together with "In The Land of Grey and Pink" this is the best stuff Caravan ever did, though "For Girls Who Grow..." is pretty close in overall quality and intensity. It's worth mentioning that the sound quality of the remastered disc is quite good (Richard Sinclair's bass sounds wonderful and I have a whole new appreciation for Richard Coughlan's excellent drumming) and the liner notes are insightful and interesting. Sorry for gushing, but I'm still on a cloud after hearing this again for the first time in quite awhile. Hurry and get it and be sure to buy a copy for a good friend. They'll love you for it. Cheers!
Henry 5/5 16.11.2005 (AMAZON)
Must have cd
Superb sound quality. Great band that belongs in every collection. Worth multiple listens. All of Caravan's older albums are gems.
analoghaze (Wisconsin) 5/5 05.06.2014 (AMAZON)
Caravan - A Slight Step Down From The Previous One
This humorously titled album was the album that followed what most consider their classic “In The Land Of The Grey And The Pink”. Personally I don’t think it is on the same level, as the band seem to have lost direction a bit with this one. That is not to say that it is a bad album, as there are several classic tracks to be found here especially the final suite of “Can’t Be Long Now / Francoise / For Richard / Warlock” which is the highlight of the album. The shorter songs are good, but not as good as what can be found on “Pink” and “Girls That Go Plump”. This is a solid Caravan album, but not their best.
Steven Sly (Kalamazoo, MI United States) 4/5 30.04.2014 (AMAZON)
Fantastic Addition to your collection.
I love Caravan! And this album is a a great part of my collection. I can't wait to see them live at ROSFest 2014!
Irene R. Bracht 4/5 21.03.2014 (AMAZON)
OK, I love In the Land of Grey and Pink. And I mean that. I bought this cd from the mostly positive reviews that it garnered. However, upon many listenings I must say that this album in now way is as good as Grey and Pink. It sounds much less focused. It sounds ....... like Grey and Pink running out of air. It sounds like a sketch.....maybe the cds after grey and pink were better, but not this one. I don't hate it like the one star says......., but don't buy it either. You'll sit for hours wondering if you like it....if you like an album, you don't have to think about it, right? Johnny P
Johnny P 1/5 05.09.2013 (AMAZON)
This is one of the best bands of the era. Not as well known as they should be. However, they get enough love from record collectors to make up for it.
K. McDonald (Maggie Valley, NC USA) 5/5 02.02.2013 (AMAZON)
This album has some interesting moments but is poorly mixed and sounds annoyingly thin and scratchy. I suggest In The Land of Grey and Pink is a better choice.
Amazon user (Cary, NC) 2/5 11.12.2012 (AMAZON)
This CD shows is harder to accept than the first, but it's still good. This is the mark of the Caravan, quiet songs, but more introspective, psychedelic. Would not recommend as a first disc to buy, but not to give up when you like progressive rock. The remastered version is good with interesting bonuses. Rating: 6.5 (maximum).
Jose Henrique 3/5 29.10.2012 (AMAZON)
A Second Great Work From Caravan
It's not so much in the title track to this LP, but all the other songs combined that showed that Caravan still had writing potential that extended the psychedelia that Pink Floyd had laid out before probably best heard in Day In The Life Of Maurice Haylett. Even moreso than their first album this one has Pye Hastings Vocals presented in more contemplative moods. Just awesome. This middle album of their 3 great psychedelic and souped up(Canterbury Folklore and Jazz) ones should have been so more highly rated.
Richard C. Avila (Fresno, CA) 5/5 01.04.2012 (AMAZON)
Brilliant, singular and uplifting
Although its follow-up '...Grey and Pink' is more frequently hailed as the best Caravan album, I personally prefer this, their second effort. Though I'm not too well-versed in their mid-1970s period (my preference seems to have wandered off towards Hatfield & The North with Richard Sinclair and his bass guitar) I still say this with some confidence. '...Grey and Pink' is more streamlined and features a more mature approach to constructing the pop hooks that never fail to reel people in, but '...Do It All Over Again' has a far better structure and flow to it, faring much better as a listening experience and unhindered by the logistical difficulties of trying to tastefully dump a vast, side-long epic into its duration. The melodies and chord progressions are light years away from the jazzy complexities the Canterbury scene had to offer by 1974 and beyond, but many are sweet and beautiful in their own right and instantly memorable. They are easily traceable to the simple, naive charms of the psychedelic pop scene that Caravan themselves began as part of. Jimmy Hastings again makes his presence felt on the classic 'For Richard' suite, providing the excellent brass & woodwind touches that livened up several excellent albums of the era. Elsewhere, the pairing of Pye Hastings and Richard Sinclair was never more equal and more sensitive to each other's vocal and compositional strengths than herein, making this arguably the most balanced album ever to feature these two distinctive musicians. It's a very breezy listen, full of excellent musicianship and still rooted in the late 60s British psych-pop scene, making it a decent companion piece to an album like Soft Machine's 'Volume Two'. The genre, along with the bands themselves, grew upwards and outwards at an alarming rate after 1970, and while there's certainly a great deal of value in the complexities and jazzy intimidation of later-period bands like National Health, this album has a charming and well-balanced nature that you'd be hard pushed to find an equal to.
Hamilton-Smith "dave" (Merrye Olde Engelond) 5/5 24.09.2008 (AMAZON)
One Gypsy CARAVAN worth following
For years i've known about the band CARAVAN, but only the IN THE LAND OF PINK AND GREY album. Last year, i got that PINK AND GREY album, and thought it was pretty good. Yet, i wasnt THAT impressed with it. I did like a lot of the songs, but the way some of composistions sounded, lead me to believe that the band didnt have a lot of strength creating consistantly interresting songs. However, since that time, i've become much more conversant with the "CANTERBURY" sound, like Soft Machine, Ayer's and Wyatt's solo work, Hatfield and the North, Gentle Giant, Camel, etc. Since so many of these band's EARLY albums (1969-1972 or so) were really good, I thought that MAYBE the album CARAVAN put out before PINK AND GREY might be worth hearing. I gave the band a second chance, and BOY, am i glad I did. It's seldom i will play the same music night after night. Yet, with IF I COULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN is one of those albums, where you can easily get addicted to the sound experience. If you enjoy a Psychedelic lilt to your music, then this is definately the Caravan album to begin the exploration of their sound. There are some long songs, like little sonatas, on the first and second side, that have lovely dense texture. I believe that the keyboard player overdubbed his parts, with a guest artist providing very jazzy sax and flute melodies. Their lead guitar player also gives a lot of punch, and other nice touches, to the mix. This classic "ART ROCK" instrumentation sound, provides plenty of simultaneous melodic movement, that stands out beautifully over the rythym section. I hear this especially during the series of songs "And I wish I were Stoned" into "As I feel I Die" into "EAR to the Ground". The sound is so dense, as to be nearly impossible to absorb every note you hear. One can tell, just by looking at the titles of the songs, that psychedelia is the name of their game. (Themes like "getting stoned, ego death, absorbing sounds beyond normal mortal hearing", etc.) The rest of the album is also very far out, including the bonus tracks that are included on newer editions of the CD. So, for consistancy, sophistication of psychedelic experimentation, music depth and density, and surreal lyrics, this album ought to be classified among the VERY best of the Canterbury group . (Its right there with early GONG, the first 3 SOFT MACHINE albums, and the first GENTLE GIANT albums). Caravan still has the humor and sonic non-seclures, common to this Canterbury sound. Altho definately psychedelic, IF I COULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN isnt quite as crazy, and sound effect laden, as the bizarre experimentation found on the first two SOFT MACHINES, and earliest GONG albums. All in all, Caravan struck a nice balance here. For my taste, this is CARAVAN's peak album.
W. T. Hoffman "artist and musician" (Pennsylvania, United States) 5/5 01.07.2008 (AMAZON)
I wish everyone knew about this early 70's masterpiece
Caravan is such a beautiful band. Not to mention a forgotten one. One listen to "If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You" will probably win you over with its catchy vocal melodies and instantly enjoyable 70's good-time atmosphere. These guys knew how to write music and make the songs memorable for just about anyone to enjoy, of all ages. Sometimes I think the band was influenced by the Mamas and the Papas, but you know, that's probably not true. I doubt the two artists ever came in contact with each other. I'd put these guys right up there with Procol Harum and the Moody Blues when it comes to writing satisfying vocal melodies that catch your attention the first time you hear them. It's a special feeling for a special band. Don't even worry about how long some of these songs are- the melodies flow into each other with such ease and instant satisfaction that it probably wouldn't even matter if these songs were twice as long. Some of the flute playing is really nice, but for this release, it's the vocals that make me love it. Pick it up today. By the way, the album cover reminds me of an early Paul McCartney and the Wings album. I love it, and it reminds me of the hazy, forest-like dreams these kind of melodically atmospheric songs usually create.
B. E Jackson (Pennsylvania) 5/5 24.10.2007 (AMAZON)
"With An Ear To The Ground" & The CD Player you will enjoy Caravan!
Caravan entered their golden period with this release (Their 2nd) in 1970. This album and the next three: In The Land Of Grey And Pink / Waterloo Lilly / For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night showed the group at their best. While some would call them progressive rock it is closer to the Progressive/Psychedelic Canterbury Sound. You may have been told how strong a guitar-player Pye Hastings is but he should also be applauded along with bass-player Richard Sinclair for perfectly placed and phrased vocals. The album is consistant throughout. The track that has been given the most notice since its release is "For Richard" but please don't think they are a one trick pony. Caravan will grab your attention as soon as the opening cut is coming from your speakers and you'll receive some excellent bonus tracks to further bring you into the fold. Caravan can also be respected greatly because they had a sound in mind and weren't concerned with record company pressure to get them more airplay. Once the last notes play of this fine release you will be wanted the other three mentioned albums. Be well always.
Craig Fenton, New Jersey) 4/5 01.06.2007 (AMAZON)
Interesting Period Piece
Caravan is very late 1960s and early 1970s, but the songs are certainly fun to list to.
GJC (World) 4/5 17.02.2007 (AMAZON)
Originally released in 1970, this was the UK progressive / Canterbury band's second album. This is like maybe the fourth Caravan CD I've ever heard. Not an artist I'll listen to all the time, but I do tend to like their epics very much so. Tracks here I found to be most inspiring were the jamming opener title cut "If I Could Do It All Over Again...", the folk progressive piece "With An Ear To The Ground" and the fourteen minute "Can't Be Long Now". Keep in mind their epics are usually quite brilliant. Plus, this CD reissue has seven bonus tunes tagged on. Another reason to add this title to your want list.
Mike Reed (USA) 4/5 01.01.2007 (AMAZON)
Caravan at their best.
Since its first appearance in 1970 this album was acclaimed by critics (Melody Maker, Sept. 1970) as one of most singular albums of the year.
At that time the rock scene was changing faster and faster. New bands grow up like mushrooms, but in spite oh that, very few of them produced a really original sound. Surely Caravan were one of them and this album represents a very good example, their best I think, of their unique style that has survived with great honour to the severe judgements of time.
De Maria Angelo "coriolanus" 5/5 27.11.2004 (AMAZON)
One of the best rock or prog rock albums!
I believe that this is one of the best canterbury prog rock (as this type of music is often called) albums of all times. I also beleive this is one of the best english rock records ever because of it's rock roots. Something magic happened during these sessions and Caravan never made another one quite like this (my humble opinion). If you are listening to a lot of Neo-prog (uhhhgg!) or find that you are searching for adventurous-yet-melodic music but not finding it, i suggest you check the work of some of the creators of the genre and stop wasting valuable time. Along with Yes, Mothers of Invention, Genesis, Hatfield & the North, Gentle Giant, Gilgamesh, Soft Machine, Robert Wyatt, Camel, ELP, Van Der Graff, King Crimson, Matching Mole, Albert Marcoeur, Magma, Henry Cow, Gong, National Health and others too many to mention, these guys are on top of the list as one of the best 'early' bands to inject some thinking into their 'rock' music. And this one in particular is a great introduction to the band and to the canterbury style.
Speedy (Fl, MO USA) 5/5 07.09.2004 (AMAZON)
Best prog-rock CD ever!!!
This is my all-time favorite album. I have owned this album approximately 4 or 5 times - the first 3 or 4 in vinyl (I kept re-buying it every time it got a little worn) and once on CD. I had been searching for it for years on CD and was stoked to find it about 10 years ago as a Fench import. I cannot add much to the above reviews except to say that the addition of the great jazz/classical flautist, James Hastings (on flute and sax) elevates this album from merely great to best prog-rock album ever. Listen to his unbelievable fade-out flute solo on the last track 'Limits' and weep along with me why anyone would be stupid enough to fade it out instead of letting him go on and on for another 10 minutes! In the 35 odd years I have owned this album, I have played it to hundreds of friends. Almost without exception, everyone has loved it!
Paul Levinson "truthseeker" (Maui, HI, USA) 5/5 04.02.2004 (AMAZON)
For Richard is just great.
I like the overall sound of Caravan very much, but what really makes this album worthwhile is the suite that has For Richard in it. The title track also makes for good listening. The bonus tracks are nice, but don't really add anything essential.
P. J. Walstra 4/5 24.09.2003 (AMAZON)
Cuando el rock progresivo deja a un lado la grandisidad.
Si bien el mundo del rock está lleno de etiquetas (a veces con definiciones y límites bastante dudosos) una de las más llamativas es la de la escena Canterbury, que agrupa a bandas con poco o nada en común musicalmente hablando, como es el caso de Caravan, Soft Machine, Egg o Gong por nombrar a los iniciadores. Caravan partió como exponente de la sicodelia pero ya en su segunda entrega se estableció como uno de los grupos más interesantes del rock progresivo, aunque una vez más el término se hace poco claro pensando en cosas similares como Yes, Genesis o Emerson. Eso puede ser lo mejor (o lo peor según donde se mire) de Caravan, el ser parte de un estilo sin abusar de él. Iniciando el disco If I Could... parece no haber dejado la sicodelia atrás, pero el siguiente tema (And I Wish...) ya es otro asunto, la delicada voz y una pulcra instrumentación dan como resultado una hermosa y triste melodía, pero a continuación (As I Feel I Die) vuelve a aparecer el sonido progresivo y sicodélico, con un Dave Sinclair alucinante en el órgano. Hello Hello por su parte con su cuidada melodía es más accesible, un recordatorio de que también hay espacio para llegar a las grandes audiencias. El único momento de cierta monotonía lo aporta Can't Be Long... que con sus 14 minutos (atención progresivos) se torna un tanto tediosa, pero no consigue empañar un muy buen trabajo, ideal para quienes deseen nadar pero no bucear en las profundísimas aguas de lo progresivo.
"jaimeurrutia" (MIAMI, FLORIDA United States) 4/5 15.08.2003 (AMAZON)
Start to finish this is just a fantastic album. Caravan have quickly become one of my favourite bands (bought my first album of theirs around a year ago) and this album is one of the biggest reasons why. Even if Caravan aren't your "thing" you really owe it to yourself to listen to track 7, the greatest piece of music the band ever wrote, _For Richard_. The bonus tracks are great too, _A Day In The Life of Maurice Haylett_ in particular is a great song, and it's hard to believe it never surfaced untill now! So what are you doing still reading this review?? Add this item to your cart immediately!
Amazon Customer (Sydney, NSW Australia) 5/5 21.03.2002 (AMAZON)
Another great album from Caravan
If I Could Do It All Over Again is the second album from one of the great Canterbury prog bands. This was their first album on a new label, Decca in the UK and London in the US. While I think their self-entitled debut is excellent and I recommend it greatly, the major problem of that album is the really horrible muddy sound quality. However, on their followup, the sound quality has improved greatly making it easy to hear both the instruments and the vocals, which was a little difficult to hear on their debut. "If I Could Do It All Over Again" finds Caravan doing lengthier, more adventurous numbers. This is also their first album to feature David Sinclair trademark fuzz organ sound (their debut features him playing more standard Hammond organ sounds). There are a few great pop numbers like the title track, "With an Ear to the Ground..." and my favorite, "Hello Hello" (sung by Richard Sinclair, this album only had two cuts with him on vocals, rest are by Pye Hastings). There's an original version of "For Richard" (actually divided in to several songs, like "Can't Be Long Now", for example) which they did a much better version on Caravan & the New Symphonia. Of course this version is still great, but the New Symphonia version is simply more energetic and powerful. There's another cut called "Asforteri", and if you think of it, the word seems to mean "As for Terry", as in their manager Terry King. This is one of those great albums you can tell something better was down the road, and that will be with their followup album, In the Land of Grey & Pink, but don't worry, If I Could Do It All Over Again still has that wonderful classic Caravan sound and if you're a Caravan fan, you should not go without this album.
BENJAMIN MILER (Veneta, Oregon) 4/5 15.01.2002 (AMAZON)
For All Caravan Fans
If like me, you started your Caravan collection with "In The Land Of Grey And Pink" then backtrack a year to this album it really is good. The remastered version has some never before releases on it and they are indeed excellent! A Day In The Life Of Maurice Haylett is a very addictive song with Dave Sinclair's keyboards sounding truly Caravan.......Richard Coughlan's drumming on this track is also superb and I was hooked after two plays!This album has stood the test of time really well (31 years!) and still sounds fresh and relevant....if only some of todays so called artistes could write and play instruments in such a talented way.....get this album you will love it to bits!
Sterling (United Kingdom) 5/5 03.11.2001 (AMAZON)
This recording is the beginning of three brilliant successive albums. The first two, this recording and Land of Grey and Pink, consist of the original lineup with cousins Richard (bass)and Dave Sinclair (keys)on board. Terrific stuff. Their psychedelic roots fading away, the band ventured into the realm of progressive music with a subtle jazzy undertone. The bass and keyboard work were outstanding among an outfit of solid musicianship. Not a weak cut in the lot. Highly recommended.
Simon 4/5 02.05.2001 (AMAZON)
Received with great acclaim after its release in September 1970, Caravan found themselves playing in Holland alongside bands such as Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, Flock, Frank Zappa, Santana, Quintessence, Skin Alley and many others. Here Caravan begin from the established sound of Caravan (1968) and in particular "Place of My Own" and continue to generate well-layered melodies between David Sinclair's keyboards, Coughlan's innovative drumming and Hasting's melodies. Pye's brother Jimmy makes another return on the sax and flute adding to their successful sound. The tracks become more complicated and delicate, interchanging with subtle ease. "And I wish I were stoned" rallies Caravan's auspicious ambition within its lyrics. "Once I had a dream, nothing else to do. Sat and played my mind in time with all of you" Can't be long now/ Françoise/ For Richard/ Warlock is one of Caravan's great songs and an important piece in Canterbury music history. Jimmy's flute work is fantastic and Richard Sinclair interludes with more robust sounding bass lines. Perhaps only the capricious nature of Caravan, particularly David Sinclair's keyboard/organ playing or Jimmy's flute, could stop someone from wanting this very energetic and inspired album.
Verisimilitude 4/5 11.02.2004 (PROGARCHIVES)
As I Feel I Die if I don't re-listen to this album every week or so for the last 20 Years. Everybody mentions For Richard but the suite on the first side has nothing to envy it and As I Feel is also a real masterpiece - those are the works of the Sinclair cousins as Pye Hastings wrote the poppier stuff. But the real treat is on the remastered version as The gift: A Day In The Life of Maurice Haylett is a gem that should have made this album flawless but this last one was already one of the longest around for the times. This number shows over five and a half minutes what Caravan can do and this is definitely the works of masters in their own rights.
Sean Trane 5/5 12.02.2004 (PROGARCHIVES)
Considering this album was originally released in 1970, it still sounds astonishingly fresh. The title track was a surprise hit single at the time, but it is not really representative of the band, or indeed the album. The distinctive vocals and Canterbury keyboards are already present, especially on tracks like "And I wish I were stoned/Don't worry". Caravan found their direction on this album, and subsequent releases explored a similar vein. The track "For Richard (etc.)" first appeared on this album. It has of course gone on to become arguably the band's best known and most popular song, appearing on a plethora of live albums, and being performed (I believe) at every gig they have done since. There is a strong jazz influence on parts of the track, but that never overpowers the prevailing prog structure. It was only because there were so many other innovative and exciting bands around at the same time, that Caravan never went on to achieve the success they deserved, and that this album undoubtedly warranted. They did enjoy a level of success with subsequent albums such as "In the Land of Grey and Pink", but this album remains something of a hidden diamond. The remastered version issued in 2001 sounds as if it was recorded yesterday such is the quality of the sound, and includes 4 rewarding bonus tracks.
Easy Livin 4/5 19.03.2004 (PROGARCHIVES)
For those who love the Cantebury style of Prog will simply love this album to death. This marks CARAVAN's second album and a masterpiece in progressive rock history. This album contains that drooling organ we have all come to love along with the excellent musicianship and songwriting of CARAVAN. Of course this album contains the classic 14 min epic track "For Richard" which explores some pretty trippy yet progressive ground.
loserboy 4/5 20.03.2004 (PROGARCHIVES)
Check out in particular, the series of Caravan remasters from Deram/Decca all with extra tracks, released about 18 months ago. This latest IICDIAOAIDIAOY release shows what very good quality remastering can do (technically ranking above the my previous high point, the remastered Deep Purple "In Rock"). The aural clean up has everything sounding fresh and crystal clear, and there are points through the album when I could swear this was a brand new recording rather than something 30 years old - that is but for the psychedelic-Canterbury whimsy of the lyrics. Musically this album is one of the high points of Caravan's career: great tunes, arrangements and playing, equal or even better than "Grey & Pink". It is also the Caravan album which suggested they might have considered giving Soft Machine a run for their money playing more jazz (rock)-based music - just about abandoned by "Grey & Pink". The bonus tracks, including a couple of demos, add to whole and not useless baggage.
Dick Heath 5/5 19.04.2004 (PROGARCHIVES)
It was about 1978 when I first got this album. You know that fun part of buying back on the albums you happened to miss along the way, when money permitted! This is a stunning album and at times perhaps their most complicated because it runs more or less continuous throughout. Arguably their most popular track ' For Richard' on side two ( on er.. vinyl) The shortest track right at the end is probably my favourite, simply entitled ' Limits'
Chris S 4/5 02.07.2004 (PROGARCHIVES)
Caravan's second album signals the band's moment of plain maturity just achieved. Destined to become an undisputed classic of Canterbury prog, "If I Could." stands out as an album that comprises an excellent material craftily performed: the pristine melodic sense that made Caravan the most accessible Canterbury act is refurbished with inventively superlative arrangements all throughout the album's repertoire. Before I go on, let me state that this my all-time fave Caravan recording. The funny title track kicks off the album, as an exercise in jazz-pop in a 7/8 pattern: a proper sense of joy that does not anticipate the density of the following numbers - 'And I Wish I Were Stoned' and 'As I Feel I Die' are both constructed under the logic of an initial serene introspective section and a groovier, jazzier second section that releases some kind of emotional explosion that seemed to be kept off during the serene part. None of these explosive passages are metallic or incendiary: the explosion is more focused on enthusiasm, humor and jazz-rock textures than on anger. This same pattern is reiterated in 'With an Ear to the Ground You Can Make It', only in this particular case the density is developed into a more eerie level: definitely, one of the highlights of an album full of so very good songs. After all this display of structural complexity the poppy tune 'Hello Hello' is welcome as resource of relief and refreshing fun by the listener: its catchy melodic line is wisely portrayed on a 7/4 pattern. It won't be long before 'For Richard' - the prototypical Caravan song - hits the listener's heart and takes it by storm with its successive captivating motifs, fluidly linked together in a majestic amalgam. This is just as epic as Canterbury - a non-symphonic prog trend per se - could ever be!! 'For Richard' is preceded and followed by brief pieces: 'Asforteri' is a weird tribal sequence that actually might have been developed as an interesting longer track in a parallel prog universe, while the closure 'Limits' is a delicious bossanova oriented ballad that soon fades out as the sun in a springtime sunset. Well, enough for the album's official repertoire. Now, although a whole is more than a mere sum of its parts, I feel it would be unfair of me not to mention that each individual member's amazing musicianship is responsible for the amazing brightness that is comprised in "If I Could." - Richard Sinclair's bass playing is both intricate and immaculate, clearly featured without having to steal the limelight; Coughlan exhibits his percussive mastery with a touch of distinction; and David Sinclair is an exquisite maestro who makes his organ and piano parts shine strongly with a sense of delicateness. If only guitarist/vocalist Pye Hastings had been confident enough to play more solos..., but around there always was Pye's brother Jimmy, ready to guest with an extra horn or flute solo. The CD edition includes 4 bonus tracks: three of them are demo versions of some of the previous numbers, while the newcomer 'A Day in the Life of Maurice Haylett' is pretty reminiscent of 'And I Wish I Were Stoned' in structure. The way I see it, these bonus tracks serve mainly the purpose of emphasizing the most fundamental truth about this album: it's a masterpiece!!
Cesar Inca 5/5 24.10.2004 (PROGARCHIVES)
Whereas the first album was still an attempt at establishing the own style, "If I Could..." was already a true masterpiece. Perfectly harmonized compositions enchant with the refined, immaculate and multi theme form. The record is kept in the atmosphere of pensiveness and melancholy yet it is not lack hard-rock pieces. A particular attention should be paid to the composition consisting of a few parts or else suite: "Can't Be Long Now/Francoise/For Richard/Warlock" (later referred to in short as: "For Richard"). It is a masterpiece on the verge of jazz and rock, in most of its part instrumental, with excellent solos played on organs, flute and saxophone. Perfect construction and well thought arrangement. The record also charms with the piece "And I Wish I Were Stoned/Don't Worry" with organs as the main solo instrument as well as with melodious songs kept almost in the pop spirit: "Hello, Hello" and the title song.
jan.adamski 5/5 06.01.2005 (PROGARCHIVES)
1970 was a seminal year for the Canterbury scene: it saw the release of both Soft Machine's Third and Caravan's a bit lenghty If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You. The Latter was a milestone of more pop-oriented prog-rock with the lenghty pieces like "Wish I Were Stoned" & "W/ yer Ear on the Ground" - not to mention songs like "Asforteri" or "Hello Hello"... If I Could Do It... was an example of both pop- oriented prog & prog-oriented pop at it's best - dig that!
janne_loeppoe 4/5 08.01.2005 (PROGARCHIVES)
David Sinclair's keyboards do it for me. Sure, Banks, Wakeman and Emerson are the ones you'll probably pick as the top three players in the field, but for me Sinclair is king. At times, his keyboard sounds like a fuzzed out guitar, (the title track, "And I Wish I Were Stoned/Don't Worry" Hello Hello", etc.) His keyboards are so unique I can't think of another player who sounds like him. But enough gushing on Sinclair. This album begins a run of four must have albums for the fan of canterbury and I'd say this one would be a good start for anyone who would like to explore the scene for the first time. Every song is unmistakably English, with phenomenal musicanship, wonderful singing, very, very clever lyrics that are at times funny and a sound that is wholly original, (I can't think of one band that even tries to sound like them and pull it off credibly). This album contains three out and out classics, "As I Feel I Die" with Pye Hasting's delicate vocals, Richard Sinclair's subtle bass line just under the surface that comes out three minutes in and just WOWS me and then that keyboard fuzzing out over the bass jamming, UTTERLY FANTASTIC!!!, "With An Ear To The Ground You Can Make It" starts out with a catchy refrain, but then gallops into a perfect little ditty with neat keyboards, tempo changes then segways into my favorite fuzzed out Sinclair keyboard solo, ahhh...absolute heaven, god almighty it is just perfect, then to make things even more incredible a beautiful flute playing just over Pye's precious singing, one of the greatest unsung songs ever!, then the classic "For Richard", which is probably the most known song by the band, 14 minutes of jamming Jazz/Canterbury that has to be heard. As you probably figured, I like this record. It's definately an album of it's time, which might turn some people off, but if you can look past that and just immerse yourself inside the music, I'm sure you'll come out thinking it's wonderful, whimsical, clever, but very challenging. A true classic and only their second album, more wonderment lay ahead!
NJprogfan 5/5 13.09.2005 (PROGARCHIVES)
4.69/5.00 I gave 4.7/5.0 for "In the land of grey and pink", and really both albums are awesome (even if "If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You" may be more difficult to reach). "If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You" is not an easy album to listen to. If I was totally blown away by "Nine feet underground" on "In the land of grey and pink" it took AT LEAST 4-5 listening of this one before understanding how great it is. The first song - theme song - is funny, with some humour and crazy 60's rhythm. The second song - And I wish I were stoned - Don't worry - is probably one of the greatest Canterbury song ever, but it took some time for me to really understand its power. It is melodious, harmonius, somehow very soft;at some point the keyboards are there but this is really an emotional song I would say. "As I feel I die " is simply crazy... The guitar is huge, the rhythm also... But, clearly, my favorite song is " With an ear to the ground you can make it / Martinian / Only cox / Reprise". This song is AWESOME, with great Camel-like rhythm (good for you if you like early Camel!) and huge keyboards. This is Canterbury music at its best.
belz 5/5 11.10.2005 (PROGARCHIVES)
Album of CARAVAN released in 1970 "If I Could Do It All Over Again,I'd Do It All Over You". Work that establishes peculiar soft psychedelically taste.The thrill by a jazzy performance has tightened the entire album. A noble tasting is exactly CARAVAN.I love this album very much.Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music.
braindamage 5/5 22.10.2005 (PROGARCHIVES)
On the 4-star 5-star borderline. There are three definite 5 star tracks on this album, being 'And I wish I were Stoned', 'With an Ear to the Ground.' and 'Can't be Long Now-For Richard', who's texture and drum work among the best. But I can't bring myself to marking this as five stars. More of a CAMEL man myself. Excellent addition to any prog collection.
ProgHappy 4/5 12.02.2006 (PROGARCHIVES)
This is a GOOD Caravan album. Very clever compositions, good playing and even reaches similiar extatic points as Colosseum in Valentain suite. Also very deep and gentle moments. Great lyrics. All the time good listening. You just cannot stop. I would even rank this higher than the next, more produced album: In The Land Of Grey And Pink, which is great too. They call this Canterbury Scene music. The thing that these boys came from Canterbury and did listen to jazz at Robert Wyatt's mothers mansion don't link their music to a same genre with the Soft Machine and other more psychedelic jazz oriented efforts. Caravan is pure prog with some jazz instruments and some swing. Soft Machine is jazzy psychedelia without rhythm. Very different! This is a must for a serious prog listener.
pirkka 4/5 12.04.2006 (PROGARCHIVES)
In a way, this is an even better effort than the band's most celebrated work, its follow-up "In the Land of Grey and Pink". However, unlike the latter, it's less immediate and more of a steady grower. Then, when it's truly and well grown on you, you'll be hopelessly addicted. The remastered version (featuring the stunning, unreleased "A Day in the Life of Maurice Haylett") sounds as fresh as it had been recorded last year and not almost 36 years ago. This is prog at its best, impeccably sung and played, complex and challenging, yet at the same time witty and light- hearted, without the pretentiousness typical of some of the better-known bands. The best way to listen to this album is to put on your headphones and wallow in the beautiful vocal harmonies, intricate bass lines and magnificent keyboard work. The opening title-track is an infectious, '60s-style ditty sung by both vocalists, the deeper-voiced Richard Sinclair repeating the line "Who do you think you are?" while the higher, graceful voice of guitarist Pye Hastings sings the verse. Most of the following tracks, though varying in length, are structured as mini-suites, with at least two movements (and accordingly long titles, which I will never be able to remember in spite of my passably good memory). "And I Wish I Were Stoned" starts off as a wistful melody, then becomes increasingly brisk and jazzy. "As I Feel I Die", one of the highpoints of the album, has much the same structure, with a slow intro featuring great vocals from Hastings (who is not my favourite Caravan vocalist, though I have to give him his due), then culminating in a rousing instrumental duel between the two Sinclair cousins, Dave's incendiary keyboards and Richard's complex, fluid bass. "With an Ear to the Ground", the second longest track on the album, sees more spectacular work from David S. (a keyboard unsung hero if ever there was one), backed by one of the tightest rythm sections ever. "Hello Hello" is a lesson in how to write a song that's both hummable and intelligent, with the added bonus of one of the strangest percussive accompaniments ever (eat your heart out, Jamie Muir!), a pair of hedge clippers wielded by none other than Richard Sinclair himself, who also sings lead vocals. In fact, if I were to name one flaw of this otherwise flawless album, is that Sinclair sings too little... There are two versions of this song on the remastered CD, and on the second (an unreleased demo version) Richard's vocals are so forceful and intense that I get even stronger shivers down my spine than usual. The short, delightful "Asforteri" leads the way for the album's pièce de resistance, the 14-minute-plus "For Richard" (which of the two, I wonder?), where David S. gives a stunning demonstration of his impressive skills as an organ player, while Richard S. (while unfortunately remaining silent) provides a solid yet intricate rythmic background. The track ends with a rare, short yet tasteful guitar solo by Pye Hastings - an unlikely guitar hero, perhaps, but an excellent player indeed. What else can I say? An utterly magnificent album by one of the truly great bands, too often forgotten in "best of" polls. Go and get it - you won't regret it for a minute.
Raff 5/5 20.04.2006 (PROGARCHIVES)
This is my favorite Caravan album. It has every: the whimsical atmosphere, driving jazz rock, great playing and wonderful singing. Much of this album is dominated by Pye Hastings, he does most of the singing and writing. He proves himself a great hook- writer, making the music somewhat poppy. But progressive and jazz rock tendencies are in full force here. And so is the recognizable Caravan sound. You can tell by the tongue-in-cheek album title (what crazy bunch of loonies these guys are) that this is pure Caravan and your in for a ride of British lunacy and tight jazz rock. The atmosphere that Caravan create manages to be both mellow (and even trippy) yet have a powerful jazz-rock drive. Yet it is rarely heavy, which is very interesting to hear. Of course in typical Canterbury fashion, the organs are distorted and of course play almost all the solos and are very up front. These guys rock out-but in a very strange way. There is also still a very psychedelic element to the sound also, trippy sound effects and organs wahs are prominent here. Richard Sinclair mostly plays an excellent funky bass, but doesnt open his mouth too much. But his bass playing is a very important part of the bands sound and never fails to entertain. Pye Hastings does most of the singing and his voice could be compared to Robert Wyatt. It's very innocent and pure, full of optimism. Sinclair's is lower and more humorous, and could be compared to Kevin Ayers. Richard Coughlan plays a mean drum kit with much power and precision. His cymbals at the beginning of 'As I feel I Die' are wonderful and his cool percussion effects on 'Hello, Hello' give John Muir a run for his money. Jimmy's woodwind work is also an excellent addition to the bands sound. In the mellow parts he is essential for the atmosphere. In the jazzy suite 'For Richard' he is a vital and his solos are full of energy. Same with organ ace David Sinclair, who does about 70% of the records soloing but makes each one sound fresh. He produces lots of cool effects on his organ to, but instead of toying around he uses them well in the song. Pye Hasting's guitar mostly plays rhythm, only soloing in 'I wish I were stoned' and 'For Richard' his solos are tasteful, but he excels as a tight rhythm player playing jazzy chords. This record also shows the band playing great melodies. Even in the fast jazz sections, melody is not abused. This and Pye Hasting's great hooks make this album a surprisingly easy listen. But experimentation and progression is rampant, while pretension is not. I'm confused as to why this band was not commercially successful. The title track and 'Hello, Hello' would have made great singes, and are still very experimental. 'If I could do it over again..' is somewhat similar to fellow Canterbury gods The Soft Machine's 'We did it again', with it's repeating figures. 'Hello, Hello' manages to be short and accessible while packing lots of great ideas. The lyrics here are beautiful and heartfelt at times, and at others hilarious and British. 'And I wish I were stoned', a lovely song, has great lyrics like: "Got down in the road Crossed my heart and cried When you told me how you'd love To live and not to die" The delivery is also great. A positive and optimistic atmosphere runs amok here, and you can't help but to sing along to these great lyrics. I find that this record is almost guaranteed to make me feel happy and glad. Many of the songs like an 'Ear to the Ground', 'As I Feel I die', and 'For Richard' Begin mellow and atmospheric which prominent organ and woodwind, then seamlessly transfer to exciting jazz rocks which cant help but to tap your toe to. There are changes of moods and melodies happening all the time, especially in 'Ear to the Ground' and 'I Wish I were stoned'. In conclusion, this record is a pure Canterbury masterpiece. It has all of the Canterbury essentials and more and it's wonderfully listenable and free on pretension. You can tell these guys had fun making this record that is so complex yet well, fun! So get this, as soon as you can, it's the perfectly place to start exploring Canterbury.
The Wizard 5/5 15.07.2006 (PROGARCHIVES)
I discovered Caravan with the album 'In The Land Of The Grey And Pink' (Land), about a half a year ago I think. At first, the music did not convince me. Too much vocals, not enough instrumental excitement, a weak classic- camel copy etc. But in a short time, my thoughts changed. After a few more spins, 'Land' became a favorite album in my collection. Especially the long piece 'Nine Feet Underground' is pure enjoyment. What I like mostly about this band is the organ-sound David Sinclair is doing his solo's on. Mike Rathledge of Soft Machine also used this kind of sound, as did the Dutch band Supersister and so on. I discovered I was missing an essential album of Caravan, namely, their second album, 'If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You'. To be honest, I really love this album. I love it more than 'Land' because it contains more songs, and the 14- minute during 'For Richard' is absolutely unbeatable. What a great jam! It's just as good as 'Nine Feet Underground', for sure. Caravan was also good in writing short, catchy, radio-friendly songs such as the title track, and 'Hello Hello' (features David Sinclair on vocals). Let's not forget another epic on the album: 'With An Ear To The Ground You Can Make It...' The voice of Richard Sinclair sound very much like Robert Wyatt from Soft Machine. Well, they're both from the Canterbury-scene, it's a special town, that's clear. This album belongs to my ten favorite prog-albums now. Albums like 'Waterloo Lily' and 'Girls Who Plump Out In The Night' are ones I have yet to discover. Way to go! Magnificent album.
ProgRob 4/5 12.08.2006 (PROGARCHIVES)
The was CARAVAN's second album and it's one of the finest examples of Canterbury music that you will find. In fact this might be my favourite Canterbury album and it is my favourite CARAVAN record. The album starts off with the title track an amusing double entendre that they would use more often in the future. "If I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do It All Over You" is a light, upbeat, feel good song with a really good organ solo before 1 1/2 minutes. How catchy is this song ?! "And I Wish I Were Stoned / Don't Worry" features some good harmonies, more great organ and drum work, but it's the guitar solo that steals the show before 5 minutes.There is such an amazing jam on this song as well.This is just such a charming track. "As I Feel I Die" opens slowly with vocals until the tempo picks up around 2 minutes with an extended organ solo before 3 minutes and more fabulous drumming, great interplay ! "With An Ear To The Ground You Can Make It/Martinian / Only Cox / Reprise" has a lot of changes in tempo with organ, flute and drums leading the way. Gotta like the fuzz organ before 3 minutes. "Hello Hello" was released as a single and has a sixties feel at times and those whimsical vocals too. "Asforteri" builds slowly throughout. "Can't Be Long Now / Francoise / For Richard / Warlock" is the longest song and an instrumental that also builds to an energetic beat driven song with sax. The "For Richard" section is an instrumental jam that i'm pretty sure was inspired by God ! Amazing ! How nasty is the organ 10 1/2 minutes in. The final track "Limits" is a short vocal tune ending with flute.The first bonus song you would swear was part of the original release, it's an awesome song called "A Day In The Life Of Maurice Haylett". I love the cover of this album, the humour, and the way these guys can play. Without a doubt a masterpiece of Canterbury music.
Mellotron Storm 5/5 16.11.2006 (PROGARCHIVES)
This is an immensely likable album, which I recommend to anyone who's interested in the Canterbury scene or in the development of symphonic prog. However, I do not consider it one of Caravan's true masterpieces - that's an honour I reserve for IN THE LAND OF GREY AND PINK and FOR GIRLS WHO GROW PLUMP IN THE NIGHT. Why? Well, it seems to me this album suffers from a certain lack of punch, and also from a lack of colour. Mind you, there's nothing wrong with the drumming - just the opposite. Richard Coughlan was probably the most accomplished member of the band at this stage; he had already found his own style. But some of the organ-dominated tracks on this album sound amateurish; they seem little better than demos ('And I wish I were stoned' and 'As I feel I die', for example). Also, 'For Richard' (more than 14 minutes long, and one of the most beloved tunes in Caravan's repertoire) starts off beautifully and contains some lovely solos by prog's greatest flautist, Jimmy Hastings, but its final (and fairly heavy) guitar riff is repeated a few times too many, and with too little variation. Caravan would record more exciting versions of 'For Richard' later in their career; there's a far superior version on the excellent LIVE AT FAIRFIELD HALLS. But let's not get too grumpy. In spite of any technical imperfections, both the title song and 'Hello hello' are marvellous examples of Caravan in a whimsical mood, while 'With an Ear to the Ground (etc.)' contains (among other things) a triumphant fuzz-box organ solo (in classic Canterbury style) by David Sinclair. The 2001 remaster contains four bonus tracks, at least one of which ('A Day in the Life of Maurice Haylett') will be of essential interest to all true Caravan freaks. The illustrated booklet is well-written and full of nostalgia-inducing photographs.
fuxi 4/5 07.12.2006 (PROGARCHIVES)
First what I heard from Caravan was this album, their second ,and my favourite one among their numerous releases. From the very first beat it offered that sophisticated Canterbury sound, not so forceful , somehow more gentle prog but very persuasive and expressed through superb musicianship. On the first side of the record definitely dominates 'And I Wish I Were Stoned' with its tuneful melody, while on the side two that would be 'Cant Be Long Now'. All the material on this album was written by band members, and in playing it they had support in wind instruments (sax and flute) by 'brother James' (Hastings) whose contribution was not of complementary kind, but consistent one and superb in every way. Although my interest in Caravan music reached somewhere till 'Blind Dog At St. Dunstan' album, my praise of this band begins and finishes with this one.
bsurmano 4/5 14.06.2007 (PROGARCHIVES)
4.5 stars. One of the pinnacale releases from Canterbury sound pioneers Caravan. For their sophomore album Caravan took a very different approach, which they'd continue to do throughout the span of their prime. This release marks the beginning of a more progressive and ambitious sound. An important departure from the still excellent debut release. The highlights here are pretty much all of the longer tracks, especially As I Feel I Die and Can't be long now / Françoise / For Richard / Warlock, and really any moment on the album where Dave Sinclair is soloing, as he sounds good as ever here. The legendary For Richard became one of the staple performances at live concerts, which lead to very long and interesting live versions of the song. The shorter tracks leave nothing to be desired either really, even though they're not quite as interesting to the prog fan. The short title track and Hello Hello both exhibit just as well the great keyboard playing of Dave Sinclair at his best. I highly recommend this album to any fans of Caravan, the Canterbury sound, or anyone looking to get into the Canterbury sound. Though personally I much prefer their next release In the Land of Grey and Pink, my favorite Caravan album and a great introduction to the interesting and unique pocket of music that is Canterbury.
Speesh 4,5/5 30.06.2007 (PROGARCHIVES)
1. If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd do It All Over You: This Song gives me a good feeling when ever I listen to it. Completely Canterbury Stylee; Poppy, jazzy, trippy, and great distorted organ solo by David Sinclair. Very good opener. 2. And I Wish I Were Stoned/Don't worry: The first thing I notice on this song is the nice mellow bass, yet then before you know it, the trademark organ solo really inflates the intenseity of this song. Great song. Long Song. Great drums, great guitar solo also. Then: here come the warm vocals: "Don't worry about me". I like the way Don't Worry sounds, as well as the way it stars (after the climax of And I Wish I Were Stoned). Ends with a trippy drum solo. 3. As I feel I die: Real mellow, very hard to describe the feel of the song, which is a very good thing. After a while the song becomes very upbeat, pounding drumms, siren keyboards, presented in a fast way that makes me want to shout GO. Here Comes The Warm Organ; blareing, ringing, complex bass work, frantic rhythm guitar gives it a psychedelic feel, upbeat drums; all mixed together rambling, exploding. But then it ends semi instantly. 5. Hello Hello: With Sinclair on lead vocals you know you can't go wrong, especially with the first three classic Caravan Albums, and Hatfield & The Norths two albums. I actuallythink alot of this song, pretty good especially at the end when things start to go crazy. 6. Asforteri: Short and sweet, great vocals from Sinclair and Hastings. 8. Limits:Another short song. Reminds me of the end credits of the album, even more so after the previous track Can't Be Long Now / Françoise / For Richard / Warlock, which is by-far the best song(s) on the album. Towards the end of the song/album there is a very beautiful flute solo, which is a very good closer to a very wonderful, well produced album, and one of the Canterbury Scene's most treasured jewels.
Jake E. 5/5 08.09.2007 (PROGARCHIVES)
Some albums have special memories for us. Some albums bring back memories and times, places, and people from our pasts, other albums bring back more immediate memories. Some memories are good, some are not so good. Music, like smell, can trigger rather intense memory recollection. This album by Caravan brings back memories not so long ago of a wide eyed American visiting the cradle of western civilization while enjoying the hospitality, not to mention the record collection of a certain beloved collaborator here. Caravan for me was a group that was essential enough to pick up an album from so I could be familiar with. Like most I got the most 'acclaimed' of them. The excellent 'In the Land of Grey and Pink'. Great album but nothing that really ..really grabbed me. However Raffaella is a big ...errr. a huge Caravan fan and while with her I got a chance to explore the albums. This album...of all them grabbed me hard.. and in these last 6 months... has just never let go. So much so that this album has moved into my mental top 10 prog albums list. This album became an inside joke for us for every time we listened to one of her Dream Theater albums (yes she nearly has them all and I listened to all of them) we both would cry .... next is Caravan.. the ANTI Dream Theater. Listening to Dream Theater then Caravan is a stark example of musicians playing instruments versus musicians making music. The album begins with the title track with has a catchy vocal line repeated through out the length of the song by Richard Sinclair. I dare you to listen to this and not be driven to sing 'Who do you...think .. you are'.Simply catchy as all hell. Nice trademark Canterbury organ solo by David Sinclair. Next up we have 'And I wish I were Stoned-Don't Worry' with wonderful singing and vocal melodies by Hasting and Richard Sinclair. There is really is something about Richard Sinclair's voice that grabs me. Hell I think I mayeven have a man crush on him. "As I feel I die' follows which featured Pye Hastings on the vocals which has a an extended vocal begining before the group falls in with a mid paced skipping rhythm. Nice organ solo on this which really is the hghlight of the song. For me at least the real meat of the album has arrived and where the fun really starts. 'With an Ear to the ground' is an extend voyage into jazzy improv with David Sinclair getting a nice showcase... it has a real sense of atmosphere especially pronounced with the piano section over the last minute and a half of the track I love the way the song ends funny as that might sounds. Next up... is a song that ... I just love. 'Hello Hello'. Hear we get Richards voice in it's full glory. A short song in between the two instrumental monsters.. and his voice is just so relaxing and pleasant to the ears. Great song. Next up is THE definitive Caravan song.. forget 9 Feet Underground.'For Richard' still closes Caravan shows and simply blew me away the first time I heard it. After a long soft vocal intro band ...explodes behind an angry organ bouncy riff than Richard picks up on the bass while David goes off into an extended organ solo. Jimmy Hastings picks up when David finishes with a great sax solo. Pye gets a good solo in there as well. Anyhow..great riffs and great playiing galore with space for all the have a moment in the sun. A simply fabulous track and one I love to play along with on my bass. Simply a great piece of music. Limits closes the album but to be honest I am always in ecstasy from hearing For Richard and I so don't even remember much about it hahahahah. Music that is tasteful, full of humour, great vocal melodies, fabulous organ and bass playing. For me 5 stars and for the site 5 stars. If you are a prog fan.. you should own this album. An essential album from an essential prog group. Highly recommended. The album has a special meaning for me....who knows... maybe it will for you as well
micky 5/5 16.09.2007 (PROGARCHIVES)
Green is good, but Pink is better... The classic Canterbury sound is all over this baby. A decent mix of jazzy rock music with perfect chops, good arrangements and a sense of playfulness and humor. The closest reference I have to music like this is Supersister but I think Caravan is generally more respected and thought of as more serious. The tracks abound with vocal harmonies, tight rhythm sections, and guitars and keys that occasionally sound dated but possess the spirit of exploration. Keys and flutes provide additional ambiance throughout. Things start a bit slow but halfway through "As I Feel I Die" we are officially cookin with stern bass lines, hard hitting percussion, intense guitar and keys. "With an Ear to the Ground" has some amazing keyboard runs and spacious sections with flute and soft volume. The highlight and centerpiece is the 14-plus minute epic "Can't Be Long Now" where they finally begin to show some of the pizzazz that makes their next album so spectacular. Much more lively and progressive with 4 different sections. Excellent saxophone and flutes, amazing improvisations by everyone. But most importantly there is a real spirit of adventure on this long track with changing moods and directions. By far the best track on the album. "Limits" brings things back to earth with a soft piece ending in a fading flute solo. I am with those who favor "Grey and Pink" over this album on the whole but this is still a good album recommended to any Canterbury fan. The Decca remastered CD edition includes generous bonus tracks and a nice booklet with running biography.
Finnforest 3/5 06.11.2007 (PROGARCHIVES)
One top-notch song to go with a collection of other solid tunes, If... certainly delivers the classic Caravan playfulness, but only partly provides the quality jazz-infused, hippie-tinged rock that I respect most from them. The highlight: For Richard (or at least that's how most people on ProgArchives refer to it). This is certainly one of my top Canterbury (and jazz fusion, for that matter) songs out there. It begins with a somber, light tone that gradually builds until the fuzz organ sets the new tempo, and off we go! Then we are treated to a tremendous groove: interesting and lively bass and drums, with tons of room for enjoyable sax, organ, and flute solos. The best is saved for last, with a killer groove over which Hastings on guitar and Sinclair on bass really cut loose. Just excellent, tight jazzy-rock, with a unique Caravan touch. The rest of the album cannot compare in my mind, and some even sound downright childish (though certainly nothing bad). And I Wish I Were Stoned is a great hippie tune that both has some nice crescendos as well as very catchy melodies--another high point for the album. Caravan also have some shorter tracks that are playful yet experiment a bit with different time signatures (title track, Hello Hello, As I Feel I Die). The rest of the album does little to interest me, though there's nothing especially bad or irritating. Overall, a solid album from Caravan, but only one song that is truly remarkable. Except for For Richard (and possibly ...Stoned), If... just sounds a bit too dated for me to personally appreciate, but that says little about its overall quality. As other reviewers have noted, this will take some time to grow, and for those who are loyal to their next album, this one will always pale in comparison.
Flucktrot 3/5 26.12.2007 (PROGARCHIVES)
After their fully psychedelic debut album, Caravan is slowly reaching what's going to be their definite sound (or genre). Even if there will still be a psyche touch in here. There are several good moments on this album of which And I Wish . is the first one. Great dual song : quiet vocal parts and a more rocking and sublime electric guitar solo. This works pretty well. This structure will also be repeated during As I Feel Die which doesn't sound very optimistic to say the least. A bit depressing, even. One can appreciate the great organ play of David Sinclair during the first long suite on this album. The interplay with his cousin Richard on bass is a very fine moment. As the work of brother James on the flute. It ends up in a sweet mood which Genesis will re-use at the end of Dancing Out With The Moonlit Knight. A highlight. Which is not the case of the jazzy oriented Hello Hello. The second long suite also offers some nice rhythm changes throughout its forteen minutes. It starts on a very, very quiet mood (but this is a Caravan TM) and will develop gently towards a stronger and jazzy instrumental break. Flute (very melodic) and keys deserve a special mention. The finale is a bit harder and repetitive. The remastered edition features several bonus tracks of which A Day In The Life Of Maurice Haylett. Bizarrely it didn't make the album cut. IMO, it could replaced easily the short tracks as well as Hello Hello. But since it is available now, justice is done. This album is not my favourite one. It is a good one and therefore I rate it with three stars.
ZowieZiggy 3/5 12.01.2008 (PROGARCHIVES)
This is such a good album, and I´ve really enjoyed listening to it repeatedly before writing this review. This is when Canterbury is best. I really think Caravan has their own style even within the Canterbury movement, but especially on the whole prog scene. No one sounds like this. Caravan are on top of that outstanding musicians and their compositions are really strong. The music is prog rock with hints of jazz, but the jazz parts are never allowed to take over. There are two singers with very different voices which is really good for the diversity in the music. The keyboards on the album are outstanding courtesy of David Sinclair. That man just has a really great sense of melody and rythm. His playing is so cool and never too technical. I have to note his solo in With an ear to the ground you can make it / Martinian / Only cox / Reprise, which is so melodic and beautiful. There are some great soloing in Can't be long now / Françoise / For Richard / Warlock as well, both on keyboards and sax. Really nice. The sound quality is really good considering this was 1970, everything about this band just smells of class. There are some sax and flute playing on the album, which adds also adds to the diversity of the album. I must say that I had a hard time getting into the album after having heard the successor to this album. In the Land of Grey and Pink is a masterpiece and even though If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You is pretty much in the same vein, it´s not as perfect as In the Land of Grey and Pink and I find it a bit harder to get into. It still is an excellent album, that I would like to recommend to everyone reading this. Give it some time it will grow on you. I had a hard time chosing between 4 or 5 stars here, but in the end this is not as perfect as the successor which I gave 5 stars so a BIG 4 star album this is. Highly recommendable. NOTE: Well I´ve grown in love with this album even more since I wrote my review and I must say that I feel it deserves 5 stars now. So I have upgraded my rating from 4 stars to 5 stars. This is a Canterbury masterpiece.
UMUR 5/5 19.01.2008 (PROGARCHIVES)
Canterbury, as it's approached by Caravan, is a strange pleasure. Characteristic as the genre may sound, I still find it desperately lacking in identity. And that applies to this album as well. You can often label albums or song with emotional tags such as 'aggressive', 'pastoral' or 'joyful'. If I Could Do It All Over is all that, and none of the above. It's a safe ride between such 'dramatic' emotions as wistful melancholy and mild amusement. And underneath this polished surface: a bunch of musicians bubbling with sprightly energy and talent. What to make of this? If I had the answer I'm sure I'd enjoy this album a lot more. There's no doubt that the album shows examples of great improvisations and that laid-back, mid-tempo and jazzy feeling that oozes Canterbury from start to finish. But being slightly impatient and restless in nature, the drawn out parts of the many long numbers here grow into one continuous blur after a while, in a hazy bar-like way that pleases some, but not me. On the other side, Caravan has a way of blending these floating free-form bits with something completely different. There are the solid, simple, almost angular riffs of organ, bass and guitar adding a poppier tone now and then, like in the title song. These have a way of annoying me as well, lumbering along in a sweet and sticky way. I want more of the middle-ground, like on the excellent Hello Hello. A relatively simple bass theme acts as the base of the song, lashing out in various discrete solos, strange percussion and effects in the style I want and expect from a Canterbury band. It's not the longest or the most varied tune, but it still it's one of those that reach out the most along with for example As I Feel I Die. It starts out mellow, with enchanting vocals, smooth keys and delicately applied, gradually building drums. The song kicks in with a surprisingly direct, almost sharp drum beat and a sprawling bass on which the obligatory 'Canterbury' organ delivers its trademark sounds. Another song that keeps me interested throughout its length. One might say that the problem I have with the album is the battle between poppy, whimsical parts and the behemoths that are the very, very long improvisations. They are dense in a '70s way: fuzzy, far from crisp and delicate and almost overpowering as the solos kick in time after time. The solos are very good however, and especially the various flute parts can make me feel enormously pleased. In comparison to In The Land Of Grey and Pink (which is the other Caravan album in my collection) this is a slightly darker, denser effort from the band. Where the whimsicality of songs like Golf Girl and Love To Love You feels very dominant on ITLOGAP, music is what matters here. It takes more time, as it's quite frankly a complex, multifaceted album. But I like it more than the supposed masterpiece. I find If I Could Do It All Over Again full of minor flaws and full of minor gems, and as such it's very hard to brake down. It's solid, but I can't say I find much more.
LinusW 3/5 14.06.2008 (PROGARCHIVES)
This album really deserves 4.5 stars. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get into the Canterbury Scene. One of Caravan's finest. If I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do It All Over You - This is a light and jazzy song, with an interesting beat with the overlapping vocals. And I Wish I Were Stoned/Don't Worry - This is one of my favorite songs on the album. It is quite catchy, especially the chorus. It is a simple but relaxing tune. As I Feel I Die - The song starts out slow and reminiscent of the Beatles song She's Leaving Home. It speeds up into a jazz rock track. The drums are very good on this song. With An Ear To The Ground You Can Make It/Martinian/Only Cox/Reprise - The keyboards on this track are great. It's not a very memorable track though. Hello Hello - The rhythm section gets an applause on this track. The harmonies are very nice too. Asforteri 25 - The background melody in this song combined with the vocals makes it a pleasant short track. Can't Be Long Now/Francoise/For Richard/Warlock - The beginning is a great flute melody. Then, at a faster tempo, there's the classic Canterbury jazzy sound with organ and guitar. The sax solo is also amazing. When the flute comes back in, it is an excellent combination. For the last part of the track, it's back to the standard Caravan jazz rock. Limits - A nice little ending track with some flute. Nothing extraordinary, but it's alright.
YesFan72 4/5 01.10.2008 (PROGARCHIVES)
I had long been into 70s rock music and prog rock when I listened to this album for the first time. It remains one of the biggest shock I ever had. At the time, I could not imagine an album from an obscure band could rival with the classic album of King Crimson or Yes. How wrong could I be ! This is one of my top ten favourite rock album, and one of my top 3 prog rock album. Definitely Caravan's best, although the first and Land of Grey and Pink also have their merits. There are several distinctive features in this album. Firstly, it sounds like a single musical piece, and not like a series of song. It is not only that they are woven together, or that a theme echoes in several songs, it is just that you never can say where a song ends or when it begins, with plentiful of rythm and instrumental variations. Surprise is indeed another notable feature of this album. You must have listened to the album a few dozen times before you can predict what's gonna happen. Melody is striking too. Unlike many prog rock achievements, If I could do it... always remains close to pop music. It even sounds cheerful at times. Finally, lightness is the reason why this album is a step ahead of the prog rock bunch. It is never aggressive, or heavy, and yet full of energy (lightness in itself is not a quality, but it is strikingly scarce in prog rock). If your CD shelf is at least 4 inches wide, If I Could Do it... ought to be in it !
snookerfool 5/5 02.12.2008 (PROGARCHIVES)
This album has it's moments, blending the Canterbury style with rockier elements. At some points the albums melodies seem to sound like Emerson, Lake & Palmer went to Canterbury, but it's no big deal, cause who doesn't like ELP? This album is very good, I must say, featuring my favorite Caravan track, And I wish I were stoned. The album opens with a "cute" song, which goes by the name of the album. It has a very child-like feeling to it, but the complex time signature and many harmonies make it feel like, you're in prog heaven. And I wish I were stoned, ahhh.... This song is amazing in every aspect of it, working by the "soft-verse loud-chorus" thing Nirvana "invented". The verses are in 5/4 and the choruses (plural for chorus?) are in 3/4, giving the song a complex yet stable time signature. There are some songs like Hello Hello and As I feel I die that really sound childish, but not in a bad way, in a very good way, actually. They have their moments though, they definitely have their moments. The long songs on this album are excellent. They feel like, every part is heaven, and then again, heaven, over., over and over again. The songs give a feel of what Caravan is about! Not just childlike songs, masterpieces written by geniuses (and the kiddy songs are pretty good too). If I could do it all over again I'd do it all over you is most definitely recommended to every Canterbury fan out there, especially heavy fans of In the Land of Grey and Pink.
The Runaway 4/5 05.08.2009 (PROGARCHIVES)
Legendary UK band,found in 1968 and being the other half of the disbanded ''The Wilde Flowers'',the other one being ''Soft Machine''.Original members were Pye Hastings,Richard Coughlan,Richard Sinclair and Dave Sinclair.They were the first band from UK to sign with MGM/Verve and released on this label their eponymous debut in 1969,a good album deep rooted in psychedelia as well as English folk music.Verve soon closed their rock department and CARAVAN,under new manager Terry Smith , moved to UK label Decca Records. A year later CARAVAN published their sophomore work,presented here,which was undoubtfully a big step forward compared to their debut.The psychedelic and slight folk elements are again present and obvious,but this time they are supported by jazzy structures and a richer musicianship.Most of the compositions feature strong doses of Pye Hastings'/Richard Sinclair's sweet vocals surrounded by the psych passages of the dated-sounding Hammond organ and the trully strong rhythm section with intense drumming and difficult jazzy bass lines.Moving forward by listening to this work,the instrumental parts are increasing,delivering somewhat improvisational musicianship with excellent melodic guitars and really frenetic jazzy bass and drums in a very delicate way and even some light flutes and saxes pop out here and there,played by Hasting's brother Jimmy.CARAVAN seemed to have established their own sound with this release,which meant to be a historical one for the sound of Canterbury rock.Strongly recommended to anyone deep into both psychedelia and prog rock.
apps79 3,5/5 21.08.2009 (PROGARCHIVES)
Sometimes, expectations can vary (in fact, results of those expectations may vary). After their masterpiece, "In the Land of Pink & Grey", I heard a lot about this album. And was surprised by first song (which serves as intro track here I suppose), but sadly, I was surprised badly. Absolutely nothing that I expected. This is bad side of expectations, you can feel cheated (which is entirely not true, because music itself is innocent). Weird intro yes, good one ? No. Don't fit me in entire composition (even this is playful album, it's still more 60s, than "In the..."). Fortunately, And I wish I were stoned - Don't worry saves the day. Combination of keyboard driven (sometimes driving force is in background), with so called "a shadow from the past, good memory on your days, spent playing in the sun". And even I never did this stone business , I can appreciate this. In the middle, keyboard changes and we can hear typical sound of "Land of...". I'm glad, that this is different, yet still good than their other one I know, previously mentioned successor. Of course, jamming outro is here too. but this album sounds kinda pastoral, with many quite parts, jamming parts, weird parts, parts that I didn't understand yet, parts that I'll never understand. Simply many parts. While "Grey & Pink" is quite the same, there is different approach to listeners ear. 4(+), something beyond my reach. Yet. Candidate on 5 star, later.
Marty McFly 4/5 14.09.2009 (PROGARCHIVES)
Very, very Canterbury. While I've heard a couple of Gong albums before this one (both are great by the way), I feel that Caravan's IF I COULD DO IT... album represents what I think of first when I think of the Cantebury scene. All tracks are loaded with rich, pastoral organs, subtle guitar lines and a propulsive rhythm section. Add that with joyous, tasteful vocals, extended organ solos, witty lyrics and the occasional woodwind and you've got one of the most delightful musical experiences. The structures here may teeter towards pop music a bit, but something about the music makes this album rise above the typical pop range. I'd say about 40-60% of the music is in some sort of weird time signature e.g. the entirety of the title track is in a seven. I tend to think that this factor is only one of the reasons why this is more than just pop, and maybe the soundscapes and textures have more to do with how deep the album sounds. There's only a few boring spots, most of them coming from the ''For Richard'' suite, but the fuzzy organ thing at the end (I believe it's the ''Warlock'' section) makes up for any previous shortcomings. ''Hello, Hello'' and the title track are nice, delectable little tunes that are short enough for numerous repeated listenings. It is ''And I Wish I Were Stoned/Don't Worry'' that exemplifies what the album is all about and what heights Caravan are capable of achieving. Even a little sleeper track like ''Asforteri'' doesn't sound weak to my ears. Getting past the quiet beginnings of both ''As I Feel I Die'' and ''With An Ear to the Ground...'' is hard, but the ''eruptions'' (the band really doesn't get too loud) right after are just splendid and set the pace for the remainder of the song. I'd say this a great place to start if you want to know what Caravan are all about. Psych, pop, rock, fusion and pastorals musics blended perfectly into a thing that is nice enough for traditional progsters but will have things that virtually anyone can get into.
Sinusoid 5/5 11.10.2009 (PROGARCHIVES)
I have had a major battle with this album. I first thought it was something wrong with me. But no, I am fine. The problem is this album. Caravan has arrived on their success formula on this, their second album. A mix of Wilde Flowers, jazz and pop. The Canterbury sound in other words. The opening song, the title track is cheesy as heck and more like a BBC jingle. That put me off. The rest of the album is thankfully more like a mix of pop and jazz; the Canterbury sound. The music varies between whimsical pop and long improvised jazz pieces. Some of the tunes are pretty cheesy too. My gripe here is that I do not think the songs are as strong on this album as on the following albums. I directly dislike a couple of tunes here. I love the sound though. The bonus tracks are also not as strong as the original album. I therefore cannot give it four stars and I almost hate myself for talking bad about a band I really admire. Honesty hurts.
toroddfuglesteg 3,75/5 15.11.2009 (PROGARCHIVES)
One of the amazing phenomena of the early 70's is the endless variety in progressive rock aromas all over Europe: RPI, Kraut, UK Sympho and Space-Rock,... It's just a few examples of subgenres that all accommodated a broad diversity of bands, sometimes as far from each other as the subs themselves. The creative energy of those years must be unsurpassed in rock history! One of the instantly recognizable sounds is the Canterbury style, with Caravan as a typical exponent of this soft-jazz tinged psychedelic rock, with its charming woolly sound, dreamy vocals and dirty grinding organs. Especially that last feature is the one that brings prog heaven on earth for me. It adds tension and edge to this dominantly pleasant, pastoral and harmonious music. Compared to the symphonic Prog, the songwriting is fairly straightforward and poppy, and the instrumental parts are rather jammy in nature. Combined with the infectious grooves on this album, it creates a very loose and charming vibe, quite psychedelic at times, but always cool, relaxed and genuine. Only the vocals are a less satisfying element. There isn't anything wrong with the vocal melodies as such but the voices seem a bit subdued at times. The next album would bring a large improvement in that area. I admit I'm fairly new to this whole Canterbury scene, with only the more spacey Gong and Soft Machine's Third as long-standing acquaintances. So far I haven't found my 5 star album yet, but given the vocals I doubt whether this one will be a contender for it.
Bonnek 3,5/5 27.05.2010 (PROGARCHIVES)
A fantastic Caravan album that is one of the best Canterbury albums of 1970. The music is inventive and there are enormous amounts of virtuosos musicianship throughout. The highlights are in abundance and have impacted the band for years, still remaining in recent concert set lists. This is vibrant music with an uplifting bright feel. The musicians are tight and the songs are infectious, and it all feel very progressive with creative time sig structures and some of the best lyrics the band have generated. Of course with Caravan there is always a feeling of whimsy in the lyrics and themes and all is performed with a sense of fun. The band have so much fun that the listener is also able to enjoy the experience. The title track is a classic, "If I could do it all over again, I'd do it all over you" and only has a running time of about 3 minutes. The more lengthy And I wish I were stoned - Don't worry, clocking 8 minutes 21, is definitely an ear opener with some innovative instrumentals from the talented guitarist extraordinare Pye Hastings and David Sinclair on keys. As with all classic Caravan albums this one has the obligatory medley of songs jammed onto one track such as With an ear to the ground you can make it / Martinian / Only cox / Reprise, almost 10 minutes o prog bliss. But the real piece de resistance is the treasure all caravan fans adore, Can't be long now / Françoise / For Richard / Warlock, a 14 minute maelstrom of catchy choruses and mind blowing keyboards. That is enough to warrant a 4 star rating and I would suggest all Canterbury fans obtain this master work as soon as they can.
AtomicCrimsonRush 4/5 07.06.2010 (PROGARCHIVES)
If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You is the first of two absolute masterpieces by Caravan (the other being In the Land of Grey and Pink. This, their second album, really sets their sound in full swing, with the best lineup the band ever had, with the wonderful Richard Sinclair on bass and vocals, David Sinclair on keys, Pye Hastings on guitar and vocals, Richard Coughlan on drums, and Brother James (Jimmy Hastings, if my guess is right) on sax and flute. This is probably my personal favorite Caravan album, just beating out their next. Everything falls into place so well, and the band gives us a good blend of music. We're given three longer tracks, including the fan favorite "For Richard" as well as several shorter tracks, displaying Caravan's ability to condense their sound down into a highly concentrated three or four minutes of excellence. One of my favorite examples of their shorter tunes is "Hello, Hello". The music is fun and well composed, and the lyrics are a lot of fun. Richard Sinclair is one of my favorite vocalists in prog, and in music in general for that matter. Dave Sinclair is right up there as one of my favorite keyboard players as well. This album is one of the two Caravan albums which I find most absolutely essential. I highly recommend this one and their next to just about anyone. The music isn't overly complicated, nor is it "out there" at all. They're just a great bunch of musicians making great, accessible music for everyone to enjoy. Edit: About the bonus tracks, the first (A Day In the Life of Maurice Haylett) is my favorite. The other three are alternate versions of tracks already on the album, this one's something else.
SaltyJon 5/5 13.07.2010 (PROGARCHIVES)
Here you get the 'classic' Caravan sound, with the keyboard sounding like a weird guitar, awesome bass and drum playing, good rythm sections coming from the guitarist, and of course, funny and excellent vocals. Isn't it what we like about Caravan? The way it always sound happy, in a weird way? Oh, and let's not forget the occasionnal flute playing that brings a little touch of magic. The best moment of the album to me would be ''With an Ear to the Ground You Can Make It/Martinian/Only Cox/Reprise''. The keyboard solo, supported by genious bass (Richard Sinclair's typical ingeniosity) and epic drums (good ol' rolls and ''flams''). This is one of my all-time favorites! The production keeps the product interesting, even 40 years later. Not so easy to get at first, but what a pleasant thing to hear! Far better than ''In the Land of Grey and Pink'', wich is in my opinion unequal, sometimes too pop/folk to be considered progressive rock. A true masterpiece of Prog, especially in the Canterbury genre!
Ogilla 5/5 04.09.2010 (PROGARCHIVES)
Second Caravan's album (released in 1970 already) is their step to early Canterbury sound,which for some years will become kind of genre's standard. Melodic and dreamy pop/rock mixed with psychedelia and jazzy arrangements. Possibly, atmosphere there is as much important as sound itself. For me this album, being in all strong release, is kind of mixed bag. Half of compositions are great, and another are just average. Long improvs are ok when they have some sense, demonstrates some complex musicianship or interesting music ideas. There o this album,where complexity is far not a main characteristics, sometimes psychedelic pop compositions with long improvs sound as kind of early psychedelic pop attributes, not Canterbury sound. To be honest. I always prefer second step of Canterbury historical evolution, the time of complex jazz fusion long compositions and high level of musicianship (read- Soft Machine from Third,etc). Main this album's interactivity for me is its melancholic melodies in combination with jazzy arrangements. There is some kind of magic in best album's songs, they bring this release in forefront of early Canterbury scene. But I prefer "In the Land of Pink & Grey" to this release as better example of Caravan's music, and I really prefer later Soft Machine music (in part as Caravan's off-spring) for sure. Still one of great early Canterbury release though.
snobb 4/5 12.10.2010 (PROGARCHIVES)
I find this one rather addictive. Apparently it's known as the epitome of Canterbury rock, so if you are into that genre or symphonic rock, I thoroughly recommend it. There's quite a mixture of psychedelic rock, jazz and folk on this album. The organ playing is very distinctive throughout, with lot's of solos and the guitar parts are more subtle. Some nice vocals with harmonies and plenty of melodic charm. Most of the songs run into eachother and I love the way some parts blend together. I particularly love "And I Wish I Were Stoned" which is very folky as well as "Hello Hello". Most of the solo parts are very Jazzy and the longest track "For Richard" is also a favourite of mine. It's a bit hypnotic especially when the drums and bass kick in. It keeps me hooked and never loses my attention. This was my first encounter with Caravan. Some say that the following "In The Land Of Grey And Pink" album is better but I'm yet to decide. Anyway I'm going for 4 and a half stars.
Frankie Flowers 4/5 26.11.2010 (PROGARCHIVES)
It is rare that you find an album that you can listen to over and over and not feel an ounce of monotony or boredom. This is one of those albums. The performance and writing is utterly flawless. Whether it's long instrumental jam sections as found in As I Feel I Die and For Richard Medley, whimsical pop tracks If I Could Do It All Over Again... and Hello Hello or feature length pieces And I Wish I Were Stoned and With An Ear To The Ground... Richard and David Sinclair's playing and writing brings Caravan's sound to it's very peak all over this record with Pye Hastings vocals and guitar adding to the sound in great ways. Soft Machines Third is one of the most remembered Canterbury records but this gem seems often left behind. But it is a true masterpiece and a must-hear record for any fan of Canterbury Scene this contains one of the finest examples of what this set of musicians were really capable. A 5 star album that really is essential listening for anybody who wants to know what Canterbury scene is all about.
topographicbroadways 5/5 02.01.2011 (PROGARCHIVES)
These blokes could really lock into a groove, of that there's no doubt. But it's not as good as 'In the Land of Grey and Pink' by any stretch of the imagination. The somewhat lifeless vocals of Pye Hastings rubs me up the wrong way. They're nice enough but they're so powder puff soft. 'As I Feel' cheers me up immensely - now this is more like it - Dave Sinclair's keyboards go 'tonto' reminding me very much of 'Egg' in their prime. A thoroughly uplifting tune which may remind some listeners of 'The Doors' Damn! it's just all too NICE. Thats my big problem with this album. Stop being so friendly!!! 'Hello Hello' is my favourite song on this album - where everything comes together beautifully - the soft vocals, odd time signature, unusual tune and that superb keyboard that sounds like Rolf Harris's stylophone. If truth be told, this album's actually pretty good. I just wanted to kick lumps out of it but don't have the ammunition to do so. A good solid effort with special 'hats off' to Dave Sinclair. I still prefer the follow up though.
Dobermensch 3/5 18.02.2011 (PROGARCHIVES)
In general I'm used to relisten to an album when I write a review. This is one of the few cases in which I can review basing on my memory only. This is one of the two Caravan's masterpieces, the other IMO is In The Land Of Grey And Pink. What makes those two albums special in the Caravan's discography is the mixture of pastoral and psychedelic moments. The picture on this album's sleeve is a clear example: the four guys in a green wood are not too psych and not too hippy. It gives a hint about the kind of music that the album contains. The title track, as well as Golf Girl on the following album is a nice opener which doesn't pretend anything. It has an unusual tempo, quite jazzy, and a link with the British Glam until the keyboard solo that's an excellent example of Caravan's music. The Caravan sounds in this period are acid, specially keyboards and guitar but are frequently mitigated by Jimmy Hasting's flute. I remember a thread about music very "English" on which Genesis were elected as the most "English" band ever. "Don't Worry" is a very English song. The vocals and choirs are one of the distinctive tracts of this Caravan period. They and the keyboard are the pastoral element and the acid role is taken by the guitar. This song has different parts. My favourite is the second half. "As I Feel I Die" is one of the most psychedelic and pastoral at the same moment songs. It starts very quiet with keyboards and vocals, but after few minutes bass and drums start a riff in I think 5/4 if I'm not wrong. It goes acid but jazzy at the same time. Another great number of this album. Also the sudden end is very appropriate. I can't imagine this track fading out. "With An Ear To The Ground" is another very "English" moment. It's an anticipation of songs like Winter Wine or the epic Nine Feet Underground as it contains all the elements that will make those two songs great. So it's a great song as well. Only the last two minutes of piano are a bit boring respect to the rest of the song. "Hello Hello" is a classic, instead. Released with several titles and recorded several times in this version it reaches its completeness. After a short and nice pastoral filler as "Asforteri" the epic in four movements arrives. Each part has its title but I've always perceived it as a single song. I remember a reviewer on a magazine about 30 years ago. He was reviewing "Caravan and the Big Symphonia" and he thought that For Richard was a new song dedicated to the actual "betrayer" Richard Sinclair"... Well, in this track we have a great flute performance of Jimmy Hastings. The thing which impressed me first is the high volume keyboard intro just after the flute has finished its part. The uptime quasi-latin tempo on which the acid guitar plays a melody without adding non-needed notes followed by the sax solo....what a track! "Limits" is a short closer. Very nice and jazzy with some psych noises and gimmicks in the end. I can't rate this less than 5 stars. Unfortunately, Caravan will be able to repeat themselves only with In The Land...then their quality will slightly decrease till to the poor The Album and Back to Front.
octopus-4 5/5 22.03.2011 (PROGARCHIVES)
"Psssst!.... the green one is better than the pink one"........ Caravan's second album is full of psych-pop, organ-rock and fancy jamming in 7/8. It's not samey though; the band are capable of delivering a wide variety of moods and styles, and perhaps more successfully than that, a wide variety of heavily syncopated rhythms. The nature of their music just invites the listener to groove to it, yet it carries a sense of intelligent, structured song-writing that is sometimes missing on psychedelic records. The short numbers are not filler tracks for once (this is probably what makes 'If I Could Do It Again...' more fulfilling than 'In The Land of Grey and Pink'). They are beautiful, cool songs with a great grasp of those 5/8, 7/8 and 11/8 time signatures (goes without saying for Caravan) and even catchier melodies than the longer pieces. What those extended songs do however, is create moods for us to jam along to, and sometimes it's fantastic that these romps last for a long time. These guys seem to always have a talent for changing the feel of the music just before the moment where it starts to get boring. Highlights for me include 'As I Feel I Die', probably the most rocking song on the album, with a very hot organ solo reminiscent of Jimmy Smith; 'With An Ear To The Ground You Can Make It', which has lots of cool interludes that carry you somewhere afar; and of course the 'For Richard...' suite. This piece starts atmospherically before blasting you with the best riff on the album (which is actually in 4/4!) and then going through various jazz-noodles before closing with some Uriah Heep style hard rock. But do not misinterpret my praising of these amazing tracks, the entire album is of a very high quality. I like the structure of this album; not using the bigger pieces to open or close but rather, wedging them right in the depths of the record for the listener to rummage through and find. It makes you sit through the little pop songs, which, as I said, are brilliant. In this way, the album feels longer and more varied than it's follow-up. Although nothing on here is perhaps as good as 'Nine Feet Underground', none of it is mediocre either, like side one of 'In The Land of Grey and Pink' is. People are divided on which album is better, which is why they have similar ratings. Only a fool would not get both, but be sure to get this, the underdog, first.
thehallway 5/5 02.04.2011 (PROGARCHIVES)
"If I Could Do It All Over Again" is a good album by Caravan with some very powerful jazz influences present throughout the general progressive poppy attitude. I always found most of the vocals on this album to be quite annoying because of their high-pitched nasal sound. The music here is fantastic though; very progressive yet poppy British sounding music with a very heavy jazz influence that is obvious upon even the first listen, which makes this album along with Caravan's other albums an interesting listen. The biggest stand out track on this album for me would be "Can't be long now / Françoise / For Richard / Warlock" because it progresses wonderfully throughout the various parts. There is plenty of fantastic soloing, which is to be expected, but the track also is quite gloomy sounding for what I'm used to with Caravan. The whole track is very smooth in its jazziness, and any fans of jazz-rock or fusion would most likely enjoy this piece. Another stand out track would be "With an ear to the ground you can make it / Martinian / Only cox / Reprise" which roughly follows the same format, but executes it just as well, but I'm sure I only feel this way because I lean more towards the jazz-fusion fan base. This is definitely a recommended album for fans of jazz influenced progressive rock, even though I feel like Caravan's "In The Land of Grey and Pink" is much better.
colorofmoney91 3/5 11.04.2011 (PROGARCHIVES)
An astonishing improvement from their first album! After releasing their eponymous debut album in 1968, their label Verve decided to close down their rock and pop division. As such, the band had to wait two years before finally becoming signed to Decca, and releasing their second album. Their first album was fun listening, and certainly quite underrated, but now Caravan were poised to write some of the best and most iconic albums to come out of the Canterbury scene. In fact, the next four albums in this series are worthy of 5 stars in my opinion. With one of the best titles for an album, 'If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You' is not as hippy-esque as the cover photograph would make you believe. We start with the title track If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You, which is the first in Caravan's list of songs with double entendres as titles. This is also the first in a series of short, fun tracks written entirely in 7/8, from Caravan, this list containing Love To Love You, Hello Hello and Hoedown. Needless to say, Caravan get off to a fun start in this great track. The 7/8 time signature is subtle and you wouldn't notice it unless your looking for it, which is a difficult achievement for any band to accomplish (yet Caravan would do this over and over). A short song that is very progressive. The next track is in fact two joined together. And I Wish I Were Stoned starts off this medley with bizarre lyrics and a good melody. By itself, this song could have easily belonged on the first album, but at around the 4 minute mark, the track launches into a different melody and even a guitar solo! This very much draws our attention to the beginning of Don't Worry. In my opinion, this is the better song of the two. As the song progresses, the song gets louder and louder, and the dynamics are just right. The song itself is also very catchy. After the song finishes, a seemingly impromptu drum solo enters our left channel, stays for a while then leaves through the right channel. Something about having a 40 second ending that has no relevence to the rest of the song reminds me very much of Genesis' In The Cage even though these two songs are worlds apart. As I Feel I Die is Caravan showing that they are not one-trick ponies, and they can stop being fun and carefree at points. This song is quite dark, with haunting lyrics and a very serious melody played at breakneck speed at later points. The second half of the song is entirely devoted to a signature David Sinclair keyboard solo, which ends very abrubtly at the 5 minute mark. In my opinion, the next track is the most progressive on the album. This is the first in a list of Caravan tracks with multiple parts that have silly names. I generally refer to this as the With An Ear To The Ground You Can Make It medley. This song is progressive because it indeed has many different sounding parts all with verses that are unsimilar to each other. Beginning at the 3 minute mark, there is a sensational keyboard solo, followed by guest Jimmy Hastings on the flute. This piece goes through an astonishing number of moods in 10 minutes, but when you analyse it, it seems simpler than it appears to be. To this day, I'm always surprised at how good this song is, and parts I never payed attention to before suddenly come to life. A blissfully progressive number indeed. Hello Hello is a short ballad with a 7/8 rhythm and lyrics to mirror Winter Wine from the next album. Compared to other tracks on the album, this is a relatively simple piece, but it is nonetheless enjoyable, with a catchy melody and good keyboard solo. The snare heavy coda is quite good too. Asforteri is the weirdest thing on the record. At just 1:22, this track sounds nothing like the others on the record. With a simple thumping beat, this track employs a cappella singing over a bizarre melody. This isn't an awful track, but it is very very strange. Next up is arguably the best-known Caravan track, For Richard, which has apparently been played at each Caravan gig since it's inception. This is an epic, sprawling track lasting an astonishing 14 minutes. However, this track in all its awesomeness is not as progressive as you might hope. From the outset, you should know that this track is basically a sombre 3:30 song followed by a 10 minute jazz-rock instrumental, and might not instantly be to the taste of people who haven't heard the Canterbury scene before. It's quite easy to say that this is nothing like Yes, Genesis or ELP. With that now said, the music itself here is quite spectacular. The opening is very moody, with the cryptic lyrics sounding very quiet. It's a slow start, but at 3:39, the real music begins. After this, we have a long instrumental that flows beautifully for it's duration. Upon the first listen or two, this instrumental may sound repetitive, but the more you listen to it, the more you'll find tightly written parts that the otherwise extremely loose instrumental together. I have managed to dissect this piece so that you too may understand its intricacies. At 3:39 the first theme is played like a siren, but is then shifted to the bassline until 5:51 where it is discarded in favour of a new theme. The music here is very lively and exciting. After 5:51 the music becomes more subdued, and more melancholy. The keyboards are now replaced by Jimmy Hastings playing the flute with astounding results. The most notable point in this section is 7:57 when the music cuts out for a short bass guitar solo. Afterwards, the music returns but now Hastings is playing the sax with equally amazing skill. At 9:47, we are suddenly greeted with the riff we heard at 5:51 which leads us into an entirely new section. This new section sounds more upbeat and lasts until 10:58, where we enter the final act of the song. The final section is a repeating riff in 15/8 with other instruments soloing on top, until the dramatic close to the song. I hope that by reviewing this track piece by piece, I have perhaps helped you understand it a bit more. The final track Limits is a short encore, with a beautiful melody and wonderful flute work from brother Jimmy. To those of you arriving from Yesworld or Van Der Graaf Generatorland, your going to be very shocked at what you hear on this record, and there's a chance you won't like it at first, but the whole idea of progressive rock is to be open minded, and you should give this record a few more listens before you write it off completely. To be honest, if you are from these camps, you should try 'For Girls That Grow Plump In The Night' instead because that has a wonderful symphonic instrumental on there. This record shows Caravan getting into their stride, and without a duff track on the record, this easily deserves 5 stars. The best was still to come though!
baz91 5/5 04.05.2011 (PROGARCHIVES)
Caravan's second album shows a startling amount of growth since their debut. In the two years since they issued that psych-pop charmer they'd honed their craft, improved their songwriting, developed a taste for epics, started flirting with a little jazz-rock (perhaps inspired by the success of their pals in the Soft Machine), and become the tight unit seen on this album. The band had gone from the psychedelic followers of their debut to innovators in their own right, presenting a Canterburified vision of psychedelic jazz-influenced prog with a more mellow and sunnier attitude than the Softs, with the occasional outbreak of more energetic playing. The end result was good enough that a few months before recording the album Frank Zappa (who was acting as compere at a festival Caravan were performing at, due to a snafu with the Mothers' work visas) spontaneously joined them onstage for a jam - and when your band is good enough that Zappa is that keen to play with you, you know you've arrived. The highlight of the album is usually said to be "For Richard", and I can't disagree with that, but then I can't find any songs on here that fall particularly short of its standards. One for when you need to relax a bit, maybe, but still a masterpiece of the early Canterbury sound.
Warthur 5/5 08.06.2011 (PROGARCHIVES)
Which will you have? The pink or the green? While many would consider "In the Land of Grey and Pink" as the definitive Caravan album, "If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You" surely gives "the pink" a run for its money. This sophomore release showcases a healthy dose of English wit and humor along with some great jazz tendencies. Although I am a novice to the Canterbury scene, I can definitely envision "If I Could..." as one of the gems of said subgenre, even without having heard many Canterbury albums. Its genuine qualities as an innovative and continually exciting album from the dawn of the 1970s leaves no doubt in my mind that it is a worthy and strong addition to one's collection. And now on to the album's contents. The song titles are equally as thrilling as the music itself. "If I Could..." begins somewhat soft, providing a nice, whimsical calm before the later songs have their opportunity in the spotlight. "And I Wish I Were Stoned/Don't Worry" reveals the entertaining "British" sense of humor in its lyrics, with equally entertaining music in the mix. "As I Feel I Die" is one of the weaker songs in the album, but nevertheless shows the raw "heaviness" of Caravan's early music towards the end of the song. "With an Ear to the Ground You Can Make It/Martinian/Only Cox/Reprise" is easily one of the stronger tracks, with catchy lyrics and music that make it practically impossible not to "groove" while you are listening. Both Richards really shine here, proving to be one of the more effective rhythm sections in prog during its heyday. "Hello Hello" is one of the shorter songs that provides a nice, soothing interlude, along with the brief "Asforteri," before going into the "epic" of the album, "Can't Be Long Now/Francoise/For Richard/Warlock." Beginning with David Sinclair's beautiful, haunting keyboards, Pye Hasting's great voice, and the gorgeous flute playing of "Brother James," the song then turns into an aggressive jam that continues for ten more minutes, arguably the best ten minutes of the album. "Limits" ends the album in the same haunting, yet lovely manner (with that gorgeous flute playing!) that the previous song started, fading out and bringing to a close one of the more pleasant listening experiences I have had in quite some time. I have the remastered edition "If I Could..." and along with it comes demo versions of three of the songs and a bonus song as well, "A Day in the Life of Maurice Haylett." This last track is actually quite good and could very well have been included in the album. Very catchy, as is the manner of Caravan's early albums. While the album is not necessarily a masterpiece like I thought it was before, it certainly is a great find. If you find it at a great price, I suggest you get it. Highly recommended.
Lark the Starless 4/5 26.07.2011 (PROGARCHIVES)
Still trapped in 1970, I figure it's time to review one of the biggies as far as acclaim is concerned. Being a huge fan of the girl who went plump in the night (love the album too), I figured this would be a no-brainer as far as my next exploration of the mighty Caravan was concerned. I have to be honest in that the first time I put this on, I fell asleep at some point during the second track, although it could've been the third for all I know. Damn. My second listen was better, and yet halfway though I was screaming "I need a jumbo mug of coffee NOW or I'm gonna DIE!!", and practically reeling in frustration. You see, I HAD to love this album. I mean, it has the greatest title in the history of music, and the cover itself was groovy with that trippy font. I wanted to hang with those dudes 'cause they seemed like a cool bunch. Yet as I kept listening to it I yearned for Cthulhu, hoedowns and oral sex (not all three at once or I'd be an utterly awful mess). Around the fourth time or so, I began to see the Light, and it was good. I still can't bring myself to proclaim it a masterpiece, but I at least understand the love it gets. It's certainly an innovative bugger with fantastic musicianship and a welcome unpretentious attitude, but for those first few listens I was clearly missing the 'fire' I got by the bucketload from "For Girls...". It just had this soothing mellow quality as a whole that lulled me into a lethargic state. At first, if I had this on in the car I could've parked in the neighbor's driveway and passed out on the wheel without even realizing it. But it's a grower. Now, this release actually peps me up and gives me that sense of "life is good" to wave at the people next door, who usually respond by muttering something about potholes in the street or crazy neighbors. The album starts off in cute trippy fashion involving repetitive verses sung by gentle voiced chaps held together by a 7/8 time signature, or something akin to that. There's a bit of groovin' & soloing by this distorted keyboard that show up quite a lot throughout the album. It's cool, but being a guitar enthusiast I wish there were a few more guitar leads taking the place of some of these keyboards that seem to ape guitar solos at times. Not to say there's none, because they do pop from time to time to give me a jolt. I just had to get used to the style the band was going for here in 1970. "And I Wish I Were Stoned" keeps the happy-on-shrooms flag waving and even throws in a good bit of guitar at the right time before the tune hits its second half. I certainly can't knock the lyrics, since I say that a few times a week even to this day. I suppose I say "don't worry" at times as well, being married & all. "As I Feel I Die" starts off reeeeall mellow before launching into this jazz-tastic piece that moves like a jackrabbit on fire, and yet still feels somehow calm and soothing. The band sure is tight though, which does bring out an interesting point. Caravan has this ability to sound loose and free-wheeling, but technically it's got some serious structure and complexity. Few 'jam bands' could ever pull this sort of thing off without sounding like, for lack of a better word, crap. "With An Ear To The Ground..." is probably my favorite tune off the album. That whole "Waiting for the band to come" line is catchy as hell and for some reason reminds me of John wailing "Waiting for the van to come!" during "I Am The Walrus". Don't ask why. I also dig the fuzzy keyboard solo here; it rocks out pretty cool. Then there are some sweet vocal harmonies that suit the singers quite well. Quite pretty. The atmospheric ending is a nice touch as well. In retrospect, I kinda 'love' this song. "Hello Hello" is another one of those non-danceable pop-prog numbers, and that's ok by me. Playing that bass lick would drive me bonkers after awhile. Bookended by a couple of vaguely interesting interludes, the famous "For Richard" starts off like a quiet little dreamy thing before it erupts with that WILD riff and taking off into the land of solos and more solos. Great ones too. Hat's off to Jimmy. The song is a gas for much of its running time, but does go on just a little bit too long for my taste, although it's nice to have the guitar make a loud entrance for a near the denouement. So yeah, the Canterbury style is a much needed respite from some of the downer and heavy rock being churned out in 1970. This album still gives me images of those women in flower dresses you see frolicking across meadows in maxi pad ads I grew up seeing on TV. I'm guessing it's due to the wistful, airy yet 'always moving' vibe I get when listening to it, and I can imagine those dudes on the cover have to be looking at 'something' out there in the field.
Prog Sothoth 4/5 28.11.2011 (PROGARCHIVES)
Canterbury Sound (or School) is a branch of the Progressive very strange: for the fans exist, for the musicians involved... No. Because, at least in its true form, is an expression of all the musicians who came from Canterbury, such as training. But Caravan is "Canterbury" for sound, not for music. Because the music is a sort of Psychedelic Symphonic Rock Prog... A strange definition for music: it's like Yes and King Crimson were one band and they played songs written by Peter Hammill!!! This " If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You" is a great album with good Rock atmospheres and Psychedelic sound with Symphonic threatnent, so that the music is good in Rock field but not in Jazz Rock field (as other Canterbury bands) but sure this type of music is good also today. In definitive Caravan is a good band, today as in 70's. And if Symphonic Prog please you as Canterbury School, I think that "If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You" is an album that please you.
1967/1976 4/5 20.01.2012 (PROGARCHIVES)
After all the raves for In the Land of Grey and Pink I bought it and love it. Truly thought it couldn't get any better than that, but recent explorations within the Canterbury Scene keep turning up gem after gem--and here is another one! Though the album starts off with a couple lighter tunes (shades of things to come), I find this album much more pleasant, pleasurable, musical, and melodic, and definitely more breadth in the emotional spectrum than Pink and Grey or Plump in the Night. My only reservation is that because I do think Richard's voice is quite good--despite his hippy stream-of-consciousness style--on this album he hasn't quite developed his confidence or up-front 'leading man' presence yet. That begins with Pink and Grey. Why is it that so often the earlier into a band's career I explore the more I like them, the more I get the? 5 star songs: "As I Feel Die," "With an Ear to the Ground...," "Can't Be Long Now; Francoise, For Richard," and "Limits."
BrufordFreak 5/5 30.01.2012 (PROGARCHIVES)
"If I Could Do It..." is a wonderful hymn to youth and innocence, at the same time being highly progressive and ambitious. One of the greatest Canterbury bands, Caravan, created with their second album, "If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You" one of the most symbolic and memorable works of the genre. It is highly melodic, easy to listen, but also very ambitious and highly progressive. Caravan have clearly abandoned the immature sounds of the debut and reached a whole new level of songwriting and musical philosophy. Caravan's Psychedelic sound is all gone on this new 1970 album: the organ and the guitars are now always hand in hand, the musicianship is more elaborate, the overall sound is of a pretty noticeable change. The structure of these songs also are much more complex and studied, making this record one that leaves all innocence behind and goes towards the epic pathways of Progressive. This however is not exactly an album of the Canterbury Scene quite yet, even though it already has plenty typical elements of the genre: it has that sense of romanticism Caravan in particular are famous for, and as a consequence also the whole Canterbury scene is, but it doesn't have such elaborate songwriting, which is not a bad thing, because they are on this particular record much more accessible and memorable than almost anybody else from Canterbury. For example, it's miles away from the cold avant- garde of the Soft Machine, or the spacey themes of Gong. "In the Land Of Grey and Pink", the following Caravan album, will still be of this sort of nature -with a lot of melody-, but that time around it will have much more ambition and sophistications, being that their supreme masterpiece. But "If I Could Do It All?" still is a beautiful dedication to youth and innocence, inserted in a much more intricate, Progressive style. This is what Canterbury's magic lies in. Some of the more memorable moments include the beautiful "I Wish I Were Stoned", which, from it's nine minutes, donates some space in the final minutes for it's other side, "Don't Worry". Together, these two parts create what is in my opinion the greatest song of the album, having great, catchy melodies, great song structure, and fantastic musicianship all together. There are the shorter, poppier songs like "Hello Hello", and the build-up of "As I Feel I Die", but also the highly ambitious ones, like the most Progressive song of the album, the final fourteen minute suite, "For Richard", an instrumental that has no specific form but constantly shifts, builds, explodes, and tones down. No wonder it is considered one of the best Caravan tracks. The other suite is the middle one, "With an Ear To The Ground You Can Make It", the least memorable of them but still very powerful from every point of view. "If I Could Do It?" is a wonderful example of a Canterbury album of a band that still has to fully blossom, but still looks quite exemplar and is already faithful to a few canons, without on the other hand bending some rules.
EatThatPhonebook 4/5 24.02.2012 (PROGARCHIVES)
Thank you Caravan for you fantastic music, weird but just a little, mostly amazing and very nice. What I like so much is the bright feeling and the happy distinct guitar. This is the third record I acquire and it gets my thumbs up. Caravan is such a prog band even not-proggers can enjoy beacuse of its nice bright melodies but they were also very obscure, far away from top hits and rock star levels. My favourite tracks here is: "And I wish I were stoned don't worry", "As I feel I die" and "Cant belong now/Francoise/For Richard/Warlock". I think these tracks show us real magic and a perfect harmony between obsession, virtuosity and love. What they could have developed and what they had done on their next album was strong melodies that carry the music forwards. On this plate the feeling of jams is something annoying. But this is undeniably feel-good music for every prog lover. For me this record is a 8/10 or even a 9/10 but not a masterpiece. Caravans music shows the world what you can do if your music mind is open for take rock music to another level. Also I think this is the band that fits the genre Canterbury best. It's not symphonic, not space-[&*!#], not folk, not metal and not too experimental but little jazzy, soft avante-garde and has a bunch of crossover tendencies.
DrömmarenAdrian 4/5 28.04.2013 (PROGARCHIVES)
Lange Jahre war dieses Album vergriffen, jetzt liegt Caravans Zweitling in einer Remaster Version vor, zusammen mit den nachfolgenden Alben bis "Cunning Stunts", und alle sind noch mit Bonusmaterial versehen. Auf "If I Could..." finden Caravan bereits zu ihrem klassischen Stil. Der Titelsong ist ein kurzes, flottes, humoristisches Stückchen, das seinen Reiz vor allem aus dem stimmlichen Kontrast der beiden Sänger bezieht. Schön ist auch das Orgelsolo in der Mitte des Songs. "And I Wish..." beginnt noch etwas im leicht 60s Pop beeinflussten Stil, der auch Caravans Debutalbum prägte. In der ersten Hälfte ist es in bedächtigem Tempo gehalten, danach wird es schneller, und Pye Hastings legt sogar ein kurzes Solo hin; bei den frühen Caravan spielt die Gitarre sonst keine große Rolle. Auch das folgende "As I Feel I Die" steht stilistisch noch in der Tradition des Vorgängeralbums. Zunächst beginnt es sehr langsam und schwermütig, dann geht es abrupt in einen flotten Teil mit schöner Orgel über. In der knapp zehnminütigen Suite "With an Ear..." zeigt sich dann erstmals der leicht jazzige, manchmal von folkigen Anklängen durchsetzte Stil, der auch die beiden großartigen Nachfolger "In the Land of Grey and Pink" und "Waterloo Lily" prägen sollte. Lange, fließende Instrumentalparts, bei denen mal die Orgel, mal Saxophon oder Flöte etwas mehr in den Vordergrund treten, ohne dass es zu ausgeprägten Soli (oder gar zum berüchtigten "selbstverliebten Genudel") kommen würde. Gesang wird hier nur sparsam, aber dennoch effektvoll eingesetzt. Nach zwei kürzeren, etwas bizarren Songs folgt eine weitere Suite, die meist nur "For Richard" genannt wird und nicht nur der Höhepunkt dieser CD, sondern eines der besten Stücke im gesamten Caravan Repertoire ist. Nach einem sanften, lyrischen Auftakt mit wunderschöner Flöte und federleichtem Gesang von Pye Hastings (an sich finde ich seine Stimme ein bisschen "piepsig", aber in solchen Momenten passt keine andere besser) folgt ein langer Instrumentalteil. Orgel, Saxophon und Flöte umschlingen sich, immer wieder tritt eines dieser Instrumente eine kurze Zeit in den Vordergrund, um von einem anderen wieder verdrängt zu werden, dazu liefern Bass, Gitarre und Schlagzeug ein solides Rhythmusfundament. Dabei wirkt "For Richard" nie bemüht, das Stück fließt einfach so dahin. Ein wenig fühle ich mich hier an Kraans hervorragendes 1975er Livealbum erinnert, allerdings ist "For Richard" dann doch nicht ganz so jazzorientiert. Mit "Limits" folgt dann zur Erholung ein leichteres Stückchen, bei dem Jimmy Hastings mal wieder an der Flöte brilliert. An Bonusmaterial erhält die neue CD Ausgabe von "If I Could..." Demo Versionen einiger Albumsongs sowie den Song "A Day in the Life of Maurice Haylett", benannt nach dem Toningenieur der Band. Fazit: der erste Höhepunkt im Schaffen von Caravan, für Canterbury Interessierte unverzichtbar, für jeden anderen dringend empfohlen!
Jochen Rindfrey 29.04.2002
Udo Gerhards (Rezension 2 von 2) "If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You" ist vielleicht schon mein Lieblings-Caravan-Album. Für die meisten Fans scheint dies "In the land of grey and pink" zu sein, aber ich mag einfach den rohen Sound und die verhältnismässige Kraft, die Caravan hier noch ausstrahlen lieber. Vor allem der energetische, mitreissende Jams "For Richard" verleiht dem Album Flügel, die dem manchmal allzu understateden "In the land..." m.E. fehlen. Sehr empfohlen für alle Canterbury-Entdecker.
Udo Gerhards 03.06.2002