CARAVAN AND THE NEW SYMPHONIA (1974)
Recorded live 28.10.1973 at the THEATRE ROYAL, DRURY LANE, LONDON
1 Introduction (6:55)
2 Mirror For The Day (4:19)
3 The Love In Your Eye (12:02)
4 Virgin On The Ridiculous (6:53)
5 For Richard (13:48)
TRACKLIST (2001 CD's)
1 Introduction By Alan Black (1:01)
2 Memory Lain, Hugh / Headloss (previously unreleased) (9:57)
3 The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again (previously unreleased) (6:35)
4 Hoedown (previously unreleased) (3:55)
5 Introduction (6:04)
6 The Love In Your Eye (12:23)
7 Mirror For The Day (4:45)
8 Virgin On The Ridiculous (7:55)
9 For Richard (15.00)
10 A Hunting We Shall Go (previously unreleased) (10:33)
Richard Coughlan (drums)
Pye Hastings (guitar, vocals)
John G. Perry (bass, vocals)
Geoffrey Richardson (viola)
Dave Sinclair (keyboards)
1974/LP/London Records/PS650/US & Canada
2001/CD/Decca/8829692/UK & Europe
REVIEWS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES
«Do it with an orchestra» was quite a heavy trend back in the days when symphonic rock was king, although, when you really think about it, not that many heavyweights actually went for this: Deep Purple in 1969, Procol Harum in 1972, and... well, ELP and Renaissance joined in somewhat later, I guess. Essentially, though, this Caravan album repeats the formula of Procol Harum's Live With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra: use the symphonic potential of the orchestra to enhance the effect of originally non-orchestrated material, rather than blend it with the rock group format in some particularly innovative, genre-fusing way (like Deep Purple did, albeit with questionable results). Not that this is a bad idea: Caravan's highly melodic and already classically influenced melodies seem like a natural fit with symphonic orchestration, and, in fact, the whole idea seemingly came out not out of the desire to jump on the Procol Harum bandwagon, but out of the experience of working with a full orchestra on the Plump In The Night sessions. I have not been able to uncover any additional activities of this «New Symphonia» orchestra, but I do know that it was essentially the creation of conductor Martyn Ford, who had already specialized in working with contemporary non-classical musicians, and that the orchestral 'Introduction' here was credited to Simon Jeffes, founder and leader of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra — meaning that, unlike Procol Harum, who could actually afford an authentic classical orchestra to work with them, Caravan went along with relative neophytes and barrier-breakers. Nevertheless, an orchestra is an orchestra, and you won't be hearing any classical musicians trying out rock riffs during this concert. The recently released expanded edition of the album shows that the actual performance consisted of a short first set, during which the band played highlights from the Plump In The Night album on its own; a larger second set with the orchestra, all of which was released on the original LP; and an encore of 'A Hunting We Shall Go', for which the orchestra stayed on to reproduce the original arrangement (although, as the liner notes state with a whiff of reproach, not before a little blackmail-and-bluff took place backstage, since the musicians wanted their pay enlarged for the encore, and only went ahead after Pye threatened they'd do it without them anyway). The main set, apart from the already mentioned 'Introduction', included two new compositions written specially for the concert, and two old multi-part epics, perfectly suitable for orchestration — not a lot, really, but I guess that budget concerns played a large part in this, too. So, how well does Caravan work with an orchestra? I'd say that this is a good match on the whole, especially as far as the bombastic instrumental passages on the epic numbers are concerned, such as the martial brass fanfares in 'The Love In Your Eye' and the last, hard-rocking, movement of the 'For Richard' suite, where the orchestra replaces Sinclair's distorted organ riffs. The new arrangements are not necessarily better, but the orchestra does lend extra romanticist power to the material without dumbing it down; in a way, one might even argue that The New Symphonia is really that one last crucial ingredient they'd always needed to evolve into a massively powerful music-making machine — the catch is, it's far from certain that they ever needed to evolve into a massively powerful machine, but if you thought they did, here is where they do, or at least come fairly close to doing. Pye's thin, frail, slightly effeminate voice almost feels a bit pitiful against this massive background, though — perhaps they should have hired Ian Gillan for this night... then again, perhaps not. At least his mike stayed in good shape. Of the two new compositions I have to say that 'Mirror For The Day' is a lush sentimental pop ballad in Pye's already fully-crystallized style (presaging more and more of this material on the band's next records), made somewhat more distinct by using a background vocalist choir with gospel overtones; and 'Virgin On The Ridiculous' is mostly memorable for its self-explanatory title — otherwise, it is an even slower, longer, and more pompous ballad without any particularly notable musical ideas. However, in both cases the synergy between the band and the orchestra is well-balanced, and on 'Virgin' at least, much of the main melody is provided by strings in the first place (except for the instrumental bridge, dominated by the organ), so we can all just take this as rehearsal materials for Pye Hastings' Canterbury Oratorio. Naturally, this is not an essential release to have in your collection, and naturally, it is atypical of the usual Caravan live sound — with which you can easily acquaint yourself on ten thousand archival releases from the BBC and various venues — but on the whole, it's an intelligent and resonant fusion, in which the power and the subtlety of the orchestra are anything but wasted. And I even like the 'Introduction', especially the clever way in which the orchestra first introduces itself with an impressionist piece, then passes the baton over to the band for some blues-rock jamming, then smartly fills in the gaps around the band to become one with them: that Simon Jeffes is one darn fine fella when it comes to synthesizing rock with classical. So, overall, this is a very easy thumbs up for me, and a moderately tasteful success for Caravan in the year when clouds began seriously darkening around the pillars of the symph-rock movement.
George Starostin 29.03.2017 (ONLY-SOLITAIRE.BLOGSPOT.COM)
Orchestra goes well with Caravan. I guess you could predict that.
Unfortunately, I only own the original 'short' version of the album, put out as a 'memento' for Caravan's noteworthy performance of some of their material together with the New Symphonia Orchestra at the Drury Lane Theater on the 28th of October, 1973. The old one captured most of the orchestrated part of the gig, but there's currently a new 'expanded' version available which adds an entire first half of orchestra-less material, mainly from For Girls..., and also adds one last orchestrated encore ('A Hunting We Shall Go') which was omitted from the original version due to either lack of space or some weird engineering mishaps during the performance. Or maybe both. Anyway, the new version is probably the one to buy, but the most important stuff, naturally, is captured on the old one, so this still counts as a valid and self-sustained review. This is actually one more link between Caravan and Procol Harum - obviously, this album is 'modelled' after Procol's famous 1972 Edmonton Symphony Orchestra experience, and indeed, out of all art-rock/prog bands the music of these two is perhaps the most appropriate choice for orchestration, as it is based on classical patterns rather than on hard rock or jazz or pure medievalistics. Interestingly enough, another connection is in that both bands actually felt pretty nervous about the experience; neither Procol nor Caravan had enough time to rehearse and arrange the material, and neither band was particularly happy about the final result, even if the albums themselves are pretty fine in both cases. Ah, the toil it takes to connect a rock band with an orchestra... In any case, the album is of excellent quality, although it does betray signs of 'transition'. The "poppy" side of Caravan gets MAJORLY emphasized on the album despite (or maybe because of?) the orchestra, and thus predicts the 'sellout' of Cunning Stunts and Blind Dog At St Dunstan's. The two new songs that Pye penned and performed specially for the record are unabashed sentimental pop exercises! Not that I mind - 'Mirror For The Day' has some gorgeous hooks going for it, and the song's climactic rise from the ultra-quiet verses to the upbeat mid-section to the glorious anthemic chorus is totally involving. Plus there's this cool violin riff that you won't soon forget, and also, I can't help but wonder at the way Mr Hastings was able to control his voice. He's got a very weak voice, I think I already said that, but it's 'weak' in the 'weak' sense, not in the strong sense. He just sounds like a total wimp, somebody whom a guy like Leslie West or Roger Daltrey could easily pin down with their little finger, and he really struggles to hit all the right high notes without his voice breaking, and for the most part, it doesn't break, although at certain points it shakes in a pretty dangerous way. Considering that he was doing that live, simultaneously playing a guitar and probably feeling all jumpy about not getting in synch with the orchestra, too, it's definitely one mean achievement. 'Virgin On The Ridiculous' is a bit more complex (and a bit more long), but it's also essentially a romantic pop anthem. A good one. Nothing else to say about it, really - that's the biggest problem, from a certain point on all of Hastings' compositions just start to sound the same. Lush hook-filled love songs, soft as butter, shiny as silk. In this particular case, tastefully orchestrated. My cry for diversity goes unnoticed, though. So let's just see what we have with the 'progressive' numbers on here, which are 'The Love In Your Eye' and 'For Richard'. They both rule, and they both easily blow away their counterparts on the studio albums, for one major reason: whoever wrote the orchestral arrangements actually bothered about giving each of the suites an extra power punch that blows you out of your chair. For example, the middle part of 'For Richard' used to begin with an awesome keyboard riff and then develop into swampy noodle, but here, due to the orchestra and all the extra instruments, that noodling is much more convincing, with peaks and climaxes all over the place. And the closing parts just roll along on a huge mammoth ride, with a near-Wagnerian approach to the material. The little Pye must have probably just been lost, drowned in this swirling sea of overwhelming sounds. That part should definitely be played as loud as possible. However, the grand prize still goes to 'The Love In Your Eye', which, of course, featured strings on the original release, so it's not really fair (Procol did the same cheap trick with 'A Salty Dog'), but it still was nowhere near as majestic as they pull it off here. So, in fact, the album balances the band's "prog" and "pop" sides pretty well and, as you could see, actually brings out some hidden qualities in some stuff you might never have suspected about. But on a historical plane, The New Symphonia is more like a brief selective summary of the band's main achievements, and thus is probably the place where most progressive fans' love affair with Caravan comes to an abrupt end. Too bad, really; if one looks behind the complex arrangements, one easily finds that deep inside their collective heart, Caravan were always a "pop-yearning" band, with enough affectionate care for hooks and 'simple pleasures', so for me at least, the transition from early 'classic' Caravan to later 'pop' Caravan is not really a problem.
George Starostin 10/10 (STARLING)
Get the remaster version with the full concert, the first half being another standard (but good) concert and the second part consisting of the orchestra with the band. The two compositions (especially Virgin On The Ridiculous) made for this occasion were slightly sub-par but "For Richard" and "the love in your eye "are tremendous with the orchestra. The whole affair does have an under-rehearsed feeling to it as the orchestra sometimes seems lost and the group is waiting for them but it is nothing scandalous as this is still a very "professional" recording. Another gift from the remaster is the Auberge Du Sanglier suite with the orchestra.
Sean Trane 4/5 02.02.2004 (PROGARCHIVES)
All hands to the pumps!
Make sure if you're buying this album you go for the remastered and expanded edition. Unlike most re-masters the additional tracks, rather than being tagged on at the end, have been placed in their correct positions as they originally were performed on the night, This transforms the album from a brief summary of the concert to over an hour of wonderful indulgence. The preparations for the collaboration with the New Symphonia Orchestra had been troublesome, and are well documented in the accompanying sleeve-notes. The recorded results are however superb. "Virgin on the ridiculous" and "For Richard" particularly benefit from the orchestration, the former featuring a lilting strings introduction and an all hands to the pumps middle section. This has to be one of Caravan's most exciting and innovative pieces, The classic "For Richard" (performed at every Caravan concert ever?) builds to even more of a cacophony of sound than the many other live versions available. At times it sounds as if band and orchestra are veering towards chaos, but things always remain just within control and they all meet again at the end with perfect timing! The additional tracks were mainly performed prior to the orchestra taking the stage, and thus have been inserted towards the start of the album. They are more conventional live Caravan, but do help to give the album the feel of being a complete concert. With the commendable attention to detail on all the recent Caravan remasters, it is perhaps churlish to point out the discrepancy in the track numbering between the CD and the sleeve caused by the introduction being listed as a separate track, but it does make it somewhat irritating when selecting a track!
Easy Livin 4/5 09.04.2004 (PROGARCHIVES)
This Caravan record has a very good balance between electric guitars and electric viola: they are often played simultaneously. The electric guitar is really not timid here, and this contributes to give a very good sound to this record. The drums and bass are punchy and quite loud. The songs are recorded live. The main attraction is this omnipresent orchestration (horns and strings): it is absolutely delightful, very present and participating, reminding many orchestrated passages of the Renaissance band, circa "Scheherazade", "Novella" and "Song for all seasons". This is the best of the Caravan's albums I own! This formula of rock-orchestra really works. Do not forget the nice keyboards, having about the same style as on "For girls who grow plump in the night". Let us also mention the presence of saxes, flute and backing vocals, which complete the loaded ensemble. Very progressive, this record is a pleasure for your ears from the beginning to the end. There are 2 epic songs (12-13 minutes), which are really progressive. Unlike the other albums, this one is slightly less catchy, maybe because of the absence of Richard Sinclair's lead vocals. Definitely an underrated album, having ALL its songs at least excellent!! If you hate strings ensemble and violins, then this record is not for you!
greenback 5/5 06.05.2005 (PROGARCHIVES)
It could be an attempt of emulating the early formula by Camel, in my opinion naturally (think of the "Snow Goose" for example), in order to make the style from Canterbury closer to the orchestral arrangements of a different "époque" (otherwise these latter typically belonging to the seventies anyway).I appreciate the new purpose of Caravan to abandon their old classic style, trying to explore something different, even though sometimes the output is simplistic. In this manner I prefer their light style of "In the Land of Grey and Pink" for instance, in spite of this latter being inferior (in my opinion) than the unique style by Camel inside "MoonMadness" and however regarding of the short music period concerning the school from Canterbury. Of course it's a question of personal tastes, but I think that the present work is worth to be collected if you're into the simple style by Caravan; otherwise you could prefer listening to "In the Snow Goose" by Camel, perhaps in the orchestral version of "A Live Record", in the place of the light symphonic Caravan. choose by yourself, according to your exigencies, but the re-mastered version earns a lot!!
lor68 4/5 12.09.2005 (PROGARCHIVES)
"Caravan&The New Symphonia" of CARAVAN released in 1974. The first live album is a work that co-stars with the orchestra for CARAVAN. The oneness of the orchestra and the band is wonderful. As live, it is an eminent work. This works are very few works that succeed in the album that the orchestra co-starred with the band.
braindamage 5/5 24.10.2005 (PROGARCHIVES)
Caravan decided after the success of their album, "For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night" to record a live concert consisting of an orchestra which was used throughout the "for Girls..." album. Does it succeed? Yes and no. If you have the original album, you'll have what now is half the album. The new remastered version has what transpired that night in October of 1973. The band came on stage and played a select few tracks from the new album minus the orchestra. It's a somewhat decently played set with the bass playing of John Perry low in the mix. Dave Sinclair's keyboards shine brightly on most tracks, (at least he dosen't copy exactly his play from the album). It's Coughlin's drumming that stands out during the pre-orchestra AND during the second half with orchestra. It's not until the orchestra takes the stage do I believe that things start to cook. Right from the start, "The Love In Your Eyes" is beauty incarnate. The strings play perfectly with Pye's delicate singing. And the horns! Heaven on earth. The following two songs were written literally that day, with the lyrics done just hours before the concert was to begin. Both songs harken back to their early days with "Virgin On The Ridiculous" harbouring more instrumental power, especially with Sinclair's mighty fuzz-backed keys. Yet, it's the umpteenth live rendition of "For Richard" that one should pluck down the cash for this disc. If it's not the most powerful version, you would have to prove it to me. As the mammoth songs progresses so can hear the orchestra vieing with the band for dominence. The volume and power gets so great that by the end of the song you'll gasp for air and expect a thunderous collision. It's what you want from such a meld of instruments and more! The disc ends with an encore with the orchestra that almost didn't happen, (union rules and all). But "A Hunting We Shall Go" is another extra track and worth it. Oh, and I must mention Richardson's violin playing. he's their secret weapon, no doubt. I'll end by saying, a very well done live disc with a version of "For Richard" that must be heard. Can't say it's a masterpiece, but at least one song is. 4 stars for my favorite Canterbury band. Good show lads!
NJprogfan 4/5 02.10.2006 (PROGARCHIVES)
This is basically "For Girls Who Grow Plump" played live. However, I like my Caravan in the raw and spontaneous with limited "production". If you want the Caravan of old sound(first 4 albums) with electric violin and orchestra thrown in to boot, you can't go wrong with this live album. I'll stick my neck out and say this actually sounds better than "For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night". For one thing, the cheesy sound effects of explosions are absent. This is all band and orchestra. THE Caravan masterpiece of the mid-period.
Gooner 5/5 19.09.2007 (PROGARCHIVES)
The combination of an orchestra and a rock band has never been a fave of mine. But I have to admit that in this case, not too many damages have been done. "Caravan" 's music is perfectly fitting the exercise. Three numbers out of their excellent "For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night" are just as pleasant (if not great) than on the studio counterpart. I am even more disposed to mention this that I am not a die-hard fan of the band. When you listen to "The Dog" there is no real option. You like it as such, because it IS beautiful. Fantastic vocal harmonies and exquisite backing band. A nervous middle part is shining as well but to be honest, the vocal parts are the real highlight. It is almost as if Pye is shy to announce the "Orchestra" while he is introducing "Hoedown" as being the last "Caravan" only song. I wouldn' t say that the orchestra is of great added value but no harm is done during "The Love In Your Eye". The optimistic "Mirror For The Day" is so much linked with their roots that with or without orchestra; it really doesn't matter. But "Virgin On The Ridiculous" in this representation is not a great number. And we'll get the "usual" Caravan ending number "For Richard" (as Pye introduces it). Very good, of course but not as great as during the excellent live album "Live At The Fairfield Halls". Even if the "hunt of the sanglier" is closing this live symphonic set.
Three stars for this good work.
ZowieZiggy 3/5 10.02.2008 (PROGARCHIVES)
After the experience with an orchestra on the last song on For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night called L'auberge du Sanglier / A hunting we shall go / Pengola / Backwards / A hunting we shall go (reprise) Caravan decided they would record a live album with classical orchestra and went on to do just that. The first half of the concert is without the orchestra though, and shows how great a band Caravan was in a live environment. I enjoy this part while I´m more biased towards the second half with the orchestra. One thing is that Caravan chose to use an orchestra on L'auberge du Sanglier / A hunting we shall go / Pengola / Backwards / A hunting we shall go (reprise) on For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night but using it to this extent is a bit too much IMO. I have a problem with this kind of mix. It almost always sounds like the orchestra is playing in one room while the band plays in another ( the worst example is probably S/M by Metallica) and while it works allright here on Caravan & The New Symphonia it never reaches excellent. I don´t like the gospel like backing singing either. It´s an aquired taste of course, but I dislike it. The musicianship is great as always when we´re talking Caravan. They are such great musicians. Never showing of, but always playing exciting things anyway. The production could have been better, but again it´s not bad either. I´ll call this live album a tiny disappointment, even though it´s good. I would much rather have them playing their songs in the more conventional way, but I guess this is good for the diversity of their discography. 3 stars is all I´ll give for Caravan & The New Symphonia.
UMUR 3/5 13.05.2008 (PROGARCHIVES)
Virgin on the symphonic
I'm not a big fan of band-meets-orchestra performances. I'm also not a big fan of Caravan. However, this orchestral live album by Caravan is quite good with the band blending quite well with the orchestra. Several songs are new for the occasion and a few classics are thrown in as well. While this is a nice Canterbury Scene 'virgin' on the symphonic, I don't think this is a good place to start if you are new to Caravan. Start instead with the studio albums For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night and In The Land Of Gray And Pink and if you want more after that, then go for Caravan & The New Symphonia.
Good, but non-essential.
SouthSideoftheSky 3/5 27.06.2009 (PROGARCHIVES)
An essential live album from Caravan. Not only does it contain two great non-studio songs in their best forms but features a whole new side of Caravan that only reared it's proverbial head during live shows. I have never heard jamming this decisive or powerful done on any of Caravan's studio albums and these extremely tight but consistently impressive jams definitely match Yes's instrumental workouts. I don't even think it's the added orchestration that makes these songs so damn powerful; I think the band was simply a lot more talented than even I originally gave them credit for. I had simply written them off as "second rate" prog ('first rate" pop, however) in my head until I tuned into this album. "The Love in your Eye" jam is significantly improved over the studio version on "Waterloo Lily". Now all of the subsequent parts after the incredible vocal melody (Now adorned with actually good female back-up singers who add to it's glorious splendor) are equally flooring. The main theme of "To Catch Me a Brother" (the section right after the vocal part) has now metamorphosised from what was a single note electric piano riff to a brass theme that would make Richard Wagner gape. This part also has a really compelling fast flute solo (but no where near Ian Anderson "fast".) by Pye's bro, Jimmy Hastings followed by some furious fuzz box organ. The following "Subsultus" and "Debouchement" sections have also been changed from stagnated mucks to stunning peaks and climaxes with Pye and Richardson playing their hearts out on guitar and violin. However, the most astonishing part is saved for the end. Right after another amazing vocal performance by Pye, he starts riffing like a madman on "Tilbury Kecks". I seriously have never heard Pye play with this much ballsy fury on any other Caravan release. The first time I heard this, yours truly was endlessly amazed. It's like they quickly swapped Pye out for Richie Blackmore or someone. Well, either that or Pye had quick backstage lessons from Eric Clapton. Heck, either of those are probable. Prog fans should also be pleased with the great classical orchestration done on the new songs. "Virgins of the Ridiculous" is a luvly love song set to Bach like arrangements and "Mirror for a Day" is a happy short song with it's love related lyrics covering up an utterly complex arrangement. My favorite of the pair is the latter because of the moody opening and the couple of violin riffs this song possesses are dangerously infectious. Still, "Virgins" despite being the least energetic song on the album also contains some more fast, fuzzy fun courtesy of David Sinclair and his organ. The closing number is "For Richard" which now also has a much tighter set of arrangement buttocks, massively improves over the original. The original suite simply had me bored right from the start but now the various memorable parts of it have been picked out and massively emphasized by the orchestra. Even the dull melody-less singing part has now been spruced up a notch with small 'lil harp pluckings, violin strummings, and a melodic bass solo as well as audible vocals. (Unlike the original's) However, the rest of the song can be completely mind blowing if you perchance enjoy masterfully played thirteen minute jams like I do. Oh and the reissue gives us the other songs from the concert Caravan did with the Symphonia. That's kinda nice. None of the non-orchestra tracks are much different from their original forms on "Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night", however, (In fact, "The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again" loses it's glorious vocal coda. Why? That part was so heavenly!) but the brand new orchestra track "A Hunting We Shall Go" also gains some more energy over its studio version. With the help of the orchestra the "Backwards" section is achingly pretty too. Oddly enough, this album may just be Caravan's best and most consistently entertaining for me. This is definitely one of the first Caravan albums you should try in this guy's humble, inessential opinion. The jams on here have more direction and power than anything else by Caravan even "In the Land of Grey and Pink" and the energetic arrangements almost always guarantee you'll never be bored. Hot damn, if only they had this much enthusiasm in the studio...
Best Songs: Love in Your Eye, For Richard, Mirror for a Day (Reissue: A Hunting We Shall Go)
Worst Songs: None
LionRocker 4/5 26.07.2010 (PROGARCHIVES)
Caravan celebrated the release of For Girls Who Grow Plump In the Night with this special concert backed up by the New Symphonia orchestra. As others have pointed out, you really do want to get the remastered version that provides the whole show in the correct running order,m because the first few songs - which include the band only, before the orchestra kick in - are absolutely smoking renditions of Plump In the Night material. The actual work with the orchestra isn't too hot, to be honest - the orchestra adds an excessively saccharine touch to the affair and in general doesn't actually contribute much, whilst Caravan seem to be thrown off their game slightly by having to accommodate the orchestra in their sound. For a better live Caravan album from this era, the Fairfield Halls album is the way to go.
Warthur 3/5 27.08.2011 (PROGARCHIVES)
A time capsule of brilliant live Canterbury. The live Caravan is definitely a different beast than the studio Caravan. On the live stage the band tend to have fun with the audience and involve them in their tom foolery. The album really is quite humorous and the band are at the peak of their powers, with virtuoso musicianship and they play all of their best tracks up to this point. In this sense the album works as a type of best of Caravan, and in many cases the live versions here are better than the studio tracks. In any case this is a dynamic performance with energy and full on commitment. The band are the classic lineup of Caravan, the incomparable prog hero Pye Hastings on vocals and guitar, Richard Coughlan on drums, Jimmy Hastings on flute and alto saxophone, John G. Perry on bass, Morris Pert on percussion, Geoff Richardson on electric viola and David Sinclair, a wizard on keyboards. The band are well backed up by the incredible New Symphonia orchestra. It was one of the first marriages of Canterbury and symphony orchestra. It worked well on this concert as the songs are really made for orchestra. It begins with the unusual introduction by Alan Black who states matter of factly Caravan are about to enter. It is amusing how he says, "I'm not gonna preach to the converted because if you weren't Caravan freaks you wouldn't be here," and then he introduces the orchestra The New Symphonia and explains the band are going to perform a featurette of songs from their new album "For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night." What a time capsule of music are these live performances. As soon as the band hit the stage they power into 'Memory Lain, Hugh Headloss' for 11 minutes and it is an incredible piece of showmanship. Pye Hastings sounds so vibrant in these early days. The band are tight, the riffs are great and the keyboard work of Sinclair is exquisite. The violining of Richardson is incredible and the crowd can be heard at the end of each section cheering wildly. Hastings introduces the next song about a dog who has a problem with his urges and so he goes to the doctor and is given "down boy pills". 'The Dog, the Dog, He's at It Again' is the song that follows the intro, which became a favourite from the new album over the years. It has a great lead break and the melody is memorable and has fun lyrics; "my mother said that I should stay out of bed but I know that I like it in there, legs and thighs, hello's and goodbyes and you're there". After this Hastings explains they had planned to do about 30 minutes of more "Plump" material but time is against them, what a tease, as that would have been priceless. It was made clear that the album was to be a live recording so this was all a concert designed for the recording and needed to fit on those pesky short vinyl records that could only have 25 minutes of material at best. Also from the "Plump" album the band play 'A Hunting We shall Go', and the whimsical 'Hoedown' with amazing violin soloing. It is a shame they didn't play 'C'thlu Thlu' which is one of the darkest and best things they have done. The band leave the stage for a moment and then the orchestra enters and begins to strike up with a quiet melody. They add colour and drama to this as each instrument chimes in, the brass, the violins, woodwind, all are virtuosos and the sound is full and lush providing incredible music as a background to Caravan's Canterbury rock. 'The Love in Your Eye' clocks about 13 minutes and flys by quite well, with organic musicality and strong beats, very uplifting and pleasant. 'Virgin on the Ridiculous' is another highlight with sweeping violins and Pye gently storytelling. The gorgeous harp flourishes and emotional strings on this are superb. Pye introduces "the last evening of the number", (haha!) And he says it is "the usual Caravan number, but this time orchestrated". The quintessential Caravan song 'For Richard' never fails to get the crowd on their feet. They play a 14 minute version with amazing lead guitar solos and lengthy musicality. 'A Hunting We Shall Go', a 'new' track, closes the show on an encore with a 10 minute non stop barrage of virtuosity. The band exit the stage to rapturous applause. This is perhaps the best live album for the band and it really showcases all that is great about them; whimsical humour, virtuoso musicianship, infectious melodies and with an orchestra thrown in for good measure. It is an irresistible combination where everything worked perfectly making this a landmark album for the band and a prime example of Canterbury at its best.
AtomicCrimsonRush 4/5 22.01.2012 (PROGARCHIVES)
This was the first official live album that CARAVAN released back in 1974. I'm still scratching my head wondering why I would purchase this when i'm not into music that is complimented with an orchestra. Someone's been putting those brain-cell destroying pills in my Corn Flakes again. Anyway the songs that are chosen are fantastic, and just to hear these classics again makes this a worthwhile purchase. It's just that I much prefer "Live At Fairfield Halls-1974" or "The Show Of Our Lives : Caravan At The BBC 1968-1975". Up first is the introduction of the band then "Memory Lain, Hugh / Headloss" which is so freaking good. It reminds me why CARAVAN is one of my favourite bands. "The Dog,The Dog, He's At It Again" is first explained by Pip as to the lyrics then they perform it beautifully. Love the distorted organ 2 1/2 minutes in. "Hoedown" isn't one of my favs but it's okay. "Introduction" is where the orchestra comes to life. This will continue the rest of the way. "The Love In Your Eye" has an orchestral intro as reserved vocals and violin take over. It kicks in after a minute. Nice. "Mirror For The Day" opens with orchestra then the vocals come in as it builds. Themes are repeated. "Virgin On The Ridiculous" again has those orchestral sounds mixed into the music. It's okay. "For Richard" is my favourite. The bass and violin sound great before 4 minutes then it kicks in at 5 minutes. I really like the distorted organ. It picks up again and we get a big finish. "A Hunting We Shall Go" has some refreshing guitar before 2 1/2 minutes. An orchestral calm 5 minutes in then it kicks back in after 9 minutes. If you like orchestral maneuvers in your Prog then chances are you'll dig this one.
Mellotron Storm 3/5 02.03.2012 (PROGARCHIVES)
The newly mined creative energies that guided For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night continued into the Caravan & the New Symphonia project. Fusing with a 39-piece orchestra is a daring move that pays off. The remastered CD includes over a half an hour of unissued material from Caravan, with and without the New Symphonia, during the same October 28, 1973 Theatre Royal concert. Subtitled "The Complete Concert," this performance captures Caravan at a creative zenith. The newly restored program commences with a brief introduction from BBC Radio's Alan Black. The band then presents three from For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night: "Memory Lain, Hugh"/"Headloss" suite, "The Dog, the Dog, He's at It Again," and "Hoedown." This mini-set sparkles with the frenetic energy that a live audience will often provide. The intense interaction during the waning moments of "The Dog, the Dog, He's at It Again" allows Caravan to reach a whole different stratum. The second set features the orchestra with the band and commences with "Introduction," an orchestrated piece that leads into the very delicate preface of "The Love in Your Eye." The synergies truly begin to flow as the band weaves in and out of the orchestra. Pye Hastings composed two new pieces specifically for this recording: "Mirror for the Day" and the brilliant "Virgin on the Ridiculous"; the latter became a performance standard for Caravan. The remainder of the set features some of their most formidable performance numbers, including an emotive "For Richard." The newly restored encore, "A Hunting We Shall Go" is stunning in its scope and perfectly encapsulates what Caravan & the New Symphonia is really all about: allowing good music and good musicians the chance to be mutually superior.
Lindsay Planer (ALLMUSIC)
Complete at last
Caravan first worked with an orchestra when recording Pye Hasting's instrumental piece A Hunting We Shall Go for the album For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night in 1973. The conductor and arranger for the session was Martyn Ford, who had been working with Barclay James Harvest. He enjoyed the experience so much he proposed the idea of a live concert also featuring the New Symphonia Orchestra. The idea was in vogue at the time with artists as diverse as Procol Harum and Deep Purple recording albums with full orchestras on board, sometimes with overblown and pompous results, though this is happily not the case here, where the orchestration genuinely adds a new dimension to the music. The concert happened on 28 October 1973 and was brilliantly captured on the Pye Mobile by Bill Price for an album, which was duly released in April 1974. Due to the space limitations of vinyl, only the main part of the concert was included, and the running order could not be maintained. It consisted of the lengthy Love In Your Eye (from Waterloo Lily), two hurriedly finished new songs, Mirror For The Day and Virgin On The Ridiculous, and their normal closing number, the suite For Richard. For this remastered re-issue the entire concert appears for the first time, complete with Pye Hastings' between song banter. Three songs from the current album were performed before the orchestra came on, and for an encore the complete ensemble performed the piece that had kick-started the project, A Hunting We Shall Go. These make a valuable and very welcome addition to an already essential CD.
Lozarithm (Wilts, UK) 4/5 02.02.2006 (AMAZON)
Finally.......New Symphonia is on CD
A friend turned me on to Caravan in 1971 and I've enjoyed all of their recordings (up to 1975's Cunning Stunts) ever since. This CD release of New Symphonia will certainly be welcomed by all fans of the group, and with good reason. It has been remastered reasonably well, so the quieter orchestral passages sound clearer (no tape hiss) and the band sound is balanced nicely with the orchestra. Deram also included additional material in the form of A Hunting We Shall Go, performed with the orchestra. They also decided to add the group's non orchestral warmup set, giving listeners a well rounded hearing of a very special evening. The New Symphonia has always been a favorite of mine because of the unique sound. It seems Caravan's music just works well in an orchestral setting, and this recording proves the point. There is a lot to enjoy here. If you are new to Caravan, I would recommend you start with In The Land of the Grey and Pink or For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night. If you are already familiar with the group but never listened to this one, you can feel comfortable in purchasing this CD. A very pleasant experience awaits you.
"jazzmanblue" (New York City, USA) 5/5 04.09.2002 (AMAZON)
The Finest Fusion of Rock and Orchestra
The fusion of rock and orchestration is certainly not something new. It seems many rock bands these days are deciding to update their material with an orchestra. Metallica brought back this idea with their 1999 release "S&M." The Scorpions tried doing the same thing and now, KISS is at it in Australia--ready to perform with the Sydney Orchestra in full makeup! God help us all. However, in 1974, the Canterbury prog-rock masters, Caravan, fused the two perfectly. In fact, this could possibly be the best fusion of rock and orchestra ever attempted. The orchestra is used in just the right way--not too overdone and not too overblown. Caravan uses the New Symphonia just like another member of the band--adding an overall effect, which is astonishing and breathtaking. From the power of "For Richard," to the sweetness of "The Love of Your Eyes," this record is sure to be a favorite for any Caravan fan who might be skeptical of this live classical fusion. For others interested in the paring of electricity and orchestra, this album is not one to miss. This new remastered version is a gem. To put it bluntly, it sounds amazing. The orchestra is so clear and perfect, it almost sounds as if this wasn't recorded in 1974. Plus, as a bonus, this disc features three tunes the band recorded that same night without the orchestra as a warm up before hitting the stage with the big band-I don't believe these songs were featured on the original release. While the fusion of orchestra with rock is a novelty these days, Caravan did it best in 1974 with this live release, along with the album prior to this, "Cunning Stunts." Play it loud and play it often!
C. Boros (Cleveland, OH United States) 4/5 24.02.2003 (AMAZON)
I don't quite get it
I actually like Caravan & The New Symphonia, but something about it seriously bothers me. While the orchestration is decent (and perhaps even entirely suitable for the style of progressive rock Caravan was creating back in the early 70's) I simply don't understand how these versions are anywhere in the same league compared to the ones that appear on the bands regular albums. "For Richard" has some really nice strings, and the performance is pretty beautiful overall, but this version is nothing compared to their MUCH livelier version from their If I Could Do It All Over Again album. Furthermore, Caravan loves to *jam*. The jams featured on this album aren't like the ones from previous offerings. Now the orchestration dominates everything to such an extent that it's hard to hear anything else going on in the background. What I'm trying to say is that the album includes WAY too many strings and as a result, the other aspect of the bands style I enjoy so much (their melodic and beautiful jamming) is pushed to the back in favor of a bucket load of orchestration. I understand that's probably the point of the experience the band was going for here, but... eh. I'd rather listen to the original versions instead where it's easier to appreciate the bands distinctive style. This is STILL a decent album, and on a good day I'd gladly award it a 4 star rating, but those comparisons to the better original versions are always imminent in my mind.
B. E Jackson (Pennsylvania) 3/5 24.07.2010 (AMAZON)
As someone who enjoys listening to Rock vs. Orchestra hybrids, I find this recording outstanding. Not only did I finally get a chance to update my old LP, bonus tracks really are a bonus. Why has this held up over the years? I'd say partly due to Caravan's musical sensibilities which already allowed for a lead electric viola. Already playing jazzy rock, the orchestra seems to be less of an extention of the keyboards, but an additional sound to be added to their already unique sound. I credit the band members as songwriters, as musicians who sound like they really enjoy what they're doing, and as musicians who can jam and excite their audiences. I credit Martyn Ford and his arrangements. I credit the orchestra, no matter how unhappy some individual members may have been. Largely, I credit the engineers at the Pye Mobile Recording Unit who made such a great recording the first time around, allowing the remastering and remixing to sound so good now. While the orchestra in Deep Purple's "Concerto for Group and Orchestra" sounds like it was recorded through a wall or like orchestras on your great grandparents old 78s, and while the orchestra from Barclay James Harvest 1972 BBC concert sounds nasty and out of tune, The New Symphonia sounds fantastic. I do not recommend this recording as a Caravan fan, but as one who enjoys music that is melodic and doesn't sound like "everything" else.
BG Gleep "Greg" (Northwest Ohio) 5/5 24.07.2007 (AMAZON)
Classic Live Caravan
This Caravan classic found the band joined by the New Symphonia for a one night only performance of material from their new (in 1974)album FOR GIRLS WHO GROW PLUMP IN THE NIGHT and several standards, such as FOR RICHARD. As this CD shows, Caravan was one of those rare bands that sounds very good in an orchestral setting.
A Customer 4/5 08.05.2001 (AMAZON)
Great CD. This remastered CD, complete with bonus tracks, should be part of every Caravan collection.
Geoffrey R. Teese (Coos Bay, OR United States) 5/5 09.01.2007 (AMAZON)
Buy it for "The Love in Your Eye"
There are numerous Caravan compilations out there, as well as a few live albums, but this live concert features Caravan backed up by a live orchestra -- The New Symphonia. What makes this recording so special is the version of "The Love in Your Eye". This song appears on several Caravan CDs (Songs for Oblivion Fishermen, Waterloo Lily, Live in Concert, Show of Our Lives, Where But for Caravan Would I: Anthology) but this live version is quite stirring with the orchestral and choral accompaniment, much more stirring than the studio or other live versions. Also, this is a recent release on CD -- and the LP has been hard to find for quite some time.
Daniel Carlson (Northern CA, USA) 4/5 05.01.2002 (AMAZON)
This is awesome
Bought on vinyl when it was released, as an import. Thrilled to get on CD, as there is the rest of the entire concert on the CD and the sound is great. This is SO awesome if you're a Caravan fan. The orchestra works great and I don't think the two new compositions, Mirror for the Day and Virgin on the Ridiculous, ever had studio versions; the latter is on other live issues but without the orchestrations it falls flat if you've heard the original with the orchestrations.
LAURETTA M COMPTON (New Ipswich, NH, US) 5/5 14.05.2013 (AMAZON)
Intéressant. Bon album, ce genre d'entreprise étant toujours peu casse gue... Le meilleur du genre reste la réalisation de Procol Harum.
notasa 4/5 27.08.2011 (RATEYOURMUSIC)
This is the 6th album by the great British Prog group Caravan, which is considered as their most unusual venture. With a phenomenal lineup consisting of keyboardist Dave Sinclair, violinist Geoffrey Richardson, guitarist Pye Hastings, bassist John G. Perry and drummer Richard Coughlan, the band recorded this album live, accompanied by a large orchestra – a very ambitious and challenging project. The level of writing was also phenomenally strong with most of the quirky material written by Hastings. This is classic Prog stuff of the highest caliber and an absolute must in any serious Prog record collection.
Jazzis 4/5 28.04.2011 (RATEYOURMUSIC)
There was no shortage of progressive bands going symphonic in the 70's, but the live Caravan & The New Symphonia stacks up pretty well as a marriage of the Pye Hastings-led Caravan's quirky Canterbury prog with a full orchestral backing. Caravan's signature driving, hypnotic instrumental excursions are given added weight and brassy drama on "The Love in Your Eye" and "For Richard," while exclusive to the album are immaculately stoned ballads like "Mirror for the Day" and "Virgin on the Ridiculous," typical but solid Caravan tunes wrapped in soft symphonic tones. The live recording is outstanding, with the soundstage rendered with more presence and clarity than many studio bound rock/orchestra pairings of the era.
bpnicast 4/5 06.02.2011 (RATEYOURMUSIC)
WOW! WOW! WOW! This Caravan record has a very good balance between electric guitars and electric viola: they are often played simultaneously. The electric guitar is really not timid here, and this contributes to give a very good sound to this record. The drums and bass are punchy and quite loud. The songs are recorded live. The main attraction is this omnipresent orchestration (horns and strings): it is absolutely delightful, very present and participating, reminding many orchestrated passages of the Renaissance band, circa "Scheherazade", "Novella" and "Song for all seasons". This is the best of the Caravan's albums I own! This formula of rock-orchestra really works. Do not forget the nice keyboards, having about the same style as on "For girls who grow plump in the night". Let us also mention the presence of saxes, flute and backing vocals, which complete the loaded ensemble. Very progressive, this record is a pleasure for your ears from the beginning to the end. There are 2 epic songs (12-13 minutes), which are really progressive. Unlike the other albums, this one is slightly less catchy, maybe because of the absence of Richard Sinclair's lead vocals. Definitely an underrated album, having ALL its songs at least excellent!! If you hate strings ensemble and violins, then this record is not for you!
greenback 5/5 29.08.2004 (RATEYOURMUSIC)
Auf ihrem 1973 erschienenen Sudioalbum "For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night" hatten Caravan erstmals einen Titel mit Unterstützung eines Orchesters, der "New Symphonia", aufgenommen. Daraus ergab sich die Idee, ein ganzes Konzert mit diesem Orchester zu veranstalten, und dies wurde im Oktober 1973 in die Tat umgesetzt und auf Platte verewigt. Die Originalveröffentlichung enthielt allerdings, ebenso wie die erste CD Ausgabe, nur einen Teil des Konzerts; die im Frühjahr 2001 erschienene Remaster CD enthält nun erstmals das gesamte Konzert, inklusive des ersten Teils, bei dem Caravan noch ohne das Orchester spielten, sowie der Zugabe "A Hunting We Shall Go". Insgesamt stolze 78 Minuten feiner Musik. Bereits auf dem erwähnten "For Girls..." Album war mit Geoffrey Richardson (Viola) ein Musiker beteiligt, der mit seinem dynamischen, teilweise recht agressiven Spiel ganz neue Aspekte in die Caravan Musik brachte. Die jazzigen Einflüsse der vorherigen Alben fehlen, der Stil wurde stärker rockorientiert. Pye Hastings klingt an der Gitarre härter, beschränkt sich aber weiterhin hauptsächlich auf Rhythmusarbeit. Dies zeigt sich in den drei Titeln nach der gesprochenen "Introduction", die alle von "For Girls..." stammen und weitgehend am Original gehalten sind. Auf dem nächsten, ebenfalls "Introduction" betitelten Stück spielen dann Band und Orchester erstmals zusammen, und es zeigt sich, dass beide eine perfekte Einheit bilden. Die großen Caravan Klassiker "Love in Your Eye" und "For Richard" erfahren hier eine ganz neue Interpretation, druckvoller, dynamischer als die Originale, und wenn ich auch letzten Endes doch das lockere Jazzfeeling der Aufnahmen mit Jimmy Hastings an Sax und Flöte vorziehe, möchte ich doch diese Version mit den Geoffrey Richardsons wilder Viola keineswegs missen. Ein kleiner Kritikpunkt ist allerdings "Mirror for the Day", ein Song, der wie das nachfolgende "Virgin for the Ridiculous", speziell für dieses Konzert entstand und sonst auf keiner Caravan Platte erhältlich ist (abgesehen von einer vor einigen Jahren erschienen CD mit Peel Sessions). Dieser ist mir in seiner Struktur zu poppig (das nachfolgende "Cunning Stunts" wirft seine düsteren Schatten voraus...) und nervt mit penetranten Einsatz der Background Sänger. Ansonsten ist "Caravan and the New Symphonia" ein absolut gelungenes Werk und der letzte Höhepunkt im Schaffen der Band.
Anspieltipp(s): Love in Your Eye, For Richard, A Hunting We Shall Go
Jochen Rindfrey 12/15 30.04.2002 (BABYBLAUE)
Auf "Caravan and the New Symphonia" gibt es großartige Momente, aber auch einige Schwachpunkte. "Introduction", "For Richard", "A Hunting We Schall Go" und der größte Teil von "The Love In Your Eye" stellen wohl den in der (Prog)Rockhistorie gelungensten Versuch dar, ein Orchester mit einer Rockband zu verbinden, auch wenn hier meiner Meinung nach des öfteren die Grenze zum Kitsch recht nahe zu rücken droht. Die Band selbst ist optimal aufgelegt. Vor allem Perrys druckvolles Bassspiel und Richardsons Violaspiel fallen sehr positiv auf. Besonders letzteres drückt der Musik einen sehr charakteristischen Stempel auf. Die ersten 4 Tracks, nur von der Band gespielt, sind ganz nett und halten sich mehr oder weniger genau an die Versionen auf "For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night". Nicht wirklich weltbewegend, aber es mach Spaß zuzuhören. Was aber wirklich nervt ist der Backgroundgesang am Anfang von "The Love In Your Eye" und in den beiden neuen Songs "Mirror for the Day" und "Virgin on the Ridiculous"! Das ist einfach nur kitschig und Pop-lastig und verdirbt mir den eigentlich positiven Gesamteindruck dieser Scheibe (dass das auch anders geht, zeigt die ein Jahr später aufgenomme Live-Scheibe "Live at the Fairfield Halls, 1974"). Caravan auf dem Sprung zur Kommerzialität? Na, so schlimm ist es dann doch nicht. Es fehlt mir hier (und auch auf "For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night") aber die jazzige Leichtigkeit und Eleganz, die "If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You", "In the Land of Grey and Pink" und "Waterloo Lily" auszeichnen. Eine interessante Scheibe bleibt "Caravan and the New Symphonia" trotzdem, auch wenn Caravan ihren Zenit hier schon überschritten haben.
Anspieltipp(s): For Richard
Achim Breiling 9/15 19.06.2003 (BABYBLAUE)