1 Here Am I (6:17)
2 Chiefs And Indians (5:13)
3 A Very Smelly, Grubby Little Oik (4:15)
4 Bobbing Wide (1:30)
5 Come On Back (4:50)
6 Oik (Reprise) (2:26)
7 Jack And Jill (6:26)
8 Can You Hear Me? (6:17)
9 All The Way (With John Wayne's Single-Handed Liberation Of Paris) (9:03)
Richard Coughlan (drums)
Pye Hastings (electric and acoustic guitar, vocals)
Geoffrey Richardson (viola, flute, electric guitar, night-shift whistle)
Jan Schelhaas (keyboards)
Mike Wedgwood (bass, congas, vocals)
1976/LP/BTM Records/BTM1007/UK,France,Italy,Netherlands
1977/LP/BTM Records/BTM1007/Spain ("Perro Ciego En St. Dunstans")
1994/CD/Repertoire Records/REP4501-WY/Germany
1996/CD/HTD Records/HTDCD60/UK
2005/CD/Repertoire Records/REP5138/Germany
2006/CD/Air Mail Archive/AIRAC-1230/Japan

After the surprisingly warm reception of Cunning Stunts, it looked like Caravan could do no wrong. Unfortunately, the band's next release was a major turn for the worse. New keyboard player Jan Schelhaas was part of the reason - his jazzy, up-tempo playing on every song regardless of the intended mood is one of the major problems here. It doesn't help that the material here is generally weaker, lacking either compelling lyrics or interesting song structures. Only the opening "Here Am I" is up to the standard of their older material and played with any kind of finesse. What is missing on this album is the character that made Caravan something more than just another technically proficient band. The critical and popular reaction was devastating. Blind Dog at St. Dunstan's took a career that was headed for the big time and brought it firmly back to ground.
Richard Foss (ALLMUSIC)

Blind Dog This album has an upbeat feel but it is very funky/ jazz fusion heavy and well composed. Chiefs and Indians is one of my favorite Caravan tunes in general, short but sweet with a nice smooth intro/ outro and an amazing guitar solo. Jack and Jill is another one of my favorites right up there with their classic stuff off Cunning Stunts and Land Of Grey and Pink. The whole album flows pretty well and is full of great tongue and cheek lyrics similiar to For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night. If you are a Caravan fan you owe it to them and yourself to give this a listen, in you are not a fan but like funk/ jazz fusion and or prog rock then you will most likely love this album. It makes a great addition to any serious music fans collection, very groovy stuff.
Sunset Shalom 29.01.2017 (ALLMUSIC)

This is a lovely album, full of fun, wit and great playing. Just to fill in a gap, the reason for the cover and title is that when they were rehearsing Jack and Jill, they used to sing "Blind Dog at St Dunstan's" as a gentle mockery of "Right down at the bottom". Mike told me that when we listened to the demos in his little cabin at Canterbury.
Tom Thatcher 20.02.2006

The first Caravan album to completely drop all pretense and be qualified as a pure pop record is naturally despised by large amounts of progressive rock fans, judasing it for all it's worth, and just as naturally ignored by the majority of pop fans — unlike Genesis, Caravan were unable to adapt sufficiently well to the new reality and find themselves an entirely new base of support. By­passed by main audiences for being too unattractive and lambasted by critics by being too slick and commercial, Blind Dog At St. Dunstan's fell through the cracks and sank like a stone. Never mind the unimportant fact that it incidentally happened to be one of the best pop albums released in the small chronological interim between the Golden Age of Art Rock and the radical change in musical fashion arriving with punk and New Wave. There is no conceptuality here (other than four songs on Side A joined together in a single suite, but this time they are not even listed under any single title), no musical innovation, no lengthy instrumental passages, no avantgarde influences, no spiritual messages — only a bunch of pop songs with influences from music hall, folk rock, funk, R&B, and even a bit of proto-disco. But now that the transition is made complete, the band happens to embrace the new light style with verve. Dave Sinclair is once again temporarily out of the band, replaced by Jan Schelhaas, a new guy with good technique and few ambitions, being perfectly happy to simply be one of the boys and, for the most part, keeping out of the spotlight; but his playing agrees very well with Hastings and Wedgewood, and Richardson's viola and flute, though applied now to seriously different types of material, are still vital to the overall sound. The only non-Hastings song on the entire record is Wedgewood's 'Chiefs And Indians', and it is a major improvement over his contributions on Cunning Stunts. A simple tale of discord between two lovers, it begins as a soft British music hall piece, somewhere in between Ray Davies and Alan Price, then launches into an angry funk-rock escapade with all the band members taking short, snappy solos (Wedgewood's bit of bass, eventually sliding down into a pool of nasty fuzz, is the best one, but everybody else shines as well) before returning back to music hall mode for the outro. What really sells the song, apart from all the snappy energy, is that it actually manages to sound cool — not too serious and pathetic, like 'Welcome The Day' on the previous record, but not straightforwardly comical, either. The lyrics, the vocals, the instrumental passages all have this air of sharp, witty sarcasm, and it is a defining feature of the album in general. Take a seemingly silly, superficial funk-pop song like 'Jack And Jill': its very title places it in the 'Mary Had A Little Lamb' category, and its lyrics are, indeed, a modern-day expansion of the old nursery rhyme with its potential sexual innuendos (well, leave it to Pye to find the subtext of physical romance in virtually everything — and, for that matter, the very title of the album is also a masked allusion to physical romance, spelled out in more detail during a well-audible bit of dialog at the end of the song: "what are those two doggies doing over there?" — "well, the first one is blind and his friend behind is pushing him all the way to St. Dunstan's!"). But really, the song is made by Wedgewood's spin­ning bass line and its interaction with Richardson's syn­copated viola (how often do you hear funky bits played on a viola, anyway?), implying a sort of «trickster» atmosphere, friendly and mischievous at the same time. As simple as the song is, it's got some bottom to it — both in the direct musical sense (cool bass!) and in the artistic one. Each song has its fair share of hooks and attractions. 'A Very Smelly, Grubby Little Oik' has not only enriched my knowledge of non-literary English language (next time somebody offends you, just call him a "grubby oik" in response and watch him spend the rest of his days in confusion), it also gave me a fun pop-rock riff and a catchy chorus — which then makes a masterful transition, by means of the vocal-synth merge, into the slow atmospheric instrumental 'Bobbing Wide' and then back into the realms of catchy soft-pop with 'Come On Back'. Now 'Come On Back' could be thought of as a pretty straightforward and «bottom-less» tune (although it really depends on which way you want to interpret the line "only when you come, you know that we'll be one"); but the real fun thing about it is that as soon as it is over, it is immediately reprised in the form of a gospel-pop coda, combining the melody of 'Come On Back' with the lyrical subject of 'Grubby Little Oik' with guest-starring Chanter Sisters providing the vocals. So is this really a four-part thematic suite about the adventures of a representative of the lower classes, or is it rather an exer­cise in sarcastic absurdism, firmly placing melodic fun over serious content?.. I have mentioned Ray Davies and Alan Price, but I think an even more substantial comparison here would be with Wings — the album shares a lot in common with McCartney's style in the Seventies, what with all the soft keyboards, sweet vocals, stylistic variety, and preference of humor over seriousness; no wonder, then, that it tends to get underrated in exactly the same ways in which people still like to criticize Wings At The Speed Of Sound or London Town, and that I, personally, find myself fond of it in much the same way I am fond of those records. In fact, the last and longest song, 'All The Way', starts out with Pye sounding almost like Macca at his most sentimental (think 'My Love'?) — and then transitions into a perfectly McCartney-esque chorus, simple, instantly memorable, and so sincere and touching that looping it for a very lengthy coda just seems like the most logical decision to take (especially because it's hard to think of a perfect resolution for the rising line "better than before, better than all after", so the only thing to do is just let it roll on and on and slowly fizzle away into a quiet whistle pattern). For the record: the reference to John Wayne in the subtitle is completely gratuitous (actually, 'All The Way' is the only song on the album that begs to be taken completely seriously, with no signs of tongue-in-cheek attitude anywhere in sight). Overall, the correct approach here is not to get worried about the lack of challenge or experi­mentation and simply to let yourself get carried away by the waves of vocal hooks and instrumen­tal sharpness — the music, that is, and not the supra-musical ambition, for which we also have a time and a place, but different ones. Pretty soon afterwards, Caravan would finally start losing their way in a world of rapidly changing fashions; but just for this once, their fine-tuned pop instincts worked out perfectly. Big thumbs up.
George Starostin 12.04.2017 (ONLY-SOLITAIRE.BLOGSPOT.COM)

Caravan's Big Lolly Pop Album. Way to go, kids!
The pop transformation goes further. Indeed, it goes the furthest. Cunning Stunts was a training ground, this is the real stuff - I can tell Pye had a lot of fun making this album, and even if you ever heard him denying that, don't believe it. This is a fun album, warmer, more life-affirming and also more self-ascertained and more straightforward and decisive than everything the band did since at least In The Land Of Grey And Pink. No more lengthy multi-part suites. No more band democracy, either: with the final departure of Dave Sinclair, Hastings and drummer Richard Coughlan are now the sole remaning members of the original lineup and of course it's only one of them who takes the reins. Pye writes all the tracks on here save one, takes most of the lead vocals and makes sure that all of the songs follow one and only one pattern - the lush 'baroque pop' pattern. This certainly makes for a tiresome first listen, but as the hooks sink deeper inside your flesh, you slowly start realizing that the album's lack of diversity is its only weakness. Actually, even Wedgewood's sole contribution, 'Chiefs And Indians', follows the general pattern, and instead of another half-lame attempt at something whiney-funky, it's a tough driving pop-rocker with a decent 'soft' intro and outro. And oh, it ain't about human rights and illegal extermination of national minorities at all, but rather about the problem of determining your place in society. Actually, what strikes me a LOT about this album is how nicely the songs are done. My bet is actually that people who despise this album (and there are many) have never really given it a fair listen. The songs are short, the lyrics are stupid and/or romantically simplistic, who needs any other proof that the record sucks? But this, in fact, is pop music of the highest order, not just three-minute songs based on a single repeating hook, but actually whole complexes of creative ideas, with excellent instrumentation and enough variations on the topic to keep you satisfied. Guitar solos, organ solos, viola solos and flute passages alternate with each other easily; songs flow by in reprises and reminiscences, and tons of giggly sound effects and tiny surprises await you at almost every corner. This trip is always highly artistic and almost never boring. Plus, the playing is all ace. Sometimes, like in 'Jack And Jill', I just feel like concentrating on the bassline alone is worth the money you paid for it. Or on the swirling organ line. Or something like that. Anyway, out of the six "main" Hastings-penned songs on the album, five are bouncy and boppy, playing at the top of their active entertainment powers, but never really trying to 'rock out' as 'rocking out' would be pretty stupid for Caravan at this point. In one case at least, the rockin' part is smoothly integrated into a soft sentimental ballad part - that's 'Come On Back', which kinda sounds like (brace yourself) Billy Joel meeting Lynyrd Skynyrd, only a deeply sensitive and catchy Billy Joel and a very poppified and funny Skynyrd. That's NOT a denigration, by the way, and I bet you anything you'll love the song even if you hate both of the above-mentioned entities. The other stuff is mostly going at the same pace, with the formula steady and working: unbeatable Hastings hooks over unbeatable instrumental backing. No, really, I don't think you can beat the hookline of 'you should see that boy FLYYYYYYY... [degenerate into a lot of phasing noise]' on 'A Very Smelly Grubby Little Oik' (gotta love those titles), or the 'oooh, right down to the bottom' hookline of the enthralling funk-pop ditty 'Jack And Jill' with yet another of Hastings' giggly stupid posturings loosely based on everybody's favourite nursery rhyme. And if you CAN beat these hooklines, you'll have a hard time demonstrating that it's possible to write a better pop song, or create a better arrangement than the one on 'Jack And Jill', with the viola and organ solos rattling the walls and the TOTAL major surprise around 5:00 that'll send you on a vain quest of replacing your CD (wink wink)... Of course, though, even these songs all pale behind the beauty of the soft jazzy chef-d'oeuvre 'All The Way' ('wittily' subtitled 'With John Wayne's Single-Handed Liberation Of Paris', even if the song itself is PERFECTLY serious and sincere), a song where I guess even Sir McCartney himself would have to give a tip of the hat to the Reverend Mr Hastings. It's one of those soft, luscious, heart-warming deeply intimate anthems ending in a lengthy repetitive coda that's bound to lift up your spirit even if it's lying under the ruins of the WTC - what a beautiful, utterly gorgeous song, so much more humane and naturally flowing than any selected national anthem ever created. The song alone should probably earn the album a couple extra points. Gee, I'm still dizzy about it. So far, this is the best pop album of 1976 I've listened to. That maybe isn't much, but it sure ain't little, either. Drastically underrated, and dammit, it's worth buying for the cover alone. A cover which has NOTHING, absolutely not a single bloody doggy-haired thing to do with the album's actual content, but this is Caravan you're dealing with, man, and Pye Hastings has always had a pretty twisted sense of humour and a really bizarre surrealistic vibe around him. REALLY bzarre. It ain't the Zappa surrealism and it ain't Beatles surrealism. Canterbury scene? CHAUCER SURREALISM? That's really a long way to go.
George Starostin 10/10 (STARLING)

Okay, this is not prog! Not at all. Of course that doesn’t mean it’s bad or anything but there’s this thing with prog bands doing things that ain’t prog that somewhat prevents the seasoned progsters from approaching it with a clean mind. I know, I am one myself and it took some time for me as well to get used to the notion of acquainting, much less liking, the poppier dinosaur output that started to emerge from the mid-70's onward. But don’t you dare dismiss it just because it isn’t prog, because that is obviously not the main factor that made certain records suck big time. Relative latecomers such as Rush and Camel carried on just fine into the 80's for example, and even some of the Genesis stuff of the time qualify as well, despite it not being considered prog anymore. Likewise, the reason why Yes’s “90125? stinks is not because it isn’t prog but because it’s synth-disguised sleaze rock (or a pile of digital dung, whichever you prefer). In short, records rule or suck because of what they are, not because of what they aren’t. And this record, well it doesn’t exactly rule but it sure is listenable and cheering in the best Caravan tradition and I suppose we have our favourite sissy boy mr. Hastings to thank for that. Dave Sinclair left the band once again and was replaced by Jan Schelhaas and the overall approach seem to somewhat hearken back to “Waterloo Lily” with all the funky electric pianos, clavinets and whatnots. But this time around it all seems to gel together much more fluently because the playing is actually suspended in compact and well-written songs in contrast to aimless jamming. For the first time however, I find it a bit hard to talk about the separate songs on this album but several of them sound almost like Steely Dan with all the gospelish harmonies and syncopated bass rythms, proving after all that Caravan are capable of being the funk soul brother, check it out now! This transatlantic feel is especially present on tracks like “Come on back”, “Can you hear me”, Jack and Jill” and the very Steely Dan-ish “Chiefs and indians” that would not have sounded out of place on an album like “Countdown to ecstasy”. Surely we’ve gone a long way from Canterbury by now. And the bass line in “Jack and Jill” is killer! Who said that white nerds can’t play the funk? Oh yes, I did. So I contradict myself? I am vast, I contain multitudes! The opener “Here am I” is a cheerful light rocker that sounds suspiciously like Styx but, like in the case of Kansas, better because Caravan aren’t nauseating and Styx are (although it isn’t too hard to imagine it being ruined by Tommy Shaw). The highlight though, and the only track that somewhat stands out, is saved for last; The majestic “All the way” that continues the tradition of “The show of our lives” and even parts of “The love in your eye” with a mellow but stately, even Broadwayish, melody set to a carefully orchestrated arrangement with a bit of flute and woodwind here and there. I’d really like to see this used for a film score if it hasn’t been already, preferrably set to the final scenes of course. This is just about what I find myself able to write about this album though, since there’s not too much to write about. The melodies are all decent but nothing, apart from the closing track, stands out. But this was all but expected from what we have experienced from Caravan up until now, and the tendencies were there already on the previous album even if I must stress that they managed to expand on it on here. The songs are all compact and well performed and nothing sounds the least bit inadequate, as differed to songs like “Lover” on the predecessor. So all in all, “Blind Dog At St. Dunstan’s” is a decent but not terribly memorable album, clearly scented by its time period. Of course, none should ever think about starting their Caravan collection with this one, but I’m keen to add that you shouldn’t end it with it either. Hang on to find out why!
dotoar 05.05.2011 (POLITEFORCE)

There are still a fair bit of moments where you can see the bright past of this group but the constant personnel change is ruining this band. Yet another bassist Messakar (coming from Daryl Way's Wolf or Curved Air or both, if my memory serves me well), Jan Schelhaas (from the National Head Band but a Liverpudlian himself) is replacing the again-departed David Sinclair on KB and he does not fill up in the writing dept and this hurts group deeply. Nevertheless, some tracks are still quite fine in their typical style, progressive enough to interest us and others are more straightforward in what would come close to AOR if it didn't sound so Caravanesque. Musically (sonically) speaking, we are really close to Cunning Stunts and there is still a very usual Caravan humour (Very Grubby little Oik) on this album. In the late 90's they re-recorded a few of these numbers, shedding a new light on them Blind Dog just received in 2003 a remastering (as had all previous albums) but I have not yet heard it but I hope that the sound is better.
Sean Trane 3/5 02.02.2004 (PROGARCHIVES)

Here is one of the most under-rated CARAVAN album of all time and is one of my personal favs. "Blind Dog at St. Dunstan"'s is a lesson in the prog Cantebury school of music really with some wonderful song writing. I think unfortunately the highest this album ever made it on the charts was something like 50 (UK) and never was really regarded as a classic CRAVAN album for some bizzare reason. Lineup juggles included Mike Wedgwood (CURVED AIR) on the bass/congas, Pye Hasting's wonderful guitar/voice, the lovely flute and viola of Geoff Richardson and the organ, moog, clavinet of Jan Schelhaas. Songs are quite soulful actually with some great deep song writing and complex musicianship throughout. When the band really gets groovin' their music actually reaches a semi-funk groove while holding onto a very much overriding Cantebury style. Brilliant music which really progresses...
loserboy 4/5 19.03.2004 (PROGARCHIVES)

Blind Dogs showed maturity with more jazz overtones and is IMHO a highly underrated follow up to the ' Cunning Stunts'. These guys created strong melodies when prog music was seriously being eroded by the onslaught of punk which is why perhaps they were trying harder to be mainstream, Pearls are ' Here am I', ' Chiefs and Indians' and ' All the Way'. Pye Hastings oozes creativity on a well balanced offering of high quality songs.' Bobbing wide' is a beautiful instrumental up there with any of their earlier albums. Don't mess around and add it to your collection.
Chris S 4/5 17.06.2004 (PROGARCHIVES)

John Wayne comes to the rescue again! Not one of Caravan's best by any means, most of the tracks being Caravan by the numbers. It is however saved by the excellent final track, "All the way (with John Wayne's single handed liberation of Paris)". This is a laid back nine minute piece, with a lengthy ending refrain, and a beautiful melody. I love the music of Caravan, but for me the rest of the tracks are pretty forgettable, being sub-standard soft/jazz rock tracks with little in the way of inspiration. St. Dunstan's by the way is a home for blind people in the south east of Great Britain, hence the (play on words) title. The LP has a clever cartoon on the cover with plenty of dog related puns, this of course is completely lost on the miniaturised CD version.
Easy Livin 2/5 03.07.2004 (PROGARCHIVES)

Just when I thought CARAVAN sunk to the bottom with "Cunning Stunts", I really felt they rebounded with "Blind Dog at St. Dunstans". The band at this point consisted of Pye Hastings, Richard Coughlin, Mike Wedgwood, Geoff Richardson, and new keyboardist Jan Schelhaas (David Sinclair left, once again pursuing other projects). The orchestrations, luckily were thrown in the trash, plus Mike Wedgwood is relegated back to CURVED AIR status by sticking mainly to just bass, and this time around only contributing one song. A lot of the whimsy has return as well. The opening cut, "Here Am I" sounds encouraging, where I don't hear the orchestrated mush on "Cunning Stunts". Mike Wedgwood's only contribution here, "Chiefs and Indians" is luckily a more rocking number, which oddly reminds me of the ALAN PARSONS PROJECT (CARAVAN was recording for Arista at that time, just like the ALAN PARSONS PROJECT would soon be). The next song is really a suite consisting of "A Very Smelly, Grubby Little Oik", "Bobbing Wide", "Come on Back" and "Oik (Reprise)", which are stuffed with that wonderful CARAVAN whimsy I'm so glad has returned, same for "Jack and Jill", which harkens back to "For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night". "All the Way" is the only real soft rock number on this album, having an almost ALAN PARSONS PROJECT-like feel to it. This is the kind of album ALAN PARSONS should've produced (he didn't, David Hitchcock did, who produced their previous albums, as well as GENESIS' "Foxtrot"). The new keyboardist, Jan Schelhaas seems to have a more conventional prog rock approach than David Sinclair, as he tended to use Mini Moog, Hammond organ, clavinet, and Solina. Nice album, and definately their best album from the second half of the 1970s.
Proghead 4/5 11.11.2004 (PROGARCHIVES)

Album of CARAVAN released in 1976 "Blind Dog At St.Dunstan". Long song was disappeared. However, it is a work of a considerably wonderful content in the point of cool pop lock where country flavor overflows. The sound of the piano and the synthesizer is fresh. Music became mellow a little, too.
braindamage 4/5 26.10.2005 (PROGARCHIVES)

This is one of my favorite prog albums. Caravan seemingly achieves the perfect medium between jazz, prog, and pop with BLIND DOG AT ST DUNSTANS. Caravan uses keyboard, moog, flute, sax, clarinet, and VIOLA! on this record and fuses these beautiful sounds with memorable melodies and vocals by PYE HASTINGS. this album is incredible and VERY UNDERRATED. some standout tracks include: "Here Am I" - which has a powerful intro and incredible solos. "Chiefs and Indians" - starts out slow, then bursts into a funky breakdown, one of my favorite songs, with a beautiful mellow ending. I wont go into detail on every song, but every song on this CD is awesome, and has a great fun pop/prog sound to it, while still putting on a technically impressive show. DONT BE FOOLED BY THE RATINGS, THIS IS ESSENTIAL CARAVAN! gotta be one of my top 5 favorite prog albums of all time. (diamond in the rough imo...HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
Blind Camel 5/5 11.02.2006 (PROGARCHIVES)

A real return to form. I agree with other reviewers that this album is very under-rated. The Cantebury humour is probably more apparent here than any other Caravan album. Most tracks are strong with the album culminating with an excellent "All the Way". "Chiefs and Indians" features some great guitar solos from Pye and Geoff together with a great keyboards input for Jan. The addition of Jummy Hastings on Flute and Sax adds to the overall quality of this album. Definately one of their stronger albums.
Mark Roberts 4/5 02.10.2006 (PROGARCHIVES)

This was the first time when I lost my faith in these guys. Rock’n’rolls, pop songs, kind of attempt to create an epic (the oik story which lasts for 13 minutes in a sum) and pretty catchy tune of “All the Way” in the end – this what “Blind Dog” consists from. Disappointing and bleak album, rather primitive and cheesy at times, it’s not recommended for newbies. Better start with “In the Land of Grey and Pink” or “For Girls…”
Prog-jester 2/5 06.06.2007 (PROGARCHIVES)

I guess that "Caravan" has listened many times to "Perpetual Change" (a great YesSong). It is really difficult to follow the "ins" and "outs" here. Countless! Still, the opening number is rather catchy. More on the rocking side, but this is not a new feature for "Caravan". Their excellent album "For Girls" had already investigated in this direction. It is a very good start IMO. And even if "Chiefs & Indians" starts on the weak side, the upbeat instrumental part is more convincing : solid bass play for this jazzy section. This song is alternating with soft and mellow passages. Not bad after all. Fortunately, the cement of this band (Pye Hastings) is still present. The incomparable sound of his voice is at least still very much there which confines to some track a definite "Caravan" mood even if not genuinely in accordance with their early production. "A Very Smell, Grubby Little Oik" is one example of this. And another good song from this album. The band reverts to a very soft mood for the beautiful instrumental "Bobby Wide". A good ambient break, somewhat jazzy towards its end. Actually it sounds more as a second movement of a longer track since it is linked with the previous and the next title which gives some flavour of a suite (there is even an "Oik" reprise). The latter being somewhat too gospel oriented to my ears. At times "Jack & Jill" sounds very melodic but too jazzy/funky to fully please me. An average song, I should say. Same mood for "Can You Hear Me". But the vocal parts are pleasantly executed and by far the major attraction here. Extremely fresh and positive. The violin is also very well played and more than welcome. The closing number is another very decent "Caravan" song. On the softer edge, melodic and harmonious. A beautiful flute part adds so much to it. The most emotional of all the numbers from "Blind Dog". My fave. At the end of the day, this album is a good one. No outstanding track but a solid global work, slightly too much jazz-oriented to my taste but three stars seems a fair deal.
ZowieZiggy 3/5 29.01.2008 (PROGARCHIVES)

I like to make a pitch for albums that otherwise might go less noticed on this site when I listen to one and it strikes my fancy. So here's my pitch for this fine piece of work by Caravan that typically does not get the attention that several of their other wonderful classic works get. This is a good place for the common music fan with less of a progressive urge to get a handle on the group. There is nothing outstanding here, but it is a very solid piece (maybe one of the best) and a fine example of an accessible prog album that works consistently well from start to finish, has a pop/accesible flair to it, and has many nice prog musical elements dispersed throughout as well, including quirky melodies and maestro playing. The highlight/most catchy piece is without doubt Jack and Jill, a very fun and dancible piece, performed and produced impecably, and with a killer hook and groove. The rest fills in and flows around this piece very nicely. On amazon, I's give this 5 stars. Here, for the hardcore prog crowd: 4.
mapman 4/5 10.05.2008 (PROGARCHIVES)

Blind Dog at St. Dunstans is the seventh album from Caravan and the follow up to Cunning Stunts from 1975. Blind Dog at St. Dunstans has many similarities to it´s predesecor who IMO was a very good album which unfortunately had some big flaws too. I gave Cunning Stunts a 3 star rating. There has been a major change in the lineup since Cunning Stunts as David Sinclair left Caravan for the second time. His replacement is Jan Schelhaas who after a couple of albums with Caravan would also jump ship in favour of a spot in Camel. Jan Schelhaas has a style that is a bit different from that of Dave Sinclair, but generally he fits well into Caravan´s sound. Quality wise Blind Dog at St. Dunstans is a bit of a mixed affair. The first four songs are all very good songs and we even get some real Canterburian clarinet playing in the short instrumental Bobbing wide from Jimmy Hastings. Here am I, Chiefs and indians and A very smelly, grubby litle oik are all excellent Caravan songs just the way I like them. Soft rocking with light jazzy hints and great humour. Had the rest of the album been in this quality I would have rated the album one star more than I´m gonna give. Unfortunately the quality drops to an absolute lowpoint with Come on back and the even worse Oik (reprise). Trivial and a bit too happy pop songs and Oik (reprise) even has a gospel choir which is something I loathe. The last three songs Jack and Jill, Can you hear me? And All the way (with John Wayne's single-handed liberation of Paris) are all good but nothing more. In the lyrics department Pye seems to be in love or something as there are lots of love songs on both Cunning Stunts and Blind Dog at St. Dunstans and without knowing anything detailed about Pye Hastings life my guess is that he met his big love just around this time. I must say I think his love songs are a bit too cheesy for me and I´d much rather enjoy his more humorous song lyrics. The musicianship is great on Blind Dog at St. Dunstans. As mentioned the big change in the lineup has affected the sound a bit but not much. There is a hideous organ playing in Can you hear me? For instance and a modern sounding synth sound in the beginning of All the way (with John Wayne's single- handed liberation of Paris) that I don´t recall David Sinclair using that much ( maybe a bit on Cunning Stunts). Geoffrey Richardson who was very dominant on Cunning Stunts is superseeded by Pye Hastings this time. Pye even plays guitar solos on the album. The production is very good, and everything comes out as it should. Really enjoyable. This is unmistakebly a Caravan album and it could be considered a twin album to Cunning Stunts as the sound of those two albums are very much alike. I will rate Blind Dog at St. Dunstans 3 stars which is the same as I gave Cunning Stunts. There are some really great things on Blind Dog at St. Dunstans but unfortunately the quality isn´t high all the way through the playing time. It´s an album I enjoy on occasion though and I can recommend it to fans of the Canterbury scene.
UMUR 3/5 04.07.2008 (PROGARCHIVES)

I owe this album for quite a long time by now and it's a bit of an odd one in my collection. Well, it was for many years because it was my only Canterbury album. By now I bought their masterpiece as well and one of the Hatfield albums. So I'm getting more and more into this peculiar style of prog. How to define Canterbury ? Maybe not the official definition but how I experience it that it's symphonic prog with jazzy undertones played by English intellectuals mainly. But since I absolutely love both symphonic prog and jazz it should fit me perfectly. Well. it certainly does as long as it can be called melodic music. As soon as it gets too profound and the musicians prefer the more challenging and out of the ordinary (eclectic) stuff I tend to call it a day. Here we have an example of how I like it best. Slightly accessible music creating a delicious atmosphere. Especially the first six songs of this album are delightful to me. Both strong rocking moments and very jazzy elements determine the style here. Last three songs the band changes the direction in an obvious way. Jack and Jill almost sounds like a funky pop song, the violin and a short organ solo and a bit of flute make it at least a bit special but that's about it. Can you hear me ? is more or less the same story where accessibility is concerned. Less funky but also here with prominent Hammond organ and violin. Both songs are still enjoyable by the way but the jazzy aspect is suddenly gone or at least strongly diminished. The real disappointment is last track All the Way. First half of the song is ok but second half is extremely repetitive for several minutes. What a shame since it almost ruins a very good feeling I have about this release. Let's call it 42 minutes of great music and 4 extremely poor and annoying ones. So the outcome where the rating is concerned is not difficult here. It's simply an excellent album. Maybe an album in the declining phase of their career for the real fans but it doesn't bother me that their peak days are gone at this point. This album suits me much better than their magnum opus In the Land of Grey and Pink. This is Canterbury how I like it best. Four strong stars for Blind Dog !
progrules 4/5 30.01.2010 (PROGARCHIVES)

I've got a soft spot for BETTER BY FAR (1977) and I feel BLIND DOG (1976) is on almost the same level, but not quite.
Most of BLIND DOG is "Caravan Lite". Jolly pop songs like "Here Am I", "A Very Smelly, Grubby Little Oik" and "Jack and Jill" are very, very similar to the material that would emerge on BETTER BY FAR one year later, but BETTER BY FAR sounds much glossier, courtesy of producer Tony Visconti. BETTER BY FAR also benefits from one of the most beautiful Caravan instrumentals ever ("The Last Unicorn") and one of their most haunting ballads ("Nightmare"). There's nothing quite as amazing on BLIND DOG, although the (nearly) nine minute "All the Way" is the sort of torchsong only Pye Hastings can write: not too dissimilar from "The Show of Our Lives" (on CUNNING STUNTS), but one helluva album closer! To be sure, BLIND DOG has its moments: there's some exciting soloing on guitar (Pye Hastings and Geoffrey Richardson), viola (Richardson again), ultra-fat sounding bass (Mike Wedgwood), keyboards (Jan Schelhaas) and various wind instruments (mainly played by the inimitable Jimmy Hastings), but all solos are kept within bounds. Mike Wedgwood's vocal on "Chiefs and Indians" is a delight. Everyone who's even remotely interested in Caravan's history should get a copy of this album, but I can't help thinking that, after the first four tracks or so, most of the remainder (i.e. "Come on Back", "Oik (Reprise)", "Jack and Jill" and "Can You Hear Me?") sounds like filler. As previous reviewers have pointed out, St. Dunstan is associated with the blind. The full meaning of "BLIND DOG AT ST DUNSTANS" is explained in the wikipedia entry devoted to the album. It's a fascinating story (involving Noel Coward and a pair of dogs) which I never knew until today, so take a look when you can! And so on to the album cover. St Dunstan was archbishop of Canterbury, and an entire neighbourhood (just west of the town centre) was named after him. On the front cover you see the most exciting part of this neighbourhood (called St Dunstan's, of course), with Canterbury's West Gate at the top. Apparently, this is the oldest surviving city gate in England, and it's well-known for the fact that double-decker buses only just manage to squeeze through. I don't know what the street here depicted looks like nowadays, but when I was a student at Kent University (1983-84), most of the shops in the picture were still there, including that pub with the curving roof on the left. (Needless to say the names of shops and pubs on the sleeve are full of dog-related puns, e.g. "Barkley's Bank" for "Barclay's Bank".) I used to find it delightful to walk or ride through an actual album cover... (And doesn't the cover suggest Caravan were the most "Canterbury" of all Canterbury bands?) Unfortunately, back then there were no further traces of the entire "scene". The local record shops didn't even stock Canterbury albums anymore. Sic transit gloria mundi...
fuxi 2/5 12.02.2010 (PROGARCHIVES)

No more Sinclairs....
At least David was replaced by Jan Schelhaas who later will join Camel and is a very good keyboardist, but the sound is no longer the same. This is a pop album whose songs are a bit too noisy for this band. "Here I Am" is just glam rock for the first half, until Geoff Richardson's viola starts a second half more in line with Caravan's standards. "Chiefs And Indians" is a good song. It starts mellow then goes uptime and jazzy. It's only that the sounds are no longer that mix of dreamy and acid that was characteristic of the first albums. It sounds like American disco-funky in the brass arrangements and in the vocals even if the musical themes are still in Caravan's style and for this reason very good. "A Very Smelly Grabby Little Oik" seems a reprise of "Stuck in a Hole". Recycled stuff, but it's effectively a sort of short suite which ends with Oik Reprise. "Come On Back", in particular is one of the best songs of the album even being the most pop oriented. Pop can be good sometimes. "Jack And Jill" sounds like they are trying to copy themselves. It too appears already listened. The funky bass is remarkable but it gives me the impression that the creativity of this band is going to a dead end. "Can You Hear Me?" is on the same line, jazzy in the chords, funky in the rhythm and with falsetto vocals. Not a bad track also this, but it doesn't light any led in my mind. "All the way" opens promising. Jan's keyboard is dreamy and subtle. The song develops as expected and the result is very close to what Camel will do later on Rain Dances and on Breathless. This song is the reason why I'm rating 3 stars an album that in its entirety would probably deserve just two. Just an advise: this is not the right album for who wants to start with Caravan.
octopus-4 3/5 04.04.2011 (PROGARCHIVES)

The seventh studio album of Caravan is more or less author project of Pye Hastings, who wrote and sang eight of nine songs. For this reason, it is the most pop album in the history of this band. But pop music for the Caravan is nothing in the style of contemporary bands. This music is intelligent, well marked by jazz music and produced in very high quality. Another significant element of its sound is also the departure of David Sinclair, who was replaced on keyboards by Jan Schelhaas, former member of the Gary Moore's group. Songs like Here I am, Jack and Jill, Can You Hear Me or All The Way belong to a very high quality songs, that we can easily move to the better things of Caravan's repertoire. Important parts of this album are Geoffrey Richardson's viola and guest horn section, consisting of Jimmy Hastings.
Burbuja 4/5 01.09.2011 (PROGARCHIVES)

Blind dog at St. Dunstans from 1976 is Caravan's seventh studio record. It feels like an even and well produced Caravan fragment. The cover is funny with a clothed dog in the front. The people on this record is mostly the same as on "Cunning stunts" with the difference that David Sinclair has left and been replaced by Jan Schekhaas which plays keyboard on this record. As before Jimmy Hastings contributes with wind instruments. It's a long lp with some excellent moments but not those highlights heard on earlier albums. Blind dog at St Dunstans is in no way a bad record and for Caravan fans there is a lot to recognize such as Pye Hastings' mild voice and the joyful melodies. The viola gives the music a needed deep and the band shows its poetic performances over the full album. My favourite tracks here are "Chief and Indians" and "A very smelly grubby little oik" but many more are worth listening to. Absolutely no track is bad or boring. The album has a high and even standard. But something is still missing. This is a declining Caravan. Even if songwriting still is good it feels musically there must be some form of lack of ideas. Last record had jazzy parts and Caravan uses to go crazy in its own sophisticated ways. This record doesn't take a stand. Not a masterpiece I must still acknowledge Caravan for their ability to continue make intelligent records. I look forward to listen to "Better by far" if I happen to find it. Others have mentioned David Sinclair's keyboards are missing on "Blind dog..." and I agree. That is also a difference between the records from 75 and 76. For me it's remarkably this record has better rating than "Cunning Stunts" but in other hand that one is more poupular. Listen to this yourself! All tracks: Chief and Indians(8/10), A very smelly grubby little Oik(8/10), Here am I(7/10), Can you tell me(7/10), Come on back(7/10), All the way(7/10), Bobbing Wide(6/10), Jack and Jill(6/10) and Oik(6/10) makes the review 3,5 which becomes 3 stars!
DrömmarenAdrian 3/5 19.09.2013 (PROGARCHIVES)

All the way... down
The ridiculously titled Blind Dog at St. Dunstans begins well enough with Here I Am, the best tracks of the album, but it soon becomes apparent that the band had lost something essential that made their previous two albums so good. The band feels uninspired and somewhat unsure of where they wanted to go. It still manages to sound like Caravan, but it is Caravan by the numbers. What we have here is dominated by slick Jazz grooves and generic Pop melodies. They still knew how to pull off some nice solos from time to time, but the material here is less than memorable. The opening track is followed by a series of lesser tracks, some of which are plainly dull and others of which are downright embarrassing. The boogie-woogie number Come On Back is among the latter. It is tediously repetitive. Only towards the end does the album regain some of the strength of the opening track, but even the better songs here fail in comparison with the previous two albums. It becomes painfully clear that, at this point in their career, Caravan was past their prime. Blind Dog at St. Dunstans is one of Caravan's weaker albums. It was the first one of a long series of less than inspired albums from the group.
SouthSideoftheSky 2/5 09.02.2014 (PROGARCHIVES)

This is typical of the seventies bands that had more talent in their drumsticks that much of the manufacturer music today. Its got great music that is catchy, its fun and its well made. If you like seventies soft rock, you'll like this.
steve hutton (CLAYGATE, SURREY United Kingdom) 4/5 04.08.2002 (AMAZON)

I've been a Caravan fan for longer than I care to remember (over 30 years!!!), and had this on vinyl back in the seventies. Overall it's a very good album which still sounds just as 'fresh' all these years on. Superb musicianship and a nice collection of songs, with tracks such as "Here Am I" and "Can You Hear Me" being a particular joy. These 'boys' can play!! Highly recommended.
david77160 4/5 04.05.2005 (AMAZON)

I loved this LP in the day. It is as good now as it was then great music, even if a bit dated.
swivel 5/5 22.12.2013 (AMAZON)

Allthough I already had this on vinyl, it is more convenient these days to have CD option. A great album from a great band.
DWJONES 5/5 11.04.2013 (AMAZON)

Pleasant, but far from glorious.
Compared to the golden era of 1970-1973, this release - the band's first post-Decca album - is terribly disappointing. Without the inspiration of either of the Sinclair cousins to foster creativity in the writing department, 'Blind Dog...' lacks the cutting edge of all of its predecessors. Quite simply, this is a pleasant, whimsical set of songs but, sadly, Pye Hastings seemed to have lost his way and, for me, there are no really outstanding tracks here. On the positive side, there are some lovely bursts of individual virtuosity from Geoffrey Richardson (viola/flute) and Jimmy Hastings (sax/clarinet) to bring some much needed colour to proceedings. Only buy this after you have discovered the 6 previous studio releases, especially 'In The Land Of Grey And Pink' and 'For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night' which are excellent albums.
Prog Rob "RIG" (Stone) 3/5 20.11.2014 (AMAZON)

Almost their swansong.
Yes, this is a good album, not least due to it having been written entirely (if memory serves) by Pye Hastings (no credits are indicated on my CD copy). But by now, like so many other great exponents of that uniquely British phenomenon progressive rock, Caravan were feeling the onslaught of the horrible, sewage-laden tide of punk rock and New Wave. This album has the almost wistful air of a band who knew that their era was passing into history. Gone were the great John G. Perry on bass and Dave Sinclair on keyboards, each of whom had been such quintessential elements of the band's 1973 masterpiece, For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night. But, for all that, this was a worthy reprise of their heyday, with several fine songs and an overall feeling of being a coherent album project rather than just a collection of tracks, under the solid production of David Hitchcock at Basing Street studios, with Django Johnny Punter at the desk. DJP also did the mixing, at AIR studios. The quality of the transfer to digital is a bit of a disaster, particularly in the upper registers, which sound glassy and digital (no details of who did the remastering or where or when are provided), which is surprising for a Repertoire reissue, but it just about makes the grade. Blind Dog isn't quite up there with the likes of The Land Of Grey and Pink or For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night, it must be said, but not it's not at all bad either. A properly remastered edition would probably be considerably better.
Julian Stevens (BRISTOL, UK United Kingdom) 3/5 04.01.2009 (AMAZON)

One of my favourite Caravanses!.
Bought this to bring my collection closer to complete, despite the slightly equivocal reviews. I didn't get Caravan at the time, but I'm now soaking them up. This is brilliant. Some self-quoting in the melodies and playing from earlier albums, but that's a well-accepted way of holding an identity. Classical composers have done it for centuries. I love the slightly poppier feeling on this (still jazzy, English prog) album. I'd place it close to "grey and Punk" and that really is saying something.
Alan Murray (Edinburgh) 5/5 02.04.2014 (AMAZON)

This CD is good but not the best this band. Perhaps, the best track is "All The Way" that ends the album. There is no song ugly, but the whole disk is not exciting as the previous ones. Recommend more to anyone who is a fan of the band and is already accustomed to the sound of Caravan. Good! Note 7.0.
Jose Henrique 3/5 17.07.2013 (AMAZON)

very good
jim 5/5 28.07.2014 (AMAZON)

Very good
Mr G Young 5/5 21.07.2014 (AMAZON)

After the weak album "Cunning Stunts", Caravan left the Decca label and their best work behind, or so most histories of the band would tell you.The style they bring to this disc is more pop than you might expect but the songwriting is strong and the atmosphere positive. These guys sound like they're enjoying themselves and the solo's are short but succinct, there's a loose feeling to the band, with nobody over influencing the music. Highlights include "Here am I","Chiefs and Indians","A very smelly, grubby little oik","bobbing wide" and the ballad "All the way". It's very uplifting, with Pye Hastings supplying his usual whimsical lyrics, and newcomer Jan Schelhass filling the shoes of Dave Sinclair suprisingly well. This was the last album produced by David Hitchcock for the band and his absence is felt with the shaky albums that followed this one.It was a surprise that this album is so enjoyable, and I would recommend this to those who have enjoyed the lighter songs that Pye Hastings has written on other Caravan albums (such as "Love to love you","Aristocracy" and "Surprise, surprise").
"caravanfan" (London United Kingdom) 4/5 15.07.2002 (AMAZON)

good, not great.
It's not a bad album as so many professional reviewers would state-it doesn't seem to campare to their earlier more whimsical and adventurous music. It has tight musicianship and some pretty strong songs. I think that their last really great album was Girls Who Go Plump The Night followed by the slight drop off with Cunning Stunts. There seems to be some Steely Dan influence in this album and a little bit of caution in the song writing. Not to be totally written off but definitely not one of their strongest...
"allismile0" (Washington, DC) 3/5 28.07.2014 (AMAZON)

To say this disc is rubbish is unfounded. It may not be A+ Caravan but its still Caravan and is still a great album, stand out cuts Here Am I, Oik Suite, Jack and Jill and the lovely song at the end of the album All The Way. This is and will always be my favourite Caravan album with In The Land Of Grey And Pink a close second
A Kid's Review 5/5 24/01/2001 (AMAZON)

nice mellow rock.
Update - 18.09.2014
I woke up a couple days ago desiring to re-listen to Blind Dog at St. Dunstan's because I originally didn't care for it much and I wanted to see if my feelings have changed any. I originally thought it was a very laidback, safe and uninteresting album by Caravan standards. However a few years later here we are, listening to it again. Now I love it! I think what happened is that 6 years ago I was locked into such a progressive rock mode that I was simply disappointed with the lack of lengthy flute, keyboard and guitar jams I've come to expect from the band. However I realize I'd overlooked a good portion of the instrumental variety here. Or perhaps I sensed a commercial-ish vibe on this outing that wasn't present so strongly and noticeably on previous Caravan albums, and that rubbed me the wrong way. Who knows the exact reason why I had mixed feelings with Blind Dog at St. Dunstan's. "Here Am I" (NOT "Here I Am!" like some superhero) opens the album and it's much better than I remember. Quality vocals, energetic rhythm, and a great song overall. I either underestimated or simply overlooked Pye Hastings singing style. I love the electric guitar solo in the middle and the haunting violin near the end which is a surprising moment there. "Chiefs and Indians" is unique in that it features show tune/loungy-like vocals instead of the typical Canterbury style we normally associate with the band. A nice experiment for the band. The "talkin' about Chiefs and Indians" chorus sounds hit-worthy like this should have become a well-known song. It reminds me of the Moody Blues for some reason but I'm not sure why- I think it has less to do with the vocals and more so the other arrangements in the background. The electric guitar, violin and bass jams while short are very good for what they are. "A Very Smelly Grubby Little Oik" reminds me of something Harry Potter would say or the type of thing he'd cast a wand to make as a means to keep one of his enemy's occupied for a little while, haha. I really have no idea what an oik is but it sounds bad so I'd not like to smell one or even be in the presence of one! Anyway this is so well-written it's impossible to hate- more very likeable vocals and guitar playing. "Bobbing Wide" contains soothing atmosphere and flutes. This is really dreamy and wonderful. I love when the pace slows down after a few minutes and the flute gets all jazzy. Great song. "Come on Back" is the only forgettable tune on the album but it's not *that* bad at all of course. Just melodically a bit weaker than the other stuff here. The country/rock chorus is okay however. "Jack and Jill" is my favorite song here! It contains a funky rhythm with Hastings brand of sincerity and likeability along with a certain homemade vibe which is the reason I fell in love with this band in the first place. The vocals, the keyboard solo near the end and everything else is really strong here. "Can You Hear Me?" has an upbeat funky feel-good atmosphere. I enjoy the violin solo but it's brief, and the keyboard solo for some reason sounds new wave-ish to me. Pretty violin at the end too. "All the Way (With John Wayne's Single Handed Liberation of Paris)" is... WOW what a song title! I have no idea what it means either. I normally don't keep up with my John Wayne history. Imaginative synth intro that maintains its soothing-ness until the beautiful chorus comes in, and the chorus itself is very laidback with nice flutes and piano. Very nice song. The verse melody reminds me of Paul McCartney's "My Love" which is a GREAT thing in my book. Amazing this song is actually 9 minutes long since it really doesn't feel like it at all. Proof that Caravan are the masters of songwriting. With that said, I actually feel this is the second weakest song here behind "Come on Back" but its uplifting nature is charming so I enjoy it all the same. There. A fresher listen this time around resulting in a more productive review! I should have known the music would eventually click instead of writing it off so easily and just assuming it wasn't good enough. I highly recommend this album but it's not a classic like the first 5 Caravan albums but I rank it rather high regardless.
Now here's my older review from 6 years ago:
This is a pretty poppish and pleasant Caravan album. Though obviously not up to the standards of the previous albums, I've heard worse by progressive rock bands. Now the songs feel friendlier, prettier, and softer than ever before. BUT, there's still a heavy side to these guys, and it's noticeable in tracks such as "Here Am I". On several occasions, you can sense the band is trying to fit in with the times, and not really failing- but struggling to write consistently. The lengthy closing track titled "All The Way" is not NEARLY as interesting musically as previous closers such as what you encountered on If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You for example, but for what it is (a commercialized ballad) it has pretty enough flutes, a repetitive though memorable chorus, and uplifting vibes. I can't help but love it but... yeah, it wouldn't be out of place on an Air Supply album. The whistling at the end just puts the finishing touch on a gently layered cupcake. "Don't let me down you might drown in your tears" is a VERY cheesy lyric in "Can't You Hear Me". This is actually quite generic that's embarrassing when you really analyze it. It's generic funk to be precise. The vocals speed along but hardly ever capture my attention. A forced attempt at writing a decent song but it doesn't work for me. I mean even the violin usually stands out since it's one of my preferable musical instruments, but not in this case. I'm suspicious that "Jack and Jill" will be terrible based on the song title alone. Well, my disappointment doesn't actually come about after all. It's a decent song. A groovy and funky vocal melody and an almost innocent child-like chorus. I can almost say I love it... except for that weird repetitive part near the end leading into dog barking, haha. "Here I Am" to save the day (or rather "Here Am I", hehe). This is a decent song that makes me feel like dancing. Talk about a song that captures the atmosphere of the mid 70's almost RIGHT on the money! This is it! The vocal melody is highly melodic and I enjoy it. Not the classic Caravan sound of old that I greatly admire of course, but fitting enough for a pop song. I love the guitar solo in the middle. You're probably out there thinking "Chiefs & Indians" sounds cool based on the song title well... prepare for utter disappointment upon discover it's not just a ballad, but a really sappy ballad at that. Alright so it's not a true ballad since the tempo picks up a minute later and the song changes direction dramatically, but then another problem is presented- the chorus is laughably cheesy. At least the violin work is fairly creative. Actually all the instrumental work is memorable. I REALLY wish that chorus wouldn't have made another return, though. "A Very Smelly Grubby Little Oik" (yes I fit that description- you GOT me!) contains a cheesy verse melody that almost makes me blush upon hearing it. Maybe I'm crazy but it resembles the melody from "Stuck In a Hole" but played slightly slower. A decent song though. I won't knock it. "Bobbing Wide" is a dated (but entertaining) flute solo, and "Come On Back" is by FAR the worst song on the entire album. Worst song by far! A mid-tempo verse melody with light jazzy keyboards... and the vocals feel underwhelmingly incomplete. The "fat" chorus and the saxophone jam is another disaster. Ugh! "Oik" is basically another couple minutes of that terrible melody repeating even MORE. Let it end already!!! Maybe the band members were listening to the Beatles at the time and wanted to write songs like them (actually, the verse melody to "All the Way" sounds very similar to Paul McCartney's "My Love") and that's totally cool with me, since everyone knows how good the Beatles are. Along with Camel's Breathless, both albums fall in the same category of being lightweight, poppish and commercialized. I feel the Camel album is a bit better though- actually make that a LOT better. Better vocal melodies than what's presented here in my opinion. Don't write it off for being different- it's still a decent album. It's just that... yeah, the previous 6 studio album are better (even Cunning Stunts).
B. E Jackson (Pennsylvania) 4/5 09.11.2008 (AMAZON)

visually handicapped canine at st. dunstans.
Similar in some ways to cunning stunts although it was not too popular. I liked it for its melody lines & jazz rock "fusiony" feel. I would have liked some longer cuts like their earlier albums, but they were trying to get noticed & needed shorter songs I have to presume.
potenza 4/5 08.01.2011 (AMAZON)

The snobby critics disliked this album, but that is their loss...
I have loved Caravan since the 1960s, and I especially love their earlier albums (except Waterloo Lily, which somewhat bores me). Nonetheless, I find Blind Dog, while not the same as their earlier efforts, to be just as good. If you are a hardcore "prog rock" (whatever that means) fan, this might not satisfy you, but if you can stretch out to accept the fuller genre of progressive rock, this album will transport you with the usual mix of Caravan's instrumental brilliance and their very clever and omnipresent wit. The songs here oscillate between the ethereal and a more driving style, but that makes for a satisfying combination. The criticism that this is a pop album is unfair; it does have a slightly more "poppish" flavor to it, but that shouldn't turn any one away from the overall excellence of the album. Jan Schelhaas is a good match for the band, and he plays very well. Jimmy Hastings' clarinet & flute work on the "Oik/Come On Back" conglomeration is outstanding as well. I don't have a single problem with this effort; indeed, it has become one of my favorites of theirs, and I am a hardcore progressive fan!
Joe Gandalf (South Carolina Mountains) 5/5 27.06.2014 (AMAZON)

The last truly listenable Caravan album.
After the horrid CUNNING STUNTS, David Sinclair wandered off to write increasingly vanilla soundtrack music, and, with Mike Wedgwood thankfully pushed into the background where he belonged, Pye Hastings (at least temporarily) found his muse once again and produced some half-decent tunes. I'm not much of a fan of (keyboardist) Jan Schelhaas, but after Sinclair and Wedgwood ruined CUNNING STUNTS, Schelhaas (again, temporarily) pumped some much-needed blood into this band, resulting in something of a weaker version of the GIRLS WHO GROW PLUMP album. Producer David Hitchcock left after this one, Jan Schelhaas's synthesizers subsequently took on a grating, irritating quality (listen to BETTER BY FAR...barf!) and that was really the end of Caravan. Overall this one's quite listenable, but certainly not essential Caravan.
greyhoundude (Corvallis, OR) 3/5 24.08.2007 (AMAZON)

The Canterbury Pundits are off on this one!
This album is quite good if you know what to expect. Is it jazzy in any way? Absolutely not! It's poppish to the extreme without making it a piece of garbage. It's listenable through and through. I cetainly rate it above ' For Girls who Grow plump in the Night'(3*) but definitely below Waterloo Lily (5*) or In the Land of Gray and Pink(5*). Of course if Pye Hastings' voice drives you up a wall STAY AWAY!
Mark Garon (St-Hyacinthe, Quebec) 4/5 11.10.1999 (AMAZON)

John Wayne Saves The Day.
I have a soft spot for Caravan and I like this album more than most progressive rock fans. It is mid seventies classic rock with a touch that only Pye Hastings could give to it. There are two real bad cuts, two pretty decent ones and two Caravan classics (Grubby Little Oik set and All The Way). "Here Am I": Nice rock song, good guitar parts and viola with good keyboards. 4 star song. "Chiefs and Indians": Not a good song at all and the reason why most prog heads don't like it: skip "A Very Smelly, Grubby Little Oik"/"Bobbing Wide"/"Come on Back"/"Oik(reprise)": A Caravan classic and a 5 star tune by any measure. "Jack and Jill": This would start side two of the album, and well I've heard better. Sorry, Pie but: Skip "Can You Hear Me": Like a lot of other Pye Hastings numbers, I like it. 4 stars "All The Way (with John Wayne's Liberation of Paris)": Classic Prog Rock tune and one of Caravans best. 5 stars Summary: John Wayne saves the day. The last song is the best and a reason to have this CD. If you have the grubby little Oik and John Wayne on some compilation then you won't need this. 3 stars with 2 truly horrible cuts. This is the best and worst of Caravan.
Hornell Fred 3/5 14.12.2011 (AMAZON)

Quite an improvement over Cunning Stunts.
I was rather surprised I would like this album as much as I do. Simply because their previous album, Cunning Stunts was over-orchestrated, over-produced mush lacking the charm of such earlier albums as In the Land of Grey & Pink. David Sinclair left after Cunning Stunts, because he sounded like he was simply disintersted, replaced by Jan Schelhaas. With Blind Dog at St. Dunstans, Pye Hastings brought the band back in control, got rid of most of the orchestrations (which is a big plus for me), not to mention all those outside musicians, leaving most of the outside help in the hands of unofficial member Jimmy Hastings. The music has improved greatly, although it's a little strange that some of the music bears an odd resemblance to the Alan Parsons Project, like "Chiefs and Indians" (the only cut Mike Wedgwood sings, luckily, on this album) and "All the Way". There's a few songs that brought back the old Caravan charm like "Jack and Jill" and "A Very Smelly, Grubby Little Oik". I'm happy Caravan tried to bring back their classic sound with this album, but I was disappointed that their 1977 followup Better By Far went right back to pop mush. As far as I'm concerned Blind Dog is Caravan's last good album. Maybe not the best album from them, or even essential, but at least a good attempt to bring the band in the right direction (too bad it didn't last).
BENJAMIN MILER (Veneta, Oregon) 4/5 15.01.2002 (AMAZON)

At the time of it's recording this particular disc qualified as the worst rubbish that Caravan had recorded. Richard Sinclair's absence was a thing of the past but a loss the band never was able to adequately compensate for. On this recording, Dave Sinclair is also absent, having left the band for the second time. This proved to be the one two punch that would knock the band out for good. The songwriting is at best anemic, and instead of influencing others, as they had done so with brilliance in the past, they are too influenced by the mediocrity of popular music at the time. There is nothing of value here. On the fine compilation titled Canterbury Tales this album was completely passed over. Even the weak Cunning Stunts managed two cuts. You'd be better off with any of their first five recordings...Simon
A Customer 1/5 28.07.2014 (AMAZON)

After the surprisingly warm reception of Cunning Stunts, it looked like Caravan could do no wrong. Unfortunately, the band's next release was a major turn for the worse. New keyboard player Jan Schelhaas was part of the reason - his jazzy, up-tempo playing on every song regardless of the intended mood is one of the major problems here. It doesn't help that the material here is generally weaker, lacking either compelling lyrics or interesting song structures. Only the opening "Here Am I" is up to the standard of their older material and played with any kind of finesse. What is missing on this album is the character that made Caravan something more than just another technically proficient band. The critical and popular reaction was devastating. Blind Dog at St. Dunstan's took a career that was headed for the big time and brought it firmly back to ground.
Richard Foss (ALLMUSIC)

Just when I thought Caravan sunk to the bottom with Cunning Stunts, I really felt they rebounded with Blind Dog at St. Dunstans. The band at this point consisted of Pye Hastings, Richard Coughlin, Mike Wedgwood, Geoff Richardson, and new keyboardist Jan Schelhaas (David Sinclair left, once again pursuing other projects). The orchestrations, luckily were thrown in the trash, plus Mike Wedgwood is relegated back to Curved Air status by sticking mainly to just bass, and this time around only contributing one song. A lot of the whimsy has return as well. The opening cut, "Here Am I" sounds encouraging, where I don't hear the orchestrated mush on Cunning Stunts. Mike Wedgwood's only contribution here, "Chiefs and Indians" is luckily a more rocking number, which oddly reminds me of the Alan Parsons Project (Caravan was recording for Arista at that time, just like the Alan Parsons Project would soon be). The next song is really a suite consisting of "A Very Smelly, Grubby Little Oik", "Bobbing Wide", "Come on Back" and "Oik (Reprise)", which are stuffed with that wonderful Caravan whimsy I'm so glad has returned, same for "Jack and Jill", which harkens back to For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night. "All the Way" is the only real soft rock number on this album, having an almost Alan Parsons Project-like feel to it. This is the kind of album Alan Parsons should've produced (he didn't, David Hitchcock did, who produced their previous albums, as well as Genesis' Foxtrot). The new keyboardist, Jan Schelhaas seems to have a more conventional prog rock approach than David Sinclair, as he tended to use Mini Moog, Hammond organ, clavinet, and Solina. Nice album, and definately their best album from the second half of the 1970s.
Proghead72 4/5 07.11.2004 (RATEYOURMUSIC)

Bizarrely, it seems like the Caravan albums I come to know when exploring the catalogue further are the very best. I liked Cunning Stunts a lot and I think it was my second or third Caravan album, but the eponymous debut, In the Land of Grey and Pink and For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night all felt slightly less magical for me. If I Could Do It All Over Again etc. appeared to be very good, and now I arrived at a sort of watershed album within Caravan's career: Blind Dog at St. Dunstans. I have read a 1976 review which praises the album, perhaps as the band's best, but I still couldn't guess I might agree. However, Caravan is not making it easy for the listeners. Bling Dog at St. Dunstans clearly features a new sound for the group, though it has many ingredients of the 'classic' Caravan sound. But there are more strings, more synthesisers (typical late 1970s, one might think) and even more problematically, there first seems to be a gap between louder, heavier fragments and more gentle, quiet ones. Furthermore, the opening track "Here Am I" is not very good in my opinion. The Phil Collins-era Genesis used to have similar opening tracks, showing the world they were still 'prog' when the rock world was blaming them for selling out. From "Chiefs and Indians" on, Caravan is delivering high quality music. Maybe "Oik (Reprise)" (referring to an earlier song called "A Very Smelly, Grubby Little Oik" which reminds me of "The Dog, the Dog, He's at It Again" as a song title) is quite useless. The funkier "Jack and Jill" and the speedier "Can You Hear Me" go on boldly, and when the latter reaches its coda, the whole thing slips into a 'Pure Enjoyment' department. It leads us to the closing number, "All the Way", which is definitely one of the best Caravan songs ever. It has a monster duration, but it sounds so plain fine that it might last even longer. Yes, Blind Dog at St. Dunstans is good. Maybe not all of it is awesome, but some of it is. Just don't judge the album by the opening track, by the whole Side A, or by the relatively negative reputation this album seems to carry on.
fairyeee 4/5 06.04.2014 (RATEYOURMUSIC)

By the time they got around to recording their seventh studio album Blind Dog at St. Dunstans, Caravan were old hands at weathering seismic shifts in their lineup. Both Sinclairs, Richard and David, were gone (and in David's case, gone and come and gone again), and in Richard Sinclair's absence the band had trouble settling on a bass player. But Caravan was able to carry on quite well, due to the solid nucleus of guitarist, vocalist and primary songwriter Pye Hastings and drummer Richard Coughlan (God rest his merry soul). Every time that it seemed that Caravan would implode due to ongoing instability of its lineup, it was Pye Hastings who always had enough material on hand to make an album. The compositions on 1973's For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night were almost entirely credited to Hastings, and Blind Dog at St. Dunstans was similar. Bassist Mike Wedgwood contributed the second track "Chiefs And Indians", but the rest was the Pye Hastings show. Perhaps that compositional continuity enabled Blind Dog to be a more cohesive overall effort than the band's previous album Cunning Stunts. Blind Dog also mostly avoided the whimsical cheesiness and syrupy nature that seeped into Cunning Stunts (which was still quite a decent album). There is an infectious quality to Blind Dog, a warm, free-flowing vibe that in retrospect seems to be an aural relic of the 1970s. It can be heard on much of side one, particularly on the opener "Here Am I" and especially on "A Very Smelly, Grubby Little Oik". The latter also features a too-brief synth solo from the prodigious new keysman Jan Schelhaas, and a potent guitar solo from multi-instrumentalist Geoffrey Richardson, indicating that the band was not lacking chops despite the constant lineup changes. A clean segue into the beautiful "Bobbing Wide" serves to remind the listener that flautist and saxman Jimmy Hastings should have probably been listed as a full member of Caravan, along with his younger brother Pye. As it was, Jimmy seemed content to add colour to the band's overall palette, and he always did a splendid job. The album's closing track "All the Way (With John Wayne's Single-Handed Liberation of Paris)" also features Jimmy's talents. One can easily draw a parallel to the work of Mel Collins; both men performed wonderfully on flute and saxophone, and both were ubiquitous contributors to many of progressive rock's finest moments. It was Jimmy who may have paved the way, however, being approximately a decade older than Collins. In the end I'm left with the impression that Caravan were trying their best to change with the times. Much of Blind Dog at St. Dunstans sounds like an appeal to the FM radio markets of the time; it's as if Caravan aimed at early AOR, missed the target, and ended up with something much better.
Reginod 4/5 07.12.2013 (RATEYOURMUSIC)

Part of this record sounds like mid 70ies Grand Funk Railroad (especially Come On Back, Oik, Jack And Jill, Can You Hear Me) Gone is the prominent Centerbury sound. Anyway - songwriting is still consistently good. Songs highlights: Here I Am, Chiefs And Indians, All The Way 1. 4/5 2. 4/5 3. 3/5 4. 3/5 5. 3/5 6. 2/5 7. 3/5 8. 3/5 9. 4/5 29/9 = 3,23
ValdisM 3/5 04.11.2012 (RATEYOURMUSIC)

Caravan's Big Lolly Pop Album. Way to go, kids!
Old_Only_Solitaire 3,5/5 06.08.2012 (RATEYOURMUSIC)

key track : Chiefs and Indians
Diagilev 3,5/5 02.10.2011 (RATEYOURMUSIC)

A bit of an improvement over it's predecessor, this release is still sounding very typical of vintage AOR, a little too commercially oriented for their style. But, as usual, still containing enough decent mat'l to make it worth while. Grades - 1 B+, 3 B-'s, and 2 C-'s.
tymeshifter 3/5 26.04.2010 (RATEYOURMUSIC)

Clever arrangements and a neat performance, but rather uninspired.
Tovan 3/5 20.04.2010 (RATEYOURMUSIC)

The last truly listenable Caravan album.
stereoyxo 4/5 22.10.2009 (RATEYOURMUSIC)

Da una band in equilibrio così precario non si poteva che attendere una fragorosa caduta: essa giunse con ‘Blind Dog At St. Dustans’ (1976), che vedeva di nuovo Hastings alla guida, dopo la dipartita di David Sinclair e offriva una sbiadita raccolta di motivetti di facile ascolto, per lo più ballabili. Ciò nonostante, la cura maniacale degli arrangiamenti (Here Am I) restava immutabile, come vivido ricordo della stagione progressiva, e faceva somigliare i Caravan ad una versione battagliera ed irrequieta degli Steely Dan.
Lord_Corkscrew 2,5/5 15.01.2008 (RATEYOURMUSIC)

Decent album from Caravan, with ex-National Head Band keysman Jan Schelhaas stepping in for Dave Sinclair. The “Oik” suite is a bit cheesy, but has its moments, but the rest of the album is quite good. “Here Am I” and “Can You Hear Me” are two of Pye Hastings’ most wonderful melodies, and Wedgwood’s one contribution—the catchy, jazzy “Chiefs & Indians”—has a wonderful layered woodwinds part from long-time collaborator Jimmy Hastings. Album-closer “All the Way” is probably my favourite track, though.
Progbear 3,5/5 30.11.2007 (RATEYOURMUSIC)

A very overlooked Caravan album. This is probably my second favorite by them, after "For Girls Who Grow Plump...."
dnieper111 4/5 23.04.2006 (RATEYOURMUSIC)

Three good songs which for the era makes a decent LP. At the time I was listening to "Who's Next", "Tubular Bells", and whatever funky music was on WABC-NY. A good transition into the music-head style which later brought us groups like Steely Dan.
rockhunter58 4/5 21.10.2002 (RATEYOURMUSIC)