IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS (2021)
1 Down From London (4.03)
2 Wishing You Were Here (3.55)
3 It’s None Of Your Business (9.40)
4 Ready Or Not (4.45)
5 Spare A Thought (4.06)
6 Every Precious Little Thing (4.25)
7 If I Was To Fly (3.23)
8 I’ll Reach Out For You (8.07)
9 There Is You (4.26)
10 Luna’s Tuna (3.14)
Pye Hastings (guitar, vocals)
Geoffrey Richardson (viola, mandolin, guitar)
Jan Schelhaas (keyboards)
Mark Walker (drums, percussion)
Jimmy Hastings (flute)
Lee Pomeroy (bass)
REVIEWS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES
A veteran of the Canterbury scene, Caravan has always presented a variety of styles within its music, blending psychedelic rock, jazz, classical, folk and maybe a touch of music hall in the humorous moments. The grand sweeping prog of Nine Feet Underground or the jazz-rock of For Richard might be confined to the live sphere now, but at heart the band has always had a penchant for slightly psychedelic soft-rock tunes, often with a whimsical slant to them. It is this approach that the group follows on this release, in that still legendary colourful vein.
This, the band’s fifteenth album since it was formed in the hazy daze of 1968, was created under the blanketing shadow of the Corona virus pandemic as restrictions allowed Caravan to gather in the summer of 2021 at Rimshot Studio, Bredgar near Sittingbourne to record the album in what the band refers to as the old-fashioned way. “Sitting round in a circle having eye to eye contact, a large sound room was required,” Pye Hastings, the band’s de facto leader and last remaining founding member, explains. “I much prefer this method because you can bounce ideas off each other as they occur, and voice encouragement when the whole thing begins to click. And it is much more rewarding to be able to throw insults at each other in person rather than down a telephone line or via email. This is something we are all very experienced at, believe me!” The line-up of the band changed recently as bass player Jim Leverton moved on to pastures new.
Up until then, the band had been settled for a while with Pye on vocals and guitar, long term member Geoff Richardson on viola, mandolin, and guitar, along with keyboardist Jan Schelhaas and drummer Mark Walker but they are now joined by guest bassist Lee Pomeroy, who has worked with Take That, ELO, Rick Wakeman, Yes ft. ARW, and It Bites amongst others, along with Canterbury scene stalwart, and Pye’s brother, Jimmy Hastings on flute. (Lee will also play bass on the band’s upcoming concerts but further than that is impossible to commit too – he’s a busy and in demand lad!)
None Of Your Business, Caravan’s first album since Paradise Filter in 2013, features ten tracks comprising nine new songs plus an instrumental track influenced, to some extent, by the events and restrictions placed on society over the last year and a half. Unlike pronouncements by some of their contemporaries, the members of Caravan are warm and sensitive to those caught up in dealing with the pandemic. The songs Spare A Thought and Every Precious Little Thing look forward to things returning to normal. “’Spare a Thought’ is a song that I hope will jog people to remember those unfortunate people caught up in the pandemic,” Pye says. “‘All those people who denied refers to the idiots who don’t follow the scientific advice. I get angry about that and the line ‘Sure are interesting times’ refers to an old Chinese saying: ‘may you live in interesting times’” The whimsical side of the band comes out on Down From London and If I Could Fly, and the caring and empathic strand on the already mentioned Spare A Thought and Every Precious Little Thing, which are both touching and heartfelt.
Pye explains his lyrics on these songs; “sitting in front of a blank screen with a pandemic raging all around, it was hard not to be influenced by the dreadful events going on. The lockdown certainly focused the mind when it came to writing the lyrics.”
For the most part the songs on this release are at the poppier end of soft rock, but never losing the psychedelic glow that is the band’s signature. If you listen carefully though, other elements come in to focus. For example, there’s more than a hint of rustic country music on If I Was To Fly. “Back in 1970 we played a three-day festival in Rotterdam alongside bands including the Byrds, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Soft Machine, Pink Floyd plus many more but stuck right in the middle on the third day was Mungo Jerry who played ‘In the Summertime‘- the crowd erupted and they were without doubt the hit of the day!” explains Pye. When I played ‘If I was to Fly’ to the band I said “Think, Jug Band” and because I was so impressed by the power of that simple song at the festival, I wanted to doff my cap to that style of music. The guys in the band are such good musicians that they knew exactly what I was after, and the track was recorded in the first take.” It does have the rawness and sway of that style of music, but in a refined English way.
It never becomes “yee haw” but hints at it. The overall feel of the music though is that of being reflective, good humoured, and jolly without being flippant.
The final track is an atmospheric instrumental with the fun title of Luna’s Tuna. It features some sterling viola from Geoffrey Richardson, but as on the other songs no one musician dominates. A great feature of the album is the ensemble playing, with the musicians blending and complimenting each other. The songs are tastefully arranged, which is typical of the bands more recent releases, with a pleasant catchiness that reflects their neat cleverness. The production creates quite a warm feel on this release. The albums cover and artwork has been created by renowned illustrator Bob Venables, who has created covers for Gentle Giant amongst others, along with work on book covers, advertising and the like.
This is a stylish, refined and often sophisticated album of concise proggish music that is stamped with the classical Caravan psychedelic sound but soundly immersed in the contemporary and its challenges. The lyrics ultimately present a positive outlook, which matches the music’s colour and dynamism. It may not have the sprawling, propulsive grit of some of Caravan’s prime prog rock output, but there is much here to admire, and the music seems more cohesive and focused compared to the last few releases from the band. An enjoyable, succinct and engaging release.Al decennia
Viewed From The Peaks 02.10.2021 (spirit.rocks)
The Canterbury legends return to form.
While 2013's Paradise Filter was a solid set exemplifying Caravan's nee song-craft and easy-going charm, here they've built a bridge between the group's current incarnation and their '70s heyday. The 10-minute title track free- wheels through contrasting sections, with Pye Hastings singing of love like a giddy teenager, while some limber ensemble instrumental work is topped off by Jan Schelhaas' flamboyant synth solo.
Geoffrey Richardson's viola and Jimmy Hastings' flute add Spare A Thought's elegiac feel, the song dedicated to friends "who never quite made it through", culminating in Hast- ings' remonstration of Covid deniers, his manchild voice now finding greater gravity through age and subject mat- ter. Mainly recorded live in the studio, Caravan sound reinvig- orated and energised here on their best album in, let's say, quite some time.A
Mike Barnes 01.10.2021 4/5 (Mojo)
Masters of the snappy album title, Caravan are yet another English Progressive Rock institution.
For a band who kept disbanding and reforming, they’ve racked up a significant number of recordings…studio, live and compilation, and maintained a fervently loyal fanbase over the years since 1968.
It’s None Of Your Business is their fifteenth studio album.
The Lockdown has focused a lot of song writing minds these last 18 months.
It clearly challenged main songwriter, Pye Hastings. On ‘Spare A Thought’ and ‘Every Precious Thing’, serious, and indeed personal, subject matter replaces his normal insouciant cool.
And yet, it seems only right that a band who for many years were the face of uniquely English Progressive Rock, now feels free to plug us back into the seventies. Those years of innovation and progrock warmth are ably resurrected on ‘I’ll Reach Out’ and the capricious title track. Alternately knitting together jazz, folk and alt Rock, hardened now into something more resilient, reflective of the difficult to please, new millennium audiences.
And in case our memories have been erased in the 7 years since the last album, The amusing, artless and remarkably lean vignettes ‘Down From London’ and ‘If I Fly’ pop up to remind us that they still keep their tongue in their cheek for much of the time.
The rockier ‘Wishing You Were Here’ and ‘Ready Or Not’, seem a little lost in transit at first, but soon settle in comfortably. Confirmation, if any were needed, that all roads, in fact, lead back to Canterbury.
Brian McGowan 29.09.2021 (getreadytorock.me.uk)
Following hot on the heels of their recently released 37-disc box set, Caravan release their first studio album since 2013’s Paradise Filter, a collection of nine songs plus a short instrumental; an album the band claim is mainly influenced by ‘the restrictions imposed on society over the past eighteen months.’ None Of Your Business was, says mainman Pye Hastings, recorded in ‘the old-fashioned way, just sitting around in a circle, making eye-contact and bouncing ideas off each other.’ The outcome is an album which incorporates many of the better qualities which have long been associated with Caravan, such as subtle humour, poignant social observations and, on a couple of tracks, an emotional sensitivity.
The first noticeable thing upon listening to this album is Pye Hastings’ voice, which was never exactly a full-on screamer, is now mostly a loud whisper. He still sounds like the voice of Caravan, though, and his voice still retains the warmth of previous albums, still able to convey the charm and whimsical touches which have characterised Caravan’s music down these many years. ‘DFLs’ are a bugbear in the South East Kent area and opening track, the whimsical Down From London is a story about such DFL’s who are unable to settle into life outside the capital – with suitably pointed lyrics from Pye, who lets rip towards the end with a lengthy guitar burst – and this one could well become a stage favourite. The contribution of new bassist Lee Pomeroy is noticeable on the introspective title track, It’s None Of Your Business.
The inspiration for If I Was To Fly was remembering a 1970 festival in Rotterdam at which Caravan performed, where, despite a stellar line-up, Mungo Jerry’s In The Summertime was the big hit, and the attempt here was to create a song with a similar vibe – and they largely succeed with this.
Every time I hear Jimmy Hastings’ flute, I’m immediately reminded of the Caravan of fifty years back, and his playing on the lovely I’ll Reach Out For You, with its message of ‘we all need someone to look out for us,’ makes the song. The beautifully atmospheric There Is You sees Pye in sentimental mood and he captures the feel of the early Caravan. The album ends with a short instrumental, Luna’s Tuna, with viola to the fore and some lovely understated keys underneath the melody.
But, for me, the heartfelt and poignant Spare A Thought is the best track Pye Hastings has written in quite some while. It begins with flute / violin and is a tune remembering those lost to the pandemic, ‘Spare a thought to the friends we had, who didn’t quite make it through’, with Pye also taking aim at anti-vaxers. The line ‘who’d have thought something so small, would come for us all’ sums up many people’s feelings about the past eighteen months. Similarly, the lovely Every Precious Little Thing is a song looking forward to some form of normality, being able to go out and play again and how ‘the smallest things mean the most’.
This is probably as good an album as Caravan have released for a long while and, while the songs veer more towards AOR than prog, it’s one which’ll resonate with its fanbase – and it suggests, after all these years, that Caravan still have something to say.
Laurence Todd 29.09.2021 (velvetthunder.co.uk)
Pioneers of the Canterbury sound, Caravan, show their skills have not waned over the years with a masterful new album.
Early this year we placed Caravan’s Land Of Grey And Pink amongst our epic 50th anniversary albums. There are not many groups from that era who have survived and despite a clear change in style and line up can still produce high quality fresh music and complete nationwide tours.
Right from the opening bars we hear the distinctive Caravan sound. Even though the line up and style may have seen changes for those who loved the instrumental psychedelic prog flavour of 50 years ago there are samples of it particularly in Luna’s Tune
It’s None Of Your Business is a solid and entertaining album of music performed by experienced artists still at the top of their game and able to entertain. Their forthcoming tour which I’m certain will promote this splendid album and our older favourites will be an evening of our joy as was the last outing I saw when they graced the Cropredy Festival stage in 2019.
I liked this album, Caravan’s first album since Paradise Filter released in 2013, from the first listen and it got better more I listened to it. It features nine new songs plus one instrumental track which although might not be the longer epics of their earlier years will satisfy the most ardent of Caravan fans.
It is the instrumentals both as a single track and within the songs that enticed me to repeated listens of this album; the virtuosic strings of Geoff Richardson on viola and the keyboards of Jan Schelhaas expertly producing the warm, rich sounds we are familiar with. Long term fans of Caravan have plenty opportunity to relive those moments of ‘filling our pipes full of hogweed’ to take us back to the 70’s as well as wallowing in the solid, chunky rhythms of the modern Caravan sound. Also still assisting the group is jazzman Jimmy Hastings who was very much an important part of Caravan sound from the outset.
Caravan has always been a group in tune with current times, so mixed in with the songs of recent events are those of a personal nature as like most groups they have not been immune to recent events and two songs – Spare A Thought dedicated to lost friends and Every Precious Little Thing expressing anxieties about the touring experience returning – show this with of course, a smattering of love songs with and without flute!! Also still prevalent are the whimsical lyrics of songs which makes them typically British and distinctly Caravan.
The vocals of Pye Hastings are still delivered with clarity and panache, his mild tones emphasising the familiar quaintness and those with a more sombre poignant nature. Although he readily admits: “Lyrics can sometimes be my Achilles Heel” but the last months have provided an opportunity to centre his mind as he says: “The lockdown certainly focused the mind when it came to writing the lyrics.”
Caravan have never been strangers to change and experimentation and the opportunity for them to record and write spontaneously together is clearly evident. It’s None Of Your Business is a solid and entertaining album of music performed by experienced artists still at the top of their game and able to entertain. Their forthcoming tour which I’m certain will promote this splendid album and our older favourites will be an evening of our joy as was the last outing I saw when they graced the Cropredy Festival stage.
The album covers of Caravan albums have always complemented the music artistically. The mystical sultry atmosphere of the debut album, through to the thought provoking She Who Goes Plump In The Night, the surreal Cunning Stunts and of course the otherworldly Land Of Grey And Pink (I still find things I’ve not seen before). Now with the imagery of illustrator Bob Venables, the artwork to the new album displays a contemporary feel.
“Sitting round in a circle having eye to eye contact, a large sound room was required,” Pye Hastings explains. “I much prefer this method because you can bounce ideas off each other as they occur, and voice encouragement when the whole thing begins to click.”
With the production engineering and mastering in the hands of Julian Hastings with assistant engineer Mike Thorne we have a new Caravan album to savour.
Howard King 07.10.2021 (atthebarrier.com)
"It’s None Of Your Business” is het eerste album van de legendarische Canterbury band Caravan sinds “Paradise Filter” (2013). Het album bevat negen nieuwe nummers plus één instrumentaal nummer en is tot op zekere hoogte beïnvloed door de gebeurtenissen en beperkingen die de samenleving de afgelopen anderhalf jaar heeft moeten ondergaan.
Opmerkelijk feit: het album werd, voor zover de beperkingen het toestonden, op de ‘ouderwetse’ manier opgenomen, eind juni dit jaar, in een tijdsbestek van twee weken. Zittend in een kring, met voldoende oogcontact, in een grote opnameruimte. Gitarist/zanger/componist/oprichter en bandleider Pye Hastings zegt daarover met veel gevoel voor humor: “Het geeft veel meer voldoening om elkaar persoonlijk te beledigen dan via een telefoonlijn of e-mail. Dit is iets waar we allemaal heel veel ervaring in hebben, geloof me!” Het leeuwendeel van de composities is van diezelfde Hastings, terwijl zoonlief Julian de productie, de opnames en de mastering voor zijn rekening heeft genomen. Het hoesontwerp is van de hand van de beroemde illustrator Bob Venables.
Down From London is een lekkere opener over lui die vanuit Londen verhuizen naar het zuiden om zich daar ‘country life’ aan te meten, tot en met jacht(ongeluk) toe. Dit is humor in een folk-achtige progsong, typisch Caravan. Wishing You Were Here is een naar Caravan maatstaven stevige rocker over ‘life on the road’ vergezeld van gitaarsolo halverwege en karakteristiek Hammond orgel aan het einde.
Titelnummer It’s None Of Your Business is het meest representatief voor de typische Caravan sound en met tien minuten ook het langste en meest progressieve nummer. En dan die teksten; het nummer begint met Hastings die zijn partner (?) geïrriteerd van repliek dient op een serie verwijten, uitmondend in zijn ‘het gaat je niks aan’ respons. Dan volgt een heerlijk instrumentaal tussenstuk met alle elementen die Caravan typeren: de viool- en gitaar solo’s, de vintage toetsen. Aan het einde is alles weer koek en ei: de partner wordt liefdevol toegezongen, hij kan haar/hem nog niet missen: ‘You are the best thing in my life’. Heerlijke humor en typisch Brits, precies zoals de Canterbury school of music voorschrijft.
Het album herbergt een aantal lekker in het gehoor liggende nummers met een duidelijke herkomst, zoals openingsnummer Down From London, maar ook Ready Or Not en Every Precious Thing vallen in die categorie. Spare A Thought, met fluit van Jimmy Hastings en de viool van Geoff Richardson, betreft een emotionele, melancholieke ode aan de slachtoffers van de pandemie, terwijl If I Was To Fly een van de minst opvallende nummers is op het nieuwe album.
Maar Caravan zou Caravan niet zijn als ze het beste niet voor het laatst hadden bewaard. I’ll Reach Out To You is al weer zo’n typisch Caravan nummer, zowel instrumentaal als tekstueel. Dat laatste gaat over het belang van goede vriendschappen/relaties, een regelmatig terugkerend thema. There is You is een breekbaar liefdesliedje met prachtige pianoklanken van Jan Schelhaas, stemmige vioolbegeleiding en fretloze bas. Het slotakkoord mag er zijn: Luna’s Tuna is een wonderschoon en pakkend instrumentaal einde van het album met een hoofdrol voor de altviool van componist Richardson en de toetsen van Schelhaas, een passend en sfeervol einde van het nieuwe album van de Britten.
Wat vooral opvalt is de lagere toonsoort waarin het merendeel van de nummers is geschreven. Het is duidelijk, de zangstem van Pye Hastings heeft zowel aan kracht als hoogte moeten inboeten. Op zich geen schande, we heten niet allemaal Jon Anderson. Jammer is wel dat de octaaf lager hier en daar tot een (te) lage toon leidt, zoals in het openingsnummer Down From London en There is You. Daar staat tegenover dat het toch al rijke geluid van de band ditmaal ook nog eens versterkt wordt door de dwarsfluit van oudere broer Jimmy Hastings, al eerder lid van het ensemble. Ook ‘oproepkracht’ bassist Lee Pomeroy (ELO, Steve Hackett, Yes ft. ARW) doet een behoorlijke duit in het zakje.
Hoewel er wel wat zwakkere momenten tussen zitten (If I Was To Fly) mag dit album toch wel tot de betere van de afgelopen decennia gerekend worden. Je kunt de passie horen waarmee vooral gitarist/zanger Pye Hastings achter de schrijftafel is geklommen. Het overwegende thema van het album is overduidelijk ‘relaties/vriendschappen’ en het belang daarvan, vooral in tijden van nood. Hoewel geen specifiek pandemie album is de inspiratie toch wel duidelijk aanwezig. “De lockdown heeft zeker de geest aangescherpt als het ging om het schrijven van de teksten” geeft Hastings toe.
In navolging van generatiegenoten Strawbs, Styx en PFM laat ook Caravan zich van zijn beste kant horen op “It’s None Of Your Business”. Het album klinkt verrassend eigentijds en toegankelijk. En dat is best een compliment aan het adres van een band die al in 1968 opgericht werd, al zal de reactie wel zijn: dat gaat je helemaal niks aan.
Alex Driessen 16.11.2021 (progwereld.nl)
Article by: Mel Allen
Caravan return with the release of their first new album since Paradise Filter in 2013. They have continued to burn the Canterbury scene flame, combining jazz, folk and melodic rock elements which bridge the gap between psychedelia and progressive rock. It’s None of Your Business features nine new songs plus one instrumental which have been influenced, to a degree, by the events and restrictions placed on society over the last 18 months.
This is a theme that occurs in many releases these days, and that is understandable, but Caravan have approached it with warmth and their trademark musical style in an almost sensitive way.
What differs here is that this album was recorded, as restrictions allowed, between June and July 2021 at Rimshot Studio near Sittingbourne, in what may be called the “old fashioned way”, in a large sound room with all band members sitting together in a circle with eye contact. As singer and guitarist Pye Hastings explained, “I much prefer this method because you can bounce ideas off each other as they occur, and voice encouragement when the whole thing begins to click”.
Amusingly, he also added “and it is much more rewarding to be able to throw insults at each other in person rather than down a telephone line or via email. This is something we are all very experienced at, believe me!”
Caravan have a long recording history against which new releases are naturally going to be measured, and often unfairly judged, with conclusions that they sometimes do not match the standards of the classic albums. For me, this is unfair as all bands develop and change through time and each album should be judged on its own merit.
What Caravan do well is hold on to their trademark sound whilst keeping it sounding fresh. This album is just that, no retro sounding release here, just the Caravan sound in a modern setting, in keeping of the times, you might say.
Things get off to a start with Down from London in the characteristic bright Caravan style, Geoffrey Richardson’s viola leading the song to start and adding embellishments throughout with some humorous lyrics. Off to a fine start. This is a cheerful song with the trademark tongue-in-cheek element, repeated on If I Was to Fly later on in the album.
In contrast to this are two tracks which appear to have been inspired by the current pandemic and recent events. The first, Spare a Thought, is a touching and almost delicate song, led at the start by acoustic guitar which is joined by flute and viola. With the music and lyrics together it gives us an emotional remembrance of those who didn’t quite make it through these awful times, the song ending with these poignant words:
“It will never ever, ever be the same
‘Til we get back on our feet again
So spare a thought for the friends we had
Who never quite made it through.
This is our song for you.”
In the next track, Every Precious Little Thing, they look at the things that we used to take for granted and reflect on how we should live in the moment, keeping the little things precious. Again, this is relevant to the situation we find ourselves in and should encourage us to cherish all we have.
The title track is the longest, It’s None of Your Business putting us into classic Caravan territory with a great ebb and flow and some great keyboards and guitar work, with strong bass support throughout. The sole instrumental track, Luna’s Tuna, closes the album in satisfying style, led by some beautiful viola from Richardson to create a fitting conclusion to the album.
Founder member Pye Hastings remains the principle songwriter and guiding light, surrounded by great musicians who have created a fine album which sits well within the extensive Caravan catalogue. If you like Caravan then this is well worth a listen, but if you’re new to the band, give it a go, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. I mean, what’s not to like?
Mel Allen 08.10.2021 (theprogressiveaspect.net)