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In The Land Of Grey And Pink

a Studio release

Release Year: 1971

Date Label Catalog # Comments
1971 LP
1971 LP London 593
1998 CD Polygram International 820520
Added To Proggnosis Database on: 4/6/2001 12:00:00 AM
Entry Last Updated on: by:
  1. Golf Girl
  2. Winter Wine
  3. Love To Love You (And Tonight Pigs Will Fly)
  4. In The Land Of Grey And Pink
  5. Nine Feet Underground:
    • Nigel Blows A Tune
    • Love's A Friend
    • Make It 76
    • Dance Of The Seven Paper
    • Hankies
    • Hold Grandad By The Nose
    • Honest I Did!
    • Disassociation
    • 100% Proof
Richard Coughlan
Jimmy Hastings
Pye Hastings
Guitar, Vocals
Dave Sinclair
Richard Sinclair

Reviewed by MichelF on 14 Jul 2008

My first contact with the Canterbury sound was fortuitous. Late one evening in the early 70's, I was listening to LSRadio station in my native town of Quebec. Usually, the music was pretty good mostly underground and psychedelic stuff at this late hour. And then they put on Nine Feet Underground of Caravan In the Land of Grey and Pink, and it was a revelation; a fine mix of progressive rock, jazz and pop. On that day, I began an exploration which made me discovered many gems such as Camel, Matching Mole, Nucleus, Robert Wyatt, Soft Machine, Hatfield & the North and many others. I believe that it's the keys of David Sinclair and the voice of Richard that did it for me on that first hearing. Then with each successive listen, and to my greatest pleasure, I found layers upon layers of complexities from the lyrics to the music. At the same time, they offer me an almost relax and enjoyable musical experience. It is a true classic of progressive rock that I revisit regularly. If I remembered well, the jacket cover made me strongly think of the universe of J.R.R. Tolkien and was in itself a pleasure to contemplate. I will comment the original 1971 recording.

Golf Girl is a fine and fun beginning with the trombone, a sort of light pop/psychedelic song. Fun as a defining emotion is quite an accomplishment in our time and days. Even though the tone is merry and humorous, this song contains enough musical variety (flute, mellotron for example) to be more than interesting. Winter Wine treads another province in this wonderful land where dragons and knights reside. I've always loved it, there is so much memories attach to it that I can in no way be objective. The sound of the fuzz organ transports me in the realm of pure nostalgia. Its dreamy feel brings about its charm even today. IMO, it is one of their best songs. Love to Love You (and tonight pigs will fly) is a pop tune and another upbeat song that made me smile. The sound is in the spirit of those days i.e. in the Beatles legacy of short commercial radio playing songs. In the Land of Grey and Pink we suspect the native of smoking too much punk weed (till we bleed!). Anyway, that hippy sounding like piece is another classic. The piano then the organ creates a perfect relax feeling of pure enjoyment. Nine Feet Underground, as I said earlier, had caught my attention on those early prog days. Structured like a long jazz/rock suite with an improvisational feel at some places, this is a real masterpiece. What I find incredible, even today, is the smooth sailing the listener do in exploring it. Its appeal resides also in the sound of the keys, a defining sound for Caravan, but also for other Canterbury bands like Camel, and further more it is a sound I return to often.

A sure sign of its musical power is that it had aged very well. I recommend this album strongly for all lovers of music; period, but also of progressive rock fans who are not shy of subtlety and smoothness in songs. It is certainly a CD worth having both for its historical importance and for its musical merit.

P.S. When reading reviews about Caravan or other symphonic sounding like bands (as early Genesis), I'm often baffled by the types of comments made by some critics. Those comments are offered as absolute musical evaluation, which is for me dubious at best. In the first place, it is a matter of musical taste. In that sense, it appears to me that those comments are better understood if we cast them in the following light: they function like comparing the Four Seasons of Vivaldi with The Ring of Nibelung by Richard Wagner. It seems to me a classic case of comparing oranges with apples. We may hate apples and prefer oranges, but it is ludicrous however to consider a flaw that the apple is not an orange! Progressive music is many things, that is the beauty of it. Those critics are useful only to warn apple haters... Finally, I may add that even if some music disgusted you, you don't have to disgust others of it (Jacques Languirand).

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