In the Land of Grey and Pink
The Canterbury scene of the late '60s and early '70s never received its just due, largely because its music was generally too ornate and progressive for audiences weaned on lean, mean rock ’n’ roll and to-the-point pop music. Yet, if one lends a fresh ear to the music of a band like Caravan, there’s much to appreciate. There’s even a pop streak in the easy-to-love “Love to Love You (And Tonight Pigs Will Fly)” and an easy accessibility to the Brit-folk/prog rock of the title track to Caravan's third (and arguably finest) album. 1971 was a very good year for musicians in recording studios. The technology could capture the textures and complexities of a band’s sound without tempting them to go overboard into sleek tones. Dave Sinclair’s straightforward Hammond organ, Mellotron, and piano work never strayed into the jazz-rock that his replacement Steve Miller would prefer. As a result, the 23-minute side-long epic “Nine Feet Underground” leaves a rock-based, melodic approach for Pye Hastings to apply his own lead guitar skirmishes over Sinclair’s stunning work and Jimmy Hastings’ colorful flute and saxophone.