For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night
Some say the last of the great run of Caravan LPs which their legacy is based on, this features the return of David Sinclair, who was missed on Waterloo Lily.
I don't think enough is written about him. Never mentioned alongside Wakeman, Emerson, Jobson, Moraz, or even Banks - and maybe he's not on their level, but he has an instantly identifiable sound - and it's certainly pleasing to these ears. His work on "Nine Feet Underground" alone ensures his place in prog Valhalla, and it's good that he's back on board for this record. More popular than the last album, this is one of the great progressive rock records of that year.
Pye Hastings – electric and acoustic guitars, lead vocals
Geoff Richardson – viola
David Sinclair – Hammond organ, piano, electric piano, Davoli synthesizer, ARP synthesizer on (1 b)
John G. Perry – bass, vocals, percussion
Richard Coughlan – drums, percussion, timpaniAdditional personnel
Rupert Hine – ARP synthesizer (1a,b & 6)
Frank Ricotti – congas ( 1 b, 2, 4, 7)
Jimmy Hastings – flute (1)
Pete King – flute, alto saxophone (1)
Harry Klein – clarinet, baritone saxophone (1)
Tony Coe – clarinet, tenor saxophone (1)
Henry Lowther – trumpet (1)
Chris Pyne – trombone (1)
Barry Robinson – piccolo (1)
Tom Whittle – clarinet, tenor saxophone (1)
Jill Pryor – voice (4)
Paul Buckmaster – electric cello (7)
Orchestra arranged by John Bell and Martyn Ford, conducted by Martyn Ford
All songs composed by Pye Hastings, except where noted.
1. "Memory Lain, Hugh"
A noticeably rockier approach is immediately apparent; you can even hear a guitar, which is unusual for this lot. Pye is taking control of the songwriting on this album and the tunes have more of a structure than those on the previous LP. Dave has a solo around the 2:30 part and everything is as it should be. Another multi-titled, lengthy prog number from one of the progenitors of the form. Brother Jimmy on flute again. I'm tellin' ya - he should have been permanent. Before the five-minute mark the "Headloss" section comes in loud and strong sounding like a completely different song because it is.
2. "Hoedown" 3:20
Not the Aaron Copland number that ELP did, this is another one of Pye's radio tunes probably designed for commercial purposes. Guitar-driven with a forward momentum. It's okay but it doesn't sound like the Caravan of old. It's over before it becomes irksome.
3. "Surprise, Surprise" 4:07
A ballad seemed to be in order for the sequencing and the song starts out that way, but before it can become established the tempo picks up and we have another enjoyable pop song from Hastings.
4. "C'thlu Thlu" 6:15
How many rock songs have used H.P. Lovecraft's monster for inspiration? This is a pretty good 'un combining a cool riff, pop nous, and the usual Canterbury laid back vibe but with stop-on-a-dime playing. Who is that on vocals with Pye - new guy John G. Perry? Can't tell. Another Sinclair solo though, so you know I'm in.
5. "The Dog, The Dog, He's at It Again" 5:58
Another nice Hastings tune - whimsical lyrics about a flasher with a singalong quality, acceptable length combined with a cool Sinclair part, topped off with fine musicianship. It couldn't be any other band, really.
6. "Be All Right"
"Chance of a Lifetime" 6:37
Like this one too. A focus on riffs seems to be in order in Pye's writing for this platter. And we actually have a guitar solo here, somewhat buried in the mix, but it's there nonetheless. At around 2:35 the "Chance in a Lifetime" part is underway, and it seems to be music that could be on In the Land of Grey and Pink
. Yep, it's that good, people. Is that a viola solo? This cut is a highlight for sure.
7. "L'Auberge du Sanglier"
"A Hunting We Shall Go"
"A Hunting We Shall Go (reprise)" (Pye Hastings, John G. Perry, Mike Ratledge) 10:07
"Be All Right" segues right into this last track, and it's another high point on an album filled with them. If anything, side two is even better than side one. This final cut is classic Caravan - progressive as all getout. Riff-laden, with different sections - all adding to the whole. There are dynamics as the piece slows down for an orchestral passage overladen by Sinclair's synths. Epic! Close your eyes and see where this takes you.Caravan & The New Symphonia
Almost a companion piece to For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night
, really. The band enjoyed how they "fused" with the orchestra on the last number on that LP, and recorded a live album at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London with the New Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Martyn Ford and mixed on February 7th at AIR Studios. It's good and a live LP was overdue. The original record has been expanded on the CD rendering the first version negligible. I'll review the CD rather than the initial album as it is by far the definitive version.Caravan
Pye Hastings – guitar, vocals
Geoff Richardson – electric viola
Dave Sinclair – electric piano, organ, synthesizer
John G. Perry – bass guitar, vocals
Richard Coughlan – drumsBacking vocals
Danny StreetThe New Symphonia
Martyn Ford (conductor), Richard Studt (leader), Irvine Arditti, Paul Beer, Ted Chance, Andrew Cauthery, Roger Chase, Lynden Cranham, Michael Crowther, Robin Davies, Rita Eddowes, Liz Edwards, Wilfred Gibson, Lucy Finch, Jo Frohlich, Wilf Gibson, Roy Gillard, Michael Harris, Tony Harris, Jimmy Hastings, Terry Johns, Skaila Kanda, Skaila Kanga, Garry Kettell, Chris Laurence, Helen Liebmann, Stephen May, Donald McVay, Dee Partridge, Geoff Perkins, Morris Pert, Mike Perton, Martin Robinson, Godfrey Salmon, Jan Schlapp, Colin Walker, Cathy Weiss, Robin Williams, Dave Woodcock, Nick Worters, Gavyn Wright.
1. "Introduction by Alan Black"/"Memory Lain, Hugh / Headloss" (Pye Hastings) 9:57
Great version of this song and a nice introduction to the music performed that night. The CD has the tunes in the sequential order that they were performed. The opening trio of Plump
cuts were not on the album.
2. "The Dog, The Dog, He's at it Again" (Pye Hastings) 6:35
Pye has a lengthy introduction where he talks about a flasher who can't control his urges being the subject of this tune. Nice, but not necessarily better than the studio version. Good Dave solo though - I always notice that.
3. "Hoedown" (Pye Hastings) 3:55
Again, very similar to the version on Plump
, if perhaps a bit faster as live renditions tend to be.
4. "Introduction" by Simon Jeffes /"The Love in Your Eye" (Richard Coughlan, Pye Hastings, Richard Sinclair) 12:23
The orchestra is here for this lengthy number. Lots of progressive bands tended to want to meld their music with orchestral backing. Ever heard a Barclay James Harvest album? The band comes in before the three-minute mark, and then play with the orchestra intermittently for the duration of the song. Actually, it's two songs as Pye announces "The Love in Your Eye" at around the seven-minute point. It may even be better than the version on Waterloo Lily
. For some reason it's banded together as one track here. Nice viola solo by Richardson. This was the closing cut on side one of the album.
5. "Mirror for the Day" (Pye Hastings) 4:45
This was a new number written especially for the occasion and originally appeared as the second track on the LP. Nice integration with the orchestra, and surprisingly pop-oriented, even for Hastings.
6. "Virgin on the Ridiculous" (Pye Hastings) 7:55
And another one appearing for the first time opened the second side of the 1974 record. Pye is striving for sales with songs like these, you can tell. So many prog bands would do the same thing before the close of the decade but they wouldn't do it live with an orchestra. Give these guys credit for that at least. The Sinclair solo elevates this number.
7. "For Richard" (Richard Coughlan, Pye Hastings, Dave Sinclair, Richard Sinclair) 15:00
Great version of this If I Could Do It All Over Again.
.. song which closed the live LP and could be the high point, actually. The strings add a certain melancholy absent on the studio version. This is their 'big number' of the evening and they pull it off splendidly.
8. "A Hunting We Shall Go" (Pye Hastings, John G. Perry, Mike Ratledge) 10:33
The encore is a piece of the last cut on the Plump
album done very nicely here and is another selling-point for this CD as it wasn't on the original LP. Pye cranking out a guitar solo before the third minute is not something you hear everyday in a Caravan song. One of the best things on the disc.