Friday, June 12, 2015

Caravan - In The Land Of Grey And Pink (1971 uk, canterbury prog rock masterpiece, 2011 double disc deluxe edition)

There isn’t sufficient space here to give a full description of what has been collected on the three discs of this thoroughly deserved Deluxe Edition let alone explain just how good an album In The Land Of Grey And Pink is or its standing as one of the cornerstone albums of 70s prog and the Canterbury scene.

The in-a-nutshell list of ingredients is: what sounds like the 2001 remaster of the full album; Steven Wilson’s new mixes of the album in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound; a fascinating previously unreleased new version of Nine Feet Underground (completely different lead organ and sax tracks different vocal track on the second part – Dave Sinclair singing in place of Richard Sinclair); different versions and/or mixes of some album tracks and non-ITLOGAP songs including Frozen Rose and Aristocracy; five 70s radio-broadcast live sessions including Nine Feet Underground and the title track; video of Golf Girl and Winter Wine from contemporaneous German TV show Beat Club the latter previously unseen alone almost worth the price of admission given the scarcity of period footage around.

For many the jury’s still out on 5.1: clever for sure but is it what the artist intended their music to sound like? Whatever it’s here if you want it. And presumably with the right drugs you really can feel like you’re listening to the album from somewhere inside Dave Sinclair’s Hammond.

There’s nothing particularly radical in the new stereo mixes: it’s all quite subtle and unintrusive – a slight reduction in the presence of the guitars during the keyboard solo on the title track. Most noticeably the left-right dynamic has been tightened up with much less panning of individual sounds than there is on the original CD issue. On Winter Wine for example there’s less drifting of the angelic voices and the tinkling piano passage and the few seconds of wah-wah organ that used to pan back and forth rapidly is now anchored tightly in the centre; meanwhile the trombone at the beginning of Golf Girl has been moved in a touch from its original hard-right position.

Overall though there’s nothing in the new mixes that really stands out as being notably different from what fans will know and love which is what one would hope to be the case. And even though the album has been remixed rather than remastered (so no sound ‘polishing’ as such) there must have been some temptation given the studio technology voodoo available these days to ‘airbrush’ some things. But reassuringly the ‘pops’ when Dave Sinclair kicks in his wahwah pedal still pop and Richard Sinclair’s jarring bum-note (so wrong you can’t even call it jazz) 5’ 20” into Nine Feet Underground remains just as jarring – and now comes in glorious 5.1 surround sound.

With the 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition one of prog’s pivotal must-have albums has just got even more indispensable.
by Paul Henderson
Disc 1 The Original Album Released As Deram SDL-R 1 On 8th April 1971
1. Golf Girl - 5:01
2. Winter Time - 7:36
3. Love To Love You (And Tonight Pigs Will Fly) - 3:04
4. In The Land Of Grey And Pink - 5:00
5. Nine Feet Underground - 22:44
6. Frozen Rose (I Don't Know Its Name Alias The World) (New Mix By Steven Wilson) - 6:10
7. Love To Love You (And Tonight Pigs Will Fly) (First Version New Mix By Steven Wilson) - 3:36
8. Nine Feet Underground (New Mix By Steven Wilson) - 22:39
Bonus Tracks 7-8
Disc 2 Album Session Recordings, December 1970
1. Aristocracy - 3:15
2. It Doesn't Take A Lot - 3:14
3. Love To Love You (And Tonight Pigs Will Fly) (Extended Version) - 3:36
4. It's Likely To Have A Name Next Week ('Winter Wine' Instrumental Demo) - 7:48
5. Nigel Blows A Tune (First Version) - 5:55
6. Group Girl ('Golf Girl' First Version) 5:14
7. Love Song Without Flute - 3:33
8. In The Land Of Grey And Pink - 3:43
9. Love To Love You (And Tonight Pigs Will Fly) - 3:12
10.Nine Feet Underground - 14:27
11.Feelin', Reelin', Squealin' (Kevin Ayers) - 9:30
All songs by R. Coughlan, P. Hastings, R. Sinclair, D. Sinclair except where noted.
Tracks 7-9 Recorded For The BBC's 'Sounds Of The Seventies', 11th March 1971
Tracks 10-11 Recorded For John Peel's Sunday Concert At The Paris Theatre, 6th May 1971

*Richard Sinclair - Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Pye Hastings - Electric. Guitars, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*David Sinclair - Organ, Piano, Mellotron, Harmony Vocals
*Richard Coughlan - Drums, Percussion
Additional Musicians
*Jimmy Hastings - Flute, Tenor Saxophone, Piccolo
*David Grinsted - Cannon, Bell, Wind

the journey of Caravan
1968  Caravan (Japan SHM remaster)
1970  If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You (Japan SHM remaster)
1971  In The Land Of Grey And Pink (Japan SHM remaster)
1972  Waterloo Lily (Japan Mini LP)
1973  For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night (japan SHM remaster)
1974  Caravan And The New Symphonia (japan SHM remaster)
1975 Cunning Stunts (Japan remaster)

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