Saturday, August 20, 2022

Caravan - The Show Of Our Lives The BBC Recordings (1968-75 uk, outstanding canterbury prog rock, 2007 double disc edition)

While this two-CD, nearly two-and-a-half-hour collection doesn't include all of Caravan's BBC recordings, it's indisputably the finest collection of the band's radio performances yet assembled. It doesn't quite include all of the BBC tracks that have appeared on previous releases; a couple songs from their first 1968 session are missing, as are most of the cuts from the Ether Way: BBC Sessions 1975-77 compilation. This is more than compensated for, however, by the inclusion of a half-hour August 2, 1973 session that appears for the first time anywhere on this anthology, as well as the much-improved fidelity on some material first issued as part of the Green Bottles for Marjorie: The Lost BBC Sessions set. 

Too, the absence of some mid- to late-'70s material isn't a big blow, as it was during the period covered by this collection, in which Caravan were truly at their peak. As for the music itself, while these tracks aren't radically different from the more familiar studio versions, they're fine testimony to the band's ability to deliver complex progressive rock with deft spontaneity in a live setting. The first disc is far more impressive than the second, the band sounding like a cousin to early Soft Machine (with whom, of course, they shared deep roots) in their ability to make the transition from psychedelia to progressive rock sound playful, humane, and for the most part, based in strong songs and vocals. 

The most pleasing treasure is their fine nine-minute stretched-out cover of the early Soft Machine B-side "Feelin', Reelin', Squealin,'" which Caravan never recorded on their studio releases. The second disc, alas, finds the group becoming steadily less interesting with the onset of several personnel changes, documenting the band's (and indeed the entire serious British progressive rock genre's) growing inclination toward slicker virtuosity and less acute, distinguished songwriting. Nonetheless, the better portions are delightful and Mark Powell's annotation (which almost amounts to a band history in itself) excellent, and the compilation as a whole belongs in every serious Caravan fan's collection. 
by Richie Unterberger
Disc One
1. Place Of My Own - 4:12
2. Ride - 4:17
3. If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You - 2:45
4. Hello, Hello - 3:10
5. As I Feel I Die - 6:23
6. Love To Love You - 3:12
7. Love Song Without Flute - 3:33
8. In The Land Of Grey And Pink - 3:43
9. Nine Feet Underground - 14:27
10.Feelin' Reelin' Squealin (Kevin Ayers) - 9:30
11.A Huntin' We Shall Go (Pye Hastings) - 9:15
12.Waffle Part One: Be Alright / Chance Of A Lifetime (Pye Hastings) - 6:46
All selections composed by Richard Coughlan, Pye Hastings, David Sinclair, Richard Sinclair except where stated
Tracks 1-2 recorded for John Peel's "Top Gear" Radio Show 31 December 1968 ("Off-Air" Recordings)
Tracks 3-5 recorded for the BBC Transcription Service "Top of the Pops" 19 August 1970.
Tracks 6-8 recorded for "Sounds of the Seventies" 11 March 1971.
Tracks 9-10 recorded for John Peel's "Sunday Concert" at the Paris Theatre, London 6 May 1971.
Tracks 11-12 recorded for the BBC "In Concert" at the Paris Theatre, London 2 August 1973.
Disc Two
1. Memory Lain Hugh (Pye Hastings) - 5:04
2. Headloss (Pye Hastings) - 4:27
3. The Love In Your Eye (Richard Coughlan, Pye Hastings, David Sinclair) - 13:54
4. Mirror For The Day (Pye Hastings) - 4:15
5. Virgin On The Ridiculous (Pye Hastings) - 7:01
6. For Richard (Richard Coughlan, Pye Hastings, David Sinclair, Richard Sinclair) - 15:04
7. The Dabsong Conshirto (David Sinclair) - 15:11
8. Stuck In A Hole (Pye Hastings) - 3:14
9. The Show Of Our Lives (David Sinclair, John Murphy) - 4:54
Tracks 1-2 recorded for the BBC "In Concert" at the Paris Theatre, London 2 August 1973.
Tracks 3-6 recorded for John Peel's Radio Show 7 February 1974.
Track  7 recorded for the BBC "In Concert" at the Paris Theatre, London 21 March 1975.
Tracks 8-9 recorded for John Peel's Radio Show 26 June 1975.

*Pye Hastings - Guitar, Vocals
*Richard Coughlan - Drums
*David Sinclair - Keyboards
*Richard Sinclair - Bass, Vocals
*John G. Perry - Bass, Vocals
*Steve Miller - Keyboards
*Jan Schelhaas - Keyboards
*Mike Wedgwood - Bass
*Geoffrey Richardson - Viola

1970  Caravan - If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You (Japan SHM remaster)
1971  Caravan - In The Land Of Grey And Pink (Japan SHM remaster)
1973  Caravan - For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night (Japan SHM remaster)
1974  Caravan - Caravan And The New Symphonia (Japan SHM remaster)
1975  Caravan - Cunning Stunts (Japan remaster)
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