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Caravan — Songs for Oblivion Fishermen
(Hux Records 002, 1998, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 1998-07-01

Songs for Oblivion Fishermen Cover art

Caravan’s legacy as a key Canterbury band is well noted in their extensive catalog ranging from 1969 to present day. What has been seriously lacking is the live-in-studio BBC recordings which have long been booted with horrendous sound quality. English label Hux has somehow secured four sets of sessions in their first of a two-part focus on this seminal group. The first two sessions feature line-up number one, with Richard Sinclair (bass and vocals) and an emphasis on the band’s second album, If I Could Do It Again, I’d Do I’d Do It All Over You. "Love Song without Flute" comes from these sessions and features charming vocal harmonies from band destined for noticeable improvement. The remaining two sessions focus on the For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night line-up with bassist John G. Perry in possibly the strongest personnel for the quintet. "Mirror for the Day" and "Virgin on the Ridiculous" are rendered in a better format than on the New Symphonia album, stripped of annoying female backing vocals and stuffy strings. The classics "For Richard" and "A Hunting We Shall Go / Backwards" showcase the instrumental prowess of a then new member Geoff Richardson on viola, carrying the band through a subtlety and power which was a high point for the period. Pye Hastings’ driving rhythm guitar together with Perry’s aggressive bass push tracks like "Memory Lain, Hugh" as hard as the band ever rocked. Sound quality is fair (e.g. noticeable pops on "As I Feel I Die") making me question whether or not the source for the disc was LP). Although the compilation is somewhat incomplete, I’m terribly pleased with this chronicle. Bring on volume two, please!

Filed under: New releases, Issue 15, 1998 releases

Related artist(s): Caravan, Richard Sinclair, Dave Sinclair, Geoffrey Richardson, John G. Perry


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