Canterbury Soundwave’s May Episode is out!

Some of you are already familiar with Canterbury Soundwaves. If you’re not, you may be pleased to learn that Canterbury Soundwaves is a podcast dedicated to exploring the Canterbury Sound. It’s episodes are released monthly by main man Matthew Watkins and have featured the music we love, a generous amount of rare recordings, interview and lots and lots of information – making each episode a treasure trove not just for the casual listener, but also for those who’d like to learn something new about the scene.

Here’s a little information on what to expect from this month’s episode 7.

[cc_full_width_col background_color=”f1f1f1″ shadow_color=”888888″ radius=”6″]From Matthew

[..] Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Caravan’s “In the Land of Grey and Pink”. Also, Canterbury sounds from Belgium, something appropriately far-out from Gong’s “Mushroom Tapes”, Kevin Ayers addressing the nation’s schoolchildren in 1972, Matching Mole on French telly, two Beatles covers, two flavours of fruit jam, and a chunk of the Soft Machine’s (almost) forgotten score to the 1969 London ‘happening’ “Spaced”. 

There’s that and more, including some interesting Matching Mole remixes by the UK group Ultramarine, and of course there’s the usual generous helping of trivia!

If you’re new to the Canterbury Soundwaves, you might wanna start out with episode 1. The rest of you should check out the latest.

Link : Episode 7 on Canterbury Soundwaves

The Canterbury Album Club tackles The Snow Goose

Camel - Music Inspired by the Snow Goose
Music Inspired by the Snow Goose

The Canterbury Scene Album Club has given Camel’s classic album Music Inspired by the Snow Goose a listen. The album, which is entirely instrumental, follows the narrative of Paul Gallico’s novel The Snow Goose, a story about the regenerative power of love and friendship. Since it’s release, the album has become a fan with many Camel fans and is widely regarded Canterbury Scene Classic.

Check it out if you haven’t and join in our discussion!

Forum thread : Camel – Music Inspired by the Snow Goose (1975)

Camel – 1975 – Music Inspired by the Snow Goose

Camel - Music Inspired by the Snow Goose
Music Inspired by the Snow Goose album cover

Music Inspired by the Snow Goose, also known as simply The Snow Goose, is Canterbury scene prog band Camel’s third album released on Decca in 1975. The success of The White Rider suite from their previous album, Mirage from 1974, inspired the band to write more conceptual suites based on novels. Before settling on Paul Gallico’s novel The Snow Goose, the band considered other literary works, among them Herman Hesse’s novel Siddartha which was also an important influence on prog band Yes’ widely considered magnum opus, Close to the Edge. The originial album title was The Snow Goose, but the band changed the name to include “Music Inspired By” after legal protests from Gallico. The idea for the album to feature lyrics based on his books was also abandoned due to Gallico’s protests and, as a result, the album is entirely instrumental.

The album features orchestral and rock instrumentation and the tracks segue seamlessly from one song to the next. Music Inspired by the Snow Goose is generally considered one of Camel’s more accessible albums and a Canterbury scene classic. It remains a favourite with many fans, alongside their previous release Mirage and subsequent release Moonmadness.

Concept

The music follows the narrative of Paul Gallico’s book which is a parable on the regenerative power of love and friendship. The story is about the friendship between the man Philip Rhayader  and Fritha. Philip is a partly disabled artist living on his own in a lighthouse. Fritha is a young local girl. At the start of their friendship, Fritha finds a snow goose wounded by a gunshot and Philip and Fritha nurse it back to health as their friendship develops. When their friendship blossoms, the snow goose is nurtured back to flight and continues to visit the lighthouse on it’s migration travels for several years as Fritha grows up. Philip takes his small sailboat to Dunkirk to assist in the evacuation of allied soldiers during the Second World War, but is lost after saving several hundred soldiers. The snow goose who accompanied Philip visits the adult Fritha one last time which she interprets as a visit from Philip’s soul saying farewell. Later, Rhayader’s lighthouse is destroyed by a german pilot and all that is left of his art is the picture he painted of Fritha, the young girl with the wounded snow goose in her arms.

Production

Produced by David Hitchcock. Orchestral arrangements by David Bedford.

Track listing

[cc_full_width_col background_color=”f1f1f1″ shadow_color=”888888″ radius=”6″]All songs by Peter Bardens and Andrew Latimer.

Side A

  1. The Great Marsh (2:02)
  2. Rhayader (3:01)
  3. Rhayader Goes To Town (5:20)
  4. Sanctuary (1:05)
  5. Fritha (1:19)
  6. The Snow Goose (3:12)
  7. Friendship (1:44)
  8. Migration (2:01)
  9. Rhayader Alone (1:50)

Side B

  1. Flight Of The Snow Goose (2:40)
  2. Preparation (3:58)
  3. Dunkirk (5:19)
  4. Epitaph (2:07)
  5. Fritha Alone (1:40)
  6. La Princesse Perdue (4:44)
  7. The Great Marsh (1:20)

Personnel

[cc_full_width_col background_color=”f1f1f1″ shadow_color=”888888″ radius=”6″]Camel

  • Andrew Latimer
    • Electric, acoustic & slide guitars, flute, vocals
  • Andy Ward
    • Drums, percussion, vibes
  • Doug Ferguson
    • Bass, duffle coat
  • Peter Bardens
    • Organ, Minimoog, acoustic & electric pianos, pipe organ, ARP Odyssey

On site-links

On-site reviews

  • None!

External links

Hugh Hopper & Alan Gowen – 1980 – Two Rainbows Daily

Two Rainbows Daily is an album by bass guitarist Hugh Hopper and keyboardist Alan Gowen. It was released on the label Red Records in 1980.

Production

The album was recorded in Alan Gowen’s home during the days 2nd to 7th of June, 1980. Studio engineer was Peter Ball while production is credited to Hugh Hopper and Alan Gowen. The cover art is a painting by Hugh Hopper.

Track listing

[cc_full_width_col background_color=”f1f1f1″ shadow_color=”888888″ radius=”6″]All songs by Alan Gowen and Hugh Hopper.

Side A

  1. Seen Through a Door (5:54)
    • Alan Gowen, Hugh Hopper
  2. Morning Order (6:32)
    • Alan Gowen, Hugh Hopper
  3. Fishtank 1 (4:56)
    • Alan Gowen
  4. Two Rainbows Daily (4:14)
    • Alan Gowen, Hugh Hopper

Side B

  1. Elibom (5:04)
    • Hugh Hopper
  2. Every Silver Lining (5:23)
    • Alan Gowen, Hugh Hopper
  3. Waltz for Nobby (9:07)
    • Alan Gowen, Hugh Hopper

Personnel

  • Alan Gowen
    • Keyboards
  • Hugh Hopper
    • Bass

On-site reviews

  • None yet!

External links

Caravan – 1994 – Cool Water

Caravan - Cool Water (1994)

Cool water

(Pony Canyon 1994)

  1. Cool Water
  2. Just The Way You Are
  3. Tuesday Is Rock And Roll Nite
  4. The Crack Of The Willow
  5. Ansaphone
  6. Cold Fright
  7. Side By Side
  8. You Won’t Get Me Up In One Of Those
  9. To The Land Of My Fathers
  10. Poor Molly
  11. Send Reinforcements

This anachronism in the recorded history of Caravan was released in 1994, but all of the songs were recorded as a follow-up to “Better by far” in 1977 and for some reason shelved for almost 20 years. I’m gonna take the liberty to rewrite the history here and place it where it belongs chronologically, since Pye obviously decided not to tamper with the tapes at all when he finally decided they were release-worthy. A little revisionism hasn’t hurt anyone. Yet. And what’s 20 years in the cosmological perspective anyway? The Caravan fans of Alpha Centauri sure would care less when gazing towards us through the light years of distance. I hope they will catch this review though.

I hope you will too, dear earthling, because even if it’s basically a collection of more or less raw demo recordings, at least the first seven tracks that apparently have been subjected to some production enhancement, it’s at least as worthy a listen as “Blind dog”. And for one thing, guess who’s back: Richard Sinclair! Not that his presence makes him that much justice since Pye is the one and only voice present on here. These cool waters ain’t running through no land o’ grey’n pink, fo’ sho’! It’s still an interesting listen on a song-for-song basis, and it has its shares of ups an downs. One serious down, and I do mean serious, is the bloody atrocious “Tuesday is rock and roll nite”. As you might read out from the title, awful in itself, they are trying their hands on good old-fashioned rock’n roll, and as you might guess, it results in a major facepalm. Hearing our favourite sissy boy proclaim “rock’n rooouuull, yeah” in the weakest and most wimpy intonation possible is the core definition of inadequacy. Yes, they had incorporated more rocking elements in their songs before, but they always adopted it to their own style. This time however, they try to step out of that style in favour of something they were simply unfit for. You gotta hear it at least once of course, just to witness why Pye is the last go-to-guy on earth when it comes to gaining knowledge about where tonight’s rockin’ is at.

Fortunately, none of the other tracks comes close to this puddle of embarassment (which sure would be an achievement in itself) but there are still some rather bland funk workouts present. “Ansaphone” doesn’t do much, neither harm nor impact, and “You won’t get me up in one of those” is at least memorable in its bouncy rythm pattern that betrays some new wave influences. “Cold fright” even approaches disco which is perfectly understandable, given the times and all, but not terribly interesting melody-wise. We’re given a few slow-paced ballads as well, several of which are based on the same 6/8 rythm which gets tedious after a while. “To the land of my fathers” is little more than pure atmosphere and “Side by side” is mainly a re-write of “Better by far”. “Crack of the willow” at least boasts a really good synth line but the real highlight out of these is the title track. “Cool water” is a really pretty barroom lounge-jazz shuffle, with a hushed atmosphere perfectly fit with the lyrics taking place at the closing hour of a night out during which a drunk and exhausted Pye wishes for nothing more than some cool water. Haven’t we all been there? The one thing that bugs me though, is the fact that it’s placed as the opening track when it more than anything should have been put last. It’s just designed to be closing whatever comes before it and the only rational reason I can think of why it opens the album, is that they made a mistake in the sequencing process. All in all, it’s a perfect afterparty track to play when arriving home late at night and settling down in the couch with a girl under your arm. God I hate being single. I want a girl, now! (Yeah, as if a girl would be into Caravan, much less reading long-winded reviews of them! If you are though, and look like Kate Bush, PM me.)

What convinces me even more that the positioning of that track was a mistake is the fact that it’s followed by “Just the way you are”, which is an obvious successor of “Feelin’ alright” and thus a much more apt candidate for opening the album. A bouncy pop shuffle in the best Badfinger tradition, only catchier. “Poor Molly” continues the transatlantic popster tradition in a compact Steely Dan-fashion. Play this back to back with “Tuesday is rock’n roll s h i t e” and spot the difference. The closing “Send reinforcements” is once again mirrored in the previous album, this time in “Nightmare” which means it’s perfectly good in itself.

As you can see, there was little progress made in the making of this could-have-been album so on one hand it might have been just as well that it wasn’t released in time, especially since their previous album wasn’t exactly successful in the eyes of the world. On the other hand, you should really give it a try, if only for the selected few tracks that are truly worthy. And, by all means, for the valuable lesson of “Tuesday is rock’n roll tripe”.

The Album Club tackles National Health

The Canterbury Scene Album Club is a loosely organized album club where we listen to albums and then discuss them. Last week, we gave National Health’s debut from 1977 a listen and now the time’s ripe for discussion!

Dave Stewart is behind the bulk of the compositions on the album and the record also features his ex-Hatfield bandmates Phil Miller and Pip Pyle as well as northette Amanda Parsons. In addition, we get the brilliant keyboardist Alan Gowen composing and playing, lovely flute by Jimmy Hastings and bass lines from Neil Murray from Whitesnake fame.

Any fan of Hatfield and the North should check out National Health if they haven’t (and vice versa) – and when you have, join in on our discussion. :)

Forum link : National Health – National Health (1977)

National Health – 1977 – National Health

National Health is the eponymous debut album of Canterbury scene band National Health and was released in October 1977 on Affinity Records. The album features lengthy, complex instrumental compositions reminiscent of Hatfield and the North and is considered by many to be a classic album from the Canterbury scene.

Production

The album was recorded in in London in March and April 1977. Studio engineers were Mike Dunne, Paul Northfield & Brian Gaylor. The producer was National Health and Mike Dunne.

Track listing

[cc_full_width_col background_color=”f1f1f1″ shadow_color=”888888″ radius=”6″]All songs by National Health.

Side A

  1. Tenemos roads (14:32)
    • Dave Stewart
  2. Brujo (10:13)
    • Alan Gowen

Side B

  1. Borogoves (Excerpt from part two) (4:12)
    • Dave Stewart
  2. Borogoves (Part one) (6:29)
    • Dave Stewart
  3. Elephants (14:32)
    • Dave Stewart, Alan Gowen

Personnel

[cc_half_col_left background_color=”f1f1f1″ radius=”6″ shadow_color=”888888″]National Health

  • Alan Gowen
    • Acoustic [tracks A2, B3] and electric piano, moog
  • Amanda Parsons
    • Vocals
  • Dave Stewart
    • Organ, acoustic and electric piano
  • Neil Murray
    • Electric bass guitar
  • Phil Miller
    • Electric guitar
  • Pip Pyle
    • Drums / cowbell, gong, tambourine [A1] / glockenspiel, finger cymbals, shaker, bells [A2] / Pixiephone [B2][/cc_half_col_left]

[cc_half_col_left background_color=”f1f1f1″ radius=”6″ shadow_color=”888888″]Guest musicians

  • Jimmy Hastings
    • Flute, bass clarinet [A1], clarinet [B1]
  • John Mitchell
    • Percussion [A1], temple blocks / guava [A2], congas [B1][/cc_half_col_left]

[cc_clear]

On-site links

On-site reviews

  • None!

External links

Caravan – 1977 – Better By Far

Caravan - Better By Far (1977)

Better by far

(Arista 1977)

  1. Feelin’ alright
  2. Behind you
  3. Better by far
  4. Silver strings
  5. The last unicorn
  6. Give me more
  7. Man in a car
  8. Let it shine
  9. Nightmare

Would you believe me if I told you that our supposedly washed-out heroes from Canterbury actually managed to squeeze out one of the best pop records of 1977, of all years? Well, maybe you would and you should too, because despite what the critics or the chart statistics or the nerds at Progarchives will tell you, “Better by far” surely is better by far. Just like on “Blind dog”, all of the tracks are relatively short but I dare say that this time around they are also diverse and built upon simple but catchy melodies which will stay with you a long time after you turn it off.

If anyone’s interested I can start with telling you that Mike Wedgewood was replaced by Dek Messecar on bass guitar, which may or may not have a part in the fact that the funk’n soul elements present on here are nowhere near as obnoxious or good-for-nothing as on “Blind dog” or “Gunning c u n t s”. No wait, get outta here, Ted Nugent! Because essentially, the word of the day is power pop of the kind Big Star and Badfinger popularized (and that Beatles, Kinks and Byrds originated) and it kicks you right between the eyes from the very beginning. “Feelin’ alright” sounds like a bona fide McCartney-penned Beatles tune circa 1965 and drags you with it in its truly uplifting catchiness and sets the tone for the whole record which rarely lets down this magnificent opening even a single bit on its way. “Behind you” showcases Caravan as fully capable of adopting a barroom rocker to their own harmful setting, and I can’t help but sense a striking resemblance to whatever hard rock bands like UFO or Whitesnake did around this time. Of course, Caravan wouldn’t touch metal with a ten foot stick but the vibe is there, man! The vibe is there! Not a highlight though, but essentially they pull it off.

The lighter side of things are represented by the title track with a really pretty guitar line and the song itself could be seen as succeeding where “Lover” failed. Not overblown by some uncalled for soul gymnastics, just a mellow and humble ballad distinguished by said guitar melody. Even better in that respect is the folksy Kinks-like “Give me more”, greeting us with a neat whistling synth melody setting the scene in which Pye encounters a whore and proceeds to abuse her with certain bondage devices. Oh yes, you thought he had reached the limits of decency with that dog that was at it again four years ago? Forget that! His eagerness to show off his gigolo skills has only increased over time. I wonder if we’re supposed to draw any conclusions from the album cover? Or the orgasmic wailings of Vicki Brown in the chorus? Whatever may be, it’s still a nice song. As is the closing epic “Nightmare” that somewhat presages the lush symphonic indierock sound that Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips successfully would adopt in the 90’s. I could easily see those fragile vocal deliveries performed by Wayne Coyne. And “Let it shine” which precedes it is yet another Beatlish pop tune, spiced with a Harrison-like guitar line that enhances its already sunshiny atmosphere.

In the midst of it all we also have the strange funk sendup “Silver strings” that is done completely Bowie-style, which may be a result of the record being produced by Tony Visconti. The drums sound almost pre-programmed in the trademark ‘Berlin’ kind of way and the bass line is weirdly deconstructed, and over it all we have a minimalistic guitar pattern that wouldn’t sound out of place on “Heroes” or “Low”. And what about the Traffic-meets-Supertramp, although less bloated, “Man in a car”, with its crawling pace and hazy psychedelic vocals? Man, this is one mixed bag! But I consciously saved the best for last in this review. Apparently, Caravan felt they had to reconnect with their roots somehow and decided to throw in an instrumental and slightly updated Canterbury tribute, and to pay their respect to the queer community, dub it “The last unicorn” (ok, that last part may be subject for speculation). And might I say, it ends up being their best instrumental number ever, as well as one of their best songs altogether! It’s simply breathtaking from beginning to end, starting with some gently strummed chords and Richardson’s contemplating viola (he is the author of the piece, by the way), leading into a beautiful synth/recorder break that out-Camels Camel in just a few seconds. And then it throws itself headfirst into a rapid jazz-rock fiesta a’la National Health/Hatfield & The North, where Pye fires off what must be his finest guitar solo ever. Then everything settles down into the opening chords over which a tear-jerking flute waves goodbye. I dare say that this is the single best song of 1977, even with albums like “Going for the one” being in the competition, and that says a lot! Its only flaw is that it’s too short. I would want it to go on for ten minutes or so, but then again, maybe not. The best songs always leave you craving for more, right? A prog masterpiece in pocket format, hands down!

So it turns out that Caravan really was a force to reckon with after all, even in the darkest depths of prog degeneration towards the end of the decade, which some of the other giants couldn’t even handle. That speaks tons of their endurance and creativity, and not least of how they successfully managed to transform into a pop act instead of trying to force upon themselves some prog formula just for the sake of it. But on the other hand, they always had it in them, didn’t they?

Caravan – 1970 – If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You

If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You is the second album by Canterbury scene band Caravan and was released in 1970 by Decca. The album is generally regarded as a classic, both from Caravan’s discography and from the Canterbury scene in general.

Production

The album was recorded in Tangerine Studios in London between February and May 1970. Engineer was Robin Sylvester while production was credited to the band and their manager, Terry King. In an interview with the Marmelade Skies website, Richard Sinclair stated that “on the album it says the group and Terry King produced it but really it was Robin’s influence in there. He was the engineer, he did all of the recording. He was a musician and he had ears, so the album had a much more musicianly quality to it.”

Trivia

  • The cover picture, which shows the band posing by a chestnut tree, was taken in Holland Park in London.
  • The album’s title and title track (if I could do it all over again, I’d do it all over you) is a quote from comedian, actor, musician, poet and more, Spike Milligan.

Track listing

[cc_full_width_col background_color=”f1f1f1″ shadow_color=”888888″ radius=”6″]All songs written by Caravan.

Side A

  1. If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You – 3:07
    • Pye Hastings
  2. a. And I Wish I Were Stoned / b. Don’t Worry – 8:20
    • Pye Hastings
  3. As I Feel I Die – 5:06
    • Pye Hastings
  4. a. With an Ear to the Ground You Can Make It / b. Martinian / c. Only Cox / d. Reprise – 9:54
    • Pye Hastings

Side B

  1. Hello Hello – 3:45
    • Pye Hastings, David Sinclair
  2. Asforteri – 1:21
    • Pye Hastings
  3. a. Can’t Be Long Now / b. Francoise / c. For Richard / d. Warlock – 14:21
    • a. David Sinclair / b. David Sinclair / c. David Sinclair, Richard Sinclair / d. David Sinclair
  4. Limits – 1:35
    • Pye Hastings

Personnel

[cc_half_col_left background_color=”f1f1f1″ radius=”6″ shadow_color=”888888″]Caravan

  • David Sinclair
    • Hammond organ/piano [tracks A1/A2b/A4e/B1], harpsichord [track 4b]
  • Pye Hastings
    • 12 and 16 string electric guitars, vocals [tracks A1/A2b/A3/A4/B2-B4]
  • Richard Coughlan
    • Drums
  • Richard Sinclair
    • Bass guitar, vocals [tracks A2a/B1][/cc_half_col_left]

[cc_half_col_right background_color=”f1f1f1″ radius=”6″ shadow_color=”888888″]Guest musicians

  • Jimmy Hastings
    • Tenor saxophone [track B3c], flute [tracks A4c/B3abc/B4][/cc_half_col_right]

On-site Reviews

External links