Caravan – 1973 – For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night

Cover Album Art for For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night (1973)

After the release of Caravan’s Canterbury landmark album In the Land of Grey and Pink, creative differences in the group started pulling the band apart. First to leave was keyboardist David Sinclair to be replaced by Steve Miller. On the band’s fourth album from 1972, the band was basically split into two working pairs, Richard Sinclair and Steve Miller doing their more jazz inspired thing and Pye Hastings with Richard Coughlan writing more of the kind of rock tunes Caravan were known for. As a result, the band’s fourth album, Waterloo Lily, didn’t feel entirely cohesive and after it’s completion, Richard and Steve would leave Caravan and go on to other projects like Delivery and (for Richard) Hatfield and the North.

On For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night, keyboardist David Sinclair was asked to participate and agreed to (re)join (after a short stint with Matching Mole) as a paid session player as he was in need of some cash. Also joining the ranks were John G. Perry on bass and shared vocal duty and multi-instrumentalist Peter Geoffrey “Geoff” Richardson on viola who has stayed with the band since. The man at the helm was, once again, singer and self-proclaimed chord basher Pye Hastings who wrote the vast majority of the music.

Album review

The result, For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night from 1973, is a much more cohesive effort than their previous album, Waterloo Lily. With the┬ájazzy experiments of Sinclair and Miller gone, the band adopted a rockier and more guitar dominated sound with various other noticeable instrumental differences such as the lovely addition of Geoff’s viola. The music they play is remarkably seductive and peppered throughout with feelgood sounds and lyrics on topics like love and sunshine. It may sound a bit wishy washy, but they managed to pull it off remarkably well and the whole album is full of hooks. A good example of the catchy feelgood music you’ll find on the album (and perhaps the song which is likely to first get stuck on a first time listener’s mind) is Caravan’s classic The Dog, The Dog, He’s At It Again, Pye’s tribute to sex – which I promise you is more charming than it sounds.


I consider the last half of the album to be the strongest and, as we get close to the end, the band plays along with an orchestra for an epic finish; a medley of beautiful instrumental pieces including Soft Machine keyboardist Mike Ratledge’s wonderful composition Backwards. If only Caravan and the New Symphonia sounded this good!

Final words

Not every song reaches the same level of excellence, but there really isn’t a bad track on here. To me, the album has great replayability as I find myself returning to this more than any other in the band’s discography. I suspect some Canterbury enthusiasts well versed in the avantgarde may initially consider this batch of Caravan’s later rock sounds to not be experimental enough for their liking. For their sake, I hope not because they’d be missing out. Like John G. Perry said in his interview with Aymeric from Calyx, I consider this album to be almost on par with the band’s classic In the Land of Grey and Pink. Depending on my mood, it may even be my favourite!

[rating:5] (5/5)

3 thoughts on “Caravan – 1973 – For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night”

  1. Thanks Mark!

    I may have written this story somewhere on the forum before, but I completely fell in love with this record a few years ago when I was living in Longyearbyen where I was borrowing a lab to do some research for my biology masters. It was December and dark as the darkest night 24/7. The courses for the semester were over and so all the students had left. I was the only person living in a huge barrack outside of town.

    Every day, I would walk down to the town to work in the lab. Often, I didn’t meet anyone in, nor anyone on the way out. As a very social person used to having someone around me all the time, being alone up there in the dark was a strange experience, not very bad, but somewhat unreal and slightly depressing. This album, with all it’s sunshine and happiness, was one of the rays of light of my existence then. For about two weeks (which felt pretty long), its’ feelgood energy fueled me and kept my spirits up on many a trip through the wind, snow and freezing temperatures of the high arctic at winter when walking the road or when staring out at the darkness through my window in the lab.

    Only rarely have I felt such a connection with an album and for that, it will always have a special place in my heart. :)

  2. Just listening to the album now and, while Nine Feet Underground and Winter Wine (plus all the added extras from down the years) make ITLOGAP my numero uno Canterbury Tale, it is far from flawless. While lacking such peaks, its successor, for me, contains no downtime whatsoever.

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