Following yesterday’s posting, a correspondent in California ~ hi Greg ~ has written to ask “How do I access your soundtrack, Caravan?” Well, the simple answer is to visit your local record store. A more expensive option is to go to one of these Stateside gigs (all with Nektar):
 Albany, NY, The Egg.
 Arlington, MA. Regent Theater
 New York City, NY, BB King’s.
 Alexandria, VA, Birchmere.
 Atlanta, GA, Variety Playhouse.
 St. Louis, MO, The Pageant.
 Chicago, IL, Martyr’s.
 Toronto (Canada), Opera House.
 Glenside, PA, Keswick Theater.
They’re in Japan in October, but maybe that’s a bit too far. Unfortunately they won’t be visiting Indonesia time soon, though with the support of my friend Leonardo Pavkovic of MoonJune Records it may yet be possible.
But why Caravan?, I hear you ask.
I’m a long term fan of the so-called Canterbury music scene, initially through strange coincidental personal connections. Back in ’69 I moved into a flat in London rented by an ex-pupil of Simon Langton School, which was the alma mater of various luminaries of that scene. Frequent visitors to the flat included the then drummer of Soft Machine, Robert Wyatt, and Caravan’s keyboard player, Dave Sinclair, who I shared macrobiotic meals with. I also met many of the other musos including the wonderful Kevin Ayres.
I replaced a guy whose then girlfriend became my second wife six years later, though I didn’t meet her then. Robert Wyatt went to her first wedding and she knew nearly everybody in those early days. I can’t really remember ~ which may prove something ~ that I really banged on a beer bottle or something at a Kevin recording, alongside Caravan et al, at the Roundhouse recording studio in 69/70.
I had always been a jazz fan, long before I encountered this ‘progressive’ music. Soft Machine were on Jimi Hendrix’s first tour of the States and bootlegs of their musical meetings have recently surfaced, officially. They were also the first (only?) group to play a prestigious Prom. And four of the alumni released an album in 2002 on MoonJune Records under the name Soft Works.
Caravan were more rock-orientated. Admittedly often trite lyrics, albeit sung with good clear British accents, were combined with the sheer orgasmic power of tight musicianship for suites which lasted for a whole side of a vinyl album. Music to groove to whilst skinning up; the soundtrack of my initial bachelor days.
Since it’s release in 1971, this has never been out of print.
And the gigs were family get-togethers. There is a Yahoo group which has sudden eruptions of “Do you remember when?”
And I do. I remember spliffs being passed round; like chain letters, you’d get more back than you sent out. It was, and remains, a community. The musicians roll on with the years, still playing and recording together in various combinations and/or with others who became part of that scene.
Including bootlegs, I have over 300 albums of music related to the Canterbury scene, and they all get played regularly. But Caravan’s early albums are the ones I play when I need an orgasmic rush.
And yesterday was such a good day.