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The "Canterbury Scene" and Caravan's "In the Land of Grey and Pink"

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  • The "Canterbury Scene" and Caravan's "In the Land of Grey and Pink"

    Some time ago, a reader requested a piece on the "Canterbury Scene"- --a irreverent mix of rock, psych and jazz, with a peculiarly English touch of whimsy. What follows is partly a review of Caravan's "In the Land of Grey and Pink," one of the best representations of this "style" (and a great listen), along with an essay (with some help from Raymond Benson) about the "Canterbury Scene" generally. http://thevinylpress.com/caravan-land-grey-pink-canterbury…/
    For sound hounds, the record is a marvelous listen- full of life, rich in musical sophistication with a first class production that brings out the instrumental nuances and vocal inflections without ever sounding over-produced. In fact, the genius of this particular record may be its mix of primitive and refined sounds that meld together to create driving British pop, cool jazz and an offbeat "prog rock" sound that still sounds fresh today. Early UK Deram pressings are reasonably attainable. And the Deram label has some very cool music that is worth further exploration. You know those great Decca classical records that sound so wonderful? Meet Decca's imprint that became the home of the label's prog rock bands.

  • #2
    Another wonderful article Bill! I always learn so much from your writings. Prog Rock has something like 20 sub-genres and to be honest, I wouldn't know what sub-genre many titles should be classified as. To me it's almost a confusing mess, but then...I'm not a musician. I suspect they may have a better handle on it.

    And Wow! I can't believe how much some of those original Swirls go for.
    Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl
      Another wonderful article Bill! I always learn so much from your writings. Prog Rock has something like 20 sub-genres and to be honest, I wouldn't know what sub-genre many titles should be classified as. To me it's almost a confusing mess, but then...I'm not a musician. I suspect they may have a better handle on it.

      And Wow! I can't believe how much some of those original Swirls go for.
      Thanks John. I have a lot of fun doing this. Part of the message, to me, is just to ignore the genre labels-- they are convenient in general terms, I guess, but most of the interesting stuff is genre-bending anyway, isn't it? And, my experience in talking with working musicians--people who are at the top of the heap, if not in public recognition, but in the real, in the notes stuff, is that they recognize how at a certain level, it's all various layers of influence and sound and reflection back--does the composer even consciously think about it, or the performer deliberately strive to emulate something else? Sure, on occasion. But, the stuff that cuts new ground, or remains enduring over time, seems to capture some elemental thread or series of threads, and pull it together in a different way by adding something new. The real impossibility of it all is trying to describe in words, things that occur on a more visceral, non-intellectual level. Music affects us on an emotional, gut level. Trying to describe that by taking it apart, analyzing it or categorizing it kind of defeats the purpose. I also think, like all "art," we not only see or hear what we want to see or hear---think of the Rorschach test--but attribute things to the composer or performer that may not have been anywhere in their mind at the time. Yet, somehow, we make a connection.....

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      • #4
        Well, sometimes genres and sub-genres are handy to describe a very particular sound, like it was the case with that whole Canterbury scene. One of my faves from that scene is the first Camel (self-titled), Khan "Space Shanty" (a DERAM!) and the first two National Health albums.

        What's cool is that what originally started as a very local thing eventually branched out internationally, with "Canterbury" bands from France, Holland, and even the US!

        Disclosure:
        Alma Music and Audio - La Jolla, CA
        Aqua Hi-Fi - Audio Research - Audioquest - Audionet - Audiopax - Auralic - Aurender - Bergmann - Brodmann - D'Agostino - darTZeel - Devialet - DEQX - ELAC - Evolution Acoustics - Hegel - iFi - Innuos - IsoTek - Kii Audio - Koetsu - Kronos - Kubala Sosna - Kuzma - Larsen - Linn - MSB Technology - Music Hall - Ortofon - Solid Steel - Technics - Wharfedale - Wilson Audio - YG Acoustics
        [ http://almaaudio.com ]

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Alex Siufy
          Well, sometimes genres and sub-genres are handy to describe a very particular sound, like it was the case with that whole Canterbury scene. One of my faves from that scene is the first Camel (self-titled), Khan "Space Shanty" (a DERAM!) and the first two National Health albums.

          What's cool is that what originally started as a very local thing eventually branched out internationally, with "Canterbury" bands from France, Holland, and even the US!
          True, and i use the short hand labels too, as a rough way of sorting but once you go into this stuff, it gets very interesting in ways that go beyond the subtype. For example, I can't say I like all keyboard centric prog. But there's some I love, depending on the compositions and the playing.
          BTW, I think I met a colleague of yours, Alex. He had a very nice record I bought.

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          • #6
            Hey Bill,

            Well, sure, it's hard to like *everything* on a given genre I love my prog, but some of it is downright offensive to me... So I can understand that! Music is such a personal thing, one little thing in there might hit the wrong buttons, or just the right ones, and there you go, bliss!

            Who did you meet, and where??? RMAF?


            cheers,
            alex



            Disclosure:
            Alma Music and Audio - La Jolla, CA
            Aqua Hi-Fi - Audio Research - Audioquest - Audionet - Audiopax - Auralic - Aurender - Bergmann - Brodmann - D'Agostino - darTZeel - Devialet - DEQX - ELAC - Evolution Acoustics - Hegel - iFi - Innuos - IsoTek - Kii Audio - Koetsu - Kronos - Kubala Sosna - Kuzma - Larsen - Linn - MSB Technology - Music Hall - Ortofon - Solid Steel - Technics - Wharfedale - Wilson Audio - YG Acoustics
            [ http://almaaudio.com ]

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Alex Siufy
              Hey Bill,

              Well, sure, it's hard to like *everything* on a given genre I love my prog, but some of it is downright offensive to me... So I can understand that! Music is such a personal thing, one little thing in there might hit the wrong buttons, or just the right ones, and there you go, bliss!

              Who did you meet, and where??? RMAF?


              cheers,
              alex


              Nope, virtually. Randall? He had a copy of the Heath Brothers "Marchin' On" on Strata-East. Ken had mentioned it to me in passing. The "Betty Suite" on side 2 is killer. I assumed he was involved in the vinyl side of your business, maybe I'm wrong....

              Comment


              • #8
                Ah! Yes, he used to work for us indeed, helping out with the record section. Unfortunately he turned out to be not as reliable and honest as I hoped he'd be, and I'm glad he chose to go his own way... I'm also glad to see that he actually delivered to you, as that hasn't been the case with other folks who've been reaching out to us because of his dealings...

                Anyway, that Heath Bros. album is indeed fantastic, as is most of the Strata East catalogue! That is a label you should definitely explore, and do your usual very thourough coverage for the website I do have a few of their titles in stock in the store as originals, and there's plenty of reissues out, fortunately, as they can be every bit as expensive as your Vertigos!

                As a "next step", check out Billy Harper "Capra Black" and Cecil McBee "Mutima". Those are two of my all-time faves, and a Strata East gems. I believe they're both available as reissues!


                cheers,
                alex





                Disclosure:
                Alma Music and Audio - La Jolla, CA
                Aqua Hi-Fi - Audio Research - Audioquest - Audionet - Audiopax - Auralic - Aurender - Bergmann - Brodmann - D'Agostino - darTZeel - Devialet - DEQX - ELAC - Evolution Acoustics - Hegel - iFi - Innuos - IsoTek - Kii Audio - Koetsu - Kronos - Kubala Sosna - Kuzma - Larsen - Linn - MSB Technology - Music Hall - Ortofon - Solid Steel - Technics - Wharfedale - Wilson Audio - YG Acoustics
                [ http://almaaudio.com ]

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Alex Siufy
                  Ah! Yes, he used to work for us indeed, helping out with the record section. Unfortunately he turned out to be not as reliable and honest as I hoped he'd be, and I'm glad he chose to go his own way... I'm also glad to see that he actually delivered to you, as that hasn't been the case with other folks who've been reaching out to us because of his dealings...

                  Anyway, that Heath Bros. album is indeed fantastic, as is most of the Strata East catalogue! That is a label you should definitely explore, and do your usual very thourough coverage for the website I do have a few of their titles in stock in the store as originals, and there's plenty of reissues out, fortunately, as they can be every bit as expensive as your Vertigos!

                  As a "next step", check out Billy Harper "Capra Black" and Cecil McBee "Mutima". Those are two of my all-time faves, and a Strata East gems. I believe they're both available as reissues!


                  cheers,
                  alex




                  Ken turned me on to the label and in fact, mentioned that Billy Harper record (I think).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bill Hart
                    Some time ago, a reader requested a piece on the "Canterbury Scene"- --a irreverent mix of rock, psych and jazz, with a peculiarly English touch of whimsy. What follows is partly a review of Caravan's "In the Land of Grey and Pink," one of the best representations of this "style" (and a great listen), along with an essay (with some help from Raymond Benson) about the "Canterbury Scene" generally. http://thevinylpress.com/caravan-land-grey-pink-canterbury…/
                    For sound hounds, the record is a marvelous listen- full of life, rich in musical sophistication with a first class production that brings out the instrumental nuances and vocal inflections without ever sounding over-produced. In fact, the genius of this particular record may be its mix of primitive and refined sounds that meld together to create driving British pop, cool jazz and an offbeat "prog rock" sound that still sounds fresh today. Early UK Deram pressings are reasonably attainable. And the Deram label has some very cool music that is worth further exploration. You know those great Decca classical records that sound so wonderful? Meet Decca's imprint that became the home of the label's prog rock bands.
                    Thanks for the great review, I went to Amazon website and caught the streaming version, just to sample of what this group was about.

                    I immediately thought of "Gentle Giant," a rock group from about 1970 that had some success until late 1970s early 1980s. I may buy the LP.

                    Comment


                    • Bill Hart
                      Bill Hart commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thanks, Albert. Nice to see you!
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