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Music / Caravan

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Caravan are a British Progressive Rock band.

Caravan formed in 1968 from former members of The Wilde Flowers, which also included members of Soft Machine. The original lineup of Pye Hastings, Richard Sinclair, David Sinclair and Richard Coughlan were an important part of the Canterbury scene, a subset of progressive rock incorporating jazz influences. However, they were also known for their pop sensibilities.


Tropes used by Caravan include:

  • Big Beautiful Woman:
    • "Waterloo Lily", who has "enough to turn us all on" and "a bra to fit a car".
    • Caravan also have an album titled For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night.
  • Broken Record: "Jack and Jill", which has a segment combining the repeated "fell... fell... fell..." lyric with a similarly repeating, heavily syncopated backing, making it sound very similar to a broken record.
  • Double Entendre: They have several song titles and lyrics that qualify, with If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You being perhaps the most conspicuous.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: Several. "Nine Feet Underground" is probably the most conspicuous example, taking more than six minutes until the vocals start. They also have a few songs that invert the trope; "Can't Be Long Now / Françoise / For Richard / Warlock" only has singing in the first part ("Can't Be Long Now").
  • Epic Rocking:
    • Being prog, they have several single-track suites that are longer than ten minutes, including:
      • "Can't Be Long Now / Françoise / For Richard / Warlock" (14:21),
      • "Nine Feet Underground" (22:44, probably their longest studio cut),
      • "Nothing at All / It's Coming Soon / Nothing at All (reprise)" (10:23),
      • "The Love in Your Eye / To Catch Me a Brother / Subsultus / Debouchement / Tilbury Kecks" (12:32),
      • "L'Auberge du sanglier / A Hunting We Shall Go / Pengola / Backwards / A Hunting We Shall Go (reprise)" (10:04),
      • and "The Dabsong Conshirtoe" (18:00).
    • They have several others topping seven minutes, such as:
      • "Where but for Caravan Would I?" (9:01),
      • "And I Wish I Were Stoned / Don't Worry" (8:20),
      • "With an Ear to the Ground You Can Make It / Martinian / Only Cox / Reprise" (9:54),
      • "Winter Wine" (7:36),
      • and "Memory Lain, Hugh / Headloss" (9:15).
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    • Also worth mention is the aptly titled bonus track "Derek's Long Thing" (found on some versions of For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night), which runs for 10:58.
    • The band could stretch songs out even longer live as well; Live at the Fairfield Halls has a version of "Can't Be Long Now / Françoise / For Richard / Warlock" that lasts for 19:02, and that's not all.
  • Erudite Stoner: The band's lyrics were often quite literary and poetic, but there's no doubt what their pastimes included. The song title "And I Wish I Were Stoned" pretty much removes all doubt for those who weren't sure.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Jack and Jill" from Blind Dog at St. Dustans, which fades out during a repetitive section, only to relaunch into the joke the album is named after.
  • Fat Girl: In "Pro's and Con's" there's Big Brenda and Flat-Flabby Freda, whom the narrator dismisses after noting their large size.
  • Instrumentals: "Asforteri 25", "Limits", "Nothing at All", and "A Hunting We Shall Go", to name a few.
  • Intercourse with You: Surprisingly many for a progressive rock group. For one, "Pro's and Con's", from "The Dabsong Conshirtoe", where the singer considers several women for "doing pleasure with", before dismissing them for their flaws.
  • Lighter and Softer: In many ways they qualify as this compared to many of their prog contemporaries; they displayed more of a sense of humour and were more willing to write catchy pop songs.
  • Limited Lyrics Song: Most of their longer songs and some of their shorter ones qualify. In particular, "Nine Feet Underground" is almost twenty-three minutes long and only two of its eight movements (lasting for about seven minutes of its running time) have vocals.
  • Literary Allusion Title: "C'thlu Thlu" is naturally one to the Cthulhu Mythos.
  • Long Title: Some tracks qualify just because they have several songs stitched together as one track, but even disregarding those, album titles such as If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You, In the Land of Grey and Pink, and For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night and song titles such as "With an Ear to the Ground You Can Make It" and "The Dog, the Dog, He's at It Again" qualify.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Love to Love You" has some surprisingly bloody lyrical imagery beneath its cheerful tune.
  • Miniscule Rocking: Being a progressive rock band, they don't have many examples, but "Asforteri 25" (1:22) and "Limits" (1:36) both qualify.
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: They're probably about as close to this trope as progressive rock ever gets.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: They often connected several songs together into suites that could last ten minutes or longer, and they almost invariably performed them in these configurations live (even if the live versions don't list all the movements, they're usually there nonetheless; Live at the Fairfield Halls is an example of this). CD versions usually index each suite as a single track rather than giving each movement a track to itself.
  • Silly Love Song: A surprising amount of straight examples, including the aptly named "Love Song with Flute".
  • Spoonerism: Cunning Stunts.
  • Uncommon Time: Several examples are to be expected, since they are a prog group, starting with "Where but for Caravan Would I?", which is in 11/8. Interestingly, there are some odd time signatures found in songs that are otherwise pretty similar to normal pop rock (examples include "Love to Love You" and "Hello Hello"), and they may actually use more unusual time signatures than a typical progressive rock group.
  • Vocal Tag Team: On albums with Richard Sinclair, he tends to sing the deeper parts, while Pye Hastings sings the higher notes.


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