As the evolution of Psychedelia in the late 1960s turned its head towards Progressive Rock, bands like Caravan stood out as leading the way into this new, uncharted territory. Formerly known as The Wilde Flowers, Caravan was founded with the express idea of mixing Jazz, Rock, Psychedelia and Classical – and make a living doing it. Along with the likes of Genesis, Van Der Graaf Generator and Dutch counterparts Supersister, Prog-Rock immediately set out to changing the landscape, turning music into a headier experience; one which you couldn’t necessarily dance to, but it worked wonders for incapacitation.
Caravan took their cue from several bands, among them Soft Machine, who were also from Canterbury, and whose members variously were part of The Wilde Flowers at one time or another and who were, by 1968 when Caravan got started, delving into the more esoteric side of Jazz – heading further away from Rock by the minute. Although Caravan maintained a link to the Soft Machine of Kevin Ayers, Daevid Allen and Robert Wyatt, they established their own identity, which they cultivated and nurtured over the next several years to become one of the most memorable and enduring bands of the genre.
Tonight’s session comes about two years into their tenure – 1970, and the band had gotten positive press and audience loyalty – it’s a period of some of their more catchy numbers; the standout being the legendary “If I Could Do It Again, I’d Do It All Over You”. And even though they were not considered a commercial success, by any stretch of the imagination – they were a pivotal band in a movement that struck out against the mainstream music at the time – and because of that, they would be considered a huge success.
To introduce you to a band you may have missed the first time around – or remind you of a band who made a difference, here is that session from BBC Radio 1’s Top Of The Pops from August 19, 1970.
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