"(Cafa-van) A company of travelers on a journey through desert or hostile regions . . .
—Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary
In the context of today's record business, Caravan's 'desert or hostile regions' could very easily be the various record markets where the band has not made as great an impression as they deserve. One of the things that's wrong in the record biz these days is the faint air of suspicion that wafts over a band which doesn't hype itself into oblivion. Caravan has been making music, excellent music, since 1968, yet did not appear in America until late in 1974;
"Blind Dog At St. Dunstans" is the eighth Caravan album, and is a landmark of sorts; always a band that made intelligent use of keyboards, Caravan last year lost Dave Sinclair, one of the band's original members. He has been replaced by one Jan Schelhaas, who auditioned for the band on a cathedral organ in a church. His playing is somewhat earthier than Dave Sinclair's, and the album as a result sparkles with a new radience. Pye Hastings' tunes, as always, are instantly memorable, and his guitar lines combine quite neatly with Geoff Richardson's viola excursions, each spurring the other on to more exotic musical destinations. A word must be added here to the immaculate multi-reed work of Jimmy Hastings, Pye's brother; he really should join the band full-time.
Taken as a whole, "Blind Dog . . ." is a masterpiece; the songs are melodic without relying on riffs and the vocals complement the music instead of fighting it. America, get ready; the Caravan is approaching and this country should not be a hostile region any longer.
MILKBONE AWARD WINNERS: "Here Am I". "A Very Smelly Grubby Little Oik" (this has gotta be the single, but that title, guys?), "Can- You Hear Me?", "All The Way"