Caravan

Back to Front

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After a string of mediocre Caravan albums, Pye Hastings decided to reconvene all four original members for Back to Front. In an unusually democratic move, he divided the writing between himself, Richard Sinclair, and David Sinclair (with drummer Richard Coughlan abstaining). The result was a generally uneven album, but one that maintains a certain nostalgic charm. Surprisingly, the best songs here were written by David Sinclair, who was usually overshadowed by vocalists Hastings and Richard Sinclair in the early days. On "Sally Don't Change It" and "Videos of Hollywood," David reveals a soft romantic side previously hidden (and which would later blossom on his wonderful solo CD Moon Over Man, actually recorded before this record). "Proper Job/Back to Front" is another gem offered up by the same writer, and most closely recalls early Caravan. Another winner is cousin Richard Sinclair's "Back to Herne Bay Front," an amusing cameo of daily bingo and fish and chips in the small seaside town of Herne Bay. The three songs written by Pye Hastings, on the contrary, are fairly insipid pop numbers; not what one would expect from the band's mainstay and guiding light. Caravan was one of the truly good things to emerge from late-'60s/early-'70s progressive rock. Back to Front doesn't equate with their best work, but admirers of the group will be intrigued by the disparate personalities that emerge from this quiet reunion.

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