Dick’s Picks: Burrowing into the second Caravan album, If I Could Do It All Over Again, I Would Do It All Over You

It might be little later than usual, but never fear, Dick is back once again. This time, he has been out in the woods and burrowing deep into Caravan’s second album, If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You.

That’s a bit of a risqué title isn’t it, Dick?

Yes, but it is allegedly taken from a quote from the late, great Spike Milligan. It showed a sense of humour that few prog bands had that time, with many opting for a more serious tone while telling their illustrious tales. That’s not to say that Caravan aren’t serious, though. Their music is well-crafted, nuanced, and with the utmost attention to detail, particularly on this record. It was a marked improvement on their 1969 debut.

Apparently, this album almost didn’t happen. Is that true?

Whether or not the band nearly didn’t make this record is still up for debate, but by Caravan’s own admission, they were “left in limbo,” at this time. Following their self-titled release, Verve Records shut down their British operation, subsequently dropping the band. The band regrouped and carried on playing live, which led to them being spotted at the Lyceum by an employee from Decca Records, who signed the band in 1969.

This clearly rejuvenated the band, as can be heard in some of the raw, powerful sections that permeate If I Could Do It All Over Again…, with volume being a key factor. During the sessions for the album, each member apparently wanted to play louder than the other. This battle for supremacy has, knowingly or not, been carried over into the recording.

The composition of the tracks is remarkable, which earned them a gold standard status among prog enthusiasts. The 14-minute opus on side b of the album, Can’t Be Long Now/Francoise/For Richard/Warlock, serves as the centrepiece of the album, with the For Richard section becoming a staple of the bands live set.

The intricate complexities of If I Could Do It All Over Again… come to a head on Hello Hello and the title track. The inclusion of such “instruments” as the worn leather strap, and a hedge trimmer don’t sound out of place amongst the wash of guitars, organs, brass, and all manner of items used to create their unique sound. It laid the foundation for the band to become ‘Canterbury-scene’ legends, and a precursor to their beloved 1971 album, In The Land Of Grey and Pink.

Find out more about this title in our store, along with further items from Caravan.

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