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Caravan

Caravan was formed in Canterbury, England in 1968 by Pye Hastings (guitar/ vocals), Dave Sinclair (keyboards), Richard Sinclair (bass/vocals) and Richard Coughlan (drums).

The four had previously played at various times with a local band, The Wilde Flowers, which also featured Kevin Ayers and future Soft Machine members Robert Wyatt and Hugh Hopper.

Caravan was the first UK act to sign with American label MGM/ Verve and their debut album, entitled ‘Caravan’ was released late in 1968. It was favourably received by the critics and the debut single, Place of My Own was described as having a ‘gripping compulsion’ with ‘scintillating organ work’. John Peel played the album regularly on his radio show ‘Top Gear’.

A second album saw a move from Verve, as they had closed down their rock/pop division and Decca took up the cause. September 1970 was the release date for ‘If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You’. At this time relationships within the band were strong. They got on well and they looked on course to succeed as a band.

Still together as a unit, the band recorded ‘In the Land of Grey and Pink’ which was released in September 1971. By now a loyal fan base was developing and they were playing some prestigious gigs, for example in front of 250,000 in Rotterdam. The album was described as ‘virtually faultless’ and the band looked set fair for national and international recognition. At this crucial point, Dave Sinclair decided to leave. As Pye Hastings explained, ‘Dave was developing faster than the rest of us and I think he was getting frustrated at seeing other bands of dubious talent getting greater financial reward. The management must have been beside themselves: the band were getting somewhere, a new album is released and the main player decides he is off.’

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