Caravan was one of the most significant bands on the Canterbury music scene. Known for sharp wit, strong melodies and strong improvisations, the band was founded in Canterbury, England, in 1968. Caravan evolved from the Wilde Flowers, a local band that included Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers and Hugh Hopper (of Soft Machine fame). Pye Hastings (guitar/vocals), keyboardist David Sinclair, his brother Richard (bass/vocals), drummer Richard Coughlan combined to create the original line-up that fused graceful melodies with improvisation- staples of the Canterbury musical scene. Their debut album, `Caravan,' in 1968. The songs "Place Of My Own" and "Love Song With Flute' illustrate the direction and tone the band's early work. `If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You,' recorded in 1970 continued the style of their debut album with the addition of the avant garde. `1971's `In The Land Of Grey And Pink,' brought them sizable attention and many say, their finest album, blending jazz and folk instrumentation and improvisation with a English sense of humor and charm, showcased by the song "Golf Girl," and the 22 minute plus epic "Nine Feet Underground" ( The album sold 100, 000 copies by 1980 giving Caravan their only gold album). The recording would mark the end of the band's premiere lineup as David Sinclair left the group to join Robert Wyatt (Soft Machine), forming Matching Mole. Replacement Steve Miller (Delivery), brought and an edgier jazz influence into the next album- `Waterloo Lily,' (1972). For 1973's `For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night' (a much improved offering than `Waterloo Lily'), the band's sound changed again, mainly because of the return of keyboardist Dave Sinclair and the addition of violist Peter Geoffrey Richardson. Derek Austin came in to help Dave with keys. As Miller left the group. The album with the help of orchestration on several tracks received solid reviews and went silver in the UK (77,000 copies sold). On October 28, 1973 at the Theatre Royal, Caravan performed a live show with a 39-piece orchestra and released a live album ` Caravan & the New Symphonia,' in 1974. The highlight was the song- "For Richard." The album went silver, selling over 60,000 copies. Richard Sinclair left to form Hatfield And The North, and further personnel changes undermined the group's early charm. `Cunning Stunts,' showed that the band did having a loyal following in America, entering the US charts. The 1980's showed the band losing their creative edge, though Hastings reformed their original line-up (with both Sinclairs), and 1983's `Back To Front,' was released, showing unevenness, but a spark of their 70's days. Again, a one gig Caravan reunion their `In the Land of Grey and Pink,' line-up to play on British TV (Bedrock), (later released on DVD in 2001). The show is a solid one and features great keyboard work by Dave Sinclair and the sax/flute of Jimmy Hastings. Richard Sinclair decided to form a band to play his own material, he launched Caravan Of Dreams in the Spring of 1991. Sinclair (bass/vocals/keys.), Biddulph (guitars) and Ward (drums), formed the core of Caravan Of Dreams and featured David Sinclair on keyboards and Jimmy Hastings on saxophones and flute at times during it's 2 year lifetime. In April 1992, Richard Sinclair released the album `Caravan Of Dreams,' and subsequently on March 1993 a double live CD, `An Evening Of Magic,' was recorded in Italy. After the termination of Caravan of Dreams; Sinclair, Ward and Dave Cohen (drums), started recording under a new project name- RSVP and released a self-titled album `RSVP.' Pye Hastings, Caravan talented guitarist- who prefers "playing together than performing as a soloist," runs 'Molequip', a company which hires out giant mechanical moles for tunnelling purposes. He has a recording studio in his basement in Canterbury. Julian, his son, is a recording engineer/ producer and is heavily involved in all Caravan recordings.
Since 1995, Richard Sinclair has taken a break from music, touring on occasion- mostly in Holland, a 2001 album has been rumored but has not been confirmed. Upon reflecting about the Canterbury music scene. Sinclair states- "The music happens outside, gets written here and taken out. This is the Canterbury scene for me. It doesn't really exist , but it forms here."
Caravan was the featured act at the The 2001 Canterbury Festival. The band played a solid set, with an unexpected appearance by Richard Sinclair on vocals for Golf Girl. Jan Schelhaas also guested on keyboards for Golf GirlG and 'If I Could...'
Caravan is working on a new album. The majority of the writing is being done by Pyle, with 3 or 4 tracks written by Dave Sinclair. They are also currently touring in the UK, and at the beginning of 2002, will be in Japan.
On June 30th 2002, Caravan played a killer set at 'Nearfest' a progressive music festival held at Trenton War Memorial Theatre, Trenton New Jersey.
The show was filmed for released DVD- entitled...A Night's Tale. Show is not the best quality in terms of filming. Lighting could be better.
Nov. 2002- David Sinclair quits Caravan because of musical differences. All his songs but one (Nowhere to Hide), has been removed from the upcoming Caravan album... the band is moving onward with Jan Schelhaas (Camel/Caravan), on keys.
The new album- entitled 'The Unauthorised Breakfast Item,' is finished and will be released on September 29, to the general public (Intense Records INT 1091). Jimmy Hastings will be guest musician on the album of mostly Pye Hastings compositions (all but three are penned by Pye). In July a special limited edition of 2500 copies of the album will be released. THe band will sign the albums and the new CD will include an extra disc of live tracks and an orchestrated version of For Richard. It is only available directly from Caravan merchandise.
Pye Hastings - Guitar / Vocals
Jan Schelhaas - Keyboards
Richard Coughlan - Drums
Geoffrey Richardson - Viola/ flute/ mandolin
Jim Leverton - Bass/ vocals
Simon Bentall - Percussion
Doug Boyle - Guitar
If I Could Do It All Over Again 1970
In The Land Of Grey And Pink 1971
Waterloo Lily 1972
For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night 1973
Caravan And The New Symphonia 1974
Cunning Stunts 1975
Winsong In Concert 1975
Blind Dog At St. Dunstan's 1976
Canterbury Tales 1976
Better By Far 1977
Best Of Caravan 1978
Best Of Caravan Live 1980
The Show Of Our Lives 1981
The Album 1983
Back To Front 1983
Canterbury Collection 1984
And I Wish I Were Stoned Don't Worry
Looking Back 1988
With an Ear to the Ground..., 1991
Songs and Signs, 1991
BBC Live In Concert 1991
Cool Water 1994
Battle of Hastings 1995
All Over You 1996
Songs For Oblivion Fishermen
Live At The Astoria 1997
Either Way - Peel Sessions 1998
Cool Water 1998
All Over You too - 1999
A Night's Tale - 2002 DVD live at Nearfest 2002
Unauthorised Breakfast Item (Due out- 2/23/2003)