Canterbury's Favorite: "In the Land of Grey and Pink" (1971) by Caravan
On the 8th of April 1971, Caravan, one of the most known bands from the Canterbury scene, released their most known album to date: In the Land of Grey and Pink.
It was, and still is, a 43-minute prog classic and a summation of all the greatest achievements of the Canterbury scene. However the band itself wasn’t very commercially successful during the beginning of the 70’s. It was just starting to gain a live following, especially with their appearance in the Kralingen Pop Festival in Netherlands to an audience of around 250,000. The band was writing new material in between tours which molded into several pieces that they wanted to record.
The band at the time consisted of singer and guitarist Pye Hastings, bassist Richard Sinclair, keyboardist David Sinclair and drummer Richard Coughlan. Although the previous albums contained a lot more of Hastings’s compositions, In the Land of Grey and Pink was dominated by David Sinclair’s keyboard parts which especially shine in the 22-minute epic medley that is “Nine Feet Underground”.
The album, regarded by many as the quintessential prog album from Canterbury, England, does not conform to any standards. The melodies and the compositions are not too heavy nor complicated but just right enough to feel fresh at every listen. It can act both as a starter to the genre and as an underrated gem lost in the pages of rock history. The keyboard riffs and solos are not technical nor intentionally hard to show off, it is memorable and has the potential to get stuck in your head maybe months after your last listen to the album. It is additionally astounding that David Sinclair played these amazing and unique parts on either a fuzztone organ or a piano only.
Fun Fact: The "land of grey and pink" refers to the band's home county of Kent, England. Richard Sinclair came up with the phrase after looking at the sky at sunset during rehearsals at Graveney early in the band's career.