Caravan are from Canterbury, a historic part of the District of Kent in South East England. Home to many old cathedrals, and the setting for Chaucer’s 14th century “Canterbury Tales”. It is also the birth place of a type of progressive rock music from the 1960s. The music had it's roots in jazz, folk and blues, but was very experimental. One of the earliest and most influential bands was The Wilde Flowers. Formed in 1963, it included Kevin Ayers, Richard Sinclair, Robert Wyatt, Brian and Hugh Hopper. Pye Hastings, (guitar / vocals), and Richard Coughlan, (drums), joined in 1965. Robert Wyatt and Kevin Ayers left to form Soft Machine. In 1968 David Sinclair joined The Wilde Flowers and they changed their name to Caravan.
Since then there have been many changes, but Pye Hastings and Richard Coughlan remained throughout the band’s long history.
Caravan made it’s first tour of the USA in 1974. My friends and I were lucky to see them perform at The Keystone Club in Berkeley on November 9th, 1974.
You can see my photos of that concert and read our memoirs at -
Below are the autographs I got from the band that night.
A flyer from the Keystone Club in Berkeley.
The flyer is from 1975. The Keystone Club was
torn down in 1985. There is an apartment
complex there now.
A history of the band.
from "The Rolling Stone
Rock & Roll".
© Rolling Stone Press 1983.
Below is a page from Pete Frame's
"Rock Family Trees"
© Omnibus Press, 1993
The page is enlarged here in two parts.
A color graph shows the many
changes in the band.
The cover of "For Girls Who Grow Plump In
The Night" caused some controversy and
was even banned. This article is from
Beat Magazine, 9/73.
Their 5th album is released. This ad
was published October 13th, 1973.
The title is a play on words taken from
the James Thurber short story, "Things
That Go Bump In The Night".
A bio of the band from February, 23rd, 1974.
An article from April 13th, 1974.
The band talks about their new album,
"Caravan & The New Symphonia".
They discuss their plans to tour
San Francisco. They talk about their
devotion to the band. John Perry
says he is not planning to leave, but
did so a short time later.
A review of "For Girls
Who Grow Plump...",
June 6th, 1974.
Another change in the band is announced.
Pye Hastings and Richard Coughlan
in more recent times.
Below are the early albums of Caravan
and a recent CD release of
The Wilde Flowers.
Caravan's first album.
Their second album. Some of the titles of their
albums and songs were playful and at times risque.
Their third release..
Their fourth album.
Their fifth album, "For Girls..." sold well in
the USA and prompted their first tour of the
states and San Francisco in particular.
John Perry left the band just before the tour
and was replaced by Mike Wedgewood
from Curved Air.
Their album "The New Symphonia", was recorded
live on October 28th, 1973 at the Theatre Royal.
It included a full orchestra, male and
female backing vocals.
Their sixth studio album, "Cunning Stunts",
(another risque play on words).
Their seventh album.
Other albums by artists who were involved
in The Wilde Flowers or Caravan
at one point or another.
"Rock Generation" was
released by BYG Records. It salvaged
some lost tapes of early Soft Machine
and Canterbury music.
Mike Wedgewood had recently left Curved Air
and joined Caravan to replace John Perry.
"Phantasmagoria" was their last album.
Kevin Ayers first solo album.
The first Soft Machine album.
It was titled after a William Burroughs book
referring to the human body.
Robert Wyatt left Soft Machine and
formed Matching Mole. The name for the band
was a play on the French translation for
Soft Machine, "Machine Molle".
Robert Wyatt's first solo album.
The first song on the second side is
titled "To Caravan and Brother Jim".
Jim is Pye Hastings brother and
Robert Wyatt's solo albums often had old band
mates from The Wilde Flowers and
Soft Machine join him.
"Rock Bottom" was produced by Nick Mason
from Pink Floyd. It was recorded 1974 after
Wyatt was released from the hospital. He had
fallen out of a window at a party and was
paralyzed from the waist down. He considers this
his first true solo album. Many consider it his
finest and most personal work.
Hatfield and the North included
Richard Sinclair from The
Wilde Flowers and Caravan
John Perry's solo album after leaving
Caravan. He worked with many other bands
before and after Caravan, including Curved Air.
A recent CD release of lost BBC tapes.
A DVD of a Caravan
While piecing this together, my friend
and fellow blogger, Gary Hodges, sent
me this letter.
Links to recommended websites.