Originally touted for a 2020 release, the long rumoured massive Caravan box set will finally be released in August 2021. The wait has been long, but there’s good news: what was once scheduled to be a 30 disc set will now come with a further seven discs’ worth of rare material, including 11 discs of previously unreleased live cuts.
The Madfish release seems as if it will rival the similarly extensive Gentle Giant box set. In addition to a wealth of music – bringing together all of Caravan’s official studio recordings, a much praised Steven Wilson 5.1 mix of ‘In The Land of Grey & Pink’ and far more besides – fans will get the opportunity to lose themselves in a massive 144 page hardback book. A second replica fan club booklet and a signed photograph are also included. The contents can be seen in the unboxing video, which can be seen below along with a full track listing.
You’re probably thinking something along the lines of “isn’t this album a bit novelty for Real Gone?” and on the surface you might be right…but this album offers so much more than novelty quirks.
For those of you who don’t know, neil (often written in lower case) was a hippie character, played by Nigel Planer in the alternative comedy series The Young Ones. After that programme came to an end, Planer reprised the character and recorded this album, full of late 60s/early 70s hippie classics, interspersed with spoken word comedy pieces. What’s of greatest interest here though are the musicians involved – the cast list (in addition to a few of Planer’s comedy chums) features a handful of musicians from the early 70s Canterbury Scene. Dave Stewart (the Hatfield and the North man, not to be confused with the beardy one from the Eurythmics) has the greatest impact, playing lots of instruments as well as handling production duties. The first big question which needs asking is exactly how did Planer get these musicians involved? Did he know them personally? Planer, unfortunately, has never gone on record to discuss the roll-call of famous faces and they almost certainly never met him at the recording sessions, but there they are. It almost seems like a minor miracle.