30 Brit Prog III, The Canterbury Scene

Some more Brit Prog, and we have got to the Canterbury Scene, a group of bands that formed in or around Canterbury with interchanging sets of musicians.  Caravan are the best known, and have already had a show of their own.  Some quotes about the scene

‘In the very best Canterbury music…the musically silly and the musically serious are juxtaposed in an amusing and endearing way.’

‘But the Canterbury school seems to me uniquely capable of making purely musical jokes without parody, without insult to other musicians or listeners, without vitiating musical or intellectual ideals.’
‘A tendency towards instrumental improvisation, and the way they sing – a uniquely English lyrical and vocal content’
We will take a chronological walk through the scene, beginning with the ur-group, the one that started it all.  This was The Wilde Flowers, active from 1964-69, whose members would go on to form Caravan and Soft Machine, both bands that were both successful and influential, and go on to other bands as well.

Of the Wilde Flowers, Richard Coughlan once said ‘We only had a few tunes, so how do you make them last a bit longer?  What do jazz musicians do?  Ah, I know, they improvise….    So a simple tune becomes a 10 minute event….’


Title Artists  Album Year
101 Winter Wine Caravan  In the Land of Grey and Pink 1971
102 Here Am I Caravan  Blind Dog At St.Dunstan’s 1976
103 Tell Me Camel  Rain Dances 1977
104 Highways of the Sun Camel  Rain Dances 1977

The Show

201 Impotence (version one) The Wilde Flowers  Best Of: Tales Of Canterbury 1967
202 Be All Right / Chance Of A Lifetime Caravan  For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night 1973
203 Let’s Eat (Real Soon) Hatfield And The North  Hatfield & The North 1973
204 Mandrake Gong  Shamal 1975
205 Share It Hatfield And The North  The Rotters’ Club 1975
206 Hazard Profile Part 5 Soft Machine  Bundles 1975
207 Land Of The Bag Snake Soft Machine  Bundles 1975
208 Chiefs And Indians Caravan  Blind Dog At St.Dunstan’s 1976
209 Esnuria Gong  Gazeuse! 1976
210 Metrognome Camel  Rain Dances 1977
211 One of These Days I’ll Get an Early Night Camel  Rain Dances 1977
212 Behind You Caravan  Better by Far 1977
213 Crosscurrents Gong  Downwind 1979
214 What You Know Gong  Downwind 1979
215 Keepin’ up De Fences Caravan  The Album 1980
216 Portrait of a Shrinking Man National Health  D.S. al Coda 1981
217 Black Hat National Health  D.S. al Coda 1981
218 Panoramania Soft Machine  Land Of Cockayne 1981
219 Cloak And Dagger Man Camel  Stationary Traveller 1984
220 West Berlin Camel  Stationary Traveller 1984
221 Dodgy Boat Allan Holdsworth  Wardenclyffe Tower 1992


301 Skylines Camel  Rain Dances 1977
302 Heavy Tune Gong  Expresso II 1978
303 Sly Monkey Soft Machine  Land Of Cockayne 1981
304 The Sixteen Men of Tain Allan Holdsworth  The Sixteen Men of Tain 2000