- Released: February 19, 2001
- Label: Polygram UK
Q - 5/01, p.1293 stars out of 5
- "...With the 'Dabsong Conshirtoe' as its 18-minute centerpiece, [this] has the odd moment of barmy splendor....they were definitely one of prog-rock's more amenable propositions..."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.883 stars out of 5
-- "[T]he Hastings/Coughlan axis was further bolstered by the impeccable contributions of guitar/flute/viola virtuoso Geoff Richardson and bassist Mike Wedgewood."
- 1.The Show Of Our Lives
- 2.Stuck In A Hole
- 4.No Backstage Pass
- 5.Welcome The Day
- 6.Dabsong Conshirtoe: The Mad Dabsong / Ben Karratt Rides Again / Pro's & Con's / Wraiks & Ladders / Sneaking Out The Bare Quare / All Sorts Of Unmentionable Things - (featuring Dick Jordan / Avo / Tom Butler / Mu Ning / Mal Function /
- 7.The Fear & Loathing In Tollington Park Rag
- 8.Stuck In A Hole [Single Version]
- 9.Keeping Back My Love - (previously unreleased)
- 10.For Richard - (live)
CUNNING STUNTS is the seventh album from British progressive rock/jazz band Caravan. This CD release includes "Keeping Back My Love" and the single version of "For Richard".
Personnel: Pye Hastings (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Mike Wedgwood (vocals, bass guitar, fretless bass, congas); Geoff Richardson (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, viola, flute); Dave Sinclair (strings, piano, Fender Rhodes piano, organ, electric organ, synthesizer, mini-Moog synthesizer); Tommy Whittle (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Richard Coughlan (drums, timpani, percussion).
Audio Mixer: John Burns .
Audio Remasterer: Paschal Byrne.
Liner Note Authors: Mark Powell ; Mark Powell.
Recording information: Air Studios, London, England (1975); The Fairfield Hall, Croydon, England (1975); Tollington Park Studios (1975).
Photographer: Michael Allard.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Tom Butler; Jeremy Thomas; Miles Copeland; Hugh Jampton; Nick Jones; Joe Newman ; Malcolm Ross.
Arrangers: Mike Wedgwood; Jimmy Hastings; Dave Sinclair.
Contrasting the clever spoonerism from which Cunning Stunts derives its name, Caravan are heard on what is arguably their most uninspired material to date. The effort is certainly far from a total loss, but nowhere nearly as creative as their former studio effort For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night (1973) -- the likes of which sadly would not be equalled. Instead of commencing the affair with the aggression and spirit that informed previous LPs -- such as "Memory Lain, Hugh" or "Waterloo Lilly" -- which had christened their earlier albums, "The Show of Our Lives" comes off comparatively heavy and practically dirge-like. Caravan's trademark instrumental agility while perhaps temporarily mired, is not lost on Pye Hastings' uptempo rocker "Stuck in a Hole." Heavy-handed, superfluous orchestration -- possibly a residual effect of their New Symphonia project from late 1973 -- mars "No Backstage Pass" and the 18-minute "Dabsong Conshirtoe." There are a few trademark and at times edgier passages, especially during the "Ben Karratt Rides Again" movement of the epic "Conshirtoe." Still, the orchestration is too slick sounding, as if it were teetering on the aural wallpaper that is (gasp!) Muzak. Caravan enthusiasts intent on including Cunning Stunts in their collections should be aware that the 2001 CD reissue contains a few choice supplementary selections. Chief among these is an unissued take of "Keeping Back My Love" -- which would ultimately be reworked three years later on Better by Far (1977). Here the band definitely display signs and sounds of the Caravan of old. For that cut alone, the renovated offering can be sufficiently recommended. The other significant bonus track is a live "For Richard" recorded at Fairfield Hall in Croydon, England. Originally, it was included on the 1976 Canterbury Tales best-of, but makes its digital debut here. ~ Lindsay Planer