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Cunning Stunts [Import]

CaravanAudio CD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Audio CD, Import, Original recording remastered, 2001 $13.56  
Audio CD, Import, 1996 $13.19  

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Cunning Stunts + Caravan + For Girls Who Grow Plump in Night
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 7, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Repertoire
  • ASIN: B000006XFO
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #867,737 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The Show Of Our Lives
2. Stuck In A Hole
3. Lover
4. No Backstage Pass
5. Welcome The Day
6. Dabsong Conshirtoe
7. The Fear And Loathing In Tollington Park Rag

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Over-produced but by no means dispensable October 21, 1999
By A Customer
O.K. It's the seventh Caravan album. Before this comes the amazing eponymous first album in all its psychedelic glory. After that the redundant "If I Could Do it Again, I'd Do It All Over You", the classic "In the Land Of Grey and Pink", the jazzy but meandering "Waterloo Lily", "Caravan and the New Symphonia", and the complex "For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night". So why bother with this one? Well it's not as bad as all that. In fact it's a big improvement over the symphonic idiocy that they recorded at the Drury Theater to hold them over. The aforementioned Symphonia album is self-indulgent. This is just over-produced. But the songs are fine. "The Show of Our Lives" is grandiose, but the piano is as effective as Lennon's "Imagine". (It's still amazing what a few well chosen chords can do). "Stuck in a Hole" is a toe-tapper and confirms that Pye Hastings was one hell of a song writer. All his songs on the album are good. True, Mike Wedgewood can come perilously close to Steely Dan, and his "Lover" is a "Jealous Guy" knock-off that counts as Caravan only by association. Still, it's a pretty song once the strings kick in. Not top notch Caravan perhaps, but emminently listenable. The Dabsong Concerto is a little unnecessary, but so is a lot of later Floyd. Guilty pleasure as that may be, I still slap "Animals" or "Wish You Were Here" on the turntable (how's that for an anachronism!) once in a while. Like Pink Floyd, Caravan developed into something that didn't quite match their earlier incarnation. But the later stuff is enjoyable on its own terms. No "Land of Grey And Pink" this, but lesser Caravan is still a hell of a lot better than the dollar bin.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great August 11, 2001
A Kid's Review
Format:Audio CD
I think this album is better than some of their earlier stuff, I find the early stuff rather boring, this album has some real good rock music in it, the opening track is extremely grand with the piano phrase that re appears along with the finale on Dabsong Conshirtoe which in itself is extremely enjoyable with several different movements and the usual high standard of playing expected from this band. Stuck in a hole and Welcome The Day are also good rock music, the latter being an attempt at a funky tune, and to a degree it works. Lover is the weak point, but its sister track No Backstage Pass is one of the best songs on the album. I prefer to listen to this than Land Of Grey and Pink or the First Album, it sounds much more assured. If you like this, you will like For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night and Blind Dog At St Dunstans which are both excellent, as far as the early stuff is concerned check out Waterloo Lilly and If I Could Do It All Over Again Id Do It All Over You.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the best, but still good nonetheless September 3, 2003
By chank
Format:Audio CD
This album was probably the last of the classic early set from Caravan. Although missing Richard Sinclair (ably replaced by Mike Wedgwood) this still has all the hallmarks of a typical Caravan album: from the folk, jazz and rock licks to the clever and witty lyrics. Also this album is probably one of the better productions in sound quality. The opening track is a good test for any hi-fi system with Richard Coughlan's ride cymbal slithering over a rumbling bass.
All-in-all a very good offering and thoroughly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Caravans Shot At The Big Time December 14, 2011
Format:Audio CD
I like it, I always have. Guess that means I lose my membership in the prog head, music snob club. It's good rock with catchy lyrics and great instrumental parts. The 18 minute Dave Sinclair classic "Dabsong Conshirtoe" and the bonus tracks make this a must buy.

"The Show Of Our Lives": A good rock tune and never understood why it wasn't a hit. 5 stars
"Stuck in A Hole": Typical Caravan having fun number. 3 stars
"Lover": Sappy love song written by Mike Wedgewood, This is where my prog head snob club membership expires. I like it, good song. 4 stars.
"No Backstage Pass": This is a Pye Hastings ballad and it gives me chills every time I hear it. Pye at his songwriting best. 5 stars.
"Welcome The Day": Another written by Wedgewood and the worst song on the album. Keeps Cunning from a 5 star rating. 3 stars
"The Dabsong Conshirtoe": An 18 minute epic from David Sinclair and worth the price of admission. I only have 5 stars to give and it earns them all.

Summary: This was Caravan's chance to make it big and they give it their best shot. A good album with some good pop tunes, but then they had to go prog and put the 18 minute Dabsong on it. Slickly produced with a rich sound that was not typical in 1975. I liked it the first time I heard it and still like it today. There are a couple of weak tunes on here but that's Caravan. I give it 4 stars, very close to 5 because of Dabsong.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars different, but definitely not something to avoid September 24, 2009
Format:Audio CD
I guess if Caravan ever "sold out", this would be the album. However, I have a hard time dismissing an album that contains some pretty good songwriting. Though dated, and probably influenced by the likes of mid 70's Paul McCartney or Leo Sayer, I honestly don't care about any of that because the songwriting is still the main concern here as far the vocal melodies and beautiful arrangements go (the two things Caravan were the masters at).

Unfortunately no matter how you look at it, the songwriting IS a lot worse compared to the first 5 Caravan albums. In some cases, such as the pitiful attempt and recapturing past glories in the mediocre poppish "Stuck In a Hole" with its dragging and unspectacular vocal melody, and especially in the case of "Lover" which is an overlong, overdone ballad with only a passable vocal melody, we discover that Caravan lost its adventurous edge.

Cunning Stunts is pretty much a pop album with some light ballads thrown around (oh, and by the way- look at all those tricky images on the album cover. I didn't even notice any of them at first!) Of course the BIGGEST trick of all is the tongue twister that is the name of the album. Yes I believe we *all* have to stop to make sure we don't pronounce it the wrong way, especially when we're having music discussions with people who may or may not care for that raw type of humor. BAD Caravan for that naughty little trick. :)

You know what? "Lover" sounds almost exactly like America's "I Need You". I don't know if that was in any way intentional or not. Caravan was probably just influenced by the current 70's rock scene at the time, or maybe they wanted more mainstream attention for a taste of the popular bug that so many bands desire?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars stunning and cunning
I had the vinyl version back in the mid 70ies, I always liked this group. I like the usage of viola, flute and guitars, keyboards. Jazzy-folk-rock with quirky lyrics.
Published on January 8, 2011 by potenza
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Plump
Some quality tunes on this remaster. A couple of pop tunes, but a good 30 minutes of quality prog melodies, compared to Plump which has about 15-20 minutes of quality prog imo
Published on November 27, 2008 by Toby Geoghegan
3.0 out of 5 stars Not So Stunning
Like many other reviewers, I am of two minds about Cunning Stunts. Though there is a lot to like here, there is also some real pop-laden rubbish. Read more
Published on September 24, 2007 by Kurt Harding
2.0 out of 5 stars Buy their others 1st....
There R 2 good songs here -- the side-long "Dabsong Conshirtoe" is pretty gorgeous 4 its 1st 5 or 6 minutes, then shifts thru some OK jazzy sections, only 2 Dgenerate in2 noise by... Read more
Published on September 23, 2002 by Tracy Deaton
2.0 out of 5 stars 2.5 stars
One of Caravan's weaker moments. Couple of decent songs, some weak ones and the worst they've penned-Lover. Some interesting moments but not many. Read more
Published on February 26, 2002
2.0 out of 5 stars Overproduced
I am a fan of Caravan, especially their first three albums, but this later album, Cunning Stunts, I found overproduced, overorchestrated and totally lacking the charm of such... Read more
Published on August 10, 2001 by BENJAMIN MILER
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty, or pretty insipid?
I can't make up my mind about 'Cunning Stunts', in spite of the 26 years I've known this record. Here's my typical thought sequence as I play through the album:
#1 'Show of... Read more
Published on July 18, 2001 by Gavin Wilson
2.0 out of 5 stars Could do better.
This is definately not one of Caravan's better efforts. This mid-seventies recording presents some of Caravan's weakest compositions, still the musicianship is up to their usual... Read more
Published on July 11, 1999
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