Caravan [1971 ? FLAC]
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Loleatta Holloway and Julia Mae Price were also added to the group during the same 1967 recording session featuring Rev. Cleveland and Norwood. By 1968, the transition was complete, and an all new set of Caravans consisting of Walker, Loleatta Holloway, Willie James McPhatter, Julia Mae Price, Doris Willingham, and Gwen Morgan began to record for HOB records until c. 1971. In the early 1970s, The Caravans recorded some songs composed by Donny Hathaway for the small, Chicago based Caritas record label. The songs were released on a 45 rpm album.
This first Soft Machine line-up became involved in the early UK underground, featuring prominently at the UFO Club, and subsequently other London clubs like the Speakeasy Club and Middle Earth. In April 1967 they recorded seven demo songs with producer Giorgio Gomelsky in De Lane Lea Studios that remained unreleased until 1971. They also played in the Netherlands, Germany and on the French Riviera. During July and August 1967, Gomelsky booked shows all along the Côte d'Azur with the band's most famous early gig taking place in the village square of Saint-Tropez. This led to an invitation to perform at producer Eddie Barclay's trendy "Nuit Psychédélique[fr]", performing a forty-minute rendering of "We Did It Again", singing the refrain over and over, achieving a trance-like quality. This made them instant darlings of the Parisian "in" crowd, resulting in invitations to appear on leading television shows and at the Paris Biennale in October 1967. Upon their return from their sojourn in France, Allen (an Australian) was denied re-entry to the United Kingdom, so the group continued as a trio, while he returned to Paris to form Gong.
In December 1968, in order to fulfill contractual obligations, Soft Machine re-formed with former road manager and composer Hugh Hopper on bass added to Wyatt and Ratledge, and set about recording their second album, Volume Two, which launched a transition towards a purely instrumental sound resembling what would be later called jazz fusion. In May 1969 this line-up acted as the uncredited backing band on two tracks of Syd Barrett's solo debut album, The Madcap Laughs. The base trio was, later in 1969, expanded to a septet with the addition of four horn players, though only saxophonist Elton Dean remained beyond a few months, the resulting Soft Machine quartet (Wyatt, Hopper, Ratledge and Dean) running through Third (1970) and Fourth (1971), with various guests, mostly jazz players (Lyn Dobson, Nick Evans, Mark Charig, Jimmy Hastings, Roy Babbington, Rab Spall). Fourth was the first of their fully instrumental albums, and the last one featuring Wyatt.
After differences over the group's musical direction, Wyatt left (or was fired from) the band in August 1971 and formed Matching Mole (a pun on machine molle, French for soft machine; also said at the time to have been taken from some stage lighting equipment "Matching Mole"). He was briefly replaced by Australian drummer Phil Howard. This line-up toured extensively in Europe during the end of 1971 (attested by the "Drop" 2008 release) and attended the recording of their next album, but further musical disagreements led to Howard's dismissal after the recording of the first LP side of Fifth before the end of 1971 and, some months later, in 1972, to Dean's departure. They were replaced respectively in 1971 by John Marshall (drums) and in 1972 by Karl Jenkins (reeds, keyboards), both former members of Ian Carr's Nucleus, for the recording of Six (1973), and the band's sound developed even more towards jazz fusion. 2b1af7f3a8