Thursday, 21 May 2015

My Top Ten Caravan Songs

Apologies for the dearth of Top Tens over the last couple of weeks. May is the busiest month in teaching - the GCSE English exam is just over a week away as I type this and so things have been pretty hectic for me (not that my students seem unduly concerned by its imminence).

Anyway, it's a Bank Holiday Weekend here in the UK, and across the country folk are dusting down their caravans and heading off to seek the sun. Here's ten songs they might play on the way.

Special mentions to Caravan*  and the mighty, mighty Camper Van Beethoven.

(*A curious psych-folk band with a very dubious taste in album titles: Cunning Stunts, For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night and If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You. Ah, the 70s. Different times.)

10. Blur - Caravan

I'm glad Blur finally got their act together and brought out a new album this year. I've only listened to it a few times, but I already know it's better than their last, Graham Coxon-less, effort, 2003's Think Tank. Caravan comes from that record, and like most of the rest of the album, it sorely misses Coxo's guitar.

9. Black Sabbath - Planet Caravan

Normally, if you went on holiday and ended up parking your caravan next to Ozzy & co., you'd very quickly move somewhere quieter. However, you might stick around if all they played was this trippy psychedelic number. Not at all what you expect from the BS Boys...

8. Courtney Barnett - Kim's Caravan

A haunting, mesmeric ode to our dying world from the Australian wunderkind's debut album, Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit. (Great title.)

7. The Adventure Babies - Camper Van

A lost indie gem from the last band to sign to Factory records before they went bust in the early 90s. The EP this came from is available to download free from the band's website.

6. Ella Fitzgerald & The Duke Ellington Orchestra - Caravan


5. Van Morrison - Caravan

Van The Man and his Caravan. CaraVan The Man. Etc.


4. The Doors - Spanish Caravan

See, the Doors weren't all portentous doom, Oedipal urges and Viet Nam. They liked to travel round Europe in a caravan with a flamenco guitar too.

3. Jim White - If Jesus Drove A Motor Home

If Jesus drove a motor home,
And he come to your town,
Would you try to talk to him?
Would you follow him around?
Honking horns at the drive thru.
Double-parking at the mall.
Midnight at the Waffle House...
Jesus eating eggs with ya'll.

Well, would you?

2. Inspiral Carpets - Caravan

Can't go wrong with a bit of Clint Boon's majestic organ.

1. The Housemartins - Caravan of Love

Christmas 1986, and fourteen year old Rol stands on the edge of the dancefloor at the school disco wondering if anyone will ever slow dance with him to the Housemartins' a capella cover of the Isley Jasper Isley song Caravan of Love.

No one ever did.

So... which one will you get stuck behind on the motorway?


  1. Good top ten, particularly nice to see Jim White and Courtney Barnett in there. If you're going to check out one LP by Caravan (the band), make it 'In the Land of Grey and Pink', it's quite magical.

    1. Glad you approve, Swede. And thanks for the tip, I'll keep an ear out for that.

  2. Not about caravans per se but XTC's "Respectable Street" has a cracking second verse that features them:

    Now she speaks about diseases
    And which sex position pleases best her old man
    Avon lady fills the creases
    When she manages to squeeze in past the caravans
    That never move from their front gardens

    Suburban snideness was rarely bettered.

    1. Great song, especially the album version (I recall the single lyrics being changed to aid airplay).

  3. Christmas 1986, 16yr-old fan of Hull's finest is torn between liking their a capella chart topper and wondering if it was the beginning of the end for the band he loved...

    1. You were obviously a much deeper teenager than I was.

    2. Just a pessimist from an early age.

    3. Just a pessimist from an early age.


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