This album isn't nearly as immediately likable as Grey/Pink is, and it was always on the margins of whether or not I should keep it. About a decade later it finally penetrated through my thick skull, and today I consider it one of their better albums. The thing about Caravan is that you have to sit through what I call the "Pye Hastings' Ditties". They're not bad songs per se, but more geared toward the whiskey drinking nightclub set, rather than the psychedelic backdrop of their best work. And on For Girls, those ditties are front loaded with 'Headloss' (second half of the much better 'Memory Lain, Hugh'), 'Hoedown', and 'Surprise, Surprise'. One can get disinterested early. Suddenly 'C'Thlu Thlu' pops in with an angular King Crimson like sound (also not a known Caravan quality), and it's very disorienting. But Side 2 is as good as anything Caravan ever released. And it closes with one of their best epics in 'A Hunting We Shall Go', which is classic Caravan, with Dave Sinclair's fuzz organ driven solos, just as God had intended music to be. This is the album that introduced long time member Geoffrey Richardson to the fold. His viola is a very welcome addition to the Caravan sound, and one wonders how much better the early albums would have been had he been on them. Caravan were never to reach these heights again, though the followup Cunning Stunts certainly is worthy of investigation as well.
*Lubbock is in west Texas, and where I attended college. Lipps was one of a handful of good used record stores we had in the area in the 80s. They had taken over an old Piggly Wiggly grocery store, so it was a big place. It closed down while I was still in college (...so last week. Noooooo. 1986 I think?) But here's the interesting part. Our neighbor here in the suburban Fort Worth area, who lives precisely 2 doors down from us, is the older brother of the owner of that store! How crazy is that?
LP: 1973 Deram
LP: 1973 Brain (Germany)
CD: 2001 Deram (Japan)