If even half of the stories are true, let it be a testament to the durability of rock musicians that Carävan lasted as long as they did. With a ticket paid in full by the charms of singer and guitarist Ian Black, Carävan rode the mind-numbing rhythms of Phil Steep (bass) and Gryph “Smoke” Upley (drums) down dark highways for four years. Black’s bizarre and tragic death in 1979 put the brakes on this trio’s wild ride. The surviving band members and their music have since been plagued by personal, legal and (by some accounts) supernatural misfortune to such an extent that the survival of their master recordings is a remarkable feat in itself. What remains today is a body of work that reveals a surprising sweetness, albeit richly draped in the fiery brimstone of Carävan’s legendary hard-rocking sound.
Carävan is a smoky blend of black teas. Steep in boiling water for four minutes — more if you can stand it. It is best enjoyed in an 11-ounce mug.