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Caravan - Waterloo Lily CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.77 | 584 ratings

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4 stars Let me make it very clear that this album is not the musical push-over that many prog fans seem to believe it is. Nor is it 'the jazzy album' in the sense that there's an overwhelming amount of jazz on here. The only reason that people see this as a jazzier album is because of the 10 minute instrumental Nothing At All, but the other tracks are just as jazzy as the rest of the Caravan catalogue. All in all, this is a grossly misunderestimated album, and with all the bad hype about this album, I was astonished by just how good it was.

Waterloo Lily is a fun song about... a prostitute! The artwork for the album suggests this theme also. The cover art for this album is actually William Hogarth's 'Tavern Scene' from his series of paintings known as 'A Rake's Progress'. This can be compared to the comical drawing of Waterloo Lily in the inner gatefold. The song follows my favourite prog format of 'short vocal section - meaty instrumental - short vocal section'. The instrumental is over 4 minutes long and has many interesting twists and turns, turning this song into a Caravan classic.

Nothing At All is simply a jazz work out. The first 5 minutes of this track sound the same the entire way through, and besides some instrumental soloing, there is nothing very interesting about it. The middle section, It's All Coming Soon, is a lot more interesting, as it seems to have actually been composed, unlike the entirely improvised first section. You don't come away empty handed after listening to this, but it's easy to agree that five minutes at the beginning is quite long.

Songs And Signs is a short, quaint piece that is unfortunately rather forgettable. Some nice melodies, but ultimately nothing to shout about.

Aristocracy is a leftover from 'In the Land of Grey and Pink'. I really like the melody to this song, and the 'Do do do' section. I first heard this track as a demo in the bonus tracks to the previous album, and for this album they decided to crank up the tempo so that this track loses most of it's sweetness. Also, in the demo, Pye sings with a higher voice which I found more appealing. Nevertheless, this is a still a good Caravan track.

The medley that is commonly known as The Love In Your Eye is undoubtedly the highlight of the album. This album is clearly the next in line of songs like For Richard and Nine Feet Underground. The first few minutes are augmented by a string section, and this section could actually do very well as a standalone track. I really like the chorus, and it's a shame it doesn't appear near the end of the song. After the first section, there are over 7 minutes of brilliant instrumental music, with great riffs that flow into each other perfectly. This section is often extended when played live. There is a brief lyrical section around the 10 minute mark before the group launch into a rock and roll outro that will easily get you on your feet. While Nine Feet Underground suffered from focusing too much on the keyboards, it seems that Caravan learnt their lesson for this album, as it seems nearly every instrument gets it's own part. Jimmy Hastings once again reprises on a Caravan album, with some more impressive flute work.

I find The World Is Yours to be such a sweet, adorable song. In my opinion, this is the best of Caravan's "love songs". The acoustic guitar has a melody that you'd expect to hear on a children's show about the countryside. That's how adorable it is! For the more progressively minded, the chorus in 10/4 might be of interest to you.

For those of you who are new to Caravan, I think this album would be a wonderful place to start, even if many people think this is too different from Caravan's normal sound. The replacement of David Sinclair with Steve Miller did have an effect on their sound, but this was a positive effect since Sinclair's keyboards did start to get quite repetitive on the last album. If you have listened to a few Caravan albums, but are unsure whether to get this one, I say YES YES YES go for it! Unlike quite a few prog fans on this website, I honestly don't see this album as a weak point in Caravan's career.

baz91 | 4/5 |


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