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4 stars Whereas the previous LP is indicated by many as the best album, "Waterloo Lily" should be called the most under-estimated record by Caravan; it has never been popular with critics or well received by funs. Unquestionably, the sound changed significantly since David Sinclair left the band and was replaced by Steve Miller, who added to the music with yet bigger doze of jazz (e.g. "Nothing at All/It's Coming Soon/Nothing at All (reprise)"). The most impressive by far is the suite "The Love in Your Eye/To Catch Me a rother/Subsultus/Debouchement/Tilbury Kecks" (later known under a shortened title "The Love in Your Eye), the first part of which part was recorded together with an symphonic orchestra. Once again an extremely well thought and perfectly assembled composition; in the part "To Catch Me a Brother" an outstanding, exuberant solo on the flute, in the part "Debouchement" David Sinclair's shows off on the keyboard. "The Love in Your Eye" seems to be the best composition in the whole career of Caravan. The album "Waterloo Lily", against the general opinion, is excellent, and the only weak link that could be pointed to is the lack of this specific atmosphere present on the two previous albums.
Report this review (#21362)
Posted Sunday, November 23, 2003 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars David Sinclair's departure changed dramatically their sound but this is still great. Pye Hastings wrote most of the numbers which is also a change compared to the previous one when he wrote just one. Of course , the Love in Your Eyes is the highlight here but the Canterbury-suite on the first side is quite good also albeit quite unusual sounding for them but this goes on to show the jazz inclinations of Caravan . The rest of the stuff is more acoustic and poppish but still in the Caravan mould. The remaster of this one holds another real unreleased (no bottom of drawer tape) track called Looking Left , Looking Right that fits quite well with the rest of the album.
Report this review (#21357)
Posted Monday, February 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Stuck in a jam

By far Caravan's least inspired album in my opinion. "The love in your eye" shines like a beacon in a wilderness of jazz rock mediocrity.

Caravan have always had a strong underlying jazz influence, the problem here is that it comes to the fore far too much. Up until this point, there had been a healthy battle between the rock orientation of some of the band members (Pye Hastings etc.), and the jazz leanings of others (Richard Sinclair etc. ). This led to reasonably balanced offerings with jazz influenced passages having a firm rock basis. On "Waterloo Lily" though, rock was largely pushed aside in favour of a much looser jazz sound. There are simply too many long, directionless indulgences here for this album to be placed at Caravan's top table.

I should temper my criticism by readily admitting that jazz does not appear in my list of favoured genres, and many people, particularly those who lean towards the Soft Machine side of Canterbury prog, list this among their favourite Caravan albums.

The expanded remastered edition includes 4 bonus tracks, of which "Looking left looking right" is better than most of the tracks which made it onto the album.


Report this review (#21360)
Posted Monday, March 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Waterloo Lily" was the last album which really captured in its entirety their classic 70's early sound. This album has it all... great musicianship, excellent vocals and highly developed songs. CARAVAN were exceptionally influential in helping define the Canterbury sound with their involved jazz-rock sequences and wonderful instrumentation. "Waterloo Lily" may be their most progressive effort in pure definition with some wonderfully inventive aspects clearly giving the listener the feeling of musical exploration. This album is full of wide mood and tempo swings with some quiet parts and then leaping into full jazz inspired prog rock. There is no question that the combination of Hastings, Sinclair and Coughlan were a wicked musical combination. "Waterloo Lily" is a highly recommended album offering some of CARAVAN's best work ever!
Report this review (#21354)
Posted Friday, March 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars OK...hail to the rebel of Caravan albums! Most people share disappointment with Waterloo Lily, for me an absolute gem.Nothing at All and The Love in your Eye prove the mature contribution these guys could produce and the articulate approach to more sophisticated Prog/Jazz that had developed. Forget turmoil within the band and new line ups they were entering forbidden territory and couldn't give a [&*!#]. The music proves it.
Report this review (#21361)
Posted Saturday, July 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Waterloo Lily is Caravan's most overlooked release from their golden age, and is one of their best albums. This album came after David Sinclair's departure, and Steve Miller fills in on Keyboards. Caravan moves in a more straightforward jazz-rock direction on this album, compared to the whimsical Canterbury of past releases. However, there is enough great composition and humor to justify the Caravan name. This album also shows just how well Caravan was able to balance relatively simple pop tunes with complex prog workouts in harmony. It has all of Caravan's past musical features, such as Pye Hastings fluid (but subdued) guitar work, jazzy piano, complex bass lines and a high degree of improvisation. It is also this album where Pye Hastings first assumes his role as band leader, and does it in dramatic fashion with several excellent compositions.

The album kicks off with Richard Sinclair's playful "Waterloo Lily", an excellent track which aptly displays Caravan's lyrical cleverness and jazz oriented rock skills. This song is one of Caravan (of any period's) best, and Richard Sinclair's smooth vocal delivery is flawless. The next track, a suite, "Nothing at all /It's coming soon / Nothing at all (reprise)" is rather tepid fusion, which prominently features Steve Millers piano. The song has some good moments sprinkled throughout its 10 minute duration, but is rather bland and sparse, without direction. After that comes the Steve Miller pop song, "Songs and Signs". This is a relatively boring song, but it is performed well, and is a cut above most pop.

Side Two features a much more traditional Caravan sound. Pye Hastings "Aristocracy" comes first, a song which hasn't dated at all in thirty years. Driven by punchy guitar and a solid melody, this track is seriously catchy and has very good lyrics. The real album highlight comes on Pye Hastings fantastic suite "The Love in Your Eye". This is an all time Caravan highlight, and a concert staple, and shows Caravan at their most symphonic. It features Jimmy Hastings amazing flute work, a string arrangement in the beginning by Colin Fretcher (which adds a real grand sound) and guest musicians on oboe, tenor sax, soprano sax, and trumpet. This is probably Pye Hastings greatest contribution to Caravan's repertoire. The band exchanges solos in this highly structured and never boring piece which runs twelve-and-a-half minutes. Each member is given adequate room to shine, notable Pye Hastings' ultra-smooth electric guitar and Steve Miller's jazzy electric piano. The album closes with one of Caravan's best pop songs, "The World is Yours" by Pye Hastings. Suprisingly this was never released as a single, as it is super catchy and really is a beautiful track.

Waterloo Lily marks Caravan's jazziest point, and it is a success, minus a few boring patches of "Nothing at All". Pye Hastings is really given a chance to shine, and seizes on it. Many Caravan purists dislike this release as too jazzy, and as a step away from their roots, but this is really their last traditional album. 1973's "For Girls Who Grow Plump." is a bigger break with Canterbury than this. After Waterloo Lily, Richard Sinclair left, and that is the real turning point in Caravan. Anyways, I ramble. This album is a solid 3.5-4 stars, recommended to any fan of Canterbury music or Jazz-rock.

Report this review (#41101)
Posted Sunday, July 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The fourth work of announcement in 1972 "Waterloo Lily". It is nearer jazz than the former work. Work that becomes near jazz thanks to Steve Miller and guest, and is enhanced. The jazz aim is remarkable in the opening tune and two masterpieces. The answer to the doubt that CARAVAN might be jazz-rock is in this album.It is a work that makes the extension of the technique and music felt though a surreal, fantastic elegance of the former work disappeared.
Report this review (#43510)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well the music critics sometimes (also recently), have criticized this work, because They regarded it as an unnatural or a bit forced l.p.: partially it's true, but their more jazzy breaks-through are interesting in a few circumstances and represented by the pretty cover picture of the album as well, while in other moments their jazz rock passages are less convincing (in comparison for instance to "Third" by Soft Machine), being anyway quite original. Therefore, even though the style of "In the Land of." is far away from here, the arrangement is more accurate in comparison to their long jam-session of their most successful album, at least. for me that's enough to distinguish this work among several other ones inside the school of Canterbury, but it's much inferior than for instance the small masterpieces of Hatfield and the North or the best works by Soft Machine. So as for this consideration only you could change idea about it. listen to this album carefully and make your own choice at the end!!
Report this review (#46527)
Posted Tuesday, September 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I'm a bit in two minds about this album. It is undeniably different from its glorious predecessor, "In the Land of Grey and Pink", and the first listen was (to put it mildly) a disappointment. Then, after repeated listens, it's beginning to grow on me, though it will probably never become a real favourite in the way Caravan's second and third albums are.

Keyboardist David Sinclair had left the band after ITLOGP to join Robert Wyatt's Matching Mole, and was replaced by the more jazz-oriented Steve Miller (brother of guitarist Phil Miller, of Hatfield and the North and National Health fame). Miller's influence shows very clearly, especially in compositions such as the three-part instrumental suite "Nothing at All". However, most of the tracks of the album bear the imprint of guitarist Pye Hastings, who is also responsible for the bulk of the vocal duties. This is probably the aspect of "Waterloo Lily" I like the least: Hastings is far from being a bad vocalist, but I find his Robert-Wyatt- lite vocal style somehow irritating, especially when he reaches for the higher notes. The golden voice of Richard Sinclair has way too little space here; the title-track, while a good song, is not as representative of his considerable skills as, say, "Winter Wine" or even "Hello Hello". Sinclair's presence as a bassist, however, can be felt quite keenly on this album: the above-mentioned "Nothing at All" is based on a pulsating bass riff, and his intricate bass lines are to be heard quite distinctly throughout the album.

The presence of wind instruments (particularly Lol Coxhill's saxophone) is much stronger here than on the previous albums, reinforcing the record's more pronounced jazzy feel. Some passages of "Nothing at All", for instance, can remind listeners of Soft Machine rather than of Caravan's earlier output - which is no bad thing at all, though I understand it might be somewhat disappointing for those who had loved "If I Could Do.." or "In the Land...". Besides the jazzier numbers, however, there are the usual (for Caravan) catchier, poppier offerings, like the excellent "Aristocracy" and the closing "The World Is Yours"; while the Miller-penned "Songs and Signs" occupies a sort of middle ground between these two kinds of tracks. The album's second suite,Pye Hastings' "The Love in Your Eye", is more typically prog than the first, complete with string arrangements and great flute playing by brother Jimmy. The bonus tracks included in the remastered edition are all Pye Hastings compositions, all more than competent but, in my opinion, nothing to write home about.

After this album, Richard Sinclair left to form Hatfield and the North - unfortunately never to reach the success he would have amply deserved - and Pye Hastings became the leader of the band, which he remains to this day. This album shows quite clearly the transition between these two different periods, and like most transition albums it has its moments - though I can't really bring myself to consider it essential. A solid three stars, possibly three and a half.

Report this review (#77752)
Posted Wednesday, May 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
4 stars Caravan and the legs of Waterloo Lily ...

The follower of 'In the land of grey and pink' with Steve Miller (brother of Phil Miller) at the keyboards. He replaces David Sinclair and mainly plays (electric) piano which brings along a more jazzy direction. Remarkable is also the virtuoso Jazz Rock influenced bass playing by Richard Sinclair.

First of all I have to point out the two long tracks. They alone are worth the price, very impressing, full of variety and jamming. Nothing at all without any vocals has an eminent groove with a nice saxophon part. After 5 minutes the song fades into the interlude It's coming soon introduced by sensitive piano playing. The Love in your Eye is accompanied by some orchestral arrangements and was designated to be a classic for the following live performances of the band. Unforgettable is the terrific concert with the New Symphonia Orchestra two years later. But I don't want to be misunderstood. All the other songs are also to recommend. The title track for example is a very dynamic song, excellently arranged. Even Steve Miller's Songs and Signs isn't lacking though it is more popish.

'Waterloo Lily' is the last great studio effort of CARAVAN in my opinion. Check it out!

Report this review (#92711)
Posted Saturday, September 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Oh David, where did you go? David you ask...why David Sinclair is my all time favorite keyboard player and Caravan is in my top 5 favorite prog bands. Okay, out went my hero, in came an unknown. Steve Miller brings a heady amount of jazzy finger tapping on the keyboards and for me is a decent replacement. Will the songs suffer? Well actually no. The album starts with the title track and is one of my favorite comical/whimsy-style songs by the boys. Richard Sinclair's bass and bassy vocals make this track a winner, (on top of the hillarious lyrics) and half way through it jams very nicely. Coughlin drumming throughout the album is another standout, (man, he's SO underrated!). Things change dramatically with the second track, "Nothing At All" is a flat-out jazz tune going over 12 minutes. There's some lulls towards the center, but it's a decent change of pace. From there on we're back with ultra catchy Pye Hastings tunes that smack of classic Caravan. I mean, there's is NO ONE that plays these types of proggy/catchy/humorous tunes and play them as well. There are many Canterbury bands that try, but they can't match the sheer muscianship, lyrical and catchiness then Caravan. Pye's mega-soft vocals on "Songs & Signs" and "The World Is Yours" just goes right to your soul. Plus, there's a mini-epic in "The Love In Your Eyes". Unfortunately, the bonus track on the re-master is the worse out of all their re-masters. But it's not the album proper, so my rating is a super solid 4 stars for my favorite Canter band. Bravo guys, but bring back my David! (Yes, he does come back ;-)
Report this review (#115198)
Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Rumour has it back in the 1970s Caravan fans were unhappy with WATERLOO LILY. Supposedly they didn't appreciate the "jazzy new direction" the band had taken, but I guess they were bored by the unimaginative soloing (led by Steve Miller on keyboards) which dominates the album's first two tracks. The playing hardly seems better than any average garage band that has suddenly decided to venture into jazz-rock. But after the aptly-titled "Nothing at All", things turns out fine! "Songs and Signs", "Aristocracy" and "The World Is Yours" are as lovely as any of Caravan's shorter pieces. "The Love In Your Eye" is a masterpiece. It has one of those dreamy Pye Hastings melodies you would die for; it's beautifully orchestrated for strings and features some ravishing oboe playing. It also segues into the rapid "To Catch Me A Brother", which features one of Jimmy Hastings' inimitable flute solos. After this, even Steve Miller proves that (given a suitably exciting riff) he is able to provide a splendid electric piano solo. Caravan collectors, of course, shouldn't be without WATERLOO LILY - unless, perhaps, they already own a compilation which features "The Love In Your Eye".
Report this review (#131177)
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars David Sinclair had left to form MATCHING MOLE with Robert Wyatt and Phil Miller. So enter Steve Miller (Phil's brother) from the Jazz / Rock band DELIVERY. Steve was Richard Sinclair's choice to replace his cousin David. One of the reasons he liked him was his Jazz influence, which is the direction that Richard wanted to go with the band's sound. So yes this record does sound different than their previous albums. In fact it's so different it took me ages to really appreciate it for what it was. I was always comparing it to "In The Land Of Grey & Pink" which wasn't fair.

"Waterloo Lily" features the usual great vocals from Richard Sinclair on this catchy and funny opening track. An organ solo is followed by a pastoral section 4 minutes in that builds back to a full sound. Vocals are back before 6 minutes. "Nothing At All / It's Coming Soon / Nothing At All (Reprise)" opens with a catchy melody that is dominated by some crazy guitar, which is replaced by the electric piano before the guitar comes back. Sax comes in as the song changes gears 5 1/2 minutes in to the next passage "It's All Coming Soon". It features electric piano, cymbals and bass. The song kicks in (Reprise) before 7 minutes with sax a minute later.

"Songs And Signs" has Pye Hastings on vocals with a light soundscape. There is a heavier interlude before the song reverts back to the lighter sound. "Aristocracy" is a catchy, uptempo tune with some good drumming. "The Love In Your Eye / To Catch Me A Brother / Subsultus / Debouchment / Tilbury Kecks" opens dramatically with orchestration and is quite catchy.Trumpet follows and a great flute solo from Jimmy Hastings. Later a long electric piano melody with vocals (Pye Hastings) coming in at 10 minutes. Then we get a jam to end it. "The World Is Yours" features vocals that grow from barely audible to full strength in this silly, charming love song.

Barely 4 stars but I think it's worth that rating. Richard Sinclair and Pye Hastings fought over this new direction the band had taken to the point that Richard and Steve both left before the next record. David Sinclair would return as would the old CARAVAN sound on "For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night".

Report this review (#132784)
Posted Saturday, August 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.7 stars Somethings disasterous and yet wonderful happened to Caravan after they weathered disappointing commercial reaction to their much-vaunted "Land of Grey and Pink" - they lost their most accomplished composer, and the only member of the band that appeared to have any 'solo' chops. That was David Sinclair, author of side-long epic "Nine Feet Underground" who had said, rather dismissively that his musical devlopment had out-stripped the band, and greener pastures awaited him (Matching Mole). That's the preamble to "Waterloo Lily". Pye Hastings, Richard Sinclair and Richard Coughlan had to shift things around quickly to get another album out, so they enlisted jazz pianist Steve Miller and did what they could to fill maestro David's shoes. The incredible results were missed by critics and the public alike, but I urge you all to explore the crude delights of "Lily", savour the ugly bass and the long jams with an open mind, and not lament the more polite structured groove of either "Grey and Pink" or the album that followed "Lily" - "For Girls that Grow Plump in the Night".

"Lily" kicks off with the title track penned and voiced by Richard Sinclair. There's a liberating feeling present at once, risque lyrics and their standard long groovy middle sections fill-out a clever, singable song. Guitar, never a terribly recognizable voice in Caravan starts to proclaim itself. But everything here is at once more exciting, more collegial, and better executed. Coughlan's drumming is thick and inventive - full of double-taps and cymbal work and locked-in meter - never better. The sound is ballsier, louder, more boisterous and for the first time you get a bead on everyone's distinctive style. Pye Hasting's guitar work, though not virtuosic, is lively and exploratory and swings like hell. But it's the astonishing bass-work of Richard Sinclair as we move into the long jam/suite that follows, and the deft, highly creative work of keyboardist Miller that quickens the heart. That suite - " Nothing at all /It's coming soon / Songs and signs / Nothing at all (reprise) " is often been criticized as unfocussed and distended and sinks the album for many people but to me it's ragged glory and very atmospheric, Miller's composition "Songs and Signs" is another great song, with excellent paring of Sinclair's baritone, and Hastings penetrating high voice; the music is well developed and Miller's riffing on the electric paino create sparks.

Hasting's song "Aristocracy", a hold-over from the "Grey and Pink" sessions gets better and (ballsier) treatment here as we move toward the album's magnum opus. Hasting's best-ever composition "Love in Your Eye". The production on this track (again by David Hitchcock) is excellent and the bar is raised as everyone delivers their best performance on the album. Of particular note is the exultant flute solo from Jimmie Hastings over Sinclairs rolling bass, the slyly worked out development, and Pye's strident guitar. The action gets so exciting at one point that an involuntary "yelp" is heard coming over someone's head-set from the control room. It is bravura progressive music that grooves and grooves darkly.

This is the album where Caravan really pulled together, hit it's stride and took musical risks (forays into jazz) as they wouldn't again. The album that followed, despite having many fine moments, lacks the rough excitement of "Lily", and with the departure - this time of Richard Sinclair for Hatfield and the North, their classic period started to morph into lush pop. The erstwhile David Sinclair returned to the band for their follow-up "Girls" and distinguishes himself on synth throughout - (particulalry on "Backwards") but after "Lily" the anti-pop play between Miller, and Richard Sinclair is sorely missed. It's a shame they didn't follow this path. They would be better remembered today.

Report this review (#132927)
Posted Monday, August 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars What can you say about this ...

Richard Coughlan and Richard Sinclair dominate the opening title track. The drum and bass thang continues as Nothing At All builds around one of those very straight forward bass riffs that you just can't help liking.

Songs and Signs moves out into the jazzy mellow keyboard realms. Not my favourite sound but always Pye Hastings' influence centres any wayward forces firmyl back in the Caravan park. Is it just me or is Aristocracy the best track Caravan ever wrote. Simply perfect. Pye's the rhythm guitar master, the Richards are a stight as the proverbial gnat's chuff. Coughlan is simply fantastic in this.

Now for the main event: The Love in Your Eye. Now this is an extended jazz number that usually gains the plaudits. Unfortunately it is my least favourite. Why? Well, there is too much fairly bland jamming. I hoped for more out of this. There is a change of direction towards the end which rescues the numebr; heavier guitar with a bit of wah. Strong beat, bass right up on the edge of the beat driving when it needs to be before subtly slipping back a nyum for a wee riff.

The World is Yours is another typically Caravan number. A great way to end the album. really positive and uplifting. Just like Porcupine Tree (yeah right).

Report this review (#141821)
Posted Wednesday, October 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Maybe not quite as good, but still good!

Feeling a bit disillusioned that their formidable "Grey and Pink" did not translate to the kind of commercial success they'd been hoping for, Caravan were in a bit of a funk as a working band. In August of 1971 Dave Sinclair left the group. He was convinced things were not to his liking and was interested in working with new musicians, finding company in Robert Wyatt and eventually Matching Mole. But the others were not ready to pack it in yet and invited Steve Miller to join the group. In late '71 they began the sessions for Waterloo Lily which would see the band alter their classic sound a bit to include a jazzier sound.

The opening title track is pure Caravan with great raunchy lyrics, catchy vocals and harmonies, and awesome playing. Pye and Richard have some great jamming here and they even let the new guy in a bit. The long "Nothing at All" is the track that brings the charges that this album is too different, too jazzy. I think the charge is a big silly. They really take only this one track to experiment a bit but the rest of the album sounds plenty like Caravan to me. "Nothing" starts out with a funky bass and beat, then Pye comes in with some nice licks through the volume pedal. A bit later Miller's piano joins in and the jam is on. True it's laid back jazz but it's well done. Then the middle section features a more subdued piano and bass section which slowly picks up steam again until the instrumental jam gets cookin. Great bass, some nice sax and guitar. "Songs and Signs" is one penned by the new guy Miller and features tasteful keys and the monster bass again, man I love the strong bass sound Sinclair gets throughout this thing. "Aristocracy" is a whimsical sounding pop song that could just as easily be placed on the preceding albums, classic Caravan all the way with a happy, bouncy beat. "The Love In Your Eye" is the longest and most ambitious track. Starting with comtemplative vocals and strings the track goes on to add oboe, trumpet, flute, and sax. The jamming gets quite intense with some killer performances by Hastings, Sinclair, and Coughlan. "The World is Yours" is a sweet pop love song throwaway, easily the least substantial track but nothing awful.

The Decca remaster series includes the usual nice band history as well as four bonus tracks, all previously unreleased. The first two were recorded by Hastings in June of '71 and are basically just demos. The latter two were recorded in November of that year and feature the full Caravan sound. "Looking Left, Looking Right" is actually a pretty cool song but was cut due to time limitations. More great cover art here especially when the front and back are folded flat so you can see the whole thing. While I agree it doesn't quite reach the peak of the previous album Waterloo is still a delightful spin. It's a bit more serious and perhaps mature in some ways. Some of this is actually a good thing but I do agree in places one can hear a hint of weariness-there were without a doubt some heavy frustrations within the group around this time. But it is no reason to pass on Waterloo if you are a Caravan fan. This is highly recommended to Canterbury and Caravan fans. I would only say that if you are new to Caravan start with the previous album.

Report this review (#154419)
Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Following up a masterpiece like In the Land of Grey and Pink is nearly impossible, and Waterloo Lily is not as good as it´s predecessor. They have a much more jazzy and jamming sound on this one.

First of all I would like to say that the order of the songs are all wrong on Waterloo Lily. They should not have placed the lengthy and jamming instrumental Nothing at all /It's coming soon / Nothing at all (reprise) as the second song on the album. This one should have been placed as the last song. It´s very jazzy and destroys the mood of the album. There are two lengthy jams on the album, the aforementioned Nothing at all /It's coming soon / Nothing at all (reprise) and The Love in Your Eye of which I think the latter is the best. It´s more soft in the sounds. I´m not that impressed with that one either though. I find it rather boring. The rest of the songs are more vocal orientated except for Waterloo Lily which is a little of both. I think Waterloo Lily is without a doubt the best song on the album. It´s a Caravan classic. The rest could have been outtakes from In the Land of Grey and Pink. I like Aristocracy though, it´s a nice little song. The world is Yours is a little too silly for me.

Because of the high level of musicianship and the flawless playing I will give Waterloo Lily 3 stars, even though I almost gave it 2 because of the lacking composition skill. This was not a good surprise.

Report this review (#156364)
Posted Sunday, December 23, 2007 | Review Permalink

First crew changes on board of this Caravan. But there will be an incredible quantity of these changes later on in the band's career. Some forty or so. Difficult to remain consistent under these circumstances I guess.

This album is more a jazz-rock one than anything else. And since jazz has never been a favourite genre of mine, I am not blown away with this Lilly from Waterloo. Although the title track has a pleasant mood and is one of my fave from this album.

But to face the long jamming "Nothing At All." is quite challenging. The middle part maybe.Yes, this one is OK. Symphonic jazz. More bearable to my ears than the long and introductory jam.

"Songs & Signs" is more a true "Caravan" song. Gentle, positive and joyful. A good moment from this Lilly album. My fave here. And the popish "Aristocracy" isn't bad either. Good rhythm for this song which features a nice melody and some great drumming.

Another good song from this album is "The Love In Your Eye". Mostly instrumental, the bass play from the remaining cousin (but not for long) is excellent. As the keys by the way. Somewhat different than usual but performing.

This is not a great album. Most songs have little structure and the ones I prefer are the short pieces. They are on the melodic side ("The World Is Yours") and more appealing IMHHO.

The remastered version holds two acoustic songs which give a short break after so many jazzy ones, but let's face the reality. These ("Pye's June Thing " and "Ferdinand") won't add anything great to this work. The best bonus track is by far Looking Left.... Could ahve made the original album...

But these won't make this album a good one. Just average. Five out of ten, but I can't upgrade this one to three stars.

Report this review (#159307)
Posted Saturday, January 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not a dissapointing or bad album at all, yes its more jazzy then thire others and its not as good as grey and pink but what is? a fine follow up to grey and pink in my opinion this is. The album starts with the title track and its a sweet opener your typical funny Canterbury song and sadly the only one sung by Rhicard sinclair on the whole album yes he sing alitle in the background on the others but i liked ot have him sing some more lead on other songs nothing against pye hestings his nice too but Richard hes something special. Anyway the next song is the big let down i gues in most opinions its the big jazz number and well if you dont liek jazz you whont like this i however find it very good and enjoyeble. Next comes two shorter pop song nice stuff, and the longer the love in your eye mini epic that even got an orchestra playing. The album ends with the short litle pop throw away the world is yours. The 2001 remaster got 3 bonus tracks the 2 pop songs pyes june thing and ferdinand are sweet and the longer looking left looking right is allso good. well 4 star from me is what the album gets no as good as thiere 3 previus ones but still a strong album in its own right and if your into the jazzier side of canterbury this will please you.
Report this review (#159553)
Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
4 stars 01. Waterloo Lily Let's control ourselves already well! A good riff, a swinging without end, the very legal vocal one of Pye. almost a funk. Good refrain, and give him riffs strangers jazzy, with quite legal keyboards, a 'shy' ground of guitar and Richard Coughlan had beaten it breaking everything (excellent drummer!). A long part intrumental seizure counts, being the great distinction absluto goes for Richard Sinclair and his bass. In the second refrain the doubled vocal ones are a charm.

02. Nothing At All/It's Coming Soon/Nothing At All (Reshowing) Insignia when of Richard Wright (Pink Floyd) was keyed totally, gross and very quite tipsy bass, a ground of guitar wha-wha, that is exatamente what we find in the opening with Nothing At All, next another guitar (Phil Miller (in a different, insignia another is swung by me without end with space for great improvisation. To complement still more saxophones. Nothing The It Seems begins in a beautiful piano night club / prison / solitude. I was not wrong to any more jazz of the disc. But soon more swing, be-bop, them expensive are great soul. After great swinging, still more with the turn of Nothing At All (Reshowing).

03. Songs And Signs Pop! This is pop, that is that pop should be! Pop Perfeito! Vocal in falsetto, grand and pretty melody. Base of guitar, very legal, without stopping having the instrumental 'travels' of the band.

04. Aristocracy One more swinging pop and very quite tipsy, I do not know exatamente to what it is similar, but and sensationally, he makes want to hear again and again. While he was hearing only I thought that some palms were lacking in the bottom of the song, it would be very legal. Guitar wha and ground of had slammed to end in great style (And what is you. Coughlan in the battery? Brilliant!).

05. The Love In Your Eye/To Catch Me To Brother/Subsultus/Debouchement/Tilbury Kecks Begin already symphonic and lovely! The arrangements of orchestra of Colin Frechter were very good, suddenly change everything, grand melody and a new sensational song enters in the head. I still did not discover well if a guitar is doing the ground . .. oh it is a guitar yes, I heard a slide (laughters). The flute gives a touch Jethro Tull to you it Catch Me To Brother and the band enters in great style, virtuous and bass everything it more. Subsultus has more 'aggressive grounds of guitar and different melody, the beds of keyboard of Steve Miller are always very well arranged. The Caravan is a band introsada! Excellent in fact. Debouchement gives a touch to more with letter and pretty melodies (the voice of Pye is very sweet and pretty). And soon puzzle again with Tilbury Kecks! Without equal!

06. The World Is Yours To finish a disc have that to do to him a good choice, and in case of the Caravan to end Waterloo Lily swims better which The World Is Your, without equal with a footprint interessantíssima, a guitar 'clean' very quite tipsy, a vocal very quite sung one (that is to rain in the wet one!) and an enchanting refrain. Oh as I wanted that Pop as we know it today was so!

Report this review (#193853)
Posted Tuesday, December 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Waterloo Lily is really an excellent album by Caravan, but for me it was totally our of their style and leaned towards the jazziness in prog. I think this album is why Richard Sinclair left Caravan.

The title song is very good, very catchy, and very canterbury. Hintful lyrics and odd chord changes are the things that make this song so catchy, but especially the excellent guitar riffing, and songwriting by Richard Sinclair and Pye Hastings.

Nothing At All is a real Caravan-downer, and for the less jazzy proggers, will be a bore, and will be better off with another band. Nothing At All is a very weird jazz song, never really keeping a chord in-place, and just too much drugs for Caravan, which would not be something a rocker proggie would like.

Songs & Signs and Aristocracy are short tunes, probably released as singles, based on wurlitzer work by Steve Miller.

Then comes a less jazzy song, but a bore to me, called The Love in Your Eye. This song is another one of the Caravan medlies made famous in the two previous albums, In the Land of Grey and Pink and their second album, If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd do it all over you. This song is less jazzy but still an indicator for us to notice that Caravan is becoming more and more of a jazz band.

The World is Yours is the last song the album. Pretty short for a Caravan song, around the lengths of Aristocracy and S&S, World is a great song and would be better placed with the second album.

Rating: 3/5. Too jazzy, makes me shiver when I think of getting Girls Who Grow Plump. But maybe Plump will be a less jazzy album, who knows?

Report this review (#224982)
Posted Wednesday, July 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my favorite Caravan album after "In the Land of Grey and Pink". and "If I Could Do It ..." .Maybe the more "jazzy" direction the band opted for after Dave Sinclairs departure is not everybodys cup of tea, but I find Steve Millers contribution a step in the right direction. Let´s not forget that Miller wrote the masterpiece "Songs and Signs". And to be honest, apart from "Nothing at All", the album has still very much a classic Caravan sound. On the second side of the original album you find some of Pye Hastings best tunes ever. And as a nice bonus you get "Looking left, Looking right", another gem from Mr Hastings. In short, a must for every fan of the "Canterbury" genre!
Report this review (#249840)
Posted Tuesday, November 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars While the music of Caravan doesn't have the best track record of pleasing me on a purely emotional level, I have to admit they are extremely clever.

The title track "Waterloo Lily" is an example of some great song-writing. There are two catchy verses of singing in the first minute then the chorus leaves a bit to be desired. Luckily the song is done with singing until the final minute. After the chorus is done there are two parts of instrumental music. The first takes us to the halfway point in the song and this is the first time I give Caravan a pat on the back. If you listen to any 5-second clip from the first instrumental then are transported to any random part in the first instrumental, you will undoubtedly be able to say that you are listening to "Waterloo Lily." By itself that is probably the most basic thing any song is meant to do. However, add the fact that the music never repeats itself. It's in a constant dance around the main "Waterloo Lily" theme and it never takes the same step twice. I'm really blown away by this and I can't think of any other song that does something like this. The second part of the instrumental also forces me to congratulate Caravan. It starts off slow and quiet and is only identifiable as music. Then the music picks and narrows to the Canterbury genre, then narrows down further to Caravan and finally narrows down to "Waterloo Lily." This leads us right into a verse followed by a chorus to end the song. 8/10

Next, if I have but one song to congratulate Caravan on, it would be this one. "Nothing at All" is an instrumental and I will issue a *SPOILER ALERT* for upcoming cleverness that actually made me smile. This starts off with a lovely bass line that is our guide in this jazzy improv-sounding instrumental. "Nothing at All" is probably something along the lines of what you would expect if you were told "Canterbury-styled improv." Somewhere around 4:00-4:30 the music started to sound like it was leaving its world of improve and was heading in a direction. The next 30 seconds sounded like the music kept on getting distracted from its goal. At this point I checked the song info and saw "Nothing at All" was broken into movements. The first being "Nothing at All," an apt description of what just happened, and I was then listening to "It's Coming Soon," which at that moment was nothing more than a nice, soft jazzy piano piece. I then saw what the final movement was. "Nothing at All (Reprise)." I smiled thinking "Oh Caravan. Your song title is so tongue-in-cheek. You aren't going to deliver the ending that was glimpsed at the end of the first movement. I'm just going to listen to 'nothing at all' at the end." However I was misled again. With 3:15 left to go in the song, the music took a radical departure from the previous movement (which had evolved to a less jazzy piano-centric piece with some bass and light percussion peppered in) and even the first movement. It would seem as though I would get the ending I had been longing for and had often changed my mind on whether it was coming or not. Anyway, "Nothing at All (Reprise)" finishes out the song without really sounding like the first part of the entire instrumental (at least until the final minute rolls around). So anyway this song is a lot of fun. 9/10 for getting me to fall into their trap many times.

"Songs and Signs" starts out as a light-hearted mellow song. It shares some similarities with "Waterloo Lily" because the singing only happens during the first and last bit of the song (in this case about 40 seconds on each end). The instrumental bridge ups the level of complexity a bit while still maintaining a playful tone. While this may be the most complex of the 3-4 minute songs on this album it's easily the weakest track on the album. 5/10

"Aristocracy" keeps the same light-heartedness as the previous song but at a faster tempo. If I had to pick one word to describe this song it would be 'bouncy.' I feel like this could have been a hit on the radio sometime during the '60s because the Canterbury sound often blurs with the psychedelic music from that time. Not a whole lot goes on here but it's still pleasant to listen to. 6/10

"The Love in Your Eye" is the longest, most varied and adventurous song on Waterloo Lily. With all members taking their turns in the spotlight with at least one solo per band member (flute included!), this song undoubtedly fits the description of prog. There are strings, trumpets and other instruments gracing this mini-epic which takes a Canterbury approach to the popular symphonic prog style. If I had to convince someone to buy Waterloo Lily with just one song, "The Love in Your Eye" would be my ace in the hole. 9/10

"The World is Yours" rounds out this album on a good note. In mood, tone, and simplicity it's quite similar to "Aristocracy." Maybe not the greatest way to praise a prog song, but it's easily my second favorite on the album. However, as this is a review for a prog album I feel like it would be immoral to objectively rate this high. 6/10

I don't like to be on the border between star-ratings but this album had me sitting on the fence for quite some time. Three songs on here are quite poppy with few prog characteristics. They're all good pop songs and one is even an excellent pop song. But these only make up 10 minutes of music while there are three great prog offerings that make up half an hour of music. The words that accompany the 3 star rating are "Good, but non-essential." That "non-essential" prevents me from giving it 4 stars, but this is probably the strongest 3 I could possibly award anything.

Report this review (#254276)
Posted Friday, December 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars (This is a review of the original album)

Caravan went a bit jazz on this album compared to their pretty rock orientated previous albums. But fear not; they did not go as far as Hatfield, National Health or Egg. Not to mention Soft Machine.

What I like most about Caravan is the mix of rock, pop and jazz. They have in my view the Canterbury Scene prototype sound. Their previous album was probably the best ever Canterbury Scene album too. David Sinclair was a big influence on that album. But he left before the band recorded Waterloo Lily.

This album consists of some quirky rock tunes and a lot of funky jazz improvisations. The rock tunes are pretty catchy and so is the jazzy bits. The main instrument is the keyboard of Steve Miller. Most of his contributions here is jazzy improvisations over the themes. This album therefore almost feels like a live album. The best example is the twelve minutes long The love in your eye / To catch me a brother / Subsultus / Debouchement / Tilbury kecks medley. The keyboards is sometimes backed up by funky guitars, flutes and horns. Richard Sinclair's vocals is as usual excellent.

Taken into account that I rate this band very highly, I think this album is very good. I like the jazzy bits because I happens to be a fan of the other half of Wilde Flowers (Soft Machine). There is a couple of iffy songs here. But they are overshadowed by the truly excellent stuff here like the title track and the jazzy improvisations. I therefore rate this album very highly.

4 stars

Report this review (#254527)
Posted Sunday, December 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
4 stars In the Land of Jazz and Waterloo Lily

It's rather common for a Prog band that after their most acclaimed opus, in this case In the Land of Grey and Pink, one of the 'key' members leaves the band thus leaving the band no option than to replace him by someone who generally is pretty different to the former member, and as a result making either a weaker, but essentially a different kind of record to what the band is known-of doing. Conclusion, fans consider it either a weak attempt of re-making their grandiose opus or simply just say it's a weak record per se because they don't like the addition of the replacement.

Well, that's the case of Waterloo Lily, however for me it's neither a weaker copy of their previous effort nor I have any issues with the addition of the replacement, quite the contrary. The main issue that fans of their previous albums have with this album is the addition of Dave Sinclair's replacement, Steve Miller, who adds to the band a very jazzy feel overall.

However, I can't deny another obvious factor that also leads to dissapointment, and this one I can understand. This is the lack of Richard's distinctive voice, which was by all means 'the voice' of Caravan. So, yes, in Waterloo Lily the vocal department is not exactly the 'Caravan vocal department', but I've learnt to deal with it.

While I absolutely love In the Land of Grey and Pink and think it's a superior album to this one, I can't say I'm no big fan of this album as well, and that's all thanks to Steve Miller's splendid addition of great jazzy bites all within the album. He may be no Dave Sinclair, but neither Patrick Moraz was Rick Wakeman and yet he rocked the hell out with Relayer and added to the band something that hadn't be heard with previous efforts.

Anyways, this is not a jazz rock affair as a whole, just get rid of In the Land of Grey and Pink's happinness and sophistication and add a rockier, groovier and a more loose feel to it. Songs like 'The World is Yours', 'Aristocracy' and 'Songs and Signs' still sound very much like the ol' Caravan. However it's the longer tunes that make the difference; 'Nothing At All' being a very cool jazzy jam showing the whole new line-up at full steam in the instrumental side of things, while 'The Love in your Eye' is a more sophisticated tune with string arrangements and plenty of brass instruments too.

So overall Waterloo Lily is a different, yet excellent treat by this new, not-that-different, incarnation from Caravan. Anyone who is fond of jazzy-inclined good music, I highly recommend you this. If you're a big fan of In the Land of Grey and Pink but you are not that fond of jazzy stuff, then check If I Could Do It All Over Again, I Would Do It All Over You first.

Report this review (#261178)
Posted Saturday, January 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars A TERRIFIC PROG RECORDING, Even if the sound was different than previous Caravan recordings

I was put off by buying this recording because of all the bad reviews about the sound changing, including the cd's notes.

If it is a change in sound by going in a jazzier direction, it still results in a great prog recording.

The humor is there, the great instrumenation, the great vocals.

May be because of coming after the great Land of the Grey and Pink was also the reason why so many were let down.

I noticed the same with regard to Marillon's Fugazi coming after a Script for a Jester's Tear. (the sound had changed, still a great record)

Report this review (#287326)
Posted Saturday, June 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars It surprises me to see Waterloo Lily with less than a 4-star average. I guess I could call this one a 4.5 if I wanted to be more exact, but it deserves the round up.

To me, this album stands as testament to Caravan's ability to produce timeless prog-pop. Along with For Girls Who Grow Plump, this one contains enough hooks and drive that it's hard to imagine anyone being turned off by it. Complexity may not be their main focus here, but the only band I know of who uses complexity as a goal with any success is Gentle Giant.

Still, it's more than simple banal pop music. The structure of most songs is atypical of any pop conventions, and the riffs, particularly on the title track, simply rock, and I tend to love Caravan most when they're doing that (at the end of Dabsong Conshirtoe, for instance). The album's ten-minute epic, The Love in Your Eye, is one of my favorite Caravan songs in its entirety. When the first string comes in at about a minute, the song really feels like it's going to take you away somewhere (an effect helped by the first word of the next line being "take"). And the album also contains two of my very favorite Pye Hastings tunes, the bouncy Aristocracy and the luscious The World is Yours. "I love you, the world is yours if you love me too." Sap certainly isn't my thing, but if that particular one doesn't hit your soft spot than you probably haven't a soft spot to hit.

This leaves the second song, which contains some outstanding piano work courtesy of one-time member Steve Miller (not of Steve Miller Band fame, of course, but now that I think about it there might actually be a thing or two in common between that Steve Miller and Caravan if you really wanted to draw out the connections). It's not stellar, but it's not bad. The only song that doesn't really do it for me is the overly sugary "Songs and Signs".

So decide for yourself if it's actually a "masterpiece" - it may be pretty simple stuff, but it's all played with great intensity and energy. It doesn't hardly have anything to do with the band's usual medieval walking-through-a-forest vibe, but that's kind of an albatross for them anyway. "In the Land of Grey and Pink" was certainly more visionary and artsy, but this one is actually more enjoyable. And the cover absolutely rules.

Report this review (#290263)
Posted Tuesday, July 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm amazed at how such a meager change in personnel could totally remake Caravan's sound. Aside from several notable Canterbury celebs guest starring on this album, (Accomplished guitar player, Phil Miller from "National Health"! Everybody's second favorite flutist, Jimmy Hastings from umm... "Caravan"! Esteemed saxophone player, Lol Coxhill from er.. uh.. an "Esteemed Jazz Band"!) who make a few minor cameos on a couple tracks, the only real shake up in Caravan's line-up was the keyboards guy. Since David Sinclair ran off with Robert Wyatt to make beautiful music (actually, music that wasn't so beautiful or good) in the newly formed Matching Mole, Steve Miller (For the last time, NOT the guy of "Fly Like an Eagle" fame) filled in the position bringing in an influence entirely new to the likes of Caravan: J-A-Z-Z, delicious hot, disgusting cold.

Now contrary to popular belief, it wasn't just Miller who ushered in the new dreaded style of "Jazzery" that Caravan fans are supposed to hate and fear like anything, Richard Sinclair suddenly had the spontaneous desire to play in a jazz band rather than a fantasy prog band. (So now, all you angry fans know the true identity to the evil "band ruining" fiend on Waterloo Lily) However, main songwriter and guitarist, Pye Hastings and drummer, Richard Coughlan were still two starry eyed fellows who still had their "Grey and Pink" fantasies and didn't want to play in no stinking Miles Davis knockoff band. As a result, Waterloo Lily is one giant compromise between the lush prog fairyland of Hastings and some new, interesting jazz fusion motifs from Miller and Sinclair and for the most part, this approach works and occasionally approaches novel too.

So, what does this creamy mish-mash of inspirations sound like, you ask? Generally, some songs are a heterogeneous mixture of both influences. Take the lumbering title track, for instance. Not only is it the only prog epic ever to be written about a pleasingly plump call girl, (No, I do not want to know more about Mr. Pye's lewd and complex er... complexes, though) but it combines two melodies hookier than two left hooks in the kisser from Muhammed Ali with some very hard rocking electric piano playing from Miller. Eventually, (just like most jazz fusion, sadly) the instrumental sections do get boring but just when you're beginning to utter your first yawn that unbelievable catchy chorus returns to ensure your satisfaction.

If you ever wanted to hear Caravan adopt a totally unconventional, unlikely jazz fusion sound by any coincidence, please takes a gander with your ears at "Nothing at All". This song is a real treat for the fusion genre as it actually manages to keep my attention for its entire drawn out 9+ minutes. The three individual sections of this piece are all masterfully jammed and written respectively. The first part is a well played jam with Richard Sinclair's bass being the true star of the show. I've never heard such a catchy, energetic bass line take control over the whole direction of the music. It's groovy, maaaaaan. The "It's Coming Soon" section is a grand piano interlude by Miller and one of the most foreboding, ominous sounding things in the bands epoch.

The MASSIVE epic, "The Love in your Eye" is the only other song that attempts to meld together prog with fusion and it's only half successful. The outstanding and visionary opening melody is sung by Pye with powerful grandeur that is only complemented more and more by great orchestration but a lot of the instrumental sections are kind of "ehh", afterwards. When played live, this song would be transformed into an all-time monster and Caravan's most diverse and stunning long piece. In fact, I had first heard this certain song on "Caravan and the New Symphonia" and I was completely floored. The instrumental sections were completely injected with so much more energy and personality that the results were staggering.

Jazz fusion is only allowed to run amok on the longer pieces, however. The other songs are simply your typical Hastings bundles of joy with slightly jazzier playing. "Aristocracy" is even an outtake from the "Grey and Pink" sessions. With that said, "Aristocracy" is a funny, fast paced pop song with Hastings rapping out the lyrics. It's just that fun, harmless charm that most Caravan songs possess which is guaranteed to force the corners of your mouth upward. Of like kind is the goofy but cute folksy tune, "The World is Yours", who's verse melody is, for some bizarre reason, almost completely inaudible but is made up by a chorus that is so choc full of whimsy-ness it's simultaneously dorky and romantic. There's also the Miller penned "Songs and Signs" that fits into this lightweight category; featuring lovely alternating vocals between Pye and Richard Sinclair (He wouldn't sing for Caravan for a looooong time after this) and some more pleasing electric piano soloing.

Ooh, and let's extend this already lengthy review a bit more and talk about the great bonus tracks! For once, they're all completely new songs rather than annoyingly pointless "alternative version" tracks that pad out the other Caravan reissues. Yay! Three cheers for outtakes! The first two songs are two acoustic guitar demos played solely by Pye. "Pye's June Thing" and "Ferdinand" are two perfectly lovable folk ditties with great melodies to boot. Man, after hearing these, I can't stop wondering what would have happened if Pye quit Caravan and decided to record a whole album of little folkie wonders in the vein of those demos. Why he would have become the British equivalent of Al Stewart if he did, seeing as those two both have a swelling passion for lovely melodies and cutesy falsetto singing. The other song is fully finished and polished with Caravan's trademark sheen. "Looking Left, Looking Right", is an infectious, rootsy shuffle with a killer hook to die for. Why it got left off the original album is only for Pye's lewd and complex complex to know and us to not.

This album is no where near the horrifying disaster that most fans consider it. Waterloo Lily still retains most of the band's charm and I really like how the jazz fusion chops diversifys their sound. I'm going to go ahead and rate this album as an actual improvement over "The Land of Grey and Pink". (I don't really like TLoGaP as much as many proggers do and you can read my explanations in my soon-to-be-written review for that certain album.) Stealing a line from the title track, "Waterloo Lily [certainly] has enough to turn [me] on"!

Album grade (with bonus tracks): A-

Album grade (without bonus tracks): B+

Best songs: Waterloo Lily, Nothing at All, The first part of The Love in Your Eye, Aristocracy, Looking Left, Looking Right

Worst Songs: The other parts of The Love in Your Eye

Report this review (#291783)
Posted Saturday, July 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Different album from early Caravan. This release perfectly illustrates how important David Sinclair was for band's sound. Left for Matching Mole, he was replaced by keyboardist Steve Miller on this album, and sound changed quite significantly.

I know many classic Caravan purists don't like this album too much, and I perfectly understand why: instead of brilliant melodic mix of folk,pop,rock and light psichedelia of previous albums, this album presents very jazzy sound. In fact, it's psychedelic jazz-rock, much closer sound to all other Canterbury scene bands, as Soft Machine or Egg.

For me, such changes are for good only - with all my respect and even love to Caravan's catchy songwriting, main problem for me with their music always was too big amount of pop-folk in their sound. This album changed the situation, and it showed another attractive band's side. To be honest, Steve Miller isn't great jazz fusion keyboardist, his sound is usually heavily rooted in blues-rock and early bluesy jazz rock. So his musical addition isn't of the same level as jazz rock of more jazz-rooted competitors (any of Soft Machine, Gong,Egg, Hatfield and The North are better in their jazzy side). But Miller's great role is he really showed how interesting could be Caravan's sound them being more jazzy.

In all, this album is not better or worst of Caravan's albums before or right after it-it's just different. I like these changes, and I think "Waterloo Lily" is one between best Caravan releases.

Report this review (#329922)
Posted Monday, November 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars After two masterpieces, the fourth Caravan's album shows the evidence of the descending quality of the band. David Sinclair is gone with his keyboards and this is the first issue. It means that the acid sounds and the soft psychedelic ambient are replaced by jazzy atmospheres. Not bad, really, but surely different.

The album is opened by the title track, that's probably the best thing here. It's a song which maintains a connection to the previous albums. As If I Could Do and Golf Girl it has the odd signature and the "glam"ish melody. It's longer that the two predecessors because it includes the excellent Richard Sinclair's bass riff. What is missed is the acid sound of David's keyboards. Steve Miller's piano is very good but it's a different thing.

"Nothing at All" respect its title. A jazz bass base that goes on without any highlight. This is the same kind of stuff that Sting has made after the Police have disbanded. I don't skip this track usually, but it's nothing special.

A short Caravan song, then. "Song and Signs" comes from the poppy side of Caravan. Nice piano also here. It's like they were on a crossroad, choosing if going on the jazzy or the poppy side.

"Aristocracy" is a follow-up to the only average track of In The Land Of Grey And Pink: Love to Love You. Nothing more than nice.

Now comes the reason why I rate this album three solid stars and unfortunately is too few for the fourth. It's half an epic for it's abundant 10 minutes, but it's not at the level of things like Winter Wine, For Richard or Nine Feet Underground. "The Love in Your Eye" is a good long song, progressive enough. Good but not a masterpiece. However it would deserve to stay in a Caravan's Best Of. It's also one of the few moments featuring Jimmy Hastings' flute.

"The World Is Yours" is another pop song that I think is misplaced. Good as filler it shouldn't be an album closer, but this is regardless its quality. It's just my opinion. I'm a bit negative because Waterloo Lily follows two of my favourite albums ever, but it's not a bad album on its own. Good but non-essential.

Report this review (#420282)
Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#444287)
Posted Sunday, May 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although there is undeniably a little bit of jazz in temporary keyboard player Steve Miller's performance on this album, I think it's possible to overemphasise the jazz influence this time around. The music on Waterloo Lily is still very recognisably caravan - Pye Hastings and Richard Sinclair's vocals are as distinctive as they ever were, the dirty jokes are still very much present and correct, and musically speaking we're still at the lighter, more approachable end of Canterbury territory.

Still, there's no denying that it isn't quite as iconic as its two predecessors. Steve Miller's playing might not drive the band into full-on fusion territory, but it is still an odd fit for the band's sound. It's not jarring enough to spoil the album, but it is distracting enough to stop it being amongst the best of the best of Caravan's material. It's not the first Caravan album I'd recommend to people interested in the group's work, but I'd very strongly recommend it to anyone who'd already experienced and enjoyed classic Caravan material.

Report this review (#487975)
Posted Thursday, July 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars

The fourth release from Caravan and quite fine one at that. It seems I enjoy this album more every time I listen to it and it has certainly come to rival In the Land of Grey and Pink as my favorite Caravan album. While the loss of David Sinclair is regrettable, the bass work of Richard Sinclair is absolutely superb, especially on the fourth track, Aristocracy. Other favorites of mine from the album are Waterloo Lily, The Love in Your Eye and The World is Yours. Also present on this album is a distinct jazz flavor added to the traditional Caravan style. This album is wonderful and would make a great purchase for anyone interested in hearing Caravan in a new way.

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Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album should sound brilliant; all the ingredients are there. On my first listen, I found it difficult to detect that any of the band members had even changed since the previous albums. It seemed like classic Caravan, only with a funky electric piano, one of my favourite instruments. But I don't find myself wanting to spin this album anywhere near as much as '...Grey and Pink'. Something about it just isn't quite "there". Although many reviewers might tell you it's because Steve Miller took the band in too much of a jazz direction, I don't really hear Waterloo Lily as being any more or less jazzy than its predecessors. It does, I think, suffer from some less inspired composition (on a general level, not because there is too much/little of the Canterbury sound).

The title track IS up there with the likes of Golf Girl, Hello Hello and all the other quirky rockers Caravan produced. It's probably the best song on Waterloo Lily, the downside of that being that it is then very easy to lose interest once track one is over. 'Nothing At All' is a pleasant enough jam, but the group used to include such noodling as part of their longer suites, not as songs in their own right. I sense that the piece is stretched out and a little aimless. 'Songs and Signs' is another of the band's decent ordinary-length songs and it was written by Miller, despite echoing Pie's compositional style, so I honestly don't think the problem with this album lies with him. 'Aristocracy' is okay as well, but at this point I find myself hungry for something big.

Lucky, then, that we're treated to another one of Caravan's lengthy suites with many titles? Well, this one starts off really strongly, with an uncharacteristic but very well-suited string section. By the time we've done the first two sections though, things meander into a dull mess, where jazz and rock seem at odds with each other rather than working together. It's such a shame, because I really looked forward to something along the lines of the psychedelic 'For Richard' or explosive 'Nine Feet Underground'. 'The Love In Your Eye' is like a lazy man's attempt to make another masterpiece by stringing together bland sections of not-very-groovy jamming. This is hard to take, because few white bands were better at jamming than Caravan, and nobody had more groove this side of the Atlantic.

Overall, this album is disappointing, but only compared to the previous Caravan albums, where they seemed so naturally good at creating fun, proggy, funky songs. By normal standards, this is still an album worth hearing, and it has maybe 20 minutes of excellent material. It might be Richard's laziness after Dave left, or some lack of group creativity, because they could still play very well, but the tunes just aren't there. I feel terrible giving this three stars, but the spark had (momentarily) disappeared.

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Posted Thursday, May 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Like King Crimson's Lizard, this was a drastic jazzy transition to the usual band. And like King Crimson, it's a welcome change. Caravan didn't want to copy the groundbreaking formula of In The Land Of Grey And Pink, but bring something innovative and new.

The album starts off with Waterloo Lily. Classic proggy Caravan. Constantly entertaining, complex timing, soloing, what's not to love? If you like For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night, there's some similarity there.

Next up is Nothing At All-It's Coming Soon. Here Caravan shows their funky/jazzy roots. Almost free-form jazz with a funky bass in the background. Piano in the background accompanying the surrounding instruments. The transition comes about halfway through the song. This is what you were waiting for. A brilliant, classic, catchy piano slowly leading you to the blowout with drums and guitar. A slow song, but the beat's insanely addictive.

The first of the short songs, Songs & Signs is a sweet, vocal-based song reminiscent of the latter FGWGPitN. Solo towards the middle. Poppy-prog, but nothing bad about it. The vocals are great and instruments solid.

The shortest song on the record is also one of the best. The fast-paced Aristocracy will instantly hook any lover of Caravan. Fantastic drumming by Richard Coughlan. Super catchy.

The Love In Your Eye, the 12 and a 1/2 minute epic. With violins throughout, it gives a calm, lovely feel overall. Here the instruments are all let out of the cage. THEE Caravan epic (besides Nine Feet Underground at this point) ever-changing, innovative, and, as always, creative. The piano is one of the aspects of this album that makes it so great. Complex, classic. Exciting, but always retains this calmness about the album.

Like the two other short songs, one was placed at the end. The World Is Yours. A strange choice if you ask me. The weakest of the two other shorts. A bit cheesy, a weird ending to a great album. Should've been a bonus song.

The album'll grow on you, just like KC's Lizard. Of course it doesn't compare to the opus that is In The Land Of Grey And Pink, and because of that, I have to limit my stars to 4 as it isn't essential, but a fantastic addition. Not a 'Classic Prog Album' in any sense, but a great Caravan album.

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Posted Sunday, August 12, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars 11/15P. A disorganized album which partly seems like a perfectly produced demo in which some musicians don't really know where to go. Get it for more than a few wicked moments of finest Canterbury jazz pop spread throughout the album. Get it too for Steve Miller who unknowingly dominates the band quite a lot, guiding them in some stellar moments of jazz fusion, but also losing the track sometimes.

Demos prove that Caravan were stuck somewhere after In The Land Of Grey and Pink on which Pye Hastings had already seemed a little bit underchallenged. He denies this, arguing that in late 1970 the Sinclair cousins had a huge backlog of song ideas which had to be recorded, but you simply don't hear Hastings playing some substantial guitar anywhere on In The Land of Grey and Pink, except for some power chords here and there. Most acoustic guitars were even, to my knowledge, played by Richard Sinclair. The early version of Aristocracy and Dave Sinclair's Doesn't Take A Lot came into being in the late album sessions. And whilst they are nice cuts, I doubt that the band had great fun recording them.

Waterloo Lily makes a considerable difference. I strongly oppose the common opinion that this 1972 album is 'jazzier' than their previous work. Nonetheless it is very much defined by the late Steve Miller, the piano-playing replacement for David Sinclair. Miller was heavily influenced by American boogie and R&B music, but I always felt he played this music like a classical musician, giving it a most unusual and quite 'cerebral' sound.

Surprisingly, at least in the case of the shy and self-conscious Miller, the success of this album is determined by his playing. The song Waterloo Lily, for instance, is a genuine masterpiece. Richard Sinclair contributes a multitude of quirky little riffs and perfect lead vocals, Pye Hastings proves how beautifully his voice harmonizes with Sinclair's, and Pye Hastings - previously the rhythm guitarist of the band - plays a fine fuzzy jazz guitar solo which comes up pretty unexpectedly, especially after his ultra-restrained playing on the previous Caravan albums. But the real stunner in fact is Steve Miller on keyboards who gives the piece the fierce power it deserves. The Wurlitzer electric piano doubles the bass riffs effectively and provides some gritty jazz chords in the verses, but it's his solo at 2:14 which really immortalises Miller as a talented improviser. Effortlessly he carries himself through strangely syncopated vamps on the heavily distorted Wurlitzer - less sophisticated in the melodic architecture than Dave Sinclair's and Dave Stewart's solos, but amazingly compelling within the scope of the boogie vocabulary which you don't find too often in the Canterbury scene. A second solo spot, again adorned by Richard Sinclair's inspiringly sinuous bass lines, is taken by guest saxophonist Lol Coxhill who brings in his typical mixture of pastoral (and quasi-folk-ish) expression and jazz melodies on top of a smooth and quiet band backing which gradually gets louder until the reprise of the vocal part. A masterful song, definitely the best one on this album and also one of the very best Caravan tracks.

(I'd really like to acknowledge some concrete musicians for composing this wonderful riff which propels the lengthy instrumental part, but it's hard to reconstruct for me who it was. Curiously, Matching Mole already jammed on a modified version of this riff in 1971 (including a really cranky Dave Sinclair organ arrangement), eventually releasing it somewhere on their latest reissues. I don't want to spoil the fun and say where you can find it - just find it out for yourself if you wish. It also took me quite a long time until I knew where that riff material came from, but it was a minor revelation to me.)

There's even more spotting fun in Songs & Signs, a lovely little bossa nova/pop shuffle written by Steve Miller - and released by Miller & Coxhill under a different title in a very different arrangement. It's quite a strange tune in fact because of its interwoven vocal melodies by Sinclair and Hastings (while Hastings sings constantly in his highest register) and due to the unusual sound of the electric harpsichord, an instrument with a certain baroque ring, albeit with sharply reduced high frequencies - that's a kind of instrument which could be built more often! Apart from that there's more of Steve Miller's gorgeous Wurlitzer soloing here, this time without the distortion and wah-wah techniques.

In the folky pop song The World Is Yours, commonly ignored in most reviews of this album, there's a different kind of spotting fun: spotting what exactly Steve Miller plays. This time there's no risk to spoil anything so that I take the liberty of mentioning that Miller in fact ''only'' doubles the bass part on the electric piano. And the bass part neither consists of the root notes, nor of elaborate melodies. In fact, it is rather built around inversions of the chords used. Hence, the bass track is at least equivalent in the mix to the vocal melody, giving the whole song a kind of primitive polyphony in the vein of the 15th/16th century Renaissance-era composers. Take the hymnic melody and the soothing vocal harmonies by Richard Sinclair into account as well, and I think you'll have to admit that there's something special about this song, even if you don't agree with my far-fetched Renaissance associations. It has a late-hippie love message and there's not a single solo or puzzling arrangement here, but it's substantially clever songwriting augmented a lot by Miller's minimal contributions.

I already mentioned the In The Land Of Grey And Pink outtake Aristocracy. It appears here in accelerated speed and a slightly glam-rock-ish arrangement (wah-wah guitars, vocal FX, reverberated drums). Steve Miller is on Hammond organ again, this time providing some background chords played through the Leslie - that's perfectly alright and really adds something to the song. Note Pye Hastings' relaxed wah-wah guitar solos as well, and there you have a wonderful art-pop song, a bit along the line of Tommy James' 1968 hit Crimson And Clover.

The Love In Your Eye is a more ambivalent affair, at least to my ears. While many people rate this piece highly due to the improvised parts and the lush orchestral arrangements, I admittedly have some problems with the second half of the track in which the band rely heavily on some pretty basic soul/R&B chord progressions without filling these harmonic frames with sufficiently inspired ideas. The vocal part of the song is quite beautiful - it's a bit pompous in the chorus (in the Webber/Jesus Christ Superstar way), but still retains a charming pastoral component in the verses. The chorus, however, has this ultra-groovy percussion track running along which is really crisp, and which I definitely missed on later live versions. Overall I am pretty satisfied with that vocal part; I also am about the rousing Jimmy Hastings flute solo which follows soon after. But the solos which follow, especially the multiple Pye Hastings guitar solos, border quite a bit on uninspired noodling, eminently the very last one. After the powerful coda with these very huge piano chords and the fierce wah-wah bass by Richard Sinclair the band explodes into that funky groove again until it fades out after yet another minute of further wah-wah rhythm guitar strumming. Maybe it's really the wah-wah overload which I don't like. Anyway - it's still far from being a dull piece of music because it grooves along quite well, and the choice of tone in all of the instruments is particularly entertaining: Steve Miller uses his spacy delay+ring-modulation+whatever effect combination on the electric piano which you also find on the excellent Miller & Coxhill album The Story So Far...Oh Really? (and which Steven Wilson Band keyboarder Adam Holzman used on Luminol as well - coincidence or no coincidence?). Furthermore he's on that strange electric harpsichord again while Richard Sinclair adds a lavish amount of fuzz to the bass guitar and Pye Hastings experiments with the Leslie cabinet. Overall the track really doesn't get boring, but nonetheless it's slightly inconsistent.

The (mainly) improvised track Nothing At All/It's Coming Soon finally shows you what happens if a band manager forces a musician to be somebody else; or, to put it differently, forces a dedicated pianist to be an organist. So, what happens? To me, this brief organ solo in the very end of the track is one of the worst organ solos I've heard - a bit like the Mellotron part on Lynyrd Skynyrd's Freebird: bad tone, a complete lack of inspiration, pointless. This criticism doesn't concern Steve Miller, but mainly the management who wanted Steve Miller to be the new David Sinclair. This eventually - as the liner notes state - led to Miller's early departure from the band.

In the very same piece, however, you also find one of Steve Miller's finest compositions, seemingly the It's Coming Soon part. It's a laid-back and slightly psychedelic instrumental jazz part with a hugely sophisticated melody and harmonic pattern. Pye Hastings doubles the melody on electric guitar, and in combination with the slow-motion work this results in a perfectly soothing and dreamy atmosphere. But this part is in fact the briefest one in the piece; most of it is actually based on a steady R&B/boogie/jazz vamp with lots of improvisation by Lol Coxhill on sax, Pye Hastings and Matching Mole guitarist Phil Miller, allowing you to focus on the strikingly different playing styles of the two guitarists. When you listen to this track for the first time you might ask yourself how all of these parts can be convenient with each other. I asked this question to myself as well, and I also found an answer. Just listen to the huge contrast between the jaunty improvisation part and the bittersweet melancholia of Steve Miller's piano piece. Interestingly - and that's what I concealed until now - the band do not maintain this contrast, but rather disperse it by coupling Miller's sad melody with a reprise of the easy-going jam part. Hermeneutics would perhaps call this a dialectic synthesis of the thesis and antithesis. I'd rather prefer regarding this little twist as an inspired and inspiring reinterpretation of melodies, or rather as a 'jam with a purpose'. It would, however, been a lot better if the organ solo had been left out - it's just not the kind of towering conclusion which the band seemingly intended it to be.

The quality of the bonus material is slighty varying. Pye Hastings' little acoustic demos Ferdinand and Pye's June Thing are pretty rough and basic, but are remarkably close in their composition to what modern indie rock bands record today. One could really make good pop hits out of them in 2013. Pye's June Thing would become a power pop ballad like something by Sunrise Avenue or 3 Doors Down; Ferdinand rather goes into the laid-back direction of Jack Johnson or the famous Over The Rainbow singer Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. Looking Left, Looking Right is a funky pop song with a tricky and wicked acoustic guitar riff and a full band arrangement, featuring Steve Miller and Richard Sinclair in top form - and featuring acclaimed session player Henry Lowther on trumpet. This would have been a great album track, especially because Pye Hastings' voice had grown really tight and stable here by the time of the 1972 sessions.

The real deal, however, is Any Advance On Carpet. Unfortunately, it isn't featured on this CD, but merely on the The World Is Yours compilation. It was, however, recorded during the Waterloo Lily sessions and is an extended take on some jazzy Richard Sinclair fragments, including an early version of the Hatfield & The North piece Big Jobs and (maybe) some others. I downloaded it via Amazon and programmed it as a bonus track to Waterloo Lily; of course, I cannot rate it as part of this CD, but I can (and do!) recommend those who are interested in this line-up (or in the Canterbury Scene in general) to get hold of this track, too. Steve Miller is in fine form on that one again.

Overall this is a thoroughly enjoyable album which might not be an essential listen to everyone, but an entertaining and musically interesting addition to a jazz rock music collection. The combination of Pye Hastings' big songwriting talent and the jazz improvisation did work out very well, even though the result is quite inconsistent in places. I think I will place this one somewhere between the 3 and 4 star area, but since there's quite a lot of interesting experimentation and great songwriting here, a 4 star rating seems very appropriate.

(By the way - I've also reviewed the Coxhill & Miller catalogue here on ProgArchives, hoping that more people will explore it. Their recordings took place at roughly the same time as Waterloo Lily and give a multilateral insight into the Canterbury Scene.)

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Posted Friday, August 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars ''In the land of grey and pink'' was well received by the press, but didn't bring much of a commercial success to Caravan, who thought that the main reason was the limited promotion by Decca.As long as David Sinclair was proposed a place in the emerging Matching Mole by Robert Wyatt he left the band and his replacement was Carol Grimes and Delivery's Steve Miller.Actually Carol Grimes and Delivery would have a good representation on the next Caravan album with Steve Miller's brother Phil playing lead guitar and Lol Coxhill playing the sax.Caravan entered the Tollington Park Studios in London in November 1971 to record ''Watreloo Lilly'', helped also by Jimmy Hastings on flute, Mike Cotton on trumpet and Barry Robinson on oboe.The album was released in May 1972 on Deram, front cover is part of the painting series ''A rake's progress'' by William Hogarth.

Now the band should be partly regarded as old Caravan and partly as Delivery with this combination affecting the material, which obtained a twist towards jazzier backgrounds, always surrounded by sophisticated arrangements and the familiar dashes of British Pop.While Caravan were always known for their positive music, ''Waterloo Lilly'' even enters the territories of a happy state of mind.The music is full of changing tempos but with reduced dramatic instrumentals and leaning more towards tricky, soft and elaborate Canterbury-spiced Jazz Rock, where the instrumental parts still play a major role, but the overall atmosphere is extremely optimistic with charming vocals and naughty jazzy experimentations.With Steve Miller playing the Wurlitzer piano, grand piano, organ and harpsichord Caravan's music has a certain depth, this time featuring more loose instrumental parts with light jamming sections, while the addition of flute, oboe and trumpet will turn the music often to more orchestral enviroments.With a looser approach the album is reasonable to contain a couple of long pieces with some furious and more laid-back jazzy arrangements, containing careful guitar plays and double keyboard/piano interactions, especially the 5-part ''The love in your eye / To catch me a brother / Subsultus / Debouchement / Tilbury kecks'' is an epitome of Canterbury Prog with orchestral and jazzy overtones over complex instrumental arrangements.The short pieces contain lots of poppy vibes, especially in the vocal parts, cause the music is still grounded in a less intricate yet deeply jazzy basis.

Not the best album of early Caravan.The choice of the band to switch towards more jazzier tunes was welcome, but resulted to a lose of their strong identity as proposed in the previous album.However all tracks are really good and the aforementioned mini-epic is particularly great with some impressive instrumental ideas.Warmly recommended, albeit not totally representative of Caravan's stylistical momentum during early-70's.

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Posted Thursday, November 20, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Having come to know Caravan (and, indeed, the entire Canterbury Scene of music) only in the last ten years, I am still struggling to catch up with all of the albums I have yet to hear--including this one. I've listened to snippets over the years but I've only just indulged in ownership of this collection of diverse songs--some of which sound like they came out of vaults ("Aristocracy"), some as if hardship efforts to make hits ("World Is Yours"), some as if the studio's record button was left on all day and then the better parts were spliced together ("Nothing At All/It's Coming Soon," "Songs and Signs"). The only songs that, to my ear, sound as if they are worthy of the Caravan hall of fame are the two that sound as if some real thought and sweat went into them. "The Love in Your Eye/To Catch Me a Brother/etc." is, as most of my fellow reviewers have noted, worthy of "masterpiece" status if not quite on a par with "Nine Feet Underground" and "For Richard..." and the album's title song actually has some real thoughtful, well- rehearsed, well-played and well-recorded music throughout. It is a song that has really grown on my and to which I look forward. Overall, however, Waterloo Lilly falls short of the expectations I've come to associate with Caravan-- especially after getting to know For Girls Who Plump in the Night and If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You (which did take more time than In the Land of Grey and Pink).

3.5 stars rated down for inconsistency and a seeming lack of freshness/inspiration.

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Posted Monday, August 10, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Different but still excellent.

Caravan did a great job cultivating such a great sound from their debut to their third album, In The Land Of Gray And Pink. This was due to a stable lineup and great contributions from all members. After ITLOGAP failed to become the commercial success they had hoped, keyboardist David Sinclair left and was replaced by Steve Miller. Newcomer Steve Miller brought a more jazzy influence that was contrary to guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Pye Hastings style. The sound of the band changed since Miller sounded nothing like David Sinclair and bassist/vocalist/songwriter Richard Sinclair was very accepting of the new direction. Now the band were at odds and the album has an obvious contrast of styles. Waterloo Lily is a bit of a let-down because it sounds different from its predecessors but is still a great record in its own right.

Waterloo Lily is a rock tune with some jazzy chops. Hilarious lyrics and great playing. An excellent song and a Canterbury classic.

Nothing At All /It's Coming Soon / Nothing At All is an instrumental that starts off with a jam that maybe overstays its welcome by a few bars, very monotonous. Mid-tempoed with plenty of improvised soloing along a related riff, but the "It's Coming Soon" section makes up for it with its great melodies, variations and dynamics.

Songs And Signs is a shorter piece penned by newcomer Steve Miller. Very melodic with great vocals. Great tune.

Aristocracy is a Pye Hastings song that doesn't disappoint. A leftover from the Gray and Pink sessions. A fun poppish song although the version on the deluxe version of ITLOGAP is better IMO.

The Love In Your Eye / To Catch Me A Brother / Subsultus / Debouchement / Tilbury Kecks is the epic on the album and one of Caravan's great moments. Great melodies with a backdrop of brass and Jimmy Hastings excellent flute playing. The tune then morphs into a jam not too different than the second track but little better and maybe a little too long. Still an excellent track with lots of variation.

The World Is Yours is an acoustic Hastings penned tune that's nice but kind of weird that they chose this to end the album.

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Posted Friday, November 18, 2016 | Review Permalink
3 stars Mixed, a bit Noodle-y, but a Keeper

Perhaps not realizing just what an amazing album "In the Land of the Grey and Pink" was at the time, organist and key composer David Sinclair left the band, forcing Caravan into crisis mode for the first time (but not the last - as it turns out, Sinclair would return for the follow-up while his cousin Richard would leave). (Aside: this seemed to have been a thing in the UK at the time - once you make an excellent album it must be time to leave the band! (aka Bruford post Close to the Edge, etc)). Anyway, Caravan were able to get Steve Miller to join, adding a more jazzy and fusion-y feel to the band with his preference for the electric piano. This album feels like it was put together fairly quickly, perhaps under pressure from their record company, and there are sections that are merely jams stitched together to make them sound like planned suites (but which, of course, just sound like bits stitched together: i.e. the "Nothing at All-Its Coming Soon-Nothing at All" suite). But nonetheless, this is still one of the better Caravan albums. The title track ("Waterloo Lily") is the definite highlight, and one of the top-three Caravan songs in my opinion, with a really strong catchy melody, great singing and lyrics from Richard Sinclair, and tons of potential for improvisation (and Robert Wyatt seemed to think so too - he had Matching Mole play an instrumental version on their live gigs - a version can be heard on the "Matching Mole March" live album on Cuneiform). The other highlight is the "Love in Your Eye" suite, which despite some cheesyness contains enough musicality for repeated listening over the years. The rest of the tracks seem like filler, but much of it is fairly decent and inoffensive, even the noodly jams. On balance, I give this album 7.3 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 3 PA stars.

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Posted Sunday, February 26, 2017 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars While critics and fans alike praised the unique concoction of jazz, folk and rock on CARAVAN's third album "The Land Of The Grey And Pink," despite it all the record company and management refused to put any money into promoting the album or the band in any way which led to incredible inner tensions and ultimately resulted in the departure of David Sinclair who was seduced away by Robert Wyatt to join the ranks of Matching Mole. While dumbfounded that they had lost such a vital ingredient to their unique piano, organ and mellotron driven sound, they avoiding a complete breakup by finding one of the few musicians in Sinclair's league in the form of Steve Miller who had played with Carol Crimes & Delivery prior.

Miller was a gifted jazz musician and after finding it impossible to adapt to Sinclair's unique style of playing, the band finally settled on placing Miller's style as the focus of the band's sound and thus CARAVAN was forced to jettison their digestible psychedelic pop sound of the previous album and create a more sophisticated collection of tracks that resulted in perhaps one of the most progressive albums of their career with some of the most bold and daring instrumental deliveries of their canon.

The album was titled WATERLOO LILY and found Steve Miller pushing Pye Hastings, Richard Sinclair and Richard Coughlan into more challenging musical arenas and thus stands as one of CARAVAN's most diverse sounding albums. The beautifully performed title track which opens, really presages a future supergroup event called Hatfield And The North which finds Richard Sinclair's sole vocal performance on the album sounding like something that could have been on "The Rotter's Club." The track which exudes a bouncy bass driven swing type of groove tells the tale of a large lady of questionable reputation while the musical drive simultaneously juggles a more ambitious construct with the expected Canterbury whimsy.

The album sports two lengthy multi-suite tracks surrounded by shorter ones with vocals. The first of these spirited displays of musical playfulness is the instrumental "Nothing At All / It's A Coming Soon / Nothing At All" which delivers a beefy bass line that ties the entire track together as the guitar solos trade off with keyboards and sizzling jazzy sax runs. The groovy rhythm ties the band's previous digestible pop hooks with a more jazz-laden speakeasy swinging sort of vibe which despite the length is quite easy on the ears. The three suites linked by the bass groove are quite distinct but somehow transition with ease.

The second of these is a medley of catchy vocal oriented jazz rock with extra emphasis on symphonic backings. The track breaks into an the most outstanding instrumental performances on the album with a flute solo that sounds like it's on speed! This track is easily the most ambitious thing CARAVAN ever laid down to tape and one of my top dog favorites of their career. The remaining tracks are pop gems finding Pye Hastings in excellent vocal form with brilliant songwriting and if you are lucky enough to have newer versions there are extra bonus tracks well worth the time.

Although the Canterbury jazz-fusionists had a dedicated audience, none of these bands managed to garner success at a substantial level but for those fans CARAVAN did attain in the past, many were not too keen on the new musical style that was thrust upon them. While "The Land Of The Grey And Pink" sold poorly, WATERLOO LILY literally almost caused the band to call it quits entirely. However after some internal reflection and the decision to sack Steve Miller, luckily Hastings, Sinclair and Coughlan found that the public was beginning to catch up to their musical style and by the time they regrouped with a new team to produce "For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night," as CARAVAN was finding slightly more enthusiastic public support.

Personally i may be one of the few who finds WATERLOO LILY to be one of CARAVAN's crowning achievements musically speaking. I find this album infinitely more interesting than the more uniform and toned-down "In The Land Of The Grey And Pink." WATERLOO LILY simply adds a new gusto to the classic CARAVAN sound with beautifully performed vocal tracks side by side with sophisticated jam band instrumentals that tackle multiple suites of true progressive rock brilliance. In my world WATERLOO LILY plays second fiddle to the only album of theirs that i consider a true masterpiece "If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You."

Report this review (#1905132)
Posted Saturday, March 17, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars Probably not one of the greatest albums in Caravan's discography but still a very well done work. After the two well-diserved-five-stars previous albums ("If I could do it all over again" and "In the land of grey and pink") anybody would expect their following album would be equally great, but I feel they couldn't get that level neither in "Waterloo Lily" nor in any of their following albums.

It's not a bad album, that needs to be clear, in fact is one of my all time favourites, not one of my 100 favourites, maybe, but still I do believe it's a great work.

The opening song defends their classic sound. The album starts very well, the following songs are great too, but they don't catch the listener to really fall in love with them (at least not to me).

When the album ends I feel satisfied, because (I insist) it is a good album, but I can't feel the same magic that I always get with other Caravan albums.

Four stars...

Report this review (#2077422)
Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars Having lost their keyboard player, Waterloo Lilly still manages to capture most of the Canterbury spirit of the band with updated sound. Electric piano emerges in the keyboard array. Organ is not that dominant any longer. Some tracks are grooving. We can hear pleasant saxophone soloing.

The good thing that there are fewer radio-friendly tracks than on previous records so less pop.

"Nothing at all" is a mixture of pieces, from grooving almost funky feeling to quiet moments and also progressive complex last part.

"The love in your eye" is a decent Canterbury deputy on this album, helped with flute, strings.

Still quite a decent album before turning to soft rock.

Report this review (#2457575)
Posted Monday, October 19, 2020 | Review Permalink

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