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Caravan Cool Water album cover
2.47 | 28 ratings | 6 reviews | 11% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1994

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Cool Water (4:07)
2. Just The Way You Are (3:43)
3. Tuesday Is Rock And Roll Nite (4:21)
4. The Crack Of The Willow (5:35)
5. Ansaphone (4:59)
6. Cold Fright (5:21)
7. Side By Side (4:40)
8. You Won't Get Me Up In One Of Those (3:54)
9. To The Land Of My Fathers (4:56)
10. Poor Molly (5:54)
11. Send Reinforcements (4:48)

Total Time: 52:18

Line-up / Musicians

- Richard Coughlan / percussion, drums
- Pye Hastings / guitar (acoustic), guitars, vocals
- Geoff Richardson / guitars, flute, violin, vocals, soloist
- Dave Sinclair / organ, piano, keyboards, Mini Moog
- Mike Wedgewood / bass

Releases information

HTD #CD 18

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CARAVAN Cool Water ratings distribution

(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(11%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (39%)
Poor. Only for completionists (11%)

CARAVAN Cool Water reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
1 stars Sorry Pye , but this one sucks. I heard this was originally songs to come out in the late 70's but by hearing them they would've been sub-par to those also . Be careful, everybody as this got released with a new cover recently , but the material is the same.
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not a bad album considering it came out after all the moth balls were dusted off! Audio is notably poor and Pye confirms that on the CD but there are some really clever pieces reminiscent of Blind Dogs and Better By Far. Tracks worth mentioning are The Crack of the Willow, Send reinforcements and Side by Side
Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This album contains material, recorded by Caravan in studio in 1977. Recordings spent 17 years somewhere in the vaults before they were released for a first time. Obviously material wasn't developed till the end, so many songs sound more as demos with simplistic arrangements and poor sound mix.

But main problem with this album isn't mix or arrangements, but the songs themselves. Band well known by their melodic folk-pop influenced Canterbury sound in early 70-s recorded there just a collection of simple, but melodic pop-rock songs. In a key of Crosby,Stills and Nash, or Brian Wilson.

Not too many traces of Canterbury sound could be find there. Just very average pop-rock album vice nice vocals harmonies. For collectors only.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Caravan's Cool Water is derived from two very different Caravan quartets. The first seven tracks were recorded back in 1977 by the lineup of Pye Hastings, Jan Schelhaas, Richard Coughlan, and a returning Richard Sinclair, with the intention of demoing material for the followup to Better By Far. A friendly tip-off warned them that they were about to be dropped from Arista, and so the band kept hold of the tape.

Fast forward to the early 1990s, when the HTD label became interested in releasing Caravan material - new or archival. Pye dusted off the tapes, gave them a polish-up, and then recorded the last four tracks on this release to fluff this up to full album length. These later tracks were performed by a lineup of Pye himself, plus Jimmy Hastings on sax (a logical call given that Jimmy was a regular guest on classic-era Caravan albums), Rod Edwards on keyboards, John Gustavson of Quatermass, Roxy Music, and Ian Gillian Band fame on bass, and Marillion's Ian Mosley on drums. (Notably, Pye's own son Julian Hastings handled the production desk.)

What do we get out of this patched-together package, then? Well, if you were hoping for some of Caravan's proggier material, you'll be sorely disappointed here, but then again Caravan themselves seemed to give up on trying to produce new longer-form pieces well before this (the "Grubby Little Oik" suite on Blind Dog At St Dunstans being the last gasp of that side of their songwriting).

Instead, what you get here for the most part is whimsical, sunny, quirky pop with a progressive sheen to it. That may bug some listeners, though it's worth noting that this sort of thing has been a component of Caravan's music from the start - think of their debut album, think of Golf Girl from In the Land of Grey and Pink, think most especially of the post- Blind Dog studio albums.

The thing is, mildly progressive art-pop with an air of gentle whimsy might have been all the rage in the 1960s, when Caravan had their roots, but by 1977 the appetite of the mass audience had shifted. In retrospect, it's no surprise that Arista passed on this material. It's not that it's bad - in fact, it's optimistic, sunny, and under the right circumstances I find it a real mood-lifter - it's just that, even with that dirty, funky bassline on Ansaphone or the disco atmosphere on Cold Fright, it still was deeply unfashionable at the time.

One might speculate about this being a reaction to punk, though to be honest I'm more inclined to see it the natural continuation of the path the band were taking on Better By Far. In principle, shutting these tapes in a safe and then pulling them out after enough time had passed to give them the air of nostalgia and a "lost album" was probably the right call, because I can't imagine this would have fared any better in 1977 had it been released then.

That said, Cool Water dropped right in the middle of the grunge era, so it wasn't exactly going to find an enthusiastic mainstream audience then either. Of course, you're looking at the early days of Internet prog fandom coalescing at around this time, and that audience might have been very excited about a lost Caravan album - had the music on it been something like Nine Feet Underground. As it is, the prog fandom of the time doesn't seem to have embraced the lost 1977 tapes all that much either.

What of the new songs? Well, they're in more or less the same vein in terms of being jaunty pop numbers with Canterbury inflections; Ian Mosely seems to enjoy adding a bit more of a jazzy vibe to his playing than is typical of his work with Marillion, for instance. Unfortunately, the production takes a notable hit - clearly, these tracks were knocked out in a hurry in a less-than-stellar studio setup, but when your 1990s-era tracks don't sound as nice as some 15-year- old demos something has clearly gone rather wrong. You Won't Get Me Up In One of Those is probably the worst of these tracks; To the Land of My Fathers manages something of a course correction, announcing itself with a lagubrious instrumental section and mellow sax solo that establishes a nice, dreamy texture that's missing from much of the rest of the album and makes a nice change of pace.

In the end, then, Cool Water seems to have been destined to be appreciated only by the Caravan die-hards. If, like me, you're one of those freaks who thinks Better By Far is better than Cunning Stunts (because Cunning Stunts doesn't know whether it wants to be full-on prog or a prog-tinged art-pop album, whilst Better By Far at least knows what it wants to be and tackles that head on), and who loves the poppier side of Caravan as much as their prog side, then Cool Water might be interesting to take a dip in. It's far from essential, though, and may be best thought of as a solid 1978 EP with a short 1990s-era demo attached.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Lush pop. Lushy, slushy, mushy, wishy, washy pop. I LOVE it. Stone me just like in that silly Bob Dylan song and dismiss me as a blasphemous, hypocritical Judas for not basing my rating of this album on progressiveness but rather the quality and effort put into the songwriting because this is ... (read more)

Report this review (#291917) | Posted by LionRocker | Monday, July 26, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I got my hands on this CD recently, despite the warnings I have read. First of all I must admit, that this is not a progressive rock, but somekind of "easy listening" with poor production. In the other hand this "easy listening" is done in professional manner (at least in musical aspect) and if ... (read more)

Report this review (#87376) | Posted by arxx | Wednesday, August 16, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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