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Caravan - Waterloo Lily CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.77 | 584 ratings

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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.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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