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Caravan - Waterloo Lily CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.77 | 585 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

NetsNJFan | 4/5 |


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