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Friday, July 12, 2013

Caravan - Waterloo Lily (1972 uk, incredible progressive rock, canterbury scene, japan extra tracks remaster)

David Sinclair departed Caravan and Steve Miller arrived. If that was a reason this album ditches a lot of the nice, folksy pop songs of 'In The Land Of...' to replace them with long, jam based tunes - then that was a line-up change to be regretted! The playing remains exemplary, but there are few actual songs here. The opening title track is a case in point. I'm not going to be harsh or anything, because this does still contain melody amid the many instrumental parts and solo parts that are always impressively played - but there is something a little soulless about this. 

The second track just really continues from the first, but is ever more jam based, sounds like it wasn't so much written as made up from hours of improvisation. It doesn't sound like a song, lacks a central theme or melody but does contain lots of great playing. It's not bad, don't get me wrong. It's actually fairly enjoyable but it lacks a certain character and distinctiveness. 'Songs And Signs' is better from a writing point of view. It's less than four minutes long, opens with very quiet, mellow vocals and a fairly bare musical backing. But, an atmosphere is created. It's not song packed with thrills or melody but it does withstand repeated listening, and actually gains from such listening.

'Aristocracy' is a nice little piece of funky playing and in fact, would have made a great album opener! It would have indicated a change of style and/or pace but not alienated fans of the groups previous records. 'The Love In Your Eye' suite is twelve minutes long. It opens with some nice string parts around a very quiet and mellow vocal. The bass comes in, the drums - the song picks up pace whilst remaining nicely mellow. The strings add to the track rather than become an unnecessary embellishment, and this is enjoyable listening. It does descend slightly towards a mindless Jam to close, but never mind that for now. 

'The World Is Yours' wraps up the album, and actually becomes a highlight of the entire record for me. This is a lot simpler in structure than much else of what's contained on the album, has a nice melody and comes across as charming within well played instrumental parts rather than relying on well played instrumental parts to carry the track alone. We need melody in this world, and 'The World Is Yours' has plenty of it! A nice enough album on the whole, this 'Waterloo Lily' - there is nothing really bad here, but equally so few genuine highlights. The quality of the playing earns it an extra half point to bring it above being disposable.
by Adrian Denning

1.  Waterloo Lily - 6:47
2.  Nothing At All /It's Coming Soon  (S. Miller)/ Nothing At All - Reprise - 10:25
3.  Songs And Signs (S. Miller) - 3:39
4.  Aristocracy - 3:03
5.  The Love In Your Eye / To Catch Me A Brother / Subsultus / Debouchement / Tilbury Kecks - 12:31
6.  The World Is Yours - 3:41
7.  Pye's June Thing - 2:57
8.  Ferdinand - 2:57
9.  Looking Left, Looking Right /Pye's Loop  - 6:56
All songs by R. Coughlan, P. Hastings, R. Sinclair except where indicated

*Richard Coughlan - Drums, Percussion
*Pye Hastings - Vocals, Guitars
*Steve Miller - Keyboards
*Richard Sinclair - Vocals, Bass
*Mike Cotton - Trumpet
*Lol Coxhill - Soprano Saxophone
*Colin Frechter - String Arrangement
*Jimmy Hastings - Flute, Tenor Saxophone
*Phil Miller - Guitar
*Barry Robinson - Oboe

the journey of Caravan
1968  Caravan (Japan SHM remaster)
1970  If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You (Japan SHM remaster)
1971  In The Land Of Grey And Pink (Japan SHM remaster)

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1 comment:

  1. Love any considered review of this classic album. I must differ however with your feeling that an abandonment of song structure places this album below "Grey and Pink". In my opinion it is far and above a greater album - with more imaginative playing, songs that are wittier and better sung - and the best Caravan epic in "Love in Your Eye" that was ever recorded. The jazz and improv direction that Miller and Sinclair take the band in provide a carnival of crude delights and make the keyboard work on "Grey and Pink" sound almost child-like in comparison. Lastly, one can hear the WHOLE band contributing their chops - not just David Sinclair being assigned solo spots - or solo driven compositions.