Camel Import, Original recording remastered
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This is of course a progressive rock album, and it's progressive in every way. Both rhythm and melody circle each other like duelling snakes. Within these circles you can hear snatches of jazz and the occasional snippet of a blues riff. The best examples are the instrumental, "Six Ate" as well as "Curiousity". The album closes with the fine heavy meltdown of "Arubaluba".
Of the bonus tracks, my CD didn't include the single edit of Curiosity. Never Let Go, strangely enough, sounds somewhat murkier that the album version. All will be forgiven, however, when you listen to Homage To The God of Light, which has captured Camel in heavy jam mode. In all, the debut album by Camel is one of the great overlooked gems of progressive rock, that has been overshadowed by the more commercially successful albums of Mirage and Snowgoose that came after. This was a band that hit the ground running and kept going for 30 more years.
The musicians on this debut comprise the classic Camel lineup including great guitarist Andy Latimer (vocals on Slow Yourself Down and Separation); keyboardist Peter Bardens (Hammond organ, mellotron, VCS3, acoustic piano, and vocals on Never Let Go), great drummer Andy Ward; and bassist Doug Ferguson (vocals on Mystic Queen and Curiousity. All of the guys are fantastic musicians and the vocals are not bad at all, although they do not seem very confident about their vocal abilities. Andy Latimer is a great guitarist and easily quotes from range of styles. I also like Pete's use of the synthesizers and the mellotron - he was a very tasteful player and knew exactly where certain sounds worked best on this album. I guess it is worth noting that synthesizer use is pretty scarce on this album, although synthesizers would be used a lot on subsequent albums. Sadly Pete Bardens passed away in 2002, and this reissued album was dedicated to him.
The seven tracks on the album are all in the 4-7 minute range and are great examples of Camels jazzy, yet very English, brand of progressive rock. In fact, the instrumental track Six Ate is probably the best illustration on the album of Camel's ability to seamlessly mix jazzy and prog styles together.Read more ›
I don't know what it is about Camel's debut that makes it so great. I can tell you one thing, it took a few serious listens to get into this album. The instrumental parts (which is a HUGE portion of the album) REALLY jump all over the place, going from one beautiful guitar melody straight into another, without letting up. We're talking some *serious* jumping!
Because the instrumental parts are all over the place, it takes time to remember the music but I guarantee if you're a big prog-rock fan eventually the instrumental shifts will click and become exciting for you.
It's funny though, because as complex and melodic as the many guitar parts on this album are, the singer gives the listener very simple melodies that should take NO time at all getting into.
Let me mention a few of the songs. "Mystic Queen" and "Never Let Go" give me the strangest pictures. I don't know what it is about these two songs, but unusual feelings enter the dreamy part of my head every time I listen to them. It's weird because both of these songs are beautiful and soothing, and yet so DARK and haunting at the same time! Nothing should be giving off such strong, creepy feelings. Right now I can't think of another album that gives me the creeps more than this album. And I can't understand why! Something in the music scares the crap out of me and I'll probably never figure out what it is.Read more ›
"Slow Yourself Down" and "Mystic Queen" are a great way to start this trip back in time. "Six Ate" is one of the highlights with the whole band shining on this instrumental gem. "Separation" is just a simple rock and roll song, that is well done. "Never Let Go" is a Camel classic and the one that sticks in your head after the album is over. Just a great classic rock song.
"Curiosity" is a blues influenced song that sounds a little like early Caravan. Latimer is a talented guitar player and with Bardens form a great pair that would go on to produce some of the best mellow rock ever played. I just love the stripped down sound of this song. "Arubaluba" finishes off the original LP and it is a Peter Bardens written jam. Andy Ward sticks out on this one and proves why he was considered a drum prodigy. Never let is be said that Camel couldn't rock.
There are two bonus tracks: one is the single version of "Never Let Go" and is not really necessary, but the second bonus track is the gem of this package. "Homage To The God of Light" was recorded live in October of 1974 at the Marquee Club. Taken from a Peter Bardens solo album and turned into a 19 jam session.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As always camel has soul stirring Melody's fused with hard rocking jams.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Still a good album. Too bad I didn't realize that my Camel Productions copy was already remastered. Oh look, a bonus track!!Published 3 months ago by Synth on a Plinth
Why would you check the comments? This is the album Camel by the band Camel. No need for further explanation.Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
Let's face it. If you are looking in to buying a Camel record you are probably in to progressive rock music.
This record is good. It is 70's era prog. Read more
Okay yeah, I used the word groovy to describe something, if that makes me lame so be it. But there really is no better word to describe this 1973 debut album by one of progressive... Read morePublished on February 26, 2014 by Musicman1967