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Camel - Rainbow's End - A Camel Anthology 1973-1985 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.98 | 46 ratings

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Symphonic Team
2 stars Homage to the gods of Symphonic Prog

As the title indicates this is an anthology covering the period of 1973 to 1985 (when Camel was singed to the Decca label). Any self-respecting progressive Rock fan has at least a handful of Camel's studio albums from this period as well as a couple of live albums. Insofar as this applies to you, the present four-disc anthology set--though brimful of excellent music--is not essential in addition to the band's regular album output unless you are a major fan and serious collector of everything Camel.

Some people may perhaps suggest that a set like this is useful to the newcomer as an introduction and overview of the band's career, but I would insist that a newcomer would be better off just going straight to Camel's regular albums. Before you are half-way through the first disc of this anthology, you're going to want to rush out and buy Camel's first two albums anyway, if you don't have them already. And if you have the re- mastered CD version of Camel's self-titled debut, you also have (as a bonus track) Homage To The God Of Light already which also opens disc two of this anthology set. I am not certain that this is the very same recording of this live number as I haven't compared them side to side, but I do believe they are the same (the running time is the same: 19 minutes and a couple of seconds). It is an early number that Camel never recorded in the studio (but it came originally from Peter Bardens' first solo album The Answer from 1970). This instrumental is more of a Psychedelic jam kind of thing than a structured Symphonic Prog epic in the vein of The Snow Goose. As such, it is rather uncharacteristic of Camel, being somewhere between Pink Floyd and Santana. A good one though it is.

This anthology follows a roughly chronological order with a few exceptions. There is a mix of studio and live tracks with most of the studio tracks being identical to the familiar album versions. As far as I noticed, the only exception to speak of is the song that gave its title to this set, namely Rainbow's End, which here is presented in an edited "single version". Another exception is the very slightly elongated "original mix" of Lady Fantasy. But if you have the re-mastered CD version of Mirage, you will have that version too already (among the bonus tracks). There is also one studio track here that I had never heard before (in any version), and that was In The Arms Of The Waltzing Frauleins. But if you have the expanded re-release of Stationary Traveler (which I obviously don't!), then you do have this one as well (plus an extended studio version of Pressure Points).

When it comes to the live tracks included in this set there are a few interesting ones. On the first disc we find live versions of Ligging At Louis and Arubaluba from BBC Radio One "In Concert" and Supertwister live at the Marquee Club. I believe the latter was also a bonus track on the Mirage CD, but the former two I think might not be available elsewhere in these exact versions. On disc two there are live versions of Preparation and Dunkirk (originally from The Snowgoose) recorded live at the Royal Albert Hall with The London Symphony Orchestra. I believe that these versions are identical to those that appeared on A Live Record. Later on the same disc there are a further couple of live tracks in Chord Change and Another Night (both originally from Moonmadness). On disc three there are a few tracks recorded live at Colston Hall. I suspect these are the same as those that appear on A Live Record (some as bonus tracks). Finally, on disc four there are two sets of live tracks. At the beginning of the disc there are four ones from BBC Radio One "In Concert" featuring tracks originally from Nude plus Summer Lightning originally from Breathless. The latter I don't think I have heard in any live version before. At the end of the disc there are a further handful of live tracks from the Stationary Traveler tour. Again, I'm not certain if these are the exact same recordings that are featured on Pressure Points, but if you have that live album you have all of these songs.

Camel is one of the very best progressive Rock bands and this set contains many of their best works. However, as usual with this kind of anthology, the best sources for this material are the regular studio and live albums. Rainbow's End probably makes a fine collectors item (I have it only through Spotify), but otherwise it is primarily for fans.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |


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