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Camel - The Snow Goose (Re-recording) CD (album) cover

THE SNOW GOOSE (RE-RECORDING)

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

4.27 | 311 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Better than the original!

I am usually somewhat sceptical when a band decides to re-record one of their classic albums. But when I heard that Camel had re-recorded The Snow Goose, I was intrigued as I have always thought that this particular album deserved to be re-recorded. I have always found the original Snow Goose a bit timid and lacking in edge (and just generally not up to the high standard of the superb albums that surrounded it: Mirage and Moonmadness). Whenever bits and pieces of The Snow Goose has been performed live and included on various recent live releases (like the excellent Coming Of Age and Never Let Go sets), the material has been given extra energy and added "punch" that was missing on the original recording. I am happy to say that the band has gone to some lengths to remedy some of the insufficiencies of the 1975 classic with this 2013 re-recording.

The differences between the old and the new versions are rather subtle however, and you should not expect any radical departures from the original album. This is a somewhat revised and enhanced re-recording of a familiar work, not a novel reinterpretation of it. The context matters here since the band was preparing and rehearsing for a tour in which they were planning to perform The Snow Goose album in its entirety when the idea to re-record it in the studio arose. Also, Andy Latimer had just recovered from a very serious illness that he thankfully managed to survive and the band had no new material. In these circumstances it made sense for them to revive and revise an older classic and record the new arrangement of it to promote the tour. The band here consists of Latimer on guitars, keyboards, and flute, Colin Bass on bass guitar, Guy LeBlanc on keyboards, and Denis Clement on drums (with the four of them occasionally borrowing each others' instruments as can be seen by studying the individual credits for each track).

The new arrangement stays rather faithful to the original though one notices right away that this new version is about six and a half minutes longer in total. Four tracks that have been subtitled 'revised edition'. These are Sanctuary, Migration, Rhayader Alone, and Epitaph. Sanctuary, Migration, Rhayader Alone, and La Princesse Perdue have been noticibly elongated. On Migration the wordless vocalisations of the original have been replaced by electric guitar to great effect. What I still tend not to like though are the orchestral overtones on a few passages that have been recreated here, like that horrible crumhorn sound on Friendship. I would have preferred them to replace that with 'normal' keyboard sounds. But overall I think that this new version is both worthwhile and in several ways an improvement over the original.

The disc comes in a simple but very nice digi-pack with also the cover art having been improved. The new recording is dedicated to Peter Bardens who passed away in 2002, and Doug Ferguson and Andy Ward are also acknowledged for "their valued contributions to the original concept, development and recording of The Snow Goose, which have endured to this day".

The original Snow Goose is actually my least favourite of Camel's four first albums and this re-make does not change that, but it has made me award an extra star compared to the original. Having at least one version of this classic of Symphonic Prog in your collection is essential. (Though, probably only fans like me will feel the need to have both versions.)

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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