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Camel - Rajaz CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.06 | 817 ratings

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5 stars Very surprisingly, the last two studio albums from Camel have been amongst the best one of their whole carreer (IMO). I thought that it would be very difficult to produce a better album than "Harbour Of Tears" but I was wrong. I have already mentioned the similarities in the guitar play between Andrew and Carlos (Santana, of course) in terms of feeling and emotions.

This is probably the album in which it is the most significant. Starting from the cover, and its desert look. Definitely a feeling of "Caravansera´". This is not the only one : the way Andrew caresses his guitar in some tracks ("Three Wishes", "Rajaz" and even more in "Lawrence") turns me always to this gorgeous album from Santana (five star rating in my review).

Colin Bass (already Camel's ...bass player on "I Can See..." in 1979), had given Latimer a book entitled 'World Music - A Rough Guide'. In the section on Arabic music, Latimer read about a form of musical poetry called 'rajaz'. Sung in ancient times, 'rajaz' was a spontaneous composition inspired by the rhythm of the camels footsteps to help the weary travelers reach their destination. Latimer was very enthusiast about the idea that the rhythm of the camel would help people reach their journey's end.

The only average track on "Rajaz" is "Shout". But when we think of Camel in the eighties, this one would have been a highlight on any of these poor releases.

"Straight To My Heart" is a very personal song : "I was born in '49, in a family of four. Father had his own band just after the war. My brother and I had a radio and every night we'd share, waves from Luxembourg that came though the air. Days were full of music and nights were the same. And though the songs are different now some things never change... I can't explain the way I feel. Why, even to this day, I still love the sound of that red guitar. It takes my breath away and goes my heart".

The track ends again with a fabulous guitar break. If heaven is like this : I would like to go to heaven. If this is hell, then let's go to hell !

Most of the tracks are also quite lenghty for which I cannot complain about. The whole album is pure magic, melody, tranquility and emotion. I just love this album since the very first time I spun it. This is by far the most guitar-oriented album from Camel. It is just great.

"Lawrence" is my favorite (remininscent of "Ice") and closes the album superbly. It is one of the longest Camel's studio number. ABSOLUTELY MARVELOUS.

So for me it was a love at first sight and still remains so. I hope it will be the same for you. I would highly recommend this album to newcomers to Camel.

One could only have hoped that Camel would also release a live album from their "Rajaz" tour. Some semi-official (or semi-boot) ones were available for review some time ago but have disapeared from the list. Those were "Camelitis-Live In Chile" and "Live In Sa§ Paulo".

Tracklist for Chile was : "Three Wishes - Echoes" (14'35"), "Rhayader - Rhayader Goes to Town" (8'), "Ice" (9'02") this version being the best one of this great song, "Chord Change" (7'51"), "Watching The Bobbins" (7'04"), "Fingertips" (5'49"), "Rajaz" (9'28") just superb, "Sahara" (6'58"), "Mother Road - Little Rivers" (16'17") and "Lady Fantasy" (18'09").

This will be partially featured on "The Paris Collection". But tracklist is better and numbers more emotionally played in Live In Chile (the interaction with the audience is really nice and very natural. Andrew attempting some Spanish which is always nice for the audience, it demonstrates that you CARE about them). It was recorded on April 1st, 2001 in Santiago de Chile.

Anyway, five stars for Rajaz.

ZowieZiggy | 5/5 |


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