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Camel - The Snow Goose CD (album) cover

THE SNOW GOOSE

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

4.29 | 2071 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nš 8

Camel was my second love after Genesis. In 1975 I bought "The Snow Goose", my second vinyl record, soon after I've purchased my first, "Selling England By The Pound" of Genesis. As I've offered my vinyl copy of "Selling England By The Pound" to my then girlfriend and today I still have my vinyl copy of "The Snow Goose", it became my oldest album in my modest musical collection.

Curiously, "The Snow Goose" is my second review from the band, is my second album in my vinyl collection and is my second favourite studio work from the group. But this is only a mere coincidence.

Camel is one of the most respected groups in the universe of progressive music. In my opinion, "The Snow Goose" makes part of an essential trilogy of Camel, complemented by their second studio album "Mirage", released in 1974 and by their fourth studio album "Moonmadness", released in 1976. Of course we can't forget their great eponymous debut studio album "Camel", released in 1973. These four studio albums correspond indeed of what we can call today as their golden musical era. The biggest responsible for that, was undoubtedly the pair of the main composers of the band formed by Andrew Latimer and Peter Bardens, who are usually considered some of the best and most creative of all time. And they deservedly belong to one of the best duos of composers of the progressive rock music.

"The Snow Goose" remains as one of my favourite albums and it's also one of the albums of the 70's that actually I listen more, especially when I need to listen some quiet music in some relaxing moments. For me, it has the real nostalgic effect of relaxing and let me feel perfectly well. It reminds me the past of my youth, something pleasant but far away from me now. Camel remains as the band from the 70's I listen more, with Genesis, in nowadays.

The line up on "The Snow Goose" is Andrew Latimer (vocals, flute, electric, acoustic and slide guitars), Peter Bardens (organ, mini moog, pipe organ, electric and acoustic piano), Doug Ferguson (bass) and Andy Ward (vibes, drums and percussion).

"The Snow Goose" or "Music Inspired By The Snow Goose", as you wish, is the third studio album by Camel and was released in 1975. It's a concept album divided into sixteen parts and where all the songs were written by both main composers, Latimer and Bardens. The album reached silver status in 1981, and is considered by many, critics and fans, their most accessible musical work. This is a very different album, compared with the majority of progressive studio albums, because is an instrumental work, with no lyrics and with an orchestral instrumentation. This is very unusual, but I don't think that it's properly a bad thing. On the contrary, I like very much of instrumental works. This is a very atmospheric album, very accessible, and is characterized by short and very melodic songs. Musically, this is a typical symphonic album, with great space keyboards by Bardens, and with splendid guitar solos by Latimer.

"The Snow Goose" is a concept album. Its concept is based on a very short and sentimental novella written by the American author Paul Gallico, originally named "The Snow Goose: A Story of Dunkirk". The tale is about the love of a painter Philip Rhayader, an artist living a solitary life, by a young local girl named Fritha. It still is about the friendship of these two human beings with a snow goose, wounded by a gunshot, a many miles from home, which was found by Fritha and treated by her. The story is set in the World War II, when the British troops retreated from Dunkirk, in the north of France, under fire of the Nazi troops. In short, the story is a very simple and small parable about the regenerative power of the friendship and love in the horror of the war.

Conclusion: In my humble opinion, "The Snow Goose" became to be the Camel's breakthrough album, which finally defined their future style, musically and conceptually. Musically, on their subsequent albums, they wrote shorter songs, in the vein of "The Snow Goose", with a very strong sense of melody and with solos that supported the melody. Conceptually, in the most instrumental concept album format, this concept would be used again, several times in the 80's and 90's, on some of their other studio albums like "Nude", "Dust And Dreams" and "Harbour Of Tears". Definitely, this concept album is a masterpiece of symphonic progressive rock. It's an incredible instrumental piece of music, with good combined work between organ and guitar, performed in various musical styles. It's a beautiful and graceful album, where all the songs are short. It's different from many other studio albums, with no lyrics but with a clear poetic message. It's a very classic musical work. For me, it's the most nostalgic and beautiful piece of music that Camel has ever created. Sincerely, this is one of the best progressive albums ever made.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |

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