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Camel - Camel CD (album) cover

CAMEL

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

3.96 | 1187 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 63

This is my fifth review of a Camel's album. The others are their second, third and fourth studio albums 'Mirage', 'The Snow Goose' and 'Moonmadness' which were released in 1974, 1975 and 1976 respectively, and their debut live album 'A Live Record' released in 1978. In 1972 the band signed with MCA Records and the result of it was this musical work 'Camel', their eponymous debut studio album which was released in 1973.

'Camel' has seven tracks. The first track 'Slow Yourself Down' written by Andrew Latimer and Andy Ward is a great song to open the album and represents, to my taste, the third best song on the album. This song features great organ work by Peter Bardens and is very well accompanied with a relaxed vocal work. A great rhythm section was also created by Doug Fergusson and Ward. The second track 'Mystic Queen' written by Bardens represents, for me, the second best track on the album. The song is absolutely sublime and is one of the two highest points of the album. It represents another great song with a good organ work by Bardens, perfectly accompanied with a tasteful Latimer's guitar solo. It has also a great performance on the drums by Ward. The third track 'Six Ate' written by Latimer is, in my humble opinion, the weakest point of the album. But, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that it's a bad song. What I'm saying is that the song can be, sometimes, a little bit repetitive and represents the lower point on the album. The fourth track 'Separation' written also by Latimer is the shortest song on the album. It's a very good song with some slow parts and with a very powerful and superb ending. This is another great song. The fifth track 'Never Let Go' is another Latimer's song and that eventually gave its name to a live album of the band. It's also one of the lengthiest tracks on the album. It's my favourite song on the album and one of my favourite songs from the group. It's a wonderful piece of music with the only appearance of Bardens on vocals. He gave an amazing keyboard solo very well accompanied by a marvellous Latimer's flute work, too. The sixth track 'Curiosity' written by Bardens is a song with a strong bass line featured by Ferguson. This is a typical Camel's track with a good writing composition. It's also another very good song, in the same line of the rest of the musical material found in here. The seventh track 'Arubaluba' also written by Bardens is the closing song on the album. It's an instrumental track that represents the lengthiest song on the album. This is one of the best songs on the album, and in my point of view, it's in the fourth place. It's a very strong track with great guitar performances, an interesting organ work and a good complementary job made by Fergusson and Ward.

My CD version has also two bonus tracks. As I usually say, I don't review bonus tracks mainly because of two reasons. First, bonus tracks don't make part of the original album and so, they shouldn't influence the album's review. Second, unfortunately in the most of the cases, the bonus tracks don't have good quality and are added without much criterion. Luckily, this isn't the case. Despite the first bonus track 'Never Let Go' not bring anything new to the album, because is simply a shorter single version of the original track, with the second bonus track we can't say the same. 'Homage To The God Of Light' is a 19 minutes live version of an original track written by Bardens, which was originally recorded on his solo studio album 'The Answer' released in 1970. This is really a great piece of music performed live superiorly. The track is full of free musical improvisations by all the band's members with extended psychedelic improvisation sounds and where all the musicians show their musical competence. This track was recorded live at the famous and mythical Marquee Club at 29th October 1974, and was previously unreleased. Unfortunately, it's shocking to think that this live version of 'Homage To The God Of Light' was hidden for so many years. I'm perfectly convinced that if this track has been released on the original album, it might be considered a truly masterpiece.

Conclusion: 'Camel' is a great debut album from the band. In my humble opinion, it has two tracks that deserve to be rated with 5 stars 'Mystic Queen' and 'Never Let Go', four tracks that deserve 4 stars 'Slow Yourself Down', 'Separation', 'Curiosity' and 'Arubaluba' and one track that deserve only 3 stars 'Six Ate'. So, the final average of this album is between 4 and 4,5 stars. So, I decided to rate it with 4 stars. Sincerely, I think that it missed very few to it to can achieve the status of a masterpiece, which fortunately would happen, with their three following studio albums. This is really a great starting point if you want to listen to Camel as a newbie. This is an album very catchy and easy to get into, especially for the beginners. It's an amazing musical work, especially as a first album of any band. Don't get be repelled by the fact that it isn't very known and popular, compared with some of their other studio albums. This is a great album, probably the most simple, pure and naive of all their studio albums. Sincerely, I deeply recommend it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |

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