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Camel - Camel On The Road 1972 CD (album) cover

CAMEL ON THE ROAD 1972

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

3.69 | 115 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 67

Camel was formed in 1971 when the former band members of a band called The Brew, Andrew Latimer, Andy Ward and Doug Ferguson recruited another member Peter Bardens. After an initial presentation to a meeting under the name On, they changed their name to Camel and performed in the 4th of December, of the same year, their first live presentation at Waltham Forest Technical College, in London. And so, it was born and emerged a band that would become as one of the best and most influential progressive rock bands in the world, even in our days.

'Camel On The Road 1972' is chronologically the third live album of Camel and despite have been recorded in 1972, it was only released twenty years later in 1992. The most curious and interesting fact with this live album is due to the date of the recordings of the album. In reality, this is truly the debut record of the group. In fact, their debut studio album, their eponymous 'Camel', was recorded only one year later of the recordings of this one, in 1973.The line up of this live album is Andrew Latimer (vocals and guitar), Peter Bardens (vocals and keyboards), Doug Ferguson (vocals and bass) and Andy Ward (drums). This is the original and classic line up of the band who performed in their four first studio albums, which are in general considered their best studio albums, and which is also considered the best line up of the group, ever.

'Camel On The Road 1972' contains only four songs and we can say that it's a kind of a live mini EP. As Camel mentioned on the sleeve notes of the album, this live album is an official bootleg. The first track 'Lady Fantasy' was written by Camel and is a live version of the song originally released on their second studio album 'Mirage'. The second track 'Six Ate' was written by Latimer and is a live version of the song originally released on their eponymous debut studio album 'Camel'. The third track 'White Rider' was also written by Latimer and is a live version of the song originally released also on their second studio album 'Mirage'. The fourth and last track 'God Of Light Revisited' was written by Bardens and was never released on any studio album of the band, despite being regularly incorporated into many of their live shows, mainly during this first musical period of Camel. This song was originally released on the debut solo studio album of Bardens, 'The Answer', released in 1970, with the name of "Homage To The God Of Light'.

It's interesting to note and it's also very curious that 'Lady Fantasy' and 'White Rider' weren't released on their debut studio album, 'Camel', like 'Six Ate' was, but only on their second studio album 'Mirage' released only two years later, in 1974. Once more we can also see the careful and perfect balance between the two main writers of the songs on Camel, at the time. There is a song of the band, a song of Bardens and despite that there are two songs of Latimer, the duration of them are approximately equal to those of Bardens.

About the live performance of the songs, what I can say is that 'Lady Fantasy' and 'White Rider', are two fantastic songs which have contributed to 'Mirage' be one of the best studio albums of the band. They're two of my favourite songs of Camel, too. Both songs are excellently performed live. The sound isn't perfect of course, but it's really great, for a bootleg album. 'Six Ate' is also a good song but is inferior to the other two songs, to my taste. However, the live performance is a typical live track of Camel and is also excellent. 'God Of Light Revisited' is an instrumental song more psychedelic and experimental that goes very well when performed live. This is a great piece of music performed live, superiorly. It's a pure psychedelic and experimental improvised version that sounds really great. My first contact with this song was in my version of their debut album 'Camel', as a bonus track. The live version, on that album, was recorded live at the famous and mythical Marquee Club at 29th October 1974 and was previously unreleased.

Conclusion: As I said before, 'Camel On The Road 1972' is a short live album with only four songs. Anyway, 'Camel On The Road 1972' is a very good live album, with very inspired live performances of the original studio songs. However, don't be fooled by the minimalistic cover and date of the show. This is really a quality recording of the band on their very first tour together. I like very much the energy and vibe all over the album. It's true that the sound quality of the album isn't perfect, but after the digital treatment made on it, it's quite acceptable. And we can't also forget that this is a bootleg album recorded in 1972. Of course we can't say that it's an essential release, but you will not regret if you buy it. Again, the fidelity and the overall quality are quite good. So, I've no hesitation in saying that this is an excellent addition to any progressive collection, especially if you are a hard fan of the band, as I am. This is a very special live album of Camel and is a real live testimony that shows how great this band was when they performed live.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |

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