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Camel - Dust And Dreams CD (album) cover

DUST AND DREAMS

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

3.66 | 480 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 86

"Dust And Dreams" is the eleventh studio album of Camel and was released in 1991. After the release of their second live album "Pressure Points" in the late of 1984, the band disappeared from the media without ads. For a few years Andrew Latimer was fighting with lawyers to get some due royalties and to resolve the problems with their former manager. Both, Latimer and Decca, amicably agreed to put an end to their contract, which was made on April 10th, 1985. After the end of the contract with Decca, Latimer wasn't interested in other record labels. To avoid more waste of time and energy, Latimer and his wife Susan Hoover decided to sell his London's house and moved from England to California. So, Camel was able to create their own record label, which was called Camel Productions. He used the money from the sales of his house to build a small studio where "Dust And Dreams" was recorded and produced.

The line up of the album is Andrew Latimer (vocals, guitar, flute and keyboards), Ton Scherpenzeel (keyboards), Colin Bass (bass) and Paul Burgess (drums). The album has also the participation of some other musicians: David Paton (vocals), Mae McKenna (vocals), Don Harriss (keyboards), Christopher Bock (drums), Neil Panton (oboe), John Burton (French horn) and Kim Venaas (harmonica and timpani).

So, after seven years of a hiatus of time, Latimer revived Camel and recorded this conceptual album "Dust And Dreams", an evocation of "The Grapes Of Wrath", the great literary oeuvre of the famous American writer John Steinbeck. For those who aren't familiarized with the book, it's important to write few lines about it. "The Grapes Of Wrath" is a novel which was published in 1939 and was awarded with the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 and the Nobel Prize in 1962. The oeuvre was also immortalized by the beautiful movie, with the same name, directed by John Ford in 1940 and starring the great American actor Henry Fonda. This American classic comes to the effects of the Great Depression of small family farms of the American West. It tells us the story of a poor family in the state of Oklahoma, who during the Great Depression of 1929 was forced to abandon the lands occupied by them for decades, on a sharecropper regime, due to the arrival of the progress and including the purchase of tractors and machinery for the owners of those lands, and the born of a new property regime of lands. This factor has made obsolete the manual labour of plowing and planting the land and forced them to head toward the false Eden, called California, in search of a better way of life.

"Dust And Dreams" is another very emotional album with excellent compositions and nice melodies. With this album, we are brought back to the early Camel's sound and to their great quality musical level. As happened with "Nude", "Dust And Dreams" initially divides its time between songs and instrumentals before ceding halfway, through purely instrumental music. The music is largely kept very quiet, and there are only four vocal tracks. As a conceptual album, the eighteen tracks are all interconnected as if it's only a single theme. "Dust And Dreams" can most likely be regarded as a mixture of elements of two previous Camel's albums, "The Snow Goose" and "Nude". Not in the sense that the old ideas are new warmed up, but the stylistic elements are somehow similar. Most on the album are keyboards in the foreground, not bombastic, but always attentive and appropriate to the original novel, mostly of the melancholy kind. There are many beautiful songs here, all of them with instrumental pieces in between. In fact, the album finishes with several fine instrumental sequences. Again Latimer, as a producer, a composer, a guitarist, a keyboardist and a singer, did a fine job. His guitar playing always brings joy to the listener, sometimes invoking the goose bumps and others a big smile on our face. It's a very beautiful album with music for our sense, soul and heart. This is really a fine working.

Conclusion: "Dust And Dreams" represents an amazing and surprising return of Camel to their most progressive routes, after a long period of silence and less good albums. Camel has their best and most symphonic musical period in the 70's, with their four first studio albums, "Camel", "Mirage", "The Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness", which correspond to their golden era. These four albums are absolutely fantastic. After that, they released some good albums, some of them are really very good, such as, "Rain Dances" and "Nude", or even "Breathless" and "Stationary Traveller" are also very good. But they also released two weak albums, "I Can See Your House From Here" and especially "The Single" Factor". So, it's with great pleasure that we can see, finally, another great album of Camel. So, somehow we can say that "Dust And Dreams" is the beginning of a new era in Camel's music. It's without any doubt one of their best musical works and represents also the start of a new golden musical era to the group. It looks to me that it represents a different version of Camel, perhaps a more modern version. Camel will be always a great band.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |

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