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Camel - Echoes CD (album) cover

ECHOES

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

3.43 | 44 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

progaardvark
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Back in the 1990s I was just rediscovering what prog was all about and after spending much time perusing the old GEPR web site, I came across a band with a very lengthy discography that I had never heard of before. That band was called Camel. The descriptions made them out to be in the same league as our trusty favorites from that era: Genesis, Yes, ELP, Van der Graaf Generator, etc. As to why I had never heard of them is beyond me. Their music was never played on the radio in the 1980s. Their albums apparently went unnoticed to me as I perused used record stores all those years ago. Thanks to the Internet, another undiscovered gem has graced my ears.

After having found Camel on the Internet, finding them in CD stores was another story (maybe I just live on the wrong part of the planet?). But perseverance and a little luck brought me to Echoes, a 2-CD compilation released in 1993. Right from the first track I could tell I came across something special and right then I knew the descriptions of this band as being one of the best of the 1970s progressive rock era were absolutely true. As the disc continued to play, I became ever more enthralled with my discovery. Freefall, Lady Fantasy, Rhayader, Song Within a Song, and Lunar Sea (one of the greatest songs ever!). What an amazing band this was. Latimer and Bardens were quite a skillful keyboard/guitar duo. Their interplay was impeccable.

Then I started to hear the same signs that many of the prog greats went through. As the disc progressed and then onto the second disc, I literally saw the transformation of a symphonic prog band into a band coerced into making radio-friendly pop rock. In many ways, Camel's transformation was worst than Genesis or Yes. At least for them, I could stand their pop rock. Camel was a different animal altogether. For most of the second disc, it was truly a skipping affair in my CD player.

Even though the second disc of Echoes leaves much to be desired, I still think this is an absolutely wonderful introduction to Camel. After all, it lead me to start acquiring all the important Camel albums of the 1970s. Also the historical notes contained within the accompanying booklet are very well done. However, in the grand scheme of things this compilation isn't for everyone. It's primarily for the uninitiated and completionists. If you're familiar with Camel, I would instead recommend getting their albums from their 1973-1976 period, skip over their 1980s output and jump right into their 1990s-2000s period. For those of you who have never heard of Camel, Echoes is a good start. Three stars.

progaardvark | 3/5 |

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