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Camel - The Snow Goose CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.29 | 2109 ratings

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3 stars I remember quite well the evening of October 17, 1975. I had a good view of the stage from the circle on the right hand side of a full Royal Albert Hall as CAMEL performed "The Snow Goose" with the London Symphony Orchestra. The concert was good, but not as good as I had hoped, which rather sums up my opinion of the album too.

"The Snow Goose" is a concept album based on the short book of the same name by author Paul Gallico. The book is still available and I suspect the album has added to sales of the book over the years, which is ironic given that Gallico sued the band for copyright infringement. Mind you, I'm glad he stopped the band adding a narrative to the music.

I'm listening to the album as I write this, and it is indeed pleasant and relaxing music to have in the background. As with its predecessor "Mirage", this album showcases the musicianship of all the band members. The music is symphonic, dreamy (well, it rocks up in one track on the second side) and sometimes evocative (the waddling of a goose comes across perfectly, for example). It's very 'safe' Progressive Rock with oodles of melody. It's lovely, really lovely. In fact, it's so lovely you could play it to your grandmother and she would probably think it's lovely too - see what I mean by 'safe'?

The first side of the LP is better than the second side, in my opinion. Some real whistle-along stuff. Although I enjoy the music, I don't find it as good as "Mirage": it's simply not as interesting, and I don't think that's just because it's an instrumental album. For the pedants amongst you, there are vocalisations in a couple of places (male in one place, and female in another) so it's strictly not completely instrumental, but to all intents and purposes it's an instrumental album.

Now, I'm conscious that this is a well-thought-of album. I'm also conscious that the playing is first rate and the composition accomplished. But the album does not excite me particularly, so I'll have to settle for 3 stars (Good, but not essential). If you are new to CAMEL, I recommend you buy "Mirage" before this album, as it's the better of the two in my opinion. If you want lovely, relaxing music that just about anyone can listen to while reading the newspaper on a Sunday at home (I don't mean that pejoratively, I really don't) then this one will do. Highly accessible - I reckon it would make a good movie soundtrack. Just in case you think I'm damning the album with faint praise, I'm glad it was released.

Fitzcarraldo | 3/5 |


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