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Camel - Nude CD (album) cover

NUDE

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

3.61 | 527 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Don't get excited lads, it's just a name.

The title has nothing to do with nakedness(!), it is the name of a Japanese conscript soldier, left stranded in the jungle in Guam in 1942 during the second world war. He was unaware, then once found 29 years later refused to accept, that the was over. The indoctrinated patriotism he still felt all those years later meant that even then he refused to give up his post, and had to be forcibly removed from the island, returning home to a hero's welcome. He never took to life back in his homeland, and in 1972. he disappeared from his home, possibly to return to the island he had lived on for so many years.

Although the character here is fictitious, the story is based on the real life story of Hiroo Onada, and indeed several others. It was Andy Latimer's wife Susan Hoover who developed the concept for the album, and wrote all the lyrics except "Please come home" (by Andy Latimer).

By the time of "Nude", Camel had reverted to being a four piece band, ex-Happy The Man keyboard virtuoso Kit Watkins having departed shortly before recording commenced, although he returned temporarily for the subsequent tour. The recording of the album was not without its problems, with drummer Andy Ward attempting suicide (driven by alcohol and drug addiction). This resulted in the album being considerably delayed while he slowly recovered. The line up was augmented during recording by a number of guest musicians including Duncan Mackay on keyboards and Herbie Flowers (of Sky) on Tuba.

"Nude" is in some ways, a follow up album to "The Snowgoose", being the first by the band since that album to relate a story. Musically, the similarities with that album are strong too, "Nude" being a sort of "Snowgoose" with vocals. (Camel had originally wanted to put vocals on the Snowgoose, but for contractual reasons relating to the story were prevented from doing so). Once again, the tracks here are generally short, but demand to be heard as part of the whole, and not considered as individual pieces. Musically, there are hints of Dire Straits ("City life"), Genesis ("Docks/Beached" is at times very reminiscent of "Dukes travels" and the closing track of "Fading lights"), Pink Floyd ("Lies/The last farewell") and perhaps even Supertramp ("Please come home"). Mel Collins, now firmly ensconced as a band member, adds some colourful sax and flute at various points particularly on the looser "Changing places", where the flute becomes multitracked. While much of the album is instrumental, the vocal sections are of a notably high standard for Camel, with some commendably melodic singing.

The music flows seamlessly from theme to theme throughout, making for a very complete feel. The atmosphere tends to be reflective, sometimes almost ambient, and rarely breaking into anything too loud or raucous. That consistency though, is the beauty of the album.

Highly recommended.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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