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5 stars For me, this musical tale stands amongst the bests of all times. Exceptionally "thin" and emotional work in general, amazingly refined melodies with arrangements, sometimes limpidly fragile, sometimes full of brilliant and mighty passages... The greatest album of the genre from real Art-Rock colossus with the name of CAMEL.
Report this review (#2109)
Posted Sunday, December 7, 2003 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.9999 stars strictly on historical importance in the neverending Progstory. Can you believe this bores me to death that I never got to the end of it in one shot. The fact that this is a vocal-less album (except for some doodling towards the end of the album) is not helping me getting interested in it either. As I had the vinyll , I think I have never managed to even listen the end of both sides of it. Oh , I must've heard it many times but my attention had waned long ago.

Of course , most of my colleagues will tell you that this is great , but if you are a newcomer start elsewhere for this is not a good intro to the band - because it is totally instrumental and does not represent that very facet of Camel .

Report this review (#2121)
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Though I can understand that people find Camel boring, I won't stop recommending this album (highly). The main reason: the Snow Goose melodies are really new, really fresh and they take you by your throat. Especially Rhayader is very strong, it's the kind of song you can never forget. Listen to it with the speakers loud (if you don't do that you won't hear the small but important details).
Report this review (#2122)
Posted Friday, February 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Any prog collection would not be complete without CAMEL's "Snow Goose"! This highly inspirational - instrumental progressive masterpiece arguably offers CAMELl's most complete work. "The Snow Goose" reveals great soaring guitar, gorgeous keyboards , excellent percussion and bass interplay. Essential !
Report this review (#2129)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars their second classic. supposed to be a concept album with narration of the author of the original book but due to legal problems the boys couldn't do it.. so it became an instrumental concept album and a beautifully crafted one ! Here shows the mellower side of Camel and it's the perfect addition to Mirage... Both are essential prog albums and Camel's best works...
Report this review (#2130)
Posted Saturday, March 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another classic, the first "Canterburian work" by CAMEL, very accessible, being characterized by melodic songs, but also with some incredible symphonic excursions (well actually the live version -entitled "Live Record"- is much stronger than this studio version, but it never minds!!), which have been often regarded equal to those ones inside the most famous album of the early Era of Camel:"MoonMadness".The best track of this latter -"Lunar Sea"-is so much good and as much important as the hit-track "Rhayader" from "The Snow Goose". Both songs have been performed live in the eighties, and by supplying another huge impact to the crowd of Camel fans the spacey keyboards by Bardens- along with the splendid guitar solos by Latimer- have been always the most memorable moments of such Camel's lives !!

Recommended, even though I prefer the live version of "A Live Record"!!

Report this review (#2117)
Posted Thursday, April 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The best CAMEL's albums. The pieces are quite short, but how good! No fillers! The sound is soft, pleasant to hear. Flute, female vocals, thin drums, smooth guitar, everything form a unique soft prog of the 70's. I know that many women like this album, because it is a rather feminine progressive rock. The songs are not all the same style. It's been 10 years since I haven't been listening to it and, let me tell you, it's better than ever! Very efficient! It's a good emotion transporter.

Extremely recommended!

Report this review (#2120)
Posted Thursday, April 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The story of "The Snow Goose" inspired not one but two progressive rock classics: this and (later) Anthony PHILLIPS' "The Geese And The Ghost". To paraphrase Charlotte, that must be some goose. CAMELl's inspiration led them down a different path than PHILLIPS, choosing a rockier road with islands of calm (literally, if you recall KING CRIMSON's album of the same name), built from the foundation of "Mirage"'s more sublime passages (when Latimer's flute and Bardens' keyboards take the lead) and yet suggestive of mid '70s PINK FLOYD when Andy L. plugs his electric back in and lets loose.

Picking out individual tracks is not what this album is all about; "The Snow Goose" consists as one wonderful entity, captivating from beginning to end. However, this is perhaps CAMEL's most uncommercial venture, even as it aspires to greater heights than any of their records before or since. If you found yourself entranced by the instrumental passages of "Nimrodel" and "Lady Fantasy", then by all means take a ride of "The Snow Goose". But that baffling contingent who find in I Can See You House From Here a summit of some sort might be content to leave Goose's high-minded aerie to more adventurous climbers. If you're intent on finding representative passages to sample (at the buffered buffet table of thirty-second morsels available on some commercial sites), touching your musical tongue to "The Great Marsh", "Rhayader", "The Snow Goose" or "Friendship" will give a good indication of the album's merits. The concept of CAMELin a bucolic mood may not please everyone, and they're welcome to skip along to "Moonmadness", but anyone who believes prog music can be achingly pretty will find on here un paradis trouvé (a paradise found).

Report this review (#2112)
Posted Saturday, April 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Carl floyd fan
5 stars Simply put, this cd is amazing! It is purely instrumental, much like Focus. This isn't on the same level as some of the stuff done by Focus but it is very close and this is one Camel cd every prog fan should own. This music is very chill and easy to relax to, so pick this rare gem up if you find it!
Report this review (#2114)
Posted Monday, April 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Not a word now!

For this album, Camel gave up on vocals completely, with the exception of a "Light flight" (Pentangle) type harmony during the "Flight of the snowgoose". The lack of vocals or narration was reportedly due to wrangles between the band and the author of the original short story. This also led to modification of the "Snowgoose" title to become "Music inspired by The Snowgoose". Ironically, the book must have sold many more copies due its profile being raised by the success of this album.

The album demands to be heard as a complete piece, the tracks merely representing sections of the whole. In view of this, there is little point in isolating many tracks for comment, but "La Princesse Perdue" does stand out as particularly beautiful, with its two distinct symphonic sections. Given the oft repeated criticism of the band's vocal capabilities, the decision to make an entirely instrumental album was perhaps a sensible one, and it does work for one album. Had they continued to do so on future albums though, the well may rapidly have run dry.

Overall, the music here is not particularly challenging, the relaxed feel making the album far more ambient than other Camel albums. The individual sections are pretty basic in structure but fit together well to form an excellent package.

A very relaxing and enjoyable album.

The CD version offers the benefit of added continuity over the LP, with the remastered version also including a number of bonus tracks. An alternative version of the entire "Snowgoose" is also available with orchestral accompaniment on the "Live Record" album. That version is arguably superior to the original studio recording.

Report this review (#2147)
Posted Sunday, May 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Collaborator James Unger is totally right! no rock / prog / music collection couldn't be complete with The Snow Goose. Is one of the most beautiful instrumental "concept" album that i have ever heard. Let yourself be driven by its magic and will surley involve you in an imaginary world, in my case, no other instrumental album have ever made my imagination flow so long enough (along with Return to Forever's "Romantic Warrior", another excellent instrumental album). This album is perfect in every way and, in Camel's career can only be compared with their other masterpiece "Moonmadness", i also love their more recent "Harbour of Tears" even though doesn't compares with the 2 previous said albums. Ok then, go get this album. I like to see the album as a whole, but i can say Rhayader, Rhayader goes to Town, Migration, The Snow Goose and Dunkirk are particularly very good passages of it.
Report this review (#2163)
Posted Wednesday, June 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Beautiful and graceful. It is a classical piece of music that will stand the test of time. Seriously it is a sophisticated adult contribution from a band who were relatively young at the time. Very sad in parts which evokes the lonliness of Rhayader and his assault on Dunkirk.The personnified 'goose' music works a treat and La Princesse Perdue is one of the most nostalgic beautiful pieces of music Camel have ever written. A must for all enthusiasts of progressive music.
Report this review (#2149)
Posted Monday, June 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars To me, this is a masterpiece but i don´t know if every prog fan would listen entirely. The musics and the atmospheres are always changing from energetic moments, pastoral moments and classic introspective music moments and there´s no vocals at all, only a "tchuru ru ru ru ru" in... in the "migration" track... . Always very beatifull, more a guitar/flute driven album(not forgetting the agressive organ solo in "dunkirk"), with heavenly themes and melodies. One of the many best moments is "la Princessa Perdue" a repetion divided in two times of former themes. And to not forget, this album is orchestraded and all the musicians are great.
Report this review (#2151)
Posted Friday, August 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Can't you see the snow goose flying,swimming , even dying? The snow goose album is full of "pictures".Hold your breath,close your eyes and you'll find yourself in another world.In "La Princesse Perdue" i've heard one of the most emotional solo of all times..I wish you have a good trip!!
Report this review (#2152)
Posted Monday, August 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a masterpiece of prog! I only knock it down because this plays out more like a classical piece than it does a rock album. However I like classical so I guess that means I will still give this a 5. Fair warning for people just getting into the band make this your second album. This album has no vocals on it except for ahhhhed notes on ocasion. Like any good piece of classical music it returns to it's beginning. I can't really fixiate on a favorite track and I certainly belive that hearing one of them by itself does it less justice considering that each tracks leads into the next with the perfect presicion only people like Mozart and Beethoven could deliver. Seriously, if you want an awesome piece of music performed by rock instruments you want this album.
Report this review (#2153)
Posted Monday, September 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Anyone who has ever heard Andy Latimer sing will probably agree that an entirely instrumental Camel album can only be a good thing. I mean no disrespect, of course. Latimer is a fine musician, certainly a terribly underated guitarist. Personally I prefer 'Mirage', and the brilliant 'Moonmadness' to this album (despite the vocals!) My problem with 'The Snowgoose' is hard to articulate. I can't really find fault with it, but it just doesn't bowl me over. Perahps I'm just listerning to it wrong, or maybe my expectations were too high, having heard all of their other early albums before this one. The production is a little weak, it doesn't lack clarity, just punch, but then again perhaps it doesn't require 'punch' There are hight points were Camel flow at their best 'Rhayader goes to town' is a fine example of Latimer & Co rocking in the thoughtful and melodic way their do best. The whole thing cries out to be listerned to in one hit, and not in chunks. 'Snow goose' is hailed as a classic and I respect that, and I respect Camel a lot, but it's not my fave Came album, simple as that.

To be honest I like a bit of darkeness in music; a bit of an edge. 'The Snow Goose' is very 'nice'. Its in no way unpleasant, but in terms of having a 'dark side'? I think 'The Snow Goose' by Camel makes 'Selling England by the pound' by Genesis look like 'Reign in blood' by Slayer.

Report this review (#2154)
Posted Tuesday, September 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Boy, did I loved Camel when I bought Mirage. Mirage blew my shoes off with a blast that sented me right through the wall...

Boy was I disappointed by the Snow Goose! And I'm still disappointed. It's almost a curse...I couldn't get into that album. I couldn't see the plot. Usually, I'm capable of seeing through an album, if the artists let you a chance to follow the thread. But The Snow Goose is a good idea with good moments. I mean there is still some good moments with flute and the orchestra that creates a mood that tickle the imagination...but too few of those? This is why Camel never got out of the little league. But what talent underneath. Too bad, the good period of Camel didn't last long. You don't make a living out of records like this one. What I mean, is that the disappointment was caused by the high expectations about the follower of Mirage, my all-time surprise and soft spot. This is NOT Mirage 2, the concept album is applied full blast. My, this is like reading a book in music!

This album is so recommended, I feel ashamed and stupid to not follow the march. I'm glad I kept listening over and over again, then I finally understood what Camel wanted by creating the Snow Goose: being the very best underdogs of all-time.

Camel made a blindfolded job with lots of wishes, but not enough work to satisfy my Mirage cravings.

Vote for Camel for biggest overlooked talent of all-time.

Report this review (#2155)
Posted Wednesday, September 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars 5.0/5.0 This is progressive music perfection. This album and "Moonmadness" are twins in their melodic ambiances. I started listening to "The SnowGoose" while driving my car home some years ago and I just couldn't stop the car when arriving at home. I had to go away, to drive for nearly 45 minutes with this music loud. It was like entering a new musical dimension, something new, modern, but yet... it was produced over 25 years ago!

Camel had a vision when doing this. You have to feel the energy flow while listening to this album from the first piece to the last one. You can't just pick on piece randomly and listen to it. This is a musical experience when each slow parts create a climax and musical explosion later.

Really: I mean it when I say this album is music perfection.

Report this review (#2166)
Posted Wednesday, December 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars DAAAMMMNNN!! I thought I've heard it all when I listened to Mirage. But then (thanks to this site) I found out about "The Snow Goose" and went on looking for it. I got it, and when I first listened to it I felt this great melodic sensation that didn't feel with "Mirage". "Mirage" I must say (if you read my review from that album,you'll know) that I really loved it and it's really one of my favorite albums. But then this one, "The Snow Goose" has those elements that "Mirage" doesn't. That flute-oriented prelude just gave me chills. Then the part when Mr. Ward enters just sounds perfect. Yes, this album is just fantastic, it doesn't get boring cause you're always on perspective, just awaiting what'll come next. It is true what the other reviewers have said: this is a completely instrumental album. I really don't have a problem with that but I missed here Mr. Latimer's "cool attitude"vocals. Again, like in Mirage, there are no important time signature changes but very original melodies and a lot of reference from folk music, something that I really love. (regarding my mirage review, Id like to apologize, Lady Fantasy DOES have some time signature changes: the keyboard introduction its been played in a rather fast 3/8 measure and then the next part has a hidden 6/4) Wel anyway, I extremely recommend the Snow Goose to every proghead who doesn't own it. Specially the majority of prgo fans about my age (19) who think the best prog comes from bands like Dream Theater.Do yourself a favor and listen to the real deal....
Report this review (#2165)
Posted Saturday, January 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I only have 'Mirage' and 'The Snow Goose' from Camel so I'm more or less a newcommer with this band. I first bought Mirage from these two, and I have to say, after giving a good listen to it I couldn't quite believe all the rewiews I'd seen of The Snow Goose as they claimed it to be Camels finest work. Mirage already felt a kind of record where the pieces melt together(and I'd rate it 5 stars) and when I bought The Snow Goose my expections were high. But The Snow Goose was anything but disappointment! Camel is very beautiful melodic music and the fact that the album doesn't feature vocals was not a bad thing at all in my opinion, though the vocals on Mirage were nice. The re-mastered cd also includes some live bonus tracks which is really nice as Camel has a great strong live sound and they basically play everything you hear on studioversions. What a great live band! SO: if you fancy progrock you have to get this one fer sure!
Report this review (#2169)
Posted Sunday, February 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I'm a Camel fan and The Snow Goose is widely believed to be among the group's greatest works. As a record that almost cracked the UK Top 20, it certainly was among their most successful ventures. I guess that's why I feel I'm missing something because I've always thought that this particular album was quite overrated.

Now don't get me wrong ... I'm not disregarding the whole album, which was composed by flautist/guitarist Andy Latimer and keyboardist Peter Bardens, and inpsired by Paul Gallico's novella The Snow Goose. I do think that this wholly instrumental work does have its highlights. For a start In the brilliant flute-driven Rhayader, Camel have one of their finest songs ever (a sort of sister piece to Mirage's Supertwister). The offbeat, vaguely funky Rhayader Goes To Town, the intriguing pastoral guitar meets distorted synth number Fritha, the oh-so Canterbury (right down to the wordless vocal) Migration and the eerie Dunkirk also provide enjoyable moments for me.

But the fact remains (and I still feel that this is rather heretical!) that I frequently find this album boring! Yes, listening to it at one sitting is more of a chore than a joy, and that should never be. Perhaps one factor is that too many of the compositions are laidback and mellow and the rhythm section of Ferguson and Ward seem to spend too long on the sidelines. I also think there's just a little too much use of the orchestra which is something that a self-contained entity like Camel didn't really need. I swear when the whole band burst into some vintage Camel on the penultimate track La Princesse Perdue, it was like the second coming!

Ultimately, of Camel's first six studio albums, this is the one I turn to the least. ... 58% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#2170)
Posted Sunday, February 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
5 stars Camel's first two albums were excellent efforts, perhaps let down a bit by the quality of the vocals. This time, they took two bold steps. One, they made the album almost completely instrumental (the voice is used more as an instrument on a couple of tracks) and two, they made it a concept album based on a short story set in World War 2 by Paul Gallico. This probably should have signalled a commercial disaster of monumental proportions. However, this concept is carried out to utter perfection and it sold in bucketloads (it still does). They have written beautiful, haunting tunes and interpreted the sad but lovely story and its characters so perfectly that it has the power to provoke tears. Their ability to play their instruments is astonishing and some of the guitar/keyboard interplay is breathtaking. Andy Latimer's flute adds variety as a lead instrument, the bass and drums fill in intelligently and the result is magical. It's melodic, thoughtful prog rock of the highest calibre - noone else has matched this, let alone surpassed it. They produced other albums of real merit, but this was their finest hour. Deserves 6 stars - no prog rock collection is complete without it and, out of my 800 albums, this is in my top 3. But read Gallico's story first before you listen!
Report this review (#2173)
Posted Monday, March 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars There's only one word : perfect. And the Royal Alber Hall live version is more! I though that Moonmadness was the highest achievement they had before I have the Snow Goose. At the first time I heard, The Great Marsh pt. 1 really swayed me before the whole album do catch the spirit of life of real snow goose. To listen to this album makes me imagine a peaceful scene with gooses. Andrew was very mature, mellow, and melodic. Bardens was really great , not to mention how the guitar and real organ blended perfectly without defeating each other (compare to Dream Theatre or Yngwie Malmsteen). Doug also played perfectly with his fat bass sounds. Andy, I love his distinctive play. Until now, he's one of the best drummer for me, beside Bruford and Peart. I always put the CD in my car. Also often to be my lullaby.One of the best album I have ever heard. Other is 'Chess'. I am 34 yrs old now. It's been 16 years I hear progressive musics. Younger listener possibly don't like this kind of music. But as they grow older, they will find this is what is called 'music'.

Report this review (#2174)
Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A fantastic album. I loved this from start to finish. The only reason it missed 5 stars is at times it got a little dull, but not dull enough to lose interest.

This was my first introduction to Camel and I'm glad that I own this album. I rediscovered it a couple of days ago. I love Rhayader/ Rhayader Goes to Town. The flute in this album is superb and I'm glad it was handled so skillfully by Andy Latimer, secondly only to Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson. Hinted throughout the album are washes of mellotron and acoustic guitar, blending in nicely with the compositions.

I would highly recommend this album to any Camel fan, new or old.

Report this review (#2175)
Posted Monday, March 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars wow this camel recrod it's amazing the best of all camel's discography. a special mention for "andy latimer", he was really inspired in this album, and the whole work of each member of camels line up was really great. this album all instrumental try to tell a story of a snow goose. it's like sotry and the words aren't necessary because of the sound that can transport you to a world of mistery and fantastic things. I am a great fan of camel music and this is just incredible, i like to listen in the nigth when i start to get sleep. everything you listen here was planed to be that way. they been touched by a special angel to make this this is not from the earth it takes beyond that its celestial. amazing work a very very must have for anyone who loves progressive. CAMEL FOREVER....
Report this review (#35339)
Posted Sunday, April 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars An absolute classic Camel album and one for which they are probably best known. This album contains something for everyone and still stands up well today as it did way back then when it was originally released. Tracks from this album still feature in todays live Camel shows and this album really epitomises all the musical strengths that make Camel great. A must for all collectors!
Report this review (#2179)
Posted Monday, April 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars A masterpiece. Brilliantly constructed music which touches upon a wide range of styles and emotions, employing colourful instrumentation and memorable melodies. The first side (tracks 1 to 9 on the cd) is sheer musical heaven. Andrew Latimer and Peter Bardens are at their peak, producing streams of engaging solos in between wonderful themes. The tightness of the band is amazing, with particular credit to original drummer, Andy Ward. I remember thinking when I first bought the album as a young boy, that this was every type of music I ever wanted to hear on one album. Thirty years later, the feeling is not diminished. A very poignant album, with immense depth.
Report this review (#2183)
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars If ever an album approached perfection, this is it. The musicianship is quite superb, the music blends together seamlessly and they don't indulge in some of the pretentious idiocy that gave progrock a bad name. If all progrock was as good as this, I'd listen to it all the time instead of the hard rock and metal I usually have on. The guitar playing is the best I've heard in terms of melody and emotion, the bass player constructs some incredibly effective bass lines (not that hard to play but soooo good), the keyboards are awesome (and I normally hate keyboards) and if the drummer wants to join my band I would love to have him along - he's so tight and technical, he must be a dream to play with. It's all good but Dunkirk is my favourite - how the keyboards and guitars imitate the dive bombers and machine guns is just perfect. A masterpiece worth 5 stars? Of course it is. Do yourself a favour - buy it!!!!!!!!
Report this review (#35414)
Posted Monday, June 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars A True Symphonic poem, in the good old tradition of the works of Liszt. A musical segment for each character, for each emotion...truly wonderful. If you have read the story of Paul Gallico, when you listen to this album you can really feel deeply the music. ...And Philip Rhayader, Fritha and La Princesse Perdue will live again.
Report this review (#36344)
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Amazing. Words can't describe it. Everything is perfect, both musicianship and the wonderful compositions. I thought Mirage was good but this really is the dogs b******s. An emotional experience from beginning to end and my all time fave prog album. I now need to read the story to find out what its all about!
Report this review (#37343)
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After the splendorous "Mirage", Camel delivered their second masterpiece in a row - the concept album "The Snow Goose". For this one, Latimer & Bardens wrote material that had the band explore further into the depths of their symphonic trend, creating a sequence of themes according to the story of Paul Gallico's novella and including the use of orchestral input. One of the basic factors that make this album so special is that it has a certain eeriness to it: the sound production gives the instrumentation (for both the band and the orchestra) a distant, at times dreamy feel, which actually helps it to relate to the fictional essence of the main concept. The whole repertoire comprised in "The Snow Goose" sounds like a fantasy itself, a beautiful fantasy that translates this moving tale of friendship, love, war and separation into a well structured sonic continuum. The fact is that all the individual pieces were actually rehearsed and recorded separately, and only when the production phase was over could the four musicians and two writers be aware of what the final result turned out to be; this anecdote can only speak very well about Latimer and Bardens' intelligence as composers and the foursome as an integrated ensemble. As I'm writing this review, I find that intelligence and integration are two words that can accurately designate the major assets of this album, all the way through, from the first smooth sounds of flowing water and electric piano at the beginning of 'The Great Marsh' until the final same sounds at the end of the reprised 'The Great Marsh'. The display of melancholy and introspectiveness is more abundant here than in other classic Camel albums, and that might lead some listeners to some sort of boredom; it is true that even in the epic climaxes or rockier passages there is not a real display of fiery energy. But in my book, I find each and every individual piece as a vignette or sketch of a person or situation in the story (and I'm not the first one to say this), so, as I stated before, this album is basically a tale "literally" translated into the language of music. The lyrical 'Rhayader' and the expressionist 'Rhayader Goes to Town' are timeless Camel classics. Other highlights are: the majestic title track and its augmented variation 'La Princesse Perdue', the dramatic 'Dunkirk' and the piano solo number 'Fritha Alone', whose sadness is almost palpable. Well, every "Snow Goose" can gave their favourite(s), but mainly, this album is just it, an album, a musical work to be enjoyed as a harmonized unit. Overall rating: 5 stars.
Report this review (#37883)
Posted Monday, June 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
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.

Report this review (#38268)
Posted Saturday, July 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An incredible instrumental album by Camel. All of the songs here are short and sweet, which means that there is no filler. It features awesome flute work (especially on Rhayader), great guitar work (especially with the solos, very Gilmour-esque), great keyboard work that really sets the mood for each track, and great bass and drum work that really shape the album. Each song has a completely different sound and approach to it, but there are many recurring themes throughout the music. My favorite tracks at the moment are Dunkirk and the reprise of The Great Marsh. The latter having a dark and murky feel to it, and Dunkirk having a grand and epic feel. Overall, this is one of Camel's best albums. I highly recommend it. 4.5/5.
Report this review (#38851)
Posted Friday, July 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This seems to be the album that everyone sees as being the pinnacle of Camel's recording career. The one album, although completely instruental, that garners 5 star reviews from 70% of the reviewers. I, on the other hand, have given this 3 stars, and I think that is being somewhat generous.

I'm certainly not denying the fact that this album has its moments of sheer beauty and genius, but unfortunately there aren't enough of those moments to keep my interest very long. Every time I feel the need to give this disc another spin I end up longingly looking at my Camel collection and trying to figure out why I hadn't played something else. I generally love instrumental tracks, but perhaps an entire album without the wonderful vocals of Latimer, Bardens, or Ferguson is a bit too much for me. As far as being a prog masterpiece, I can't agree. Is this even a prog album? Art rock maybe, prog is being optimistic.

Standout tracks are "Flight Of The Snow Goose", "Rhayader Goes To Town", and the "Preparation / Dunkirk" piece. The rest of the disc tends to wander although their are several other moments of greatness to found within.

If I had to tell a newcomer about this album I'd simply point them in the direction of the band's first two platters, or the wonderful follow-up album "Moonmadness." Sorry if I offeneded anyone with my rather opposite view, but their is something lacking here!! Maybe something called vocals!!??

Report this review (#40245)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I´m sure, i couldn´t live without the Snow Goose, is a classic, is a masterpiece, the last review i sae about it, the guy said that this could´nt be a masterpiece because Andy Latimer´s voice doesn´t appears here, maybe he will be right, the voice of Latimer is the particular soun to Camel, and its great, but the Snow Goose doesn´t need the voices, only needs the awesome and intelligent way to create music, this album has all of this, also makes me fell good and happy, this is one of those albums that i want to hear and own for the rest of mylife, i couldn´t get tired of this, i could hear it about 100 times, and it still likes me a lot, all the songs are short, but are connected, one carries each other and carry us to the same destiny, is a journey of encounter of myself and itself ( sounds werid ), but i feel that, in fact i prefer this than Mirage, another masterpiece, but is my opinnion, you have to listen this album and then you cannot leave it!.
Report this review (#40270)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars famous instrumental disc of the progressive band Camel, which it is centered in musically transcribing atmospheres and sensations that the personages and the situations of the story of Paul Gallico transmit to them, sharing its emotional impressions with the listener. In the passage of this story, produced by David Hitchcock, we are knowing the scenes and characters, molded sonorous with the instrumental talent of the group, in special the interaction between Andy Latimer and Peter Bardens, that create passages of great atmospheric beauty and remarkable sensitive tact, fundamentally the moments of protagonism of the wind instruments and keyboards, increased the pieces by praiseworthy orquestales adjustments of David Bedford. The story of Gallico and the disc of Camel develop the history of Rhayader in the context of World War II, a solitary man who lives in a located light in the coast of Essex, feared because of the prejudices of its neighbors. Rhayader will help to ganso wounded with the aid of a called girl Fritha, who had found to the bird in a beach near the solitary residence. While the bird is recovering, the happiness between the terceto is constant. When ganso is cured totally, this one will leave the side of Rhayader, like the girl, returning again the solitude to the life of Rhayader. Later, Rhayader will pass away fighting by its town in the confrontation of Dunkirk, before the presence of ganso returned, "the Princesse Perdue". Camel knows to unfold and to mix different emotions with their musical exhibition, like sadness, fear, happiness, incomunicación or joy, in a Lp that grows with the each new listening, specially beautiful pieces like "Rhayader", "Friendship", "Migration", "Rhayader alone", "Fritha Alone" or stirring "the Princesse Perdue".
Report this review (#41000)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4 - 4.25 stars

A concept album is a challenging task. An instrumental concept album following a storyline? Even more so. Given that this album is a clear success, it is proof of Camel's continuing maturity in songwriting.

While the 'sound' of the music is not so far from their previous work thanks to similar '70s' synthesizers and guitar tones, the band for the most part let go of the passionate classic rock roots, settling for a more elegant, whimsical venture into progressive rock as well as classical music. The instrumentation is very colorful and visual, highly essential to the concept.

An orchestra makes an entrance after a minute of peaceful and desolate keyboard textures. The next two tracks relating to Rhayader have some hints of their classic rock sound, particularly the heavier 'Rhayader Goes to Town' with an extended bluesy solo reminiscent of Pink Floyd. Also, 'Rhayader' carries a memorable flute melody and a distorted organ solo.

Afterwards, the brief classical guitar piece 'Sanctuary' is a huge departure from earlier sounds while 'Fritha' is a 'cute', child-like synthesizer piece. The progression from the previous albums is huge. 'Friendship' take it a step further but I find it too 'Disney-like' with corny bassoons and clarinets making the main theme too goofy despite the strength of the melody. It alternates with a gorgeous classical melody but the damage is already done. Luckily, the sad and emotional title track has very nice guitar melodies while the jazzy 'Migration' is uplifting and full of spirit: the scatting melodies are very very catchy. Of course, the happiness turns sour as the goose flies away, Fritha leaves, and Rhayader is left alone.

The second half begins with another uplifting fast-paced song, 'Flight of the Snowgoose', this one is more typical progressive rock with plenty of moog synthesizers. The protagonist finds a new purpose and prepares to sail to his heroic sacrifice during wartime, beginning with a melody from 'Friendship' that works better here. A hypnotic synthesizer loop, wordless female vocals (among other elements) create a crushingly depressing and unique electronica piece that is absolute genius. The war song 'Dunkirk' follows and is appropriately 'war-like' with an intimidating crescendo leading to a fast paced section with a shrieking guitar solo. Given that it follows the genius of 'Preparation', I find it a bit underwhelming and dated but it serves its purpose as the album's climax. Protagonist dies, more depressing electronica music. A lonely piano piece about Fritha being alone. You probably shouldn't listen to this if you're having a bad day.

Luckily, the darkness is cleared away by the snow goose, bringing the album to a close with a longer progressive-rock track that reprises various themes with a positive vibe, symbolizing the spirit of Rhayader passing to the snow goose. The album closes with the same sounds as in the introduction.

5 star parts: Migration, Preparation

4.5 star parts: Rhayader Goes to Town, Fritha, Epitaph

4 star parts: The Great Marsh, Rhayader, The Snow Goose, Rhayader Alone, Flight of the Snow Goose, Fritha Alone, La Princesse Perdue, The great marsh 2

3.5 star parts: Sanctuary, Dunkirk

2 star parts: Friendship

Report this review (#41765)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The third work of the announcement in 1975 is a masterpiece of the total album Inspaiaed from the novel on the Paul Gallico "The Snow Goose".The work became a wonderful concept album. As the total album of the rock, that overcomes all fantastic stories, thrills, melodies, and easiness, etc. to listen, it is a masterpiece that enters best 5. CAMEL accomplished the joining of the leading group in this work. Music has the theme that rouses the scene assumed to be living alive, and doesn't fade away still at all.
Report this review (#43754)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Some may find it a little boring at some times (instrumental-only, so at first more difficult to transmit emotions, and maybe too soft to keep attention until the end for some people), but this album has so many unforgettable moments that it is truly a great addition to any prog collection ! The beginning is amazing, with a soft opener ("The great marsh") and a punchy nice tune played with a flute ("Rhayader"), then another fast-rhythmed section ("Rhayader goes to town") with a break in the middle. Then comes a slower part with "Sanctuary", "Fritha", "The snow goose" (a little too long, but beautiful) and "Friendship". The last one is funny (very evocative of a goose walking), and really brings back interest ! Things move a faster then with "Migration", the only "sung" part. Dynamic and soft at the same time, you will get the feeling to fly with the geese ! Another good moment. Then you get a reprise of the theme of "Rhayader" in a slow acoustic guitar version "Rhayader alone". The next part is important because it brings a theme you will hear near the end too, "Flight of the snow goose", again Camel have very well put images and movement in music ! Next three tracks go together and describe some battle. The middle part is the most violent of the album, but it remains quite soft ! You might like the coherence of the mood throughout the album, or you might dislike for it is boring. However the progression in the song "Dunkirk" is very well set. After a last acoustic ballad the beautiful theme of "Flight of the snow goose" comes back, but in an enhanced version, and what version ! The most beautiful part of the work in ly opinion, "La princesse perdue" is the highlight of the album and makes a beautiful ending with "The great marsh" reprise. In the begnning I said that the absence of lyrics made it difficult to bring emotions, but the greatest achievement of this album is to have built very evocative and emotional pieces without words !
Report this review (#46099)
Posted Friday, September 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Snow Goose is certainly soft symphonic prog. Is it too soft as some reviewers seem to think ? I don't think so. Melodies are absolutely beautiful and really origiinal. Orchestration is delightfull : who plays flute and guitar as latimer ? who own this unique feeling playing hammond organ as peter bardens ? what drummer is sensitive as andy ward ? who use a symphonic orchestra without beeing pompous ? There is just one answer to these questions : camel on The Snow Goose. I have the feeling than for some people prog must be "difficult to approach" to be highly rated. I don't agree with this view. This CD can be appreciate by everyone who loves good music.This music is for dreamers. One of the more essential instrumental prog album ever. Your collection can't be complete without this one. A real classic.
Report this review (#46241)
Posted Saturday, September 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The great mar(c)h of Camel...

Ah, finally I can listen to great, impressive, elaborate but simple catchy music! This album's lightness is my ears and heart relief! All instrumentation is accurate, "scientifically spontaneous". That oxymoron is the right way to define this superb music style, this "concrete higheness"!, this wonderful electric guitar and keyboards weave, this bass and drums stunning phrasing!

In 1975, after Mirage, Bardens, Latimer, Ferguson and Ward decided to make a conceptual album (what a conceptual album!!!). For that reason each Camel's member suggested a book on which elaborate the one- piece-album. Pete Bardens suggested first "Siddartha", then "Steppenwolf", both Herman Hesse's works. Bass player Doug Ferguson took his inspiration from a novel by Paul Gallico named "A Snow Goose". The story is about a Rhayader, a lonely boy who lives in the marshes. One day he finds a wounded Snow Goose. A little girl, Fritha, is also concerned about the goose, and she and Rhayader become friends. By the season's end the goose heals, and it is sent free. Following this, Rhayader is alone again, as Fritha doesn't come to visit him anymore. Rhayader helps saving people at the battle of Dunkirk, and during the battle the Goose comes back to help. Rhayader is killed in the battle, and the Goose is then named La Princess Perdue. Critic was confused by the lack of lyrics.Camel shocked the traditional audience! Paul Gallico's publishers threatened to put a court injunction on the album, and therefore the title was preceded by the words "music inspired by". Paul Gallico, a non-smoking author, had a bad impression from the band, due to its name.

Nice cover art, its clear and bright colours are the perfect graphic translation of such a pure music!

Very good Decca 2002 remastered edition, with 24 mns of extra tracks: single edits from Flight Of The Snow Goose and Ryader; live recordings at the Marquee Club featuring Ryader Goes To Town and a medley The Snow Goose/Freefall, the opener from Mirage.

This one and Moonmadness represent the HIGHEST apex (they had more than one, see the album Nude) from Camel, a perfect prog way to intend classical music.

No. 22 in U.K. charts, a top ten one in my personal prog-archive ever!

Snow Goose is not only recommendable: it heals your soul's wounds!!!!!

Report this review (#46434)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Looking back the history, this album should be read as CAMEL music inspired by "The Snow Goose". Why? This concept album was composed with a reference to Paul Gallico's Snow Goose. Right after the success of "Mirage" which stayed at Billboard's Top 200 for a creditable 13 weeks peaked at 149, the band brainstormed the idea of making an acclaimed literary piece concept album. Peter Bardens voted for Steppen Wolf's but Ferguson and Latimer proposed Paul Gallico's. So the band created the music that revolved around The Snow Goose. Unfortunately, their record label failed to sign a deal with Gallico's publishers in the hope of obtaining official blessing for the project, ideally having the author pen a sleeve note and possibly arrange a tie-in between album and tome. That's why this tribute to our feathered friends had its title prefaced "Music Inspired By" and remained wholy wordless. [sleeve note].

Nevertheless, the streams of music featured in this album is a good one to enjoy and you may have a rewarding experience throughout some tracks. It starts off with an ambient "The Great Marsh" (2:02) which to me personally sounds like an opener for the whole atmosphere of the album. No one would argue that "Rhayader" (3:01) is an excellent track which has powerful melody combining flute, guitar and organ performed in classical influence music with medium tempo. This song has characterized the seventies music altogether with other common songs from Genesis or Yes or ELP or Pink Floyd. I used to associate this song with "Bouree" by Jethro Tull at that time because both of them are flute-based music. "Rhayader Goes To Town" (5:20) is a logical follow- up to Rhayader as it brings the music into faster tempo with great combination of guitar and organ solo with energetic beats. These two songs must be enjoyed in its entirety.

"Sanctuary" (1:05) and "Fritha" (1:19) are songs that I consider as bridges that connect to title track "The Snow Goose" (3:12) which contains guitar solo augmented with long sustain organ in the vein of Jan Akermann of Focus. Cool guitar-based instrumental. "Friendship" (1:44) is a bit boring exploration of keyboard / organ whicch may have more meaning if we can associate with certain part of the story - say our goose was running away or swimming quickly . things like that. Otherwise, it's a meaningless bridge. "Migration" (2:01) brings the music into up-beat style followed nicely with a cool quiet passage "Rhayader Alone" (1:50). "Flight Of The Snow Goose" (2:40) explores Bardens' keyboard virtuosity followed with good guitar fills that bring the melody of the music combined with a bit spacey keyboard work.

"Preparation" (3:58) is to me like a theme song that brings the introduction to the next track "Dunkirk" (5:19) with the use of Hammond organ as basic rhythm section plus some howling guitar work followed with guitar solo. The song is dominated with keyboard work even though guitar fills some parts and serves as melody in some other parts. It's a good track. "Epitaph" (2:07) and "Fritha Alone" (1:40) are bridges to upbeat music with keyboard solo in "La Princesse Perdue" (4:44). Again, I can smell a similarity with Focus music, especially the guitar part. "The Great Marsh" (1:20) concludes the album with an exploration of nature sounds .

Overall, through this album the band has demonstrated their capability to maintain their creation on par excellent with their previous album "Mirage". The album offers good combined work between organ and guitar performed in various styles. The music is cohesive to support a concept album. I think this album should be "in" any prog collection as it was one of the icons in the seventies that anyone should not miss. Recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#46468)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This record is full of beautiful musicianship and was, in my opinion, a very step forward for the members of the band in their path across the realms of classic prog. There is a big gain in feeling and creativity. The one and only point that lacks here is the peaceful and deep voice of Andy Latimer. Along with "Moonmadness", this is one of the 2 better studio records by Camel, much better than the powerful, but Caravan-ish and overrated "Mirage".
Report this review (#46540)
Posted Tuesday, September 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Now, what a disappointment... After some time thinking about purchasing an album from Camel, I decided it was time and went to a little boutique near my house. Only one Camel album was available: The Snow Goose. I was not that happy, because I am used to start buying albums from an artist with the first, and going from there. But anyways, I went home, started listening to the album, and was very impressed with first three songs, especially the solo on Rhayader goes to town, wich is incredibly good. After this those first three songs, the mood semms to change, and the songs, weaker. Sanctuary is a somewhat beautiful number, but after a few listens, it tends to get boring. Same thing on Fritha, but I adore the bass on that song. Simple, but is works well. The Snow Goose is an ok song, but nothing special. Th rest of the album is mostly equal , and does not stand out. An interesting album, but it does not tend to grow on you, and left me with a disappointment, as I tought Camel would be as good as other prog greats. But I finally decided I wasgoing to buy other albums from them to see what they were like. 3/5
Report this review (#46980)
Posted Saturday, September 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can I say? Very good album. When I heard it first time I thought that its not so good, back then I would have gave it just 3 stars. Then I listened it few time and would have gave it 4 stars. Now that I listen it for fourth time (first time with proper headphones) I will give it 5 stars. This happends a lot with progressive music... The Snow Goose can be considered as light prog, which is not too usual for me, but still I love this. Nature has big meaning in this album, and Camel has managed to capture the mood very well.

I don't like all the songs but my favorites are The Great Marsh, Rhayader (all time classic), Sancturay, Fritha, The Snow Goose, Friendship (amazing song again), Fritha Alone (Piano solo at the best! Nearly makes me cry, nearly) La Princess Perdue (So beautiful). I didn't like so much of the battle section (songs 11-13, they were good, but not great unlike the entire cd) I cant wait to hear this with London Symphony Orchestra, soon ill get the live album.

The main reason why I wrote the review (amongs that I can give it 5 stars) is that i can tell more of the backround story. Many people have been asking it, since its not too easy to find out.

The Original story is from a novel by Paul Gallico named "A Snow Goose" (Camel had to add the "Music inspired by" to the album cover).

Here's the story in a nutshell :

1. The Greath Marsh : Just before dawn till sunrise.

2. Rhayader : Rhayader is a man, a loner who lives in an old lighthouse on the Essex marshes, caring for the wild birds. Healing and taking care of birds who have got hurt.

3. Rhayader Goes to Town The townsfolk react coldly towards Rhayader because of his odd appearance. But their fear and prejudice is mixed with curiosity for he has a noble bearing.

4. Sanctuary The Snow Goose swept off course by a sea storm just reaches the Essex coast. Fritha finds her exhausted and wounded on the beach and gently cradles her. She has heard that nearby lives a man who is a great healer of birds, so she heads towards Rhayaders old lighthouse.

5. Fritha When she meets Rhayader for first time she too is fleftened, but her concern for the Snow Goose overcomes her fear.

6. The Snow Goose

7. Friendship While the Snow Goose gradually gains strength, tended to by Rhayader and visited by Fritha, a strong bond of friendship grows between the three of them.

8. Migration

9. Rhayader Alone With the departure of the Snow Goose, Fritha no longer visits the lighthouse and Rhayader is once more alone with the melancholy sounds of the marshes. Rhayader soon finds himself again on alone and sad.

10. The Flight of the Snow Goose One day high above the horizon appears the familiar shape of the great white bird. Rhayader in his joy sends for Fritha.

11. Preperation Rhayader gets ready to sail, together with the small Armada of other boats to help in the desperate rescue operation at Dunkirk.

12. Dunkirk As Rhayader departs, leaving Fritha behind he cannot prevent the Snow Goose following him out across the channel and left into the heart of battle.

13. Epitaph Rhayader ferries many stranded soldiers to safety until at last he is hit, and the Snow Goose is seen circling low over the spot where Rhayaders little boat has gone down.

14. Fritha Alone Fritha is alone and cannot find Rhayader. She has a bad feeling, but yet does not know fate of Rhayader.

15. La Princesse Perdue Fritha realizing somehow that Rhayader will not return and is still looking out to sea when she see's the Snow Goose. She is filled with a sweet sadness as she follows her princess home in as if to land only to fly away, out of sight lost forever beyond sight.

16. The Great Marsh

So if you were interrested of the story do consider of buying the book. I heard that it's short so it might be good reading while listening the cd, since you could follow the same timeline both with cd and book.

Amazing, beautiful music, build around beautiful yet sad story.

Report this review (#48550)
Posted Monday, September 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Never before have I heard an album better at being ambient and soothing. I enjoy listening to this album on repeat when I am studying or... or drunk. It relaxes me unlike anything else. I think that this is probably my favorite Camel album with Rain Dances in a close second.

I guess you really shouldn't go into this album thinking to find anything that 'rocks' persay but if you are in a chill mood, had a bad day or just hanging around with friends there is nothing else that I have ever heard that I would prefer to have for those times. Truely a masterpiece of Camel's and dare I say that it is perfect? I think it really just might be...

Some other albums that I always find to relax me when in the said moods are Trees', In The Garden of Jane Delawney and I.Q.'s, Dark Matter. Both are excellent but nothing compared to The Snow Goose. Fantastic.

Report this review (#53888)
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have only just heard this album and i am very impressed. Following on from the previous years Mirodge" album, Camel step into the scary territory of conceptual works. The opening track "The Great Marsh" builds up slowly with orchestra and Peter Bardens electric piano, before we know it we are fast into the main body of the album with lush orchestrations, exceptional keyboards, heartfelt guitar, and powerful vocals. Rhayader Goes To Town is very Mike Oldfield - ish with a touch of Chuck Berry thrown in for good measure. "Preparation" reminds me of the italian band "Gianmaria" particularly the 1970 "Nappy" album. If you like laid back prog with superb playing, you will love this. Cheers Chit
Report this review (#53971)
Posted Sunday, October 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Welcome to Camel's third album, "Snow Goose", a nice concept album about a Rhayader, a lonely person who lives in the marshes. One day he finds a wounded Snow Goose, and takes care of her. A little girl, Fritha, is also concerned about the goose, and she and Rhayader become friends. By the season's end the goose heals, and it is sent free. Following this, Rhayader is alone again, as Fritha doesn't come to visit him anymore. Rhayader helps saving people at the battle of Dunkirk, and during the battle the Goose comes back to help. Rhayader is killed in the battle, and the Goose is then named La Princess Perdue. Friends, remember: War is a terrible thing.

1. The Great Marsh - 5/5

2. Rhayader - 5/5

3. Rhayader Goes To Town -5/5

4. Sanctuary - 5/5

5. Fritha - 4,5/5

6. The Snow Goose - 5/5

7. Friendship -4/5

8. Migration - 5/5

9. Rhayader Alone - 4/5 10. Flight Of The Snow Goose - 4,5/5

11. Preparation - 4,5/5

12. Dunkirk - 4/5

13. Epitaph - 4,5/5

14. Fritha Alone 5/5 15. La Princesse Perdue 5/5

16. The Great Marsh 5/5

Final Note : Camel's exquisite interpretation of Paul Gallico's poignant and unforgettable masterpiece does honor to its simplicity and to the elements of trust, integrity, heroism, heartbreak, redemption, and-- ultimately-- the strength of the human spirit and faith in the cyclical nature of life, that lends strength and timelessness to the original story.

5+5+5+5+4,5+5+4+5+4+4,5+4,5+4+4,5+5+5+5 = 75

75 : 16 = 4,7

Essential - A masterpiece of progressive music

Curiosity : It was originally intended to narrate the album, but the idea was dropped.

Report this review (#54620)
Posted Friday, November 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Snow Goose is a pleasant and highly melodic album that already sounded a little dated at the time its release in 1975 (compare it to the futuristic adventures of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Relayer, Red, Wish You Were Here etc that were also released around the same time).

Shades of the then hugely popular Pink Floyd, moderately popular Genesis, and root influences of the semi-underground Canterbury scene and Hank Marvin all gel well in this good-natured, but slightly bland and inessential conceptual offering.

Trotting out familiar Progressive cliches in an endearing manner is hardly indicative of a masterpiece of Progressive music in my opinion.

Report this review (#56155)
Posted Sunday, November 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I hesitate to give this 5 stars, but it is a personal review so I have to give it that. Admittedly this is quite different from the majority of their catalog. Mostly pretty mellow and delicate. But for me at least, it works beautifully. I would not suggest this as an intro to Camel though. For me, I started with Mirage, which is as good a starting point as any. This was my second Camel album, and an immidiate hit. I have heard Camel accused of being too "safe" for a prog band. I have to say that that is a fair accusation. But I still love their music and find that it fits a lot of different moods depending on the album. This one I have no problem listening to from beginning to end. I will say I prefer the live version on "A Live Record" slighty, but only because it has a bit more drive or bite or something that I can't quite define. Anyway, for me at least, this is definelty a masterpiece of progressive music.
Report this review (#56158)
Posted Sunday, November 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is propably one of the best instrumental albums ever, if not the best. All the songs (if you can call these instrumental themes songs) have great melodies. Songs are wellstructured and very well put together. Melody never dissappears and each song changes to the next one very smoothly. This is a true concept album - the band tells a intresting story without saying a single word.

Let's take this album apart: first short track seems like nothing extraordinary, but it creates such a good atmosphere, it prepares you for things that are coming. After slow (but good) start comes "Rhayader" - now this is something. The flute melody will stay in your mind forever. It's one of the most beautiful things you will ever hear. Next one - "Rhayader Goes To Town" - takest the tempo up at first and you feel the power of the music. Then the track slows down a little. The melodie is once again great and there is even a bluesy guitar solo which fits very nicely there. After that there are 2 nice short tracks until a guitar starts playing and what a play it is ("The Snow Goose"). The melody of this song is so powerful that the band decided to repeat it in the final of the album. Next one "Friendship" is quite dark but at the same time also funny track, which is followed by a musical theme ("Migration") where someone is even making some voice (do do do do). At the end of the first part the same atmosphere comes back as in the beginning with "Rhayader Alone" as a guitar plays gentle. It's dark and magical and you can tell that someone is really alone.

Side two starts off with a bang - "Flight Of The Snow Goose" is a feelgood song and makes you forget the dark themes you heard earlier. This melody will propably stick to your mind too. Then the tempo goes down and album reaches a somewhat low point ("Preparation"), where the band repeats a theme several minutes and nothing very interesting happens and you might get just a little bit bored. This is low point only because the rest of the album is truely marvellous. Unnoticable comes nest track - Dunkirk - which shows even some anger as the music goes louder and louder until reaching climax. Then they almoust repeat the "Preparation" theme. This time it's shorter (with a different name "Epitaph") and very relaxing after the agressive ending of the previous track. Before the grand finale comes "Fritha Alone", which is a very nice piano number. The finale: they took some of the best themes of the album, made some modifications, different instruments play the main parts and what is the result? A great climax to an excellent album. As the last track fades away you may want to repeat the whole experience.

If you want to hear some really wonderful melodies, listen to this album. Good thing about the melodies is that different instruments are playing the main parts in different songs. One time its guitar, next time flute or keyboards. This album would be a perfect place to start for the people who want to get to know instrumental music, but haven't dared yet. Dont be afraid, you wont be disapointed.

Report this review (#56330)
Posted Monday, November 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the easiest listens of all prog. This is not a bad thing however. In fact, the agreeable melodies are refreshing and welcome. The only drawback is that an album cannot be both grandiose and pleasant (in the way I am defining it) at the same time. Still, I listen to this album often.

Right after 'The Great Marsh' is 'Rhayader'. The flute melody on this song is phenomenal. My favorite part of the album, hands down. I fell in love with it the first time I heard it and go around whistling it constantly.

Other favorite tracks are Dunkirk, Flight of the Snow Goose, and La Princesse Perdue.

The other amazing thing about this album is that it is the instrumental version of the novella, "The Flight of the Snow Goose." The plot is summarizes on the back of the album and reading that truly adds something to the music. Thinking of it as intelligent accompaniment to a well-told, if tragic tale increases my appreciation for the music. I should very much like to read the book one day and then make a new set of judgements regarding Camel's 'The Snow Goose."

Report this review (#57097)
Posted Sunday, November 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm new to progarchives and new to prog music, and this is my first review. What can i say? my english is not of the bests, but i will do my best. This album touched me since from the first listen.. is magnific from the first to the last music, i think this album just perfect, totally perfect and a masterpiece of world music. The symphonies are amazing, it brings you to another places, oh well.. i'm not a good writter, but i can say to you one thing:

This music is perfect.

Report this review (#59368)
Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars "SNOW GOOSE" is a masterpiece for progressive fans. This album included very good sound and concept. Awesome rhythms, awesome guitars, sweet melodies.. Everything is great in that album. The great fan of the symphonic progressive! (both it looks like canterbury scene) Don't pass this album!
Report this review (#60207)
Posted Monday, December 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Snow Goose is certainly the best Camel album for me. The music tells you a story. When you listen that disc, you listen the story written by Paul Gallico. A story with happiness, sadness, friendship... A lot of feelings greatly transcribed musicalement.

It is really a very good conceptual project and so a very good progressive album.

In the story on the disc, each character has his own melody and that melody can be plenty of happiness (if the character has good feelings) or sadness (for example, the loneliness of Rhayader).

Splendid album !

Report this review (#64060)
Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is the foundation upon which this website is built. This is early, classic 1970s prog at its finest. Much has happened in music since then, particularly in production, but this album still stands strong today.

Mainly an instrumental album, the listener is treated to some of Andy Latimers finest chords and lead guitar playing. Andy Wards drumming is lovely and Peter Bardens gets it just right. Doug Ferguson completes the arrangements with great bass work.

The artwork of the album is consistant with that to follow.....excellence!

Report this review (#65892)
Posted Saturday, January 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars OK this is what some people call easy listening prog. There is little of prog's trademark dissonance, and you can actually hum along to most of the tracks, but that's kind of missing the point guys! This work is simply beautiful, and viewed as a whole it's a work of art that's rarely been equalled. Camel certainly have never put together a more completely satisfying album, though individual tracks on Mirage or Raindances and one or two others may shine, this work was an overall masterpiece, very much a classical composition with recurring, interweaving themes that lend depth to the entire piece. This was a mature work that Paul Gallico should have been proud of! Now it's time for Camel to do a musical version of The Poseidon Adventure!!
Report this review (#68825)
Posted Wednesday, February 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars 4.6 No band of today could ever match the resplendence of the magnificent CAMEL.

With this majestic concept album, CAMEL had really found their quite unique sound, after the amazing, yet quite inconsistent 'Mirage'. Although I prefer 'Moonmadness', the structure and musical wizardry of the album still stands to amaze. From 'The Great Marsh' to 'The Great Marsh (pt2)' there is not one mistake made by any of the four members. The piano fits perfectly, bass lines are always faultless, Latimer produces some very warm guitar and the amazing yet very overlooked Ward furnishes some virtuoso rolls and crashes.

Being fully instrumental (apart from some 'dah's' in 'Migration' and 'Preparation'), CAMEL's genius is altogether expressed through their variant atmospheric harmonisations. Rhayader is an amazing track, and one of the best recordings in Symphonic Prog. Of course, Symphonic Prog is ever enhanced by the presence of flute, and Andrew Latimer has to be a culpable expert. Pete Barden's aptitude is clearly displayed in 'Frith Alone', a quite exquisite piano piece.

This album is extremely consistent, each track flows seamlessly into the next. Not the best place to begin your CAMEL adventure, but, without a doubt, no Progressive Rock collection would be complete without this exceptional example of conceptual music. Do not miss out.

George Evans, UK.

Report this review (#69084)
Posted Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars this album is a... miracle- because, no band will never can do that kind of album. I heard this album when I was 14, after I heard Pink Floyd and gey into prog. I was just amazed by the way the album was built and play. I cant stoped listen to this album! he was too good. all the song has a very uniq structure. in this album there not songs that they are better then other, all the song are very good.

five stars

Report this review (#70325)
Posted Thursday, February 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars On this here progarchives I first heard "Rhayader" from this album and immediately was hooked. After "Mirage", I soon got this album and was very excited.

What a dissapointment. Most of the songs are short, often contain repeating themes ("Sanctuary" and "Fritha") and aren't interesting at all. The songs are very short, not only to prog measures but to a certain extent also when compared with pop measures.

A few songs on the album are worth the trouble, namely "Rhayader", "The Snow Goose" and "Flight Of The Snow Goose", but even these are short and quite repetitive.The other songs aren't really bad, but they're nothing special either. I've listened to the album several times to convince myself, but remain disappointed. This is bad instrumental stuff and if you're looking for good instrumental songs, go for the Mahavishnu Orchestra or better yet, Focus which contains better lyricless vocals than this.

I don't get what the hype about this album is with only three decent songs (as they aren't that great). The only really proggy part of this album is that is a concept album, and so I'll give it a three stars though it's not really justified and should deserve lower.

Report this review (#71355)
Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply one of the greatest progressive albums. At first it was a bit of a shock that there were no lyrics, but now I understand that The Snow Goose is just perfect in the way it is. I still can't understand how the members of Camel have created such an atmosphere only with their instruments. Songs like Rhayader make me feel like this is a story that I'm listening to. And actually that's exactly what it is. This album is a must-buy for prog-fans, but I'd maybe prefer some Camel albums with vocals first. Still, you gotta buy this.
Report this review (#71425)
Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Top notch composing from Latimer and Bardens. A completely instrumental album based on the Novella by Paul Gallico. A fervent anti-smoker the author refused to sanction the group's project because of their name. The album had to be called Music Inspired by the Snow Goose instead.

The music flows effortlessly from one song to the next and is best listened to as a whole. Wind instruments such as flute and clarinet are used most effectively to produce different textures and emotions. They also came up with a killer melody to represent The Snow Goose. This is hauntingly effective. The melody is reprised towards the end of the piece as La Princess Perdue but with more epic orchestration. This album is simply superb.

Report this review (#73042)
Posted Saturday, March 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is an excellent album from Camel. The athmosphere is quite fantastic and keeps the same great mood through the whole album.

As you all know, there is NO vocals here. Only music, which I think is not so good. I like for example, Lady Fantasy a lot, though there is not much vocals either. The peak of this album are "Rhayader Goes To Town", and tracks 10-16. All very strong and gives you cold flushes in the back. But this album has to be considered as a package, cause in the end all the songs are quite similar.

Some say there would be a story here, don't know, not much lyrics :D Well anyway this album is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Try!

Report this review (#73642)
Posted Friday, March 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars (3.5 really) I don't know how so many people believe this album is as great as they say it is. I bought this album based off all the reviews I had read and how high of a rating it had earned, and I am sad to say that I disagree with about 150 people who gave "The Snow Goose" a 4+ rating. After my fourth go-around with this album I feel that I have listened to it enough to make an adequate review. I am going to set aside the "impact on prog" factor and judge it on musical content alone (as I believe all music should be judged). This album does have its moments, but I have found that there are way too many parts that sound..... corny (for lack of a better term). It seems to occur when they try to pick up the music up to a fact tempo in songs like "The Flight of the Snow Goose," "Rhayadar" and "Rhayadar Goes to Town." I also feel this way about "Friendship." My favorite tracks are "Migration" and "Dunkirk," not including the bonus tracks. There are five bonus tracks on my CD, "Flight Of The Snow Goose (alternate single edit)," "Rhayader Goes To Town (Live 10-30-1974)," "The Snow Goose / Freefall (Live 10-30-1974)" are my other favorites. Most of the other tracks that I didn't mention ARE good, but only contribute to the feel and cycle of the album, not to its greatness (or lack of). I recommend it, but not as highly as some other reviewers would.
Report this review (#74942)
Posted Friday, April 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars In comparison to first two albums, this one brouhgt two essentially new moments - 1. it was inspired by touching Paul Gallico story and 2. the whole album is instrumental. Consequently, compositions written intended primarily to express the atmosphere of the story and less to satisfy some prog standards; the only pure prog flash is present in 'Rhayader Goes To Town'. The musicianship and orchestral arrangements are exquisite, production superb. However, from my prog point of view I'm rating this album with three stars,but as the music of the mood it is marvellous. It also showed band's wide interest and their ability to express it musically in a superior manner and that is certainly the attribute only of those which belong to the greatest.
Report this review (#76166)
Posted Monday, April 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A superb album! This is my favorite camel album, and as I tend to prefer instrumental tracks anyways the lack of vocals did not phase me in the least. I bought the 2002 Decca release, and I recommend this version if you can get it. It has bonus alternate tracks of Rhayader, Rhayader goes to town, and Flight of the Snow Goose, but the real gem is the last track, an 11 minute extended live version of The Snow Goose/Freefall! This is also the only track with vocals. The The total time of the 2002 CD is 67.5 minutes. (I always appreciate extra music!) The best tracks IMO are: Rhayader goes to town, Flight of the Snow Goose, Princesse Perdue and the bonus Snow Goose/Freefall. This album is recommended if you like the more symphonic or instrumental prog, however I might suggest "Moonmadness" or "Mirage" might be better to start with if you are not familiar with Camel.
Report this review (#76615)
Posted Saturday, April 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I really loved this album form the first to the last track, it's really one of the best intrumental prog recording ever. And it's a good thing that it's instrumental because sometimes the voice in Camel's music really gets on my nerves. First, the reason why I got this album is that I listened to ''Rhayader'' on this site and I fell in love with it with the flute and the keyboards. Second, when I had it, I listened to it and I really loved EVERY song on it. None of them sounded weak on anything to me. I think this album really is the best that Camel ever made.
Report this review (#76766)
Posted Sunday, April 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first time I sat down to listen to this album in its entirety, I had Paul Gallico's short story, The Snow Goose, to read while the music played. I must admit, the atmosphere created by the music is special. "The Great Marsh" is a fantastic opening to this story/album. As I read the story and allowed the music to enhance the story, my thoughts were transported from the comfort of my home in suburban America to that marsh in England where man is a stranger and the ecological chain is alive and on full display. Well..there is one man there - the hermit-like painter named Rhayader. Rhayader's theme as interpreted by Camel can be listened to on this site and is an interesting tune with a couple of moods, which actually foreshadow the type of character Rhayader will turn out to be in this story. I actually found this to be an enjoyable experience and found myself enjoying both the story and Camel's "soundtrack" of the story. Believe it or not, I actually finished reading the story before the music ended.

Camel is a unique group that certainly creates a strong mood with their music, whether it be with the sound of the flute or one of the see-saw sounds that emanate from Andrew Latimer's guitar. I enjoy this album, but only listen to it when I want to listen to the whole thing. The songs individually do not stand well on their own, in my opinion. That fact along with the absence of vocals/lyrics keep me from giving this album a full five stars. I love the music, but I'm also a sucker for one of the most fascinating musical instruments: the human voice. Other than those two criticisms, I think this is a strong album and one that I enthusiastically recommend.

Report this review (#78064)
Posted Saturday, May 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This one is absolutely overwhelming.

The first time I heard it I thought it was one piece, 40 minutes long. The songs are so well-cut and fitted to each other that you don't feel the moments when one of them ends and the next one begins. Another thing is that it is a concept album. The concept is very pleasant, but the musical representation is unique. It rarely happens that a concept album can convey emotions so easily and naturally. When you read the booklet which describes what the story is exactly about, and find out what happens when a particular song is played, the only words that come to your mind are: "that's exactly what I was thinking!!"

A masterpiece in a word.

Report this review (#80692)
Posted Thursday, June 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars An excellent display of musical ablitly, Rhayadar is an amazing song that always lifts your spirit. Possibly one of the greatest songs of all time. The rest of the songs are beautifally crafted and hard to criticize. A great concept album about a great book and really helps you feel you are inside the book.
Report this review (#80768)
Posted Friday, June 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I remember the first time I listened to this album after having bought it as the best sleep of my entire life... This album is fulll of fantastic hints and displays sometimes the genial ability of bardens and latimer as composers, but it sounds as a little bit overstreched to me. When I listen to this album my musical memory inevitably goes to Yes' "Tales from Topographic Oceans". I think that this album is widely overrated.
Report this review (#82224)
Posted Thursday, June 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars For me "The Snow Goose" is just one of those albums that sticks with you for your entire life, you all know what I'm talking about. This album in my eyes is an absolute masterpiece and goes beyond description for me.

Camel decided to attempt another concept in their music, after the success of "The White Rider" in Mirage. Keyboardist Peter Bardens suggested "Siddhartha", and some songs were written before the idea was trashed. Another book by the same writer, "Steppenwolf" was also suggested but this concept proved unworkable for the band. Finally, bassist Doug Ferguson suggested the short story "The Snow Goose", which the band accepted. Peter Bardens and Andy Latimer went to a cottage in Devon to record the album in peace, they worked extensively to create something good. After coming off the fairly successful "Mirage", which charted number 149 in the US and slightly higher in England, the band decided to stay in America and do some shows in clubs and small theatres. From this the band gained some further recognition and consolidated their American audience.

The album is based on a short story by Paul Gallico called "The Snow Goose." The book is about a man named Philip Rhayader, who is a recluse and lives in a marsh and tends to birds. He was suggestibly a World War 1 solider and he is looked upon as odd in the surrounding area because of his deformed appearance and claw-like hand. One day a young girl named Firtha comes to Rhayader's house with a wounded bird. Rhayader determines it is a Snow Goose from Canada and wonders how it got to England. Over the next few months Firtha and Rhayader tend to the wounded bird and become friends, until one day the bird migrates, leaving Rhayder once again alone. The bird returns and Firth comes to visit Rhayader once more. Rhayader gets news of English soldiers pinned down by German forces on the beach at Dunkirk and he goes with his boat to rescue as many as he can. He manages to bring many boat loads of men to safety before being killed, the Snow Goose stays with the body of Rhayader until a group of English men find the boat.

The Album was initially intended to have narration, but the writer of the book, Paul Gallico did not allow the band to have lyrics as he was against smoking and the band was produced by a cigarette company. Hence this is why the album is actually called "Music inspired by The Snow Goose."

"The Snow Goose" opens with the appropriately named track, "The Great Marsh" which depicts where the recluse to Rhayader lives. The song begins very quietly with the quacking of various birds and soft piano chords before moving into a more melodic passage spanning around forty seconds. The song is sets the scene of the story very well and captures the atmosphere of the marsh.

"Rhayader" is next up and is obviously the song for the character. Considering his status and reputation among people around him, his tune is very happy. It consists of an opening flute melody played over the top of an underlying keyboard melody. The song them moves into a much more upbeat section with steady bass and percussion and a continuing flute melody. After the flute solo comes a guitar synthesizer solo from Latimer which then, in turn lead to a repeat of the opening theme. The song then connects directly to the next song.

As "Rhayder" fades out."Rhayder Goes to Town" Begins as the two songs, like the entire album are joined together. The song begins basically consists of some repeated themes on a variety of different guitar and keyboard synthesizers. One theme in particular is repeated many times before leading into what is a very good guitar solo around the 2:30 minute mark. This solo moves away from the repeating melodies and is just a great moment in the album, the solos spans basically the rest of the song. The character Rhayder goes into town every so often to get supplies, hence Rhayder goes to town.

"Sanctuary" is a very brief song and it is intended to sullen the mood of the album as the song is very beautiful. It is basically acoustic guitar, overlayed with a very mellow electric guitar melody. It is a very calm and peaceful song and it is slightly different from the jazzy "Rhayader Goes to Town."

"Firtha" Leads on perfectly from the previous track, and it is similarly structured to it. This time the tune is slightly faster and instead of being overlayed with an electric guitar, there is a synthesizer. "Fritha" describes the character Firth from the book.

"The Snow Goose" is quite a mellow tune and then entire song is a slow guitar solo with snippets of synthesizer and bass here and there as well as a steady drum beat. This is one song which is hard to appreciate first listen, it takes some time to "get it." The song describes the bird that Firth brings to Rhayader's house in the marsh.

Contrary to the last few songs, "Friendship" is a "happier" song and it is depicts the friendship between Rhayader and Fritha. The song is made up of a few wood winds, Bassoon, Oboe and clarinet I believe. The instruments seem to answer each other and create a very warm atmosphere.

"Migration" is the first of the songs with word less vocals; both Latimer and Bardens sing the lyrics less vocals. The song is happy, just like the previous one, probably more so. The song is tinged with synthesizers and the bass and percussion is strong here. The title requires no explanation.

With the migration of the snow goose, Rhayader becomes lonely again as Firth does no visit him anymore, hence why the song is called "Rhayader alone." It is quite a mellow song and follows the same vein of the quieter songs near the beginning of the album with mellow keyboard chords and lush guitar.

"Flight of the Snow Goose" begins with a synthesizer and guitar part gradually increasing in volume until finally and new theme comes in. This melody reminds me somewhat of the tune from "Rhayader Goes to Town", although here it is notably faster. There is also a splendid synthesizer solo which is then followed by another repeat of the main melody.

"Preparation" is probably the most monotonous song on the album as it consists of a very odd synthesizer and percussion rhythm which is repeated over and over. it is also the only instrumentation of the song. There are some more lyrics less vocals in the background by an unknown vocalist. The song describes Rhayader's preparation before he attempts to save the men stranded at Dunkirk.

"Dunkirk" is the longest and most progressive song on "The Snow Goose" and it features very strong symphonic traits. It features many very interesting instrumental passages played on guitar and synthesizers as well as bass and drums, of course. It is very fascinating listening to the different movements in the song. At Dunkirk Rhayader is able to save many men from the beach, before he is killed.

"Epitaph" is an echo of "Preparation" and is the song that indicates the death of Rhayader as he attempts to save the men stranded on the beach at Dunkirk. Nothing much else to say about this song other than it's essentially a repeat of "Preparation."

When Rhayader doesn't return, Firth soon discovers that he had died. She goes back to Rhayader's house and looks after the birds in his stead. "Firtha Alone" is very brief and simple, but it is a very sad.

When Firtha sees that The Snow Goose had returned, she is overjoyed and names it La Princess Perdue, which is where the name of the song comes from. The song is perhaps the best on the album and it sums up the last forty or so minutes of amazing music. Unfortunately, Rhayader's house in the Marsh is destroyed by German aircraft and Fritha returns to the swamp to find the house completely destroyed, all evidence of Rhayaders' existence is now gone.

The album is ended with a repeat of "The Great Marsh", only this time the song gets gradually softer opposed to louder. The song fades away, as all the evidence of Rhayader is washed away.

1.The Great Marsh (4/5) 2.Rhayader (5/5) 3.Rhayader Goes to Town (5/5) 4.Sanctuary (4.5/5) 5.Firtha (4.5/5) 6.The Snow Goose (5/5) 7.Friendship (4/5) 8.Migration (4/5) 9.Rhayader Alone (4.5/5) 10.Flight of the Snow Goose (4.5/5) 11.Preparation (4/5) 12.Dunkirk (5/5) 13.Epitaph (4/5) 14.Firtha Alone (4.5/5) 15.La Princess Perdue (5/5) 16.The Great Marsh (4/5) Total 71.5 divided by 16 (number of songs) = 4.46875 5 stars Essential: A Masterpiece of Progressive Music

Truly an amazing album from anyone's perspective, what's not to like about it? It is certainly the pinnacle of Camel's career and a gem of progressive rock music. Camel decided to go on a more lyrically based approach with their following album, "Moonmadness" and left "The Snow Goose" unspoiled. I'd recommend "The Snow Goose" to all prog fans as I believe it is an absolute essential to everyone's music collection. If you have read this far, then you have a longer attention span than me.

Report this review (#84430)
Posted Friday, July 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a recent acquisition of mine and it is a real gem. I had heard bits and pieces of it in the past, but had never heard the whole thing until recently. As mentioned above, this is music inspired by the story "The Snow Goose." I find it interesting that the band had problems with the publisher into securing a licensing agreement. Surely the album helped boost the sales of the book... I know it makes me want to go out and buy it. In any case, they didn't get the agreement and it turned out to be a largely instrumental album. No matter- that may bother some of you- in this case, I think the lyrics would only get in the way of the music.

The Good: Some above have complained about the shorter songs, but in my opinion, every prog album doesn't have to consist of a few 15 minute epics to be prog. I think the short song format works perfectly on this album- it is inspired by a SHORT story. And it does work. Some of the songs like "Rhayader", "Rhayader Goes to Town" and "Fritha" are spectacular. "Friendship" is a daring little "minuet" to put onto a Progressive rock album. This album will remind you of the classical roots of Symphonic Prog more than just about any other.

The Bad: While it isn't a put off for me- I realize many of you might be alarmed by the lack of lyrics, so I thought I'd mention that again. And it does fall on the softer end of Progressive Rock, so those of you who use the B & B (Beavis and Butthead) scale of rating music might find it sucks because of that. But those who like their music complex and beautiful regardless of how "hard" it is, won't be bothered by that.

The Ugly: I really don't like "Dunkirk." It seems just a bit repetitive and out of place.

Report this review (#84542)
Posted Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I bought this album after my much enjoyed listen to "Mirage", at first I was very disappointed with "The Snow Goose", I used to have the habit of just listening to the first 30 seconds of a song and skip the next when i don't have enough time to listen through, So it took me actually 3 weeks after I purchased the album before i put it in and listen from beginning to end, and you just cant do that with this album, each song complements the next. The whole album is filled with great emotion and very melodic arrangements, in the song "Migration" you can get the feel of a the snow goose soaring away, the battle in "Dunkirk", the personality of the main character in "Rhayader", and the eerie crooning of the fowl in "The Great Marsh". It might not be Camel's most complex album, but its definitely there most melodic and beautiful one.
Report this review (#84717)
Posted Monday, July 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars OK, let's try to be more critical!

After a zillion times that I listened to "Snowgoose" in my younger years, and after carefully studying all the instruments, arrangement, production, cover image, the plot-line story "inspired by" the namesake novel, and a cult-like devotion to this work, let's break for a while!

In fact, this album is all too often boring, flat sounding, very lukewarm and lame. At times it comes close even to "elevator" muzak. Many themes are repeated in a circle and if you suffer from insomnia, listening to it may help. To my recent astonishment, even probably the best moment on the album, dynamic military marching rhythm with effective guitar solo of "Dunkirk" seems to be not very original idea, having already heard CURVED AIR's "Metamorphosis"!

But, don't be too threatened by this sort of negative review given by an "experienced" listener, though. "Snowgoose" is still recommended to all novices and beginners to classic prog and it remains an obligatory "lecture". Just be aware that there are better art works and that this one is hardly a "masterpiece".

Report this review (#86394)
Posted Thursday, August 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I really don't like giving this album this low a review. It's a good album, unfortunately it has many parts that may bore you to tears. This is not CAMEL's best work, as many would like you to believe. People say it's interesting becuase it's all instrumental, well, that doesn't make anything interesting. You could add a set of Bagpipes to the music and that doesn't make it interesting per se.

The Rhayader sequence is the best part of the album. Too often though, one get's the feeling that the music flutters and doesn't have a bite to it. It isn't bad that it doesn't have a bite, but I find other of CAMEL's great works(Mirage, Moonmadness) more appealing.

Report this review (#86537)
Posted Friday, August 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I heard Rhayader before I bought the album and fell in love with its beyond beautiful flute and melodic bass lines, so I was eager to hear the whole thing as soon as possible. When I got my hands on it I was kinda disappointed at first because I was waiting for another instantly mindblowing experience, but got something else. Nothing on the album came close to the quality of the opening piece despite being from nice to very good all the way, but with each patient listen I kept finding more treasures; La Princesse Perdue, the title track, Rhayader Alone etc etc until one day I was listening to a perfectly enjoyable album from the first second to the last. Filled with great work from all the members this one contains some of the most beautiful melodies Camel ever wrote. One of the three Camel albums I consider some of the best albums in rock history.
Report this review (#87424)
Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'm amazed at how some will rate a CD lower simply because it's instrumental. I just don't get that. I grew up listening to prog rock, jazz and classical in equal doses and don't mind all instrumental works. Some times a work of art doesn't require the spoken word to get the point across. To make some analogies: Intrumental works are like paintings and photographs while vocal works are like novels.

But the vocal vs instrumental argument I will leave for another time. For now, let's get on with the review of the Snow Goose.

This is my first, and only Camel CD. Please take that into consideration when reading my review.

I've had this CD in my collection for a year and have listened to it at least a half dozen times. There is something about it that I just don't like. Hard to put a finger on it, but after listening to it last night I think I can summarize it.

It's "bland"; simple as that! It's a sterile recording with very little depth. Sure, the musicianship is there and there are excellent passages throughout, but the production is very weak. The instruments sound very thin and could have been recorded with deeper reverb in order to give the overall production a larger, more regal sound.

Arguably, someone may say that short, in your face reverb is more intimate and may have been the effect that the band was trying to achieve. Pehaps that was the case. If so, then that is where I have a problem with this recording. I have nothing against so-called "intimate" recordings. For some acousitc jazz an intimate recording style is almost always protocol. Nothing like listening to a saxophone that sounds like it's right in your face! However, for a supposed prog-type recording the intimacy factor simply doesn't work for me.

A good portion of my listening is done via headphones and without having to listen really hard I can discern that instrument placement on this recording is of the old-school variety(listen to any of the Beatles records and you will see what I mean). The following formula abounds throughout the Goose: left channel keyboards, right channel rythm guitar, center channel drums and bass. Occassionally an instrument will venture toward the center when it's doing a solo.

What's wrong with that approach? It leads to VERY THIN recordings. Of course, we don't want to hear instruments bleeding over in full stereo all of the time, but when it comes to crecendos or climaxes it is much more effective to have the insturments appear wider in the stereo field. One easy way to do is to NOT pan them full right or left on the mixers. It's a very elementary recording principle and one that seems to have been ignored(whether purposely or not) on the Goose.

If it sounds like I have a problem with the production, well, yes I do. Very much. It sounds like Camel was trying to produce a jazz record. Nothing wrong with that, except that it's not jazz. It's a jazz-like production of rock music; and that simply doesn't work.

For instance, if you were to listen to the Pat Metheny Group's American Garage CD you will see the total opposite of what Camel did here. With AG, the PMG offers a rock sounding record from jazz material. How do they pull it off? The instruments were mixed in a much wider stereo field and the reverbs are thicker, giving the music a larger, cohesive sound(part of the ECM school of recording). The Goose uses so much instrument separation that it makes the overall effect much too lean and weak.

On the other hand, the soft, intimate and muzak-like esthetic of the Goose lends itself perfectly as a vehicle for introducing children to the world of progressive rock. It's soft enough that it won't shock their senses, yet intricate enough that it will prepare them for the more challenging works of the genre.

I cannot give this CD anything more than three stars because I think it falls short of being an essential recording.

Report this review (#89018)
Posted Tuesday, September 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first Camel purchase, two weeks ago (I know, a bit late...) and was lucky enough to grab the Decca remastered release. I had heard two Camel albums in the past and did not really get it, but I took a chance with this one, and I won!!!

Great, great album! Every musician's work is a highlight. Latimer's guitar playing is amazing, as is his flute playing. Barden's keyboards are great and very original, Ferguson's bass parts are tight and creative and Ward's drumming is also exciting. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that Camel really stand out in the 70's prog scene. They sound like nobody and nobody sounds like them (not that I have heard every prog band, but from what I have heard).

About The Snow Goose, I think the only way one can review this album is as a whole, as one long song, not like a series of short songs. It is based on a book, and personally I judge a book in it's entirety, not chapter by chapter. Jethro Tull's 'Thick as a Brick' often came to my mind while listening to this, and is about the only comparison that I can make. So as one long song, it is really outstanding, exceptionally well written and executed. The variety of moods kept me interested all along, as did the musicianship. The lack of vocals does not put this album down in anyway (in fact I remember it was mainly due to vocals that I did not like Camel in the past), it just leaves more room for that excellent music they make.

A definitive five star masterpiece in my opinion.

Report this review (#89336)
Posted Saturday, September 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Snow Goose is very essential album in many ways. Themes are calm, very relaxing and enjoyable (I've fallen asleep quite many times at the end of the record...) and sounds are great. On the other hand, there's a small lack of themes, even one godsmackingly great theme more wouldn't have done bad for this album... However, a great album, but none of it's tracks wouldn't work that good on it's own. It's a theme album, indeed.

Report this review (#95575)
Posted Tuesday, October 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars The only missing things in this album are the notes. It's very difficult to understand what a concept album means, when you don't know anything about the story. By the way, this is a masterpiece of progressive. The excellent guitar of Andy Latimer drives the first 3 tracks, then everything proceeds through an impressive athmosphere to the second part (I enjoyed the vinil, first). To be noticed, the second part of the suite where CAMEL give evidence of a Floydian influence with a track that reminds Atom heart mother. This is the 3rd CAMEL album. 5 start to this one, but if you are new at Camel, don't miss the first four.
Report this review (#96317)
Posted Tuesday, October 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a 100 % essential album in any discography, not only in progressive music. Completely instrumental, "Music inspired by The Snow Goose" is, in my opinion, the best album of Camel. Without lyrics, yes, but very emotive, it "tells" a beautiful story based on Paul Gallico's "The Snow Goose" book. There isn't any surplus song 'cause are all important and, specially, excellent.

The album begins and ends with "The Great Marsh", that moves us into another time, into the past, when in Essex there was a beacon and a man called Phillip Rhayader worked there. Promptly it sounds "Rhayader" and "Rhayader goes to town", likely the two best songs in the album. Later, "Sanctuary", "Fritha", "The Snow Goose" (with a beautiful motive) and "Friendship". Then, "Migration", "Rhayader alone", "Flight of the Snow Goose", "Preparation", "Dunkirk" describe hard situations and troubles for Fritha and Rhayader. "Fritha alone" is really emotive, also like "La princesse perdue", a reposition of many musical motives of the album. Eventually we return into the present with "The Great Marsh"... looking the beacon's debris in Essex.

In conclusion, a masterpiece of (progressive) music.

Report this review (#96450)
Posted Wednesday, November 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is an incredibly emotional album, and concept one at that. You can visualise the story almost in an instant and savour it from the very first tunes to the (not so happy) ending. The pinnacle of Camel's progressive-ness, and probably a milestone in the development of symphonic prog.

This album is especially recommended to the "newly enlightened" prog fans, as it is very pleasant: very melodic with absolutely no psychodelic tunes. Almost every single fiend of mine liked it at the first listening. Warning! it's addictive.

Report this review (#97323)
Posted Monday, November 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Instrumental albums are usually boring,but not this one. Camel illustrated a novel only with music, but did it using contrasts. The character of each composition is different, and, what's most important, they all hhave recognizable melody. The music flows beside you, but after few minnutes you realize that you can focus only on it . A masterpiece.
Report this review (#97784)
Posted Thursday, November 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This instrumental masterpiece englobes de whole feeling of a book and turns it magically into music. I have read some short version of the book and it fits quite well with the moods and sounds on this record. My favorite tracks are RHAYADER - RHAYADER GOES TO TOWN specially the latter, with quite an energetic opening and some incredible guitar work by latimer. The winds orchestra around "friendship" is also very remarkable as each instrument blends perfectly with the other to acheive a very global sound of the feeling of "friendship"

I think there's no fillers or weak tracks on the album. Being a conceptual album, it would definitely be better to listen in its enterity.

I have to give this album 4.5 stars -> 5 :D

Report this review (#97923)
Posted Thursday, November 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars After "Mirage", guitarist Andy Latimer and keyboardist Peter Bardens were talking about releasing a concept album. It was bassist Doug Fergunson who suggested the album to be based on Paul Gallico's novella "The Snow Goose". My girlfriend always tells me that listening to Camel is like reading fairy-tales and probably the idea to base the music on such a story is the best they could do. A funny thing about it is that Paul Gallico was a complete 'anti-smoker' and connecting the bands name with the famous brand made him want to take legal action. The album was finally titled "Music Inspired By The Snow Goose" solving all the problems.

Latimer has stated that they had never played the whole material before getting into the studio and thus they had no idea of the final result. Listening to the album is almost impossible to believe it. The songs are great as individuals but they stand together amazingly well. This album, unlike the first two Camel albums, is completely instrumental. It's like a fairy-tale being narrated with music. The music is truly beautiful. Yep. beautiful, that's the word. It could be an amazing album to support a theatrical performance too. The high quality base provided by the solid rhythmic section, gives the freedom to Latimer and Bardens to drive us into a dream world. Brilliant compositions, solos and ideas and beautiful and memorable melodies are what pretty much sum up the album.

The album was released in 1975 and is their second release with Decca Records which seeing the success of the album, released the first Camel single. With this album, Camel showed they are an important band of the 70's British scene. A must for every prog fan!

Report this review (#101063)
Posted Thursday, November 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Snow Goose is one of those albums by Camel, where you think 'Where have i heard that before?'. Camel had a great tendancy to create this type of music as a soundtrack for something yet to be created.

However, the Snow Goose is a really nice album - one of those you listen to in the dark and it takes you to a certain place. The opening of the album you can hear birdsong and the gentle waves against the beach - and then in comes the flute for Rhayader - and then it moves you to somwhere else.

The Snow Goose really is much like a journey, the music ebbs and flows across the tracks. However, the album's tracks are quite short around 3-5 minutes but the music segues into itself and that to me is a great piece of prog-music.

I highly recommend the Snow Goose to anyone who likes to listen to a nice piece of medieval music and wants to be taken away with it.

Report this review (#108335)
Posted Monday, January 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars For the reasons I mentionned in my review of their first album, I entered the Camel repertoire quite lately (in September ... 2004). with "Snow Goose" (together with "Moonmadness"). I must admit that I quite liked it at the first spins but I also got tired of it quite rapidly.

Since I discovered afterwards that the vocals were not really Camel's trademark, the fact that this album is an all-instrumental piece of work is not disturbing.

But the record company, specially in the US was horrified to find out that "The Snow Goose" had no vocals ! It was intended to have a written narrative thread by Paul Gallico (the author of the novel "The Snow Goose") linking each piece of music on the album sleeve. But he never granted permission to do so. To avoid legal matters, the band had to change the title into "Music Inspired by The Snow Goose". It is very hard for me to imagine a storyboard from an all intrumental piece, so I could not really enter into this "story".

It is made of lots of short tracks (16 songs for 43 minutes of music) which could provoke some kind of mixed feelings about it. The ambiance is sometimes very "Trespass-Esque" if I may.

The first six numbers flow perfectly one into the other with some good and passionate moments. The middle part of the album is weaker ("Friendship"and "Migration") and it sounds like the band lacks in enthusiasm. The remaining parts being in-line with the start : good music but no highlights (being a concept album does not mean that it could not contained highlights).

Even if it is a good record, it is not my fave one from Camel. Try and get hold of the remastered version for its 24 minutes bonus track (again, not essential, but good to listen to) : some single releases and some live ones (still recorded at the Marquee). It will peak at the 22nd spot in the UK charts. Three stars.

Report this review (#110796)
Posted Monday, February 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not quite as solid as "Mirage", "The Snow Goose" shows Camel continuing with the same sound and style as the previous. For this one they decided to not include any vocals, aside from some scatting/vocalizations. I'm not sure I like that, I really do like Latimer's voice on Mirage. The Snow Goose is a full fledged concept album, and it's broken up into several small pieces which unfortunately resulted in an increase of weaker material. The music is actually pretty accessible, brought on by the great melodies.

Alot of the 1 minute tracks are pretty weak, like the opening and closing pieces, and Fritha. However, among them there are also some gems. "Migration" and "Flight of the Snow Goose" are excellent tracks and come close to the rush one gets out of Mirage. I really like the scatting on Migration, it is quite reminiscent of Wishbone Ash' first album. Among the best of the other tracks would have to be Rhayader Goes to Town. Sounds like the soundtrack to a Dracula film at points. Actually, just about all of the Rhayader tracks here are excellent. "Dunkirk" has a few great moments, the rhythm section is really intense. I would split the album in about half, half is excellent music, the other half decent but not spectacular. I didn't get as much repeated plays on this album when getting into it like I did Mirage, Mirage was played atleast 30-40 times in the course of a week, Snow Goose about 20-25. I can tell it will be one of those albums I can look back on later and appreciate though. Very atmospheric and emotional. Latimer's guitar isn't featured enough though.

Not as good as "Mirage" but certainly one of the best Camel albums. The combination of these musicians and their unique writing never ceases to amaze me!

Report this review (#110813)
Posted Monday, February 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A definite improvement over the uneven and sometimes gauche 'Mirage', CAMEL'S 'The Snow Goose' is best listened to in its entirety. Gentle musical themes wind their way from track to track, bringing a sense of symphonic continuity to what is clearly a concept album. No one track stands out, though some of the more well known tracks, such as 'Rhyader', 'The Snow Goose' and 'Flight of the Snow Goose', introduce the main themes. Each track segues into the next to create an organic whole unlike anything CAMEL had previously done.

I have to admit to having trouble with this album. The story of the Snow Goose was one of my favourites as a child, and I associate quite different music with the story. So it was only when I could ignore the concept and let the music tell its own story that I began to appreciate this album.

Neither this album nor any of CAMEL'S catalogue will satisfy those whose musical taste runs more to high drama and dynamic range. However, for a melodic, highly competent interlude from moe demanding music, you can't go past CAMEL'S 'The Snow Goose'. Except for CAMEL'S 'Moonmadness', of course.

Report this review (#113757)
Posted Tuesday, February 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Featured from a novell of Paul Gaulish (with which the have some little problems in future ), "The snow goose" narrates the story of a goose of snows and its friendship with the Man of a beacon. Music is in the full Camel style, rich of extremely emotional and evocative passages (Rhayader, Fritha halo, princesse perdue), frank and lively (the Frienship, The flight of snow goose), mysterious and distressing (Preparation, Dunkirk). The vocal parts, from always little present in the album of the Camel, vanish here without that however the listener of it perceives the absence, captured from beutifull notes of the guitar of Latimer and the plan of Bardens. Obvious that it is being spoken about a masterpices about the progressive. The entire work maintains in all the duration an incredible poetry. Music is I narrating of the history, history that behind the aforesaid friendship between the goose and the guardiano, hides the tragic facts of withdrawn to Dunkerque of the troops the Anglo- French during the second world war. Opener "the The great the Marshes", with a lot of backs of gulls, the flaute wonderful of Andy in "Rhayader", the struggente plan of Peter Bardens in "Fritha halo", are the essence of the particular and most original job of a band that she has known to create and to maintain in the years one simple and only style.
Report this review (#114527)
Posted Thursday, March 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Snow Goose could be easily the best concept album of symphonic prog and the best Camel's album too; the one that can be called an "Essential Masterpiece" of music, more than Moonmadness or Mirage.

This one must be on your prog catalog together with Close to the Edge, Fragile, Spartacus, Hamburguer Concerto and other gems of symphonic rock. Based on Paul Gallico's novel, this CD shows Camel's potential at maximum, where Bardens and Latimer join forces and together create an unique, fresh concept album.

NOTE: While Gallico hated the cigarretes (the cigars company with the same name of the band), his almost unknown novel became very famous thanks to this album. Before this release, the band was thinking to compose music from Siddartha, among others.

However, this is my favourite Camel's CD, and a must-have to proggers. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#114740)
Posted Friday, March 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars While this album has its good moments, overall it is quite a bore. The album is very slow, and does very little to catch my attention. The first actual song, the catchy Rhayder is the highpoint of the album and the rest is downhill from there. If your in to Camel, you still may not like it because it doesn't paticurally sound like them. I have no problem at all with Mirage, but on Snow Goose Camel tries to get jazzy at times, but they sound like 4 white guys trying to get jazzy. I've tried and tried to get into this CD, but I've finally come to the conclusion it just isn't that good.
Report this review (#117097)
Posted Monday, April 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, it probably contains the most beautiful and inspiring melodies that Camel EVER created (the guitar riff that starts at 2:12 on "La Princess Perdue" is too stunning to be described in words). It is all instrumental, yes, but you won't miss any vocals here, trust me. The only negative point about it, is that once you got to know the album better, skipping to the really good parts is inevitable. You can't help to wonder what if "The Great March / Rhayader / Rhayader Goes To Town / The Snow Goose / La Princess Perdue" was a 18 minutes suite on Moonmadness or something.
Report this review (#119355)
Posted Sunday, April 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Snow Goose is a much more subdued and relaxing album from Camel in comparison to their previous effort, Mirage. I recently read the book The Snow Goose, and I enjoyed it immensely. I could also see where the style for the album came from. Not only is the music peaceful for the most part (except for Dunkirk), but it is also relatively simple. This also coincides with the book. Most of the songs are composed of fairly simple, but nice melodies, some of which might be repeated a bit too much.

Now, so far I have not said anything negative about this album, but there is really nothing mind blowing going on here either. This is just some nice, relaxing, pleasant music for the most part and that is about it. Some songs do get a little more upbeat such as Rhayander Goes to Town. I do prefer the first side of this album. It is more varied and interesting in my opinion. As for the second side, I don't care much for Preparation/Dunkirk. The music in Dunkirk is representing a battle, and it has a lot of guitar soloing. To me, there is really nothing very exciting or interesting about the soloing here. The album does end nicely with La Princess Perdue and the repeating of The Great Marsh theme.

In the end, this is a good effort from Camel, and that's about it. It's chill music with nice flute and guitar. A couple of other things. The flute playing isn't nearly as good as some other Camel songs, such as Supertwister and Air Borne. Also, the first time I heard Rhayander, I could have sworn I remembered hearing it in my dentist's waiting room when I was a kid! Let's file this one under Good, but non-essential.

Report this review (#121454)
Posted Wednesday, May 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars So, on one faithful, sunny, June afternoon, person x and dude y asked me, "What's this 'Symphonic' Praw...err Progg...Prog stuff?" With a double-take and a glare, I respond, "CAMEL's 'The Snow Goose' is Symphonic Prog, dood. It's good stuff." Actually, nobody besides my father would ever spontaneously bring up Progressive Rock, especially one of it's sub-genres, and I wish someone were really named "x" or "y," because I'd make fun of them. Right in this review. Erherghm...anyways...

CAMEL's "The Snow Goose" is a fine example of the basis of symphonic structure: we have an introduction, variety, a climax, more variety, and a finale. Through a course of sixteen tracks, CAMEL captures a fantastic assortment of moods, from the symphonic, "anthem- like" structure of Rhayader, through the acoustic and jazz-esque beauty of the title track, the explosive and bombastic textures of The Flight of the Snow Goose, the alternating, marching time-signatures of Dunkirk, all the way to the quiet ending in which the entire 45- minute, instrumental story-book began.

Musically, it's fairly difficult to label the entire album with a consistent sound, since it fluidly flows in and out of every musical color and emotion that you could possibly imagine. Elements of Jazz-Rock Fusion, Jazz, Rock, Symphonic Prog, etc. can be found on this one, so there's a little bit of everything for everyone. Each musician is of top class on this one, liberating the emotional qualities of each and every note with their playing.

I apologize for the lack of an in-depth review, but overall, "The Snow Goose" is one of those albums that requires a listen and personal appreciation to do it justice fully. It may not be flawless (close), but I loved it after my first listen and I still feel likewise after the 100th, still believing that it's one of the best, the most classic, and overall the most important albums in the Symphonic Prog genre. Get it!!!


Report this review (#125715)
Posted Thursday, June 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Snow Goose is a very ambitious record for a so young band at the time (just Camel's third LP) and can certainly be considered as one of the best in a sub symphonic prog category : instrumental with an orchestra.

Andy Latimer and Peter Bardens proove on this one they were two great composers (if necessary because previous LP Mirage was already outstanding). The Snow Goose is full of very nice melodies. The "songs" are short but the whole record is very well constructed and totally coherent. The use of the orchestra isn't too forced and there is no gap with the band sound.

So is it a masterpiece of prog music ? I don't think so. In fact, The Snow Goose is too well constructed. I mean everything is under control. There is no madness or improvisation in this music. Everything is at his right place and played with elegance but I personnally appreciate a bit more of spontaneity in creation.

Conclusion : an excellent addition to any prog music collection. To be heard by people who appreciate symphonic prog on his softer side.

Report this review (#129308)
Posted Thursday, July 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was the second Camel album I heard and, after the wonderful Moonmadness, I was prepared for disappointment. I was familiar with Paul Gallico's novella and the absolutely beautiful movie starring Richard Harris and Jenny Agutter which came out in 1971 and doubted that any band could do these works justice by a musical interpretation.

Camel had different ideas. Even more astonishingly, they did it instrumentally, omitting vocals and augmenting the band sound with strings and woodwind, giving the whole album a classical, timeless feel. The result is a series of short tracks, segued together, which portray characters (Rhayader, Fritha, The Snow Goose) and events (Dunkirk). Musicianship is exemplary, with some soaring guitar and keyboard work. The music is fairly soft, simple and melodic in keeping with the story; those reviewers who criticise this aspect are obviously completely ignorant of the context of the story and purpose of the album. The exception is Dunkirk, which is more raucous to relect the violence of the events portayed and the sad death of Rhayader. The album starts and finishes with the sound of geese and the noises of the Essex marshes, reflecting that men come and go but nature is cyclical and goes on forever when we have gone.

To conclude, this album is a masterpiece in a totally different way to Moonmadness. I marginally prefer the latter, but this easily makes my top 10 and is the most relaxing album I have heard - perfect for putting on late at night to prepare you for sleep. It can only get the highest rating.

Report this review (#130852)
Posted Monday, July 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of that prog-albums you have to listen entire to understand the wonderful project by Camel. Listening one or two songs you can't feel the beauty of the songs, you have to listen from "The Great Marsh" until "The Great Marsh". And learn about the Rhayander's sad story told by the colleague Australian in review above. So you will understand why the birds sing by many songs: in the great marsh, keyboards in the beginning of the snow goose, fagote on friendship. The highest moments to me are: Rhayader/Rhayader Goes To Town; The Snow Goose; Flight Of The Snow Goose/Preparation/Dunkirk and naturally La Princesse Perdue. But I can't forget the witty Migration, the misterious Great Marsh, the cool Friendship, the sad Fritha Alone and others. The album goes to the end like Supper's ready (Genesis) and Close to the Edge (Yes) remembering the main themes. So tighten your belts to the amazing finale: The snow goose reprise with mellotron and orchestra... you just want to cry! Especially if you know what the story is about. Of course this albums deserves five stars! It's better than Mirage and Moonmadness to me.
Report this review (#133650)
Posted Saturday, August 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Though this is generally a very symphonic, and relaxed album, there are substantial additions of intriguing, sometimes dark atmospheres and very energetic and exhilarating playing. That being said, Camel's (music inspired by) the Snow Goose is a mainly soft album, with an endless amount of gorgeous melodies spewing from both the sharp guitar, the crystal clear keyboards, and even some soothingly smooth flute. Being a wholly instrumental album adds another layer of intrigue and specialness. But, like most good albums, this requires anywhere from a few to many listens for it to fully register. When it does, though, you'll be whistling the tunes, air drumming, playing keyboard on your desk, and getting lost in the waves of sound protruding from this magical release.

Musicianship is excellent on this album. All playing is perfectly precise, with absolutely no sloppiness or laziness. Never do any of the musicians really go over the top and let loose the hounds, but it's often better that way. Every musician shares the spotlight: it's really a team effort. The compositions, mainly delicate and beautiful, sometimes rise to climatic levels, and other times sink to milky trance-inducing sections. Both extremes are beautifully presented, excellently executed, and flawlessly though-out. The atmosphere is gripping, and with the help of a few psychedelic and spacey elements, it never loosens its hold throughout the course of the album.

With some touches of orchestra/brass, and of course, the majestic flute, the symphonic edge is completed. And, unlike many symphonic bands, keyboards are not necessarily the main medium used to display the genuine melodies. Guitar is used to a great effect, and in fact plays most of the more soulful and memorable tunes. And, for some great variation, the band switches things up with a few tiny bluesy/jazzy excursions now and then. When all these excellent elements are combined, we are left with the amazing Snow Goose. It's a journey more than an album, and holds a great nostalgic, narcotic, je ne sais quois. Looking for great symphonic prog? Look no further.

Report this review (#133922)
Posted Monday, August 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
5 stars Third and boldest release from this great influential band from the 70´s. It was a huge step forward and quite daring to work with a full orchestra orchestra and do a totally instrumental album. And who could believe it would their most successful? but in hindsight we can see why: the music is BEAUTIFUL! It´s very poingnant and the group is tigher than ever. This is a truly group efford: the sound is smooth all the way through. No ego trips here, everybody is working for the concept.

Snow Goose turned out to be what it is: a masterpiece of prog music. With all its marvelous simplicity lies the basis of a groundbreaking work that was surely one of the 70´s best effords. Just put it to play and enjoy! Highly recommended!

Report this review (#134647)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars A masterpiece of instrumental prog.

The Snow Goose is CAMEL's best album and one of the best prog albums of all time, it features extremely cohesive symphonic songwriting, strong melody and impeccable attention to detail, it's also very self contained and memorable with a lot of great moments. The Snow Goose is quite an upbeat and at times silly album (except for the beginning and end).

The album is full of highlights as I said before but Rhayader Goes to town is one of the standout tracks, it's triumphant and powerful, Andy Latimer's guitar is on fire here too. Dunkirk is another real strong point with it's ominous marching beat leading into a wailing slide guitar solo with the drums a real strength here.

The Snow Goose is an essential addition to any symphonic prog collection, it has very strong varied songwriting and a great overall theme.

Report this review (#144759)
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Any fan of symphonic prog will have heard of the mighty Camel. Released in 1975, this album made a big splash amongst prog fans and to this day remains to be one of the essential symphonic prog albums of the era. This is an instrumental album, besides a few randomly placed Focus-like vocal sections throughout. The album opens with the delicately beautiful "The Great Marsh", which is an excellent album opener. Throughout the album we hear different aspects of prog music, with tracks that sound similar to the works of Yes, Focus, King Crimson and even Gong. The album is very well put together, containing several reprises and recurring musical themes which give it (even though it's an instrumental piece) the feel of a concept album. The high point of the album is probably the track "The Snow Goose", the magnnificent guitar riff to which will make you immediately fall in love with the album. A triumph for progressive rock, and Camel's finest album to date. A must have for any serious prog fan.
Report this review (#146903)
Posted Thursday, October 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Good, for sure. Masterpiece? Ummm.

I don't think so. The Snow Goose is widely considered to be Camel's finest hour although that belief is as debatable as nailing down the finest Floyd album. Being an instrumental concept album the case can be made that Snow Goose is the most progressive album but some will charge that it doesn't have enough adrenalin, that it is a little too easy listening. Certainly the first two albums are more rocking but the strength of the Goose is that it does try something different and perhaps more elegant/grandiose than Mirage or the first album. An ambitious and often beautiful piece of light symphonic prog, the Snow Goose was conceived in a fashion similar to Dark Side of the Moon. The band was out on the road touring Mirage while working on this, just as the Floyd were while working on a piece titled "Eclipse." Giving the new material a pre-recording road work-out can often be helpful to the quality of what eventually hits the street and the theory works with Snow Goose as well.

The highlights include the whimsical and dancing flutes melodies of "Rhayader." Melody is king on Snow Goose and that's the main reason this work is so beloved. The playing is awesome as you'd expect and while most of the accolades go to Latimer, Andy Ward is the one who catches my ear all the time with his astonishing ability to deliver percussion parts that are just spot on without being showy. "Rhayader Goes to Town" is a favorite of mine with its sublime guitar leads by Latimer. "The Snow Goose" is perhaps the most instantly recognizable guitar lead of Latimer and its soaring repeating melody is my mind's definition of "the Camel sound." If you only hear this album once in your life, chances are you'll forget most of it but you'll take the Snow Goose lead guitar melody with you. "Migration" is a smooth jazz-pop track with wordless vocals and a very Caravan sound. "Dunkirk" injects some darker mood with the eerie keyboards and ominous growing rhythms. The guitar work here is positively Oldfield, in fact the whole track could fit right in on Hergest Ridge or Ommadawn. The climax of this track is as chaotic as the Snow Goose gets and it is a much needed shot of oomph. I'm a sucker for the lovely solo piano of "Fritha Alone." Lovely. "La Princesse Perdue" sort of reprises the main melody of the title track but changes it up a bit and adds other backing to make things a little richer.

Another nice booklet in the remastered edition tells the story of the time period and includes a funny story about how the record execs reacted when they heard the Goose had no lyrics: "They freaked!" I love instrumental albums but in this case perhaps some high quality guest vocals on certain tracks could have elevated Snow Goose in the way Maggie Reilly or Sally Oldfield could boost certain Oldfield tracks. For those who love the instrumental Camel sound on Snow Goose, I have to make my usual recommendation of Rousseau's "Flowers in Asphalt." It delivers a similar sonic experience with even better results.

The Snow Goose is a fine album but falls well short of an essential masterpiece in my opinion. It has its share of excellent moments but it also leaves me a bit unfulfilled. If it is the Camel magnum opus, then it supports those who feel that Camel is not of the same caliber as some of the other legendary bands. I don't think it stands up equal to the best of Floyd, Yes, Caravan, or Genesis. The main tracks are good but not jaw dropping, and the short bridges linking them together are pleasant but rather inconsequential in some cases. It is most successful at conveying the overall serene mood to the listener and it definitely has stellar playing but personally I prefer the Camel debut which I'm sure has many of you rolling your eyes. The Decca remastered CD will give your another generous batch of bonus tracks to wade through consisting of unreleased singles and live material. 3 ˝ affectionate stars for the Goose but don't miss the debut album for a livelier Camel experience.

Report this review (#149636)
Posted Thursday, November 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I don't like snow, and I don't like geese, so I knew I wasn't going to like this album. You might say something like "that's the wrong way to approach it" or "that's being biased" or "animals have feelings too" and to you I say "I don't care." I've already established my mindset and that's near impossible to change, and I love chicken tenders and steak too much (not to mention other delicious foods).

It may have been a good idea to take the instrumental approach here; Andy Latimer can't sing very well, and their instrumental sections are their strong points. But with The Snow Goose the band make it clear that their future is pretty hopeless. Their vocals are poor, but when they try making music without vocals it's even worse. Surprisingly, they managed to make their best record and fulfill The Snow Goose's prophetic portent in two year's time.

This record does have some moments of greatness. The main theme from "Rhayader" is quite a fun one, "Migration" is a great canterburian spurt and "Dunkirk" is one of those cool songs that slowly builds into an awesome climax.

This album is good, but it is inconsistent and a bit boring. I find it difficult to finish, but I have managed to do it more than once. Better than most Camel records, but not better than most not-Camel prog-rock records.

Report this review (#150733)
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Allow me to begin by saying that this album is THE album that got me into prog. It is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. The music is perfectly crafted, it's beautiful, and it will make you think of happy things. The orchestra and the regular band work quite well together, never clashing or tripping over one another. It is at times catchy, at times pure ecstacy, and at times the beauty of it all will make you want to cry. Camel at their very best. Recommended for every human being who has ever existed, and ever will exist. A perfect 5/5.
Report this review (#151028)
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars 10/10 Masterpiece

Absolute masterpiece in every sense of the word. Camel stuns the music scene with this musical inspiration based on the short story "The Snow Goose" from Paul Gallico. The entire band is spot on technically, the music is absolutely WONDERFUL and the album as a whole is a masterwork of pure genius. This is the album to fall in love with Andy Latimer's guitarwork. He absolute ruins you on this album with the most subtle choice of notes on "The Snow Goose"(track)...a melody that always gets me. Aside from just Latimers guitar you have some of the greatest keyboard moments ever through Pete Bardens on tracks like "Rhayader Goes To Town" and especially "La Princess Perdue". And then there is Andy Ward who has, in my opinion, his best drumming moments of their entire career on this album. It is also wonderful to have Doug Ferguson still feeling great, playing amazing bass and loving this scene (he would later have to leave the band due to changes in direction and opinion of other members, especially Andy Ward and his drumming vs. Dougs bass playing).

Anyways, when it comes to this entire genius album as a whole, it really encompasses the beauty and passion of the old Gallico story. This album inspired me to buy a copy of "The Snow Goose" by Gallico and read it. I cried, of course, and knowing this was the inspiration for the album I listened again and loved it even more. I had been listening to this album about a year before I read the book also.

"The Snow Goose" is an album that must be felt, and lived. I cannot describe the beauty of this because it is in the heart and soul of the listener. You will find this an album you will want to share with the world, and beautiful work of art that will take you to a place of peace, love and no worrying. The albums sails off with "La Princess Perdue" and "The Great Marsh" in only the most perfect of ways. Camel is now officially one of the best prog bands in history with this album, and it doesn't end here. "The Snow Goose" is a landmark moment for the band, and despite later troubles the band still pushes out amazing works, and to this day the Camel vibe lives on.

Report this review (#151037)
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A perfect album! Not a camel's best, but yet a fantastic piece of art in the progressive's music world. In my opinion, it has a differencial: it's all instrumental. Not even a piece of voice! By that, there will be a lot of people who would have no pacience to listen all 16 tracks. It's when I can say: if there is a person who can't listen all the album, this someone cannot bem considered a prog rock fan. That's all! But if you like progressive (mainly Symphonic Prog) you must listen to this prog piece. You won't have regrets!
Report this review (#154924)
Posted Sunday, December 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars With The Snow Goose, Camel deliver one of the most beautiful albums out there. And this in 1975? The sound is so full and lively that Camel have really achieved something special with this album.

Given the ongoing debate about whether this album is a masterpiece, I will have to side with those that believe it is not. Why? Well, first off, I have to say that I could care less about the story. Along with that, I could also care less about whether the album is loyal to the story--I just care about the music. My take has long been that The Snow Goose gets off to a fantastic start, but things REALLY drag on the B side (though it is not without highlights).

For me, this first six tracks from one of my favorite series of songs, with great transitions and gorgeous playing. The mysterious intro (The Great Marsh) really sets things up for the Rhayader tracks, full of tempo changes, keyboard flourishes and interesting melodies. Sanctuary and Fritha slow things down, setting up the absolutely breathtaking title track, highlighted by the Gilmour-esque playing of Lattimer. (I only use the comparison as a point of reference--Lattimer is certainly as talented as Gilmour in my book.)

Then things really get boring, with tracks like Preparation that go nowhere and do little musically. The only songs after the first six that I really look forward to are Dunkirk (where Lattimer cuts loose a bit for an extended jam), La Princesse Perdue (as high quality as any track on the album), and Great Marsh reprise to tie the album to a close in a nice fashion.

The highlights are certainly good enough to warrant your money and attention, but things for me are maddeningly inconsistent on The Snow Goose. Respect the creativity, production and musicianship, but don't expect too much from the less interesting parts.

Report this review (#156751)
Posted Wednesday, December 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars With beautiful melodies and great songwriting throughout the album, The Snow Goose is a near masterpiece. The only reason I grade it down is that I feel like there is just a little bit too much filler, this being that annoying little keyboard part that can be heard on Epitaph and a few other tracks. Other than that, this is highly recommended. 4 Stars.
Report this review (#157186)
Posted Sunday, December 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars What an idea: to write an entire album, all instrumental, inspired by a work of literature. Paul Galico's The Snow Goose is a great book and this album does quite a job of complementing it with music. I won't go through a whole song by song review, but rather review the album as a whole. Peter Bardens uses a very wide array of keyboards here, setting the stage for 90's bands to try and imitate the 70s bands by using a very similar array to this one. He does a great job of shining when he needs to, and just carrying the song when the song calls for it. Andy Latimer has never done a better job on guitar and flute here, alternating accordingly, and, like Bardens, not soloing too much. Such was the problem on Mirage, and it has been fixed here. Doug Ferguson, though rarely heard, works with Andy Ward to forward the music and keep it moving along at a steady pace while the other two make the melody happen. Some of the highlights are Rhayader, Rhayader goes to town, The Snow Goose, The Flight of the Snow Goose, Dunkirk, and La Princesse Perdue. The few places with singing are highlighting the voice as an instrument, not as a voice of the singer. No words are sung, just melodies, and the female vocals on The Great Marsh do an excellent job of just that. The band also uses oboes, clarinets, strings, and other wind instruments to their advantage.

Overall, this album demonstrates Camel's masterful sense of Melody and songwriting, and their unique sound and tone. A masterpiece of progressive music, this album will hopefully stand the test of time with the other greats like Dark Side, Thick as a Brick, Selling England and Close to the Edge.

Report this review (#158260)
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Pessimist
2 stars Now I know I'm a sucker for melody, but this album does bore me. While most proggers worship this album for strong concept and melody, I don't like it, no matter how much I've wanted to. It's the fact that it's just pure melody and nothing else. Unlike Mirage and Moonmadness also, it goes on a bit too long. The tracks are too short and end too quickly, and overall I just get the feeling that this wonderful journey is too much to handle. Once again, sorry to slate a classic album, but I just don't see it really.
Report this review (#162390)
Posted Friday, February 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I was a teenager I used to listen to Tears for Fears, Simple Minds, Nik Kershaw and Kate Bush. At the age of seventeen I worked in a supermarket. Some of my collegues there were really into symphonic rock. One of the guys gave me a bunch of CD's to try out. Among them were: H to He who am the only one, by Van der Graaf Generator, Tarkus from Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Atom Heart Mother by Pink Floyd and a few other great albums. Most of these albums were a bit to much at the time. I simply had to get used to the sounds.

One album I really loved right away, though. You've already found out which: of course it's the Snow Goose by Camel.

The same as is the case with the other albums I've mentioned, the Snow Goose is a true SYMPHONIC album, with flutes, recorders, clarinets, recorders and the like. A really classical arrangement so to speak. My favourite track is Rhayader goes to town. This track shows Andy Latimer at his best. A great guitar piece!

Most of the time, music that comes quickly, also goes quickly. Not in this case, however. The Snow Goose was the best album in the 'bunch of CD's' that was lended to me and still is an album that I really love to listen to. This does not mean that I don't like the other albums of the bunch, but they had to grow on me.

The Snow Goose was great at first listen and still is a lovely album to listen to. For Camel this album meant the had arrived.

Report this review (#165210)
Posted Thursday, March 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Well this album is certainly a prog rock classic if there ever was one. Camel´s third album The Snow Goose is one of the most famous albums in prog rock. Does it deserve the praise and all the positive words then ? hmmm...I´m not sure. IMO this is a good album, but it´s not more than that. I like both Moonmadness and Mirage much better than The Snow Goose. An almost pure instrumental album is a bit hard to swallow for me and always has been. There are very few pure instrumental albums that I enjoy enough to either find excellent or even call masterpieces and this is certainly not one of them.

The music is a bit more easy listening than their previous album Mirage which I thought had a bit of an edge to it that I really enjoyed. Of course Camel isn´t the most edgy band in the world, but at least there were a few parts here and there on Mirage where I was intrigued by the mood ( for example the last part in Nimrodel). There is no edge to The Snow Goose, it´s just a pleasant listen all the way through which is fine sometimes, it just doesn´t rock my world to be frank. There are lots of nice guitar, flute and keyboard melodies which are the dominant lead instruments on The Snow Goose. The music is symphonic prog rock with the emphasis on melody and emotion.

The musicians are very good. They are very tight and there is nothing wrong with their technique or talent. Latimer and Bardens dominate the soundscape but both Doug Ferguson and Andy Ward also play a vital role. Andy Ward has always been one of my favorite drummers from the seventies and here he plays some of his best parts.

The production is nice, soft and pleasant. A typical seventies production in the professional end.

So what´s all the fuzz about ? well I can understand peoples excitement over The Snow Goose as it is a pretty original album for the time, but personally I´m not that excited. So the conclusion for me is a 3 star album. I´ll recommend Camel´s debut, Mirage and Moonmadness over this one.

Report this review (#166373)
Posted Friday, April 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a beautiful tale, a fantastic varicoloured and polyphonic musical novel. I'm very glad, that almost nothing human singing or voice can be heard on this album. The music itself is expressive and poetic enough, I need no lyrics. I've just started with Camel, I don't know them well, and don't know how important is this record in their development and career, but I'm sure that The Snow Goose is one of the best albums I've ever heard. I'm looking for more of this kind of progressive rock music.
Report this review (#167859)
Posted Friday, April 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars For the most part I don't care to listen to progressive rock music in the morning hours. I prefer classical symphonic and/or piano fare at that time of day and bands/artists like Porcupine Tree, Yes, Flower Kings and Neal Morse don't belong in that grouping. Now, just because I don't want adrenaline- producing, boisterous, head-bobbing assaults on my tender psyche at that hour doesn't mean that I desire to wallow in sappy New Age noodlings, either. (If you know anything about Beethoven's or Haydn's symphonies you know that they're anything but boring or sappy.) I just prefer to take a more mellow approach to my waking moments, that's all, and the more melodic the better. Lately I've found much of Iona's inspiring work to qualify for A.M. listening and now I can add Camel's "Snow Goose" into that classification.

This is my first excursion into this heralded band's repertoire and it's about time. In the States this esteemed British group never garnered any attention for one reason or another. (My bet's on Decca's severe lack of intelligent marketing.) Their LPs made it into the record bins (I remember noticing their interesting cover art) but no one ever recommended them to me and they didn't get any radio play. They're not even mentioned in Rolling Stone's somewhat comprehensive Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll so that should tell you something about their overall anonymity. It wasn't until I started reading glowing reviews of their work on this very site that I realized they'd be a band I could appreciate. All I can say is that, judging by the high quality of this album, it's definitely my country's loss that they're still relatively unknown to the general public.

I never thought a non-jazz instrumental recording could be so satisfying to my prog sensibilities. These musicians without a doubt have their own unique style but they mostly appeal to the part of me that loves both Pink Floyd and Genesis. And that's not bad company to keep, my friends. "The Great Marsh" fades in with a ghostly Rhodes piano accompanied by wordless vocals and, farther along, bolstered by a Mellotron. "Rhayader" features a playful flute melody at first, then morphs into a cool organ segment. Here keyboard man Peter Bardens employs a warm and fuzzy distortion that reminds me of Mike Ratledge's approach on Soft Machine's debut. Love it. On the longer "Rhayader Goes to Town" the tempo takes a welcome upturn. Andrew Latimer's layered harmony guitar lines lead to a funky synthesizer riff before his electric guitar reenters with a David Gilmore-styled solo. "Sanctuary" has a beautiful melody played over a serene acoustic guitar and "Fritha" is an extension of the same feel, this time with a smooth synthesizer floating over more acoustic guitar. "The Snow Goose" further displays Latimer's delicate touch on the fretboard as he soars above Bardens' organ.

Variety is always a big plus in my book and I always hope for surprises when checking out a band for the first time so when the group stepped aside to allow bassoons, clarinets, oboes and flutes to calmly stroll in on "Friendship" I was delighted. What a great change of pace! Without missing a beat the band jumps headlong into a contemporary jazz motif on "Migration" complete with wordless jazz vocalizations before they settle things down again with the serene, gorgeous "Rhayader Alone" where Andrew makes his guitar utter lonesome emotions as the Rhodes piano holds the song together. Their honorable Genesis influence and attitude is most evident on "Flight of the Snow Goose" and they perform their homage well. A 12-string guitar opens "Preparation," allowing woodwinds and Latimer's flute to frolic overhead, paving the way for a "bubbling" synthesizer effect and a disembodied vocal to take over. A fat Hammond organ sound dominates the beginning of "Dunkirk," with a full brass horn section jumping into the fray to participate in a slow build-up. The tune culminates with hot slide guitar and flanged drum fills from Andy Ward. It's got a great Pink Floyd flavor and it's their most energetic track on the album.

"Epitaph" is a brief reprise of "Preparation," then Peter shows off his admirable grand piano skills on the too-short "Fritha Alone." He creates a truly elegant moment and I wish there was more of it to indulge in. "La Princesse Perdue" is a return to the up tempo groove of "Flight of the Snow Goose" but this time a full, lush orchestra joins in and the result is fantastic. "The Great Marsh" brings the whole thing full circle with a haunting rendition of the epic's eerie beginning. What a splendid journey it has been.

The first three bonus tracks are merely out of context edits of a trio of the piece's most memorable airs and only serve as a recap of what you just heard. But the two concert tracks are real eye-openers. Both were taped live at the famous Marquee Club in late 1974 and both have terrific sound. Unshackled by the necessary precision of the studio environment, the rhythm section of Andy Ward and bassist Doug Ferguson really get to spread their wings and fly. And these aren't just note-for-note renditions of "Flight of the Snow Goose" and "Rhayader Goes to Town," either. There's an excellent spontaneity going on in the performances that makes these cuts very exciting. At the very end they segue into "Freefall" where the vocalist reminds me a little of a young Kevin Ayers.

I can honestly state that I don't have anything else quite like this in my entire prog collection and that makes it worth having right there. Add in the fact that the musicianship, the wide spectrum of instrumentation, the melodic composing and seamless arrangements are all top notch and you have a wonderful album on your hands and in your ears. I can't think of a better prog CD to spin on a quiet morning while you get your mind ready for the day that lies ahead. 4.3 stars.

Report this review (#168207)
Posted Sunday, April 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Maybe, the best prog concept-album ever. Completely instrumental, there are not only a boring minute. Complexity, melody, virtousism and, among all, an incredible capacity to blend rock and classical instruments in a way that the listener doesn't realize while listening to the record but only before thinking about the technical characteristics of the album. Imagination reigns in this delicate suite. It doesn't make sense to mention any concrete track because The snow goose works AS A WHOLE. And this can't be said of many conceptual records. Definitely, a masterpiece.
Report this review (#169003)
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
5 stars Perhaps in response to critics assailing their vocal deficiencies, the members of Camel decided to produce an all instrumental album and base it on a children's book, initially without acknowledging the book or author, but that is another story. It proved to be their breakthrough album, and with good reason. "The Snow Goose" allows Camel to sport its increasingly skilled compositional and playing skills with a variety of musical hues, and is a simply beautiful album to boot.

Starting from the short opening track, we can hear a difference in Camel's whole attitude, with more of an emphasis on mood setting and less on unharnessed power as was sometimes the case on "Mirage". The thematic approach also allows one to consider individual segments in relation to the whole and not as a work in isolation. For instance, "Preparation" doesn't really have much to it on the surface unless one considers it in light of what is to come, the storm of "Dunkirk", even though I confess to loving its idiosyncratic sounds. The rousing chants of "Migration" have more impact in the context of an otherwise instrumental work. Nonetheless, some themes are clearly central to the goals of the band and stand alone quite nicely, in particular the oft performed "Rhayader/Rhayader Goes to Town" combination that lean on Andy's flutes and guitars, and the gorgeous title track with a melody that is revisited in a more orchestral and epiloguish form in "La Princesse Perdue".

My general bias against instrumental albums taken into consideration, the fact that I can even consider this one for a 5 star rating is sufficient endorsement. Camel conducts a grand lesson in how to create a masterpiece of symphonic progressive rock. Luckily for us, a lot of musicians were listening and are carrying on this rich legacy in their own ways.

Report this review (#170606)
Posted Sunday, May 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The bands third album and ultimate album of all. Without a shred of a doubt The Snow Goose is a pure genious of a masterpiece of a musical album. The composition of this beautiful and most inspiring piece of creativity is beyond belief. Though it's not that technical in anyway, the written score to The Snow Goose will have even the great classical composers quaking in there boots, as regarding as to how to write a truly remarkable piece of music.

This album I would place on a pedestal in one of the 4 corners of the universe, its that high in my opinion of what a classic album truly is. There are not many bands out there who could even come close, to matching this in terms of composition. Its simply the most pleasing and delightful album I have ever heard, an album to which I will never tire of listening to, and an album that will be with me for the rest of my days.

Camel are a truly great prog band, and the line up of Latimer, Bardens, Fergueson and Ward. Were by far the best line up the band ever seen. The Snow Goose, Mirage and Moonmadness is by far the best of the bands output of albums in terms of progressive music. Andrew Latimer as done a marvelous job of keeping the band alive even up to there last album A Nod and a Wink in 2002, and I take my hat off to the geezer for keeping the band still to this day with its unique style.

Report this review (#173186)
Posted Saturday, June 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Of the three all-time favorites Camel albums(Mirage, Snow Goose and Moonmadness) I pick this one as the best. Nothing to do with the lack of vocals, I actually like Latimer's voice pretty much. It's simply better than the other two. A sofisticated musical taste can be sensed. Since Nursery Cryme, nothing done in progressive rock (including Genesis golden albums) could be compared in terms of elegance. Now it can. Snow Goose is soft, gracious and gentle. Every single song, in spite of the brevity, has great value, very effective. Much is said without a word pronounced. Though I like most of Camel's works, SG is special. It's the highest and classiest giant among other giants. Something to be listen entirely, as if it was Thick as a Brick, or else it will not be the same. A very beautiful album.
Report this review (#173624)
Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
3 stars Review 51, The Snow Goose, Camel, 1975


For an album like The Snow Goose a complete track-by-track review would ultimately be pointless. Instead, I'll start with general comments and then give a sentence or two about each of the tracks.

The Snow Goose is, for some, the epitome of Camel's work, or even 'symphonic' prog. Alas, that does not hold true to me. While a very consistent album, and one without many moments so over the top that they will alienate the listener, it does only a limited amount to actually involve me. Generally, the way Camel work for me is with vocals or a clear idea as a focus. The Snow Goose not only lacks these, but also flops a bit on creating a genuine feel of continuity, and it feels more to me like a bunch of separate themes thrown together into a forty-minute piece rather than a fully cohesive album. The echoing is a bit blunt, where it happens, and doesn't feel clever.

The musicianship throughout is fine. Andy Latimer provides some cheerful guitar and flute, and even if his style at those doesn't always work for me, he does what he does quite well. Pete Bardens keyboards are Pete Bardens' keyboards. Rarely electrifying in performance, but they do the job and add another layer. Occasionally this layer seems a bit too thin for my liking, but there are equally moments of psychedelic ideas that are handled quite neatly. Andy Ward is the highlight player, drumming quickly, proficiently and in line with the feel of the music. Doug Ferguson never was my favourite bassist, and this album isn't an exception. I don't often feel impressed by a Ferguson bass-part, even when they don't reach the repetitive levels of Lunar Sea. Perhaps that's just preference, though. The inclusion of the orchestra varies from proficient to gimmick to childish, and is at times quite a nice extra, but at others nothing special.

The Great Marsh opens with birdsong and the relaxed aa-aa-aaa-ah vocal theme that will recur a couple of times. Latimer provides a tense guitar and the band move quite nicely to sort of mini-explosion with a fairly good use of the orchestra.

Rhayader features a classy flute solo, some sort of odd piano choice from Bardens (I want to say it's an electric, , a typically stalking Ferguson bass groove and neat relaxed percussion. An odder middle section features a rather over-stretched guitar solo.

Rhayader Goes To Town follows straight on with a rocking section, keyboard riffs galore and excellent soloing from Latimer. Ward again gives a sterling performance. It is unfortunate that the entire piece isn't up to the opening, with the following bits feeling more half-hearted than lighthearted. A more up-to-scratch showcase for Latimer's soloing features, which, while not exceptional, is fitting.

Sanctuary is plainly a boring piece, with a repeated, weirdly fast acoustic, a couple of bass taps and a mostly bland slow solo from Latimer. Fritha, ditto, but Pete Bardens provides clangeresque soloing instead and the acoustics are slowed to a more appropriate speed.

The Snow Goose again takes off a bit. Certainly more of a band piece, with everyone strutting their stuff carefully. Latimer provides the wonderful main theme melody, while Bardens merely supports with the organ. It's unfortunate that they chose to include a repeat which simply wasn't needed and Ferguson feels a bit redundant at times.

And from this, a whiny oboe/sax intro with a generic background dududu takes us to friendship. A pity that when the main melodic theme is so wonderful, the bland orchestra use leaves me basically uninterested in the piece. Migration again features the wordless vocals, and basically the good things about the song are rather masked by the number of times things are repeated with little or overly obvious elaborations. The gentle Rhayader Alone is one of the album's highlights, with a basic emotional appeal that many of the songs lack, a feeling of isolation and loss. Latimer's guitar solo is wonderful and the softer acoustic bass works very nicely. Not sure quite what the Bardens tone is, but it doesn't spoil the piece.

Flight Of The Snow Goose is another relatively uninteresting track. A slightly boring keyboard thing opens it, and it continues upbeat and uninspired for another two minutes. The foreboding Preparation is a bit of an acquired taste, and sounds better live from the Moonmadness remaster, in my opinion. Bardens haunting keyboard melody is superbly done and there is a gorgeous female vocal, but the rest, orchestra and all, is simply a bit duh. Ward taps on a glockenspiel.

Dunkirk is an odd piece. The brass is used in an entirely generic way, and the basic melodies are repeated for far too long, while the solo completely fails to inspire me. On the other hand, Bardens does have a very nice organ tone, and the basic material isn't all that bad and the final minute or so is a pretty good piece of music (especially from Ward's side). The guitar solo is alright, if not my favourite, and the slightly grittier sound is something I've always felt Camel needed more of.

Epitaph is directly echoing the keys on Preparation, with a large set of various key-based additions and an even darker feel. Ward provides some very odd percussion. Psychedelic and fairly brilliant. Fritha Alone is a piano solo, soft and emotive, if a little over-repeated.

La Princess Perdue is a true example of a song exemplifying the good and bad of its album. Upbeat, and initially annoying, with orchestral additions. As always, one melody is repeated far too much and others crop up in between the repeats. Later on, however, it takes off a little more, and I like the use of the orchestra. The Snow Goose theme is repeated. The Great Marsh concludes the album on the same sort of terms as it began, birdsong, bland keys, repeats. A fairly nice wheeeet sound in the background, though.

Onto the bonuses: the single versions are pointless. A much livelier live version of Rhayader Goes To Town is welcome. The Snow Goose is alright. Freefall is incredible, except the vocals, which truly wreck it.

I'd recommend this wholeheartedly to anyone who doesn't really need their music to challenge and constantly interest them. It's a decent album for relaxing with, and does have a few genuinely interesting ideas, however, it does not keep and hold my interest on any deep level while I'm listening. Good, yes, but non-essential for those who aren't fans of less involving music. While listening for this review (and this is after at least 20 listens), whole tracks went past without me noticing.

Rating: Three Stars. Favourite Track: Epitaph

Report this review (#175354)
Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars A concept album that places relatively low goals, and achieves them flawlessly. Now, how many prog albums can boast that achievement?


Camel's style is immediately recognizable: A mellow mix of Pink Floyd, Genesis and the Canterbury scene. Unfortunately, this style suffers from the fact that it was introduced relatively late in prog history, after the release of such genre-defining classics as 'Selling England By The Pound' and 'In The Court Of The Crimson King', and therefore sounds somewhat unoriginal and tired. All of Camel's albums suffer due to this misfortune.

However, while Camel usually understands and 'accepts' this flaw, on this album they really did everything they could to fix it and sound unique, including the removal of vocals from their music and the decision to focus on short, 'pop length' songs, as opposed to the by-now-standard prog epics.

and it works! for the first (and, unfortunately, last) time in camel's history, the band sounds truly fresh, original, unique, and even innovative. this, in turn, allows all of the band's advantages to finally show themselves unhindered, stronger then ever: Barden's carefully constructed melodies, the backbone of the band's sound from day one, reach their peak in both complexity and memorability. Latimer's brilliant lead guitar wizardry, the band's greatest asset, is unleashed in full force on almost all of the tracks, pushing the songs forward without hindering the overall direction. The arrangements are now able to produce the atmospheric soundscapes that had escaped the band on the first 2 albums. the band is inspired and energetic, making all of the songs come alive and grab the listener. Needless to say, the combination of the band's natural mellownes and the new-found focus on short songs eliminates any possible hint of pretensiousness, that had plagued many prog albums, including Camel's first 2 albums.

The songs are mostly short sub-Chapters that help create the 'journey' feel of the the album, but there are also several longer, more important Chapters that stand out: 'Rhayader' is a beautiful mid-tempo folk-rock song that introduces Camel's classic sound to the listener at the beginning of the album. 'Rhayader Goes To Town', on the other hand, is a much more aggressive and bluesy explosion of rock, arguably the most 'un-Camel-ish' track on the album, with all of that dirty guitar work. 'Dunkirk' is another highlight, with it's intense crescendo in the first half and the even more intense blast of lead guitar spectacles on it's second half. 'La Princesse Perdue' is my personel favourite track on the album, starting with a fast and incredibely uplifting guitar solo, and then changing to a beautifull, weeping guitar solo. There's also the opening and closing song, 'The Great Marsh', with it's haunting ghost- like vocals and spooky keyboard sound layers.

All in all, this is a fantastic masterpiece of beauty, one of the biggest in prog history, and a well-earned classic. 5/5

Report this review (#176550)
Posted Friday, July 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Flight of the snow camel

Camel's wholly instrumental concept album The Snow Goose was actually one of the very first real (as opposed to Prog related) Prog albums I ever heard. And it apparently made its marks on me as I'm still here (in the Prog world) now. And this is definitely a minor classic of the progressive Rock genre and an important album for Camel, one of my all time favourite bands. However, comparing it to Mirage or Moonmadness - the two albums that surrounded it - The Snow Goose does not quite hold up too well in my opinion (but few things do, on the other hand). There are passages of sheer brilliance on this album for sure, but nothing that is quite up to par with the material on Mirage, Moonmadness or even the self-titled debut. The present album is thus my least favourite of Camel's classic period (their first four albums). But it is still a very good album that should definitely be heard!

I have always liked this album but I do think that it is a bit too light-weight. I have heard live recordings of music from this album that sound a bit more powerful compared to this original studio version (there is a full live performance of The Snow Goose from the live album A Live Record, and parts of it are performed on the official live releases Pressure Points, Never Let Go and Coming Of Age). There could be more of an edge to these tunes.


Report this review (#177420)
Posted Sunday, July 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Touching and flawless album!!!

Undoubtedly, remarkable Camel again after Mirage! This time even better. I would like to discuss the album from different point of view. The Snow Goose is very tough for listening when you are in negative mood. It is strange, because the album is so gentle and astonishing. It's so complicated and hard - real magnum opus for Camel and masterpiece for progressive music as well. When you listen to this concept album for first time you don't know even what's going on. With every next listening it stuns you more and more. The concept composition is built completely. Highly recommended for all profound and complex fans.

Report this review (#178311)
Posted Monday, July 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The case is just like album:Simple but efficient.The snow goose is inspired of a book written by Paul Gallico and having precisely as name The snow goose,as its specified on the case.Unfortunately for the not English-speaking this book being never translated into Francais.I did not read it and could not therefore enunciate the different rapprochement which could be made between the album and the book.

The first thing which impresses when they end up listening to the album it is that this one is only instrumental,there is not singing.The snow goose is a concept album,its has say that all pieces overlap between them to give the impression that the album tells a history (here in this case the book of Paul Gallico).When the album is made as a whole and or there is no separation piece enters,the title concept album is has its paroxysm.Its for these two reasons (purely instrumental album and concept album) that melody maker(more ancient Anglo-Saxon musical magazine)will give the snow goose as better hope of year 1975.The snow goose is(with Mirage)the opus of Camel which remains most longer in the English charts(13 weeks, gold album). The album is very approachable of listening,the simple but spellbinding melodies,it frees from it a magical,fantastic and all at once peaceful and comforting atmosphere.It is rather hard to establish a point of comparison with other albums of other groups seen that The snow goose is in every way unique but they can really bring closer to it of in the land of grey and pink of Caravan which is a bit in the same register.

Rhayaderis different from other pieces notably because the flute is there ubiquitous and she is put forward a lot.On Rhayader Goes to Town likeness is more than remarkable,they would believe hear a solo of Gimour!Andrew's style getting closer a tremendous number of Gilmour's very sophisticated and very sought-after style.The snow goosemade left the titles which I prefer,the guitar am refined and the piece in itself is comforting and unaccustomed.TitleFriendshipintroduces a rather medieval introduction,of time or castles,princes and kings made left integrant of this world.A wandering and bouncy piece.In Migrationthey change register absolutely,here recklessness and lazing about are both words which would define this piece at best.Both titles which follow:Rhayader aloneand Flight of the snow goosewhen has them are a preamble of the fact that will become Camel in the second two opuses(Moonmadness and Rain dances)its has say a music closer to a lunar and detached style.Preparation introduces the intro same that Friendshipin lightened,always with tones very magical and going out with a singing of foghorn straight of the imagination,here punctuated with a synthetisor reproducing an aquatic ambience in marvel.Dinkirkin air for show serviceman,on a bottom of perpetual rotations.Epitath is in almost religious connotation,of introversion or one hear a carillon of clock,as for the previous title ambience is rather heavy.Can be that in the book of Paul Gallico,these instants re-introduce turns of history,I cannot say to you...Firtha alone seems to be a kind of resurgence after the previous two titles.On La princesse perdue(yes title is definitely in Frenchman,be why going to know ^^) jollity returned and everything seems prosperous.The last piece is in the identity of the first (they have the same title),it introduces a very aquatic ambience,or foghorns are put forward,one hear sea gulls sound plan there behind...

To end,I would say that this album will delight the dreamers and the persons a bit with the head in stars but it will also please other listeners.Its difficult not to stick and it would be stupid to miss an album as this one.

Report this review (#178663)
Posted Saturday, August 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars I know for a lot of CAMEL fans this all-instrumental concept album is their favourite. So let me first apologize for the low rating, but I cannot get into this one, never have been able to. Sure there's lots to like here, but it doesn't have those contrasts i like. This is mostly pleasant, well played melodic music. Again that's a good thing, but it's too much of the same thing. I am a big CAMEL fan, and if you look at my ratings for their albums you can see that I really do love this band.This is just one I can't get into although i've heard a couple of live versions of this that I have liked better.There i've defended my rating enough already. Haha.

Some highlights for me include "Rhayader" which is such a tribute to Latimer's flute playing. Barden's keyboard work also stands out. A feel good song for me. "The Snow Goose" features electric guitar, organ and drums that all create a beautiful sound.

"Migration" is a highlight for me because of the vocal melodies and the drumming of Andy Ward. "Preperation" is great with the flute, keys and guitar. Some haunting vocal melodies as well. "Dunkirk" is led by organ and drums until the guitar comes in around a minute.This one's my favourite.The tempo picks up late, great finish.

So yes this is for most one of the best CAMEL albums ever recorded. For others like myself not so much. I unnderstand though that if you look into the concept of it that it makes a big diifference.

Report this review (#181601)
Posted Tuesday, September 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Meh. Representative of Symphonic Prog? You have to be kidding me! This album may be consistent, but it's consistently a snoozefest last time I checked!

This album drags. And drags. And drags. The lack of vocals, even though in Camel's case may be good, really make the album uninteresting. The instrumentation is about average, nothing too special, nothing interesting. I never pull this album out, and for good reason. When I have listened to this, I hardly remember anything from it besides possibly Rhayader, which is the best song on here, primarily for decent flute from Latimer.

This album is definitely for collectors or fans only. I was really disappointed. I mean, it's better than most mainstream crap out there, but it's really samey and bland for me.

Report this review (#189551)
Posted Sunday, November 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rating this album as it was on Vinyl , in 1974 , and reviewing it today , makes my work very hard . No Doubt that the < Snow Goose > was , and still my least favourite release from , first because it's an instrumental album by all means , second because only two tracks was interresting to my ears only , and third I don't like short tracks ( one to two mnts ) in progressive music genre . But , having this album for 28 years without touch , specially after getting Moonmadness , the Single Factor , Mirage , Rain Dances , Breathless , I Can See yur house from Here , and Nude ( without saying anything , for now, about all releases after 1982 ) and trying for several times to reconsider hearing this album during the last 15 years , wasn't positive at all . I'm a Camel Fan since Mirage , in 74 , and i have all their albums since 1973 , but i could enjoy < Moonmadness > , or Nude , Stationnary Traveller , Mirage and Rajaz more than this one . But it doesn't mean it's not a good album . Maybe it's an excellent one but i don't simply enjoy it , it's a matter of taste , specially in Prog Music . Best two tracks in this album < Rhayader > and < Goes to town > are really my Favourites , out of their complete discography . But i enjoy those tracks more in the DVD < Coming of Age > simply amazing . Also i can say that the remaster version with bonus tracks are satisfying more than the old vinyl album . So , i can rate this album with 4 stars ( as a whole ) and both tracks < Rhayader > 5 stars . ( as this album deserves 3 stars rating , and contains tracks deserves 5 stars , so 4 stars is the right rating IMO , for the remastered CD , not the original Vinyl copy of 74 )
Report this review (#190243)
Posted Sunday, November 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of those albums that it is hard to separate personal tastes from a more objective look at the album, but in truth it's not that big of a deal--it turns out that my subjectivity pretty well aligns with the objectivity here. There's plenty of good reason to truly love this album.

Camel has never been a band obsessed with defining their music with vocals and lyrics, that's for certain. Really, in light of their catalog, if they hadn't released something like The Snow Goose, we'd all have been confused. Here, in direct progression from Mirage, the gentle and cheerful songs take precedence over the straighter-edged rock found early on. The flute plays a much more major role in the songs, appearing a good number of them. The album features a lovely flow, with some filler sorts of tracks composed of gentle soundscapes and minimalist repetition, but the end result is quite a lovely excursion into Camel's softer prog side. That is, of course, not to say that there aren't fast guitar licks and powerful solos or furious drumming or Doug's classic bass lines. Rather, they are saved for special moments, turning the album into something of a whimsical yet on the whole exciting piece of classic prog music. The only true downside to this album is that it's not terribly worth it to listen to a single song, and so if you want to pop in a quick Camel tune or two, this album is likely not where you will turn to in the end.

Song by song analysis turns out to be quite difficult for an album like this, so I'll skip most of the shorter ones and focus on the more fully developed pieces. Rhayader showcases the whimsical, upbeat flute work and bass playing that will mark much of the album. Rhayader Goes to Town is a bit harder, a bit more of rocker, marked with blazing keyboards and a long guitar solo in the second half. Migration features one of the only instances of vocals present anywhere on The Snow Goose. They are, of course, wordless, but they are even more cheerful and (I need a new word, but I'm not coming up with one) whimsical than if they had lyrics. Flight of the Snow Goose kicks off the second side, building with a keyboard layer in the background and a very pretty guitar line. The drums sound great for this track, accenting the bouncy sort of bass quite handily. Preparation is a slow, soft tune that builds with nice flute and a creepy vibe to it, accented by some strange wailing over the top. Dunkirk segues perfectly from Preparation, turning into a repeating tune that plays mostly the same lick over and over again, building in intensity and depth every time until about three and a half minutes in, at which point the song turns to a much faster-paced guitar solo vehicle (and interspersed with neat phasered drum spots). Quite a dramatic turn, and very well composed. La Princesse Perdue is the final track proper on the album--followed only by the closing soundscape of The Great Marsh--and it feels like it reprises pieces of other songs off the album, though the accuracy of this I can't quite vouch for. Strings enter for their first truly prominent piece, wrapping this album up with an epic and upbeat blast.

In the end, this album might not sound like your cup of tea. And in truth, it might not be the best place to start with Camel--I'd aver that Mirage better fills that slot. Nonetheless, it is quite the musical morsel, very carefully composed and wonderfully performed. This is what soft progressive music should sound like. A very relaxing or very energizing album at the same time, depending on what you are looking for from it. This versatility (and for some, the lack of Camel's sometimes-considered lacklusted vocals) turn The Snow Goose into Camel's magnum opus, and quite a gem of 70s prog.

Report this review (#190404)
Posted Monday, November 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars For one disinterested in instrumentals as a general rule, I was hesitant in purchasing this one. Damn good thing I ignored my "better judgment." This is easily the best series of instrumentals these ears have ever heard. They are not ostentatious, as most symphonic rock can be, but merely amazing arrangements of amazing pieces.

"The Great Marsh" What a way to open the album! From those haunting voices to that final theme, I am drawn into all that is to come.

"Rhayader" This is one of my favorite tracks on the album (silly thing, that, since the album must be ingested as a whole). I love the flute and piano riff, but the bass gives this piece what it needs to be awesome.

"Rhayader Goes to Town" This track kicks off with wild synthesizer work, but gradually becomes more mellow, leading into a Pink Floyd-like guitar solo, full of simple bass, drums and electric piano.

"Sanctuary" This short piece contains lovely acoustic and electric guitar, and leads into the next part. It fleetingly introduces the main theme of "The Snow Goose."

"Fritha" Continuing with acoustic guitar, this beautiful section brings back the synthesizer and flute.

"The Snow Goose" Easily my favorite Camel instrumental, Latimer's guitar just sings the notes. The music is peaceful and full of soul.

"Friendship" Quirky wind instruments and keyboards make this a suitable transition between the majesty of the title track and fleeting beauty of what is to come.

"Migration" This is another highlight for me, especially with the vocalizing and fast-paced music whisking me away, as it were.

"Rhayader Alone" Electric piano and guitar develops a somber mood based on the theme from "Rhayader."

"Flight of the Snow Goose" A synthesizer build-up brings in this exciting and happy track. The drums are exceptional on this one, but they fade out, leaving the clean guitar to usher in the next piece.

"Preparation" At first, the mood remains somewhat cheerful, but soon becomes somber, maintaining a 5/8 time signature throughout.

"Dunkirk" This ominous tracks comes in directly from the previous one, using that marching beat to musically describe war. It has a wild slide guitar solo, and thundering organ and electric guitar at the end.

"Epitaph" The melancholic second half of "Preparation" is revisited, only without the company of the female voices. It is the gravest track.

"Fritha Alone" Here lies a ninety second piano piece.

"La Princesse Perdue" This climactic instrumental rises out of the ashes of dejection and soars into an uplifting synthesizer run and a great revisiting of "The Snow Goose" theme.

"The Great Marsh" The album ends as it begins, but without the triumphant following. What's more, the voices are gone. The album ends in loneliness.

Report this review (#204626)
Posted Friday, February 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Kings of elevator prog

The entirely instrumental Snow Goose is in my opinion Camel's finest achevement. Having realized Andy Latimer is no Greg Lake , the band decides to put emphasis on little instrumental passages instead of songs. Moreover , there are some orchestral arrangements that give this album an epic feel.

It would be hard to describe this record track by track since some of the sections are not even one minute and a half longer , so if you love sidelong epics you'd better try another record (or maybe another band) With the exception of being an instrumental record , The Snow Goose is typical Camel: subtle well composed tunes with an emphasis on Latimer's guitar. However this record has a bit of everything from acoustic pieces to energetic drumming passages to grandiose orchestrated sections. Some of my favourite moments are The Snow Goose ( Where Latimer shows all the shredders out there that less is more creating a teardropping little guitar solo) Dunkirk ( a song in constrant crescendo with military style drumming and a very good slide solo) or even the Canterbury flavoured Migration... Suming up , I don't think a single second of this album is wasted , it's all 5 star material.

That being said , I don't think this record would be suitable for everyone on this site since it does not have any particular standout moment like Tarkus Close to the Edge or Plague of Lighthouse Keepers Moreover , the playing is not impressive by any means , so those looking for sheer technical prowness may look elsewhere. So what's good about this record then?? The answer is simple: The Snow Goose's strength lies in it being a solid , well composed and cohesive album. So if you were to have just one beautiful and relaxing record The Snow Goose can be right at the top of your wish list.

Report this review (#205901)
Posted Monday, March 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Camel explores very unique territory with each release. This is their third album and perhaps their most celebrated when it comes to pure progressive content, though Camel's first 2 and fourth album are better. The entire album is based on one concept, that of the snow goose story and the music reinvents the genre. It is difficult to digest at first as no songs are apparent, rather instrumental works that make up a whole.

As soon as the flute chimes in and those keyboards ring out on Rhayader, one is instantly transported into the beautiful ambience of one of the best instrumental albums of the symphonic Canterbury period.

Each track is beautifully, masterfully executed by the musical virtuosity of each member. It is best listened to as an entire work, rather than individual pieces, similar to a symphony orchestra. (Even my wife loved this and she despises most prog.) It features such a beauty it is calming and soothing on the senses.

Latimer's guitars are upbeat and his flute is cheerful and charming, perfectly balanced by Ward's drumming and the keyboard talents of Barden's. These talents are balanced by orchestral sections giving the work an overall epic majestic quality. The juxtaposition of orchestra and rock instruments works perfectly. At times their are subliminal vocals, no actual words, but more sounds that compliment the tracks.

Rhayader Goes To Town is definitely a highlight, featuring on many Camel compilations, and includes enormous keyboard motifs that stab in stoccato riffs,and all is augmented by the blazing guitar solos from Latimer.

Sanctuary is repetitive and focusses on Latimer's drifting guitar solo, that really slows things down.

The Snow Goose is the band in full flair that includes catchy ambient melodies. A very high pitched saxophone can be heard in the tracks to follow and is a welcome change in pace to all the strings.

Rhayader Alone is another highlight and is quite a melancholy piece with marvellous soloing from Latimer and an acoustic bass tone from Ferguson.

Of note too is the addition of bonus tracks on the Decca remaster version. Over 24 extra minutes of Camel is irresistible. The bonus additions are great single edit versions of Flight of The Snow Goose, Rhayader and Flight Of The Snow Goose. There are also two excellent live 1974 versions of Rhayader Goes To Town and The Snow Goose/ Freefall. This last track clocks in at 11 minutes and is one of the highlights as it blends seamlessly from Snow Goose to one of my favourite tracks in Freefall. I have played this track most of all tracks on the album and count it as one of the top 5 Camel live tracks in my collection.

Overall, I believe The Snow Goose is an inspired work that demands attention. It is not for everybody's tastes due to the content, and it is a peaceful, tranquil instrumental album, however this is one of those albums that tends to grow on you over time.

Report this review (#216515)
Posted Tuesday, May 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars While I hesitate to give this 5 stars, this is a personal review so I just can't give it any less. Admittedly, this is quite different from the majority of their catalog. Mostly pretty mellow and delicate. But for me at least, it works beautifully. This was my second Camel album, and an immediate hit.

From the mellow keyboard washes of The Great Marsh, to the borderline heavyness of Dunkirk and beyond, this album just captivates me. The melodies are not complex, but they are emotional and quite lovely. For a lot of the album, it is hard to think of it as rock music (Sanctuary, Fritha, La Princessa Perdue), but there is in fact some rock in here as well. Check out Latimer's incredibly sweet guitar solo in Rhayader Goes To Town, channeling Dave Gilmore, and the tight and very proggy ensemble playing in Dunkirk.

The fusing of orchestra and band works seamlessly here, though the orchestra is more used for coloring and specific sections rather than as an overarching musical device. The orchestra really does add to the musical beauty, particularly on the softer sections. Vocals, though wordless, are even included on a couple tracks. Though I mention specific tracks, they are really sections of one long piece. This really is an epic of sorts, divided into various sections. The whole thing hangs together well though as a single 43 minute piece.

I would not suggest this as an intro to Camel though. For me, I started with Mirage, which is as good a starting point as any. I have heard Camel accused of being too "safe" for a prog band. I have to say that that is a fair accusation, particularly when listening to this delicate and often quite soft and precious album.

But I still love their music and find that it fits a lot of different moods depending on the album. This one I have no problem listening to from beginning to end. I will say I prefer the live version on "A Live Record" slightly, but only because it has a bit more drive or bite or something that I can't quite define. Anyway, for me at least, this is definitely a masterpiece of progressive music.

Report this review (#216587)
Posted Tuesday, May 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Snow Goose is a great album by Camel, and then reason it is considered one of their best is the success of their previous albums, Mirage and their awesome debut album, Camel.

When I first heard The Great Marsh, I thought this album was gonna be a bummer, but moving on into the album with tracks like Rhayader, Rhayader Goes To Town, Friendship and Migration, I found out The Snow Goose is not only a great album, but a great opportunity for the band to show off their playing skill, due to the lack of lyrics. Snow Goose delivers everything you would want out of a Canterbury band.

The Snow Goose has no lyrics due to Paul Gallico, the writer of the book "The Snow Goose: A Story Of Dunkirk" did not allow Camel to use lyrics based on his book, thus the full name for the album, "Music Inspired By The Snow Goose".

If you are a Camel fan which has only heard of the album, but never heard the whole thing, I recommend this album for you.

Report this review (#221263)
Posted Monday, June 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Most of the instruments are very pretty, especially the electric guitar and the way it works in the arrangements. There's a lot of feeling in this album, with pieces that are happy and pieces that are sad, although I don't really think the compositions are that amazing. Many of them are, however, memorable. I don't care for some of the synthesizers, but they are nowhere near as annoying as that instrument can be. To be honest, it's hard for me to say what exactly it is I dislike about this album, because when I listen to each part individually, I usually find a lot to like, but as a whole, I'm somehow not impressed. Altogether it seems so-so and doesn't have a lasting impression. The bouncy "Rhayader" is fun, and my son can't help but dance along to it. I notice how the second to last track is similar to "The Snow Goose," but it's not quite as good. Even so, I really like the strings involved. And as for "The Snow Goose," to me, that is totally "get it on" music. Overall, this is very good, but I could almost as easily have given it a three star; as it is, however, I think it's just worthy of four.
Report this review (#235431)
Posted Thursday, August 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is my first Camel album, I got it around 10 yrs ago. There are plenty of reviews to this work on site, and mainly two opinions egsist: bigger part of listeners like it veru much, smaller part think that this is just very average album.

I can try to find , what is the reason in egsisting of two so different opinions ( and I do it just because I think it will help for new listeners to understand if this album is their cup of tea).

The music on this album is just BEAUTIFUL. With no comments and no other opinion possible. Bright melodies, perfect technique, well balanced sound. It's instrumental album, and the rare one, which contains easy listening with quite serious sympho-sound. So - if you like that kind of music - you will be really pleased in listening of this album.

If you are searching new sounds, new ideas, experiments, or just tension in prog ( and you know, ROCK -music is a right place for that!), I'm affraid you wouldn't be very happy there.

It's not a King Crimson, it's for sure. Very pleasant listening, but I am not sure how much people listen for rock-music because they are searching for just pleasant listening.

So,because I don't want to repeat everything was said about this albums in all that reviews there, just decide, what you're expecting to find there.

I like melodies,it's true, but pleasant listening isn't my best prerogative. So, maximum I can put for this beautiful album, is only 4.

Report this review (#236530)
Posted Wednesday, September 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
2 stars CAMEL is a special case for me, they have everything I like from a Prog band, their members are incredibly skilled, the music has coherence, is well elaborate and has the precise balance between complexity, melody and experimentation, in other words, and being a Symphonic fan, CAMEL should be one of my favourite bands.............But they aren't, I feel like their music needs more energy, strength and risk, they seem to play safe, the music is beautiful but a bit tame for my taste.

I used to avoid all their albums, until I bought "Moonmadness" which I found amazing, so why shouldn't I give a chance to The Snow Goose, a conceptual album based in the short story by Paul Gallico, but due to the hatred of the author towards cigarettes, and believing CAMEL had relation with the tobacco company, opposed to the use of lyrics that referred to his book, so CAMEL had to change the name to "Music Inspired in the Snow Goose" to avoid legal consequences.

This fact affected the album, it had to be instrumental and not even narration allowed, so the music had to be really descriptive to make sense, but sadly it isn't, the album is practically a whole long song with incredible beautiful passages and excellent performances, but is as boring as watching the grass grow,

I find no energy, no strength, the music consists in endless repetitions of previous passages, so after 5 minutes, there's nothing new, and in my case I wanted to burn the album, the excessive care for details of the members of CAMEL; made "The Snow Goose", so clean and chemically pure that is tedious.

The band seems to ignore that Rock is young, risky and strong, instead they dedicate their time to create beautiful but lame repetitions of the same music, over and over, there's no wild power, young strength only careful pieces of music with beauty but no life.

If it wasn't for the Jazzy "Migration" and the mystic but powerful "Flight of the Snow Goose", I would had gone to bed earlier, because the only thing "The Snow Goose" produces me is somnolence, but this two tracks gave me some hope to listen the album until the end.

Now comes the difficult part, the rating......It's very difficult to give a low rating to an album that has wonderful melodies and clear demonstration of skills, but this is Progressive ROCK and any form of Rock requires freedom, strength, and, energy, not only careful beauty that lacks of life.

My advice...Stay with Moonmadness", the only CAMEL album that doesn't work as a pill of Vallium

Report this review (#239209)
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
4 stars The Snow Goose is Camel's release from 1975. The album is completelt instrumental, which I don't think is a bad thing, as I don't think Camel has very good lead vocals. The album is very atmospheric. By this I mean that it's full of soft interludes and returning themes. Also I should mention that this is a concept album, and the whole album is one big journey.

The music on the album varies from short pieces that are meant to create some mood, like "Sanctuary", "Friendship" and "Preperation" to longer, more comlex songs like "Rhayader Goes To Town", "The Snow Goose" and "Dunkirk". Camel did really well on both sorts of tracks. The shorter ones really give the album a fitting mood, while the longer ones, that often resemble important moments in the story, could easily impress one because of their complicated composition, brilliant musicianship and emotional moments.

Atmosphere is incredibly important to the album, and is what makes this album unique. If one doesn't like the atmoshere of the album, he'll probably won't like the entire thing. The album has many themes that sound very much like other themes on the album. Also songs like "Preperation", "Dunkirk" and "Epitaph" have clear feeling of being far from only seperate songs. This is because of a mysterious theme, appearing in "Preperation" and "Epitaph" kind of surrounding the epic "Dunkirk".

One could dislike this album because of its focus on atmosphere over constantly moving and over-exciting music, but I like it. People liking a blend of symphonic music with a lot of soothing atmosphere and mood might really enjoy this album, so I really recommend it to those people. The Snow Goose is definitely worth four stars, as it's a fantastic album though not a masterpiece.

Report this review (#247638)
Posted Sunday, November 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
3 stars This instrumental album holds a fine place in any classic-prog lover's collection for its lush compositions and iconic feel, but doesn't have enough gusto to go the distance when the listener's mood isn't right.

"Snow Goose" features fine compositions and playing throughout, with the interplay between instruments and the transitions between movements standing out as the highlights for me. There aren't really any "songs", since the ablum flows together so well. Really, this is an album-length work spread out over several tracks. Its approachable and melodic tone takes the listener on simplistic journey through the realms of classic-prog. There are a few rousing upbeat moments, but overall "Snow Goose" takes its time to meander through delicate melodies. It has a definite '70's vibe to it, which is cool; it is uniquely optomistic feeling album, and makes for excellent, relaxing background music.

There isn't much here which will make the listener's ears perk-up, or challenge their sensabilities. The instrumentalists are all proficient, but lack energy. "Snow Goose" has a very luke-warm feeling which won't make an impression on some. I lean towards heavier music myself, but still enjoy this album's light symphonic feel, and appreciate it as an elegant snap-shot of '70's prog. Hardly comparable to the giants of the day though.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: NA Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Report this review (#248787)
Posted Saturday, November 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The snow goose from 1975 is a step in other directin after the masterpiece Mirage, now the album is almost entirely instrumental, with ocasionaly some vocal parts, but holds some very fine and beautiful moments in Camel career. Some say that this is their best album, some say that this is their weakest one from the famous trilogy who includes Mirage and Moonmadness , some say something in the middle, well to me is close to an essential listning. I have this album for years in my collection and I've listinin more then 10 times, now is time for a proper review. To me is a great album , less intristing then the predecesor - Mirage who I rated 5 stars, The snow goose is an important album in progressive rock music, both for the musical value and for sheer briliancy of the concept. Thake the name from a book, this album take the listner to a perfect journey in symphonic prog music. Alternating from mellow moments, to some more up tempo, smooth and very elegant, Camel never stop to amaze listners with this album. The combinations of acustic guitar with electric one make this album truly enjoyble, some orchestral moments are infiltrated in the songs and the resul is excellent. The music is very melodic only vary rarely get some amazing bursting moments like Rhayader Goes To Town - the best pieces from the whole bunch, amazing progressive tune who will pleases the listners without doubt. So, a great album to me, not a mastepiece for sure, even less enjoyble then Moonmadness, Brethless and of course the fabulous Mirage, The snow goos holds some of the best moments Camel ever done. Recommended or not is you to decide, but some spins worth, both for historical importance but aswell for the great and grandeur of the music delivered. 4 stars for me.
Report this review (#251162)
Posted Tuesday, November 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars The Snow Goose was the first Camel album to find its way in my collection. Some oohs and aahs not withstanding it is an entirely instrumental album that yields a lot of classical music elements and where Camel's rocking edge is completely mellowed out.

Similar to Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, the album was supposed to have a narrative thread in between the songs based on a book by Paul Gallico. But the author, being greatly opposed to smoking, didn't want to grant his permission to a band that was obviously a walking advertisement for cigarettes. I think the end result works quite well without the narration. It would probably have slowed down the pace too much.

It is hard to single out individual tracks. This is an album you need to listen to in one sitting and that deserves your focussed attention. Without the proper focus you will not do it justice and the album will fade away in the background. No, this is not the kind of music to wash dishes to. The Preperation - Dunkirk - Epitaph section is probably the best but really, there are no weak parts.

The album goes through a whole range of styles and concentrates on delivering strong melodies. It's a great symphonic album but my advice is to approach it with fitting expectations. It can not be compared to Mirage or Moonmadness and by consequence it's an album that tends to result in mixed reactions. I'd say it's quite essential progressive rock. 4.5 stars.

Report this review (#254540)
Posted Sunday, December 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Camel - The Snow Goose (1975)

Boring or masterful?

This is an album that is different from other albums that are considered a progressive masterpiece by the many. It lacks long epics, it lacks very intelligent compositions, it almost completely lacks vocals and thus quality lyrics but compensated with heart braking melodies that always get my soft, mellow sweet moods active. It is an act of tenderness and one might say it expresses love in a very artistic way. But that's not all. There is also the bombastic intro of Rhayader Goes to Town, the dark 5/8 Preperation, the serious Great Marsh and the rockin' Dunkirk.The ground-braking idea of making a concept album without lyrics is of course to be hailed as one of the most progressive concepts. My girlfriend likes this record so much she's got an vinyl version for herself.

Though there are plenty of lovely melodies and moods, there are some less interesting moments on the album like the solo parts of Rhayader Goes To Town and some low-volume short pieces, but I wouldn't say all the intimate moments are boring. It just might not appeal to proggers who like hardcore action prog.

Conclusion. In it's own way an intimate masterpiece of symphonic rock. If ELP or technical metal is your standard you'd better skip it, but this is great way to introduce your progressive hobby to your girlfriend and have nice time together. I prefer the live version of the album, but this is also four star material!

Report this review (#255036)
Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Jenny Agutter Broke My Heart

Camel's 3rd album is arguably their best and probably richly deserving of all the plaudits heaped on it during the intervening years. It seems that the success of the Tolkien sourced White Rider on the previous Mirage album provided sufficient encouragement for Bardens and Latimer to expand their canvas to encompass a fully fledged conceptual work. Various literary sources were considered including Herman Hesse's Siddhartha, but Camel mercifully abandoned an adaptation of this grovelling apology for western wickedness (after just a casual glance at the lyric sheet provided with Close to the Edge presumably)

Paul Gallico's short novel The Snow Goose from 1940 seems an odd source for the muse to be sure. I mean it's a nice little heart-tugger and all but inhabits a world so soft and fluffy that Barbara Cartland could conceivably be summoned as the defendant in one of its obscenity trials. Enough already, I know that all male proggers of a certain vintage would have fallen hopelessly and madly in love with Jenny Agutter courtesy of the 1971 film version starring Richard Harris.

Given the particular historical events that the story rests upon (the Dunkirk evacuation during World war Two) it's hardly surprising that the accompanying music has a markedly English/Northern European flavour, shorn of all habitual rawk artifices and without a trace of blues anywhere to be found. Personally I find this refreshing as you can get a bit jaded with pale white boys from Solihull paying their dues to a Delta most of whom think is an Italian rally-car.

The Great Marsh - Seems to take an eternity for this little teaser to finally uncloak itself but a suitably atmospheric intro that sets the gentle and wistful mood appropriately enough.

Rhayader - Glorious and indelible theme that represents an amalgam of English folk music and the European classical canon. Think of Focus sparring with Jethro Tull and you might just be in the ball park/soccer stadium. When the core quartet embark on the central improvisation section they inhabit a sound world not a million miles away from Greenslade.

Rhayader Goes to Town - Clever use of disorienting electronica via the synth ostinato which punningly alludes to the protagonist's alienation from and reluctance to engage with the modern world (Rhayader is a hermit artist who lives alone in a lighthouse, although I can't recall too many reported instances of overcrowding in the lighthouse industry) Rips along like a high speed train containing one very uncomfortable commuter who clearly believes himself to be in a state of the art slave galley. Several of the melodic themes used on Snow Goose can be viewed as a Prog twist on Wagner's classical leitmotif idea i.e. the personality and mood of the characters is mirrored by the musical materials. That twee, clumsy but still loveable synth motif that lurches unannounced onto centre-stage, perfectly captures Rhayader's risibility in the eyes of a dismissive urbanity. The slower guitar solo section always reminds me of Gilmour in Floyd.

Sanctuary - Given the title, a fitting contrast to the disruptive urgency and frisson of the previous track. Gentle finger-picked acoustic guitar provides a soft bedding for a haunting flute stated melody which segues into a achingly beautiful electric guitar passage right up there on a par with any of Focus's finest contributions to instrumental rock. (Praise indeed)

Fritha - Were you to pan all the concealing mud, debris and rock out of many a celebrated prog epic, what remains would still be outshone by this humble little jewel.

Friendship - Jauntier than an epidemic of terminal jauntiness, this short classically inspired tune scored for reeds and wind just bounces joyfully around like a toddler on a bouncy castle. At less than two minutes such bonhomie is not requiring of any deflating pin from your reviewer.

Migration - A rare instance of vocals on this album, albeit wordless Hatfield & the North style critters. Migration always conjures up unrelated imagery of Carnaby Street, mini-skirts and the swinging 60's as envisioned by Ealing Studios for this rodent. (Dunno...Straight Edge Psychedelia?) Despite that, yet more very strong musical ideas that like so many on this record, prove resilient to the stylistic garb they are clad in.

Rhayader Alone - Introspective and moody electric piano that captures our hero's inevitable but still mourned isolation perfectly.

Flight of the Snow Goose - Crackling synth arpeggio that prefaces such use as implied harmony on what passes for sophistication in the dance fraternity. Another addictive guitar theme that is hard to dislodge once entry is permitted into the listener's head.

Preparation - Restive guitar picking wedded to some fondant flute which transitions into a foreboding drone based groove over which a cherubic female/prepubescent choirboy cast cloistered whispers. Those of you familiar with Rick Wakeman's No Earthly Connection will discern similarities between the former's The Reaper and this number.

Dunkirk - Possibly my favourite Camel track ever and a salutary lesson in how to gradually build and pace an arrangement that allows all the constituent parts to have their own little window from which to cast the sunlight. Camel also manage the very ticklish feat of combining orchestral sources with the electric band on Dunkirk which is often an elusive mixture even for the more celebrated Olympians in the prog pantheon. This would be the audible results of thematic ideas being allowed to organise and arrange themselves without an ego in the vicinity. Music would be this democratic but for musicians alas.

Epitaph - A short reprise of the Preparation materials.

Fritha Alone - Very plaintive and moving solo piano piece (although I detect an overdubbed part in the higher registers?) What proof is required for its beauty is that on ceasing, you just want it to start over again.

La Princesse Perdue - Emerging dancing village strings a la Bartok which preface a tremulous and exhilarating synth lead before Latimer's guitar, for all intents and purposes, practically defines noble, stately and borderline aristocratic in equal measure. I hear many textural similarities on this tune with that of Wakeman's more enduring work for electric band and orchestral forces.

The Great Marsh II - The sequel. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the swamp. Let's face it and forgive it: Prog concept albums have had these little tail-enders linking back to opening material since God was in short pants. (No I don't mean Jon Anderson, even short pants look like long un's on that elfin warbler)

If you were to recommend a starter pack for a prog newbie then you could do a lot worse than suggest The Snow Goose. It just might represent the perfect stepping stone for an inquisitive listener to venture into the wonderful world of Progressive Rock. The fact that it is almost entirely instrumental would certainly prepare an initiate for the abiding thrust of the genre's style.

Yes, the music is relatively gentle and accessible but never bland and as I alluded to in my review, musical ideas this strong are sufficiently 'well hard' to withstand any stylistic interpretation.

PS Jenny Agutter, we forgive you.

Report this review (#261044)
Posted Saturday, January 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars The snow goose was the first camel album i bought[cd] from a mail order company selling second hand cds and i saw it cheap and bought it after i watched the top ten prog program[channel 4 uk],with every song here on great form a really good listen,this album has like a late night relaxing feeling to it to me,how it starts with The Great Marsh is great how it starts really quiet gets volume up as it goes like and how then it goes into rhayader is great,and rhayader goes to town starts with a great guitar and this song i just enjoy everytime,sanctuary is a really calm song with nice relaxing guitar and keyboards really great to hear and relax to,the snow goose song i love the guitar here and the organ to[this reminds me a little of the shadows a little like the sound of the guitar],this is really a great song.friendship is a pete bardens song which it sounds and is short but really nice another good song,migration has like vocals with it the first so far like dooing and dahing kind of sound[i cant explain any other way and with calm drumming to.rhayader alone sound like another bardens song and is calm and relaxing again really nice.flight of the snow goose has guitar in this and more drumming and all sounds good here every member of camel on fine form the drumming is not loud but sounds good like,and the guitar here is more of the song really.preparation is really calm and i love the vocal part here sounds a little ghostly like a old hammer horror film with a ghostly likeoohing and ahhing,i love this.dunkirk with organ [calm at start] and occassional guitar bit for little,this is really nice again with the organ having more of lead role but the guitar does has more of later role and when it does it just sounds good this is great stuff with every member on great form great sounding prog.epitaph sounding like preparation sound with nice background pinging sound.fritha alone with a really nice piano playing calm and quiet really princesse perdue been the loudest song on album and gets calm in places for few seconds and when the keyboards play it sounds great so the guitar comes in and with a same playing song in bits as an earlier song called snow goose later on in song and nice to here playing again,the great marsh ends the album like the same how it started just fades out,and sounds great if you play album straight away after to,same like how pink floyds wall starts and ends like kind of,this album is a really nice great listen really relaxing and quiet like,if you fancy a relaxing quiet album now this is it,sounds great at night with a lamp on with a coal fire burning i reckon[i just wish i had a coal fire] its got that feeling to me,a nice listen,mostly instrumental but thats not a bad thing.4 stars.
Report this review (#263195)
Posted Thursday, January 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars At first I didn't like this album. The songs were short, instrumental, didn't seem to say that much to me. But then, after a while, after giving it some time, it came clear to me: THIS IS A WONDERFUL ALBUM! Every part of it is excellent! Every little passage, so full of beauty, so full of life! The songs may be short, but so what? This album should be listened to as one single piece. The songs may be instrumental, but they build images in my fantasy, and you know what they say: one picture says more than a thousand words, and in this case it's true. And yes, the album says a lot to me, now that I get it. It's not the most complex work in a technical sense, but emotionally it is! It speaks to all of my senses. It's an otherwordly masterpiece!
Report this review (#270793)
Posted Tuesday, March 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars I have managed to enjoy every single Camel album, even the newer less-proggy ones like "SIngle Factor", but this album is the exception. I have listened to this many times and I know many of the pieces by heart, but it just has never stuck with me. I don't know if it is the lack of vocals, or what, but the songs start to run together for me into one long "boring" song. And it's not like I require vocals on an album, I love Mike Oldfield's all instrumental albums such as Ommadawn. I would not recommend this to anyone starting to get into Camel. I would much rather send them to Mirage, Moonmadness, or the debut album. Sorry, Camel, I can only give 2 stars for this, maybe 2.5 if that were allowed.
Report this review (#270830)
Posted Tuesday, March 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars On most of Camel's work they sort of sound like a post-psychedelic band, with mid 70s sensibilities. Expanding a sound that was already so developed, and in turn developed it enough to carve out their own territory.

On the other hand, Camel's "Snow Goose" album goes beyond their more linear post- psychedelic albums and is not only their "most" Prog album but one of the most Prog albums there is, in that its all instrumental, and a jaw dropping symphony not dissimilar to classical music. The guitar parts aren't as complicated as say a Genesis piece, yet the music is still very symphonic, with flutes and all sorts of other synthesized orchestral sounds.

Most of this music is so perfect that I first wondered if they had simply updated some classic Strauss symphony or something like that. Nope. This is their own music.

Probably their most acclaimed album, yet somehow it still feels underrated. Especially by the masses. Most progsters would love it (unless metal-Prog only is your thing), and so would your grandma. And that's a compliment to the music.

I think Camel deserve to be credited in the big leagues, because their sound is unique enough, and does warrant the esteemed status of "such and such new band sounds like "Camel".

Report this review (#282249)
Posted Sunday, May 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although ranked by many as a 'classic', Camel's instrumental effort 'The Snow Goose' is a real marmite album. For some, it defined all that is graceful and beautiful about the symphonic-prog sub-genre, showcasing the link between classical and rock with graceful aplomb. For others, however, it is an anaemic reminder of all of Prog's deficiencies and an example of why punk rock came, saw and conquered the late-seventies musical world, as listeners found themselves looking for something meatier to chew on. Whatever your view - and there are many - there is no denying that 'The Snow Goose' features some enchantingly sumptuous moments of instrumental beauty. The lack of vocals can be distracting, but once the listener has adjusted to the style and tone of the interlocking pieces, there are many rewards to be had with the group's now-experiencd line-up combining flawlessly. Lighter than 'Mirage', much more overtly progressive than their self-titled debut and longer and more complex than 'Moonmadness', 'The Snow Goose' is a charming, if slightly self-indulgent addition to this group's impressive catalogue. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Report this review (#283620)
Posted Wednesday, May 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am an unlucky person, I must say.

I had the misfortune of being born in 1995, when a lot of great prog records like The Snow Goose had been long forgotten. I do enjoy the current wave of prog, with Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, Frost* and what not, but there is something to the early days that modern prog musicians just don't seem to come up with.

The very first Camel record I owned was A Live Record, which itself contains a full performance of The Snow Goose. I was very young (four), and disregarded the second disc, which was full of birdy fun. Instead, I listened to tunes from Mirage, Rain Dances and Moonmadness. I did develop a fondness for Rhayader, but I failed to ingest the whole album, ignoring that it was a continuous piece, á la Brave or Six Degrees.

Recently, Camel records suffered utter depricing, due to their poor sales in the progless country I live in. Thus, my father decided to reestablish his Camel collection, which he already completed in LP format. He started with Mirage, Camel, Moonmadness and refused to buy The Snow Goose, arguing that we already had it, with our A Live Record copy.

So I decided to protest, arguing that studio albums are perhaps more important than live albums, and that it was being offered at a very good price. He decided to give in.

Now that that happened, I cannot set iTunes to play anything else than The Snow Goose.

It's hard to believe that it doesn't get 5 stars here.

A lot of reviewers argue that it doesn't live up to the hype surrounding it.

I respect their opinions. I've read a lot of reviews.

But The Snow Goose is beyond anything any of us can say. It is solely Latimer's and it is for us to really understand and digest. It is simply perfect. Tracks like Preparation and The Flight Of the Snow Goose give us that technicality that while not completely overwhelmin nor excessively evident, show how progressive rock goes beyond odd time signatures, modulations, polyrhythms, syncopations and accents that confuse the metronome.

And then, we have songs like Rhayader and its followup, which show us how progressive rock incorporates mundane simplicity and manages to create a world of its own. If you've read The Snow Goose and listen to the record, you'll see that Latimer and his buddies need no lyrics to recreate Gallico's world.

Finally, epic tracks like La Princesse Perdue give us the sense that while not excessively epic, an album with songs that do not surpass six minutes in length is probably in a league of its own in the genre.

To understand and appreciate prog, you need a lot of records. The Snow Goose is definitely one of them. Hands down

Report this review (#291913)
Posted Sunday, July 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars What were Camel to do in order to top a strong album like Mirage? Well, since the band were in the middle of the golden age of prog, why not try to do an instrumental concept album?

The results of this experiment were quite pleasant to say the least! The Snow Goose is a great interpretation of a short story making it listenable almost on any occasion. The arrangements are symphonic but with a strong rock flavor to them and results in a very gentle sound combination which makes for a soft introduction to Camel's music. Of course nothing is without its flaws and even though the Snow Goose is an excellent piece of music, for me this doesn't come any near the greatness Camel achieved on Mirage. Unlike some of the lengthier compositions of Mirage, this follow-up album keeps the material quite short. But it's those slightly longer compositions, like Rhayader Goes To Town" and "Dunkirk, that really show the band's true potential.

I have to admit that I never really considered this album to be a serious progressive rock record, which has to do with the very gentle approach that Camel is going for with their sound. I rarely listen to it as a main course of my day's prog intake and instead either put it as an appetizer or a soothing desert. This doesn't in any way imply that the Snow Goose is a lesser release in comparison to albums like Moonmadness, but merely that there is a difference of moods connected to each of there experiences.

The Snow Goose is a second of the three fan-favorite releases by Camel at the time where this band just could do no wrong. In a way, this release can either be considered as a very daring attempt at trying something new with Camle's music or the complete opposite, due to it's pleasant arrangement that rarely diverse from the overall sound scheme. Either way, this is still a very strong album well worth your time and money!

***** star songs: Rhayader (3:01) Rhayader Goes To Town (5:20) Dunkirk (5:19) Epitaph (2:07)

**** star songs: The Great Marsh (2:02) Sanctuary (1:05) Fritha (1:19) The Snow Goose (3:12) Friendship (1:44) Migration (2:01) Rhayader Alone (1:50) Flight Of The Snow Goose (2:40) Preparation (3:58) Fritha Alone (1:40) La Princesse Perdue (4:44) The Great Marsh (1:20)

Report this review (#296605)
Posted Sunday, August 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars There are some old albums in my vinyl collection that I, frankly, didn't give a damn about when my lovely old stereo system broke down after years of faithful service. I couldn't afford to replace them all with CD's, and I resigned myself to losing out on many pleasures for ever.

However, with a present of vinyl to digital hardware, and software, I can now revisit those pleasures, and this is most certainly one of them.

There is not much to say about this album that has not already been said, and I will keep this review shorter than most of my other efforts.

Suffice to say, I am genuinely of the opinion that great instrumentals are capable of speaking to you as well as, and in some exceptionally rare cases, more so than any concept album with lots of verbosity.

This is one such album, a glorious symphonic album which epitomises all that is great about that sub genre.

The piece has to be listened to as a whole, because it tells a story. The musicianship is absolutely incredible, and this is, in essence, a modern piece of classical music.

At times this is beautifully moving, and it remains to this day one of the most important works in the progressive canon.

Five stars - a true masterpiece in every sense of the word.

Report this review (#303154)
Posted Sunday, October 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was the first Camel record I, and because of that and the fact that it is a terrific record, it´ll always be special to me.

When I first found this record in my fathers vinyl colection as was intrigued be the record´s cover and naturally became curious about the music. When I first heard, to my surprise, I recognised a section from Rhyader, that was used as the soundtrack to the opening credits of a late night portuguese newscast. As with all the Camel records the playing is impecable and the production values are outstanding. I particularly like Andy Ward´s drumming (I feel he his one of the most underrated drummers in history!). I recently purchased the remastered 2 CD edition and I can tell you that It gives a whole new dimension to this incredible record.

Report this review (#304946)
Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Maybe the best album to start your Camel experience with. Unless you're against instrumental only albums (I fortunately am not), you will probably (means most likely) be captured by beauty of this water bird.

One thing I noticed instantly when I heard it was Caravan keyboards and instruments of (that were most famously used in Prog by) Gryphon. In broader meaning, you can relate these facts to influencing sound of Snow Goose.

This album is simply lovely. Short songs (eh, the longest has a little bit over 5 minutes) are interesting enough, even some sound patterns are used more times (second half of Preparations and whole Epitaph are basically the same thing) and of course there is something like TSG adventurous theme. But it's too much of re-using to make whole LP length as interesting as normal album would be. It's concept album, even more, it's an adaptation. And it's nice, but still, just

4(+) for pleasant album with let's say 25-30 minutes of solid music. The rest are just echoes.

Report this review (#306245)
Posted Saturday, October 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Let me start by saying that "The Snow Goose" is my favorite Camel album. Although I thoroughly enjoy both "Mirage" and "Moonmadness" as well as bits of other albums, it really has to be "The Snow Goose", and here's why: This is the album where the band shines brightest in every aspect of their art and craft. It is also the longest and most elaborate suite of songs the band has ever released. Aside from the length and scope of the album, the style is also unique among Camel albums, as it removes nearly all the vocals and adds a distinct Canterbury element only faintly present on previous and future releases. I am a huge fan of the Canterbury sound and it delights me to hear it combined with Camel's brand of symphonic rock. There are no weak songs here, as every passage is absolutely fitting and sets up the next quite well. This makes for an album that flows seamlessly, but includes many songs that stand alone excellently.

9/10 - For fans of Canterbury scene prog, symphonic rock, and long pieces with lots of movements.

Report this review (#309322)
Posted Tuesday, November 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I gave this 3 stars previously, but i came bake to change it and write some words.

This album actually deserves 4 stars cos it's worth it. This album has no vocals and it's less likely that it can keep someone's attention until the end, but it certainly has it's artistic value. Inspired by a novel this piece can be treated as one long song containing of many pieces.

All bigger parts (songs) are great and so many shorter pieces connect them as intros, outros and interludes. The music is very classical but there are a couple of very rocking riffs and 70s rock sounding solos.

Fans love this album so much. I have at least 5 Camel albums that i like better.

Report this review (#329394)
Posted Monday, November 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Snow Goose" is a very touching piece of art that seems to sound better and more beautiful every time I hear it. It is a tightly structured instrumental that was inspired by Paul Gallico's novel of the same name. There's an excellent mixture of both orchestral and rock instrumentation.

The Snow Goose is in a similar vein to Camel's "Nude" album as the music follows a storyline and the musical style is also soft prog although this album is a lot more symphonic. It's evocative and shines with gracefulness throughout. There are some vocal parts but no lyrics. The female vocals on the track "Preparation" are rather haunting. The most memorable pieces are probably "Rhayader" and "The Snow Goose" but I've slowly come to love the whole of this album very much.

I think this is remarkable, wonderful music. This is an album that may require patience but it is rewarding. This is the kind of Camel I love the best and is among my favourites by the band. Highly recommended. Four and a half stars.

Report this review (#337699)
Posted Monday, November 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album can only lose to "Mirage" as the best work of Camel. "The Snow Goose" is a unique case in the discography of the band: it is entirely instrumental, except for some female vocals that "echoes" from the album and the male vocias in "Migration".

This is for me the pinnacle of creative Bardens on keyboards: synthesizers unlike its somewhat annoying the other albums (especially "Mirage" and "Moonmadaness"), here it uses more organs and keyboards base.Are wonderful orchestral track in the penultimate "La Princesse Perdue" (playing the oboe on the album is fantastic), and flute Latimer don´t disapointing.He, incidentally, is the man of the album: Beyond the flute, he played a magnificent role with his guitar, performing great solos, as the title track (my favorite here), which are often quite Floydian, but most are clearly unique.

4.5 stars rounded up.The second best album of the Camel.

Report this review (#405433)
Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Camel's third album, 'The Snow Goose' is an entirely instrumental concept album based on Paul Gallico's short story of the same title. This book, written in 1941, is essential reading if you want to follow what's going on in the album. It's only 40 pages or so long, and I finished it in a morning, but it is a deeply touching tale.

If you've heard Camel's first two albums, you'll note their constant aversion to lyrics, almost as if they don't like singing. It comes as hardly a surprise then that they wrote an entire album without lyrics! The entire feel to this album is different. This album feels more like a classical symphony, though with rock instruments. There are no less than 16 parts to this album, but they could easily be collected together and be known as a 43-minute suite. I won't review these songs track by track, as it is simpler and more effective to view the entire album as a single suite.

There is good news and bad news about this album. The good news is that the whole album is effortlessly beautiful from start to finish. If you wanted to put this record on in the background, prog-bashers have to come up with another excuse than 'It sounds awful!' The bad news though is that, certainly the first time around, the album is not very exciting. This is one of those albums that you have to listen to repeatedly to fully appreciate. The most exciting parts are the beginning of Rhayader Goes to Town and the end of Dunkirk. Many of the tracks, including Sanctuary and Fritha, feel like filler and are quite forgettable. My favourite track on the album is Dunkirk, where the first half builds the tension perfectly until we reach the climactic, exciting second half.

This music is certainly a work of genious, but it's sadly not quite a masterpiece. Those who say this album is 'accessible' are very mistaken. It's really quite tough to get into this strange, beautiful album. It is possibly too 'mature' and 'serious' for proggers who like their music to be just a bit mad. I definitely recommend this album to all serious proggers, but a better place to start would be 'Mirage', as 'The Snow Goose' sounds nothing like the rest of Camel's catalogue. I am reviewing the Camel albums in order, and once again, I am awestruck that in 630 ratings of this album, not one of them is a one-star rating. Camel's music obviously touches everybody, at least at some level!

Report this review (#428975)
Posted Friday, April 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars I've always loved Camel, but The Snow Goose was kind of let down upon first listen and it remains as one of my least favorite albums in the Camel disography. Upon first listen, with tracks full of energy and beautiful melodies like "Rhayader", I had high hopes for this album, but the majority of music here all feels like a boring let-down. The fact that there are no vocals on this album is fine with me (I've always preferred my Camel vocal-less). The great material on Mirage and Moon Madness seems to much more thought out that this, but this mostly is the band's soundtrack affair for a novel titled "The Snow Goose". That whole ordeal caused some controversy within the band, but all that can be forgiven. This basically being an above-average soundtrack with strong progressive leaning and some great melodies thrown in, I'll have to give this a three-star rating, but I would definitely recommend some of their earlier work.
Report this review (#431075)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Store in a cool dry place...

This orchestrated, fully instrumental release is based on the short novel by Paul Galico. It was originally intended to have lyrics, but after protests from the author due to the band's association with a major cigarette brand (he despised smoking), the plans were scrapped and the album renamed 'Music Inspired by the Snow Goose'.

The Good: The instrumental arrangement's throughout this record are all top notch, with a special mention going to Peter Barden's contribution on the keys. The ethereal vocals found on Migration remind me of One Size Fits All era Frank Zappa! Standout tracks include pretty much anything with Rhayader in its name.

The Bad: Side two is noticeably weaker than side one, and whilst I do enjoy listening to the studio recording of The Snow Goose, I also find it to be a little bit tame at times and prefer the stronger version found on A Live Record.

The Verdict: Tasty but melts towards the end.

Report this review (#440384)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Snow Goose is a fantastical journey of prog that proves you don't need lyrics to tell a story. The emotion of the music pushes the story along and lets the listener interpret it in their own way. Camel were very ambitious here but pulled off something very special. The music contains majestic moments, from rock driven solos to sad mellow pieces, and travels through different emotions, using reprisals here and there. The songs can't be listened to individually; it all links up as a whole, like watching a movie. Being that this is the case Camel have done well to structure the album and make it flow perfectly. I couldn't pick out favourite songs because they're all great, but La Princesse Perdue really stands out as something special.

Only the song titles provide any degree of actual story and so it leaves you to figure out the rest using the music and your imagination (unless you read the story of which this album is based on). The Snow Goose is very unique and will leave you wanting more.

I can't fault this album. 5 stars

Report this review (#504624)
Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Camel's second masterpiece in a row benefits, of course, from the instrumentalists giving the performance of their lives - Andrew Latimer's guitar on the title track is just gorgeous, and Pete Bardens' keyboards on Flight of the Snow Goose are just as good - but I would say it also benefits from a broadening of the Camel sound. The orchestra is part of it, of course - though I do have to give props to Camel for incorporating an orchestra into their sound with far more taste than many other groups show - but it's clear the band were playing close attention to what was going on in the rest of the progressive scene after Mirage. The medieval airs of Friendship, for instance, remind me a lot of Gryphon's sound, whilst the first traces of Canterbury creep into the Camel sound on Migration, which comes complete with Hatfield- inspired vocal aah-aah-aahs and breezy, jazzy instrumental performance. The Snow Goose was the first Camel album I heard, and made me a fan for life - and I'm sure it will do the same for many others after me.
Report this review (#541051)
Posted Monday, October 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars (2.5 stars really, I'll make up for it by giving the ideally 3.5 starred 'Moonmadness' 4 stars!)

I've made a few conscious attempts to get into the music of 'Camel', but unfortunately I'm just not that enthralled by their sounds, particuarly on this album (Sorry to any Camel fans), which isn't up to the same level of quality as 'Moonmadness', even if many folk would disagree with me. The album sounds pleasant enough without being intrusive, but aside from a few interesting moments, there's not that much to really enjoy. It's true that there's nothing particuarly weak about this album, it's just that there's no particuarly strong moments either. Camel's music also seems to have dated (although obviously this isn't a huge issue) a lot more than some of their contemporaries, for example Pink Floyd. The synthesisers sound very much of their time in this album, which as I mentioned, isn't really a problem, but it does impact on listening in the modern day, and dare I say it, some of the synth solo's do sound a little naff, as do the 'funky breaks.'

But enough of my confused rambling, because I'd actually like to pick up on some of strengths and weaknesses of the album. I bought this album majoritively on the strength of two tracks (and the Ł5 album sale in my local shop); 'Rhyader' and 'Preparation', which were reason enough to buy the album as these tracks are both pretty good. 'Rhyader' has some quite simply beautiful flute work and juxtoposition with the piano, which is only distracted from slightly by the aforementioned 'funky break' by the wah-wah guitar and the slightly out of place synth-solo in the middle.

Similarly 'Preparation' is a very strong track, with lovely guitar and synths really building up some atmosphere, even if in all the track seems almost like a rendition of UFO's 'Love To Love' without the fun heavy guitar break. The eerie chanting vocals are also a treat, and if anything the album shows that Camel at least decided to not go for an atypical 'prog sound' as styled by Yes and Genesis.

Unfortunately, many of the other tracks are a tad weaker, even if they have nice moments. Some of the pseudo-classical tendencies have the capacity to sound a little cringey when there's not a full orchestra to back them (although 'Friendship still sounds quite effective) as there is in the modern works of Nightwish and Anathema, and the band sometimes seem to ruin the mood of more atmospheric sounding pieces (or even melodic guitar based pieces) with out of place over the top synthesisers. This is particuarly evident in 'Flight of the Snow Goose' with it's 'spacey-synth' section, when the rest of the track sounds fab. Camel do scream of potential when they handle the quieter numbers ever so well though, in particular with 'Fritha Alone', a very nice piano piece.

In all, the album is a pleasant listen and one I felt was worth buying at knock down price, but not one that particuarly engaged me, even if I did vaguely enjoy it. Perhaps if I didn't listen to the album on the strong recommendations I did listen to it on I wouldn't have expected as much and thought more highly in consequence, but as it stands I can only consider that 2.5 stars is a fair rating from me. Sorry, Camel fans!

Report this review (#567847)
Posted Monday, November 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars CAMEL'S "Music Inspired by The Snow Goose" is a full on instrumental prog album. This meaning there are absolutely no vocals. This may steer off some newer fans.. but I recommend fans of prog to give it a spin. I usually write reviews track by track, but I feel like this album is just one big track. Yes, there are breaks in the album, such as before "Flight of the Snow Goose" but I still listen to it beginning to end.

So, instead of doing track by track,I'll talk about the standouts(only my opinion, of course). "Rhayader" is without a doubt a great prog song, albeit short. The Tull-esque flute playing and the melodic piano are a pleasure to listen to. A very mellow song. Rhayader & Rhayader goes to town should always be played one after the other,in my opinion. They flow fairly well. The latter is a tad more upbeat and has a speedier tempo. It slows down as it progresses and ends on a fairly calm note.

The Snow Goose is another essential listen. It's classic CAMEL that reminds me very much of something that would be on Moonmadness. Flight Of The Snow Goose through Dunkirk should also be played at the same time. La Princesse Perdue has the same melody as The Snow Goose inside it, but has other great melodies and synth. Great end to an excellent album..

CAMEL'S "Music Inspired by The Snow Goose" is most definitely an essential album for any fan of prog. Moonmadness will always be my favorite from CAMEL, but I love this one as well.

Overall 4/5

Report this review (#568087)
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I know there's not much I can say about The Snow Goose that hasn't already been said, but if I were to recommend just one album to anyone anywhere, this very well might be it.

A song is worth 10,000 words. Camel tell the story of the snow goose through music, and they do so beautifully. Lyrics are unnecessary when the music is this expressive. One thing I love about this album is its diversity and dynamics, how they develop a variety of moods. Always with amazingly precise interplay between all the instruments, each musician adding so much, but never anything extraneous. And the album just flows so smoothly from start to finish. Truly, each song is a highlight for me in its own way, contributing just what it needs to in order to make the album more than the sum of its parts, but just to single out a couple:

Rhayader is one of the best 3 minute songs I can think of. That flute, the piano, those drums, the way it's composed, simply put, this song is what I call perfect. Rhayader Goes to Town features an amazingly lyrical guitar solo and superb drumming. The interplay on Fritha between the acoustic guitar and synthesizer is breathtaking. On Dunkirk I can really imagine a war gradually intensifying, just beautiful. Fritha Alone, with its beautiful piano melody, begins by reprising Fritha, but takes it in a sadder direction, similarly to Rhayader Alone and Rhayader. In fact, there are many recurring themes throughout the album, but each time they appear they sound quite different, in a way that to me is very satisfying.

In short, wow. This has been one of my favorite albums for many years, and brings me so much joy time and again. I see this as a masterpiece on so many levels, hence I feel 5 stars are completely deserved.

Report this review (#575622)
Posted Saturday, November 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Strangely enough, I was (accidently !) watching Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker ballet when I started to spin this album for the tenth time this week and was looking for an original approach to this review than just knot down 100 words.

Both the Nutcracker and the Swan Lake ballets must have entered the minds of Latimer & co when writing this album. Both they and Tchaikovsky himself captured the essence of nature in their respective compositions The Snow Goose and the Swan Lake. OK, different type of feathers and birds, but still much of the same.

The Snow Goose is like a good ballet. Well, what I think is a good ballet. I am as cultural sophisticated as the caveman I am. But The Snow Goose, the whole album, hits a raw nerve. The nature lovers in us all.

The Snow Goose is mainly an instrumental album. It has something very few other instrumental albums has: A raw nerve which keeps even the most casual the listener intrigued throughout. This is by all standards in progressive rock an outstanding album with outstanding music. It is clearly a top ten album in my view.

I seriously love this album and judge other instrumental albums on the standard The Snow Goose has set. It is a marker which noone has surpassed when it comes to instrumental albums. Enough said.

... Just to add my 100 words view and to register my vote......

5 stars

Report this review (#595531)
Posted Saturday, December 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This completely instrumental third album is probably CAMEL's best known, or at least it was their triumphant breakthrough. It is perhaps slightly more accessible than Mirage preceding it, but not necessarily better. Moonmadness following it is clearly better in my opinion, and the best example of good balance between instrumental and sung CAMEL material. Yes, they were generally better without vocals which were never their strongest side, but the album tends to get a bit boring if it's completely without vocals. That's the case here.

Inspired by a Paul Gallico novella about relationships between a man called Rhayader, a girl, and a goose in a countryside at wartime, the album tries to tell the story in music. I have read that book, naturally because of this album (in English; not translated to Finnish which I truly don't wonder, I wasn't very impressed). By the way, I have read that the group voted for the source book and Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf lost the election. I'd be very curious how they would have managed to put THAT deep psychologic novel into music! Well, they succeeded with Snow Goose and the music has an airy feel very suitable for the story. But perhaps that story itself is rather thin and naive to be a best possible source of inspiration. And isn't it a children's book anyway? How proggy and exciting album could one make of it?

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy this album a lot. It includes marvelous tracks with soaring melodies. But it also includes some tracks in between that either sound like fillers or repeat the same motif too much (that's why I doubt if the book is full enough of drama). This repetitiveness here and there annoys me, but as a whole the album is a well crafted suite with various moods. it has a symphonic feel, and the band did perform it accompanied by a large orchestra. For an advanced proghead this may be a bit boring, but if you want to introduce melodic prog to someone who listens to light classical music rather than rock, this album could be succesful. How else it could have been a bestseller in the first place!

Report this review (#596626)
Posted Tuesday, December 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars After a masterpiece, Mirage (1974), Camel did want to do a conceptual album about the book of Paul Gallico, The Snow Goose, but they didn't get the approval of Paul, so changed the name of the album for "Music Inspired By: The Snow Goose" and did an instrumental work. Even with trouble, they did a lovely and accessible album, with every instrument played softly and giving the notion of space. I will not review this piece by piece, because it must be listened as a whole. Well, the album is soft as an atom, with slow and soft keyboards/guitars, great percussion, consistent bass and awesome flute work. Every track follows the same premise of "soft songs", and the highlights are "Rhayader", "Rhayader Goes to Town", "The Snow Goose", "Flight Of The Snow Goose" and "La Princesse Perdue". Don't be afraid for the lack of vocals (sorry Latimer, but the vocals aren't, by far, the best part of the band), It's a great work and every progressive rock lover must listen to this masterpiece.
Report this review (#597417)
Posted Wednesday, December 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars After so many reviews it may be hard to tell something new, but in some way this doesn't matter me at all. The Snowgoose is a conceptalbum following the wel praisen Mirage. There is a real shift in sound into more symphonic harmonies and less (hard)rockin' parts.

Some of the nicest moments consists in the first 10 minutes with beautiful flute melodies and great accompanied keyparts and guitars. I don't know exactly were one song begins and the other ends, because they flow over in each other.

Each time I hear this first 10 minutes I think - Wow, I've made a misinterpretation, maybe this is a masterpiece. But then the music change in more slow parts, which I think are sometimes a bit boring. Another highlight on the first side is the triangle-classical part called Migration. My visualisation by this theme is a child who knows that he is guilty, but trying to keep it secret. Real nice.

The second half of the record is equally good for me, having no really interesting parts, besides some dissonant part. In first instance I was really bored after listening this record and I wanted to go for a two-star review. But befor each review I intend to listen a record at least 2 times in a short period and I changed my opinion. I slowly begin to appreciate this record, although I think I'll never gonna rate it as a masterpiece.

My main complain about this record is that it never ever becomes heavy or avant-garde or whatsoever. The record is continually subtle but had no real instrumental outbursts. Sometimes the music is almost like an outburst, but befor it becomes really interesting it's gone. Other symphonic bands like Yes and Genesis and even Camel's previous record had some heavy or avant-garde parts. Something can't be really beautifull if there is no ugly part and something can't be really subtle if it ain't followed by some distorted part. So, I mis the balance on this record.

Still, this deserves about 3,5 stars.

Report this review (#623658)
Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I find it amazing that the top review is a distorted view on this masterpiece of an album. It may not have any 'historical importance' only because of the fact that this is an all instrumental album. By far the best Camel album, sending you on a voyage right into the Great Marsh. The whole masterpiece runs through the entire Snow Goose story (by Paul Gallico) in order. For any other band to attempt this feat, it wouldn't have had such a calm, lovely feel to it. The drums are equipped to impress whilst still fitting the mood equally. Camel is quite the rare band, and it hasn't been until recently that I found them. Compared to bands such as Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, The Nice, ELP, (the list goes on) Camel was always lost in the midst. I declare them to have an equal stance, if not higher, on the ratings board on this site and all around. Don't get me wrong, this album WILL take a few, if not many listens through, to realize the beauty of it. While other bands have fantastic sound, this truly gives a whole atmosphere of touching music. But once it touches you, it'll never let you go. The striking loveliness will keep you coming back and wanting more. The themes are ever-so changing from beauty to misery, from love to death. To rate each song individually isn't possible in this case. Though I can say the last 2 songs are brilliantly crafted, an overview of all the songs featured on this very album in about 6 and a half minutes. Through the listening of the full album, once the final tune hits, you appreciate the album as a whole. A rush of emotions come upon you, leaving you thinking... If you want to expand your mind through the power of music, this is the place to be. In the middle of Dunkirk. Lastly, this review is partly due to make a statement that a small percentage of teenagers do have a mind for music, for I am 17. If more teenagers attempted a run-through of this album, they would all learn to love it. They just don't understand that music can be calming and interesting. No music will ever reach this point of brilliance again. Only if someone could do me a favor and send me back to the 70's...

Report this review (#634966)
Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars A powerful story makes for just as powerful music.

Paul Gallico's short story forms the basis of this adventurous and sublime album, an inspiring conceptual work that retains the emotion feelings of the novella whilst also demonstrating that classical, progressive instrumental music can make for pleasant and rewarding listenings.

The album consists of several suites of music, the orientation introducing the music themes of the characters. The Snowgoose paces itself with short interluding sections that have a distinct melody yet don't indulge into themselves, the music is constantly changing and the transitions are seamless.

The longer tracks are the standout, and it is because they effectively mirror the parts of the story they are telling. "Dunkirk" is a great example as it builds a repeating progression like the character in the storm going back in and out at sea to save more soldiers, then builds to a climax with an almost frightening slide guitar solo.

The musicianship here is first rate, the lack of vocals not hindering it in the slightest, and the writing of both Latimer and Bardens is nothing short of genius, the album is a wonderful adaptation of a great short powerful story.

Report this review (#782223)
Posted Thursday, July 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars It took me very long to visit this Snow Goose page and leave a proper review.

There is an interesting quality to this particular Camel album .. it seems to be able to easily penetrate your emotional space and gently immerse you into a wholesome, positive musical experience without, so to speak, stirring you up too much. No (snow)goosebumps, no dropped jaws. Just the smooth flow of sophisticated, delicate music.

I must say that none of the other Camel albums left me with this breezy feeling of goodness and gratitude. Like the best pieces of classical music. A little bit of mystery.

And here might be the key to the mystery .. what if we viewed Snow Goose not as an "progressive-symphonic-rock" instrumental concept album, but a contemporary orchestral suite, played on a variety of classical and modern-day instruments? After all, I did the same thing to Änglagĺrd - reclassified them from symphonic prog to modern classical. The skies didn't come tumbling down and the rivers didn't flow backwards, and it all make a lot more sense to me :)

Bottom line: Snow Goose is unlikely to dazzle or sweep you off your feet, but it's a truly rewarding listening experience. I personally find no flaw in it, so it has to be 5 stars.

Report this review (#792076)
Posted Saturday, July 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars The greatest album of all-time. Okay, i may be bias. Camel is the perfect for me, and probably always will be my favorite band. I can tell you that this album deserves to be at the very top of prog albums and classified as a master piece. I understand when people say it bores them, but those people either haven't listened to it enough to get it, or are too impatient too like this type of prog. From the mind melting solos to the deep, atmospheric, ambient synth segments, every piece of this album is amazing and flows smoothly from start to finish. This album sometimes makes me cry. the beauty of it is that it has no lyrics, you can imagine the story to be whatever you want. (i have never read the snow goose). Seriously, its more epic than the lord of the rings sound track. Okay, i'm done.
Report this review (#800055)
Posted Friday, August 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars An instrumental concept album seems like an odd idea, but Camel makes it work to perfection. Latimer's vocals were never something I liked particularly anyway, so its absence doesn't really affect the quality of the music. The style of the music is mostly the same as the previous two; it is mostly upbeat, with some slower parts with flute, though this album marks some use of orchestral arrangements in parts, which contribute to the rather overall happy vibe of the album. As always, Latimer's guitar is soulful and Gilmour-eque, and the others do an equally fine job.

I won't review track by track, as I believe the album is one unified piece. But the obvious thing to say here is that in order to have a successful concept (and any album) is to have constant mood changes throughout, which these guys definitely hit upon. The majority of this album is upbeat and cheery, as in 'Friendship' and 'Migration' especially, except for perhaps 'Preparation.'

I would say this album is just as strong as the two albums that surround it, but there is still something missing. Maybe it's because of the vocals, or maybe because it's too soft and lacks the aggression of those two albums. Regardless, this is still a beautiful, positive piece of prog.


Report this review (#811843)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars The idea of Camel doing an entire album sans vocals (except ''Migration'') does not sit well with me. Yes, I do agree that Camel normally does not have very dynamic singers within its ranks, but there was no bad vocalist in the group. Their lyrical sections were always in small doses, but they punctuated the songs so well that they're nearly magical.

The absence of singing proper is noticed by this reviewer. Surprisingly enough, the music is based on a novel of the same name, THE SNOW GOOSE. In fact, the official title of the album is called MUSIC INSPIRED BY THE SNOW GOOSE. So with a literary concept in tact, it would normally make too much sense to put a ton of words in. I believe there were legal issues involved with the original author, Paul Gallico, but I don't know enough information to confirm any facts behind the whole thing.

Even though I'm not much of a lyrics type of person, I can understand how it can be a bit difficult to follow this album without any words to sing along to. Through my newfound love of musicals, I've learned to follow stories of certain works without necessarily sitting down and reading anything because the stories ought to have some decent clarity without any lyrics sheet or libretto; I could very well use one of those librettos for this because the story is quite hard to track down just by listening to the music.

For more than just those factors, this is in my opinion the clear loser out of the first four Camel albums, and the lack of vocals is easy to blame for the lackluster-ness. There's a little bit more to it than that. Many of the longer tracks like the ''Rhayader'' sections and ''Dunkirk'' provide the heights progsters come to expect out of a Camel album. Unfortunately, there are equally boring pieces like the ''Fritha'' sections and the title track that bog the album down. The inclusion of a small orchestra in ''Friendship'' sounds enticing, but the actual product sounds like stock music. And I seem to notice a larger amount of jazzy shuffle structures throughout the album.

THE SNOW GOOSE is an album to be played as background music. Coming from a band that gave the world ''Lady Fantasy'', ''Never Let Go'', and ''Freefall'', that isn't exactly a compliment.

Report this review (#869505)
Posted Saturday, December 1, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Camel's third record "Music inspired by The Snow Goose" from 1975 has grown deeper and deeper in my musical mind and at last it gains recognition. It is a long lasting and very intelligent instrumental record that frees the thoughts and explores new worlds. This record should be played as a unite and preferably as a vinyl so you get the right feeling. The music is not unduly advanced but contains all what I want to create a masterpiece of symphonic music. I admire this rock band for doing such brave music, because this is hardly pure rock but unbeatably music. Camel's music is soft and perhaps less skew than other prog rock, but not less fay. As I claimed this should be enjoyed as a full record but if you want a snapshot the songs: "Rhayader", "Migration" and any other could be enjoyed for their own. This powerful record was done by only five musicians: Andy Ward on drums, percussion and vibes, Doug Ferguson on bass and duffle coat, Peter Bardens on organ, minimoog, piano, electric piano, pipe organ and ARP Odyssey and Andy Latimer on electric, acoustic and slide guitars and flute.

This is music we have to keep to the future ears and suggest for newer listeners. I would compare it to Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells as a very melodical instrumental record with giant intentions. As a conclusion this is a record which lovers of the 70s prog sound and symphonic admirers should listen to. I also think this could be liked by not initiates in prog rock. This is very essential. First I gave it four stars but actually anything but five would be a crime!

Report this review (#949291)
Posted Thursday, April 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars ''Mirage'' had eventually a great selling success and by 1974 Camel had already completed four UK and one three-month US tour after three years of existence.For their next work the group leaned towards a concept album.Originally they intended to dress musically '' Siddhartha'' by Hermann Hesse, but after some initial writing ideas they finally settled on Paul Gallico's novel ''The snow goose''.They entered the Island Studios in London in January 75' next to legendary prog producer Dave Hitchcock and Camel were helped in the orchestral parts by The London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Bedford.To avoid legal issues with Gallico's original title the album was released under the name of ''Music inspired by The Snow Goose'' in April 1975.

Once more Camel would surprise the public, as their new album was totally instrumental, based on different short movements and influences from Classical Music, Jazz as well as the delightful Canterbury sound.The unique sound of the ''Rhayader...'' pair of opening cuts sets the listener in the mood of a whole work.The grandiose orchestral prelude, the nasty flute of Latimer along with his slow, emotional solos, the quirky keyboards of Bardens and the light interplays are all Camel trademarks of a work deeply loved by their fans, making ''Rhayader'' one of the most favorite tunes ever written by the group.The following themes are split in short pieces played more or less in a similar vein, resulting a sum of 16 pieces, tightly connected to each other.Latimer slowly becomes a guitar hero with his deeply personal guitar touch. full of emotions and interesting melodies, always supported by his alter ego Peter Bardens on the Canterbury-flavored keyboards.There are strong symphonic themes, performed by The London Symphony Orchestra and connecting rockier overtones to each other.The only complaint comes from the general atmosphere, which seems to lack a serious amount of dynamics at moments.Not necessarilly a bad thing though, as Camel offer flashes of intricate musicianship in this album with a smooth but always competitive delivery.Classical Music meets mellow Canterbury Fusion meets melodic Symohonic Rock in an album of ever-twisting soundimages and romantic, instrumental textures.

Another very strong release by Camel, considered a classic of their repertoire, but a couple of steps behind the majestic and monumental ''Mirage''.Melodic, instrumental Progressive Rock with symphonic and jazzy tendencies, likely to please all fans of imaginative Rock music.Strongly recommended...3..5 stars.

Report this review (#1064760)
Posted Tuesday, October 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I first heard Music Inspired by the Snow Goose, I was unsure how to rate it. I had already quite gotten into the other "classic" Camel albums (especially Moonmadness and Mirage) and I recognized some great moments on The Snow Goose, but on the whole, the album was a little harder for me to get into personally. I've even been a little bored with it at times, and found that it was not the best album to put on my Mp3 player to listen to during my workouts--just didn't have enough oomph like some other music (including some of Camel's other music) that I wanted. Indeed, scanning some of the more lukewarm and negative reviews on Progarchives of this album, the word "boring" comes up more than I've seen for any other album review.

But then, a couple years after I'd first heard the Snow Goose, I had a chance encounter with the novella that inspired the music: Paul Gallico's The Snow Goose. I dropped by a local library, and as I sat down, there before me on display was a new, fully illustrated version of the book. Unable to resist, I lifted it from its display, and began to read. It took about 20 minutes to finish this beautiful, heart-warming story of love and courage. It's a simple read, much like a child's book, but the emotional themes are much deeper, presented with a sort of minimalist clarity with each short scene. I pondered the idea of this story being developed into a full novel, which could easily be done, but length would probably lend too many distractions from this story's powerful simplicity.

With scenes from the story fresh in my mind, I left the library and listened to the full album--a new experience of heightened appreciation, for sure. I instantly recognized that each single scene of The Snow Goose had been beautifully and faithfully recreated (accounting for each of the 14 relatively short tracks of the album). I could see each scene in my mind as it's musical representation came up on the album. And I understood: although The Snow Goose is rock, it is a type of musical scene-painting. All the emotional nuances of the story are there, and I imagine the band members spent a lot of time feeling out each scene musically before writing and recording. I understand the band originally wanted to include lyrics, but did not due to rights issues and/or objections from Mr. Gallico (though I don't know the details). This is perhaps fortunate in a way, because it resulted one superb album; lyrics may have just been a distraction from the pure instrumental art.

And I'll never be bored with it again (although I realize there's better music for workouts). True to Camel's style, there are some harder moments and great jams, but overall the album is better listening for quieter, more introspective moments. For sure, an awesome artistic achievement and one of the great prog classics of the 70's. I understand the band re-recorded the album in 2013 and performed it on tour for the first time in 40 years. (wish I could've seen it). I give it 4.7 stars.

Report this review (#1077772)
Posted Saturday, November 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Somewhat by accident Camel, on their third album, managed to live up to their potential. It is well known that this album was originally meant to have lyrics taken from Paul Gallico's story, "The Snow Goose". When Gallico objected, due to copyright infringement, the project became all instrumental. This proved to be a successful move for the band. With out lyrics, the band stepped up their playing, and filled the voids when the lyrics should have been with some very imaginative performances.

The music is more symphonic than the previous album "Mirage", and the psychedelic jamming that filled the first album, and remained, to a lesser extent on the second is hardly to be found. Added are more Canterbury-like fusion tracks, and some more experimental pieces.

One thing that makes this album enjoyable is that either by design, or from the original story telling formatting, none of the melodies or song ideas outstay their welcome. All pieces are economically arranged, and concise enough to convey their musical messages, while the absence of vocals allows the guitar, keyboards and flute to stretch out.

My only complaint is that too many of the symphonic styled tracks are a little too light for my bombastic tastes. But I still love the album.

Report this review (#1180202)
Posted Wednesday, May 28, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Apparently this album was originally intended to have lyrics telling the story of The Snow Goose, adapted from a novel by Paul Gallico. At some point during the albums production a copyright infringement complaint resulted in it becoming an instrumental album. I think this has to be one of the great disasters-turned-good of prog rock history as this album is sublime, and I can't imagine that lyrics would do anything but detract from it.

This is a strong concept album of repeated musical themes and passages which, combined with the lack of lyrics to hang titles on, means that I don't really associate track names with most of it. That said, the surprising but (to my taste) perfectly judged arrival of a brief orchestral woodwind interlude(!) means that "Friendship" is one track I know by name, and if someone insisted on listening to a snippet rather than the whole album I'd say it, and the two tracks either side ("The Snow Goose" and "Migration") are probably a high point.

Really though, this is an album that needs to be heard from start to finish. It's a beautifully conceived and executed work. Andy Latimer's guitar work is amongst some of the most expressive and emotional I've heard, and Peter Bardens does an equally fine job on various keyboards. The rhythm section deliver too, but for the most part this really is an album where any virtuoso pyrotechnics have been left outside the studio door and everything is there to serve the music as a whole.

If I don't give five stars for this, I probably never will.

Report this review (#1324499)
Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Camel's The Snow Goose is undoubtedly much more of an experience than it is an album. You can still of course listen to the separate tracks without encountering much auditory inconsistencies, but much like Pink Floyd's The Wall, you must hear the album in a single go to understand the full meaning of the music. The Snow Goose follows more the mindset of musical poetry, and thus is devoid of any vocalization apart from occasional tidbits. Instead, all thoughts and feelings are conveyed simply by the instrumentation.

According to the back of my vinyl, the story of The Snow Goose tells of a man named Rhayader who lives in a lighthouse in Essex, around the marsh area. Rhayader is treated with indignation by the townsfolk mostly due to his "odd appearance". The other individual whom the story tells of is a woman named Fritha, who finds an injured snow goose that was swept off sea from a storm. She brings the goose to Rhayader in his lighthouse. While the goose is being nursed back to health, the three of them start to grow a bond. However after the goose departs fully healed, Fritha finds no reason to return to the lighthouse and Rhayader is again left alone to the Essex marshes. Much time passes, until one day Rhayader spots the snow goose on the horizons and excitedly sends for Fritha. He starts to send his boat out to find the goose but arrives in the middle of what appears to be a battle at a place called Dunkirk. Desperately Rhayader tries to help injured soldiers by ferrying them back to safety, but his ship is sunken by supposedly cannon fire and he and the wounded soldiers drown in the cold waters of Dunkirk. Fritha, who is still at the lighthouse, somehow realizes that Rhayader will not return. She suddenly spots the snow goose as it seems to be flying back to land. She is filled with bittersweet joy as the goose comes closer as if to land, but instead turns around and flies away never to return.

Musically, The Snow Goose shines remarkably well. Most every bit is polished and flows beautifully, even the one to two minute tracks. Some areas of the album can be slightly boring however and serve only to fill up unnecessary space in the narrative. Many tracks I found enjoying highly, such as the blood pumping battle theme of 'Dunkirk', the sense of adventure from both 'Migration' and 'Flight of the Snow Goose', and even the personal themes from some of the characters. Much ambiance is utilized to great avail, and much of the instrumentation by Camel is very well done and tells their story well. I'd say that this sort of rock-opera type album is quite good, and that if you haven't listened to it I say pick it up. My personal rating would lie around the 4 - 4.5/5 area. Very good.

Report this review (#1440390)
Posted Monday, July 13, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Review Nş 8

Camel was my second love after Genesis. In 1975 I bought "The Snow Goose", my second vinyl record, soon after I've purchased my first, "Selling England By The Pound" of Genesis. As I've offered my vinyl copy of "Selling England By The Pound" to my then girlfriend and today I still have my vinyl copy of "The Snow Goose", it became my oldest album in my modest musical collection.

Curiously, "The Snow Goose" is my second review from the band, is my second album in my vinyl collection and is my second favourite studio work from the group. But this is only a mere coincidence.

Camel is one of the most respected groups in the universe of progressive music. In my opinion, "The Snow Goose" makes part of an essential trilogy of Camel, complemented by their second studio album "Mirage", released in 1974 and by their fourth studio album "Moonmadness", released in 1976. Of course we can't forget their great eponymous debut studio album "Camel", released in 1973. These four studio albums correspond indeed of what we can call today as their golden musical era. The biggest responsible for that, was undoubtedly the pair of the main composers of the band formed by Andrew Latimer and Peter Bardens, who are usually considered some of the best and most creative of all time. And they deservedly belong to one of the best duos of composers of the progressive rock music.

"The Snow Goose" remains as one of my favourite albums and it's also one of the albums of the 70's that actually I listen more, especially when I need to listen some quiet music in some relaxing moments. For me, it has the real nostalgic effect of relaxing and let me feel perfectly well. It reminds me the past of my youth, something pleasant but far away from me now. Camel remains as the band from the 70's I listen more, with Genesis, in nowadays.

The line up on "The Snow Goose" is Andrew Latimer (vocals, flute, electric, acoustic and slide guitars), Peter Bardens (organ, mini moog, pipe organ, electric and acoustic piano), Doug Ferguson (bass) and Andy Ward (vibes, drums and percussion).

"The Snow Goose" or "Music Inspired By The Snow Goose", as you wish, is the third studio album by Camel and was released in 1975. It's a concept album divided into sixteen parts and where all the songs were written by both main composers, Latimer and Bardens. The album reached silver status in 1981, and is considered by many, critics and fans, their most accessible musical work. This is a very different album, compared with the majority of progressive studio albums, because is an instrumental work, with no lyrics and with an orchestral instrumentation. This is very unusual, but I don't think that it's properly a bad thing. On the contrary, I like very much of instrumental works. This is a very atmospheric album, very accessible, and is characterized by short and very melodic songs. Musically, this is a typical symphonic album, with great space keyboards by Bardens, and with splendid guitar solos by Latimer.

"The Snow Goose" is a concept album. Its concept is based on a very short and sentimental novella written by the American author Paul Gallico, originally named "The Snow Goose: A Story of Dunkirk". The tale is about the love of a painter Philip Rhayader, an artist living a solitary life, by a young local girl named Fritha. It still is about the friendship of these two human beings with a snow goose, wounded by a gunshot, a many miles from home, which was found by Fritha and treated by her. The story is set in the World War II, when the British troops retreated from Dunkirk, in the north of France, under fire of the Nazi troops. In short, the story is a very simple and small parable about the regenerative power of the friendship and love in the horror of the war.

Conclusion: In my humble opinion, "The Snow Goose" became to be the Camel's breakthrough album, which finally defined their future style, musically and conceptually. Musically, on their subsequent albums, they wrote shorter songs, in the vein of "The Snow Goose", with a very strong sense of melody and with solos that supported the melody. Conceptually, in the most instrumental concept album format, this concept would be used again, several times in the 80's and 90's, on some of their other studio albums like "Nude", "Dust And Dreams" and "Harbour Of Tears". Definitely, this concept album is a masterpiece of symphonic progressive rock. It's an incredible instrumental piece of music, with good combined work between organ and guitar, performed in various musical styles. It's a beautiful and graceful album, where all the songs are short. It's different from many other studio albums, with no lyrics but with a clear poetic message. It's a very classic musical work. For me, it's the most nostalgic and beautiful piece of music that Camel has ever created. Sincerely, this is one of the best progressive albums ever made.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#1450872)
Posted Sunday, August 9, 2015 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
5 stars My ALL-TIME Greatest #23

I first listened to this album at a friend's home after school, with great anticipation because he had already announced our circle that the music was something out of this world.
And surely it was: what an immediate wonder right from the start, marvelous notes coming from the speakers, transporting us on a dream trip, exploring sounds never heard before to humankind.

Global Appraisal

In '75 this concept album was really an achievement, a significant artistic step ahead on the search for new forms of musical expression
The plenty odd sounds from synthesizers, pipe organ, slide guitar, vibes, beyond the usual classical rock instrumentation (although for sure not an absolute innovation even in Camel discography, see the excellent albums that precede and follow this one), are meaningfully used on behalf of a dreamy sound-scape that permeates the whole record, resulting in a wordless narrative full of tasteful melodies.


Peter Bardens and Andy Latimer, the dual driving force behind 70's Camel, perform their best work together; PB would leave in 1978 and the band will never be the same, only regaining peak-form two decades later with a very different sound and under the guidance of AL by himself.

Report this review (#1499168)
Posted Monday, December 14, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Music inspired by The Snow Goose", Paul Gallico's book. That is how this album was presented in its cover. Maybe Gallico didn't want his most successful and famous book to be directly associated with some music composed by any Rock band. I don't know why this happened then. But maybe this musical association with his book could have helped him to sell even more books. Anyway, he died in 1976. I never have read none of his books, and it was only because the music of this album was inspired by his most successful and famous book that I knew about him. I also realized that other of his books was used (with his permission) to make a film, "The Poseidon's Adventure", in 1972. It was a very successful film, and I saw it, but I realized a lot of time later that that book was also written by him. Maybe he didn't trust Rock bands or he didn't like Rock music, or he thought that his most successful and famous book wasn't going to be treated with respect or that it was going to be associated with a bad musical project. In my opinion, this didn't happen.

This is an album without lyrics (due to Gallico's oposition), consisting only of instrumental music, apart from some wordless vocals in some parts of the album. With very good Progressive Music arrangements, influenced by Classical Music, and with some orchestral arrangements by David Bedford, which work very well, this album is a very enjoyable listening experience. It really works very well as a "musical narration". Very melodic. Some musical themes re-appear in some parts of the album. Maybe some of the synthesisers's sounds sound a bit dated now, but the arrangements are very good. Some of the best parts of this album are the songs titled as "Rhayader", "Rhayader Goes to Town" and "La Princesse Perdue".

A very good album from CAMEL, recorded and released fourty years ago, which deserves a five stars rating from me.

Report this review (#1504088)
Posted Saturday, December 26, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars Camel goes classical and instrumental

3.5 stars

After their second (majestic) studio opus, CAMEL understood that the sung parts and lyrics weren't their strongest points, existing only sporadically to make songs. The musicians were more at ease during the instrumental parts. Furthermore, the band was lacking a genuine charismatic frontman. For these reasons, they decided to compose a fully instrumental record, based on Paul Gallico's story "The Snow Goose". However, the author brought a lawsuit against them, due to copyright infringement, and CAMEL therefore renamed their new album "Music inspired by The Snow Goose".

Thought as a single 43 minutes piece, this third opus was recorded with The London Symphony Orchestra. The instrumentation and orchestration are much more ambitious than before: guitars, keyboards, percussions, wind instruments, violin... Peter Bardens' synthesizers become more and more present, although they sometimes quite strange. It also incorporates a few female vocalizations. Musically speaking, the disc is more melodic than the band's previous efforts, but, in return, offers less room to develop long guitar or keyboard soli, as the tracks have a short or normal duration. Less jazz / rock than before, "Music inspired by The Snow Goose" is more about merging symphonic rock with classical music.

The first half of the album is charming. After the mysterious and calm introduction "The Great Marsh", begins "Rhayader". Dominated by the flute, this tune is lively, catchy, and even a little jazzy. The best passage of the record is nonetheless the enchanting "Rhayader Goes To Town". Alternating soft and heroic moments with floydian guitar interventions, this track rocks! Then come the sweet and melancholic "Sanctuary", the delicate and pretty "Fritha", whereas the title track is simply beautiful and touching. Driven by wind instruments such as clarinet, oboe, bassoon and flute, "Friendship" is pretty much is in the style of SERGEI PROKOFIEV's "Peter and the Wolf". The dynamic "Migration" includes wordless vocals.

The second half is unfortunately a bit more uneven. Although "Rhayader Alone" is quite convincing with its guitar and Fender Rhodes piano, "Flight Of The Snow Goose" contrasts by incorporating an electronic sequence. Average, and a little out of place. The threatening "Preparation" sounds futuristic but also bizarre, I think it could should have been shortened. The first part "Dunkirk" is too repetitive and lengthy. Thankfully, the second part is more epic and nervous. "Epitaph" reuses the theme from "Preparation", whereas the piano dominated "Fritha Alone" is more interesting, displaying a slight ethereal atmosphere. "La Princesse Perdue" uses a few cheesy synthesizers but however some nice moments too. Curiously, the short closer "The Great Marsh" concludes the disc on an haunting note.

"Music inspired by The Snow Goose" is the release CAMEL is the best known for, due to its instrumental approach and the successful concert at the Royal Albert Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1975. It contains some flaws and weaker passages though, such as the dated keyboards sounds, but remains one of the few fully instrumental good studio albums of the 70's - except the electronic ones. More electronic and less jazzy, the desert animal is still inspired, his music is enchanting and will transport you to a land of fantasy.

Unique in the band's career, the musicians won't renew this stylistic exercise in the future. The first half of the seventies was maybe the only time period such a lyric-less record could earn success in the rock sphere. Anyway, one of CAMEL's best albums, recommended to symphonic prog fans!

Report this review (#1576565)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars Though one can't be completely objective and impartial in a review, I can claim that it goes without saying - The Snow Goose IS a masterpiece. As I wasn't prepared enough to listen to fully vocalless album, I preferred to enjoy Camel, Mirage and Moonmadness first. However my apprehensions were disspelled during the first take: all the tracks sounded really great and incited me. The Snow Goose represents a bunch of quite remarkable and pleasant though not very difficult melodies. Each composition slightly go on to another one and doesn't lose the central spirit and idea of the story. Some melodies on latter compositions are deliberately made reminiscent of melodies on the former, namely: Rhayder and Rhayder Alone, Preparation and Epitaph, Fritha and Fritha Alone, The Snow Goose and Princess Perdue. This interesting trick helps to create the feel and spirit of integrity of the whole album which makes it indivisible for the emotional perception. Besides, it helps to develop and understand character and feelings of the characters (Philip Rhayder is so alone, that we even can feel his sadness). Some passages are so emotional and emphatic, that I even can't help but shed a couple of tears. The very plot and idea of this touching and very sad story, written by Paul Gallico and being tightly tied with the music, direct it in listener's heart flawlessly and draws colourful images in his mind. Also, the use of some orchestra pieces creates a nice and atmospheric interlacing. Moreover, it's obvious, that technical skills of each member increased significantly on this release. Andy Ward delivers creative and energetic drumming inserting some syncopation, double strokes and other nice tricks. Doug Fergusson performs decently and complete the image in a rather sensitive and sensible way. Concerning the main songwriters Peter Bardens (keys) and Andrew Latimer (guitar and flute) there can be made up praising hymns, but won't go beyond a couple of sentences. Bardens' and Latimer's performance as usual is highly creative, sophisticated and emotional without being overtly pompous and showing off. Their compositional skills are beyond discussion. I wonder how Andrew Latimer manages to create and perform such pleasant, catchy, sincere and versatile melodies and constructions without too difficult and tangled. It's all about emotional and dynamical playing of course with the use of slide and vibratto bar . In addition his wizardry with flute creates flying mellow melodies, which fit every place they are. Speaking about Peter Bardens I can say without bias, that this time the arsenal of his instruments is broadened, which allows to make compositions more diverse and intricate. His playing is also able to break the most thick ice of anyone's soul or incite a hardened melancholic. In the end I will say, that The Snow Goose is on of the greatest and moving concept albums of all time filled with the music of high quality. And it's the best instrumental piece in my opinion.
Report this review (#1577086)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2016 | Review Permalink

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