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Camel - The Paris Collection CD (album) cover

THE PARIS COLLECTION

Camel

Symphonic Prog


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1 stars - Well, I've just bought this Camel CD "The Paris Collection" and although I've been a devout Camel fan for as long as Andrew Latimer has been a member, I feel disappointed in the great man! I know, for various reasons he changes his line up , but the first version of 'Slow yourself down' was rubbish in comparisom to the quality of previous versions I've heard over the years.

I can't see Mr Latimer condoning this at all, unless he was just 'Painting by numbers' when it was decided to issue this CD.

Report this review (#2519)
Posted Wednesday, June 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Let's be honest, this is not the best Camel live album but they had so many problems before and during this W2K tour (see comments on sleeve) that at the end of the day it is not too bad either.

I guess that the fact I could understand the interactions in French from Guy Leblanc (a French Canadian keyboard player as well as a singer) with the local audience featuring some good sense of humour adds a bit of value to this live work.

The opening "Ice" is great and its follower "Chord Change" is very good as well. "Sahara" is a highlight but I feel a bit disappointed that there are not more tracks from "Rajaz" here.

Some weaker tracks here and there, but there's a great Lady Fantasy to close this album.

Three stars.

Report this review (#2520)
Posted Sunday, November 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I had some reservations about this album before buying it caused by these previous reviews and the facts that Andy doesn't sing a note and there aren't too many songs from Rajaz, but because I've pretty much decided to buy all the Camel stuff out there I had to get this one too at the risk of it being poor.

The mailman dropped the record in a couple of days ago and I put it on when leaving to work that day, and ended up listening to it all day while working and travelling back. About nine hours and then once when I got home. Ice works as the opening piece surprisingly well, even though I've always pictured it as more of a set closer. It's a good version of one of the best Camel tracks, but I don't thing I've ever heard a bad one. Chord Change is another nice choice, and I still keep liking the song more and more after countless listens of the original version and now this one. Fingertips is treated with more of an acoustic approach which fits the song fantastically. Definitely one of the highlights of the album, as is the acoustic Slow Yourself Down (and the late night version too, which is probably the best version I've heard), which I'd heard before on Footage II dvd. For some reason I find the only Rajaz piece Sahara the least great one here. It's a very good song, but I would have rather heard for example the magnificent Lawrence or Three Wishes. A very good piece, but since we're given only one Rajaz song, the choice could have been better. One third of the setlist consisting Dust and Dreams material is a bit questionable especially since the tour wasn't in promotion of that album, but it's hard to whine about it when it works so well. Mother Road is a standard version of a very fine song, Little Rivers and Little Rose works really well, and then there is Hopeless Anger. I've always liked the song a lot, but listening to this version has lifted it to the very top of my favourite Camel tracks list (and the list is long by the way). Yesterday I listened to the original version, Never Let Go version and this version back to back, and I think this is the best one. I would have never believed that double bass drums can fit into a Camel song and make it better. I really like Denis Clement's drumming throughout the album, and this song is the high point of that. Lady Fantasy gets a great treatment too, maybe I have to do some comparison there too some day. One detail that has struck me is the way Guy LeBlanc takes off after singing "...I love you". What a great way to start the solo.

I was very pleasantly surprised with this one. The setlist could be better, but as I said, it's hard to whine when the existing songs are played so well. Colin Bass and Guy LeBlanc take very good care of Latimer's vocal parts, so no real harm done there. Some people might moan about some small playing mistakes, but I think they just add to the live feel. A very very good live album.

Report this review (#97749)
Posted Thursday, November 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Years ago I was very disappointed by Camel late 70-s - early 80-s albums, and just missed my interest to them. So, after so many years I just listened their last to time live album, and was pleasantly surprised.

With new vocalist, they still can play great music! Their sound is beautiful there, no over orchestrated nor filled with synths sounds. Clear melodies, tasteful instruments lines, very beautiful guitar, aerial music.

There are some great songs played during this concert, and some not so great. But music is mature, all this concert sounds as bands report from years past. Not new sounds or experiments could be found there, but it is just a great collection of their nice (again) music.

I believe this album could be a nice present for band's fans as evidence they could sound great even in the beginning of new century.

Report this review (#266494)
Posted Tuesday, February 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars Slow yourself down

Camel has a very impressive collection of live albums to their credit both in terms of quantity and quality. Indeed, with the Official Camel Bootleg series, every major Camel tour since 1981 has a live album to represent it (including a live DVD yet to be released from their most recent tour)! The tour in support of Nude is represented by Camel On The Road 1981, the tour in support of The Single Factor is represented by Camel On The Road 1982, The tour in support of Stationary Traveller is represented by the Pressure Points live album as well as the Total Pressure DVD, the tour in support of Dust And Dreams is represented by the Never Let Go double live album, the tour in support of Harbour Of Tears is represented by the Coming Of Age DVD and double CD and the tour in support of Rajaz is represented by the present album (and as I mentioned above, the farewell tour following the most recent Camel album A Nod And A Wink will soon be represented by a new DVD release announced to be called The Opening Farewell).

Some of these live albums are better than others and the present one falls somewhere in the middle. While the brilliant Never Let Go and Coming Of Age releases included performances of the Dust And Dreams and Harbour Of Tears albums in their respective entirety, The Paris Collection only holds a single track from Rajaz in Sahara. The rest of the tracks are taken from Dust And Dreams, Stationary Traveller, I Can See Your House From Here, Moonmadness, Mirage and the self-titled debut. Almost all of these songs have been featured on several previous live albums. Apart from Sahara, the most interesting selection is Slow Yourself Down originally from the debut album performed here in an acoustic version. What makes this live album unique, however, is that all lead vocals are handled, not by Andy Latimer as usual, but by keyboard player Guy LeBlanc. The reason is that Andy had been advised by doctors to rest his voice. This fact makes this release special, but at the same time it takes away a very important aspect of Camel's trademark sound.

Bass duties are handled by Colin Bass as usual and drums by one Denis Clement. Keyboards are, as I said, played by Guy LeBlanc, and as he speaks French, it is he that handles most of the communication with the Paris audience (but I don't understand most of what he is saying to them). Andy is in fine form as far as his guitar playing goes and he is, as always, fantastic. Too bad about his vocals though. LeBlanc is not a bad singer, but he is not the voice of Camel, after all. Camel is indeed a fantastic live band also in this incarnation though, but among so many live albums, several of which are excellent, it is hard for The Paris Collection to stand out. Camel fans will certainly be delighted by the presence of such classics as Ice, Chord Change and the eternal Lady Fantasy, but we have all heard these songs elsewhere. Three songs are played from Dust And Dreams, and even if I consider this album a masterpiece, I find it doubtful that we needed these live versions given that the Never Let Go live album already held a complete and magnificent live performance of that album.

The conclusion must be that The Paris Collection is absolutely not the best Camel live album and though certainly a good one in its own right, it adds very little to what was already on the market at the time. With Andy's vocals and a few more tracks from Rajaz, this could have been a more interesting release. It is still a worthy addition but I strongly recommend to go for Never Let Go and Coming Of Age first - they are both truly outstanding live releases!

There is a bonus track on this album which is a studio version of the acoustic version of Slow Yourself Down with Andy on vocals. Very interesting and very different from the original version. Beautiful!

Report this review (#296279)
Posted Thursday, August 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars An excellent live album by one of the latest Camel line-up. Although this was recorded during the "Rajaz" tour, only one number comes from "Rajaz" (i.e. "Sahara"). One may wish there was more from that CD, the set list is not bad at all. Also, this was recorded without the vocals of Andrew Latimer, who could not sing on that night because of health reasons. Guy Leblanc and Colin Bass filled in with brilliance however and their vocals did bring something kind of unique to the performance. Renditions of "Ice", "Sahara", "Lady Fantasy", etc. are just superb. The "late night version" of "Slow Yourself Down" (a studio version by Latimer and Leblanc) as a bonus track with Latimer on vocals is also worth noting. On balance, a very strong effort. Good sound, good musicianship and excellent music. Highly recommended.
Report this review (#377847)
Posted Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars GREAT. This live performance of Camel is IMO almost a masterpiece, and I say almost because some of the tracks are not the best of the band. Being a live album, the sound is great and very clear. Because the health problems of Andy Latimer, the album is mainly instrumental, and the few vocals are in charge of Colin Bass, and his voice sounds really amazing. The version of Ice is the best I ever heard of this fantastic track. Chord change, a good instrumental, now sounds incredible superb, and for me is the best of the Paris Collection, with a great performance of Latimer and the hammond solo by Leblanc at the end is unique. Fingertips, another song that not means to much for me in the original version, sounds here far better. And Sahara, the other highlight...pure feeling. Finally Lady Fantasy is here maybe the best live version of this iconic prog track. Slow yourslef down is good too. The rest is nothing special. Not Seconds Out or Peter Gabriel Plays Live, not Pulse, but from the humility of this band and all this feeling around this music, quietly I can give it five stars.
Report this review (#1069549)
Posted Thursday, October 31, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I found this album completely amazing . Taking into account that it is a live album I was surprised to the excellent quality of sound. Ican also remark that those vocals that Collins was compelled to sing due to the bad health of Anderw Latimer are achieved in the most succesful way . Being most of the album instrumental there is a lack of very good tracks i would have liked to be included .Anyway i think we have here the best version for this wonderful track.As Camel has his fans accotumed the instruments sound is refined and melodic,and the aerial music complete the musical enviroment with that sort of magical and nostalgical note.I think it own 4 stars just for the basic fact that we would have needed Andrew Latimer at his best to put into his personal touch to complete the magic of this album doubtless one of the most beautiful of progressive music alive.
Report this review (#1771891)
Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2017 | Review Permalink

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