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Camel - The Snow Goose (Re-recording) CD (album) cover

THE SNOW GOOSE (RE-RECORDING)

Camel

Symphonic Prog


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5 stars If it makes me an "expert", the fact that I heard the original CAMEL's (1975) "The Snow Goose" like 100s of times. Not because I like the band, but my sister played that record, constantly and daily in those prog years. Well, here is my point of view...

I always kind of never fell for this band, and similar ones (by the way), due to their "tendency" to find over the top, sweet overcoats, to solve their compositions "highlights" and "ballads". That has never tickled my bone, in fact for me that is reason enough to ignore a band, I don't care if it is Supertramp, Gentle Giant or Genesis, I am just repelled by those "aesthetics", like water and oil, can't help it.

The good news, is that this "re-modeled" 2013 version, comes as close, at last, to any of the "top-ten" PA's, symphonic category albums. I can say whatever of Camel, but I will never dare to say that Camel has no "self-aquired" and "personal" musical language. For starters.

The "sweet-sickening" magnetism that the "original" Goose, suffered from (IMO), has been polished away with very creative arrangements, that although they never modify the original score, have been "re-shaped" with "symphonic" musical lines and instruments, that by nature are better suited, for this kind of "high pitched", sweet passages, that like this, aside of sounding better, enhance the structure of the song writing and its scope.

So,.... A masterful, re-arrangement, that balances electric and acoustic instruments with an uncommon good taste, of a "classic" of Prog, that actually turns for the better, which as such, is quiet miracolous. A flawless, masterwork, beyond the band's own discography and "original" Goose, that by sheer genius, can stand alongside any other *****5 PA star work,..surely deserves that!

Camel followers, this is a "must"!, that any Prog audiophile will enjoy.

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Send comments to admireArt (BETA) | Report this review (#1087653)
Posted Sunday, December 08, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars This could have gone wrong in countless ways, but it didn't. With some changes in recording and mixing really make the old masterpiece become sound fresh and interesting. It's generally slower and mellower than the original. They have extended some of the short songs ("Sanctuary", "Migration", and "Rhayader Alone") which is something I'm really happy about. I always thought they were too short sometimes.

If you liked the original "Snow Goose" and perhaps played it more than a hundred times (like I did), this will sound very fresh and new. I highly recommended for not only Camel fans, but anyone, even outside the progressive rock scene.

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Send comments to Imperial Zeppelin (BETA) | Report this review (#1108734)
Posted Monday, January 06, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars I must admit I am not terribly fond of Camel as a band. I find most of their music pleasant and orderly, but maybe a tad too orderly .. too docile to be hanging out at the wild prog party. I have all of their early albums on LP's, but I haven't listened to the Moonmadness and Mirage for years .. just not stimulating enough to justify the bother of pulling the records out of the jackets.

The Snow Goose stood out. I play it regularly, an especially enjoy the live version. My only problem with the original 1975 (or 76) Snow Goose was its somewhat syrupy delivery of somewhat trite melodies, which diluted the merits of their solid musicianship.

I didn't expect Camel to re-record the Snow Goose, but I am glad they did. Because they surely fixed the "little problems" of the earlier versions. The music sounds distinctively edgier, more assertive, and not trivial at all. The Snow Goose has evolved from what I'd call "symphonic pop" into "borderline modern classical", which is a big deal for me :)

For someone who likes this kind of music, it may be a good investment to get this new version, even if you have the 1970s one (s).

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Send comments to Argonaught (BETA) | Report this review (#1112432)
Posted Saturday, January 11, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's hard to fathom as why Latimer has decided to do this, which is practically Camel doing a Camel cover. Furthermore, is it possible to improve upon one of the greatest prog classics of many decades?

Many of us regard the original line-up as superior to later incarnations of Camel, that is basically Latimer & Co. Make no mistake, he has always been a superb musician and over the years his skills on the guitar kept getting even better. This however wasn't fully matched by the quality of material released since the 80's. Perhaps that's the reason for reaching back of about four decades ago?

Remaking a virtually perfect piece is fraught with danger, it's like playing with fire. To the credit of the musicians, they manage to successfully copy the vintage Camel sound, but the question remains as what's was the point?

Very close to the original with some minute changes, the odd omission of a well-known note/sound in places neither add, nor detract substantially from that. Nothing like drastically reworked versions of "Tubular Bells".

On the face of it, it's no better, or worse than the original and thus, it would fit the Collectors/Fans category alas, awarding only 2 stars would be an insult here. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Camel plays Camel as the end result is convincingly professional, something that deserves a much higher rating - if only for the effort.

The conclusion is that if one is happy with the original "Snow Goose" then this version represents little more than curiosity value as the numerous live performances of parts of this material were quite sufficient. Rather, a quality remaster would have been more preferable. Had this been entirely new material then I'd call it a masterpiece. As is, it remains a great, but unnecessary rendition.

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Send comments to Anon-E-Mouse (BETA) | Report this review (#1121507)
Posted Sunday, January 26, 2014 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars Better than the original!

I am usually somewhat sceptical when a band decides to re-record one of their classic albums. But when I heard that Camel had re-recorded The Snow Goose, I was intrigued as I have always thought that this particular album deserved to be re-recorded. I have always found the original Snow Goose a bit timid and lacking in edge (and just generally not up to the high standard of the superb albums that surrounded it: Mirage and Moonmadness). Whenever bits and pieces of The Snow Goose has been performed live and included on various recent live releases (like the excellent Coming Of Age and Never Let Go sets), the material has been given extra energy and added "punch" that was missing on the original recording. I am happy to say that the band has gone to some lengths to remedy some of the insufficiencies of the 1975 classic with this 2013 re-recording.

The differences between the old and the new versions are rather subtle however, and you should not expect any radical departures from the original album. This is a somewhat revised and enhanced re-recording of a familiar work, not a novel reinterpretation of it. The context matters here since the band was preparing and rehearsing for a tour in which they were planning to perform The Snow Goose album in its entirety when the idea to re-record it in the studio arose. Also, Andy Latimer had just recovered from a very serious illness that he thankfully managed to survive and the band had no new material. In these circumstances it made sense for them to revive and revise an older classic and record the new arrangement of it to promote the tour. The band here consists of Latimer on guitars, keyboards, and flute, Colin Bass on bass guitar, Guy LeBlanc on keyboards, and Denis Clement on drums (with the four of them occasionally borrowing each others' instruments as can be seen by studying the individual credits for each track).

The new arrangement stays rather faithful to the original though one notices right away that this new version is about six and a half minutes longer in total. Four tracks that have been subtitled 'revised edition'. These are Sanctuary, Migration, Rhayader Alone, and Epitaph. Sanctuary, Migration, Rhayader Alone, and La Princesse Perdue have been noticibly elongated. On Migration the wordless vocalisations of the original have been replaced by electric guitar to great effect. What I still tend not to like though are the orchestral overtones on a few passages that have been recreated here, like that horrible crumhorn sound on Friendship. I would have preferred them to replace that with 'normal' keyboard sounds. But overall I think that this new version is both worthwhile and in several ways an improvement over the original.

The disc comes in a simple but very nice digi-pack with also the cover art having been improved. The new recording is dedicated to Peter Bardens who passed away in 2002, and Doug Ferguson and Andy Ward are also acknowledged for "their valued contributions to the original concept, development and recording of The Snow Goose, which have endured to this day".

The original Snow Goose is actually my least favourite of Camel's four first albums and this re-make does not change that, but it has made me award an extra star compared to the original. Having at least one version of this classic of Symphonic Prog in your collection is essential. (Though, probably only fans like me will feel the need to have both versions.)

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#1121870)
Posted Monday, January 27, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars I love Camel - I've seen them live sooo many times and have always come away from gigs with a huge grin on my face, loving the fact that they still exist. Of course over the last couple of years gigs have been a bit sparse due to Andy Latimer's illness, so the rerecording and subsequent tour to promote the Snow Goose was welcome indeed. Except: I can't help thinking that a new recording of a classic album is a bit pointless. If there were real flaws in the original I could understand it, but the fact is that the (original) Snow Goose was (is) a masterpiece - writing, performance and production.

This new recording is great naturally, and the new /extended bits are interesting, but at the same time slightly annoying. Like I said, I love Camel and really want to support everything they do, but they're messing with a part of my own personal history here and it feels wrong, and a bit sad. I know, I should just play the first version and stick to that.

After a lot of consideration I've gone for 4 stars, just because the original material is so good, and so this is great material as well, naturally. But, please Andy, leave Moonmadness alone.

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Send comments to ProggyDon (BETA) | Report this review (#1245000)
Posted Tuesday, August 12, 2014 | Review Permalink

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