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Peter Bardens The Answer [Aka: Vintage '69] album cover
3.22 | 54 ratings | 8 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Answer (5:15)
2. Don't Goof With A Spook (7:23)
3. I Can't Remember (10:42)
4. I Don't Want To Go Home (5:15) *
5. Let's Get It On (6:39)
6. Homage To The God Of Light (13:33)

* Exchanged for "Write My Name In The Dust" on 1976 reissue only

Total time 48:42

Bonus tracks on 2010 remaster:
7. Man In The Moon (1969 Single) (4:16)
8. Long Time Coming (1969 Single) (2:34)

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Bardens / organ, piano, vocals, producer

- Linda Lewis / backing vocals
- Steve Ellis / backing vocals
- Alan Marshall / backing vocals, percussion
- David Wooley / backing vocals, "antiques" (?)
- Andy Gee / guitar
- Peter Green / guitar (un-credited)
- Bruce Thomas / bass
- Reg Isadore / drums
- Bill Porter / drums (7,8)
- Rocky / congas

Releases information

Artwork: Rainbow with Keith Morris (photo)

LP Transatlantic Records ‎- TRA 222 (1970, UK)
LP Transatlantic Records - TRA SAM 36 (1976, UK) Re-entitled "Vintage '69" with new cover art and a track swapped

CD Line Music ‎- TACD 9.00562 (1988, Germany)
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- ECLEC 2221 (2010, Europe) Remaster by Paschal Byrne w/ 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to chris stacey for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PETER BARDENS The Answer [Aka: Vintage '69] ratings distribution

(54 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (41%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PETER BARDENS The Answer [Aka: Vintage '69] reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album was the debut release by Peter Bardens, for some reason I was under the impression it was the second album, on closer inspection of the vinyl of "Peter Bardens" it was in fact 1971 not 1969 as annotated. Overall the album is pretty good and is marginally more accessible than it's follow up release. The title track is probably the strongest ( The Camel debut springs to mind), generally the album has some excellent guitar work from Andy Gee. There is the umistakeable blues influence throughout especially on "Don't Goof With A Spook". "Homage To The God Of Light" displays some of PB's early keyboard wizardry. The Answer has a strong Jimi Hendrix ' Sound' too them so anybody who is fond of the Hendrix era will enjoy The Answer. A solid three stars.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Oh well

Prior to forming Camel in the early 1970's, Peter Bardens had been keyboard player with a number of bands, including his own Pete B's Looners which featured guitarist Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac) in its line up. In 1970, he recorded this his first solo album. While the guitar parts are credited to Andy Gee, it is widely reported that Green actually plays guitar on all the tracks here, appearing uncredited.

This album is something of a flawed gem. Flawed because Bardens casts his net too widely in terms of styles, while failing to come up with strong enough material to carry the album. A gem because there are flashes of brilliance, plus it offers an opportunity to hear a genuine proto-Camel album. Bardens certainly made sure the album was full to bursting, with 6 lengthy tracks included, the longest running to over 13 minutes.

The three tracks on side one range from blues, through decent rock, to lengthy improvisation. The opening title track includes some strange vocal harmonies which are admirable for their originality, but in my opinion do not really work. The 10 minute "I can't remember" is based on a repetitive chant, with Bardens adding some fine organ playing. There are distinct indications of Camel here, the principal difference being that the bluesy guitar of Green sounds somewhat different to the style of Andy Latimer.

Despite that fact that two superb singers, Steve Ellis of the Love Affair and Linda Lewis, are included in the line up, Bardens makes the mistake of singing most of the lead vocals himself. Criticism of his (and indeed Camel's) vocals is a well worn subject, so I will not labour the point. Suffice to say Bardens would have been well advised to make greater use of his vocal peers.

The second side of the album runs to over 25 minutes. "I don't want to go home" is the most commercial track on the album, the female backing vocals and lilting flute sounds contributing to an unusually light feel. "Let's get it on" sees Bardens unwisely moving into swamp rock territory, this prosaic blues being the low point of the album.

The closing track "Homage to the god of light" is a 13+ minute delight. To the best of my knowledge, it was the only Bardens solo number to be carried into the Camel live set, where it was also one of the highlights. A version of the song performed by Camel appears as a bonus track on remastered version of the band's first album. This epic piece features anthemic verses and another lengthy organ recital. Had the entire album followed the pattern of this monster, we could have been talking about a classic prog album here.

As it is, "The Answer" is a decent first solo album, let down mainly by the deficiencies in the song-writing department. On the plus side, it is the most progressive album of Bardens' solo career. Recommended for those interested in the roots of Camel.

Incidentally, I once had the pleasure of meeting Bardens around the time of the first Camel album. When I mentioned this solo album to him, he appeared a bit embarrassed, and indicated that he was not entirely happy with it himself.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars If this is the answer, what is the question?

Fans of Camel will be curious to know what Peter Bardens did outside of that band. Finding out that he had two solo releases from the very early 70's--from before Camel even began--certainly intrigued me and planted some expectations. Could this be the roots of the Camel sound? Could this be a kind of proto-Camel? I was in for a major disappointment! This 1970 Bardens solo debut is a Psychedelic Blues Rock album with not a single trace of Symphonic Prog, or anything that even points in the general direction of what Bardens would go on to do with Camel only a couple of years later. This is not even Proto-Prog and is correctly categorised as Prog related (in virtue of Bardens relation to Camel).

The opening title track is pleasant enough, but the ridiculously titled Don't Goof With A Spook is a tedious, rambling Blues rocker that I find almost unbearable. The over ten minute long I Can't Remember is not much better and it is indeed not memorable. It sounds improvised, like a jam session, and lacking in direction. The lyrics are simplistic and extremely repetitive. I Don't Want To Go Home slows things down and adds a bit of flute, which makes for a nice enhancement of the sound. But the song itself is forgettable. Let Get It On is more of a Rock 'N' Roll/Boogie-woogie number that adds nothing of value. It is clear that Bardens was still trying to find his musical identity at this time. On this debut album he sounds anonymous and lacking anything special or distinctive.

The only notable track here is Homage To The God Of Light, a number that was later adopted by Camel and played live by them in their early days. The present album was were this tune originally appeared and for this reason alone The Answer is an interesting addition to a Camel fan's collection. You may enjoy comparing this version with those that were featured on Camel live albums (like Camel On The Road 1972; the version featured there is better), but other than that The Answer fails to be anything more than a historical curiosity.

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars Sometimes before one moves on to a new phase in life, love, work, or play, one might reflect on the prior era and maybe give it one more dusting off before concluding that it is, indeed, time to move on and push off. The dawn of the 1970s brought changes to all of Peter Bardens' co-conspirators, from THEM and a certain VAN MORRISON to FLEETWOOD MAC. This allowed them to be remembered more as artists who began in the 60s than those who were relics forever consigned to that time frame. The evolution of Peter Bardens from blistering blues keys man to progressive rock wizard was as striking as any other of its day, but "The Answer", his first solo album, is virtually all rear view mirror.

This is a VERY 60s sounding heavy psych blues rock record with scads of jamming and repetitive vocals. Even for a live recording it sounds sloppy, but I suppose that is part and parcel of the genre as I see it. References to substance abuse are far less veiled than they would later become, and more in relation to being wasted than to having visions worth accompanying with progressive music. The only hint at the future is in the final cut, "Homage to the God of Light", in which the organ phrasings approach those familiar to CAMEL fans, but you could probably slice off 10 minutes and retain the essence.

If you are seeking clues to Camel's origins, this artifact is not the answer. For historical completists only, and barely.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars It's probably because I'm old, but I like this album. Please bear in mind that 1970 came just after 1969, so if anything sounds sixty is not too strange.

Forget CAMEL. They still don't exist and Peter Bardens is actually influenced by his friends Fleetwood Mac and maybe the psychedelic movement of the end '60s. While Peter Bardens was releasing this album the other three future bandmates were working for Philip Goodhand-Tait on an album that has some similarities but it's surely lighter than this.

This album has six tracks that are quite different one to each other:

"The Answer" has an organ sequence of chords that may remind to Doors' "Light My Fire" but slower. There's not a real relationship between the two songs. It's a bluesy song but I disagree with those who say that it's "only" blues. It's not less prog than many of its contemporaries. It's just heavy influenced by the late psychedelia.

"Don't Goof with a Spookie" is a slow blues, instead. When the blues is so slow and with all this Hammond Organ it sounds very psychedelic. Also the singing is quite weird. I think that this song can make the pair with some songs of Arzachel (same period).

"I Can't Remember" has funky influences. The way the band sings makes me think to the OSIBISA of Sunshine Day !! However it's not a bad song if you're not looking for things like Supper's Ready. It's mainly a skillful Organ performance over a funky-blues base that could have been played at Woodstock or at the UFO club.

The Side B is opened by the "commercial" track. Of course I disagree about this definition. It's not more commercial than some similar Caravan's songs. The flute makes it sound like Caravan while the guitar has a calypso mood and the choir is very hippy. Not a masterpiece but an intriguing song.

"Let's Get It On" is a standard blues-rock track like Wishbone Ash's Jail Bait. Effectively if it wasn't on the album nobody would have felt its absence.

Finally "Hommage To The Gods Of Light". This is the longest, more progressive and closer to Camel track of the album. There must be a reason why this has been performed live by Camel, too. The main theme seems to have inspired the soundtrack of Tomb Raider II. Regardless this curiosity, the track has some eastern-arabic mood that we'll find later on Mirage, while the rhythm is funky and convulse. This is really a hint of the times to come. A prequel of Camel and a great track.

This highlight is not enough to rate the album 4 stars, also because of the previous track, but I think it's a very good album that I suggest to fans of psychedelic blues. If you have enjoyed Arzachel or the early Wishbone Ash (up to Pilgrimage) you'll surely enjoy this, too.

Review by Progfan97402
4 stars Unless you were an obsessive record collector back in the day, and you're like me, wasn't even alive back in the day, you first encounter with Peter Bardens would have been with Camel. That's what happened to me, after all I bought my first Camel album (used LP) The Snow Goose in 1994. So obviously I bought a bunch of other Camel albums, and did try his two late '80s solo albums, Seen One Earth and Speed of Light, the latter just not that good, the first isn't too bad, but the '80s production and synths do distract.

I also realized he released two albums prior to Camel, The Answer and self-entitled album (the self-entitled was known in the States as Write My Name in the Dust). I finally got me an early solo album, The Answer, that I found at a flea market in Eugene, Oregon. I couldn't believe I would find a copy there, but there you go! The American copy features a totally different cover from that of the British pressing. It had more of a '60s psychedelic look with Peter Bardens' face on the cover, while the UK version is just a photo of him with a bunch of ladies. What may throw off a lot of progheads with this album is they expect it to be just like Camel, but what they really get is a more eclectic selection of psychedelic, blues, and crossover prog. Listening to Camel, it's hard to believe he was part of the British blues boom, having been a member of Shotgun Express that also featured Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood. He was also in Them with Van Morrison (explaining his appearance on the latter's Wavelength album just as he was ready to leave Camel), so prior to Camel, he really didn't have prog credentials. Anyways, The Answer starts with the title track and probably the most proggy thing on the album. Not symphonic, but clearly crossover prog here, having a rather nice piano and organ theme, and some nice vocals to go with it. The next two songs tends more towards the blues, where "I Can't Remember". I knew "Homage to the God of Light" from a version done by Camel on a CD called On the Road 1972, which shows how Camel performed this one live in their early days (also demonstrates how material for Mirage had been with the band even before their debut ever appeared). This original features vocals and really goes off the wall with extended guitar and organ jams. It frequently goes into Santana mode, but Carlos Santana's guitar playing would be more restrained than Andy Gee's. Andy Gee, by the way, is a real guitarist, a German-born guitarist, and not Peter Green in disguise as sometimes believed (Green probably did appear on the album, but uncredited). To me, this album really blew me away, but I seriously doubt the prog purist would have lots to enjoy, but it to me, the music reviews are on the quality, not how much or not prog it is. Great stuff, as far as I'm concerned.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Keyboardist PETER BARDENS (1944-2002) is best-known as one of the founder members of Camel, alongside guitarist Andy Latimer. In fact, they look so much alike, you could almost believe Peter Bardens and Andrew Latimer were brothers. Peter Bardens appeared on the first six Camel albums:- "Camel" ... (read more)

Report this review (#2304190) | Posted by Psychedelic Paul | Friday, January 3, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One might think anything about a record, but just listening without thinking anything, that's what could give a great experience here. Maybe one or two tracks not essential, but the rest is at the top of what Progressive music can be. If this record would just feature the final track 'Hommage ... (read more)

Report this review (#579077) | Posted by indianmaid70 | Wednesday, November 30, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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