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Camel A Compact Compilation album cover
3.68 | 34 ratings | 10 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1985

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Freefall (5:49)
2. Lady Fantasy (12:42)
3. The Great Marsh (1:45)
4. Rhayader (3:08)
5. Rhayader Goes To Town (5:21)
6. The Snow Goose (3:17)
7. Flight Of The Snow Goose (2:45)
8. Dunkirk (5:29)
9. Song Within A Song (7:10)
10. Lunar Sea (9:06)
11. First Light (5:05)
12. Metrognome (4:09)
13. Rain Dances (2:38)

Total Time: 68:24

Line-up / Musicians

- Pete Bardens / keyboards, vocals
- Doug Ferguson / bass, vocals
- Andy Latimer / guitar, vocals
- Richard Sinclair / bass
- Andy Ward / drums, percussion

Releases information

Rhino R2-75900

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CAMEL A Compact Compilation ratings distribution

(34 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

CAMEL A Compact Compilation reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Another nice compilation.

I found this CD several years ago, but i bought only a copy and not the original, because to be honest i thought that this compilation was a joke, i mean, an album nmade by the seller of where i bought it, because they have done some compillation by themselves and then they sell it to us, but no, this is a serious and oficial album compilation from Camel.

This album was released in 1985, but dont get confused, albums like "Stationary Traveller" or "Nude", wasnt contemplated for this compillation. This album was focused on their first 5 albums, (except from their self titled album), and i am sure who had the idea to create this compillation, was right in their choices.

It starts chronologically, with songs from 1974 "Mirage" ,which are "Freefall" and excellent track to start the album, and the secon song is "Lady Fantasy" which is one of the best Camel`s songs ever created, so if that are the first two songs, you can imagine that the album will continue with great songs. The second stop is from 1975 album and masterpiece "The Snow Goose" ,we already know the beauty of that album, and of course instrumental and shorter songs, the tracks here are "The Great Marsh", "Rhayader", "Rhayader Goes to Town", "The Snow Goose", "The Flight of the Snw Goose"and "Dunkirk", obviously here is different because are some searated songs, not straigh songs like in the Snow Goose. From their 1976 release "Moonmadness", a couple of excellent symphonic songs whic are "Song Within a Song" and "Lunar Sea", 15 minutes of that great album. And finishing fom their 1977 "Rain Dances", maybe considered the weakest of these albums, "First Light", "Metrognome" and "Rain Dances", three excellent songs.

So after all, im sure that you and of course i prefer to listen to their studio albums, but this compilation is nice, if you are not familiarized with Camel, here you can find their best early songs, and if you like the work here, maybe you`ll like Camel.

Good , an excellent addition to any prog fan , 4 stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Camel won its law battle with Gama records in 1985. Geoff Jukes, their former manager, would finally accept the futility of his lawsuit and offer settlement. After lawyer's fees, court costs and general expenses were paid, Camel received "...just enough money to buy dinner for one (in a Bistro)". But it was a moral victory of momentous proportions and the end of a long haul for the band. So, we get a second Camel's compilation during the same year. This one covers their early period only.

From their second release, "Freefall" was already on their previous compilation ("The Collection"), but the "Lady Fantasy" suite is of course a good choice.

This compilation is a "Snow Goose" one (six numbers) which is fine but it is already the second compil in a row to do so (this time, only studio work). Two good songs from "Moonmadness" with "Song Within A Song" and the spacey "Lunar Sea".

To close this compil, three tracks from "Rain Dances" of which two good instrumental pieces : "First Light" and "Rain Dances".

This work could have been a perfect twin for "The Collection" but it should have avoided the duplication of "Freefall" and three ones from "The Snow Goose" (OK, there were mixed studio and live versions, but still).

Three stars for the tracklist, but one for the strategy.

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a a very good prog rock compilation, and a good vivisection of band's career. For some reason, the tracks from the first albums are not included here, neither the tracks from the newer albums. Fine. I first discovered CAMEL through their masterpiece, "The Snow Goose", then I discovered their debut, and then this nice little compilation record. It was a record on right place and in right time, at least for me.

My only negative remark about this one is the inclusion of perhaps a bit too many songs from "The Snow Goose"; of course this is not necessary bad, because it's a nice thing for a newbie to discover, and all the songs from that instrumental album are awesome, hands down. But honestly, I don't like to see (and hear) a different parts and excerpts of a conceptual piece out of its conception.

However, this was a huge discovery for me. It struck me with equal strength as CAMEL struck me when I heard them for the first time: "Freefall", "Lady Fantasy", "Metrognome", "Lunar Sea"... what an incredible collection of songs. We can always argue the selection of the songs for a compilation, but in my opinion, this songs are the most essential CAMEL tracks and the best tracks in the same time (and these are two different things...just check the majority of compilations by other "big" names...most of them are overplayed, if nothing else).

This is not only an excellent introduction to the world of CAMEL, it's also an excellent introduction for a newbie into the world of progressive rock music.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Back in the earliest days of the compact disk, unless an album was a huge hit at that time, it wasn't very likely to be released. So record labels would produce compilations of bands, from popular to obscure, to test the waters for the value of releasing the individual albums. And the labels also recognized that prog fans comprised a good sized proportion of the audiophiles, who were the first to jump into the digital music world. So at that time, there seemed to always be a number of prog compilations available.

Such a compilation was this one, from Camel. Rhino Records released this one, comprising songs from the first four albums from this great band. The selections were well chosen, spotlighting the musical proficiency of the band, with only a few songs featuring vocal parts.

I'd say that this is a good jumping off point for someone not familiar with the band, looking for an introduction. For the true fan, now that all the albums have long since been released and remixed, go for the full albums.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
3 stars Compacted Camel: A Taste of Greatness

Camel explores very unique territory with their brand of symphonic prog and this compilation is indeed a compacted exploration of their repertoire. The album focuses primarily on their earlier material with some questionable omissions and a swag of material from "the Snow Goose", based on one concept, that of the snow goose ballet 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 in to the beautiful ambience of one of the best instrumental albums. 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, and I would suggest getting the whole album rather than settle for just these tracks. The main drawcard of this dynamic album is the epic multi-movement suite 'Lady Fantasy' that seems to turn up in a live form on many compilations. The studio version is as good as any live version mainly due to Latimer's vocals and scorching guitar solos. The melodies are compelling and the epic flows from section to section seamlessly, bookended by Latimer's main lead guitar motif. Ferguson's bass and Barden's shimmering keyboards throughout each track are accomplished musicianship.

'Lunar Sea' is a mini epic and quintessential Camel that has become a staple of the Camel live concert and always sounds perfectly and innovatively performed.

My favourite Camel is 'Freefall' and it is good to see it here on the compilation. There are three tracks from "Rain Dances", 'First Light', 'Metrognome' and 'Rain Dances', the post classic album, but nothing from the debut. Overall it is an easy way to hear some of Camel's best material but it will never replace the albums. The better compilation is the 2 CD "Lunar Sea Anthology."

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars A decent anthology from the infant days of CD technology. You gotta love the snappy alliteration of the title, and the breathless hype of the small advertisement in the corner of an already awful cover: "contains over ONE HOUR of music". Wow, one full hour on a single disc?

This particular collection has long since been superseded by more comprehensive, multi-disc retrospectives. But the single CD benefits from its relatively narrow focus on the band's four best albums, released between 1974 and 1977. The tracks (a baker's dozen) are all neatly arranged in chronological order, with nearly half of the total number taken from "The Snow Goose", providing a sort of Reader's Digest abridgement of Paul Gallico's celebrated wartime fable.

But the remaining selections were chosen with some care, including a dynamic "Lady Fantasy" (from the 1974 "Mirage" album) and the career peak of "Lunar Sea", from the quintessential 1976 album "Moonmadness". Both songs highlight Andy Latimer's fluid electric guitar work and Peter Barden's typically modest but deft touch at the keyboards, with the unusually tight rhythm section of Andy Ward and Doug Ferguson completing the ensemble.

Historically, Camel is usually (and unfairly) relegated to the second tier of the mid '70s Prog Rock hierarchy. Blame their lack of any strong marketable image or musical gimmicks, and perhaps the conspicuous absence of a charismatic lead singer. The latter was always a particular weak spot, as any exposure to "Song Within a Song" (included in this set) makes all too clear (it might also explain why the instrumental "Snow Goose" album remains perhaps the band's best-loved effort). This was instead a group that strived to succeed on the merits of its musical abilities, all of which are abundantly displayed throughout this disc.

In the end the compilation might be a little too compact: even with over ONE HOUR of music there's plenty of room for at least a few more songs. And confirmed fans will find nothing new here. This one is strictly for newcomers looking for a worthwhile introduction to an overlooked band from the Golden Age of English Progressive Rock.

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nš 452

Camel released their eponymous debut studio album "Camel" in 1973. In the following year the band released their second studio album "Mirage". In 1975, the band decided to record a concept album based on a book's story. Doug Ferguson suggested Paul Gallico's "The Snow Goose". So, the group released their third studio album with the same name, which has become a very successful release. In 1976, the band released "Moonmadness" their fourth studio album with better commercial success in America than in England. In 1977, Doug Ferguson quit the band being replaced by Richard Sinclair an ex-member of Caravan. Saxophonist Mel Collins, who was spending most of his time in the studio and touring with the band, became an official band's member. In the same year Camel released their fifth studio album "Rain Dances". These are the albums of which some of these tracks belong on this compilation album.

"A Compact Compilation" is a compilation of Camel and was released in 1985. This is a compilation album that only features songs from 1974 to 1977. Unfortunately, it hasn't any song from their eponymous debut studio album "Camel".

"A Compact Compilation" has thirteen tracks. The first and second tracks "Freefall" and "Lady Fantasy: Encounters/Smiles For You/Lady Fantasy" were originally released on their second studio album "Mirage" in 1974. "Freefall" is almost an instrumental largely dominated by Latimer's guitar. It has nice moments performed by Bardens' keyboards, well supported by an inventive bass and a dynamic drumming work. It's influenced by diverse styles of music and the melody is excellent. "Lady Fantasy: Encounters/Smiles For You/Lady Fantasy" is the most celebrated track on that album and is one of the most famous Camel's tracks. It's one of their most progressive tracks and shows why Camel is one of the most respected bands in the progressive rock. The third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth tracks, "The Great March", "Rhayader", "Rhayader Goes To Town", "The Snow Goose", "Flight Of The Snow Goose" and "Dunkirk", were originally released on their third studio album "The Snow Goose" in 1975. "The Great March" is a punchy and nice tune played with a flute. It opens and concludes the album with an exploration of nature sounds. "Rhayader" is a track with a powerful melody combining flute, guitar and organ. It has a memorable flute melody supported by an organ's solo. "Rhayader Goes To Town" brings the music into a faster tempo, with great combination of guitar and organ with energetic beats. It has an extended guitar solo too. "The Snow Goose" is a mellow track with a slow guitar solo with snippets of synthesizer and bass here and there as well as a steady drum beat. It has a powerful melody that is repeated in the end of that album. "Flight Of The Snow Goose" is a typical progressive track with plenty of moog synthesizers. It begins with a synthesizer and guitar part gradually increasing in volume until a new theme comes in. There's a nice synthesizer solo that is followed by a repeat of the main melody. "Dunkirk" is dominated by the keyboards. Yet, guitar fills some parts and serves as a melody in others. It uses Hammond organ as basic rhythm section plus some howling guitar work followed with a nice guitar solo. The ninth and tenth tracks "Song Within A Song" and "Lunar Sea" were originally released on their fourth studio album "Moonmadness" in 1976. "Song Within A Song" is a calm, beautiful, and melancholic track that contrasts with the deep voice of Ferguson. It's a great track with a nice and relaxing guitar and flute works. "Lunar Sea" is an instrumental track. It's one of the best tracks on that album. It's a track with great individual and collective performances. The melody changes and evolves all over the theme. It reminds me something spatial, as its name suggests. The eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth tracks "First Light", "Metrognome" and "Rain Dances" were originally released on their fifth studio album "Rain Dances" in 1977. "First Light" is an inspired and a fantastic instrumental piece. It's the first time that we can listen to a sax on a Camel's album. Collins did a great job on that album. "Metrognome" is a great track with a calm and beautiful start. It becomes progressively more complex and experimental, with some jazz influences. "Rain Dances" is a reprise of the opener. It's the smallest but a great instrumental track, almost classic. It's a natural great ending to this excellent musical working.

Conclusion: "A Compact Compilation" is a good compilation album of Camel. It has some of their best tracks that belong to some of their best studio albums ever. All those albums belong of what we can call the golden era of Camel. However and unfortunately, none of the tracks that belong to the eponymous debut studio album of Camel were included here. And it was a pity. That album also belongs to their golden era and can be considered one of their best, indeed. Anyway, there are plenty of great tracks on this compilation, really. We can say that all tracks are excellent, in their own way. But, if the band had chosen some others, instead of these, it would be also great because the quality of those five albums is immaculate. So, we can say this is a very good introduction to the world of Camel. And this is also a nice introduction for those who aren't familiar, yet, with the world of prog rock music. So, 3 stars is a right rating to it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars A great overall package from their 1st 4 albums. The stuff from snow goose is great, but the 2 songs here from Moonmadness..........Song within a song and the classic Lunar Sea really makes this CD. I have to go and buy Moonmadness now to soak in the rest of these guys. Utterly spectacular ... (read more)

Report this review (#106311) | Posted by | Saturday, January 6, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Excellent compilation of some of Camel's best songs from 4 great albums Mirage, The Snow Goose, Moonmadness and Rain Dances. Gives the listener a good idea of what Camel was all about, with a selection of songs from Camel's best years. Definitely an excellent place to start if someone wants t ... (read more)

Report this review (#18875) | Posted by starofsirius | Saturday, January 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album does what is meant to be done: a very good introduction to a great band from their best performances of the early stage, with complete versions of the classics just leaving a chance to hear more... and the idea of putting the songs in chronollogy order helps to understand the band evoluti ... (read more)

Report this review (#18874) | Posted by | Wednesday, April 14, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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