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Camel Camel album cover
3.95 | 1534 ratings | 104 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Slow Yourself Down (4:45)
2. Mystic Queen (5:40)
3. Six Ate (6:05)
4. Separation (3:57)
5. Never Let Go (6:22)
6. Curiosity (5:56)
7. Arubaluba (6:29)

Total Time 39:14

Bonus tracks on 2002 MCA remaster:
8. Never Let Go (single version) (3:36)
9. Homage to the God of Light (live) (19:01) *

* Marquee Club 10-29-1974, previously unreleased

Line-up / Musicians

- Andy Latimer / guitar, vocals (1,4)
- Peter Bardens / organ, Mellotron, piano, VCS3 synth, vocals (5,8)
- Doug Ferguson / bass, vocals (2,6)
- Andy Ward / drums, percussion

- Eddie / congas (1)
- Tony Cox / synth operator

Releases information

Artwork: Modula

LP MCA ‎- MUPS 473 (1973, UK)
LP MCA - MCF2665 (1974, UK)

CD Camel Productions ‎- CP-002CD (1992, US) Remastered by Andrew Latimer
CD MCA - 8829252 (2002, UK) Remastered by Paschal Byrne w/ 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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CAMEL Camel ratings distribution

(1534 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

CAMEL Camel reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars I have a sweet tooth for this one although it is more of a rocker than a proger. Six strong and hard rocking tunes with the occasional moment of near excellence in that particular style. Regardless of the style it is classified in , IMO , this is their stronger album as they will never show the same amount of energy again.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Four to the fore

The early 70's really were exciting times for prog weren't they!

This, Camel's first album, showed that they had hit the ground running. From the upbeat opener, "Slow yourself down", symphonic prog of a superior quality with tinges of jazz features through to the last track. Camel were slightly late onto the scene compared with many of the bands they are listed alongside, and were clearly influenced by many of those peers. There's more than a hint of Caravan in the music (Canterbury sound and all that), but they still find their own identity throughout the album.

The instrumental closer "Arubaluba" features some fine keyboard work by the late Peter Bardens but the album balances his talents with Andy Latimer's guitar prowess superbly. There's a certain naivety and at times over ambitious feel overall, with track titles such as "Six ate" seeming corny.

The band's creativity and song writing skills grew as they matured, and indeed their next album, "Mirage" was a significant improvement. This was though an excellent start.

The Remastered CD release includes a 19 minute live version of "Homage to the God of light" an early live favourite. The track originally appeared on Barden's rare solo album "The answer".

Review by loserboy
5 stars Without a question this would be one of my all time favs. This is CAMEL when CAMEL were CAMEL! Superb and highly memorable songs lavishly accented with deep keyboard (organ & Mellotron) sounds creating a very spacey atmosphere. Song are uniquely longer in duration than much of their later material adding a different dimension and feel. CAMEL's debut album offers deep and warm sounds with solid musicianship throughout. Put this one into the "Essential Progressive Rock" category.
Review by Menswear
4 stars Camel's first album is surprisingly good quality compared to what they did after Moonmadness. The songs are shorter but they remain pure Camel product. The classic line-up is giving all it can; hard to find a 'weak' song on the album. The remaster album has a clear, crisp sound, giving Andy Ward's drumming full appreciation. A definite winner with not much singing (kinda good) and could get more keyboard though. The songs are less 'dreamy' than Mirage, so expect less replay value and no long epics. The jazzy approach is for sure a Canterbury influence and, who could whine about crafty songs?

Low chances to regret the buying; Camel's oldest albums are safe bets to invest money on, remaining the high improbability of so much talent concentrated in one band. And yet, it did exist for a short period of time. *sigh*

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the first CAMEL album. Surprisingly progressive, a bit like early FOCUS, although maybe less hard rock (the electric guitar is slightly more shy). The keyboards are mostly floating and rythmic organ full of effects, and some mellotron, piano and VCS3 parts. The bass is quite present and rather complex. There are tons of sophisticated drums. The lead vocals are very good, as always. You listen the early CAMEL mainly because of the outstanding keyboards.
Review by daveconn
4 stars As debuts go, CAMEL takes the high road in search of a suitable resting place for astral travellers. The superlative playing and band chemistry is already in place, what remained was the reining in of musical possibilities to focus on a signature CAMEL sound. And you can already make out the shape of things to come ("Mirage") on tracks like "Mystic Queen". But CAMEL is still sorting out what path to follow, which included the difficult road of GENTLE GIANT ("Curiosity") and the sultrier lands of SANTANA ("Slow Yourself Down").

There's no question that CAMEL's debut will prove a hospitable oasis for prog fans over time (similar to GENTLE GIANT's "Acquiring The Taste"), though listeners who sampled their later masterworks first (which were easier to find in record stores) may need a few spins before the "new" old CAMEL sinks in. Instrumental jams like "Arubaluba" and "Six Ate", for example, might taste a little heavy to anyone raised on the refined airs of "Snow Goose" or "Moonmadness". (In fairness, the superior "Mirage" still found the band fine-tuning the right mixture of sounds.) Likewise, CAMEL doesn't really work on a conceptual level -- although how many bands wrote concept albums the first time out? There are consistent themes of joining and unjoining that might cause the wandering mind to speculate, but nothing like the miniature epics on "Mirage" or the scripted "Snow Goose". Given that the band drifted from the progressive waters beginning with "Rain Dances", fans of classic CAMEL should drink from the past before venturing into the (sometimes inhospitable) future.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Not bad for a debut album. Funny cos I only backfilled my Camel collection with this album after Rain Dances.It really defines what Camel are all about and fits like a jigsaw piece into the following release of Mirage. All the tracks are strong with Bardens at his best, personal favourites would be Seperation, Arubaluda and Never Let Go. The vocal harmony that Latimer and Bardens managed to combine is particularly solid.
Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Superb first effort

I would just love to call this album a masterpiece of prog, but the old "flawed diamond" story is just stretched a little too far; This is a great album, and would surely become a treasured part of any prog collection - but in the same way that a comfortable jersey or old pair of jeans becomes a treasured part of your wardrobe.

"Slow Yourself Down" is just wonderful, and somehow epitomises 1970s rock music. It is punctuated marvellously with incidents from Latimer's guitar and Barden's keyboards that just make you sit up and take notice - that real "wow" factor.

"Mystic Queen" would be equally marvellous if it wasn't for the slightly cheesey lyrics. However, the warm bass and organ more than make up for this. Sumptuous flowing textures are the order of the day in this contrast to the driving rock of "Slow Yourself Down". Latimer excels himself with lyrical, melodic solo lines and rich acoustic rhythms.

"Six Ate" is more upbeat and slightly funky with Ferguson's fat rolling bass and subtle keyboard rhythms from Bardens - possibly a little bit "elevator music", but satisfying nonetheless. However, the sudden change to a kind of dark muddy texture is part of why I feel this album is not quite the "flawed diamond" it could be, as "Six Ate" sits somewhat uncomfortably within the rest of the album - and the wierd keyboard sounds do nothing to enhance it. Latimer's wonderful solo lifts it well, temporarily - but you still get the feeling that Camel were floundering a little with this one.

"Separation" is a good rocker, with the welcome addition of Latimer's flute - but its the solos we anticpate - and with good reason! There is some beautiful fast work from Latimer that escapes the bluff trap, arpeggioing around the melodies very nicely and demonstrating that Latimer is not restricted to the slower, singing style that he is rightly famous for.

"Never Let Go" is a Camel classic, full of every element that make Camel such a pleasure to listen to; the rich 6th-laden harmonies, flowing melodies and slightly funky bass and drums. Bardens really works it with Latimer's flute in the middle section to provide some beautiful, timeless prog. While Bardens might not have had the most notable voice in prog, it fits well here, the lyrics patch in well, and Latimer really lets fly with some classic air-guitar worthy soloing in the burn-out.

"Curiosity" lives up to its title well, with slightly dodgy lyrics, but nice shifting time signatures and interesting textures - including many of the trademark "soft clashes" you get when layering 6ths. I'm particularly keen on the sections where the keyboard and bass double each other, while the guitar doubles the voice. Bardens produces some beautifully lyrical keyboard work, more than complementing Latimer's guitar.

"Arubaluda" walks away with best title award - and also contains some of the most exciting textures and rhythms; Camel decided to end on a high, and this is a real rocker - although the time shifts are not neglected in the pursuit of rock! Some superb crunchy Deep Purple-esque riffing, although the guitar work remains solidly within Latimer's pure melodic domain, no matter how hard Bardens tries to descend into dissonance - brilliantly, it has to be said! Also notable is Ward's loose yet somehow solid way of keeping everything together whilst at the same time turning the rhythms upside down - not exactly Carl Palmer, but wonderful stuff nonetheless!

This is especially stunning as it is Camel's debut album - the maturity of the playing is quite remarkable, and the establisment of Camel's sound at such an early stage of their career is quite incredible - I can think of no other band that held on so fastidiously to their sound all the way from beginning to, well, present, in the case of Camel. Somehow Camel (Latimer...), despite heavy losses, have survived intact unlike so many of their contemporaries.

File under "ESSENTIAL!".

Review by Watcheroftheskies
4 stars Well Camel is a rock-solid and awesome band. From they very beginning they have a polished sound with tight drums and very good guitaring. The bass and keys are pretty standard for the era, but everyone in the band is together and their musicianship shines though. I like "Six Ate" and "Slow Yourself Down" and "Arubaluba" especially but the whole album is very good. There is some very jazzy playing on these tracks, almost loungy, but in a good way. This is another album that I rarely skip a track. This is also one of the few bands that have a debut album that I would recommend a collector start with. A prog gem!
Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A rather polarizing group is Camel. Nobody seems to dispute that they were considered a sort of second-tier prog group thoughout their career, but half the proggers out there think that they were criminally under-rated, while the other half think that Camel deserved to be lightly regarded. I'm in the former camp.

That said, this debut album by the classic Camel line-up of Latimer, Bardens, Ferguson and Ward isn't quite the place to begin if you're trying to convince someone of the group's place among the all-time greats. While it contains many good songs and a couple of great ones, there are a few factors that prevent it from approaching the heights that Camel would reach on subsequent releases.

The first factor is the vocals. A lot of people have derided Camel's vocal abilities, but I'm a fan and I think their songs normally suit the mellow, limited vocal styles of Latimer, Bardens and Ferguson (who share lead vocals on two songs each here). However on their first album, Latimer's two vocal spots are poor, particularly on the opener Slow Yourself Down and Ferguson also turns in a weak performance on Curiousity. (Incidentally, the record's liner notes inform me that Camel actually stopped recording at one point and spent three days auditioning for outside vocalists before deciding to stick with what they had!)

Another factor that drags this album down is that there are actually a couple of bum notes and misplaced harmonies running around this album, a sure sign that it was recorded in a hurry. But what really makes this album sound even more like a "trial run" is the fact that Latimer's had yet to develop his guitar style and didn't even play the flute on a single track.

Despite these lapses, Camel is a good album. It includes two stellar moments that remain among the finest songs Camel recorded ... Mystic Queen and Never Let Go. The mournful Mystic Queen, which features a lead vocal by Ferguson, sees some delightfully melodic Hammond organ playing from Bardens. And then there's Never Let Go, a pulsating piece which sees some lovely exchanges between Bardens and Latimer. Both pieces contain melodies that will never leave me.

The rest of the album contains a bit of exciting instrumental playing. Latimer almost sounds like Richie Blackmore during parts of Separation, and while Bardens shines at some point during virtually every song (his solo on Never Let Go is one of my favourites), it is their trademark exchanges that can really be intoxicating.

There's a point I have to make the CD bonus track on this album. It is a 19-minute live version of Homage To The God Of Light, a song originally recorded on Barden's debut solo album ... and it's a great track, full of confident free-form playing that showcased the extravagant talents of the quartet. It's shocking to think that it stayed in the vaults for 28 years! If this track had been on the original album, I might well have given it 4 stars. ... 61% on the MPV scale

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If we talk about prog move in the seventies, I would consider that Camel came a bit late compared to other bands like Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Genesis, Yes, ELP, etc. Fortunately this debut album brought different style as compared to what's already there in the market and I could reconfirm that Camel is band with its own style. It's difficult to identify its influences from other band(s). Once I thought there was some influences from Genesis, Jethro Tull and Focus. But when I thought about it later, I was wrong as the music textures and contents were totally different. How could I say that this band was similar with, say Focus or Jethro Tull, on the basis that some track of Camel were using flute? It's too naïve to say so. Finally, I gave up defining sort of influences this band had. Just enjoy the music man! Music is emotion.

I have to admit musically that this album is really excellent in terms of composition - structures, songwriting and arrangements - and also great musicianship and overall performance. And I have to honest with you, my friends. As you know, my basic philosophy in enjoying music (any kind of genre / sub-genre): music is emotion. Judging from the latter only I can only say that this album only "so and so" in creating musical emotion for me. Yes, I feel touched with the stunning guitar work by Andy Latimer (he is one of greatest prog guitarists I've ever known) or soaring Hammond organ sound by Peter Bardens. But - forgive me - they failed to stimulate something that can drive my adrenaline to explode like what I experience with Genesis' "Firth of Fifth", "Fly On A Windshield", "Supper's Ready", or Marillion's "Emerald Lies", "Forgotten Sons", "Grendel" or Yes' "Gates of Delirium", "Close To The Edge" . and many more touchy songs from prog heads. But I'm sure that this is something to do with personal taste - and be it, I think. We have to be honest, don't we?

Musically, you will hear this album has great segments that demonstrate how the combination of skillful guitar work of Andy Latimer mixes wonderfully with Peter Bardens organ works. The compositions are excellent. The only thing that does not fully suit my taste is a bit lacking of melodic segments. My favorite tracks include: "Arubaluda" (6:24), "Slow Yourself Down" (4:45), "Six Ate" (5:57).

On the basis of musical quality, I rate this album as excellent, but as it does not create a true musical orgasm for me then I think three stars is the most appropriate rating. It's not bad at all. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours, GW

Review by kunangkunangku
3 stars The year 1973 saw how rock 'n' roll, in general, was beginning to reach a level of quality it had never reach before -- and to this day has never reached again, as some people believe. There were masterpieces during the year. And this was also the case in the realm of progressive rock: there were "Dark Side of the Moon" (of Pink Floyd), "Tubular Bells" (Mike Oldfield), "A Passion Play" (Jethro Tull), "Selling England by the Pound" (Genesis), "Brain Salad Surgery" (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), and probably also "Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh" (Magma) and "In A Glass House" (Gentle Giant) to name a few.

This debut album of Camel would probably have been on the same ground had it not been for the unfocused materials reason. This fact does not mean it is a weak attempt, however. In fact, the band had their passion and energies, along with their musicianship, to cut a record in which there are strong hints of promise -- proven to be materialized several years later and attract a dedicated cult following.

The band open this album with an upbeat song titled (as if it were an irony) "Slow Yourself Down". It is a great, rocking tune with a good mood to start with.

The songs that follow vary widely, fluctuate between jazz-tinged rhythms and hard rocking tunes. But in tracks like "Mystic Queen", "Never Let Go" and "Arubaluba" that the listeners actually capture the finest moments in which Peter Bardens delivers his marvelous organ playing that almost dominate the band's sound while Andrew Latimer occasionally fill the music with his graceful guitar work.

If it is necessary to suggest simple words to describe this album, here they are: the band was still finding a firm formula in terms of sound, style, direction, etc.

Not a bad effort, though.

Review by Kotro
5 stars First of all, pardon my Chantrainesque review. When I first discovered this site, and Camel along with it, this debut album kept a very low score, when compared to the following three. After some time, it is a plesure seeing it climb to same status as the others, as I believe it deserves. This might be a proof that this album has aged very well, better, in fact, than most Camel albums post-Snowgoose. I find the first three albums to be my favorite, and on this triade, "Camel" sits quietly at the top as my favorite. That said, I can only give it one score: 5 stars.
Review by belz
4 stars 4.3/5.0

Clearly Camel's most underrated album! As some people pointed out, this is not exactly progressive music yet (still, I believe this is still closer to prog music than to pure rock) but it is possible to get a feeling of what's going to happen (the three next albums are masterpieces!).

The whole album is really easy to listen to and it is never any boring. "Six Ate" has that well-recognized Camel keyboard touch, yet to be developed the way it is on Snowgoose or Moonmadness, but still this is one of the most prog song on the album and one of my favorite, even if I enjoy the whole album.

If you like Genesis's From Genesis to Revelation, or later Camel or Caravan, you should enjoy this album!

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I always had a special relationship with CAMEL's debut. Very naive in its simplicity and poor production, the music is still very catchy and inspiring. They were to develop their composing and performing skills up till "Moonmadness", but this first album is in many respects unbeatable. Except for extremely dull "Separation", all the album contains some of the nicest melodies I heard in prog! While I am not a big fan of this band and they are surely not much original artists, their first record keeps a special place in my heart! ***1/2
Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars It's a pity that Camel didn't follow the way they started with their debut album. "Slow yourself down" opens the album with a keyboard based introduction, some lyrics, and then percussions and drums give an exciting introduction to the second part of the song that's more jazzy. "Mystic queen" is an acoustic ballad, the first track where the influences of Bardens and Latimer are both present. "Six Ate" and "Separation" come back to the initial feelings and close the first side (remember that it was a vinyl). The second part is opened by their masterpiece "Nevel Let Go". It's the most complex song of this album, that's opened by an acoustic guitar and has a fantastic flute solo in the middle (in the live version it's replaced by keyboards and Mel Collins' sax). "Curiosity" is a typical Camel's song and finally "Arubaluba" is totally driven by Latimer's guitarwith one of the best guitar solos of the prog's history. This is not fast, or difficult, it's only that every single note is in its place.

The drums of Andy Ward are very impressive on all the tracks, also when there is no rhythm as in "Mystic Queen". 5 stars, absolutely.

Review by OpethGuitarist
3 stars The start of something beautiful.

An excellent start to one of the best bands in the history of the prog genre. This is one of my favorite debut records and the band has already established itself well. Despite the poor production, the notes really hit home here and it's the most rocking of their 70's catalog.

While being overshadowed by the 3 albums that were to follow, this album is no slouch by any means. Latimer's playing is wonderful as always, with some of the best note choices of any guitarists in the history of music. The textures found here are not that familiar to many other of the prog bands of the era, yet there is many similarities as being part of the genre. The fact that they never could find/have good vocals should not be held against them. It may have made them less acceptable to a general public, but theres no denying the musicianship and ability of the band.

Also as another note, Opeth covered "Never Let Go" on the album Still Life in a song called "Benighted". Despite what many may think, there is a very strong connection between the two bands styles. It was a wonderful tribute to a classic and criminally underrated prog band. Overall, while this album doesn't reach the heights of Mirage or Moonmadness, it is a wonderful little gem by a band that deserves more credit than they're given.

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Wow! That is what I call debut!

If you are familiar with the rest of CAMEL's career, you will realise that other albums are more daring and less rocky then this one, however this debut is still full of charming melodies, soaring guitar/keyboard interplays and pleasant vocals.

"Slow Yourself Down" and "Mystic Queen" are not very demanding, but they are excellent tracks with perfect ratio of instruments, clever developments and...wait a second, that is actually a definition of almost any song from the band's catalogue. Well, the point is that band paved the way for their unique sound at the very beginning of their career. The opening guitar arpeggio in "Mystic Queen" was exploited in one of the songs by ex-Yugoslavian band GALIJA few years later.

"Six Ate" is not so cryptic title as it may look at first sight, it's actually quite self-explanatory; the majority of the song is in 6/8 time measure. Very pleasant instrumental work.

"Separation" and "Curiosity" are two beautiful multipart tracks, so typical for early CAMEL and so enjoyable.

The highlight of the album is the song "Never Let Go". It's simply outstanding. Excellent tune, breathtaking melodies...and the sound. Oh my God, the sound. This is an album from 1973 - and this song sounds so ahead of its time - like it was recorded in the middle 80's. The similar atmospheres and sounds could be experienced if you listen to Paul Young, PET SHOP BOYS or U2 - please don't get me wrong, I'm only talking about the sound of an era. Mellotron tapestries are sweet, flute-sounding solo is unforgettable.

In my opinion, this album is a masterpiece of sound production, so crystal clear and lush and juicy at the same time. Perfect balance between all instruments. Bravo!

The closing track, "Arubaluba" is yet another pleasant instrumental work utilising furious solo played on overdriven Hammond organ through the wah-wah pedal. The guitar part that sounds like it's been played in common time measure (and of course it was not) is also worth mentioning.

At the end of the day, this might be not the best CAMEL album around, but it's well worth your precious time. Recommended both for newbies and veterans.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars When I was 14-15 years old (I was born in 1959) I was a huge fan of Yes, Genesis, Floyd, ELO, ELP, Van Der Graaf Generator, Barclay James Harvest and later on of more obscure bands like Ramses and Fireballet at least in the prog genre (often referred to Eurock in Belgium at the time - Merci, Piero). I have no clue how nor why I could have missed a band like Camel. This will only change in 2004 after having read so many good reviews of their work. I decided to give it a try and purchased about half of their catalogue in a very brief period of time (most of their earlier work sells really cheap).

This is probably not Camel at his best but it is still a good album. A bit too jazzy oriented to my taste like "Slow Yourself Down" (almost sounds at times like a Santana track), "Six Ate" or "Curiosity".

Latimer has not yet reached his emotional peak (guitar wise) and the music produced here is somewhat different from their later work. Maybe "Never let Go" is the exception.

I like "Mystic Queen" very much. It is a highlight. Although the general mood is quite tranquil, it rocks at times as well. Latimer performs here a very subtle guitar break. Very good piece of music (like "Separation" and "Arubaluba").

Since I was quite late in discovering Camel, I purchased the remastered edition with two bonus tracks; one of which is an instrumental live track recorded at the mythical Marquee Club : "Homage To The God Of Light" recorded on October 30, 1974 (19 minutes number !). This is a long jam number : jazzy and hard at times, prog at (too few) others. It will be a song from the early stages of Camel. They performed it already before the release of this album during live gigs (it sits on "Camel On The Road - 1972). The second one is the single version of "Never Let Go" which is still at present a live favorite.

This album was sold just over 5,000 copies during its first year of release which led MCA (the record company) to decline the release of further Camel work; I guess they must have regretted this decision. Two stars.

Review by russellk
3 stars A solid debut.

CAMEL offer a gentle, subtle form of progressive rock. They rate highly on this and other sites because they are relatively easily digestible, and were consistently strong song writers through their first four albums. With guitar and drum patters similar to the more pastoral Pink Floyd (1970-73), one feels when first listening to a CAMEL album that one has heard it - or something just like it - before.

This doesn't sound like a strong recommendation for adventurous listeners, but CAMEL is definitely mood music. They are well worth stocking in your music collection for those times when you want something to put a smile on your face. 'Slow Yourself Down', indeed. But, of the first four albums, this one does not have as much as the following three to recommend it. At least two of those are essential to any music collection, but, in my opinion, this is not.

Review by Fight Club
4 stars Camel is one of my favorite 70s prog acts. This is an impressive album in a number of aspects. The guitar playing is top notch. I've always loved Latimers guitar work. It's very delicate, very melodic, and very well integrated into the band's sound. The overall sound of the album is something somewhat new for the time. It's hard to tell who their influences really are, which one thing that makes the band so unique. Anyways, let's talk about the great things in this album.

Musicianship is excellent. All the instruments are played to their fullest here. The songwriting is also great. It's mostly guitar and organ driven which is what makes it standout in standard symphonic prog. There's somewhat of a canterbury style influence in this without quite being canterbury. If I could think of any genre to put this band in it would be symphonic jazz. However where jazz, is very technical, this album relies more on feeling. It's not as strong as some of Camel's other albums, Mirage and The Snow Goose, but it is still a superb effort.

The main complaint I have is the vocals. Vocals have never been a strong part of Camel in my opinion, and I have always seen them as more instrumental, which is why The Snow Goose is my favorite album by them. Even when there is singing involved, it seems to slip right passed, serving almost no purpose in the overall sound. The album is also somewhat inconsistent, and feels more like just a collection of songs rather than a full adventure.

Make no mistake, however, Camel's debut is still an excellent album. It's filled with great melodies, great musicianship and of course the signature flute sound we love if you've ever heard their other works! However, the inconsistencies and vocal work compels me to bump this albums rating down a star. Not a masterpiece, but nonetheless a great addition to any prog music collection.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars A very strong debut by one of the most underrated bands of the 70īs. This album is rarely talked about, but it is easily up to his three elder (and more famous) brothers. Ok, the guitar work here is less prominent then on future releases, but it shines anyway. Bardens on the other side leaves no stone unturned: his keyboards are brilliant thru the whole album. Bass and drums are excellent as ever and the only truly weak part are the vocals. Donīt get me wrong, they are not bad at all, but not par to their stunning instrumental parts (except maybe on Never Let Go, one of their best songs ever). From the get go it was clear that Camel had a tremendous chemistry and drive to make such beautiful music that almost has no need for vocals at all (which, by the way, they actually did on the marvellous The Snowgoose).

With a decent production and not a single bad track or filler, Camel stood the test of time with honours. Definitely one of the īmagnificent fourīdone by this outstanding band in a time that there were so many outstanding bands around. A must have for any prog fan. Highly recommended.

Review by Flucktrot
3 stars Camels' debut shows the band's obvious talents: catchy songs (or at least parts of songs), nice organ/keyboards, tight playing overall, and creative writing. This album also showcases some of the flaws that they have had to address in later efforts: keeping the songs interesting throughout and being careful to not allow the vocals to detract from the work.

I view this album as having six songs with interesting parts that as a whole could each have been better executed, and then one monster final rocker. The first six songs contain plenty of highlights: the absolutely inspired and rocking guitar/keyboard section of Slow Yourself Down, the toe-tapping Six Ate, the creative repeated triplet close to Separation, and the acousitc guitar and mellotron bits of Never Let Go. What is lacking? Of course, the vocals. Not a highlight of any of their albums, they really seem to have taken the Bruce Springsteen, just-shot-up-with-novacaine technique for (non) pronounciation. It's not only that. There are less interesting things going on during the vocals (keyboard flourishes, guitar wails, etc), which has the effect of really leaving the vocals exposed. Finally, the general pattern of songs is to start slowly, have very interesting middle/closing sections, but not lead into the other tracks. That's OK of course, but not necessarily progressive. They obviously improved on all of these in later efforts.

Arubaluba. If it was 1973, and I had listened up to this track, I would have some concerns about Camel's future. After this? Not anymore! Great intro that quickly sets a rocking pace that doesn't relent. Wonderful keyboard and guitar interplay, and a special mention has to go out to the rhythm section--they really cut loose. A sign of Camel's later trademark tightness.

My objective opinion is that Camel has plenty of creative, musically interesting, and worthwhile moments. My subjective opinion is that the music (except Arubaluba) is a bit boring, or at least has enough boring parts interspersed to divide my attention.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars CAMEL's career begun in 1971 as a bass/guitar/drums trio called ''The Brew'', but with the addition of Peter Bardens on keyboards they were renamed to CAMEL,while their first gig was at Waltham Forest Technical College of London as supporters to Wishbone Ash.In August 1972 they were signed by the MCA Label and in early 73' ''Camel'',their debut,was published.This album showed an open-minded band full of high skills and ambition but with a somewhat undeveloped personal style.''Camel'' is actually a mix of classic rock tunes with smooth progressive elements.The musicianship is based on Andy Latimer's calm,melodic guitars,Barden's fantastic Hammond organ parts,while the rhythm section is very tight.Sometimes seems like the band is in a mood for jamming,flirting with Canterbury prog and jazz.''Camel'' was a very strong start for CAMEL and,though not exactly an adventuruous release,I recommend this one highly to all lovers of tight,really well-composed classic/progressive rock!
Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Camel, starting with a bang!

Camel were one of the safer 70s prog-rock bands. Their albums were easy to assimilate, fun to listen to, and never too dark, difficult, or heavy. Too easy perhaps for some who considered them a bit boring or at least not all that challenging. One of my progger friends doesn't even consider them prog except for Snow Goose, but rather just mainstream 70s rock with some prog window dressing. Whatever you consider them, they are talented musicians, good writers, and produced some very enjoyable albums. Believe if or not, I actually prefer this album to the more widely loved Mirage and Snow Goose.

"Slow Yourself Down" features some great organ work by Bardens and sounds like a cross between Santana and Caravan, with the spunk of the former and the crisp sound of the latter. The bass is nice and thick and Latimer peels off a few nice leads. "Mystic Queen" starts with acoustic guitar and a subdued vocal by bassist Doug Ferguson. The song stays in a more relaxed mode than most of the other material but is effective nonetheless. "Six Ate" again brings Caravan to mind (I've been listening to Caravan lately!) in the style of jazzy jamming and the tight rhythms. There are some nice guitar riffs that ride the percussion in places. Man I love the full bass sound. "Separation" like the first track is quite heavy rock but this time with some dramatic, dark moods that you wouldn't usually associate with the pleasant Camel sound. "Never Let Go" begins with acoustic guitar and a nice mellotron background before the band kicks in with vocals by the late Peter Bardens. Some repetitive chords back this vocal section along with an upbeat groove. Some pretty wild keyboard solos around 3 minutes and again the bass is on fire. Andy Ward's drumming deserves a special mention throughout as well, always with the perfect amount of intensity for the song in question. The last minute features an explosive electric solo from Latimer. "Curiosity" begins with some nice guitar leads and the fragile nasally vocals of Ferguson again. The song title is perfect because there is a curious (or perhaps disjointed) style of play at work here, little pieces starting and stopping, changing before they really have a chance to fully develop. Nevertheless the track somehow works pretty well-there's an almost throwback 60s psychedelic feel to the affair which is always welcome. "Arubaluba" is our closer and there's no letting up here: big keyboard and guitar send-ups do battle with each other and with the monster rhythm section.

It just rocks, simple as that. By the end you'll be moving and ready for a beer-this is a decidedly different experience than the more laid back Snow Goose. I have yet to hear all of the Camel albums but I can safely say this is a gem. Constant wall to wall energy and primo jamming prog-rock. While the later material may have been more sophisticated or had more memorable guitar melodies, this Camel debut is a must for fans and highly recommended to any 70s prog fan. I love debuts..not always the best an artist has to offer but often interesting and bubbling with enthusiasm and energy as is the case here.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Great debut by this legendary band. I'll be short here, Camel is one of my fav from the '70's so this first album is a good example of what Camel became later on, a factory of stunning and well crafted albums, the mid '70's are the best for them. Talking about the music here, on some pieces i think are some canterbury flavour, but not in a big cantity to consider Camel a canterbury band, only some influences from the master as Caravan and even Egg. So a good album but not the best they ever did, i prefer the next one to be their masterpice. 3 stars
Review by Gooner
4 stars The first Camel album is certainly a classic along the lines of Moonmadness, The Snow Goose and Mirage. More of a traditional Canaterbury sound with a bit of a Deep Purple feel. It can be compared to first Caravan album on the basis that it's more embrionic and less symphonic. This is Camel at their most raw. The wordless back-up vocals are already present a la Snow Goose. Peter Bardens is tres heavy on the organ, probably the heaviest you'll hear of him on record. Also present is the mellotron, which rarely appeared on subsequent Camel albums. For interst in Camel music...start here. Recommended.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The debut album from Camel is a pleasant listen. Allthough Iīm not the biggest fan of Camel I do like their first 4 albums a lot. Camelīs debut is a bit different from the next three which are pretty symphonic. This one has one leg in the Caterbury scene and the other in the symphonic prog rock scene. I like the warm and almost lazy sounding Caterbury influences but also enjoy the symphonic tendencies.

The music is very pleasant and warm and there are lots of soloing throughout the album from both Latimer and Bardens. The vocals are the weak point here obviously. Itīs actually quite funny that three of the members sing two songs each and they sound so much alike that it sounds like it is the same person singing. The vocal lines and the vocal perfomances are actually pretty inoffensive and pleasant but they donīt excite me. The music is generally very melodic and this is were Camel have their force. Sometimes they remind me of Caravan without being clones at all though. Camel doesnīt reach the same intricate hights as Caravan though on this debut album. There are no bad songs here but on the other hand only a few stand out. I like the beautiful Never Let Go and the Canterbury influenced Slow Yourself Down, but the rest of the songs are pretty much average prog rock tunes with almost the same mood.

On the remastered version from 2002 that I have there are 2 bonus tracks. Itīs the Single version of Never Let Go which I find superfluous and the long live jam song Homage To The God Of Light which will be a treat to some but for someone like me who isnīt too excited about endless jams this isnīt that interesting. Since these are bonus tracks I guess I should just be happy to get some additional tracks no matter what the quality is.

The musicians are all competent and especially Andy Latimer gets to show of his solo skills throughout the album. Iīm not that fond of his solo style though even though he is a good musician. His style is way to easy listening and melodic to please me. I need some more bite to satisfy me fully. Peter Bardens, Andy Ward and Doug Ferguson are also great musicians. Andy Ward has a soft drum style that I have always liked and Peter Bardens play lots of nice organ passages.

The sound quality is pretty good but would get even better on the next couple of albums. This production is way above average for the prog rock scene in general though.

This is a nice debut album from one of the most prominent bands from the seventies. Itīs not an excellent album by any means though and Iīll rate it 3 stars. Itīs close to 4 stars when Iīm in the right mood, but most of the time this is a 3 star album.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars So, this is where it all started for a band destined for some of the greatest opuses in the history of symphonic prog rock: the peculiar style of Bardens as a layer builder and an elegant soloist, Latimer's unabashedly melodic approach to guitar playing and Ward's dynamic drumming will become some of the most featured staples of what symphonic progressive rock is all about. "Camel" was the first public manifestation of Camel's musical vision. The fact that the album's repertoire is still showing some unnecessary restraints concerning the elaboration of moods and ambiences that could have been more proficient signifies a claim for a band yet to find its ultimate maturity. but it wouldn't take too long, since the follow-up album "Mirage" (including a couple of tracks that already existed before the debut's release) would be an excellent explosion of progressive colors. But by now let's stick to this one. The instrumental buildings and interactions are as solid as can be expected from this selection of musicians, gifted and enthusiastic; nevertheless, the musical bases usually remain insufficiently explored and the band's organic sound falls short of its potential too many times. Having always been linked to the Canterbury scene, Camel always could flaunt a genuine originality in terms of style and its individual members' personality, but for the debut album the band was too close to Caravan (the era of their first three albums) and still was stuck on a limited pallet. The good things are: the dynamics is really there; you can tell that there's an inspired working labor; the band sounds cohesive in its musical expansions. Examples of this are the catchy opener 'Slow Yourself Down' and the powerful closing instrumental 'Arubaluba' bring fire to the atmosphere. The other instrumental 'Six Ate' is the closest that the band gets to the kind of sound achieved on the "Mirage" album: exquisite, well-ordained and using a moderately complex set of arrangements for the development of the main motifs. My four fave tracks in the album are the aforesaid pieces and the excellent symphonic ballad 'Mystic Queen' (something like Argent-meets-Procol Harum), so Baroque and so romantic that it really creates an eerie mood in the room where one is listening to this album. 'Separation' recreates the mood of the opener with a more modest attitude: catchy, strong, but not really too transcendental. Also not too transcendental is 'Curiosity', which all in all is a nice track where the band explores the jazz-oriented leanings that had previously been exposed on 'Six Ate'. 'Never Let Go' is the beautiful moralistic anthem (penned by Latimer, lead vocals by Bardens) that has grown through the years to become a Camel classic. Even though it is not as majestic as 'Mystic Queen' or as electrifying as 'Arubaluba', it retains a timeless beauty - my favorite part is the mellotron-flute solo, used as few other progressive bands have used it before. Being placed at the beginning of side B (it helps to build a climax after the A- side is ended), it wouldn't have been out of place as a closure, either. Well, 3 ū stars is the grade I give to this album: almost excellent as a whole, some specific tracks already bear the band's genius that in overall terms remains anticipated.
Review by kenethlevine
3 stars If you are looking for a Camel album that is more jammy and spontaneous sounding than is typical for them, you might want to set your chronometer to 1973 and listen to their debut. Here Camel has a more improvised approach, not quite jazzy, not quite bluesy, not quite psychedelic yet all of the above. The group sounds tight, and the relation between keyboards (mostly organ), guitars and vocals is already well established here. In many ways this is an instrumental album with vocal effects set low enough in the mix as to be inoffensive yet high enough to be appreciated if one is so inclined.

Apart from "Never Let Go", which has deservedly become Camel's signature tune of sorts, which showcases every strength of the band in a more mature way, and the ponderously beautiful "Mystic Queen", "Slow Yourself Down" is another slow burning essence, with a masterful wordless vocal section over guitars and organ. "Six Ate" shows a nascent form of the Mirage or Moonmadness style of melodic interplay. Andy Ward's drumming style is especially notable and advanced here. "Separation" introduces Camel's propensity for blues based accessible music married to hard rock.

One thing that is noticeable if you follow Camel from these earliest times is how much Andy Latimer's technical guitar skill improves over the years. Here we see only hints as to future greatness, chiefly in some of the emotional qualities as in the outro to "Never Let Go". He certainly holds his own in this environment but when you compare it to some of the flash of "Moonmadness", it pales.

As with any engrossing story, the best way to "get into it" is to start from the beginning, and the Camel saga is no exception. But their debut is sufficiently different that you should not be swayed one way or the other. A good and promising album.

Review by TGM: Orb
3 stars Review 53, Camel, Camel, 1973

I acquired Camel's debut album a little after the classic three, Mirage, The Snow Goose and Moonmadness. It is very different from any of them, resembling a classic four member band and favouring extended, simple songs with a couple of instrumental pieces. The line-up is essentially organ, drums, bass and electric guitar, with other keys and acoustics featuring occasionally, and plays an odd mixture of blues and Latin music with odd psychedelic and rock edges. I wouldn't really consider it genuine prog, but it is a very good album, with some great material. The vocals are fairly weak, but otherwise the playing is solid.

Slow Yourself Down is a good opening to the album, with a relaxed vocal, a solid organ performance (with that wonderful swelling high organ tone making an appearance). Andy Ward and Doug Ferguson create a rather Latin-feeling rhythm section. The instrumental break in the middle features a solid screechy solo from Latimer, as well as organ soloing. The piece comes to a neat blues-based conclusion. All in all, good, even if the second verse felt a little pointless.

The sublime Mystic Queen is the album's high point for me. A liquid vocal from Ferguson acquits itself quite well, conveying psychedelic lyrical content, while Bardens handles both background and lead organs competently. Latimer's brief soloing is welcome, and Andy Ward provides a performance which is both energetic and tasteful. Soft, relaxed, haunting and beautiful. Probably my third favourite Camel song (after The White Rider and Lady Fantasy).

Six Ate bursts in quite tastelessly after this sublime conclusion with a slightly elevator-y sound. The organ is basically repeating itself too much for my liking, and Latimer's twists are foreseeable and not particularly stunning. After about a minute and a half the piece shapes up with softer, faster and more rhythm-based sections taking precedence. Pete Bardens contributes a VCS-3 solo, which is a decent change. My issue with this piece is that it feels a bit random and meandering, never really creating a solid and sustained atmosphere.

Separation is a return to form, with rocking guitar, solid riffs, enjoyable vocals and lyrics, and a definite force without the crunch you'd get from a harder rock band. A superb whinnying guitar solo with a moving background transitions nicely to the chorus, and Ward is on top form for the song. The harder instrumental conclusion is stunning and fast-paced featuring another great solo. Good stuff.

Never Let Go begins with a minute of unrelated acoustic guitar opener before moving to the vocal material, with a fairly nice organ-based backing. Pete Bardens' vocal is woefully inadequate, not having the force to really convey the lyrical ideas, but I can't see either of the other available vocalists doing much better. An excellent VCS-3 solo features before the piece returns to the acoustic ideas with backing bass for a brief interlude. It is at this point that the piece really kicks off, with full mellotron, percussion and nicely twisted acoustics, as well as a superb bluesy guitar solo for the final 'never let goooo'. With a better vocalist, it could be a very strong piece.

Curiosity opens with a slow bass before again moving to a rather Latin feel, before a weird softer and curious section with an odd very minimal piano and quietened vocals. The 'curiosity is killing me/I just have to go' chorus is sort of halfway-sung, leaving the music hugely dominant. The piece takes off a little with the guitar solo, though a rather wallowing organ solo doesn't help it much. At around the fourth minute, Latimer adds that odd and wonderful Spanish-on-an-electric thing (that we see, for instance, on Rush's La Ville Strangiato). Overall, a good song, but not as good as some of the other material on here.

Arubaluba is the album's second and much more successful instrumental, with a definite rock feel at the forefront and great guitar performances, as well as a very interesting grittier organ. Even Ferguson acquits himself pretty capably, and Ward is an impeccable drummer. A great ending, with some silly VCS-3 soundage to compliment it.

Homage To The God Of Light is a very good piece of extended psychedelic improvisation, with all four members handling themselves competently for an interesting 20 odd minutes of music. Ward takes a brief near-solo (a couple of organ stabs over the top), and both Latimer and Bardens do their jobs interestingly. Ferguson's bass feels less repetitive than it is, and the piece as a whole is a good bit of funkadelica.

I'm wavering between three and four stars here (both could describe the way I feel about it). I wouldn't really suggest it to those who want genuine full-bodied progression in their music, but I would say that anyone who simply wants a good, enjoyable album (with blues and Latin influences) shouldn't hesitate to get it. I think I'll go with four in light of Homage's presence on the remaster. Nevertheless, Camel will grow in a more progressive and interesting direction for the following Mirage, which benefits from a greater sense of exploration and more varied styles.


I'm dropping Camel to three stars, since it is admittedly good and enjoyable, but not often much more than that. Additionally, the atmosphere is perhaps a bit too limited for my taste, and that's shown through a bit more with a few replays. Sorry, Kotro.

Rating: Three Stars Favourite Track: Mystic Queen

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars Camel's underrated self-titled debut album will for always stand in the shadow of Mirage and Moonmadness. Right from the start it was evident that the Camel was a very special, band. Jazz and blues are the biggest influences here, but also some slight Folk influences can be found due to some acoustic guitars. No flutes here though (apart some flute like keyboards).

The keyboards and guitars get about equal space and there are a lot of instrumental workouts. Some parts are very similar to some parts on Mirage but compared to all other Camel albums this is a very jazz-rock/fusion affair. There are many interesting time changes throughout and some tracks contain many different riffs and melodies.

The keyboards are basically organ with some touches of piano and mellotron. It is true that Andy Latimer had not truly found his own distinctive guitar sound here yet. But this album shows so much potential. And it is clearly a Camel album in all what that involves.

Standout tracks are for me Slow Yourself Down which features a great riff that grips you from the start, Mystic Queen which is more mellow rock song with more than a hint of Lady Fantasy from the next album. Never Let Go is a classic and became a live favourite. I love the lyrics to this one. However, I think that there are better versions of this song from various live recordings.

An excellent addition to any prog collection.

Review by poslednijat_colobar
4 stars Big debut for Camel! It contains more jazzy sound than most of the albums in progressive rock music. But it has a little harder sound, too. The strongest songs are in the middle of the album which is unusually for most of the albums. Songs like Six Ate, Separation and Never Let Go make the album essential.
Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars CAMEL are one of my all-time favourite bands and this is where it all began for them with their self titled release from 1973. Bardens was the last piece of the puzzle for this band, and at this point he had been playing professionally for 10 years. He had been playing with Mick Fleetwood and Peter Green before joining CAMEL. Interesting that when bassist Doug Ferguson joined earlier he almost insisted that his former band mate and drummer Andy Ward also be part of the group. Both were accepted. There's something very special about the playing of Bardens and Latimer not only on this record but on subsequent releases. Andy Ward who was still a teenager at this point really impresses me with his prominant and energetic playing. Their first concert under the CAMEL name was opening for WISHBONE ASH. During the recording of this album they tried to find a vocalist but that having failed the band shared the vocal duties between Latimer, Ferguson and Bardens.

"Slow Yourself Down" features Latimer on vocals. I like the organ early. The guitar after 2 minutes is raw and abrasive. The organ that follows is outstanding. "Mystic Queen" is simply an amazing tune. It's sung by Ferguson as acoustic guitar, light drums, bass and organ tastefully play. The guitar 1 1/2 minutes in livens things up. Latimer then comes in with a beautiful solo before 2 1/2 minutes. Vocals return as themes are repeated. Mournful guitar 5 minutes in. "Six Ate" is a great jazzy tune with pulsating organ. The drums are quite active throughout. Guitar before 2 minutes. The organ and drums are outstanding later on. "Seperation" is led early by energetic drumming. Vocals from Latimer come in. Aggressive guitar a minute in and later 3 1/2 minutes in to end it.

"Never Let Go" is my favourite song on here. This is the only song Bardens sings on. This is also the only track with mellotron. It opens with acoustic guitar as waves of mellotron flood in. A groovy melody follows a minute in with vocals. I'm in love. Something about the lyrics and music that is so moving for me. Check out the flute / mellotron interlude after 2 1/2 minutes. Guitar is back 4 minutes in. The drumming is so good. A guitar solo after 5 minutes to the end rocks. Brilliant track. "Curiousity" is laid back early before the tempo picks up before a minute. A loud guitar solo 2 minutes in. Piano follows. A more tasteful guitar solo 4 minutes in. Ferguson is on vocals for this one. "Arubaluba" is the closing instrumental and the longest song on here. I like the organ a lot in the intro. The tempo starts to pick up 1 1/2 minutes in. Check out the organ 4 minutes in ! Great drumming late.

I just love the mood of this album.

Review by progrules
4 stars This is my most favourite Camel album and that will have everything to do with the fact that Camel is a bit of a mellow symphonic band and this is actually their most aggressive and energetic album of all times. And that's how I like music best in general.

And this is already evident with the first track of this album: Slow yourself down. Fantastic opener of this great album played with lots of passion (4,25*).

Next is Mystic Queen showing the bands more ballad like side especially in the beginning, later on the song becomes more diverse with some very fine melodic passages (3,75*).

Third up is Six Ate and here the band shows its ultimate versatility with this bluesy track. The whole band is doing an excellent job here both individually as in team performance (4*).

Seperation starts pretty energetic until a mellow chorus surprises suddenly. But after this the band really gets going. Another cracker making this album a true classic. Superb ending of a great song (4*).

And then the best is yet to come ! Never let go has always been the all time favourite song by this band for me. Never heard Latimer surpass the solo effort he is doing on this one. Love it forever (4,5*).

Unfortunately the last two songs, Curiosity (3,5*) and Arubaluba (3,75*) can't sustain this huge level but also these two are still fairly good songs.

On this release there are also a radio version of Never let go and a live performance of Homage to the God of Light. These are bonus tracks so I will not count them in the score but they are very fine additions.

The final score for one of the best debuts in prog history is no surprise probably and can only be four stars. Even though they made some nice albums after this, it has always been their magnum opus where my personal taste is concerned.

Review by The Crow
4 stars Excellent debut from one of the most representative 70's prog band!

Camel managed to record this album after years of playing together, and they sounded really cohesionated, with a flawless instrumental work, and with a bunch of excellent songs... To be fair, every track of the album deserves close attention. I specially enjoy the marvellous Latimer's guitar sound, wich is perfectly mixed with the equally great Peter Barden's keyboards. Andy Ward and Doug Fergusson also gave an playing lesson here!

Although this album is almost instrumental, it's never boring, and it will keep your attention from the first minute, with the funny Slow Yourself Down, wich has some The Doors influences... Then comes Mystic Queen, an impressive slow track with incredibly beautiful keyboards. I can crearly see the roots of albums like Opeth's "Damnation" in this track... But after this peaceful beauty, comes the groovy Six Ate, a funny theme with good rythm, almost funky. Separation and Never Let Go are two worthy vocal tracks, specially the second one, and even better are the instrumentals Curiosity and Arubaluba, wich closes the album wonderfully, leaving you wanting for more!

Best Tracks: I specially enjoy Mystic Queen, Six Ate and Arubaluba, but the album has no weak songs.

Conclusion: if you want to hear an album with perfect instrumentation, the exact dosis of variety, and tons of elegance, then give the Camel's debut an opportunity... It's a really ejoyable, catchy album, and it's like a summary of the best from the first 70's years. The true Camel's style was not really developed, but this album has enough interest and the songs are so good, that it's plenty worhty of being on every prog music collection.

My rating: ****

Review by friso
4 stars With their 1973 debut the English (symphonic) progressive rock group Camel derived a tad late on the scene. On this record the band introduces itself fully formed with a strong symphonic prog record with a hint of Canterbury type jazz-rock (think of Kahn, Hatfield and Caravan). Whilst their instrumental side ('Six Ate' and 'Arubuluba)' with melodic (hard)rock guitar by Latimer and organs, synth and mellotron by Barden would hint at the Canterbury groups, their song-writing (most notably 'Mystic Queen' and 'Never Let Go') had more of magical melancholy touch of bands like Genesis and King Crimson. The slightly off-style opening song 'Slow Yourself Down' has a latin-rock touch and drowsy vocals by Latimer, yet is does introduce to the world the fantastic guitar talent Latimer would prove to be. By playing their progressive rock rather intense, yet very much controlled (made possible by the fantastic Andy Ward on drums) the band would add the much needed rock to progressive rock. My only complaint about this album is that there's actually so little so say about it. Its just that solid. The follow-up album 'Mirage' would prove to be a step up for the band on all cylinders, but Camel's debut is easily one of the better albums of 1973 and the fine sounding LP shouldn't be absent in any serious symphonic or Canterbury prog collection.
Review by Negoba
3 stars Expert Level Mellow Prog Band Seeks Lead Vocalist

Camel is one of the top "Second tier" classic prog bands, among the first people discover once they venture beyond the major acts. That strange distinction has to do with the fact that instrumentally, the band is superb. Starting with a classic Santana sound, the band added more variety and complexity and created their own exciting flavor of rock n' roll. Guitarist Andy Latimer has mastered Carlos' back of tricks and added some Canterbury and Pink Floyd, resulting in a skill set among the best in the genre. Peter Bardens' key work is both skilled and tasty, complementing Latimer's guitar perfectly. Drummer Andy Ward can lay down some very quick, slinky grooves, but sometimes will settle back into straight rock beats, unfortunately pulling a little life out of the music when he does.

The band's greatest deficiency is in the vocal department. Several members try to tackle the task, and none quite get it done. They do hit pitch, which is about as much as I can say. The note choice, expression, and phrasing of the vocals are all at a much lower level than the rest of the music, and it really does pull the listening experience down. The single "Never Let Go" is a prime example. Instrumentally, this is a great, upbeat prog song. But the vocals are just weak. The rhymes are rudimentary, the vocal range narrow, and the emotional content quite limited. The lead vocals on the opener "Slow Yourself Down" are almost monotone.

This is a bit sad, because with a dedicated lead singer, this band may have been one of the major artists of the genre. Their jams are fantastic, showcasing a variety of tones, precise execution, and plenty of nuance. Latimer's touch on the guitar is among the best electric guitars in all of rock, let alone prog. Bardens jams like a rocker but can seamlessly employ more complex time signatures and composed bits as the best prog keyboardists do.

This album is more Santana than Genesis, with the bonus instrumental "Homage to the God of Light" being a great jazzy jam that could have been on Abraxas. The other bonus track, the single version of "Never Let Go" is pointless when we have the full version on the original album. Though the prog elements are superb ("Mystic Queen" comes to mind), the strength of this album is that when the guys are jamming, it's great classic rock. The band makes some good choices later by embracing prog a bit more, and even recording an entire instrumental album.

This album is very enjoyable, and I think most prog fans are going to find plenty here to grab their interest. At the same time, it doesn't offer anything new to the genre, and vocals are at best adequate. Good but non-essential fits perfectly.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It is debut, but after how many years of playing. I say after much years. So, the word describing this album would probably be mellow. Because that's what this music is about. Sometimes it sounds like jamming party, sometimes like prog done in exactly this way I like. Oh, I can take all songs maybe except first, Slow Yourself Down, which simply isn't something that fits me here, while Never Let Go outcomes as the best here. Not that I don't like singing ,but it's so rare here that . Final two tracks also pleased me, even the overall rating would be just

4(+) for its instrumental skills, nice little music which offers a lot.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Camel's debut is the first of four very charming symphonic prog albums. The accent is on concise song writing with an occasional organ or guitar solo. The vocals aren't really Camel's best talent here but as they are rather sparse and put to the background they don't bother too much. The music is rather different from the ensuing albums. I'd say there's still a perceptible influence from the Canterbury scene, resulting in a very dry, mellow and woolly sound.

Throughout the album there are touches of the melancholic and melodic sound that this band got famous for. Especially Slow Yourself Down and Never Let Go are very charming. For Opeth fans, Never Let Go is the song that Akerfeldt nicked the opening bars from for his ballad Benighted on the album Still Life.

Camel still had to grow up, but fans shouldn't miss this promising debut. 3.5 stars.

Review by Sinusoid
3 stars A good dose of ''oomph'' is what this album could've used; I may have upped the rating by a star if I felt that ''oomph'' was there. However, I feel this album and the following album (MIRAGE) are of the same calibre in terms of musical prowress and captivation. Personally, I think MIRAGE and CAMEL are just as good as each other, but objectively speaking, CAMEL loses on PA because the progginess isn't as there as MIRAGE.

This is more of a hard rock album than anything else, taking hints from the Cantebury scene and a tad of the Pink Floyd sound. Tracks like ''Slow Yourself Down'' and ''Separation'' veer more towards hard rock than prog, but have this captivating staying power that makes both of them good, particularly when Latimer gets to solo. Others like ''Arubaluba'' and ''Never Let Go'' gives clues to the prog direction Camel would partake on their next album.

It's really a matter of what you like. I couldn't get into Camel until the rockier songs hit me and made me appreciate Camel. Expect some long, jam-type instrumental passage that may not be of the most ''exciting'' of sorts, but those with a sense of melody or patience (or both) shouldn't have problems getting into Camel's debut.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Camel - How to star an illustrious career!

The debut album from the symphonic prog masters would have been the envy of most newcomers to the progressive style of the 70s. It features what fans have grown to love about the band. Beautiful, compelling instrumentals, 'Six Ate', played in 6/8 time sig changes, and melodic songs with lengthy instrumental jams, such as 'Curiosity' and 'Never Let Go'. Barden's keyboards are inspirational but the real star is Latimer on vocals and guitar. The spirit of Camel resides in these artists, though it can never be underestimated the power of Ward's accomplished drumming and Ferguson's pounding basslines. Together they were untouchable, pure magic and there was never a lineup like them in early symphonic prog.

Listen to 'Slow Yourself Down' and 'Separation' as good examples of the Camel spirit. Short blasts of drums and keys merge with melodic verses to create an atmosphere of immense tension, that surprises as it twists and turns in various musical directions. Latimer's guitar is ever present and he rips out some searing lead breaks. The time sig changes are ubiquitous on each track and the innovation and creativity on this debut is astounding.

Things slow down considerably on 'Curiosity' with a strong bass line from Ferguson. Latimer sings in a falsetto style in tune to the piano melody. His duel guitar playing is in perfect harmonic melody. The echoing vocals are effective, "Sail, sail away, sail, sail away...", but the best part of the track is when the pace picks up with a blistering lead guitar solo. This is soon followed by staccato stabs on a piano, balanced by guitar runs and organ chord progressions. The band really take off on this track into an instrumental played with virtuoso prowess. A definite sleeper highlight.

"Arabaluda", whatever that means, is a great instrumental that builds gradually to a mountain peak with space effects and an inspired chord structure, not to mention that shimmering organ solo from Bardens. The time sig is off the metronome scale at times on this track. Ward drums with intriguing metrical shapes and the guitars are rock heavy with occasional meanderings into softer territory.

'Mystic Queen' begins with gorgeous acoustic picking and psychedelic phased vocals. "Have you seen the mystic queen riding in her limousine, over hills, over dales, till morning..." There is an excellent keyboard solo from Bardens that is haunting and memorable. Latimer's guitar sings to us with angelic beauty. The instrumental section is once again a showcase of virtuoso performance. Latimer violins his guitar towards the end of the track, similar to a section of 'Lady Fantasy' on the next album.

Camel pull out all the stops on their first album and it is a pleasurable experience. It all gels together like a band on a mission, and indeed they were. There wasn't a great deal of music like this available in the early 70s. Yet for all its estranged qualities the songs are accessible due to the rocking beats and soft vocals. Camels' debut album is all killer, no filler, and is a must have for Camel addicts and those interested in early 70s prog rock.

Review by stefro
3 stars Camel's debut is a lightly-ambling, subtle and carefully-crafted album that hints towards the material that would show up on the group's next three albums after this, 'Mirage', 'The Snow Goose' and 'Moonmadness'. Those three albums, together with this eponymously-titled effort, would make up Camel's classic period before the usual internal wranglings, key line-up changes and, of course, the advent of punk-rock changed the musical landscape forever, forcing Camel, and many others like them, to eschew their complex arrangements in favour of a more commercial touch. However, despite this debut album's light touch and mellow feel, it is still worthy of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the previously-mentioned albums above. It may not feature the furious inventivity of 'Mirage' or the sumptuous instrumental arrangements of 'The Snow Goose', but it still marked Camel out as a band to be reckoned with, hence their long and successful career. Stand out tracks include the live favourite 'Mystic Queen' and the rocky, charging album opener 'Slow Yourself Down', which bursts into life after a quiet, quaint opening. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Camel's debut in fact is nice album. Really strong technically as for debut, it contains very eclectic sound (in sense there is no way "classic" Camel sound of later works).

For good and for bad, this album has many influences,dominated in prog circa 1973. Symphonic prog, Canterbury sound, mellow hard rock,etc. In this album I like their true rock roots (very soon they will miss them), energetic and small amount of sweet-pop additives they will be so well known just few years later. Some vocals there possibly are quite controversial, but heavy keyboards passages, plenty of rocking guitars, melodic and quite complex rock atmosphere - all these really made the debut album attractive release.

From negative side I want to notice that the album is quite unfocused,especially stylistically, and sounds like band of good musicians just searching for their face (what is in fact true).

On their two next releases they will find their own style, and I believe,this debut work is good start to "Mirage" and "Snow Goose" both. Then band will turn to simplified,more mellow (and even cheesy on some albums) and polished sound,and will become hardly interesting for someone but heavy fans. So, this album isn't best place to start, but if you like "Snow Goose" and " Mirage" yet, third logical choice is this release (if you're not a fan of synth-pop over- arranged music, then you can try some their later releases).

My rating is 3+ for still raw and not very original, but rare really prog rock album of popular band.

Review by baz91
4 stars This is a funny little album indeed, and quite charming in it's obscurity. Before the fame that albums like Mirage, The Snow Goose and Moonmadness brought this fearsome foursome, Camel's debut made fairly little impact on the record-buying public. For such a prominent band in 70s prog, these guys were quite late on the scene; while bands like Yes and King Crimson and others started releasing albums around 69-70, this album was released as late as 1973. When you listen to this album, you can hear that they didn't really see themselves as 'progressive' and didn't want to copy other artists, yet there is no doubt that this music is very progressive indeed. Camel really came up with their own style, with extended melodic instrumentals being the norm. I don't think 'Symphonic Prog' is really the right genre for these guys, but then I can't think of anywhere else to put them, except possibly 'Canterbury Scene'.

The opener Slow Yourself Down starts out as a funky pop song, but halfway through explodes into an extremely rocking instrumental. The air-guitar inducing guitar solo is quite something! Camel set off on the right foot.

Mystic Queen is a very slow peice, with a wafer thin section of vocals at the beginning and towards the end. What I especially like about Camel's instrumentals are that they are usually very well composed and structured, not just random jams. You can listen to this song over and over, until you learn each part of the instrumental. However, this peice doesn't really reach it's full potential, and there's nothing particularly 'awesome' about it, it's just quite good.

Six Ate is an entirely instrumental peice. Despite the title, this peice isn't entirely in 6/8, as there is a 4/4 middle section. The first two minutes of this song are quite dull, but don't let this put you off, as the middle section is far more interesting. Some of the playing in this section is quite technical also. I have to admit I didn't always listen to this song properly due to the intro, but I've got more respect for it after listening to it properly.

If you prefer heavier sounds, then Seperation is for you. After the relatively light sound of the preceding two tracks, this song sounds more chunky. This is quite a complex track for it's length, and contains some very technical bits. The only problem is that it is quite a forgettable track, despite being so technically good.

The same could not be said for Never Let Go, which is arguably the best known song off the album. This song was also released as an edited single, and you can hear why. The verses of this song make up an extremely catchy song. The full version is almost 6:30, so for people who'd bought the single and enjoyed it, there would be an incentive to buy the LP and hear the full version. Everything about this song feels right, the intro, the lyrics, the instrumental, and definitely Latimer's awesome guitar solo outro.

Curiosity has a very meaty instrumental that you can really sink your teeth into. Lots of different parts, and generally quite interesting and technical. It's such a shame though that the lyrical section is rather forgettable, especially when compared to the last track.

The final track is an instrumental, titled Arubaluba. The main theme is actually in 9/8, although not the flashy ELP/Gentle Giant style of "look how technical we are", but in a rather subtle manner that you won't notice unless you listen for it. The piece is rather exciting, but there is little dynamic change throughout, so I don't really find it that gripping. As with 'Mystic Queen', there is lost potential here.

For a debut album, this is a very fine start to what would become a musical legacy. At the time of writing this, there have been 368 ratings (now to become 369), and not one of them gives this album a one star. If you are considering buying this album then this should assure you that Camel's debut is not rubbish. If you're new to Camel, starting here isn't bad, but I'd personally start with Mirage.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Camel's debut album doesn't get reviews as shining as its successors, but I still think it's an extraordinarily strong debut. If the compositions aren't quite as tight as those on Mirage or The Snow Goose, they're certainly most of the way there, and by and large the band has its own distinctive identity from the very beginning apart from the occasional spot where Andy Latimer comes over all Steve Hackett (and that isn't *such* a bad thing, is it?). The recent CD remaster adds an entirely useless single edit of Never Let Go and a gorgeous rarity - Homage to the God of Light, a Peter Bardens solo track expanded into a full-group workout. It's not on the top tier of Camel albums, but second-tier Camel is still head and shoulders above most of the competition.
Review by Zitro
4 stars 3.75 Stars

Impressive debut from Camel. It is instrumentally very raw and passionate; one can say full of sexual energy as some 70s classic rock acts like Led Zeppelin. I may go ahead and say it is one of Latimer's best guitar albums, even if the songwriting is not as mature as many later works.

Songs generally do not have a lot in common with progressive rock, so it takes a 70s classic rock fan to enjoy the raw energy here. The opener in particular has fierce guitar and organ playing that sound absolutely phenomenal all the way through. Andy Latimer's vocals try to sound like Jim Morrison but only partially succeeding. My personal opinion is that the vocals are typically not Camel's strength. Luckily the band knows their limits as singers and don't overstretch themselves. Also, they focus on instrumental sections, tho the scatting halfway through works great.

Great guitar and organ playing continue on the slower, but spirited 'Mystic Queen'. 'Six Ate' and 'Separation' speed things back up with plenty of riffs varying in quality, the latter showcasing Latimer's soloing skills once again. The songs seem to have some resemblance to The Doors and Santana, but they already sounded confident with their own voice this early on. 'Never Let Go' has a positive drive and would have worked great with a better singer as it is the only part of the album where I feel the vocals really detract from a song (it's not Andy singing). The extended mellotron solo is excellent and redeems the track. Oh, and another great guitar solo at the end.

'Curiosity' has a brief vocal segment leading into an extended instrumental section with jazz leanings. One of the more progressive songs here along with the instrumental closer 'Arubaluba' which brings the fiery energy present on 'Slow Yourself Down' and is simply awesome all the way through.

4.5 Star Songs - Slow Yourself Down, Arubaluba

4 Star Songs - Mystic Queen, Separation

3.5 Star Songs - Never Let Go, Curiosity

3 Star Songs - Six Ate

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars Camel's debut album arrived in 1973. At this time, classic prog rock was at the height of it's popularity. I was in high school. And Yes, ELP, King Crimson and Genesis were the favorites of the music aware factions (yes - my school was enlightened). A friend introduced me to this album, and, I can admit now, I was not impressed. The lightness of the sound was not what my teenage sensibilities was looking for.

Four decades later my tastes have refined, and I am able to appreciate some of the artists I rejected in those days. And now I am revisiting this band that barely appeared on my radar back then.

In this debut, Camel sounded more like the prog of the late sixties, solo-heavy pieces with psychedelic subtexts, and a nod to the early fusion projects. To me, it could be described as a mixture of transitional Pink Floyd (pre-Meddle), a bit of Procol Harum, with some of the style of fusion of the Canterbury bands.

And now, while the album may not be as progressive as their peers, or even their own subsequent albums, I find this to be a joy to listen to. Primarily Peter Bardens' keyboards, primarily organ, electric piano and mono-chromatic synth, retro even in 1973, along with Andy Ward's tight drumming, drive the music along.

While I still would not rate this with the great albums of the seventies, it should not be overlooked.

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A modest debut from one of the prog's more well-known groups. Released in 1973, this was before Camel had fully developed their symphonic approach that would forge classics like "Mirage" and "Moonmadness". More straightforward rock oriented than their later works, they still manage to chisel out a very solid album.

The album contains a mix of jazz, hard rock, and a well-balanced interplay between acoustic and electric sounds. Rockers like "Slow Yourself Down", "Separation" and the instrumental "Arubaluba" show that Camel could have gone into mainstream rock music had they felt to, but each of these songs still retains a degree of sophistication that keeps them firmly in the realm of prog. "Slow Yourself Down" sounds as though it could have been a (considerably) more mellow Deep Purple cut, with guitar and organ soloing that shreds like "Burn" or "Highway Star".

There is more progressive material on the album, too, and that is where the most magical moments lie. "Mystic Queen" and "Never Let Go" are both ballads that feature excellent acoustic and electric guitar work from Andrew Latimer, as well as flute in the latter. "Six Ate" is a jazz rock instrumental not unlike something off of Caravan's "In The Land of Grey And Pink". Both "Never Let Go" is the clear highlight track on the album, featuring one of Latimer's most aggressively passionate guitar solos. Altogether, the album is very consistent and there aren't any weak tracks.

While Camel is sometimes criticized as a sort of "insomnia antidote" of a band, the refreshing rock energy on this debut album of there's certainly stands out. I'd recommend it to anyone who isn't keen on Camel's more symphonic records but would still like to give the band a try, and is a must-hear for those who are already fans of the band's other 70's works.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nš 63

This is my fifth review of a Camel's album. The others are their second, third and fourth studio albums 'Mirage', 'The Snow Goose' and 'Moonmadness' which were released in 1974, 1975 and 1976 respectively, and their debut live album 'A Live Record' released in 1978. In 1972 the band signed with MCA Records and the result of it was this musical work 'Camel', their eponymous debut studio album which was released in 1973.

'Camel' has seven tracks. The first track 'Slow Yourself Down' written by Andrew Latimer and Andy Ward is a great song to open the album and represents, to my taste, the third best song on the album. This song features great organ work by Peter Bardens and is very well accompanied with a relaxed vocal work. A great rhythm section was also created by Doug Fergusson and Ward. The second track 'Mystic Queen' written by Bardens represents, for me, the second best track on the album. The song is absolutely sublime and is one of the two highest points of the album. It represents another great song with a good organ work by Bardens, perfectly accompanied with a tasteful Latimer's guitar solo. It has also a great performance on the drums by Ward. The third track 'Six Ate' written by Latimer is, in my humble opinion, the weakest point of the album. But, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that it's a bad song. What I'm saying is that the song can be, sometimes, a little bit repetitive and represents the lower point on the album. The fourth track 'Separation' written also by Latimer is the shortest song on the album. It's a very good song with some slow parts and with a very powerful and superb ending. This is another great song. The fifth track 'Never Let Go' is another Latimer's song and that eventually gave its name to a live album of the band. It's also one of the lengthiest tracks on the album. It's my favourite song on the album and one of my favourite songs from the group. It's a wonderful piece of music with the only appearance of Bardens on vocals. He gave an amazing keyboard solo very well accompanied by a marvellous Latimer's flute work, too. The sixth track 'Curiosity' written by Bardens is a song with a strong bass line featured by Ferguson. This is a typical Camel's track with a good writing composition. It's also another very good song, in the same line of the rest of the musical material found in here. The seventh track 'Arubaluba' also written by Bardens is the closing song on the album. It's an instrumental track that represents the lengthiest song on the album. This is one of the best songs on the album, and in my point of view, it's in the fourth place. It's a very strong track with great guitar performances, an interesting organ work and a good complementary job made by Fergusson and Ward.

My CD version has also two bonus tracks. As I usually say, I don't review bonus tracks mainly because of two reasons. First, bonus tracks don't make part of the original album and so, they shouldn't influence the album's review. Second, unfortunately in the most of the cases, the bonus tracks don't have good quality and are added without much criterion. Luckily, this isn't the case. Despite the first bonus track 'Never Let Go' not bring anything new to the album, because is simply a shorter single version of the original track, with the second bonus track we can't say the same. 'Homage To The God Of Light' is a 19 minutes live version of an original track written by Bardens, which was originally recorded on his solo studio album 'The Answer' released in 1970. This is really a great piece of music performed live superiorly. The track is full of free musical improvisations by all the band's members with extended psychedelic improvisation sounds and where all the musicians show their musical competence. This track was recorded live at the famous and mythical Marquee Club at 29th October 1974, and was previously unreleased. Unfortunately, it's shocking to think that this live version of 'Homage To The God Of Light' was hidden for so many years. I'm perfectly convinced that if this track has been released on the original album, it might be considered a truly masterpiece.

Conclusion: 'Camel' is a great debut album from the band. In my humble opinion, it has two tracks that deserve to be rated with 5 stars 'Mystic Queen' and 'Never Let Go', four tracks that deserve 4 stars 'Slow Yourself Down', 'Separation', 'Curiosity' and 'Arubaluba' and one track that deserve only 3 stars 'Six Ate'. So, the final average of this album is between 4 and 4,5 stars. So, I decided to rate it with 4 stars. Sincerely, I think that it missed very few to it to can achieve the status of a masterpiece, which fortunately would happen, with their three following studio albums. This is really a great starting point if you want to listen to Camel as a newbie. This is an album very catchy and easy to get into, especially for the beginners. It's an amazing musical work, especially as a first album of any band. Don't get be repelled by the fact that it isn't very known and popular, compared with some of their other studio albums. This is a great album, probably the most simple, pure and naive of all their studio albums. Sincerely, I deeply recommend it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Modrigue
4 stars A little jazzy and proggy hard rock animal

Not often cited by fans, CAMEL's self-titled debut album offers an energetic jazzy rock, supported by Peter Bardens' colorful keyboards and Andy Latimer's inspired guitar play. As always, the sung parts remain rather discrete and the musician already focus on their strong points: the instrumental passages. Not as progressive as their next albums, the music is nonetheless quite lively and promising. As many other bands in the 70's, the compositions were tested and refined at concerts before being released in studio version.

The opener "Slow Yourself Down" is a catchy punchy jazz-rock in the style of SANTANA, including various cool soli. In contrast, "Mystic Queen" is my least favorite track of the record. It has pretty and melancholic moments I find it overall a bit boring and lengthy. Back to jazz-rock with the instrumental "Six Ate". Driven by keyboards, it features a few cool rhythm changes. Surprising, the galloping heroic "Separation" is hard rock oriented, sometimes even sounding like early 70's metal! Great!

More melodic, "Never Let Go" announces the style that CAMEL will develop in their next album, "Mirage". A melancholic tune, with jazzy and enchanting variations, supported by Peter Bardens' mellotron. "Curiosity" is an evolving but a little uneven song, enjoyable though. The closer "Arubaluba" is the other instrumental track of the disc. Dynamic and powerful, it simply rocks!

CAMEL's self-titled debut album has lots to offer and already unveils the band's potential, especially for composition and instrumental parts. Unfortunately, the musicians won't earn the success they deserve with this release, maybe due the lack of originality of their music at the time and of a charismatic frontman. Nonetheless, it still remains a lively and inspired opus, as well as a good entry point to the band for hard rockers.

CAMEL's rockiest effort, and one of their best albums. A promising and talented animal, recommended to jazzy rock and SANTANA fans!

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
4 stars A very promising and strong debut! Camel's eponymous first album, released in 1973, is definitely a tremendous beginning to one of prog's most intriguing stories. Formed in '71 in Guildford, Surrey, Camel was surely a prog rock band of humble beginnings. Releasing their very first album in a year when bands like Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Gong, among many more were releasing their fifth or sixth albums, is definitely a sign of challenge and nervous expectation. Surprisingly or not, Camel have gained a cult following since then for good reasons, claiming somewhat of a title of 'the unsung heroes' of the genre of progressive rock.

Upon releasing 'Camel', the band consisted of Andrew Latimer on guitar and vocals (on two tracks), Peter Bardens on all keyboards, including organ, piano, VCS3, and the absolutely mandatory mellotron and vocals (once again, on two tracks), Doug Ferguson on bass and vocals (as expected, on two of the tracks), and Andy Ward on drums and percussion. Rooted in symphonic rock and Canterbury scene-ish riffing, this first album showcases a strong affinity towards the music of Genesis, Yes, and Caravan but with a strong sense of identity and originality.

A bold debut, and a very accomplished album on its own, 'Camel' surely sets a high standard from this point on with the rocky 'Slow Yourself Down' or the more psychedelic 'Mystic Queen'. Then the band go full-on Canterbury style on the instrumental 'Six Ate'. 'Separation' is what I would refer to as the most negligible song, and least memorable. 'Never Let Go' must be one of prog's hidden gems, as it is surely not coming up as often as it should when speaking of 70s classics of the genre. 'Curiosity' is a fantastic track with lead vocals from Ferguson, and 'Arubaluba' is another quirky instrumental to finish off on a high note.

Underrated and underappreciated from the general public, met without much enthusiasm, 'Camel' is an album with a very recognizable atmosphere and a strong sense of identity that is yet to be completely polished. On the other hand, this is another very impressive debut from a young band, at the time, as it often happens in progressive rock.

Review by Hector Enrique
4 stars At the height of the progressive rock effervescence, Camel released their first album of the same name in 1973, and thus began their musical adventure as one of the bands that, although they did not reach the levels of popularity of Yes, Genesis or similar legends, managed with their particular style, which combines elements of blues, jazz and rock, to make a place for themselves and be considered a cult band and a reference of the genre.

The musical proposal of "Camel", in spite of having a somewhat raw and still to be polished sound, surprises with an uncommon solidity for a debut album, being guided by the intensity of Andy Latimer's electric guitars and the constant counterpoint with Peter Bardens' dynamic keyboards, as in the opening "Slow Yourself Down", or the lively "Separation", as well as by the construction of powerful instrumental walls in complicity with Doug Ferguson's bass and Andy Ward's jazzy drums, in the intricate and sublime "Arubaluba".

On the other hand, Camel also show their skills with the more laid-back tracks, such as the Pinkfloydian "Mystic Queen", with a development and chorus that could well be part of the marathon "Echoes", or the crystalline opening arpeggios of Latimer's acoustic guitar on the anxious "Never Let Go", one of the album's best.

The remastered 2002 edition includes an interesting extended live version of "Homage to the God of Light", a track from Bardens' solo album "The Answer".

At the time "Camel" was not very well received and went unnoticed, and the band was even forced to change record labels, but the passing of time has positioned it in a place more in keeping with its value.

Very good

3.5/4 stars

Latest members reviews

4 stars Review #125 The first time I listened to CAMEL it was the compilation album "Echoes", and the first song on the first CD is "Never let go", then we get "Freefall" and "Lady Fantasy" from "Mirage" and "Rhayader/Rhayader goes to town" from "The snow goose" and then other songs from the followin ... (read more)

Report this review (#2631370) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Friday, November 5, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great begining of even greater things to come. Probably the most energetic album of the whole Camel's catalogue. Caravanesque at times (which is never a bad thing), and highly enjoyable - rocking, catchy, melodic, very well executed. Nice arrangements with classic guitar, piano/organ and flutes ... (read more)

Report this review (#2533236) | Posted by Artik | Friday, April 9, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Review #1: s/t by Camel, (1973) Emerging during the peak of the prog rock boom of 1973 out of the Canterbury scene, Camel is often cited as one of the more popular and well-liked bands of the genre. While some critics liken the band's music to that of post- Roger Waters Pink Floyd, much of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#2486209) | Posted by PacificProghead | Saturday, December 19, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Camel debut album came too late and was miles behind the top progressive efforts of 1973 like Genesis, ELP and Yes. This does not mean that there isn't enough confidence; the band is building on rock/hard-rock basis and has more than enough energy to show. Compositonally, melodies point at good ... (read more)

Report this review (#2406084) | Posted by sgtpepper | Monday, May 25, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I've recently bought the first six Camel albums on CD, having previously owned most of them on vinyl or cassette. The first album was the one that I'd never owned before, and I was only familiar with one song (Never Let Go, which is featured on the live album). It's an impressive debut, though I ... (read more)

Report this review (#2351907) | Posted by AlanB | Thursday, April 16, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One heck of a debut. Camel flies out of the gate as an exciting, mature and rocking prog band. I will admit that it can sound rather derivative, like "Mystic Queen" sounds to me a lot like Pink Floyd at times and King Crimson on others, but I still love it. A great song that flows along and doe ... (read more)

Report this review (#1372199) | Posted by ster | Monday, February 23, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Better Never Let Go! Slightly lower than what would be three classic pillars of the group, and that would come after this great debut. The sound on the remastered version is great and raises the album to another level. The album contains four classics:  Slow Yourself Down, claimed with two go ... (read more)

Report this review (#1100904) | Posted by sinslice | Friday, December 27, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars CAMEL'S DEBUT ALBUM IS EXCELLENT, TO PAIR OF THEIR SUCCESSORS I really think this album deserved a better ranking on the site here, because the sound it offers is the same as their successors, the masterpieces "Mirage " (best of all of the Camel), "The Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness ". "Camel" ... (read more)

Report this review (#439053) | Posted by voliveira | Monday, April 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is the great start for one band. All of the songs are quiet good, except Separation, that one is pefect lol... That is not too long as well and when it ends you are still capable of listening to some music unlike those 2 CD prog albums like Marillion's Marbles or so... lol2... Mystic queen i ... (read more)

Report this review (#329393) | Posted by parapet | Monday, November 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What an amazing debut! I must say that It's very hard to find bands of young musicians as exciting and talented as this these days. Although most Camel fans consider albums like "Mirage" and "Moonmadness" to be better albums overall, this 1973 release contains some of the thier most beloved songs. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#326176) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Friday, November 19, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great and powerful debut album and probably one of the best debuts I know. Very enjoyable tunes with beautiful keys and well done guitar and bass arrangements. There are 7 songs here and the albums starts with "Slow yourself down". Inspired keyboard arrangements with a consistent rhythm sustaine ... (read more)

Report this review (#288524) | Posted by petrica | Monday, June 28, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It is pretty evident that Camel was not the band We used to love in the seventies. This is their first recording, and a pretty amazing debut, but they had not decided yet where to go musically speaking. They are all there, including the magnificent Ward, but thereīs a lot of styles colliding o ... (read more)

Report this review (#287933) | Posted by steelyhead | Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Yes, I know I should not be reviewing an album with more than 200 x reviews. But in this case, we are talking about one of the classic albums and a great album too. Camel are listed under the Symphonic Prog label here in ProgArchives. But this album is a fully fledged Canterbury Scene album. ... (read more)

Report this review (#286220) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, June 12, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Their Debut is one of my favorite Camel albums. I really don't understand why "Camel" is thought by many as inferior to their later three albums. I think it is at least up there with "Mirage", "The Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness", if not the best of the four. This debut was the first Camel album ... (read more)

Report this review (#275023) | Posted by Utukku | Sunday, March 28, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have decided to randomly work my through the reviews of Camel's albums starting with Snow Goose, and now this album, their debut. I was lucky enough to purchase this CD last year for only 2 bucks and it has been WELL worth the cost. "Slow Yourself Down" is classic Camel right from the start. ... (read more)

Report this review (#271096) | Posted by mohaveman | Wednesday, March 10, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Hits? Hits! Hits? Camel's eponymous debut is an excellent breakthrough album for an excellent band, in their not so early stages. Despite Camel being formed in 1964, there have been constant line-up changes until this album came out, with the famous line-up of Andrew Latimer, Andy Ward, D ... (read more)

Report this review (#239560) | Posted by The Runaway | Wednesday, September 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A mix between Focus, Ekseption, Genesis and Moody Blues... A great band...: Camel! Because yes, 'Camel', debut album of Camel, is a great album in the vein of a strange mix between the mentiones band. In various percentage depending on the songs but sure with great personality and magic. In m ... (read more)

Report this review (#222191) | Posted by 1967/ 1976 | Sunday, June 21, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars My second review. Song-by-song: Slow yourself down (4+) Good drums and a great organ... Nice mellow singing and a really good song overall. The change after 2 minutes are really great with a rock'n roll-guitar combating with the organ. Mmmm... Mystic Queen (5+) Great intro with a nice ... (read more)

Report this review (#207390) | Posted by JackDaniel | Monday, March 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars With this album things got started really. This album shows the quality of things that were still to come. One of the best tracks is Never let go. Personally I don't really care much for the song Mystic Queen. The other songs are strong and to the point. Of course the soundquality (the productio ... (read more)

Report this review (#201549) | Posted by Kanda | Tuesday, February 3, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 6.8/10 Decent Camel's first, but not my first Camel album. I came to this album after hearing "The Snow Goose" and being blown away of course. This album certainly did not live up to the sound of Snow Goose, but definitely holds with it a strong "Camel" feel. "Camel" is actually a decent ... (read more)

Report this review (#151033) | Posted by The Lost Chord | Thursday, November 15, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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