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RAIN DANCES

Camel

Symphonic Prog


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Camel Rain Dances album cover
3.56 | 637 ratings | 64 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. First light (5:00)
2. Metrognome (4:19)
3. Tell me (4:07)
4. Highways of the Sun (4:32)
5. Unevensong (5:34)
6. One of these Days I'll get an early night (5:59)
7. Elke (4:31)
8. Skylines (4:26)
9. Rain Dances (2:59)

Total Time: 41:27

Lyrics

Search CAMEL Rain Dances lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Andrew Latimer / guitar, flute, vocal on 3, 4 & 5 some piano, bass
- Peter Bardens / keyboards
- Andy Ward / drums, percussion
- Richard Sinclair / bass, vocal on 3, 5
- Mel Collins / saxophone

Guests:
- Martin Drover / trumpet on 6, cor Flugel on 8
- Malcolm Griffiths / trombone on 6, 8
- Brian Eno / acoustic and electric piano, Mini Moog, cloches on "Elke"
- Fionna Hibbert / harpe on "Elke"

Releases information

LP DECCA TXS-R124 (1977)
CD Deram 820 725-2 (1991) and including the Single Version of "Higways Of The Sun" (3:57)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to MANDRAKEROOT for the last updates
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CAMEL Rain Dances ratings distribution


3.56
(637 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
14%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
45%
Good, but non-essential (35%)
35%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

CAMEL Rain Dances reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!! I never really fully understood how this was not the masterpiece we all expected , as the arrival of Sinclair should 've made this band hot stuff. But then again the momentum for this kind of music was waning and Latimer did not give the newcomers enough freedom. Collins (the reed-blower not the skin-pounder) is also on the line-up but was never a full-blown member of this band. If I may even be pretentious enough to say that it even sounds like Latimer and Bardens were bickering about how to get their ideas across, even this early in Camel's discography, than it is no wonder Sinclair had not much chance making a real impact on the band other than his great bass playing. At least one of the better point on this album and its successor is that Sinclair will improve on Ferguson's stance as far bass is concerned. But Little else to rejoyce about. Not that the tunes on here are bad (that is for the next two studio albums) but this is definitely poppier but sometimes more interesting/adventuresome than MoonMadness (but that does not garantee that it will be successful). A real disappointment compared to the expectations .

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#2261) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 05, 2004

Review by lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Discontinuos and "jazzy" album, often uneven but realized with the contribution of "R. Sinclair", coming from the "Light Canterburian Scene". The stunning title Track and "Metrognome" are alone worth checking out, but also the unforgettable job of Peter Bardens, unfortunately missed ever, in the course of year 2002, is remarkable (the splendid title track and "Elka", this latter performed with the support of Brian Eno, are important and memorable tracks!!). Instead by regarding of the tepid song "Highway of the Sun" and other uneven stuff, we can change our opinion about this album... especially if you don't like the weak tone of the vocalist R. Sinclair!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#2254) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, April 01, 2004

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This CAMEL album follows the magnificent "Moonmadness". The expectations were high at that time. Well, "Rain Dances" is less good. Actually, "Rain Dances" is among the worst of the CAMEL's albums. Worst, but still very good! The sound and style are often like "Moonmadness" (first light, metrognome, unevensong, skylines). Just slightly less good. There are couples of ordinary songs like "Highways of the Sun". There are some jazzy parts. The bass is very good; it sounds like a fretless bass. The drums, guitars and keyboards are very good and well played. "Elke" is particularly floating, beautiful and relaxing. Mel Collins plays the saxes.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#2255) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, April 08, 2004

Review by daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Rain Dances" is probably a concept album, since the passage of time is too well synchronized here to be accidental. However, the real idea behind the record seems to be a commercial smoothing over of CAMEL's previously prickly progressive coat. Hiring bassist/vocalist Richard Sinclair (ex-CARAVAN) to replace Doug Ferguson and adding saxophonist Mel Collins (ex-KING CRIMSON) to the proceedings would, on the surface, portend a more progressive direction. Collaborating with Brian ENO on the haunting instrumental "Elke" also suggests artistic intentions (ENO's always served as the Good Housekeeping Seal of avant garde integrity in my book).

But CAMEL writes actual songs this time, conventional structures that suggest ALAN PARSONS PROJECT or PINK FLOYD in their sleepy vision: "Metrognome", "Tell Me", "Highways of the Sun". Sinclair takes most of the vocals, achieving the same humble state that seems to be a shared acquirement among all CAMEL members (I can rarely tell who's singing a CAMEL song at the time). It's not a radical departure from past excursions, with the usual soporific prog pixie dust scattered throughout in "First Light", "Tell Me" (which suggests a cross between "The Snow Goose" and 10CC's "I'm Not In Love") and "Unevensong".

Yet CAMEL was clearly embarking on a path away from prog's excesses, eschewing long instrumental passages for quirky pop songs (the same direction Anthony PHILLIPS and Steve HACKETT were moving in) and light fusion. It was a path many prog groups would follow, from GENTLE GIANT to GENESIS, and CAMEL manages to do it without trading in their original principles. Unfortunately, in the crossing the immortal state of grace is lost, and the albums that followed seemed human, imperfect. "Elke" is the only track that reaches back to the realms of Heaven, and even so it's a different place than CAMEL alone would have conjured (the haunting tones of "Discreet Music" are the working reference point). Peter Bardens' magnificent organ solos would no longer weave their old magic (only two tracks here feature organ), and another mystic queen or white rider wouldn't be on the horizon. Before striking too elegiac a tone, it's important to note that "Rain Dances" can't be reckoned a disappointment, since CAMEL still seeks counsel from the old oracles for inspiration. Subsequent records would make plain just how much magic remained on "Rain Dances".

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#2264) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 17, 2004

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Well people surmise and critisize Camel for a radical change of direction with RD. Firstly Richard Sinclair is not a negative, secondly there were some serious strains between Bardens and Latimer developing. Having said that I think this is one of their most creative albums not to mention most daring, First Light is arguably their finest 5 minute rendition of instrumental sound. Tell Me, demands reflection and Unevensong is a classic up tempo twist of rythms. Elke endorses why someone like Brian Eno would want to be involved. I cannot think of any reason why this album should be negated with a poor review. Trial and adversity in a highly politically sensitive climate and Camel win hands down. First Light is their finest snapshot.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#2271) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 25, 2004

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Camel's fifth album Rain Dances saw a change in personnel with stalwart bassist Doug Ferguson having called time on his stint with the band. While his replacement Richard Sinclair (a founder member of both Caravan and Hatfield And The North) was arguably a superior musician, Raindance did mark the beginning of the end of Camel's classic phase. For as they searched for a new sound to restore their commercial fortunes, Camel put together a number of tunes that bore the hallmarks of the neo-prog sound that Marillion, Pendragon and the like would emulate a few years later. Despite the fact that it's not a sound I'm fond of, Camel's musicians are far too competent to bore me in the way that many of the lesser lights of neo-prog do.

Nonetheless this album really is quite a mixed bag. On the plus side you have the opening track First Light, a stunning instrumental in which Peter Bardens plays some really lovely synthy (as opposed to his usual organ) leads, guitarist Andy Latimer weighs in for a while and then guest saxophonist Mel Collins (the guy who played with anyone from King Crimson to Bad Company) swoops in to clinch the deal. There's also Highways Of The Sun, one of Camel's breeziest moments. It's actually their attempt at credible pop and may not sate your prog desires, but it sure is a light-hearted (and thanks to a gorgeous synthy mid-section ... not entirely lightweight) track that ought to lift your spirits.

There are also two beautiful instrumentals ... the laidback rather sad flute dominated Elke and the spacey synthy title track which is something that Tangerine Dream would have been proud of.

On the down side though, there are a fair number of songs I'm just not sure about. The jazz fusion instrumental One Of These Days I'll Get An Early Night for example contains a brilliant electric piano solo from Bardens, but is generally a dull piece. Skylines offers more of the same ... it's very fusiony, with mediocre solos from Latimer and brilliant daring stuff from Bardens (who seems to have been in fantastic form throughout).

Metrognome is probably the worst song on the album and is a typical neo-prog tune. Unevensong though is just what it's title indicates ... it starts off as a meandering neo- prog effort with tedious vocals and plods along until Bardens' keyboards take over at the two minute mark turning the piece into an exciting one which eventually reveals a lovely repetitive fade-out that is one of Camel's most beautiful moments. One of the most intriguing pieces here is Tell Me which is held together by Sinclair's bass and assorted brass. It's a moody piece that is quite un-Camel-like and my opinion of it seems to change every time I hear it ... although I quite dug it the last time I checked it out.

Because there are too many uncertain moments on Rain Dances, I can't quite recommend this album as emphatically as I have done certain others, but there is a little doubt that its many peaks do not shame the Camel name. Incidentally, my CD contains an edited bonus single version of Highways Of The Sun, which is punchier but somehow not quite as cheery as the album version. ... 64% on the MPV scale

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Send comments to Trotsky (BETA) | Report this review (#2275) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, February 27, 2005

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Although Camel wasn't exactly a Canterbury band, their symphonic prog style was recurrently related to the sound created by the most melodic bands of this genre (mostly Caravan), and now, with the entry of newcomer bassist Richard Sinclair, the Camel thing really got as Canterbury as it could get, despite the preservation of the band's original symphonic essence, which is, after all, the core of its 'inner self'. The entry of semi-permanent collaborator Mel Collins also helped to develop this recycling process. Ward's ever-increasing jazz interests had become quite obvious and relevant in the "Moon Madness" album - albeit some hints could also be found in the first 2 albums -, and now, with the support of Latimer and Bardens plus the shift from Ferguson to Sinclair on the bassist's role the thing became official and effective. That's what we get from the opening track 'First Light', which shows off the band's enthusiasm for the brand new step that they were taking in their career: Sinclair and Ward speak the same idiom with absolute fluidity, while Bardens and Latimer deliver their melodic sensibilities with total ease - Collins' sax solo near the end is a proper icing of this delicious jazzy prog cake. The same goes for 'Metrognome', another excellent symptom of this universe, although not as excellent as 'Skylines', which includes some of the best guitar and synthesizer solos in the album. Richard Sinclair didn't play on this one, but what he did on it for the "Live Record" rendition is really superb. but that's a matter for another review. 'One of These Days I'll Get an Early Night' takes the jazz thing further, quite beyond the land of Canterbury right into the land of funk-oriented American West Coast jazz: even though Camel stands in foreign territory here, they do a great job while having fun at soloing over a simplistic basic motif. 'Tell Me' is an introspective ballad that shows Bardens and Latimer's to create simple beautiful melodies and enrich them with effective ornaments on synth and woodwind - the way that Collins' bass clarinet complements Latimer's flute lines is simply mesmerizing. By the way, does anybody know that this ballad is not a love song but a suggestion for all punk rockers to start saying something really meaningful through music instead of cursing at random and for no reason? Go figure. 'Highways of the Sun' and 'Unevensong' (the latter being one of my fave tracks from this album, together with 'First Light' and 'Skylines') are the closest to what Camel had been doing and developing in their previous albums, although the new winds are still very present in them, especially regarding Ward's drumming. 'Elke' is kind of a Latimer solo venture: supported by Brian Eno on synth and bells, plus a female harpist, he builds an ethereal landscape of flute/keyboards/fuzz guitars that stands in unison with Eno's minimalistic approach. This piece serves as an effective interlude between the easy-going fun of 'On of These Days.' and the splendid architecture of 'Skylines'. The namesake closure is a reprise of the opening track, fusing the meditative vibe of 'Tell Me' and the cosmic nuances of 'Elke': a nice ending for a monster album. IMHO, "Rain Dances" is yet another Camel masterpiece, and so, in ProgArchives terms, I give it the maximum rating.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#37884) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, June 27, 2005

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Following the success of the Moonmadness album Camel experienced their first amendement since their formation. Doug Ferguson left the band while Richard Sinclair settled into his role bringing a new dimension to the band's sound. They wanted to do more concise material and to get into jazzier areas. Mr. Sinclair was not alone in adding instrumentation since saxophonist Mel Collins joined the group supporting tour. The songs are generally quieter than the Moonmadness ones (Tell Me, Elke-Brian Eno contribution, Rain Dances). The splendour of the previous album is findable in Unevensong (without any doubt the best of this 1977 Camel's work), but good also are Metrognome, Skylines, the single Highway Of The Sun. I really like the opener First Light which is an interesting instrumental track with some remarkable sax played by Mel Collins.

I feel that the right evaluation it's about 4 stars (rounded up, really). By the way an album moderately recommendable!

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Posted Monday, August 29, 2005

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Following the success of their fourth album "Moonmadness" (released in March 1976) Camel experienced the first personnel amendment since their formation back in 1971. Andrew Latimer (guitar, flutes, vocals), Peter Bardens (keyboards), and Andy Ward (drums, vibes, percussion) bid farewell to their bass player Doug Ferguson, following that album's attendant tours, and while he went off to pursue other interests they considered how to plug the gap and set to work on formulating ideas for the next project. [CD liner notes; quoted without permission]. Richard Sinclair (previously with Caravan, Hatfield and The North) replaced Doug Ferguson as Camel's bass player.

"First Light" (5:00) is an instrumental track with Mel Collins on saxophone followed with what later became famous song "Metrognome" (4:19) which comprises a combination of melancholic lyrical part and long sustain keyboard, an exploration of a bit complex, avant-garde music where keyboard and sax work together in relatively medium-fast speed music. It flows to a completely mellow track "Tell me" (4:07) which sorry to say is less-melodic compared to typical Camel music. "Highways of the Sun" (4:32) is a pop song with a touch of Camel sound. The song reminds me to Steve Hackett's "The Toast" of Defector album. It's then followed with another song with similar style but a bit upbeat in tempo: "Unevensong" (5:34). "One of These Days I'll Get an Early Night" (5:59) is an experimental in nature as the band tries to use brass as main rhythm section featuring guitar, saxophone and keyboard solos.

"Elke" (4:31) is a bridge to connect with next instrumental track "Skylines" (4:26) which offers excellent keyboard solo. The concluding track "Rain Dances" (2:59) is another symphonic exploration by Peter bardens on his keyboard. It's hard to believe that this track is played by Camel. My CD has an additonal bonus "Highways of The Sun" - single version.

Even though this album is less powerful than its predecessor "Moonmadness" this album is a very good one to have in your collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Posted Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Review by horza
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One of Camels most interesting albums,but not one usually mentioned in the hallowed portals of prog. It featured two semi-legendary figures in Eno and Mel Collins. It also featured the single Highways of the Sun,which was'nt that great actually. What set it apart in my opinion were First Light,Unevensong and the sublime Skylines,which allows Peter Bardens to hog the spotlight a little and show us what mini-moogs were capable of. Andy Latimer shared one thing in common with Dave Gilmour,they both knew when enough was enough,they knew the exact number of notes a piece required.No guitar hero posturing from them. Raindances deserves a hearing,Skylines could be a signature Camel song.

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Posted Friday, September 30, 2005

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Camel pulls caravan

The significance of "Rain dances" in the history of Camel is that it represents the first line up change the band experienced, with bassist Doug Ferguson leaving due to differences with drummer Andy Ward over the band's style of rhythm section. In his place came ex-Caravan bassist Richard Sinclair, bringing with him a slightly jazzier style of playing. This pleased Ward, but the relationship between the two was by all accounts less than harmonious. While not an official member of the band, Mel Collins was pretty much on board too, his sax emphasising further the more jazz influenced direction of the band. Collins would go on to formally join Camel for the following "Breathless" album.

"Rain dances" has one of the best intros to an album you're ever likely to hear. "First light" is an inspired instrumental track which bursts into life with an uplifting synthesiser workout, then moving through fine guitar and sax solos. This was, as far as I am aware, the first time sax had been used on a Camel album, Mel Collins introducing it in a similar way to how Al Stewart did on his "Year of the cat" song.

The album is in two distinct halves, the first side of the LP containing shorter tracks with a pop feel. Side two on the other hand is largely instrumental, and finds Camel indulging in some of the most fusion based work of their entire career. The lengthy list of guest musicians and their talents emphasises again the jazz orientation. Sinclair adds a new dimension to the vocals, although the slightly off key, dull nature of them is still present.

"Highways of the sun" is a synth based song with a catchy hook, while "Tell me" is a delicate ballad with some fine flute. Camel's predilection for corny song titles continues with "Metro gnome" and "One of these days I'll get an early night". The former features some of Andy Latimer's best guitar work, while the latter moves towards Average White Band territory, with some very jazz based piano and sax. The closing title track draws things back to a more "Snowgoose" like symphonic sound, the orchestral theme building nicely, but fading all too soon.

While "Rain dances" contains some overtly commercial sections, it is undoubtedly one of Camel's most adventurous albums. In some ways it parallels Caravan's "Waterloo lily" album in that it finds the band exploring the jazz side of their music in greater depth than on any other album. Whether this is due to the arrival of Mel Collins and Richard Sinclair, or whether they were brought in because Latimer and Bardens wished to move in that direction is not entirely clear. What is clear though is that with "Rain dances" Camel largely succeeded in their desire to extend their boundaries, and created a highly credible album in the process.

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Posted Thursday, December 15, 2005

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 3.5 Stars.

What is it?: Camel exploring pop and jazz. The band successfully blended the genres with their own sound to produce a very interesting album. It may suffer somewhat on the second side, but the first 4 songs are very impressive.

This is another great Camel Album. It is as good as its predecessor, but different. They changed their sound. They included jazz and pop elements to their symphonic soft rock style as well as Genesis influences. As a result, this is a very fresh album. When you hear the first track, you will be reminded that Camel is not the same: the saxophone is introduced, and it is more jazzy. The saxophone solo played above the great instrumentation is masterful. The next tracks are good: Metrognome is a genesis influenced track with an excellent chorus and some interesting uptempo instrumental moments; Tell me is a good mellow number with the bass guitar loud in the mix; Highways of the Sun is a good pop number; and the Uneven song is a pretty good jazz- rocker divided into two sections, the second half being the best part. The second half of the disc is less commercial and for me, less interesting. One of these days is a jazz- fusion workout (unusual for Camel), Elke sounds like something from Snow Goose, Skylines is more jazz that features a pretty good synth solo that reminds me of the Flower Kings. The final and title track is a good ending for the album: a short song dominated by strings and keyboards.

Highlights: First Light, Highways of the Sun Let Downs: One of these days, Elke

My Grade: B/C

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Posted Thursday, January 05, 2006

Review by belz
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 3.6/5.0 Let's be clear about this one: Camel is on the decline. With albums like "Mirage", "The Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness" they really established themselves as masters of prog music, with a sound of their own, imaginative, with lot of great keyboards and counter-tempi. "Rain Dances" is still a good album, but even with Sinclair coming to the band (which adds a very interesting jazzy touch) it is not enough to mask the lack of imagination that seems to have taken place in the band.

Of course, this is not only about a lack of imagination. That would not be that bad; some bands have less than no imagination and still are very high in the ratings (Dream Theater not to name it). The main problem is a lack of imagination plus a typical 80s sound. In 1973, I think one could say that Camel been a precursor should be a good thing. But who wants to be, in 1997, a precursor of the pitiful decade that is to begin three years later? Let's be honest: the sound on this one sounds too much like any album of the 80s. Too much, simply. They great keyboards that were are replaced by simply bad sounding keyboards. Well, it is a minor annoyance, but still an annoyance.

Then, why do I give close to 4 stars to this album? Well... Because it is good! At some point even Camel with a lack of imagination is still better than many groups. The sonority is not that good, but some songs are really catchy, Skylines on the top of them. The rest of the album goes up and down, with great moments (Highways in the Sun) and less great moments (Tell me). Overall, this album is worth a listening, especially if you are a Camel fan. But certainly not as good as the albums before. Nothing to refute the old funny 'thesis' saying that music achieved its peak in 1976! 3.6/5.0

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Posted Friday, April 07, 2006

Review by Heptade
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is, in my opinion, a grossly underrated album. Sure, it's a bit more commercial than Camel's previous works, but not nearly as commercial as their Parsons Project sound-alikes from the eighties. The album has a couple of strong points in its favour. First, the new lead vocalist is Richard Sinclair (ex-Caravan), a wonderful, rich, classy singer who is also a fine bass player. Second, the songs are generally very strong and catchy, but with enough keyboard and guitar virtosity from Bardens and Latimer to provide that proggy sheen. "Tell Me" is the band's finest ballad, a gentle, spacy tune featuring heartbreakingly beautiful vocals from Sinclair. In fact, the wide use of string-synth on the album gives it a delightfully airy sheen that strangely works without conflict with some of the more jaunty jazzy aspects provided by Mel Collins on sax, flute and clarinet. "Unevensong" and "Metrognome" are very melodic tunes that I find myself humming for days after listening to the LP. The second side ends with several moody instrumentals (with help from Eno on one) that verge occasionally on ambient music. To me Rain Dances features the best of both old and new Camel, a strong combo of good playing, great melodies and an innocent sense of striving to achieve beauty, which is why I love Mr. Latimer's work in the first place. Lovers of classy, gentle prog really ought to get this one.

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Posted Monday, July 17, 2006

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars With the introduction of Mel Collins in the band, Andy Ward wanted to push Camel into a more jazzy style which was not at all in-line with Dough Ferguson's view. His musical roots were more related to what the band had achieved so far. So, he formally left the band in January 1977.

Camel started recording "Rain Dances" without bass player. They had already recorded two tracks when Richard Sinclair, formerly from Caravan joined.

But Latimer and Sinclair struggled with their opposing styles of writing, complicating instead of complementing their relationship. Mel Collins would spend much of his time in the studio and on the road with the band. Preferring to maintain his independent status as a session player, Mel would continue to appear with Camel till 1985.

The unusual pop, jazz and prog was quite a change for Camel fans at the time.

"First Light" is a very good instrumental opener and my favourite of the album. It sounds like Genesis (when they were four). Great drum play as well as very good sax part from Mel.

"Metrognome" starts rather poorly. Vocals are horrible. It has some good instrumental moments which save the track of being a boring one. They sould have avoided these terrible vocal parts. "Tell Me" is a mellow track. Not bad but not a highlight either.

"Highways Of The Sun" is a poppy song quite disturbing for a traditional Camel fan (like I am). It shows the way they will (unfortunately) investigate in later effort. Rather dull and one of the weakiest track.

"Uneven Song" has nice prog instrumental passages and mellow vocals. Not too bad.

"One Of These Days I'll Get An Early Night" is a jazzy jam. As you may have read in other reviews, this is not at all my cup of tea. Fortunately, it is followed by "Elke" which is a typical Camel wonderful moment of tranquility and nice flute playing. Somewhat reminiscent of Tangerine Dream ("Pheadra" era). Nice break and one of the best number IMO.

"Skylines" is another jazzy tune that could have found a perfect place on "Welcome" or "Barboletta" from Santana. Good number.

The closing number "Rain Dances" is another good instrumental : melodious, very quiet and almost classic during the intro.

I've read that Sinclair's input was also an opportunity to increase the vocal quality of Camel. I have to say that I am not convinced at all by this feature on this album. Five out of ten. I'll upgrade it to three stars.

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Posted Monday, February 05, 2007

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Not classic.

Rain Dances is by all means a let down and disappointment, especially considering the profound success of all of the previous albums. Yes, the band did have lineup changes, but they weren't prudent enough to create this disastrous a difference in sound, some might have thought it would be even better with the aforementioned Sinclair. But alas, we have songs in disillusion and overall a tepid and unexciting album.

Compared to the sharpness of albums like Moonmadness, this one is quite dull. The album is jazzier, and although that is not a bad thing, it lacks some of the imagination of previous works. And no offense to our neo-prog team, but this is more boring than neo-prog at many times. A few of the pieces hold up quite well, but usually the sections are far too short for enjoyment (example being the title track Rain Dances).

I came to this album after "the big 4" and so I suppose I was fortunate to listen to those first, as they are all far superior recordings. The majestic quality of Camel has tinges and frills that pop up every now and then on this album, but as a whole it stands as a low point in the bands catalog.

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Posted Thursday, April 05, 2007

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Departure of Doug Fergusson caused the first serious change of style in CAMEL's career. His replacement R. Sinclair of CARAVAN fame brought a funkier and jazzier bass lines while Collins' saxophones were a nice addition too. Although CAMEL was always on the edge of fusion/Canterbury style of prog, the jazzy elements are now more evident on "Rain Dances". Paradoxically, this was the most accessible album to date and "Highways of the Sun" was even as close to being a pop hit as CAMEL could do. "Rain Dances" is a nice, laid- back album that is pleasant to listen to, with several effective and very good Latimer's guitar solos, but it lacks the energy, imagination and composition of earlier records.

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Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Review by Melomaniac
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Expectations for this album must have been very high back in the day. The band had established themselves as major players in the prog scene, having released a string of four excellent albums, gathered a strong fan base and attracted critical acclaim. Another factor that comes in play was that this album marked the first in an upcoming series of changes in personnel, Doug Ferguson having decided to leave the band due to musical differences, mainly with drum maestro Andy Ward, who wanted the band to take a jazzier approach. Ferguson was replaced by the Caravan bassist/singer Richard Sinclair. Also, this would be the first of two albums on which wind instrument player extraordinaire Mel Collins (previously in King Crimson, among others) would appear. A match made in heaven, a good band made even better, or so everyone thought. For even though Rain Dances is an excellent album, it would mark the beginning of a low point in Camel's career.

The album opens with one of my favorite Camel instrumentals, First Light. A superb song, very well written, with amazing melodies from Collins on sax and Latimer on guitar. Barden's keyboard parts are very atmospheric, reminiscent of Pink Floyd and during the middle section, for some reason, also reminiscent of Kraftwerk. Ward's drumming is tasteful as ever, precise, filled with subtleties and original.

Metrognome is a great song. First song on which Sinclair would sing, as Latimer would do back vocal parts beautifully interwoven with Sinclair's line. But the song gets really interesting in it's second part (just like Song Within a Song from Moonmadness). A great instrumental moment showcasing an amazing melodical interplay between Latimer and Collins and an equally glorious bass part in the second half of this instrumental moment. With these two songs, Sinclair's selection as a replacement for Ferguson is justified. And then some. Not only does his bass playing style suits Camel very well, his voice brings even more to the band, as vocals have always been the weakest link up to that point in Camel's career.

Then comes a beautiful ballad, Tell Me. A hauntingly melancholic drumless song on which Bardens shines, particularly for the atmospheres he created. Reminds me a bit of what Gary Wright and Spooky Tooth were up to at some points.

Three out of three is great, but Highways of the Sun is, bluntly put, bad. Uninspired, repetitive, boring. Would have fitted well on the follow-up Breathless, with all the other below par songs found on it.

But there is still hope, for Uneven Song is another great number. Sounds a bit like a cross between Supertramp and Camel, especially the keyboard work. A wonderfully constructed song brilliantly executed with a beautiful instrumental ending.

And back down we go. One of these days, I'll get an early Night, though very well played, has a porn-jazz flavor to ; you might want to pop in the CD to get your girlfriend aroused (that bass line has something to do with it, I swear).

Elke is a hypnotic number I really love. Brian Eno collaborated on that one, so you can imagine it has an atmosphere all it's own. The keyboards are the highlight here.

To close the album, we get two instrumentals, of which Skylines is the first. A very jazzy number with an incredible bass line throughout as well as good playing from everybody else. Rain Dance sis a short instrumental that uses a theme from the opening song First Light exploited differently. It ends the album on a good note, and even with the few weak tracks on this album, it makes you want to play it all over again.

So Rain Dances is an excellent album, but the time of masterpieces in Camel's domain was now behind them (except for Nude) and way, way ahead of the mat the same time. Four stars for this one.

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Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Slowly sliding downhill. Rain Dances is not a bad album as long as you donīt compare to the previous four. When it came out it was a big disapointment for all fans I knew at the time. After Doug Ferguson left, the chemistry was also gone, I guess. Not that Richard Sinclair is a bad replacement: technically he is very good and cerrtainly had a better voice than anyone in the group. But it seemed that the strong bond between the musicians was cracking and the music somehow suffered with it. Unfortunatly Rains Dances was only the beginning of a confusing and bad time for Camel.

Some songs do work very weel, like the opener First Flight. The addition of Mel Collins on sax was also a plus for the overall sound. Still they could not deliver an even work like they did before so easily. And Highways of The Sun is definitly that one song that should never, never be recorded by Camel. That pop pastiche never takes off and spoils any continuity this album might have had if it was not included here.

Conclusion: some fine songs, but as a wholel quite inferior to what youīd espect from a band of this caliber. Good CD, sometimes very good, but definitly not essential. 3 stars.

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Posted Friday, August 24, 2007

Review by Moatilliatta
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is very strange. Moonmadness was a fantastic album, with the only fault lying in the vocals. Camel found a solution for the problem: Richard Sinclair. The man behind Canterbury-scene greats Hatfield and the North might not have the best voice, but it's a good voice, not to mention far better than Andy's, and he wrote great songs. So, this should be Camel's undisputed masterpiece right? Right!

But it isn't...

Why? Apparently Camel decided that they should try out commercial music. Oh, they also decided not to use Sinclair very often, which was a poor move. This album is weak. It starts out all right, but descends into mediocrity or worse after track one. Some of the compositions aren't bad, but they have unexplored potential (they unlock it live). It's just disappointing to see that they had a shot to make another great record, one that could solve the problem of their near masterpieces (the vocals, if you haven't been following).

Camel's qualities are starting to disappear.

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Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Camel is a progressive rock band that was formed in the UK in 1971, and belong to a rather large group of cult bands in the prog circle. Although commercially successful, at least in the start of their career, they remain a band mostly known for people interested in prog, and are for the most part unknown to others. Rain Dances is their fifth release, and was released in 1977.

Musically this release is an odd one. Keyboards, or synths as I personally often call them, are used extensively throughout the album. On some tracks the synths underscore the melody as such, and are used sparingly. On other tracks there's layers of synths creating a distinct symphonic backdrop for the songs as such; and on a couple of tracks the synths dominate totally in creating ambient or new age inspired soundscapes; especially notable in the track "Elke", but also noticeable in the title track Rain Dances to a certain extent.

Many of the tracks here have a jazzy feel to them as well. The drumming in particular comes across as jazz-inspired, at times heavily so. But the bass lines are jazzed up quite a bit on a few songs too, and you'll also find leanings towards jazz in the song structures here if you listen closely.

Quite a few songs here have other qualities to them as well though. Many of the songs are relatively simple in structure; and the classic verse and chorus structure combined with hummable melodies gives this release some pop flavouring. Single release "Highways of the Sun" is a really good example of that, in addition to being one of the best tracks of the album.

And the songs are variable in quality here as well as in style. A few songs obviously will sound a bit dated 30 years after; but I suspect others were average outings even at the time of the albums release. Still, there are enough enjoyable songs here to make this album worth purchasing.

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Posted Saturday, December 01, 2007

Review by Raff
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars When singer and bassist extraordinaire Richard Sinclair joined Camel in 1977, both the fans of the band and the aficionados of the Canterbury scene were anticipating fireworks. Drummer Andy Ward was keen on exploring the jazzier side of things, and Richard - who had last been a member of the superb Hatfield and the North - was just the right person to lead the band into hitherto unexplored territories. Moreover, his sublime voice seemed a perfect match for Camel's mellow, laid-back, atmospheric sound. With such premises, expectations of a masterpiece would certainly have been justified .

However, even though "Rain Dances" can be considered the last good studio album recorded by Camel in the Seventies, calling it a masterpiece would be a bit of a stretch, to say the least. It is indeed a lovely, relaxing album, featuring some excellent musicianship. On the other hand, Sinclair's awesome talents are definitely underused. For starters, he only gets credited on one track, "the jazzy instrumental "One of These Days I'll Get an Early Night" - but, what is even worse, his divine voice is only allowed to shine on two songs out of nine. When you have such a singer at your disposal, and force him to share the limelight with someone like Andy Latimer, who is a great guitarist, but a barely adequate vocalist at the best of times, it is nothing short of a crime. If you want further proof of what the album is missing, check the live versions of "Metrognome" and "Unevensong" from A Live Record - the difference is remarkable.

Anyway, since the album is mainly instrumental, Sinclair gets many chances to show his chops as a bassist, and his partnership with Ward proves to be a solid one (the two have worked together quite often after Sinclair left the band). The constant presence of unofficial member Mel Collins on sax and flute adds further interest to the songs, blending seamlessly with Peter Bardens' distinctive, atmospheric keyboard style. One track, Elke, even features Brian Eno and his trademark rarefied, ambient mood. A special mention is also deserved by opener "First Light", where the individual talents of the five musicians get an opportunity to shine; and the melancholy, soothing ballad "Tell Me", tailor-made for Sinclair's beautiful voice. "Highways of the Sun" is instead a poppy, throwaway number that could have easily appeared on the band's less than stellar follow-up, "Breathless".

All in all, "Rain Dances" is a more than pleasant album to listen to in those moments when anything more complicated would be too taxing. However, I cannot help seeing it as a lost opportunity for a band that could have made a giant leap forward with it, but chose instead to play it safe. Though I like it, and listen to it relatively often, I would hesitate to call it but a nice, yet non-essential addition.

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Posted Sunday, February 17, 2008

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
4 stars A disappointment at the time for its dramatic departure from the classic Camel sound, "Rain Dances" is actually an excellent album taken on its own merits. Gone are the traditional symphonic soundscapes, replaced by a schizophrenic mix of ambient and overtly jazzy styles.

One improvement occurs in vocals thanks to Richard Sinclair's contribution to two of the best songs, the sultry "Tell Me" and the chameleon like consistently engaging "Unevensong". "First Light" and the title track open and close the work respectively, with plenty of string synthesizers and other keyboards generating interesting rhythms, and some significant contributions by Mel Collins on sax. The unfairly maligned "Highways of the Sun" is Camel's first serious attempt at a hit contender, and is notable for some excellent approximations of airplane sounds by the mix of guitars and keys. Latimer's lead guitar acrobatics also scale new heights in "One of these Days I'll get an Early Night" and "Skyline", which are more jazzy and therefore allow for greater experimentation in that arena. In contrast, the lovely "Elke", with Brian Eno's guest appearance, is as atmospheric as Camel could ever get, and that is saying something. Sure, "Metronome" is a bit of a misstep but easily forgiven in the melee.

3.5 stars rounded up because of the daring nature of the effort and the general high quality of the material. "Rain Dances" may not produce the desired outcome for many, but it does make great music for a day that is already rainy.

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Posted Sunday, May 11, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars Unevenalbum

Coming after the excellent and very impressive series of albums consisting of the self-titled debut, Mirage, The Snow Goose and Moonmadness, Rain Dances certainly was a departure in several respects. The original line-up was altered for this album and bass player Doug Ferguson was here replaced by Richard Sinclair of Caravan fame. Being a "big" name in his own right, Sinclair brought to Camel influences from his own musical background and inspired Camel to move away somewhat from their Symphonic Prog roots and towards more of a Canterbury Scene sound which means that the music became a bit more "whimsical" with typical Jazz and Pop leanings. Humoristic song titles like One Of These Days I'll Get An Early Night and Metrognome (notice the spelling!) are typical of the Canterbury Scene. Andy Latimer even joked about re-naming the band 'Caramel' (a crossover between 'Camel' and 'Caravan') and maybe that would not have been such a bad idea, after all? Well, Rain Dances still has enough Camel-identity to be appropriately described as a Camel album (I don't know about the next album, though!).

Mel Collins also joined the band on this album adding saxophone which further altered the band's sound, bringing it closer to Jazz and Pop compared to earlier albums. His presence is most clearly felt on One Of These Days I'll Get An Early Night which is the jazziest tune on this album and about as jazzy as Camel ever got. Highways Of The Sun, on the other hand, is about as Pop as Camel ever got. This song would not be out of place on I Can See Your House From Here or The Single Factor, which are Camel's two most Pop-oriented albums. Still, some songs here are not that far away from the sound of the first four albums. The opener First Light, for example, would not have been out of place on Moonmadness and the same applies to Skylines and the very strong (despite its name!) Unevensong. These three are also the best songs on Rain Dances, in my opinion. The latter song has since been frequent in the band's set list up till and including the very last tour they did in 2003. Elke is a soothing flute-based instrumental that would not have been out of place on The Snow Goose. Tell Me and Metrognome is somewhere in between the old and the new, a mix between the Symphonic Prog of earlier albums and the Pop of some later albums.

Overall, Rain Dances is both a backward-looking album and a forward-looking album and it constitutes an appealing mix of what Camel was and what they were turning into. It is still a very good album even if it meant that Camel lost some of its own distinct identity. In my opinion, they would not quite find their way back to their roots again until the Nude album in 1981 (even if the genuine return to form would not arrive until Andy formed Camel Productions in the 90's and produced such brilliant albums as Dust And Dreams and Harbour Of Tears). But this doesn't mean that there are not some really great songs on the albums they did in the late 70's and early 80's, including the present one.

Recommended for sure, but not the optimal place to start

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Posted Sunday, July 20, 2008

Review by poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album marks another category of music for Camel,lower category after the big beginning with the first four albums.This album has some good songs but is the first Camel's that doesn't meet the requirements for 4 stars here.It continues with jazzy sound,but the progressive quality is weaker.Good album for relax.

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Posted Friday, August 01, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Rain Dances is the fifth album from Camel. Iīll start this review by saying that Iīm sorry that I put Rain Dances down in my review of Camelīs previous album Moonmadness. It was simply too long since I had listened to Rain Dances the last time and I had a false memory of how it sounded or maybe my taste has just changed. I have listened to Rain Dances many times in the last couple of weeks to be sure that I give it the right rating because this is really an excellent album.

Since Moonmadness there has been a couple of important changes in the lineup. Doug Ferguson has been replaced by Richard Sinclair ( Caravan, Hatfield & the North) on bass and vocals on Tell Me and unevensong ( Together with Andrew Latimer). Richard is a great addition to Camel. He is a much more accomplished musician than Doug Ferguson who had a more simple style. Mel Collins ( King Crimson, Caravan) on Sax has also been added to the ranks. This addition also has great effect on the sound of Camel. Canterbury comes to mind more than one time during Rain Dances.

There are some truly wonderful songs on Rain Dances and even though this is unmistakebly Camel Rain Dances is the most diverse album they have made so far ( Only counting the first five).

The album starts with First Light which is a wonderful instrumental track with the typical melodic guitar leads. Note the new sound on the keyboards from Peter Bardens. Listening to Rain Dances it sounds like Peter has gotten a whole new keyboard rack. One of the few things I donīt care for on Rain Dances appear at the end of First Light and thatīs the wailing sax from Mel Collins. Metrognome is one of my favorite Camel songs. Beautiful simple melody line and a symphonic instrumental chorus. The last more uptempo part of the song has some fast sax playing from Mel Collins and itīs here Canterbury comes to mind. Tell Me is a ballad type song and for once itīs not a cheesy ballad. Tell Me is very beautiful and has a great vocal melody. Simple as Camel has always been but nevertheless beautiful. Highways of the Sun is the single from the album and itīs a bit commercial in the chorus but the rest of the song is really great.

Unevensong is another favorite of mine. This is one of the most progressive songs Camel have ever made IMO. Great vocals, beutiful symphonic arrangements and excellent playing. One of these Days I'll get an early night is an instrumental song with some beautiful melodic soloing. Elke is a subtle beautiful intrumental song with ethnic folky hints ( only hints though). Skylines is another instrumental song with a melodic guitar theme which starts and ends the songs and a great Peter Bardens keyboard solo in the middle. Really enjoyable. The album ends with the title track which is another instrumental. Good but nothing special. I think I hear themes from the other songs played here.

The musicianship on Rain Dances is very special. There is a certain magic here. Just great performances all around.

The production is wonderful. Some might not enjoy the more eighties like production but I find it beautiful.

Camel has made one of their best albums here. Sadly Iīve only recently discovered how special this album really is. Let me put it this way: Rain Dances right now tops the list of my favorite Camel albums over both Mirage and Moonmadness who I used to count as my favorites. Thatīs how much I like it. More than one time I have considered giving Rain Dances all 5 stars, but it does lack that final masterpiece quality that albums like Selling England By the Pound by Genesis, Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull and Close to the Edge by Yes possess. Itīs a big 4 star rating though and a highly recommendable album.

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Posted Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is CAMEL's first album after bassist Doug Ferguson left, being replaced by CARAVAN's Richard Sinclair. I was expecting more with Richard on board. I do like the jazzy flavour he brings, but "Rain Dances" pales when compared to the previous album "Moonmadness" in my opinion. There's a lot that I like about this record,but for me it's too inconsistant.

"First Light" is such a good song though, maybe the best one on here. The sound builds with prominant synths (lots of synths on this album). The tempo picks up a minute in. Great sound. Nice bass as well. Mel Collins who guests on this record offers up some good sax 4 minutes in. "Metrognome" opens with Sinclair on vocals, and I don't like it at all. Fortunately it changes to a much better sound. That contrast continues though.The tempo picks up 2 minutes in with sax. I do like the guitar before 3 1/2 minutes as it goes on and on until the end of the song. "Tell Me" is a pastoral track with reserved vocals and bass. Flute 1 1/2 minutes in. Lots of background synths.

"Highways Of The Sun" is the worst CAMEL song i've heard so far. I hated it from the first time I heard it. "Unevensong" is uptempo with vocals. A calm after 3 minutes before it kicks back in to end it. Nice ending. The last four songs are instrumentals. "One Of These Days I'll Get An Early Night" is very much light,poppy Jazz. It has it's moments though, as Latimer plays some excellent guitar. "Elke" is better as we get an atmospheric soundscape with lots of help from guest Brian Eno. "Skylines" is jazzy with some great drumming from Ward. Lots of synths too. "Rain Dances" is the short concluding track. Orchestral sounding intro is joined by flute. Lots of synths follow.

I have listened to it lots, but i'm just not sold.

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Posted Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Fifth album of this famous band and an album with a diffrent aproach of symphonic music. Rain dances was released in 1977 and featuring on bass the famous Richard Sinclair replaceing Doug Ferguson, Sinclair came from another two essential prog bands from the '70's Caravan and Hatfield and the North. And on the slowest track and mellower one named Elke is invited the great Eno Brian. So the music is kinda diffrent from the previouses one because Sinclair bring another dimension to Camel's music by adding some jazzy elements on some pieces. The whole music is very good not a step down from the previouses works.The best traks are all to me ears, not a weak one and again Camel proves that are still an excellent band who can juggling very easy with jazz and why not even with some canterbury flavours here and there. Pieces like First light, Metrognome or Unevensong are among the best Camel ever written. So a 4 star for sure, still in bussines, still great, recommended among the best Camels albums no doubt.

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Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008

Review by The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Camel and Jazz Dance Together

Camel had entered ''the fall of Prog'' period in a slightly different manner than most Prog bands had; Genesis with And Then There Were Three moved to a simpler Prog style; Yes with Tormato, made a vegetable disaster, while not Pop, it was quite lacking of their epicness and the sound overall was horrid; ELP was messing with orchestras and finally concluding with a total swift in musical direction with Love Beach; Pink Floyd was still in their gold period, however, they were changing too to a darker realm dominated by Waters; Gentle Giant was doing no good, and so on. Camel, on the other hand, while they had diminished their "prog quotient", they still featured their melancholic sound plus new features like up-lifting melodies and very jazzy rhythms.

Camel brought new members for this record, but not ANY new members, these were Richard Sinclair, "the voice of Canterbury", with his beautiful voice and great bass playing, and Mel Collins, a well-recocgnised sax player from the Prog world. These inducted their obvious main influence to Camel's music, which is Jazz (Fusion), even though Camel always had a jazzy touch due to Peter Bardens' organ style.

So Rain Dances is made up with a fairly new sound compared to Camel previous works. You got the clear Moonmadness/Snow Goose melancholic and proggy roots, as well as some, expected, mainstream influences, but what really stands out and makes this album worthy is the jazzy touch.

The popular Highways of the Sun is an ingenious mixture of the freshly acquired mainstream sensibilities and jazzy ones, making a fairly enjoyable song, and actually very impressive for being a single.

Then there's Unevensong, which is certainly uneven because it can easily be divided in two different halfs: the first half being the mainstream part compromised by a Supertramp-esque keyboard riff with a very jazzy bass and rythm, while the other half of the song features a Floydish melancholic moment for a while which then turns out to be a decent guitar solo with the rhythm section backing up greatly.

The opener, First Light, while featuring some up-lifting melodies which make it feel pretty mainstream, it still is a fantastic instrumental with some very notable instrumentation, specially Peter's echoey and spacey keyboards.

Yes, that's as much as the mainstream sensibilities go, which as you may notice they're not even present in a whole track all-through, so there.

Then you got the totally Fusion-esque tracks. One of These Days I'll Get an Early Night being one of my favorites Camel tunes, it opens with a simple though grabbing rhythm made by Richard and Andy, Peter soon enters with his so pleasant spacey keys and then the instrumental really begins together with Andy's melancholic guitar playing. The tune stays with that rhythm all-through while some of the musicians start to solo; Peter delivering an incredibly up-lifting keyboard solo which has a bit of groove; Mel Collins soon follows and delivers a fantastic solo too; finally Andy finishes the show greatly with his guitar.

For more Fusion-alike, the other instrumental entitled Skylines, with it's killer bass line and showing a vast improvement over Andy Wards' drumming, though the main attraction is the impressive performance of Bardens' synths. This should definitely please any jazz fusion lover.

Then finally, there's some hope for die-hard fans of Moonmadness, with the tunes Elke and Tell Me, both played in a slow and melancholic manner, even the flute makes a reappearance in both.

Metrognome however, is a mix of Camel's prog roots and the new jazzy side. The first half being melancholic, but not necessary slow, while the second half is a masterful jazzy instrumental part, in the strength of Skylines and One of these Days I'll get an Early Night, with again a killer bass line, as well as great sax playing, and finally ending up with a sparkling guitar solo.

As for the last track from Rain Dances, the title track, I never understood what was it's purpose. It's a decent instrumental orchestrated by Peter's keyboards, but it really doesn't fit the album's either jazzy or slightly mainstream style.

All in all, an easy album to get into and a difficult one to rate since it's definitely not the Symphonic Prog Camel people are accustomed to, since Latimer's guitar is by all means less frequent, Bardens killer organ is gone though replaced by very nice floating keys and synths, while Ward's drums are great like in Moonmadness, nothing spectacular, but he knows what to do when and how efficiently. As for the new members, Sinclair and Collins, they definitely contributed a lot and made this Camel album what it is, a smoother and groovier Camel, but never taking off Camel's original brilliancy for composing and playing, and that's why the result is great and unique, something that will not happen with the following record, Breathless.

A very unexpected 1977 release which is nonetheless an excellent Camel album due to having achieved a fairly new sound while still maintaining Camel's instrumental and compositional strength and uniqueness. Fans of Moonmadness' jazzy features will get a great kick out of this.

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Posted Monday, March 09, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars Rain Dances is the quality turning point in Camel's career. There's still plenty to enjoy but at least half of it announce the poor years that would follow this release.

First Light continues where Moonmadness ended, with the introduction of fretless bass and saxophone it adds some slightly jazzy influences into the sound. Especially the spacey middle section is very charming.

If the opening track had made you hope for another excellent Camel album, Metrognome will probably shatter your hopes. Especially the sung part is very poor. With this level of sleepiness, a song really needs stronger melodies in order to work. The second half is instrumental and works better but it fades out before it gets really interesting.

Tell Me is mellower then what you thought total drowsy mellowness could ever be, but still it somehow works for me. Highways of the Sun however is shockingly horrible. Easily one of the annoying pop songs I've ever heard. Unevensong is better but again the vocals are disappointing. Most people will agree that singing was never Camel's main asset but still I enjoyed it on Mirage and Moodmadness. Here it sounds as insecure and lethargic as on the debut.

One of these Days and Skylines are songs where Camel embraces elements of fusion into their sound. I wouldn't say it's much of an improvement. If you want fusion, there's lots of better albums from that era and if you want Camel, you're better off without this gluey take on fusion in their sound.

Elke is a dreamy romantic piece for flute. Very moody and quite nice. Rain Dances closes the album and recapitulates the themes of the opening track. On a stronger album this would have been a very nice final touch. Here, it is ok but given how disjointed this album is, it doesn't accomplish the effect it tried to achieve.

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Posted Sunday, December 06, 2009

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars This was this first album by Camel I ever owned (and still the only vinyl LP by them in my collection), and the first I heard. The relative lightness of the album put them out of my radar for years, until a friend introduced me to some of their other albums.

Inconsistent is the best way to describe the record. The first two songs are quite nice. First Light and Metrognome are an excellent start to the album. But then there is the much too light Tell Me and the much too pop sounding Highways Of The Sun

Unevensong is more loke what I want from the band. Interesting rhythms abound in this track. One Of These Days I'll Get An Early Night is actually a cool jam, with a Mel Collons horn arrangement similar to some of his work with 801. Elke has a very Eno influenced sound, as it should. Skylines, a fusion piece, is much more complex than it's delicate tone lets on, Mostly due to Andrew latimer's fine bass work. And Rain Dances has an almost Tangerine Dream feel to it.

All in all, I like this a lot more now than I did when I bought it. 3.5 stars, rounded up.

And does anyone else here have the LP on the "Janus" label? The logo in color on the record label looks good, but on the white logo on the cover and inner sleeve, you can hardly see the "J", giving it a different meaning.

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Posted Friday, September 03, 2010

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
3 stars No more than three stars for an album that have seen Camel transformed into a clone of the pop side of Caravan. There are still good songs influenced by the past, but most of the stuff here is "contaminated" by Richard Sinclair. He is an extremely skilled bassist and a good songwriter, but unfortunately he didn't find a sinergy with the rest of the band and the results are not very good.

Doug Ferguson was a prog bassist while Sinclair is more influenced by the jazz. And this is where the band was going after Moonmadness.

This album is made of some average good old-fashioned songs like "First Light", "Skyline" and "Unevensong" but has also some poor (in my opinion) tracks like "Metrognome", "Tell Me" and "Highway Of The Sun". This is what I mean for cloning the poppy side of Caravan.

A mention goes to the ambient effort of Brian Eno in "Elke" that's one of the highlights and to the symphonic title track.

"One Of These Days I'll Get An Early Night" is the first attempt to make some fusion. Not bad, but if I want to listen to some fusion a Camel album is not the first place where I search.

Not a bad album, at least not as bad as some things that will follow it. It has the merit to be distinctive of the Camel's sound of that period, but it's not the album that I would suggest to somebody who approaches Camel for the first time.

I like it because I'm a fan and a completist, but to be honest it's a 2.5 stars barely roundable to three.

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Posted Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review by Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A test for the fans.

Will you listen 'till the end or will you stamp the eject button with your foot? Man, back in the old days, some guys in their basement must've sweared against this record; some echo of their profanities is still roaming in space (including the record's sleeve, orbiting gently around the earth).

I thought:' Hey, I love Moodmadness, this cannot be that bad!' Well, it's not bad, it just needs more love from you.

Good news, it's easier to spot the good from the bad, thing that will no longer occur in the future for Andy Latimer. Calm and peaceful songs like Tell Me, lots of cool cat jazzy mid-tempo tracks and some jaw dropping melodies like Elke, First Light or Rain Dances are worth listening.

Definitely not worthy of all the rotten tomatoes thrown at it.

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Posted Saturday, January 01, 2011

Review by baz91
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Whilst the best part of Camel's career ended at 'Moonmadness', 'Rain Dances' was certainly no lightweight. The accusation that this album is 'commercial' in sound is quite false. In fact 5 out of 9 of these tracks are entirely instrumental, which adds up to 23 minutes: more than half the album! Also, Caravan's Richard Sinclair was to join Camel's ranks, lending his instantly recognisable voice to the songs. All in all, quite an exciting prospect! Let's analyse this opus track-by-track.

First Light was clearly written to be an album opener. This 5 minute instrumental completely delivers. The song structure is surprisingly simple by Camel standards, but the melodies are fantastic. For those expecting a cheesy pop song on this supposedly 'commercial' album, then you will be pleasantly surprised by this.

First Light segues neatly into Metrognome, which is quite a quirky little tune. We get to hear Sinclair sing some rather cryptic lyrics in the first half of the song, before it completely changes to a fun instrumental. It's a very odd little song, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Tell Me is more melancholy in nature. The music is dominated by keyboards and bass guitar, with a flute solo appearing halfway through. This song is not very proggy, and unfortunately not very interesting either.

The most commercial song on this album is Highways of the Sun. With a shamelessly poppy feel to both the verses and the choruses, the experimental instrumental makes this song slightly more musically interesting. If you're looking for a guilty pleasure song though, this might just be the song for you. On a side note, the 2009 reissue of this album mistakenly titles this track Highways To The Sun, which sounds like a far more interesting song!

After the extremely poppy feel of Highways of the Sun, Unevensong returns Camel to a very proggy sound. There are many time signature changes in this strange track, and many mood changes. Whenever I listen to this, I'm always pleasantly surprised by actually how good it is, technically and musically. The quibble I have with this song is that the lyrical parts are rather unmemorable, and thus the song is less enjoyable, but the outro to this song is a very good reason for listening to it.

That is, in fact, the last vocals you'll hear on the album. The final four tracks are all entirely instrumental. Commercial? I don't think so. First up is One Of These Days I'll Get An Early Night, an experiment in a jazzier sound. The track starts off in good form, and continues at it's leisurely pace for the entire track. We hear a keyboard solo, followed by a sax solo and finally a guitar solo, played over the same pattern. While the music is very listenable, there is little of 'prog' interest about this song.

Elke is a slow, ambient instrumental, which is augmented by Latimer's flute. This piece is very relaxing and pretty, but doesn't feel too progressive either.

What you want is excitement, and Skylines certainly quenches some of your progressive thirst. The track is played entirely in 3/4 with a triplet feel, so more like 9/12 perhaps. The sound is one that progheads will feel more comfortable with. The technicality of the playing is remarkable and the flow of the song is also great, but it is nowhere near as gripping as First Light.

Rain Dances is a light instrumental that uses the same theme from First Light as it's outro. This gives a more cohesive feel to an otherwise directionless album. This track is quite pretty, but not very interesting.

Although 'Rain Dances' is not as commercial as some people give it credit, it does have a few flaws. Firstly, the album feels quite directionless, as if the band are once again trying to find their sound with their new bandmates. Secondly, all the instrumentals lumped at the end of the album does not help, as it makes the album feel lopsided. Finally, I can't quite put my finger on why these tracks sound generally less interesting than those on previous albums. The great musicianship is there but the compositions really don't excite me, although in my opinion, First Light is just as amazing as anything the band ever did. There are enough good moments to make this album a worthwhile listen, but this is a band on decline.

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Posted Sunday, April 10, 2011

Review by friso
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Camel - Rain Dances (1977)

Camel is one of my favorite symphonic progressive rock bands. The band arrived late in the scene with their excellent (but not yet masterful) debut in '73. After a string of four great albums the band found it's Waterloo with this release from '77. With some of the tasteful composition qualities still around the band gave in to up-coming sympho-pop standards of it's time. Perhaps a logical step for a band that has had to cope with financial difficulties and the usual problems with record companies. However, this results in an album that's a bit of a mixed bag, with an emphasis on the less interesting material (for fans of progressive rock that is). The sterile 'somewhere out there' sound of the album doesn't help either.

The opening track 'First Light' still captures the momentum of the tame but beautiful and intelligent 'Moon Madness'-album of the year before. We get to listen to well recorded, adventurous instrumental sounds and nice composition. After that the musical properties decline at a fast rate with a string of less interesting songs with mediocre song-writing with semi-interesting instrumental passages. 'Metrognome' has an irritating vocal couplet theme that sounds a bit childish. On side two Camel regains my interest with 'Unevensong' that has slightly more to offer for fans of symphonic progressive rock. After that I find 'One of these days I'll get an early night' particularly hard to digest because of it's supermarket atmosphere. This time Latimer can't save the track with a good guitar solo, that he should have played on another song that's worthwhile in it's totality. 'Elke' is a slow ambient symphonic track with some nice flutes, somehow I feel that this song would have fitted on a more emotionally driven album. In this setting it sounds a bit meaningless and out of place. 'Skylines' is another instrumental track, this times more in the vain of the Camel style we know. To bad non of the melodies are interesting, as if it was written to be on the background. Finally, the title track 'Rain Dances' opens with a rendition of the main theme of the opening track in a dated symphonic fashion. A weak ending track.

Conclusion. This is the kind of record that does not have enough good moments to compensate for its weak moments. Only 'First Light' and 'Unevensong' are good enough to be mentioned here. To be honest with you, I prefer the up-coming 'Breathless' album because that album actually does have songs that really touch me and this album passes me by without notice. I have to give a two star rating here and I'm not going to put this record in my collection.

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Posted Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars With Richard Sinclair and Mel Collins joining the lineup, Camel used Rain Dances as an opportunity to experiment with their sound, with the jazzy Canterbury influences creeping in with the new boys not quite being enough to steer the album away from the accessible, commercial direction it was headed in.

The decision to change the Camel sound for a more commercial one isn't the main problem of this album, however; I would happily embrace it if it was full of material like First Light and Metrognome. Unfortunately, it just isn't very consistent; some of the experiments work, some of them fall flat like the meandering and aimless Unevensong, and others are outright dull - Tell Me is a song in which nothing happens (almost literally), whilst Highways of the Sun, the album's single, is a repetitive and irritating tune which a horribly botched Richard Sinclair vocal.

The fact is that Rain Dances is a transitional album with a double dose of all the problems which usually haunt transitional albums - it's not a good example of Camel's more commercial direction, and it's not a good example of Camel's prior direction either. It's from here on in where the Camel story gets decidedly uneven.

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Posted Sunday, October 23, 2011

Latest members reviews

4 stars With several successful albums under their belt and a new line-up, Camel were ready to take their music in a new direction, and with Rain Dances they take a more jazz and fusion sound than previous records, with mostly pleasing results. The presence of Mel Collins is apparent and effective on ... (read more)

Report this review (#986488) | Posted by E2-E4 | Wednesday, June 26, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Released in 1977 RAIN DANCES reminds me a lot of I CAN SEE YOUR HOUSE FROM HERE and even BREATHLESS. Kind of a transition album between the prog of MOONMADNESS and SNOW GOOSE before the 80's changed the band and finally brought them to the subpar and forgettable album THE SINGLE FACTOR. The main tra ... (read more)

Report this review (#733613) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I found this album a deep disappointment after 4 wonderful albums released before the Camel ("Camel" , "Mirage" , "The Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness"). The departure of bassist Doug Ferguson affected the whole chemistry of the band, and new members Richard Sinclair (bass and vocals on "Tell Me" ... (read more)

Report this review (#442922) | Posted by voliveira | Wednesday, May 04, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It was time for a slight change of direction for this band and I love how Camel developed thier sound here. "Rain Dance" is ever so relaxing and it mostly has a slight jazzy feel to it. Numbers like "One of These Day's I'll get an early night" and "Skylines" are particularly jazzy. It's more than wo ... (read more)

Report this review (#308645) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Saturday, November 06, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've been navigating Camel's rather massive studio output of late, and was dreading all the material between Moonmadness to Nude. I know, very well and keenly, what the end of the 70's meant for many prominent prog bands. As it is, Breathless fell so short of my expectations that I skipped over ... (read more)

Report this review (#302328) | Posted by Lozlan | Tuesday, October 05, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Very hard to dispute what many of my prog brethren have stated here. Nonetheless, I would like to share my own point of view because Camel was one of my first loves, and for the record this is the record that made me a convert. Maybe it's the adoption of a more Canterbury sound (woodwinds). I ... (read more)

Report this review (#252767) | Posted by raelreels | Thursday, November 26, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "Camel" starts the album was very comfortable, very airy with "First Light", with Mel Collins sax as a solo final, a kind of formal apétit for more. "Metrognome" is chained, and the song is very cool, the title is very easy and without risk. "Tell Me" is very cool, slightly jazzy progressive rock ... (read more)

Report this review (#239099) | Posted by Discographia | Sunday, September 13, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Camel? You mean Caravan, right? There is not a word that can describe Camel in this era of theirs, but if there was, I know it definitely wouldn't be excellent, or great, or any word of that kind. Richard Sinclair replacing Doug Ferguson on bass duties and Andrew Latimer's vocal duties sure b ... (read more)

Report this review (#235156) | Posted by The Runaway | Wednesday, August 26, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars With this album, Richard Sinclair (bass, vocals) formerly of Caravan joins the fray. Sinclair, recruited in response to the departure of Doug Ferguson, brings new sounds to the band. The result is more concise material, with more pop-oriented songs as well as an increased degree of jazz flavor ... (read more)

Report this review (#152338) | Posted by LARKSTONGUE | Thursday, November 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 3,5 stars really. The addition of Richard Sinclair on bass (and vocals) and Mel Collins is a promissing change, and it actually works out quite well, for the sound of Camel is richer than before. However a more commercial style change has occured, and the new-commers don't get the room they ... (read more)

Report this review (#93654) | Posted by tuxon | Saturday, October 07, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars ***― Camel started sliding downhill when Doug Ferguson left the group, but still they managed to make Rain Dances a very good record before hitting the bottom with the following releases. There are quite many very nice songs, but not one of them could have survived on the previous three alb ... (read more)

Report this review (#87419) | Posted by Pekka | Wednesday, August 16, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars ok lets start from the first song: FIRST LIGHT:one I hear that song at first I was amazed, I was hopping that all the album will be like this song. the song is complex like 3 parts: the first- very camely and cool, the second-spacer, great keyboard line and guitar line too. the thirth: wo ... (read more)

Report this review (#85123) | Posted by | Saturday, July 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first few times I heard this, I would have given it two stars at best. But I went back to it after not hearing it for a while and listened to it on its own terms. And you know what? It is a pretty fantastic album for Camel. I think since I had only heard the previous albums, this was a de ... (read more)

Report this review (#80778) | Posted by | Friday, June 09, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Camel's lineup changed here, as former Caravan bassist Richard Sinclair replaced Doug Ferguson, and the band itself took a more jazz-lite based direction, but still stuck to their prog roots in the end. Since Moonmadness Camel had fallen off, but they were still capable of a solid effort here ... (read more)

Report this review (#80623) | Posted by CVoss | Wednesday, June 07, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Two new band members refreshed Camel's music and sound. New streaming is already apparent on the album opener 'First Light' , where strong rhythm giving bass of Richard Sinclair and sharpl Mel Collins' sax mark this new flare. My favourites however, are on the B side of the record - 'One Of Th ... (read more)

Report this review (#76760) | Posted by bsurmano | Sunday, April 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars First Light is a master piece.Just close your eyes and listen........you can see what the boy's where trying to say.Fantastic.Uneven song.... again,lock yourself in a dark room,put your headphones on and crank it through the roof. The whole L.P. was miles away from the first 4 but very very muc ... (read more)

Report this review (#69495) | Posted by | Wednesday, February 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a classic Camel album. The presence of Richard Sinclair provides a Jazz background to the album. There is still alot of Latimer and Co for the music to be very much a Camel offerring, but this is the best of the albums where Richard adds that touch of Canterbury. I am surprised the albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#66719) | Posted by | Wednesday, January 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Being honest, I truly adore this record, though I fully understand why fans of the traditional "Camel" sound (Snow Goose, Mirage etc) find this one too bigger jump away from pure Prog. For me though, I love the AOR and Jazz leanings AND the fact the band were prepared to experiment in style a ... (read more)

Report this review (#62229) | Posted by | Thursday, December 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I can't believe this album have so low rating (in this moment 3.93). A lot of people says that Camel best time finished with Moonmadness and I was afraid of it. Forget about it !!! Maybe Rain Dances is not so good as Snow Goose or Moonmadness, but it's great too; a masterpiece without doubts. ... (read more)

Report this review (#60539) | Posted by R_DeNIRO | Friday, December 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album marked the first change in line up for Camel. Richard Sinclair (formerly of Caravan & Hatfield and the North) had replaced Doug Ferguson on bass and took the lead on vocals - having been described as the only rock musician who can sing. Moving away from the long, complex composition ... (read more)

Report this review (#54709) | Posted by Marquęs_Prög | Friday, November 04, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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