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Carmen Fandangos in Space album cover
3.87 | 145 ratings | 23 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Bulerias (4:56) :
- a) Cante (Song)
- b) Baile (Dance)
- c) Reprise
2. Bullfight (4:09)
3. Stepping Stone (2:56)
4. Sailor Song (5:14)
5. Lonely House (4:07)
6. Por Tarantos (1:46)
7. Looking Outside (My Window) (7:23) :
- a) Theme
- b) Zorongo
- c) Finale
8. Tales of Spain (5:21)
9. Retirando (2:13)
10. Fandangos in Space (4:34)
11. Reprise Finale (3:01)

Total Time 45:40

Line-up / Musicians

- David Allen / vocals, electric guitar, flamenco guitar
- Roberto Amaral / vocals, vibraphone, flamenco footwork, castanets
- Angela Allen / vocals, Mellotron, synthesizer, flamenco footwork
- John Glascock / vocals, bass, bass pedals
- Paul Fenton / drums & percussion

Releases information

LP Regal Zonophone ‎- SRZA 8518 (1973, UK)

CD Line Records ‎- LICD 9.00598 O (1988, Germany)
Numerous CD and LP reissues

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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CARMEN Fandangos in Space ratings distribution

(145 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

CARMEN Fandangos in Space reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by soundsweird
4 stars Fortunately, I was able to get the Regal Zonophone (import) LP back in the 70's when this came out, because the domestic LP had surface noise and muddy sound. The sound quality on the Line label CD is quite good, BUT....for some strange reason (probably a problem with the master tapes) the last minute or so of Bulerias (track one, and the best song on the album) has been deleted. Once again, good thing I have the import LP! And, yes, there is a live document of these guys doing Bulerias. Back in the 70's, David Bowie was invited to host NBC's Midnight Special. In fact, he was given total creative control over the entire hour. There was a big flap over the fact that he slipped a female impersonator/transsexual/whatever actor in as "Master of Ceremonies", which didn't come to light until after the show aired (I'm pretty sure it was a live broadcast, or at least taped earlier that day). This explains why the show has been aired rarely since then; it was a huge embarrassment for NBC. Anyway, Carmen was good, but who knows how it actually sounded; I was watching on a tiny B & W set. Carmen's website has some photos of it. A great album by a great band; hopefully a CD re-issue will fix the aforementioned problem.
Review by erik neuteboom
5 stars Many years ago a friend advised me to buy this album (funny, I own another LP version, from Paramount Records) because he knew I am a fan from flamenco (an 'aficionado'). I'm still very grateful to him because "Fandangos in space" is one of the most amazing blends of folk and progrock, not to compare with other 'folk-prog' gems from LOS JAIVAS or TRIANA. The band features members from Spain and the UK, including David Allen (vocals, 6-string electric guitar and flamenco guitar) and ex-Jethro Tull drummer John Glascock (what's in a name?!).

The album delivers the unique sound of Carmen in eleven varied compositions: often an exciting blend of rock (fiery electric guitar, powerful rhythms) and flamenco (guitar, handclapping) and an emphasis on the vocals featuring the very distinctive voice from David Allen (from a cynical undertone to a bit theatrical) and great vocal harmonies from most members, at some moments even in the Spanish language. A few songs or parts contain the captivating art of the flamenco guitar, including the tremolo technique (evoking "Recuerdos de la Alhambra" from Tarrega). Other tracks feature wonderful violin- Mellotron waves or some synthesizer flights. The music from Carmen sound not always accesible (you have to be up to the vocal overtones and flamenco rhythms) but it's such a dynamic and adventurous prog, SPLENDID!!

As a proghead, a Tronmaniac and an aficionado I'm very excited about this album (as you must have noticed in my review). But when I took for the first time a look at the back cover picture from senora Angela Allen, I was stunned: what a gorgeous lady, dressed in a beautiful flamenco robe and .. she plays the Mellotron, THIS GAVE SUCH A SENSATIONAL EXTRA DIMENSION TO THE MUSIC WHILE LISTENING TO THIS ALBUM!!

Review by Tom Ozric
4 stars I've just listened to this LP after quite some time and I'm convinced that it keeps on getting better and better with each play. When I purchased the ABC Dunhill issue (with a completely different cover) from a record fair in the mid-90's I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. As I alluded to, it took many plays for me to actually grasp all the subtleties and dynamics this album has to offer, even if the very beautiful Angela Allen was credited with mellotron and synth (an ARP, I'd say) !! Very much influenced by Spanish style music, the album starts off almost immediately in 'top gear' with the wonderful mini-suite 'Bulerias', an ever-shifting composition which displays the talents of all musicians, (which included future Jethro Tull Bassist John Glascock, and a mighty bass-player was he - bless 'im), very impressive - at one point, the band churns out a fierce semi-tone riff with some fiery guitar playing from David Allen (not of Gong fame). Lead vocalist Roberto Amaral and Angela Allen also contribute excellent 'footwork' at various points, allegedly having an amplified foot-board for live performances (I can just picture them now, with red roses in their mouths....), and together with castenet playing, they really emphasise traditional Spanish folk themes, putting a highly original stamp on their brand of prog-rock. All tracks follow in similar fashion, never a dull moment throughout, even displaying some reflective moments. The album was produced by the famous Tony Visconti - the sound being a little 'tinny' and thin (particularly the synth-work and guitaring), but the rhythm section has a strong 'bottom end' to it. The most difficult part of this album for many may be the slightly 'mariachi' vocals, but they fit the 'concept' of the band and album perfectly - I guess it just took me a while to accept this. Very highly recommended.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Tales of Spain.. and Los Angeles

Such are the Spanish influences on the music of Carmen that they are sometimes taken as being from that country. In fact the reasons for those sounds are more prosaic, stemming largely from the fact that band members (brother and sister) David and Angela Allen come from a Los Angeles family who owned a Flamenco restaurant. Their father also played Flamenco guitar, and their mother was a Spanish dancer.

Carmen formed in 1970 and relocated to London in 1973, hooking up with the well known producer Tony Visconti. In addition to future Jethro Tull bassist John Glascock, Paul Fenton was brought in on drums to replace John's brother Brian, who had remained in the US.

The opening three part suite "Bulerias" immediately indicates that the Hispanic side of the band is going to come through strongly throughout the album. In particular, the Flamenco guitar of David Allen is ever present. It is however Angela Allen's contributions which define the album. While she is usually in the background, venturing forward on occasions to provide the lead vocal, her mellotron and synth work provides a powerful melodic basis on track after track.

It is difficult to offer comparison bands for the music of Carmen, such is the unique nature of their work. The track "Looking outside (my window)" for example, starts with pretty orthodox Spanish guitar, then suddenly burst into a driving rock piece with strong harmonies, and perhaps a hint of CURVED AIR. English language lyrics are intertwined with Spanish as the mood switches dramatically back and forth.

"Tales of Spain" manages to cram about 20 different mini-songs into the space of 9 minutes. The male/female harmonies reflect the west coast roots of the principal vocalists, while the guitar and mellotron duet reminds us more accurately of the band's chosen foundations. The closing title track opens with a frantic instrumental leading to some intriguing multi-part harmonies.

In all, "Fandangos in space" is a unique album which blends traditional Hispanic sounds with simplistic vocal prog. The band deserved far greater success than they achieved, but the eclectic nature of the music was possibly too unconventional, even for the broad minded record buyers of the early 1970's.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Unusual group this Carmen bunch: formed by three American (from LA), named on a French opera about Spain (Bizet's Carmen) and moved to England for their recording career. The brainchild of Roberto Amaral and David Allen (not that Daevid ;-) around a shared interest in Spanish music and Flamenco in particular, this group is rather unique- sounding, even in the light the Spanish band that fused their rock with the local Flamenco, such as Triana & Co. So the group partly relocated to Britain (with David's sister Angela as a member) and found their rhythm section of John Glascock and Paul Fenton. They immediately found interest and landed a recording contract (Regal Zonophone, the label that discovered Procol Harum) and their albums would be produced by Tony Visconti.

Graced with a strangely psychedelic Spanish bride picture on a spacey/cosmic background for artwork (a different rose flowers cover in the US), it is a bit misleading as their music is a very uncommon mix of prog rock and flamenco that sounded more like Spanish versions of 10 CC, Queen, The Sparks with a more progressive template. Apart from the botched opening track of this unusually-poor Line label Cd reissue (never owned the vinyl, but the screw up in the second mini-suite's track separation as well), Carmen develops a good catchy rock (that is not far from pop either) with some of the usual prog tricks (such as time sigs, multi-movement suites, heavy dramatics with theatrical twists including Flamenco breaks and concept albums) and managed a fair success that is now a bit forgotten. Unable to judge Bulerias (we hear less than two minutes of it rather than the original five), most of the first side is made of songs that often refer to their Spanish obsession (Bullfight), but none of them are really outstanding (I find Sailor Song rather poor as the birds noises are reminiscent of the much superior Harum song A Salty dog) and the odd mellotron layers are not changing much to this.

The flipside starts on the mini-suite Looking Out, which presents some impressive rhythm twists and high drama, that automatically makes it one of the album's highlights. Followed by the equally interesting Tales Of Spain and the bridged Retirando, the title track takes the spirits another step upwards (I'm pretty sure there is a bit of a concept on this second side of the album), even if they come close to some melted Manchego at times (sounding like Mariachi in Zorro movie) with the reprise making the Queso Iberico a full fondue.

Not quite the masterpiece that my fellow reviewing colleagues make it out to be, Carmen's debut record does not induce (based on the album's full length) the same weariness that Triana and other groups do. Apparently, the live shows came with full traditional costumes for the dancing couple and rather glam clothes for the other band members, the group has a little too much of a pre-fabricated act to be truly enthralling, however unusual this might have been at the time for Western rock audiences. I am far to be calling this precise album a masterpiece, because there are way too many average tracks on the first side and the second one, although much better, is hardly flawless and the standouts are not that outstanding. Still an original album, but nothing worth selling your soul, because you will feel much short-changed, especially if you acquire the error-filled Line label reissue. Time for a complete overhaul of the Carmen oeuvre.

Review by The Whistler
4 stars There are some bands that succeed when you don't know why, and there are some bands that fail and you'll NEVER figure it out. Carmen is a band that failed, and the rest of us sat around and wondered why they even tried. I mean, there's no way in hell this would have caught on in a mainstream audience of ANY kind, popular or progressive, without having to carve such a niche market it couldn't breath. Oh well. I for one am glad they did try.

For their first album, Carmen decided to make it a doozy, and a doozy it be. There's hardly anything I can think of that's like this. I mean, there were bands doing the whole hard-folk proggy thing at the time, and there were bands doing the whole Spanish influence thing, but both at the same time AND arena rock ethics to boot? No one I can think of. The spacey synths, flamenco guitars and falsettos might seem a bit much, but trust me, it's worth it.

Now, best song on the record? Well, I pick the album opener, but honestly, any of the first three will do. "Bulerias" is a great, hard rockin' tune, with a fantastic refrain. The midsection with the flamenco tap dancing (best visual image, you'll see) might put some people off, but I love it. If you can make it through this track and back, then buddy, this band's for you!

"Bullfight" is just as powerful, with a great start and stop opening, rhythm section and vocals, with an appropriately hard/soft midsection (probably the best use of keyboards on the album; sounds like a trumpet). "Stepping Stone" is a weird, psychedelic ballad of sorts. Was once my favorite tune on the album. It's actually quite pretty, in a hard rockin', creepy sorta way. Fantastic intro.

This flows flawlessly into "Sailor Song." Another fantastic intro (love those seagulls), just don't try to make sense of the lyrics. It's desperate in delivery, and gorgeous at points. It might be the most emotional song on the album. Okay, scratch that. "Lonely House" is easily the most emotional number on the album. It's a little repetitive, but so what? It's still beautiful, with a fantastic key change that makes perfect use of the group falsetto.

"Poor Tarantos" is an acoustic solo instrumental that's actually a very clever way to show off David Allen's use of the six string. And, as a man who has a (very) basic understanding of the flamenco guitar, I can promise he's good. As for virtuoso, I cannot say, since I'm unfamiliar with flamenco guitarists at large. But he's good. And yes, I wrote that partly to show off.

"Looking Outside (My Window)" is another hard number, nothing you haven't heard before, but gosh. It's just so great. The soft guitar parts are great, the chorusy part is great, and how could you not love the line "burn your spirit dark?"

"Tales of Spain" is where Carmen...starts to loose it. It opens with some of the grossest proto-arena rock you EVER heard. "I fought, and I think that I won?" Every time I hear that, I start reaching for my lighter. Ah. Then it breaks away, and turns into some...narration? What?!? Wait, wasn't there some other album that was nearly flawless except for some pretentious, uncalled for narration that killed it? Oh well. The coda's not bad at all, but the day Carmen has a bad coda is a strange one.

"Retirando" is nice enough, but its primary purpose is to flow us into the title tune. Which rocks, by the way. "Fandangos in Space" that is. Love that chorus, once again. The ending takes way too many twists and turns it seems, but it all works out in the end. Although I wonder if the "Reprise Finale" was necessary. Oh well, it doesn't hurt (at least they knew not to END it with narration too).

Okay, so a couple of unnecessary instrumental bits, a little lack of diversity, and "Tales of Spain." But, focus on the good sides of Carmen (and they way outweigh the bad), you cannot fail. For one thing, they have a brilliant sense of melody. Everything is somehow catchy.

And I could speak for ages about the vocal harmonies they pump into most of the songs ("Bullfight," "Sailor Song," "Fandangos in Space," whatever). Also, these guys are the masters of intro and outro. Every song opens fantastically (aside from the obvious), and especially when they use that layered build to create a coda, it can't be topped.

The musicians ain't bad themselves. I already said that David Allen was good, and so is drummer Paul Fenton (who might be the most versatile in the band). I hope someone's still feedin' these guys. But you know who really impressed me? Johnny Glascock. He won't play bass like this again until Heavy Horses! Good for him.

So, this is, to date, the ultimate in Carmen albums. Barring "Tales of Spain," there's not a bad song on here. In fact, if it weren't for that there are only two-and-a-half songs on the album, I'd rate the living crap out of it. Which is a good thing, by the way.

If you're only going to buy one album by Carmen, which, in a perverse way, is both possible and impossible, this is the one. I can hardly think of a better repetitive, but almost never awful, downbeat heavy progressive folk album. And yes, that includes Songs from the Wood. It wasn't that dark, after all.

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Thanks to Angel Air label and its recent double cd reissue (Fandangos in Space + Dancing on a Cold Wind), the long awaited Carmen'd debut is finally in my hands. I was so enthusiast when they said me "arrived" 'cause of the pair of samples I've heard from their web site and my interest for Tull's bass player John Glascock, former member of Carmen.

Naturally, I litterally devoured the album and enjoyed almost every minute of the record. Ok, not all the tracks are a masterwok, but the whole thing is very near to that. The music is not folk in the usual sense, mixing a convincing peculiar way of glam rock (it reminds me a fusion between Queen and Jethro Tull) with flamenco rythms and flavours. As many of you already know, Spain is not their homeland and so the result has that unespectable touch that is often what progheads are searching for. Mellotron and synths played by prog rock beauty Angela Allen is the icing on the cake.

The whole record is excellently played and involving, from start to finish. The opener "Bulerias" (5,23 mns), the energetic "Bullfight" (4,17 mns), the flamenco-spacey "Stepping Alone" (2,52 mns) and the whimsical "Sailor Song" (5,12 mns) are a real "tour de force". You cannot avoid to fall in love with them! But it's not the end. Running time is enough to provide some other highlights: the nice ballad "Lonely House" (4,06 mns), the long (somehow a little bit pretentious) "Tales of Spain" (8,58 mns) and the exciting "Fandangos in Space" (6,36 mns), deliver more extended and proggy parts with some references to the main theme of the opener.

All in all, a classic and superb record, matched by the follow up which is, in my opinion, even better. 4,5 stars.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars Olé!

Most of the albums I have reviewed since I joined Prog Archives have been albums that I have had for a long time. This album, however, is a relatively recent find for me (and do I need to add that I never would have heard of it if it wasn't for Prog Archives?) I have now been listening to this album quite a lot for about six months and it is now safe to say that this is a masterpiece of progressive music. This is truly unique and brilliant music! It is quite different and I must admit that I wasn't fully convinced on the first couple of listens. But there was something that made me come back and hear it again and again. And now I cannot listen to the first track without listening to the whole album. It's strongly addictive!

The music can be described as progressive Hard Rock with many influences from Flamenco music and very strong melodies! This album is filled with good musical ideas, great harmony vocals (often reminding of Queen), a perfect mix of acoustic and electric guitars with occasional synthesizers and a discrete Mellotron in the background. Several songs also have those typical Flamenco hand claps and Spanish castanets. Unique and brilliant!

All the instruments are very well played and the guitars, bass and drums are all elaborated and compete with each other for attention. It is never the case that there is just a simple rhythm section over which a leading instrument can carry the music forward. All instruments carry the music forward all the time, which makes for a loaded and constantly interesting sound. The music is totally restless! This might be a bit tiresome for an untrained ear, but after just a couple of listens new layers reveal themselves.

The bass guitar is played by Jethro Tull member John Glascock. And there are a few similarities with Jethro Tull's music.

What I like most about Fandangos In Space is that there is an enormous sense of urgency in the whole album and not one second is wasted on filler and there are absolutely no weak moments. Every musical idea is exploited only to its full potential and then they immediately move on to the next one - they have so many! Some musical themes are featured in several tracks, making the whole greater than the sum of the parts. The whole album is really one long piece of excellent music where every track flows perfectly into the next one.

If I must choose a favourite moment I would pick Looking Outside My Window, which repeats the Bulerias theme but soon transforming into something brand new. Then a couple of minutes into Looking Outside My Window, there is again an acoustic part which could be Poor Tarantos part 2. This is a brilliant arrangement! The Bulerias theme returns again in the title track. And the Retirando theme also appears in more than one track towards the end.

The lyrics are predominantly in English but some lyrics are in Spanish. The lyrical themes of the album are also Spanish in that they sing about bull fights and 'lonely houses on hills in Madrid' (but the band is American/British and not Spanish, probably they have never even been to Madrid because there are hardly any lonely houses in such a major city, are there?). But it really doesn't matter where they come from or where they are going (into space?), it is just an image and slightly silly perhaps, but it really works!

The album features predominantly male vocals, but occasional female vocals are heard as well. In Looking Outside My Window the female vocals remind slightly of Babe Ruth (who also had some Hispanic influences in their music, but Carmen is extremely much better). Naming any favourite tracks from the album would be futile since I would end up listing all of them! This is a very consistent album that is great from start to finish. It closes with a beautiful acoustic outro.

The CD version I have is in total 45 minutes and 54 seconds and is part of a two-in-one 2CD package with the band's second album Dancing On A Cold Wind. The one listed above is only 37 minutes and 51 seconds! I haven't heard the short version, but I strongly suggest you get the long version in the 2CD set.

Fandangos In Space is a masterpiece of progressive rock and extremely recommended!

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars If originality was everything in progressive rock or in music in general, CARMEN would crush the competition, as they really did define an Anglo American/British flamenco style hitherto and since largely unexplored, although I do wonder if BABE RUTH might have been Carmen fans. The familial angle covered by the Allen siblings is evident in the tightness of the vocal harmonies and arrangements, and the almost jerky yet confoundingly well synchronized vocal and guitar juxtapositions. John Glascock's bass provides a tenuous link to JETHRO TULL, who were also to the folk side of prog, but whether his style can be recognized or not does not change his impressive work here and that of his rhythm counterpart Paul Fenton.

Part of my relative enjoyment of Carmen may stem from my inability to understand the over the top kitsch of their material, or even divine a guess as to their level of "seriousness". This allows me to revel in the pan-cultural "Bulerias" and "Bullfight", as well as the compact "Stepping Stone" which gets full marks for inventiveness in a short time frame, while the Flamenco prowess of David Allen in "Por Torrantos" is another highlight. But repetitiveness of lyrical material can be problematic if the song is not particularly memorable, which is the case in "Sailor Song" and "Lonely House", even if the wordless vocal section of the latter is appealing. But "Retirando" is a better example of this technique and throws in a mellotronic massage for good measure.

"Looking Outside my Window", the longest track, is comprised of a collage of different song and instrumental fragments, deliberately juxtaposed in a seemingly haphazard way, which gives it a certain ragged charm. Still, any formula used will generally be overused at some point, which is the case here and there throughout this disk, and keeps me from considering "Fandangos in Space" to be an essential release at large, although people with a penchant for the flamenco mixed with hard rock and a sprinkling of psych may well turn cartwheels cross the floor over it.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Something quite different. As I was told many times, as I believe, prog is about something new. And this blend of Hispanic influences (right?) and typical prog traits for its time. As every new thing, I mean so new, it leaves me quite puzzled. Yes, my reviews can be divided to those written after just one listen and those about well known album. "Por Tarrantos", why I feel like listening Andres Ségovia here ? Because this is one side of the album, Spanish guitar, flamenco, however you call it side. And prog on the other one. Most of songs are combination of these two, but I hear more of prog. Something like a lot of influences, one of the biggest would it our Spain-like one.

One thing is pleasant here (and in fact, on every record), songs differ greatly. When somebody said that Not of This World by Pendragon songs sounds very similar, I agree (but don't see it as a mistake). Well, this is opposite situation.

4(+) stars for such fusion.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Carmen were a band who fused prog and flamenco. Made up of both British and American musicians, including the brother and sister team of David Allen(vocals, guitar) and Angela Allen(keyboards, vocals, footwork). The most well known member here is bassist John Glascock who would later join Jethro Tull. The stomping and other sounds coming from the feet of Angela and Roberto Amaral is an important component of the music. This album was produced by Tony Visconti, best known for his work with David Bowie, but also working with Gentle Giant previously.

Some of the lyrics are in Spanish, and they talk way too much about Spain. I love Spain as much as the next person, but there is more to life than just Spain. "Bulerias" has a musical theme that gets reprised later on in the album. Begins with singing in Spanish, then English. Some good flamenco rock. In the middle the song changes and a guitar solo. Then footwork and celebratory voices. Acoustic part near the end before it goes back to the main theme. "Bullfight" is a more typical '70s rock song at first. Then a synth solo with percussion. After a different section. Ends with a vocal dominated part.

"Stepping Stone" is a more funky song. Features "do do do" type vocals. I like the synths in this song. "Por Tarantos" is an instrumental with great guitar playing. "Looking Outside(My Window" is the longest and best song. Starts off with the main theme from "Bulerias" briefly, then changes to a part with mostly Angela singing. Some vocals in Spanish before an acoustic guitar section. Then back to the main part now with dancing/footwork. More acoustic guitar and harmony vocals. After the bass solos for a bit. Music stops then a nice harmony vocal section; I like the part that goes "good it is to feel the sun".

"Retirando" starts with a great beat, I wouldn't be surprised if some hip-hopper has sampled this. Then some Mellotron and vibraphone. Some "badadada" vocals. Ends as a folk-rock song. The title track starts off sounding like Gentle Giant before it goes into a flamenco rock part. The two parts alternate. I like the guitar playing in the Gentle Giant-ish instrumental middle section. Later on some great footwork and piano briefly. Then a part with acoutic guitar, back up vocals and call-and-response vocals. Ends with an a capella section in Spanish. The last song "Reprise" has the main theme from "Bulerias" before a nice acoustic ending.

Fandangos In Space is the Carmen album I'm most familiar with, but I prefer the follow up Dancing On A Cold Wind. Never heard the third album. Not the proggiest album of the time but an original idea mixing rock and flamenco. A good effort, I'll give this 3 stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Carmen were a Los Angeles-based band, formed by guitarist/singer David Allen in 1970, featuring also his sister Angela on vocals and keyboards.They started as a seven-piece group and moved to London in early 73', reduced to a quintet and failing to find a contract in the US music market.After drummer Brian Glascock was replaced by Paul Fenton, the Goddess of Luck helped Carmen sign with EMI Records and eventually record their debut ''Fandangos in Space'' in 1973.

Having quite a daring sound for the time, Carmen blended the rock attitude with the charm of Flamenco music, creating an original mix, as Spanish bands had yet to show anything around the style due to the dictatorship in the country.Their sound was not only innovative but also fairly complex with plenty of interesting breaks, although the vast of time length is dedicated to the mix of typical Psychedelic/Heavy Rock with Flamenco.As expected the band mixed also English with a light dose of Spanish lyrics.To the music, this contains plenty of interesting and easy- listening arrangements, build around numerous shifting moods and led by the vocals and guitars of David Allen, ranging from electric poundness to acoustic softness, almost always driven by flamemco-flavored textures.The rhythm section provides an even cleaner sound of the style the band tried to promote.Angela Allen not only contributes with her lovely voice but she is also given some space to deliver good synthesizer and mellotron breaks.Another trademark of the band were the typical Spanish-sounding multi-vocal harmonies along with the strong amount of changing climates from explosive rock sounds to delicate acoustic structures.

''Fandagos in space'' should have been a masterpiece back at the time of its release, but just a few years later I can do nothing but admit that the Spanish bands did it a bit better regarding the style of Andalusian Rock and what more reasonable than this.Still the album sounds great even nowadays and deserves a strong recommendation both for its originality and its musical value...3.5 stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Carmen promises Fandangos In Space and that's exactly what they deliver in this exciting mashup of flamenco rock and space rock. With lyrics in English betraying their origins as a combination of British and Mexican-American talent, it's a very different approach to the flamenco rock concept than homegrown Spanish bands would deploy (for one thing, Carmen could avoid the censorious attention of the Spanish regime of the age, whilst the Spanish flamenco rock bands had to more carefully judge when to toe the line and when to defy it), and also a great opportunity to hear John Glascock in action prior to his more famous work in Jethro Tull.
Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nº 266

Carmen was a British/American progressive rock band active from 1970 to 1975. Carmen was possibly one of the most original progressive rock bands that you ever heard. Their music combined progressive rock with a strong flamenco influence and it was all performed in a very fresh, energetic and powerful way. Adding to their distinctiveness was the fact that during long instrumental passages, members of the band would dance on stage, adding those sounds to the instrumental mix. The instrumentation included vibes, castanets and lots of flamenco dancing. The sound is centered on guitar and keyboards are used subtly but with good effect. However, the keyboards are limited to some mellotron and spacey synths, here and there. So, the flamenco prog, apparently a pretty ridiculous idea, happened in 1973, really.

Carmen was founded by David Clark Allen, a Mexican/American Californian trained in flamenco guitar. Originally, a seven member band in Los Angeles, the band relocated to London, in January 1973, where the members soon stabilized as a quintet. The line up on the album is David Allen (lead vocals, electric guitar and flamenco guitar), Angela Allen (lead and backing vocals, synthesizer and mellotron), Roberto Amaral (lead and backing vocals, vibraphone and castanets), John Glascock (backing vocals, bass guitar and bass pedals) and Paul Fenton (drums and percussion).

"Fandangos In Space" is the debut studio album of Carmen and was released in 1973. The first track "Bulerias" is divided in "Cante", "Baile" and "Reprise". This three-part song is a true roller coaster of sharp complex rhythmic prog and flamenco. The future Jethro Tull member John Glascock's bass work is simply amazing. The piece establishes the main musical motif that will come back later in "Looking Outside" and on the the closing track "Reprise". The second track "Bullfight", despite all the exuberant energy in the form of a symphonic bombastic song, a more rock component comes to the fore, which blends beautifully with the castanets. The sound proof lead vocals are always happy to mate with polyphonic support. Roberto Amaral's typical falsetto vocals are put to good use on this track. The third track "Stepping Stone" is a compact track, a kind of a psychedelic ballad, which gets full marks for inventiveness in a short time frame. It's actually quite pretty with a great intro. The mellotron here ensures a pro- rock shimmer. The fourth track "Sailor Song" is anchored in the traditional rock spirit and yet has a very mainstream feel. It reminds me strongly Jethro Tull. It has another great intro and it's probably the most emotional song on the album and the most beautiful song too. It makes a perfect use of the group's falsetto. The fifth track "Lonely House" is a very beautiful acoustic song. This ballad with ingratiating harmonies is clearly rooted in a soft rock harmony. Despite the flamenco prog rock of Spanish origin, this song proves that Carmen is also too committed to their Anglo-Saxon origins. The sixth track "Por Tarantos" is a very short traditional flamenco song. It's an acoustic solo instrumental piece played with the traditional acoustic six string guitar, proving that David Allen is an excellent performer on classical guitar. The seventh track "Looking Outside (My Window)" is divided in "Theme", "Zorongo" and "Finale". It has an emotional exuberance even almost a certain hit potential and sounds as if taken from a musical. In front of their eyes, the listener is able to see almost a whole armada of flamenco dancers. The eighth track "Tales Of Spain" opens beautifully and manages to have an infinity of mini-songs all over it. The male and female harmonies are amazing, while the guitar and mellotron duet are also great. The ninth track "Retirando" is a very short song. It's a nice song supported by a symphonic element, but its main purpose is to flow us into the title track. The tenth track is the title track "Fandangos In Space". The closing title track is another extraordinary song that opens with a very frantic instrumental that leads us, once more, to some more intriguing multi-part harmonies, like some other previous tracks. Again, we have another great chorus and the final of the song takes way too many twists and turns that works magnificently in the end of it. The eleventh track "Reprise Finale" is another beautiful very short acoustic piece nicely played on acoustic guitar by David Allen. It closes the album nice and calmly.

Conclusion: "Fandangos In Space" introduced to the world the one of a kind blend of flamenco music and progressive rock. It's hard to point out any highlights here, because this is a very even album. But, some of the best includes, "Bulerias", "Bullfight", "Looking Outside (My Window)" and the title track. There are also some shorter and less progressive tracks, like the beautiful acoustic "Lonely House", "Sailor Song" and the catchy "Stepping Stone". Vocals are great and the harmonies are gorgeous. Overall, this is a worth listening album. In most of the time the compositions can be traced back to a rock solid element. The band was able to combine the traditional flamenco and the symphonic rock structures in an authentic and credible way. In conclusion, this is a very tasty and highly unique album, a must for all prog rock fans, one of the genre's unsung classics, which should must be in any progressive rock fans' collection.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

5 stars A few facts. This album number is ranked #46 in the Rolling Stone list of 50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time. Opeth frontman Mikael Akerfeldt told Metal Hammer in 2012 about this first Carmen album. "It's a crazy flamenco prog-rock folk record! They had tap dancing on the record and ca ... (read more)

Report this review (#3028186) | Posted by TenYearsAfter | Thursday, March 7, 2024 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An album where Jethro Tull meets Spanish folk. this is a really fun album to listen to, with elements of hard rock and psychedelic rock cautiously incorporated into a flamenco/fandango style creating a truly original and cool experience. The album opens with "Bulerias" and in the sequence "Bullfi ... (read more)

Report this review (#2536997) | Posted by koresea | Wednesday, April 21, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The music has more unique and interesting sound that it has its compositions. Very original blend of flamenco, folk rock and progressive rock. Singing is of acquired taste with average voice colour and not big range but harmonies save it quite often. The focus is on the feeling and flow more th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2477272) | Posted by sgtpepper | Wednesday, November 18, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars So, Carmen, aye? I will strongly defend a solid 5 stars to the two first Carmen' albums. The motives for such a high score I will probably construct through several revisions of this reviews. First, we do have to take in consideration the fact that Carmen is actually a live performance band. W ... (read more)

Report this review (#1173907) | Posted by GKR | Sunday, May 11, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars So I read about this band in an old prog magazine, and after a long time I was able to locate a copy of the album... and I must say I'm impressed by the great musicianship and the excellent blend between Flamenco and prog-rock. The guitars may re-utilize some of the themes trough the album but in ... (read more)

Report this review (#650846) | Posted by RIREINC | Thursday, March 8, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A criminally overlooked band ,Carmen produced three albums in their short-span life of two and a half years in mid seventies."Fandangos in space",their first offering was groundbreaking flamenco induced masterpiece filled with unbelievable rhytmical twists and top notch musicianship,especially ... (read more)

Report this review (#104477) | Posted by ljubaspriest | Monday, December 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is on my top 10 desert island albums of all time. I can listen to this a thousand times and not get tired of it. I have the Paramount & The ABC version with the flower on the cover and then I discovered the europeon copy with the original cover which I obtained too. For the last couple ye ... (read more)

Report this review (#49873) | Posted by | Monday, October 3, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I bought this when it first came out when I was a spotty 16 year old. It was bloody great then and it's bloody great still. I must admit, I didn't fall for it immediately, but after a few plays, the haunting melodies (Lonely House) coupled with frantic flamenco guitar wizardry soon pulled me in ... (read more)

Report this review (#42383) | Posted by Norro | Wednesday, August 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I saw Carmen open for Jethro Tull in 1973, at the Sports Arena, in San Diego, California, and if you didn't or hadn't heard Tull beofre that, yuo could attest to the reason that Carmen was there. Blew the audience away with their raw energy, and the music was excellent. They were true Fandango's ... (read more)

Report this review (#23338) | Posted by | Wednesday, April 6, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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