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DANCING ON A COLD WIND

Carmen

Prog Folk


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Carmen Dancing On A Cold Wind album cover
3.73 | 45 ratings | 10 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Viva Mi Sevilla (5:07)
2. I've Been Crying (4:06)
3. Drifting Along (3:02)
4. She Flew Across The Room (3:32)
5. Purple Flowers (5:22)
Rememberances (Recuerdos de Espana):
6. Table Two For One (Samba) (1:55)
7. She's Changed (2:58)
8. Gypsy Girl (Caravan) (1:40)
9. The City (1:37)
10. Time (She's No Lady) (1:46)
11. People Dressed In Black (3:09)
12. Dancing On A Cold Wind (1:24)
13. The Horseman (3:59)
14. Conclusion (She Changed) (2:03)

Total time: 41:40

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- David Allen / electric guitar, flamenco guitar, vocals
- Angela Allen / keyboards, vocals
- Roberto Amaral / percussion, vocals
- Paul Fenton / drums
- John Glascock / bass, vocals

Studio musicians:

- Mary Hopkin / backing vocals
- Chris Karan / tabla and timbales
- Tony Visconti / Windwinds and string arrangements
- David Catz (leader) and the Pop Arts String Quartet

Releases information

1975 LP Regal Zonophone 1040

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Tarcisio Moura for the last updates
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CARMEN Dancing On A Cold Wind ratings distribution


3.73
(45 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
26%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
44%
Good, but non-essential (26%)
26%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

CARMEN Dancing On A Cold Wind reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by soundsweird
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Their second album is as good as the first, and there's no problem with this CD reissue (see my review of Fandangos in Space). I didn't like the side-long suite much, but side one is great. Check out their website for a lot of info I never knew back in the 70's when I bought these two LP's "sight unseen". I picked them up because the cover showed a beautiful woman (Angela) credited with synthesizer and mellotron!!!!!!!

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Send comments to soundsweird (BETA) | Report this review (#23344) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 28, 2004

Review by Chus
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Carmen reminds me a lot of Trapeze, the little metal trio where Glenn Hughes (later of Deep Purple's fame) served as vocalist/bass player. Some of their songs are drenched in heavy metal. Viva Mi Sevilla starts as a heavy "fandango" with some amazing tapping by "bailaora" Angela Allen and hand clapping, and follows with some pure heavy metal or hard rock, characterized by heavy guitar interplay, thumping rhythm and accentuated bass lines; it's intro is probably the most representative of flamenco music. "I've Been Crying" has Angela as lead singer, and she has a great voice, although a bit forced at times; it also develops an interesting bridge (a sort of waltz, later accompanied with castanets and increasing tempo). "Drifting Along" has also a heavy rhythm and great vocal harmonies. "Purple Flowers" starts as a slow blues and amusing chorus, then we're in for a section in the middle in 7/8 and vocal harmonies a la Queen in the climax.

The sidelong suite called "Rememberances" is a collection of ditties revolving on a sort of frustrated love story, and is for me the best side of the album; "She's Changed" has amazing display of castanets, pan flutes and string arrangements, while "Dancing on a Cold Wind" features odd chord progressions when put together with the vocal harmonies. "Conclusion" reprises the main She's Changed theme with variations of F#, instead of the G# minor of the main theme. The same theme is also reprised in "Gypsy Girl", but in an instrumental mode; thus it gives a feeling of continuation through the entire side.

Perhaps the most notable member of the band is David Allen, while Glascock sets the rhythm greatly along with Fenton, Amaral and Karan. David Katz is an integral factor in the music with violin casting the "symphonic" sparks of Carmen's music, along with Angela's atmospheric mellotron (although I think she would had drawn attention on stage with the dancing, as well as her gorgeous presence). But the guitar, as always, is the main instrument in spanish folk music (second is the vocal). The lyrics might be the only real fault I would find in their music, as it doesn't really work in the musical context that they projected; the music, as such, works better accompanied with spanish lyrics. but you don't really need to appreciate the lyrics if only for listening to the amazing vocal deliveries.

But with all of that said, I don't enjoy their music as much as I thought I would, but I enjoyed it anyway. 3.5 stars rounded to 4

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Send comments to Chus (BETA) | Report this review (#101051) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Those were the days

Carmen's second album, released a year after their first, continues to explore the unique territories which saw them combining traditional Hispanic sounds with progressive themes and West Coast rock. While the line up is unchanged, guest musicians are added to further diversify the sound, including violinist David Katz and vocalist Mary Hopkin. Hopkin, who at the time was married to album producer Tony Visconti (who also plays recorder on the album) is best known for her presence of the Beatles Apple Records label, and her hit single "Those were the days".

Once again, the music features the male/female vocals of brother and sister David and Angela Allen, with strong harmonies and excellent guitar work. If anything the music here is even more diverse than on the first album. Tracks such as "Drifting along" and "Purple flowers" offer hints of early Jethro Tull but all the while the sound is unique and varied. The latter for example veers off into Spanish hand claps supporting a brief synth run, prior to multi-part a-cappella harmonies.

The "Remembrances" suite which dominates the album is a collection of individual songs which make up the whole (a bit like "Supper's ready" or the second side of "Abbey Road" in terms of structure). Once again, Angela Allen provides some great mellotron while David's guitar work is excellent. The songs themselves are rather fragmented, loosely telling a tale of troubled love. The individual sections are short, but segue together to form the complete piece. Once again, there are strong vocal harmonies, but there is overall an excess of vocal passages. Whether the apparent link with the opera "Carmen", which is based on the love life of a Spanish gypsy girl (one of the tracks here is "Gypsy girl - caravan") is deliberate is not clear, but there are distinct overlaps in the themes.

In all, an album of wonderful creativity which by and large pulls it off. The "Remembrances" suite perhaps displays the band's frailties a little, but that should not distract from what is another pioneering album.

The sleeve imagery was based on a cigarette packet theme, the marketing stating that "Every album carries a government health warning".

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#116453) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars Carmen's second album is a full-blown concept album, about a prostitute turned into a dancer lost her lifetime love. Sounds cheeeeeeeesy?? Ya betcha, and you'd better get the "patta negra" cold cuts to go along with the "manchego" fondue. Carmen joins the club of prog groups toying with cigarette packs: after label mates Procol Harum's A Salty Dog album with John Player's medallion and Camel's Mirage album with Camel, Carmen toys with the French Gitane ciggie pack (note that JJ Cale will also mess with this foggy artwork), this trend is not only "impolitecally correct" (who gives a hoot, right?;-) but also shows a lack of imagination. Please note that Line label also screws up the track separation on this album, but at least the album is in its entirety this time.

Anyway, Carmen's concept piece tells us the tribulation of this hooker looking for the real stuff (after having sold the bad acetate for years;-), but it is rather hard to get into the story, because of the fairly weak lyrics, and hitting rock bottom we the almost- ridiculous sidelong Remembrances suite. But if lyrically this album is weak (I will avoid the word insignificant, because there is a concept), musically the album is rather good, and songwriting-wise a vast improvement over the debut album. We are still in the pop- rock realm of Queen, 10 CC and The Sparks (and at times Klaatu's Hope album) with that flamenco influence. The vocal parts are also improved and come at times as almost- operatic, and the album is augmented by string and brass section arranged by producer Tony Visconti.

And as cheesy the concept of that sidelong suite is, musically it works quite well (the strings thicken the plot when necessary) and the mood is more to other-than-flamenco Spanish moods (Aranjuez Concerto-type of dramatics) and the many musical twists are everything a symphonic proghead is asking for. Only the short Time is weaker, due to the lyrical obligation of the concept, but on the whole Carmen oeuvre, this is where Carmen manages to be at their best and maybe their most original (forget the flamenco bits) and often strike the right string in your ears. In some ways I hear musical melancholy that would be present in Harmonium's l'Heptade concept album even if the loss of reason (as opposed to loss of love) was the concept there.

BTW, I have yet to hear any Jethro Tull influences anywhere on the first two albums!! As for the tracks on the first side, they are of the calibre of the debut album's second side, which was the better there. The opening Viva Mi Sevilla is a highly impressive flamenco rock track, while I've Been Crying goes though constant changes with Angela starring at vocals and mellotron, while Purple rose is often excellent with great mellotrons as well.

A much superior album to its predecessor, DOACW is not yet that masterpiece many will have you believe: a bit overblown and showing the limits to Carmen's creation spectrum (this flamenco-rock can only go so far) and even their best moment (Remembrances) is in danger of over-reaching themselves songwriting-wise. They will then tour the Us supporting Jethro Tull: this is how Glascock got into that group, since Carmen's third album was released posthumously.

As I said with the previous album's review: it is high time that Carmen's three albums get a complete overhauled re-issue series (to mend for those highly-flawed Line label versions) with correct facts and remastered version if possible, but given that two of the original five members are dead (leader Allen and bassist Glascock), they'd better hurry.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#116810) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, March 30, 2007

Review by The Whistler
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars (Give a woman a 3.5!)

When a weird little band's debut is really strong, like, say, oh, I dunno...Fandangos in Space, for sake of argument...the question that immediately pops up is "but can they keep it up?" And, in the case of Carmen, the answer is, "Yes, yes they can. For about a song and a half."

Because Carmen honestly can't keep it up. Not for very long at least. And the problem is that they didn't progress. Which isn't to say that they didn't get more progressive. Quite the opposite, Carmen get more progressive on this album, blowing away "lightweight" stuff like "Bulerias" and "Sailor Song." But the music itself didn't progress. Simply put, Carmen bit off just a little more, and they were already chewing at full capacity. But boy, it sure is fascinating to watch (er, "listen").

Still, it's hard to not like an album with such a strong opener as "Viva Mi Sevilla." Easily the best song on the album, and arguably Carmen's hardest ever, it quite possibly blows away everything on Fandangos in Space (All Music Guide (who actually talks about Carmen!) calls it the best Carmen song ever, and I ain't disagreein', you'll notice). Making more than fantastic use of a slamming, dramatic build, it morphs into a throwback to "Bulerias." Which doesn't piss me off at all. The spacey, extended coda takes some time to get used to, but this is a song where everything works. Everything. All the musicians play their hearts out (the strongest of course being my big three of Allen, Glascock and Fenton).

"I've Been Crying" starts out as a very effective flamenco art-pop rocker (love the guitar work under the theme). Too bad that instrumental part in the middle sort of spoils it. I mean, when it moves it's okay, but when it's stagnant...well, Carmen just shouldn't do stagnant songs. Doesn't suit them.

Case in point, "Drifting Along." Glascock and Fenton are both great, but it's still somewhat boring at first. When it hits that creepy synth passage, you think, "Wow! This would have been a cool introduction." And it would have. Maybe that's why it flows into "She Flew Across the Room" so well, a slightly superior tune, with some cool, fuzzy guitar lines under the melody.

Oh, wait, my bad. That's wasn't "She Flew Across the Room," that was the second movement of "Drifting Along" I guess. Funny how it used the same. The REAL "She Flew Across the Room" IS an intro for "Purple Flowers" (unless it's a coda for "Drifitng"). This is getting confusing.

Okay, "Purple Flowers" has a fairly decent chorus, although Carmen imitating a train isn't quite the same as Tull doing it, trust me. Then, a mid-song movement that's built like their usual coda pops in, and it's pretty good. Too bad it's not a coda, since the REAL end of the song lingers on for a bit too long.

"Table For One" starts the side long epic "Remembrances," one of the most underrated side long epics in the history of prog. Certainly one of the most forgotten (and that is both understandable and unforgivable!). The construction of "Remembrances" is surprisingly sound, complete with repeated themes to ground the piece, and character parts being divvied out to various band members. And, it's even split into sections, so you can't complain that you have to fast-forward to your favorite part!

If there are any interior instrumental bits worth listening for, it's in here. They're usually cleverly arranged, like the recorders in "She's Changed," a quieter, bittersweet number. "Gypsy Girl (Caravan)" is somewhat faster and harder. Angela Allen's vocals are stirring.

"The City" is beautiful, but where have I heard that melody before? Oh yeah, "Lonely House." No wonder it's so beautiful. Couple that with a real cool intro with a cool guitar solo, it might just be the best movement of the "Remembrances" suite. "Time (She's No Lady)" is catchy, if repetitive. I wish the piano didn't fade so fast in the beginning.

"People Dressed in Black" is the number that probably should have been the ending. It's sufficiently powerful enough, with a driving chorus, and, if you have actually been paying attention to the story, a suitable enough ending. Of course, once again, it sounds very familiar. Honestly, every time there was a pause in that thing, I kept expecting someone to yell "DANCING FANDANGOS IN SPACE, AND WEARING A GARMENT OF LACE!!!"

"Dancing on a Cold Wind" has a touching acoustic intro, and it's a decent piece of atmosphere unto itself. "The Horseman" is a little weaker, but the chorus is nice. It's good when it's soft, but I'm not sure I need some of the more "power" parts of the song.

The reprise of "She's Changed" goes on for just a tad too long. Pity. All in all, it had its moments. Sometimes it was just a little too much for its own good (especially near the end, after "Dressed in Black," where the idea machine starts to run down a bit).

This album really shows the limitations of Carmen. For one thing, there's the lack of original material. This is a case where, when you've heard the first record, you actually sort of have heard the second (Fandangos is The Yes Album, Dancing is Close to the Edge, you get the picture).

The second, and more pressing (since re-doing an album as awesome as Fandangos isn't a sin in itself), is Carmen's inability to keep up the whole spacey instrumental thing. When they try to do an instrumental midsection, unless they keep the energy up (or use some tricky instrumentation), it falls flat. They don't have the right musical chops in the band; Glascock and Fenton are capable of keeping up with Allen's guitarwork, but the keyboards are never there to provide us with any kind of variety, and it's rarely memorable.

(I just noticed that the job of keyboardist has been switched over to Allen's sister Angela. I guess they figured she could handle it better than Roberto Amaral, who has been dropped to "percussion" (whatever that means). The girl's got a good voice, as this album demonstrates, but methinks the 'boards were not her instrument. Not that Amaral ever stunned me on the first album, of course.)

But, other than that, Carmen IS able to keep it up. I mean, they sort of did clone the first album; several themes are repeated, the instruments are the same (I know, there's a violin listed in the credits, but YOU tell me that it's prominently featured), the vocal harmonies are the same, the style is identical (which is done on purpose, one should think), and the mood is largely the same. Downbeat. Not dark, no; Carmen aren't dark. The songs are always too inviting to be dark. But, listen to the lyrics for goshsakes, these things are sad!

However, if you're a diehard Carmen fan, you will need this album. If you're not, well, you probably don't. However, I think that the better parts of the "Remembrances" suite, and certainly "Viva Mi Sevilla" are certainly worth it either way.

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Send comments to The Whistler (BETA) | Report this review (#126790) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Carmen is a very intriguing english/US band that - paradoxally - have to be included in the wonderful prog- andaluz family. Curiously their first record to date, the now-mythic Fandangos in Space was released in 1973 when Triana or almost anything from Spain was still too far from seeing the light. So they came before and even if their sound wasn't really genuine, they managed to create an unicum in the prog scene of that time. Their most original peculiarity is the use of a a glamourish rock-mood a la QUEEN that is not what you could expect from a traditional andalusian band. Notwithstanding, musicianship, passiona and (sex) appeal are all excellent ingredients to intrigue the music market and they surely made something important to be well remembered. Not to talk of a certain John Glascock who became, after the short Carmen experience, a permanent bass player in JETHRO TULL until his sad death in 1979 during the recording session of Stormwatch. I always liked his style of playing in albums as Songs from the Wood or Heavy Horses so I was particularly interested in put my hands on his early output as Carmen member. And what a lucky day when both first and second releases were remastered and sold in a unique comfortably repackaged boxset.

Dancing on a Cold Wind, despite his lower rating in comparison with its more famous predecessor, has nothing to envy. On the contrary it opens within the most aggressive and powerful track ever recorded by the band: Viva Mi Sevilla. This one really shocks the listener. Above all bass playing is simply amazing. John Glascock brings his bass guitar to a more rougher and distorted sound as common in many contemporary bands (like the Zuffanti's style when play for LA MASCHERA DI CERA). In the same time, acoustic-flamenco guitar is exciting in particular when combined withing the more and more harder and vigorous tip tapping on a wooden floor (or is it a table?). This one is a pure classic, A real gem to be heard by any good prog lover, a must have if you are willing to investigate the pleasant prog-andaluz scene.

Other tracks from the album aren't at the same level but still excellent ones. Vocals are far from being morish and the most part is sung in english. It's strange, but I felt shiver when I thought I was listening to a PETER HAMMILL song... errr, that's was only my impression, obviously, based on a fragment of a single tune but it's interesting that such an album continues to allow me such intense emotions.

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#164775) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, March 23, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars Fandangos In Space part 2

I own this album as part of a two-for-one double CD on which the band's debut album, Fandangos In Space, makes up the first disc and this, their second album, makes up the second disc. This is really a great way to get both these brilliant albums! Putting these two albums together like this is also highly appropriate given that Dancing On A Cold Wind in many ways could be seen as Fandangos In Space part 2.

The first track Viva Mi Sevilla reprises a theme from the debut album. Namely, the 'give a woman a gypsy lover, and I promise she wants no other?'-theme. At first this quote disturbed me somewhat, thinking that they were apparently running out of inspiration after the masterpiece that was Fandangos In Space. However, my impression changed and now I think it is quite clever to quote an older work like that. Yes quoted a short passage from Close To The Edge on Tales From Topographic Oceans to similar effect.

Tracks 6 to 14 are thematically and musically connected to make up a 23 minute plus epic, apparently called Remembrances. However, these songs are just listed as if they were independent songs and there is no mention whatsoever of the title 'Remembrances' in the CD booklet or at the back of the CD box! This song cycle is the highlight of the album for me.

Compared with Fandangos In Space, it took longer for me to get into this album. At first I somehow felt that it was only a weaker copy of the debut album. But I changed my mind after further listens. Carmen progressed from their first album. There are more instruments on this album; more keyboards and some flutes, stringed instruments and percussion instruments. But overall the sound is still very similar to that of Fandangos In Space. There is again brilliant guitar work and vocal harmonies and strong melodies.

The energy and restlessness that I found so appealing on Fandangos In Space is not so strongly apparent here. As far as I'm concerned Fandangos In Space was a masterpiece of progressive music. Dancing On A Cold Wind is not, but it is a very good album nonetheless. It proved that Carmen were not one-hit-wonders.

Dancing On A Cold Wind is an excellent companion to Fandangos In Space. But my advice is to wait with Dancing On A Cold Wind until you have fully devoured Fandangos In Space because it can be a bit much to take in one go. Fandangos In Space is the stronger album, but if you liked that one, you will no doubt like this one too. I highly recommend getting the double CD with both albums.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#207109) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, March 14, 2009

Latest members reviews

4 stars Not as good as debut,although "Viva Mi Sevilla",opening cut alone justifies purchase.John Gascock's fuzz bass is ripping some unbelievable lines here.Actually, first side of the album is very good,problem arise with side long "Dancing on a cold wind" suite,which seem to take David Allen little ... (read more)

Report this review (#104500) | Posted by ljubaspriest | Monday, December 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is real true concept progressive folk-rock album with a strong flamenco influences - full of energy and whimsical at the same time, with a lot of breath-catching moments all over the album. I believe the album is kind of underated because it was shadowed by its recognized brilliant pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#58625) | Posted by | Wednesday, November 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Very good album from a peculiar band. Despite of the poor lyrics, it sounds very original, even in the progressive/folk ground. This is a concept album. The theme is a broken relationship. The music is energetic and has good structures and excellent vocal arrangements. These guys can really sing! T ... (read more)

Report this review (#23343) | Posted by kag1 | Wednesday, March 24, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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