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CARMEN

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Carmen biography
In the early seventies, the British-American group CARMEN broke new ground in rock music, combining the British flair for progressive rock with traditional Spanish folk themes into a very fresh, energetic and powerful new mix. The sound is centered around guitar, keyboards are used subtly but to good effect. On the whole, they are a rather hard band to describe ... "They sound only like themselves, because it IS so unique". Some vague comparisons could be made to JETHRO TULL, MEZQUITA (some of the Spanish themes), and TRIANA (the flamenco/prog combination).

CARMEN released three albums only: "Dancing On A Cold Wind", "Fandangos In Space", and "The Gypsies". It's hard to say which of the first two albums is better, both are excellent starters. Two great tastes that taste great together. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED...!

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Eric Carmen,Winter Dreams,Japan CD,Obi USD $20.00 [1 bids]
MELODY MAKER 1957 JUNE 22 CARMEN MCRAE SHIRLEY BASSEY MITCHELL TRIO LYTTELTON + USD $27.87 Buy It Now
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at) Iberia (Stokowski edits) from Carmen/bizet Fallla El Amor Brujo USD $49.91 Buy It Now
The Sound of Christmas Bing Crosby Carmen Dragon 7"/33rpm 021518DB45 USD $8.99 [0 bids]
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Eric Carmen-All By Myself 7" Vinyl Single Originally Released In 1975 Flashback USD $2.09 [0 bids]
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CARMEN RIVERO Y SU CONJUNTO CUMBIA 12" 1965 OG PROMO #EX-5136 VG+ USD $9.99 [0 bids]
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Georges Bizet - Bizet: Carmen [Highlights/13 Tracks] (1998) USD $1.32 [0 bids]
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Vintage vinyl record by Carmen McRae, The Great American Songbook. USD $50.00 Buy It Now
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Carmen Dragon "Starlight Concert" Hollywood Bowl Capitol Douphonic DP 8276 -1954 USD $30.00 Buy It Now
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Bizet: Carmen Ansermet L' Orchestre De La Suisse Romande London Blueback CS 6062 USD $9.99 [0 bids]
THE RASPBERRIES ERIC CARMEN "ERIC CARMEN" 8 TRACK TAPE 1975 ALL BY MYSELF USD $2.99 Buy It Now
ERIC CARMEN "BOATS AGAINST THE CURRENT" GATEFOLD LP 1977 USD $3.99 Buy It Now
Eric Carmen "All By Myself / Everything" 45rpm Record Arista AS 0165 (1975) USD $0.99 [0 bids]
USD $1.49 Buy It Now

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CARMEN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CARMEN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 101 ratings
Fandangos In Space
1973
3.79 | 62 ratings
Dancing On A Cold Wind
1975
3.25 | 35 ratings
The Gypsies
1975
2.92 | 15 ratings
David Clark Allen: Widescreen
2007

CARMEN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CARMEN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CARMEN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.36 | 17 ratings
Fandangos In Space/Dancing On A Cold Wind
2006

CARMEN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

CARMEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 David Clark Allen: Widescreen by CARMEN album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.92 | 15 ratings

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David Clark Allen: Widescreen
Carmen Prog Folk

Review by poito

2 stars Who knows why David Allen revived the name of the band. This is not even close. He is the only member left of the original band and the music is totally unrelated. This is allen acoustic/Spanish guitar playing solo or with occasional support by others, but the music is New Age type, introspective, just for his glory and fun. It may fit ambient or landscape stuff, for inattentive listeners. Not of the like of Progheads. I'm afraid he did the move to promote the remastered copies of the original band, which is worth a visit, but not this one that targets other audience.
 The Gypsies by CARMEN album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.25 | 35 ratings

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The Gypsies
Carmen Prog Folk

Review by poito

3 stars Third release of the Americans that loved Flamenco. For those who never checked Carmen before, the band plays a free style Prog Rock Fusion of the mid 70's that includes plenty of Flamenco elements. This album contains more melodic themes with plenty of choral work, tinted with glam. Choral singing has been a main feature of the band, but in this occasion it is less effective than before, it comes to tiring. The themes are instrumentally attractive, but the voices don't let space to enjoy the instruments. Definitely this is one of clear example where unnecessary voices derailed a good project. This probably was an influence of their friends Bowie, Ferry and company. A pity because I think the band had reached maturity and the music was beginning to be consistent and with a uniform personality. But they bet it all on voices, and I think they lost the game. The most accomplished theme is the album title, an extraordinary 7 min long that blends rock music and flamenco percussion beautifully in a slow and rather dramatic melody that is run by a great solo work at the guitar. This would have been a good path to follow.
 Dancing On A Cold Wind by CARMEN album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.79 | 62 ratings

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Dancing On A Cold Wind
Carmen Prog Folk

Review by poito

4 stars This uncommon band has a difficult cataloging, kind of Rock Fusion, with a Zappa-esque style, some glitters to early Soft Machine and contemporary glam Rock, plus an extraordinary work of the voices a la Queen, and the Flamenco elements they are best known for. In a first listening I've got already the impression that there was more music in this album than in its debut Fandangos. The Flamenco bits are used more sparingly and distract less from the main composition. Having some claps and castañuelas here and there does not turn on my Flamenco antenna, 'cause it is only bits sputtered onto pure anglo-saxon making. There is no Flamenco rock style at all here. If you wanna taste what Flamenco Rock is like go and try the great Triana. You'll catch the difference at once. I think the Allen's were wise not to try a fusion, cause they don't really have enough Flamenco soul, just a few tourist bits for the blend, but they used them wisely to raise the interest and add some dramatism to the themes. The musicianship keeps very high, and after a few turns one gets a value everywhere in the album. It is a true enjoyable piece from start to end, full of original motifs. Particularly interesting is the second half, built as a 20 min long epic called "Rememberances (Recuerdos de Espana)", a curious title for a band that probably never lived there. I feel tempted to score it 5 but let's wait a bit and see how well it grows on me.
 Fandangos In Space by CARMEN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.85 | 101 ratings

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Fandangos In Space
Carmen Prog Folk

Review by poito

3 stars I came to this album attracted by my roots, what else. Curiosity killed me (literally), as a Spaniard and a moderate aficionado to Flamenco, the dominant artistic expression in the southern part of Spain. My first impression when I listened to the starter "Bulerias" was hilarious, I have to admit it. Some old sounds are engraved so deep in my brain that I simply cannot conceive them in a different way. It is like the paella with chorizo. Not a betrayal feeling, it is simply a bad taste sensation of things don't getting together. After considering the circumstances, I now lean to forgive the kids because they need to play. I may quite understand this is the natural outcome of two young brains grown up in a dystopic ambient, a Flamenco restaurant in Los Angeles. Poor kids! I've witnessed how cultural hybridization produces weird outcomes, even shocking. But no person is to blame. And yet, this does not mean that the outcome has any value just by the roots. That's how I feel about this experiment. I mean, any artistic expression evolves, and it does slowly, it debugs and sublimates with time and practice, through the many little bits added out of personal experiences by newcomers. Sudden breaks can only be considered experiments. This one is not very successful I must say, but probably only for those knowing the source of the inspiration. I still feel it as anglo-saxon artists making fun of Flamenco after a short tourist stay. Not enough to treat it fairly. There is no possible comparison with Spanish Flamenco Rock groups as Triana, who treated their roots so gently that the result was highly appealing for their two parents, flamenco and rock. I think the difference is the degree of exposure to the flamenco, which has been very narrow for the Allen brothers. Anyway, this feeling I only have it for covers of classic flamenco themes. The rest is rather sincere, and I appreciate great values as the good performance, good musicianship and most of all, the great voices and a general Prog Zappa-esque soul. Now that I think about it, aren't they precursors of Queen's choral singing? Yes, they are. They moved to London before Queen kicked off. Sure they listened to the splendid voice combinations in this album. There are some themes I really like, as the "Lonely House", a rather acceptable "Por Tarantos", one of the most difficult styles of Flamenco only at the reach of great guitar performers. Also check the "Retirando" and its reprise. This one, although it has Flamenco airs it is an original creation; that is a different thing, and it sounds great with the clapping used just as an ornament, and a nice end in a smooth guitar tune and the castańuelas in the background. Don't expect anything similar to Flamenco Rock, this is more of the like of Zappa adepts and weird musical hybrids. But in no way this is in the 50 top all time masterpieces of Prog, as a prestigious musical journal qualified it. C'mon!
 Dancing On A Cold Wind by CARMEN album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.79 | 62 ratings

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Dancing On A Cold Wind
Carmen Prog Folk

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars I found this LP in a $1 bin at a local Eugene, Oregon record store, an original UK pressing on Regal Zonophone (unlike Fandangos in Space, this was never released in the States). Basically, much of the stuff in that bin being frequent thrift store staples: easy listening, '70s singer songwriters, and AOR acts. So it's a trip to see a Carmen LP sitting next to a bunch of James Taylor, America, Captain & Tennille, Dan Fogelberg and Linda Ronstadt LPs. I wondered why it was being sold for so cheap? The disc don't look warped. Side two did feature this unsightly fingernail scratch, so they thought they'd never sell it for going price. I brought it home and the darn LP plays at Near Mint, even that scratch you can barely notice it, if at all (I was expecting loud pops or even skips, given I only spent $1 and pleasantly surprised that didn't happen). The cover is a spoof of pack of Gitanes cigarettes. Funny how their labelmates Procol Harum had a cigarette pack spoofed on one of their albums, A Salty Dog spoofing Player's Navy Cut.

Being familiar with Fandangos in Space, it's really no surprise the music on Dancing on a Cold Wind is in a similar vein. Same unmistakable blend of flamenco and prog. The foot dancing from Roberto Aramal and Angela Allen really sounds great on this disc. I wasn't expecting John Glascock to crank up the bass to give it a full fuzz effect like he did on the opening cut, "Viva mi Sevilla". It's almost as if Jannick Top of Magma stepped in. Regardless, it's instantly recognizable as Carmen, even a revisit of "Bulerias" from Fandangos in Space is quoted. Angela Allen is one of the very few female Mellotron players out there (the other being Virginia Scott of Beggars Opera who put one to great use on Waters of Change, but not Keiko Kumagai of Ars Nova as she used early tron samples). Side two is taken up with a suite, which is clearly the most ambitious thing they ever did. There's even a brief flirtation with medieval music, but that's because Tony Visconti played recorder on that part (as he did with Gentle Giant and even David Bowie). Still a very good record, but it may be a notch below Fandangos only because it doesn't quite match that album's intensity, while there are some intense parts, there are more calm and relaxed parts. Finally glad to own the second Carmen album. So I'm with popular opinion: a notch below Fandangos but still worth it if you dig what this band does.

 Fandangos In Space by CARMEN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.85 | 101 ratings

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Fandangos In Space
Carmen Prog Folk

Review by GKR

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. With flamboyant stage clothes, numbers of dancing and a complete stage performance with artistic interventions for each song. The combination of elements, music styles and artistic aproach is already a total comprehension of art group that deserves our attention.

Although a little bit poorly recorded, the vocals of John Glascock e David Allen are always in sintony and Glascock basslines always present and even with distorsion in some tracks. The compositions ("Saylior Song" and "Stepping Stone") and the repetition of the first melodies in the end of the album is remarkably.

Five stars to the Caballeros of Prog Rock!

 Fandangos In Space by CARMEN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.85 | 101 ratings

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Fandangos In Space
Carmen Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.
 Fandangos In Space by CARMEN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.85 | 101 ratings

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Fandangos In Space
Carmen Prog Folk

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.

 Fandangos In Space by CARMEN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.85 | 101 ratings

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Fandangos In Space
Carmen Prog Folk

Review by RIREINC

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 general its tolerable. Of course some of the lyrics are in Spanish but that's not a drag because in its majority is English.

For a debut album its pretty good and you should check it out if you are into flamenco and (sometimes) bolero. Bulerias and Looking Outside (My window) are probably the best songs from the album but the rest is interesting too.

4 Stars!

 Fandangos In Space by CARMEN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.85 | 101 ratings

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Fandangos In Space
Carmen Prog Folk

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

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.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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