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Camel - A Live Record CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.33 | 389 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I'd like to express my admiration for the remastered and expanded edition of this set, which introduced me to a better Camel than I'd ever heard.

I first discovered Camel in the seventies. I bought MOONMADNESS as soon as it came out, listened to MIRAGE, and even played the original LPs of A LIVE RECORD once or twice. None of them fully convinced me. It seemed Camel were, above all, a band of convincing BITS, with a few weird and wacky synth solos and some beautifully pure guitar solos, but also with thirteen-in-a-dozen organ solos and, worst of all, awfully lacklustre lead vocals.

Now here comes this expanded version of their classic live album, which has Richard Sinclair taking care of most of the singing, thereby empowering the band a great deal, even turning them into some sort of "honorary Canterbury band". If you're not a fan of Sinclair's unheroic, South-East English enunciation, you may remain unconvinced, but in my opinion this was a huge step forward.

Even better, newly added tunes (not on the original LPs) like "Unevensong" and "The White Rider" are well worth hearing, with the band playing as if their lives depend on it. Also, in their remastered versions, Camel classics such as "A Song Within A Song" and "Lunar Sea" easily surpass the studio originals.

The same goes for the live version of "The Snow Goose", a concept album I've not always enjoyed. It usually seemed just a haphazard combination of neo-Elizabethan dances, stale blues licks and second-rate movie melodies. To be sure, the version on the remastered A LIVE RECORD still contains a few dodgy passages (with Peter Bardens's keyboards in particular failing to excite) but generally speaking the band play with such fervour that any weaknesses are soon forgotten. Many of Andrew Latimer's electric guitar solos are so... poetic (for want of a better word) I actually got tears in my eyes.

I don't believe any proggers have ever released a fully convincing extended composition featuring rock band and symphony orchestra as equal partners. But Latimer definitely played along with the London Symphony Orchestra and proved quite easily that he was as gifted as most classical oboists or violinists. Bravo!

fuxi | 4/5 |


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