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Camel - Stationary Traveller CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.43 | 700 ratings

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Tony Fisher
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Lets get it straight - I am one of those who believes that Camel were, by a small but clear margin, the best prog band ever, bar none. However, their late 70s/early 80s output was variable in quality to say the least and this album is no exception. However, it is not a turkey on the scale of Invisible Touch or Big Generator.

By this time, Latimer was the sole remaining member of the original line up and had things mostly his own way. He was able to recruit a fine bunch of musicians to back him and the album is played to a very high standard. The vocals, so often a Camel Achilles heel, are superbly dealt with by Chris Rainbow (actually Scot Chris Harley, later to engineer Celt rockers Runrig so successfully). David Paton (ex Pilot and Alan Parsons Project) Ton Scherpenzeel (Kayak) Mel Collins (ex everybody worth listening to) and Paul Burgess (ex 10cc) make up a band with no weak links.

The weak link is, however, the material. The album is a concept about life in the former Eastern bloc and some songs are relevant to the concept at the expense of quality. Despite some fine keyboard work, Refugee, Vopos, Cloak and Dagger Man are not really up to the usual Camel standard and the instrumental tracks, whilst all good and showing Latimer's guitar virtuosity to good effect, don't ignite. Long Goodbyes and West Berlin are undoubtedly first class with a wonderful guitar solo at the end of Long Goodbyes to close the album, but the real gem is Fingertips. Ironically, it's not a guitar based track but is a beautiful slow song containing some sublime sax work, excellent fretless bass playing and is sung beautifully - one of my favourite Camel tracks. Susan Hoover's lyrics are thought provoking throughout.

Overall, it's no Snow Goose - the style is more 80s and more commercial - but it is well worth buying. A good 3* album.

Tony Fisher | 3/5 |


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