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Camel A Live Record album cover
4.39 | 492 ratings | 36 reviews | 61% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Live, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

Original LP and CD:

Disc 1 (49:45)
1. Never Let Go (7:21)
2. Song Within a Song (7:01)
3. Lunar Sea (8:56)
4. Skylines (5:38)
5. Ligging at Louis' (6:34)
6. Lady Fantasy (14:15)

Disc 2 (46:01)
1. The Great Marsh (1:45)
2. Rhayader (3:07)
3. Rhayader Goes to Town (5:13)
4. Sanctuary (1:09)
5. Fritha (1:23)
6. The Snow Goose (3:02)
7. Friendship (1:35)
8. Migration (3:52)
9. Rhayader Alone (1:47)
10. Flight of the Snow Goose (2:59)
11. Preparation (4:10)
12. Dunkirk (5:26)
13. Epitaph (2:35)
14. Fritha Alone (1:22)
15. La Princesse Perdue (4:46)
16. The Great Marsh (1:50)

Total Time 95:46

2002 Remastered and Expanded CD:

Disc 1 (74:36)
1. First Light (5:27)
2. Metrognome (4:23)
3. Unevensong (5:36)
4. Skylines (5:38)
5. Song Within a Song (7:01)
6. Lunar Sea (8:56)
7. Rain Dances (2:33)
8. Never Let Go (7:21)
9. Chord Change (6:52)
10. Ligging at Louis' (6:34)
11. Lady Fantasy (14:15)

Disc 2 (62:34)
1. Spoken Introduction by Peter Bardens (1:10)
2. The Great Marsh (1:45)
3. Rhayader (3:07)
4. Rhayader Goes to Town (5:13)
5. Sanctuary (1:09)
6. Fritha (1:23)
7. The Snow Goose (3:02)
8. Friendship (1:35)
9. Migration (3:52)
10. Rhayader Alone (1:47)
11. Flight of the Snow Goose (2:59)
12. Preparation (4:10)
13. Dunkirk (5:26)
14. Epitaph (2:35)
15. Fritha Alone (1:22)
16. La Princesse Perdue (4:46)
17. The Great Marsh (1:50)
18. The White Rider (8:48)
19. Another Night (6:35)

Total Time 137:10

Line-up / Musicians

- Andrew Latimer / guitar, flute, vocals
- Peter Bardens / keyboards
- Mel Collins / saxophones & flute (on tracks recorded in 1977)
- Doug Ferguson / bass (on tracks recorded in 1974-76)
- Richard Sinclair / bass (on tracks recorded in 1977), vocals (on "Never Let Go" and "Song Within a Song")
- Andy Ward / drums, percussion

With (on tracks from "The Snow Goose"):
- The London Symphony Orchestra
- David Bedford / conductor
- John Brown / leader

Releases information

Recorded at (track numbers correspond to extended 2002 edition):
The Marquee Club, London, 30th October 1974 (Disc 1: tracks 10-11)
The Royal Albert Hall, London, 17th October 1975 (Disc 2: tracks 1-17)
Hammersmith Odeon, London, 14th April 1976 (Disc 1: track 9, Disc 2: tracks 18-19)
The Colston Hall, Bristol, 2nd October 1977 (Disc 1: tracks 1-3, 6-8)
Leeds University 3rd October 1977 (Disc 1: track 4)
Hammersmith Odeon, London, 30th October 1977 (Disc 1: track 5)

Artwork: Terry Pastor

2LP Decca ‎- DBC-R7/8 (1978, Europe)

2CD Deram ‎- 844 122-2 (1993, Europe) Remix by Rhett Davies & Remastered by Anthony Hawkins
2CD Universal ‎- 8829282 (2002, Europe) Remastered by Paschal Byrne with 7 bonus Live tracks previously unreleased

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the addition
and to Pekka & NotAProghead for the last updates
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CAMEL A Live Record ratings distribution

(492 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(61%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (6%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

CAMEL A Live Record reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars One of the best live albums I've heard by any band.

The recently released re-mastered version is far superior to the original double LP or first CD version. Not only does it sound better, it has a host of additional tracks. These extra tracks were excluded from the original release, not through any quality control issues, but simply because they had only recently (at the time) been released in studio format on the Moonmadness album.

The whole of "Snowgoose" is here, complete with orchestration. This version is even better than the original album, due in part to a fuller sound and a slightly harder edge to the band's performance. The resulting sound is slightly less smooth, with more bite to the guitar in particular.

The remaining tracks are mainly taken from the band's first two albums. They sound very fresh, new and improved so to speak. The audience is well back in the mix throughout, but it's not really the sort of album which demands audience participation. The quality of the performance and resulting sound is excellent, and that after all is what counts.

It appears the band were not entirely happy with the re-mastered version, which they had little or no input to. The main gripe appears to be that the master tape which was used did not have the drums on a separate track.

Review by lor68
5 stars This is the first place to start with their music, absolutely containing the very best version of "The Snow Goose", but also other immortal classics from "Moonmadness". Actually the 1st concept album by CAMEL - "The Snow Goose" - was a very good release, while the 1st important live "On the Road" had got an high reputation, but the present one it' much better, in comparison to both. Nevertheless, by referring always to "The Snow Goose", "A Live Record" is much more amazing and aggressive (above all by regarding the whole disc 2) and close to perfection as well!! The rest (disc 1) is represented by some classic songs from the early CAMEL (for example "Metrognome" and "1st Light" from the album "Rain Dances", "Lunar Sea" from "Moonmadness", "Lady Fantasy" from "Mirage" and so on) which are performed very well. Wonderful and essential stuff as well, for the lovers of such "Light Symphonic Prog"!!
Review by Tony Fisher
5 stars Of all the live albums released, I consider that this is the best by anyone with the possible exception of Runrig's breathtaking Once in a Lifetime. Disc one is a mix of excellent tracks from their first 5 albums along with one unreleased one (Ligging at Louis') and all are excellent - not a dull moment. Disc two is a complete Snow Goose with orchestra and couldn't be better. The recordings range over 3 years, including both Doug Ferguson and Richard Sinclair on bass. This is the only showcase for Ferguson live and shows how brilliantly he worked with Andy Ward to put together the rhythms over which Bardens and Latimer weaved their magic. Mel Collins was on the scene as well with his contributions of sax and flute, widening the band's sound. Camel were simply the best of the true prog bands and this shows exactly why; they were brilliant musicians, wrote great music and never indulged in the overblown excesses of some bands. Buy and enjoy!!!!
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars By the time I purchased this double CD (with nice and classic double jewel) with relatively cheap price, I had not heard any live version of Camel album before. Only later I knew the remastered series that contained live materials and also On The Road 1972 which was released 20 years later. This live album had helped me appreciate the music of Camel because it contains all excellent live performance.

From the opening "Never Let Go" (7:21) to "Song Within a Song" (7:01) I can see the subtleties and beauty of camel music especially in comparing these two tracks with original version. The music is much more dynamic with great nuance. The music flows beautifully until the last track of CD 1 "Lady Fantasy" (14:15) which has become my best Camel favorite track ever. I like the soaring organ work that reminds me to the music of The Doors, combined with powerful singing style and stunning electric guitar solo. The structure is really tight and it allows each musician explores their talents throughout this track. It's a track that usually I repeat playing it at least thrice because it's so energetic and so powerful!

On CD Two I greatly enjoy the performance of "Rhayader (3:07) " and "Rhayader goes to Town" (5:13) which feature great instrumental and flute work. The performance of {Music Inspired by) The Snow Goose complete with its full orchestra team has made this live album even more powerful. Camel had its own standing with the kind of music they're playing. The music cast the combination of symphonic and classic rock music with good melody.

It's a highly recommended album - an excellent addition to any prog music collection. You should not miss this album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Zac M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Wow, I have been listening to this album a whole lot lately. When I first purchased it in the early summer, I was pleased with what I had heard, but never really listened to the album that much. Now that I have brought it back out, I am coming to realize that this is one of the best live albums I have heard by any band.

Disc One is a mix of live tracks originally off of Camel's albums up until 1978, right before Breathless came out. Each song performed is a Camel classic. This disc really is a great sampling of the best Camel tracks. My main problem on the first disc is that I am not a big fan of Andy Latimer's vocals. However, Sinclair's vocals on the other songs are really great as usual. Best tracks here are "Song Within a Song," "Lady Fantasy," and "Lunar Sea."

Disc Two is where the real magic is at. I have yet to hear the original studio version of The Snow Goose, but can safely the performance on here is superb. Camel really kept me hooked here. I think that this album is worth the purchase for Disc Two alone. Best tracks here (although the whole thing needs to be listened to at once to get the full effect) are "Rhayader," Preparation," and "La Princesse Perdue." Again, this disc leaves me speechless!

This is a great purchase for anyone who is interested in getting into Camel. A lot of their best material is presented here, and although I would not usually recommend a live album to start out with, A Live Record is an exception. Even my one minor complaint cannot hold me back from awarding this album 5 stars. What a masterpiece of a live album!

Review by laplace
3 stars From the first funky notes of "Never Let Go" to the closing movements of the reprised "The Great Marsh", this live recording is a revelation. This reviewer had previously considered Camel a bore, thinking most of their work to be merely extended rock songs rather than truly progressive in any real meaning of the word. Even the obvious flaws of Camel - the wavering, sometimes overpronounced singing style, the retro organ that for better or worse transports the listener back to Blackpool Pier, the cod funk featuring the "wrong" style of saxophony and the tendency for soloists to resort to blues (and that's just the first song) - seem somehow more integral to the music, more positive. And then it hits you - this is A Live Record by A Live Band.

If you like spacy rock songs that are given time to breathe and allow each band member to showcase themselves, then pick up this release before any of Camel's studio offerings. Definetly get this before you get "The Snow Goose" as the entire suite is represented here on the second disc.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars The first official live effort for Camel features a whole CD dedicated to "The Snow Goose" with a full blown orchestra in the background (quite discrete though) : the London Symphonic Orchestra. The work is just as good as their studio album. Rhyader story at his best. Few tracks will gain in the addition of the classic ensemble : "The Snow Goose" (the track) being one of the few. This performance was recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in 1975 (except the last two numbers coming out the Hammersmith Odeon in 1976).

In its remastered version, disc one has five bonus tracks from "Raindances" which is not their most interesting studio effort so far. Fortunately, there are also older tracks to improve the general level of their performance. Most of the tracks were taken during the supporting tour for "Raindances" in 1977.

"A Song Within A Song" is a good example. Fully melancholic tune mixing two melodies in the same track (hence its title ...). "Never Let Go" and "Chord Change" are quite good songs but close to the studio versions (this is a general feeling I have about their live albums with the exception of their much later Rajaz Tour - "Camelitis").

"Ligging at Louis" is a Bardens instrumental (confidential and unreleased on a Camel album). Like "Chord Change" and "Lady Fantasy", it comes from the Marquee concert in 1974 from which a lot of numbers will be released as bonus tracks on the remastered versions of their early works). The closing number is of course the "Lady Fantasy" suite. Very good version version : a bit "harder" than the studio one.

In 1981, Latimer said that "he wanted a live album to recall Camel's history rather than a great sounding live record". That's what we get. This live album failed to chart. Three stars.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I must join the chorus of accolades for this outstanding live album. The newer CD reissue features great sound and is a big improvement over the older version I once owned.

The first CD is wonderful enough but for me it is the second disc and its extraordinary version of the complete Snow Goose that is the breadwinner. Audience noise is minimal and the playing is superb. The orchestra adds to the experience without ever getting in the way and each member embellishes nicely to the piece. Latimer's guitar sounds perfect here and Andy Ward also does a fantastic job with some nice fills. I just love the leads on "The Snow Goose," full of feeling and fluid motion, a near perfect example of melodic classic progressive. I think it holds up quite nicely all these years later.

This is sublime music for a road trip as I found out today spinning it on a long drive in the country. If you love Camel based on the studio albums alone you really should consider springing for this one. Even for those who don't generally go for 70s live albums, I really doubt you'd be dissapointed.

The booklet features some nice liner notes and documents the dates and places faithfully. It also has some really nice photographs. It's a shame that we don't have Bardens around anymore. 4 stars for a very solid live Camel release.

Review by Hercules
5 stars Live music doesn't get much better than this. The first album showcases one or two tracks from 4 of their first 5 albums brilliantly, the second is a complete performance of their ultimate masterpiece, The Snow Goose. They don't put a foot wrong; consummate musicians all. As Doug Ferguson moved on during the time period over which this was recorded, being replaced by Richard Sinclair, both bassists feature, as does Mel Collins.

Camel are great in the studio but the tracks really come to light live, especially the Snow Goose. If I had to pick one live album to take to a desert island, this would be it. My only regret is that I was in Canada during the time period of this tour and was unable to see them live; I suspect that any gig around this time would have been completely unforgettable. However, this album is the next best thing and is a clear 5 star masterpiece. No collection of prog is complete without this one.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Camel's first official live record was a rather disappointing album for me. Contrary to what I had expected, the band doesn't improvise much around the fixed song structures and both the vocals and the musicianship are decidedly weaker then on the studio counterparts.

One exception of interest would be Never Let Go, this song got a funky update and sounds very different from the original: less melancholic but all the more energetic. By contrast, Lady Fantasy is drained from most of its original energy and has lost its edge.

The remainder of the performances can't convince me either. The live rendition of the Snow Goose stays very true to the original and the few sections like Dunkirk which are slightly different but no improvement. Though most of the music is great here, due to the lackluster performance I wouldn't recommend this unless you are already a convinced Camel fan.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
5 stars I had some reservations about this record when it first came out. Most of the tracks on disc one, if not all of them, were recorded during their Rain Dances period and this album was their first without original bassist Doug Ferguson and the start of their downfall. And I didnīt know if the inclusion of such jazz musicians like Mel Collins and Richard Sinclair would do to the older material. In the end my fears would prove to be silly, but thatīs the way I felt at the time, and those times were not the best for prog as anyone here knows very well.

Anyway, I was glad Iīve waited all this time to buy this album, because not only the sound is much improved from the first CD edition, but there are also seven bonus tracks that were recorded around the same time but not included on the original double LP. The result is simply astonishing!

CD1: the Rain Dances tour. Better then I thought at the time, even if one of my favorite Camel tracks - Never Let Go - is not up to the original studio version (still good version here, though). But I canīt deny that Camel was still in top form then and the record shows Camel at the same time powerful and subtle on stage. Some sax insertions in the old songs worked well. And the chemistry between Andrew Latimer, Peter Bardens and Andy Ward is just amazing! Songs like Lunar Sea. Chord Changes, Frist Light and the 14 minute Lady Fantasy are performed with with a rare mix of awesome technique, fine melodies, terrific arrangements, passion and conviction. With the addition of the bonus ttracks itīs a 76 minute CD that shows why Camel was/is so beloved among prog fans.

CD2: this the real gem! Performed earlier by the original line up, with the help of the London Symphony Orchestra, it is even better than the classic studio version! Great performance of all involved of this instrumental suite on an inspired night. Emotional, beautiful, poignant. The Snow Goose ia a prog masterpiece and the orchestra is used only in a subtle manner, which is very good. This presentation is a 5 star affair enhanced in the new remastered version with the inclusion of two bonus tracks: White Rider and Another Night, both a worth addition to the original track list (as those on disc one). In other words, perfect.

Conclusion: a must have for any prog fan! A fantastic live album in a decade full of great live albums. The very well done remastering and the inclusion of the excellent extra tracks make this album the definitve live Camel CD to have. Rating: disc one 4,5 stars. Disc two: 5 stars. Essential. Highly recommneded!

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Camel live in Canterbury-land (and too many other places and times)

This first official live album by Camel is often praised, but there are now several very much better and more representative live releases out there from this amazing band. I'm thinking particularly of Never Let Go (double CD) recorded on the tour for Dust And Dreams in the early 90's, and Coming Of Age (DVD and also available as a double CD) filmed and recorded on the tour for Harbour Of Tears in the mid 90's (both of which I rated with the full five stars!), but even Camel's second official live album Pressure Points (which I rated with four stars!) is preferable over A Live Record! The present double live album simply does not compare to those more recent live recordings, in my opinion, for several different reasons which I will now give you. One very obvious "problem" with A Live Record is the fact that it was recorded in the 70's and that the recording techniques were not what they were in the 90's, but this is really only a minor criticism.

A much more serious problem with A Live Record is that it was recorded on several different locations over a period of four years (1974-1977). These were very turbulent years for Camel with changes in both the line-up and the whole musical approach; this makes this live album (or, more correctly, this compilation of live tracks!) rather incoherent and disjointed in my opinion. The best live albums are usually those that feature a single show, giving an idea of how it was experienced by one and the same audience on one and the same night. All three of the other official live releases that I mentioned above feature material from one and the same show respectively, and Never Let Go and Coming Of Age feature complete performances.

The most serious problem I have A Live Record is, however, that the 1977 line-up, the one featuring Richard Sinclair of Caravan fame and which was responsible for the Rain Dances studio album, is not really that representative of Camel as I know and love them best. It is certainly not my personal favourite type of Camel, anyway. For Rain Dances, the band adopted more of a Canterbury-style similar to Caravan's and the live versions of some older songs here with added jazziness and strong presence of saxophone are really not representative of those classic songs. I don't particularly dislike the saxophone, but it simply does not suit Camel very well at all, in my opinion. At least not in the quantity found on of the many songs here. The strong presence of saxophone gives Camel a slick and jazzy sound that is incompatible with the Symphonic Prog sound I primarily love this band for. The Canterbury/Jazz version of the classic Camel song Never Let Go, for example, is simply awful to these ears! It is not that I am conservative and can't accept a radical overhaul of a classic song (the version of Never Let Go from the live album of the same name is also radically different from the original, but very much better than the present version), it is just that this particular style is not my cup of tea.

However, this only applies to the first of the two CDs (or the first two sides of vinyl). The second CD (or the two last sides of vinyl) of A Live Record is devoted entirely to a full performance of The Snow Goose with the original line-up together with The London Symphony Orchestra. This is without doubt the best part of this live album and actually an improvement over the original studio album version in some respects! This part of the album is what makes it worth having even for non-fans and non-collectors. The present version of Snow Goose has a little bit more energy and punch compared to the studio version of the same.

To sum up, I would say that the first CD is basically two-star material, while The Snow Goose performance is four-star material! This lands us at a three-star rating. The new re-mastered CD version of A Live Record adds many bonus tracks so this is the version to go for. Don't get me wrong though, A Live Record is still an enjoyable collection of live recordings, and it gives an insight into what Camel sounded like during the second half of the 70's. But this period was not among Camel's best eras.

Please do not make this live compilation album your introduction to Camel or even your live introduction to the band. Start instead with the early studio albums (particularly Mirage, the self-titled debut and Moonmadness) and the most recent live albums (Never Let Go and Coming Of Age) and you will get a much better overall picture of this brilliant band.

Review by fuxi
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!

Review by friso
4 stars Camel - A Live Record (1978)

The Camel Live album. This really is a threat to fans of the band. On this two-part live album we get one lp with early Camel tracks and one lp with a live version of the Snow Goose, partly with an orchestra. The recording quality is supurb, the sound changes my room into a theater.

Camel plays professional symphonic prog with an emphasis on the instrumental part, though the vocals can get quite intimate. Their melodic, harmonic approach is likable and the technical musicanship is only used in order to make the music even better. The emotional guitars of Latimer are as good as those of Pink Floyd's Gilmour.

Back to this live compilation. The band itself plays very accurate, but as some have already mentioned, it isn't 'on fire'. The Snow Goose is played perfectly in my opinion, but the first halve of this live compilation lacks some energy. I think a lot us would have loved to see the band play a track like Lady Fantasy on the heavy Mirage way. Never let go suffers from a bad solo-section, but the other tracks on the first lp are actually just fine. A professional sounding band playing good compositions, and of course, Lunar Sea sounds amazing. The synths and guitars are great, but the addtional wind section by Collins doesn't fit in the magical environment of this instrumental epic.

The second lp, the Snow Goose live, is the main attraction here. I actually prefer the live version over the already amazing studio recording. The addtion of an orchestra on some tracks works pretty well, accept for Dunkirk in which the orchestra is very unnecesary. But then again, the string sections work very well with the music most of the time. The sound of the bombastic tracks is truly immense!

Conclusion. If you like this band, this is a recommended live album. It might not be perfect and the first halve could have been a bit more energetic, but it's still one of the best progressive live albums from the classic period. The Snow Goose live is a real five star recording and I would give the rest three stars. This makes up for four stars! Fans of modern prog might be better of with the Coming of Age live album, which as a more up to date symphonic sound.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars As others have mentioned the remastered and expanded version of this original live recording is a keeper. This was re-issued in 2002 just after Peter Bardens death and so it is dedicated to his memory and musical legacy. It's kind of cool that Peter introduces and thanks the London Symphony Orchestra at the start of disc two which is the complete "Snowgoose" album done live in 1975. And I have to agree with others who feel this turned out better than the studio version.

The first disc is mostly from the "Raindances" tour and so features songs from that record along with many other earlier tracks. A good companion to this live album is the "Coming Of Age" double live album which only has four tracks (from "Snowgoose") on it that are featured on "A Live Record". So those two live albums cover a lot of CAMEL material. This particular live recording also has Mel Collins and Richard Sinclair on the first disc adding their immense talents.There are so many highlights on this recording I don't know where to start. In particular "First Light" which is so uplifting at times and "A Song Within A Song" which is simply gorgeous. Check out "Lunar Sea" and "Lady Fantasy" both incredibly done. My favourite as usual is "Never Let Go". So emotional for me and the sax is a nice touch. The bass, guitar and organ also get a chance to shine here.

I must admit i've never warmed up to the "Snowgoose" studio album but this live version is an upgrade and one I really enjoy.

Easily 4 stars for CAMEL's first live album which is finally given the treatment it deserves with this remastered and expanded edition.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Just before diving into the ocean of mainstream Camel surprised us with this superb live retrospective of their humble beginnings!

Even though this release is titled A Live Record, it's actually a collection of live performances recorded at five different venues (Colston Hallm, Leeds University, Hammersmith Odeon, Marquee and the Royal Albert Hall) between 1974 and 1977. Over that period of time there were a few changes done to the lineup with Doug Ferguson leaving in 1976 followed by the addition of Mel Collins on saxophone/flute and Richard Sinclair on bass and vocals. Fortunately these changes aren't as apparent as they may seem on paper and this collection does in fact manage to maintain the overall spirit of Camel's music.

Granted that we have a few slightly less impressive tracks from Rain Dances, most of the material is taken from the classic three-album streak that began with Mirage. We get wonderful performances of A Song Within A Song, Lady Fantasy, Chord Change and even a surprise from the debut album in the form of Never Let Go with Richard Sinclair on vocals! The only slight weakness of the first CD comes with the performance of Lunar Sea where the instrumental jam towards the second part of the song is blown out of proportion and loses its charm outside of the structured studio setting. Fortunately we get an unexpected surprise with Ligging At Louis' that makes up for any less interesting moments up to this point.

The second part of this 2-CD collection is comprised of the complete performance of the Snow Goose, followed by two bonus tracks. There is an interesting similarity here with Marillion's live album called The Thieving Magpie that also features the complete performance of the band's third studio album, which can only be seen as Marillion's tribute to Camel's music. This recording is taken from Camel's performance at the Royal Albert Hall with the London symphony orchestra. Surprisingly enough, the orchestral arrangements do very little to the already excellent performances by the quartet with only a few notable standout moments. The two final tracks are The White Rider, a prolonged version of the final section of Nimrodel from Mirage, followed by a a less impressive take on Another Night.

This is definitely a great summary of the first five Camel albums and a nice conclusion to the band's golden era. Things would unfortunately go downhill from here on, which is why this live album is definitely a must have for all fans of this great Symphonic Prog band. To everyone else, this is a very excellent addition to your prog rock music collection!

***** star songs: A Song Within A Song (7:10) Lady Fantasy (14:25) Rhayader (3:07) Rhayader Goes To Town (5:11) Sanctuary (1:10) Dunkirk (5:28) Epitaph (2:33) Fritha Alone (1:22) The White Rider (8:49)

**** star songs: First Light (5:28) Metrognome (4:23) Unevensong (5:36) Skylines (5:44) Lunar Sea (9:00) Raindances (2:34) Never Let Go (7:29) Chord Change (6:52) Ligging At Louis' (6:36) Spoken Introduction By Peter Bardens (1:11) The Great Marsh (1:45) Fritha (1:22) The Snow Goose (3:02) Friendship (1:40) Migration (3:52) Rhatader Alone (1:48) Flight Of The Snow Goose (3:03) Preparation (4:11) La Princesse Perdue (4:45) The Great Marsh (2:03) Another Night (6:36)

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars The incredible live version of "Never Let Go" with the sax of Mel Collins and the great solos inside is enough to give the maximum rating to this album, but that is not the only highlight of the album.

It is a collection of songs recorded during the transition from Doug Ferguson to Richard Sinclair, so some tracks are performed by the first and some by the second.

Never Let Go is followed by about half of "Moonmadness". Song Within a Song and Lunar Sea are two of the best tracks ever released by Camel, and the first disc is closed by a decent version of their masterpiece Lady Fantasy. I say decent because I prefer the studio version. The previously unreleased "Liggin' at Louis" and Skylines from Rain Dances complete the disc.

It would be enough, but the whole second disc is occupied by The Snow Goose. I think all the Camel fans know about the first Camel's concept album and the only one fully instrumental. For those who are new to Camel, this is a single instrumental suite. Don't look at the number of tracks of disc two, it's just a symphony. On other live albums they often played the second and third track, "Rhayader" and "Rhayader Goes To Town", so there are a lot of different versions. This is the best live version even if also in this case I prefer the studio one.

What to say? It's a great live album where the only negative thing is that the public seems too distant. I would have expected an explosion of applauses at the end of Never Let Go, but it's like there are few dozens of persons attending the gig.

It's their problem in any case. For me it's a five stars.

Review by baz91
4 stars One thing I particularly like about being a (relatively) young prog fan who has only discovered 70s Prog in the last couple of years, are some of the fabulous reissues of great albums. 'A Live Record' is a prime example, as the 2002 remaster of this album is packed with songs not heard on the original album. Along with live tracks on other reissues, these CD's have given me incredible insight into how Camel were as a live band. Since I was not alive in the 70s, I am incredibly grateful for all the bonus live tracks.

I'll say one thing about the original LP. This album was released after 'Rain Dances' but the original track listing only includes one song from that album, Skylines. While this is quite surprising, for a band who would probably want people to buy their latest record, it is a good thing they decided to do this, as it left more room for the amazing tracks heard on their first four records.

Although the artwork is now quite out of date (although what a cover it is!), the reissue is definitely a better album than the original. The CDs allow for more of your favourite Camel songs like The White Rider, Another Night and the stunning First Light.

The first CD contains a range of great Camel songs taken from several concerts, all played beautifully. Whilst some of these are played faithfully, there are also some interesting variations. My biggest disappointment was with Never Let Go from the debut 'Camel'. The beginning of the song is played like it was on the album, but with a funkier feel and a sax solo. Then at the instrumental, the band begins to break it down and have several different solos, until closing without finishing the song. It's slightly unfullfilling, as Never Let Go is such a good song, but the track does show great on stage musicianship.

There is just one song that is not taken from a studio album, Ligging at Louis'. This six and a half minute instrumental unfortunately suffers from the same symptoms as the other 'Six minute Camel instrumentals': it is very well played, but rather forgettable. Still, it's good to include something unreleased on the live album.

Lady Fantasy is played just as well as it is on the album, although the last section lacks some of the punch of the studio version. This version is longer than the album version, and there's no points for guessing that the extended part lies in the guitar solo before the Saw you... section. It would have been a travesty if this song were not on the album! It's brilliant to hear this wonderful song live, I wish I could have been there.

Of course the second disc is devoted to 'The Snow Goose'. If you do not already have the album, then I strongly advise you get that before hearing this. The important thing about the live version is that the group are accompanied by none other than the London Symphony Orchestra. They perfectly augment the band here, and really bring the album to life. Of course, hearing the entire album live allows you to reassess your thoughts about the studio version. It's easy to enjoy even the duller parts of the album here, because there's just so satisfying about hearing the entire of something (cough Never Let Go cough). The suite is played very faithfully to the studio version, with few surprises. There is however a big detour at Migration where the band perform something completely new before returning to the song.

However, on this recorded version, I hear a lot more passion in the songs. For example, the end of Dunkirk is played spectacularly, and you can hear the band and the orchestra going crazy! Not a note wrong either! Everything feels more exciting, and the quality of the recording is crystal clear. After hearing the studio version, I'd say this is how the album was meant to be heard.

With so many great tracks being played beautifully, I'd say this album essential to any Camel fan. Being taken from several concerts over several years, this serves as a photo album to Camel's early years live. We mustn't get ahead of ourselves though, this is a live album, and it's hard to say that live albums are essential (although I'm sure there are a few essential ones). As far as live albums go, I'd give this 10/10 any day, but since we're doing this relative to other albums, I'm going to give it 9/10, and round down. Very good live album!

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Superb live album!

Well, Camel's A Live Record is an album I've been meaning to review for a couple of years, due to my love for it, however for x or y reason I am writing until now, and i actually don't really have to add anything that has not said before, because this is well known and better loved album which has only one or two innocent detractors.

So in 1978, when the world was about to reach that so called 80s decade, and when progressive rock was about to suffer a metamorphosis, Camel offered this extraordinary performance which any progressive rock fan would have loved to witness. Cleverly, they made it a two-CD album that can be easier to listen and dig, though listening to both CD's in a row, will make your day.

What will you find here? Name it Canterbury, symphonic, jazz, etc., it is easier to say that you will find first-class progressive rock and that's it, don't put limits to the labels, and of course don't limit your mind, yourself, just take a seat or have rest and listen to this wonderful record.

For live albums and compilations I don't use to review track by track, as I normally do, so I will only mention some important things. CD one consists on one of the best concert openers I've ever listened: an extraordinary version of "Never let go" with Mel Collins on sax. Once you listen to it, you would not want it to end. On this 49-minute first CD you will also listen to fabulous songs (and fabulously performed) such as "Song Within a Song", "Lunar Sea", and of course, the unique "Lady Fantasy", closing what you could call the first half of the record.

In the second CD, you will listen to the whole "Snow Goose" album, yes, all the sixteen tracks featured in the original studio album. So if you love that album (like me) then you will have a feast here, you will have a great time, believe me. Though most of the songs are played as in the album, some others were extended, with new sounds and arrangements, not an improvisation, but well-structured and thought changes.

So, I invite you to listen to this piece of gold. As you guess, my final grade will be five stars.

Enjoy it!

Review by Sinusoid
2 stars I will let it be known that I have a far more frustrating time with the live album than most other music listeners; this Camel album is no exception. It's part of the typical ''play your most well-known songs in a live context while recording a few shows along the way and document an album highlighting the best shows'' kind of live album that are a dime a dozen. Camel does absolutely nothing to get me excited or thinking differently about live albums.

The big gaping problem is that the songs seem so devoid of life. I don't regard Camel as the most dynamic group on Planet Earth, but they can create energy and excitement in the studio. On this live album, Sinclair seems to be the only one putting some vitality into the performances; everyone else sounds so cold and deadpan that it ruins the experience. I'm half asleep throughout the whole album.

The rendition of THE SNOW GOOSE album is nice, but whenever I listen to it, I find it unnecessary. It goes more along with my personal opinion of live albums in general (will get to that soon enough), but I happen to own the studio version of THE SNOW GOOSE. I find the studio SNOW GOOSE the de facto version of this story, and I can't hear any difference between studio and live. Many of the other songs from their classic period suffer the same thing, but with terribly muffled vocals. ''Never Let Go'' has a more fusion take (the only one to jump out at me), but I'll always take priority towards the original studio track.

I don't enjoy live albums in general. I don't get a thrill out of finding ''the definitive version'' of a song simply because I usually go after studio albums, and the studio songs are usually the first times I hear the songs and I base my opinion off them. Hearing another live version is only going to tilt my head if the song has anything noticeably different. For the most part, A LIVE RECORD doesn't have that (''Never Let Go'' excluded). This album sounds poorly recorded, and I can't make out the vocals half the time. Camel did well in the studio; seek out those albums and come here only if you're a diehard fan.

Review by Warthur
5 stars The initial release of Camel's A Live Record felt like a bit of a mixed bag to me, but the remaster with bonus tracks is very welcome. Adding renditions of White Rider and Another Night from the Moonmadness tour to the end of the live rendition of The Snow Goose works quite well as a nice little uplifting encore after the downbeat ending to that particular magnum opus, but the really great improvement occurs on the first CD, which is expanded from a meagre 6 tracks to 11, and in doing so manages to offer a succinct "best of Camel" covering the Mirage to Rain Dances era.

I've grown on Mel Collins' saxophone work in particular, which means I'm especially appreciative of the performances of older material from the 1977 Rain Dances tour, with rearrangements of these classic Camel tracks performed to add in Mel's saxophone.

Even in the old edition, of course, disc two was a Camel fan's delight - a complete performance of the classic Snow Goose album, backed by the London Symphony Orchestra. The band are never upstaged by the orchestra, who are present mainly to add texture, and the occasional flourishes Latimer and Bardens slip into their performances make this an intriguing alternate version of the album for fans.

So I'd revise my old mark for this from three stars to five, provided you retain the extra tracks offered on the superb recent remaster of this set.

Review by VianaProghead
5 stars Review Nš 47

'A Live Record' is the debut live album of Camel and was released in 1978. It was originally released as a double vinyl disk with recordings taken from three different live tours of the group.

The first disk, features recordings taken from their second studio album 'Mirage' released in 1974, when they toured the album and from their fifth studio album 'Rain Dances' released in 1977 when they toured this album too. The first track 'Never Let Go' originally recorded on Camel in 1973 and the second track 'Song Within A Song' originally recorded on 'Moonmadness' in 1976, were recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, in October 1977 and were taken from the 'Rain Dances' live tour. The third track 'Lunar Sea' also originally recorded on 'Moonmadness' was recorded at the Colston Hall, Bristol in October 1977 and was also taken from the 'Rain Dances' live tour. The fourth track 'Skylines' originally recorded on 'Rain Dances' in 1977 was recorded at Leeds University, Leeds, also in October 1977, and was also taken from the 'Rain Dances' live tour. The fifth track 'Ligging At Louis' is a live version of an instrumental song originally composed by Peter Bardens but unreleased on any Camel's studio album and the sixth track 'Lady Fantasy: Encounter/Smiles For You/Lady Fantasy' originally a song recorded on 'Mirage' in 1974, were recorded at the Marquee Club, London in 1974. The second disk is devoted to a complete live performance of the band's instrumental conceptual album 'The Snow Goose' released in 1975, during the live tour of the album made in 1975 and was performed with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The line up of Camel on this live album is Andrew Latimer (lead vocals, guitars and flutes), Peter Bardens (keyboards), Doug Fergusson (bass), Andy Ward (drums and percussion), Mel Collins (saxophones and flute) and Richard Sinclair (vocals and bass). Sinclair, an ex-member of Caravan, replaced Doug Fergusson who was the original bassist and founding member of the band that left Camel in the early of 1977, after the release of the band's fourth studio album, 'Moonmadness'. Collins joined the group at the same time of Sinclair and both participated on the Camel's fifth studio album 'Rain Dances' as band members. Given the recording sessions correspond to different years in different stages, between 1974 and 1977, and the group had two different bass players, Sinclair plays on tracks one, two, three and four of the first CD and Fergusson plays on tracks five and six of the same CD and throughout all the second CD. Collins plays on the same tracks that Sinclair plays, namely on tracks one, two, three and four of the first CD.

About the performance, the album opens with 'Never Let Go' that sounds completely different from the original version from their debut. This one is a lot jazzier and is probably how it would have sounded if it had been written and recorded to 'Rain Dances'. Definitely interesting, it's no substitute for the superior original. 'Song Within a Song' and 'Lunar Sea' are performed very similar to the studio versions, despite the inclusion of Collins. 'Ligging At Louis' is a good jam despite wasn't be found on any of their other albums. 'Lady Fantasy' sounds, in my opinion and unfortunately, rather tame and a bit uninspired compared to the much more powerful studio version. However, it remains a great version. Then we go a few years back in time to hear the band perform the then brand new 'The Snow Goose'. It's overall a good performance with a few interesting differences from the original, such as the additional solo on 'Migration' and the theme on 'Flight Of The Snow Goose' being played on organ instead of synthesizer.

Conclusion: This Camel live album certainly shows the band's strength on stage during the early years of the group. As I wrote before, it's not a recording of one single concert but a selection from several. It was released shortly after the launch of 'Rain Dances' and the record label didn't wish interfere with the studio album sales. So, they reduced the number of tracks to be included from the 'Rain Dances' live tour. The second CD is 'The Snow Goose' performed entirely with the backing of The London Symphonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. And what a fabulous rendition it is. It just gives to the piece a whole new dimension sound. I must say that 'The Snow Goose' is one of my favourite albums of the group, and this live version is, in my humble opinion, even better than the version on the original studio album. 'A Live Record' is a brilliant live album, by one of the most brilliant bands of the 70's. It's one of the best live albums I've ever heard, and isn't less inferior to other great live albums from some other great bands, of the 70's. If you want to feel the power and the strength of Camel on live, you must get this album and I would certainly recommend it to everyone. This album would make a great starting point to anyone who wishes to listen to Camel for the first time. The production is warm and clear and it serves as a great representation of their classic early musical period.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars REVIEW #7 - "A Live Record" by Camel, (1978) By 1978, Camel had made the unfortunate transition towards a commercializing rock band, largely eschewing the progressive motifs that had allowed them to make a name for themselves. However, the band, which at this point had released six studio alb ... (read more)

Report this review (#2489197) | Posted by PacificProghead | Thursday, December 31, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is the album that marks the end of an era for Camel. Their first 5 albums for me define their "classic" era. Even though the band had a significant lineup change in "Rain Dances", new bass player Richard Sinclair and Mel Collins officially joining the band, that album still contained the ... (read more)

Report this review (#2432462) | Posted by judahbenkenobi | Sunday, July 26, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I bought this on vinyl soon after it was released. The track listing was as listed above for the first CD version. More recently I purchased the album on CD, but it was the expanded edition with extra tracks. First of all, this album shows the classic line up of Camel at its best, and the soun ... (read more)

Report this review (#1591137) | Posted by AlanB | Sunday, July 24, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A live album with the original band Camel in action, running great classics of the group, and with the addition of Richard Sinclair on backing vocals and bass, more Mel Collins on flute and saxophone? It can not be anything but the best that could have been seen in concert in history. But we ... (read more)

Report this review (#993750) | Posted by sinslice | Tuesday, July 9, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Camel's 'A Live Record' has got to be the greatest live album in Prog Rock history! This is the only live album I would ever consider giving a 5 star masterpiece rating. It is such a powerful recording that it has rendered two of their studio albums obsolete for me.... First, and most import ... (read more)

Report this review (#202085) | Posted by AdamHearst | Sunday, February 8, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars *Note*: I am reviewing the 2002 REISSUE of this album This is one of my absolute favorite live albums. Every song on here (with the notable exception of Lady Fantasy) sounds better than its studio version. Part of the reason for this is new singer Richard Sinclair's (ex. Caravan) vocals, which a ... (read more)

Report this review (#168270) | Posted by listen | Monday, April 21, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After reading about this live effort by Camel and how good it was. I finally went out and picked it up. I must say I was a bit nervous because I don't usually like live albums, they are either too improvised (leading to too many mistakes) or identical to the album recording (with audience noise ... (read more)

Report this review (#112553) | Posted by akamarko | Sunday, February 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The true test of any band is the way they sound live ! This album although recorded in 1977, could possibly be the best recording ever. I know that's a lot to chew on, and there have been many live albums that rival the quality. But it just goes to show that many bands have the confidence to ... (read more)

Report this review (#66083) | Posted by titfortat03 | Sunday, January 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I love live records, back in the seventies I used to collect them all, remember Grand Funk? and Deep Purple? Jeff Beck? even a few years back I used to play over and over "Bursting Out" for 4 or 5 weeks in a row. So I was expecting pretty good things from Camel, a band I specially like but let ... (read more)

Report this review (#62717) | Posted by steelyhead | Sunday, January 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Wonderful live album, containing great tracks from the first 5 albums as well as a complete performance of the Snow Goose. They were not only excellent studio musicians who could play with emotion and feel but they could also cut the mustard live big time. The recordings are taken from 3 diffe ... (read more)

Report this review (#46005) | Posted by king | Thursday, September 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This was my first Camel album, and it's one of my favourites. I agree with other reviewers: this is a perfect example of a great live album. Why? I can point some reasons: the song selection is almost perfect, including most of the highlights of previous album; the overall performance of all b ... (read more)

Report this review (#42467) | Posted by M. B. Zapelini | Thursday, August 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is the album that introduced me to Camel back in 1978; I've listened to it many many times since and I simply love it. Disc One (of the original release) is both a great introduction to what Camel are all about and a dazzling display of their live genius. Disc Two is a powerful renditio ... (read more)

Report this review (#2300) | Posted by | Tuesday, March 1, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The CD tracks need updating as the latest version has a good number of extra tracks. From what was one of the greatest live albums this has now become possibly the best live album ever (although Second Out may still JUST have the edge). The music is glorious and the addition of the extra tra ... (read more)

Report this review (#2298) | Posted by | Saturday, December 4, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Here we can hear The best CAMEL's albums. The pieces are quite short, but how good! No fillers! The sound is soft, pleasant to hear. Flute, female vocals, thin drums, smooth guitar, everything form a unique soft prog of the 70's. I know that many women like this album, because it is a rather f ... (read more)

Report this review (#2297) | Posted by | Friday, October 1, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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