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CAMEL

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Camel biography
Formed in 1971 in Guildford, Surrey, UK - Disbanded in 1984 - Reformed from 1991 to 2003 and again since 2013

The roots of CAMEL go as far as 1964, when the Latimer brothers Andrew and Bryan form part of a band called THE PHANTOM FOUR, after gaining some fame, the band changes their name to STRANGE BREW, a when the bass player Graham Cooper reaches the band. But things were about to change, Ian Latimer and Cooper leave the band and Doug Ferguson joins.

At this point drummer Andrew Ward joins the crew and the seeds were growing in this new Blues oriented band called simply THE BREW, and at last in 1971 with the arrival of keyboardist Peter BARDENS CAMEL is officially born.

In their first period CAMEL releases four albums, the self titled debut, which was received with limited enthusiasm by the public, which lead to the change of label from MCA (Who didn't wanted to take risks) to Decca, with whom they stayed for 10 years.

Followed by "Mirage", Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness" (for many their essential trilogy), during the latest album tour, the saxophonist and flute player Mel Collins joins and leads CAMEL to a first radical change in the sound, as well as in the formation because Doug Ferguson is replaced by the Ex CARAVAN bass player Richard SINCLAIR.

With this formation CAMEL releases two albums, "Rain Dances and "Breathless", which marks for many the end of CAMEL'S golden era mainly because Pete Bardens leaves the band and the next release "I Can See Your House From Here" is considered inferior to the previous releases by the critic.

From this point the lineups constantly changes but the band still releases seven more albums received with different degrees of acceptance, until the last studio album "A Nod And a Wink" sees the light in 2002 (the same year Pete Bardens passes away) completing a large discography of 14 studio releases, 9 live albums, 7 DVD's and several box sets .

Maybe because their style is softer than most of the pioneer bands with atmospheric and light Space Rock overtones their fanbase is not as huge as the ones of the coetaneous and more aggressive bands such as GENESIS (Who in my opinion influenced CAMEL), YES or KING CRIMSON, but CAMEL is without doubt among the most respected groups, and the Latimer - Bardens duo is considered one of the most creative compositional teams.

If I h...
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CAMEL discography


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

3.96 | 1303 ratings
Camel
1973
4.40 | 2695 ratings
Mirage
1974
4.30 | 2301 ratings
The Snow Goose
1975
4.38 | 2289 ratings
Moonmadness
1976
3.63 | 961 ratings
Rain Dances
1977
3.16 | 794 ratings
Breathless
1978
2.91 | 684 ratings
I Can See Your House From Here
1979
3.63 | 763 ratings
Nude
1981
2.62 | 487 ratings
The Single Factor
1982
3.44 | 688 ratings
Stationary Traveller
1984
3.65 | 512 ratings
Dust And Dreams
1991
3.75 | 605 ratings
Harbour Of Tears
1996
4.06 | 852 ratings
Rajaz
1999
3.96 | 688 ratings
A Nod And A Wink
2002
4.17 | 567 ratings
The Snow Goose (Re-recording)
2013

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

4.37 | 411 ratings
A Live Record
1978
3.35 | 172 ratings
Pressure Points
1984
3.71 | 121 ratings
Camel On The Road 1972
1992
4.46 | 167 ratings
Never Let Go
1993
2.49 | 74 ratings
Camel On The Road 1982
1994
3.38 | 69 ratings
Camel On The Road 1981
1997
4.29 | 141 ratings
Coming Of Age
1998
3.85 | 73 ratings
Camel 73 - 75 Gods of Light
2000
3.64 | 79 ratings
The Paris Collection
2001
5.00 | 1 ratings
Camel At The Royal Albert Hall
2020

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

2.60 | 47 ratings
Pressure Points - Live in Concert
1984
4.55 | 117 ratings
Coming Of Age (DVD)
1998
2.93 | 27 ratings
Curriculum Vitae
2003
3.96 | 49 ratings
Footage
2004
3.84 | 38 ratings
Footage II
2005
4.08 | 45 ratings
Total Pressure - Live In Concert 1984
2007
3.93 | 61 ratings
Moondances
2007
4.40 | 81 ratings
The Opening Farewell - Live At The Catalyst (DVD)
2010
4.43 | 41 ratings
In From The Cold
2014
4.36 | 28 ratings
Ichigo Ichie - Live in Japan 2016
2017
5.00 | 11 ratings
Live At The Royal Albert Hall
2019

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

2.05 | 19 ratings
Chameleon (Best Of Camel)
1981
3.34 | 21 ratings
The Collection
1985
3.74 | 31 ratings
A Compact Compilation
1985
2.51 | 11 ratings
Landscapes
1991
3.45 | 58 ratings
Echoes
1993
2.45 | 12 ratings
Camel (25th Anniversary Compilation)
1997
4.11 | 35 ratings
Lunar Sea - An Anthology 1973-1985
2001
4.33 | 3 ratings
Supertwister - Best
2006
4.19 | 44 ratings
Rainbow's End - A Camel Anthology 1973 - 1985
2010

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

3.98 | 31 ratings
Never Let Go
1973
4.73 | 11 ratings
The Snow Goose
1975
3.45 | 10 ratings
Flight Of The Snow Goose
1975
3.87 | 26 ratings
Another Night
1976
3.54 | 18 ratings
Highways of the Sun
1977
4.33 | 9 ratings
Breathless
1978
3.50 | 4 ratings
Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine
1979
4.00 | 2 ratings
Some Exerpts From The New Camel Album
1979
3.20 | 5 ratings
Remote Romance
1979
4.00 | 5 ratings
Remote Romance (German Version)
1979
5.00 | 1 ratings
Camel In Concert No.250
1981
4.17 | 6 ratings
Lies
1981
3.89 | 9 ratings
No Easy Answer
1982
4.25 | 8 ratings
Selva
1982
3.38 | 10 ratings
Cloak And Dagger Man
1984
2.70 | 9 ratings
Long Goodbyes
1984
3.33 | 3 ratings
Berlin Occidental (West Berlin)
1984
3.75 | 4 ratings
Lies (Promo Single)
1984
4.00 | 4 ratings
Captured
1986
4.71 | 23 ratings
Never Let Go
2002

CAMEL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Stationary Traveller by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.44 | 688 ratings

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Stationary Traveller
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars An improvement over poppy Alan Parsons-like output but still remaining distant from bold "Nude" or previous prog- rock work.

With this release, Camel stands closer to New-Wave than Prog-Rock. On one hand, we have decent instrumentals like "Pressure Points" or title track with distinctive guitar, on another hand, tracks reminding Gilmour by vocal and new wave such as "Refugee" that has a Dire Straits guitar twist. It remains to be said that both sides of the spectrum are quite proficiently covered by Latimer and keyboard work. "Missing" is the only track that could be stated as Camel 70's v2.0 with updated instruments. "Long goodbyes" is a brilliant 80's melancholy track and powerful Chris Rainbow vocals.

3 stars as a pop album and 2 stars for proggers.

 Nude by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.63 | 763 ratings

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Nude
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Kudos to Camel not to rest on laurels or quitting it for a day. Unlike Genesis and Yes, these guys embraced synths and new wave without leaving much complexity behind on this album. They even went to ambitious as to build another concept album full of intelligent instrumental music consisting of equal dose of classic rock instruments and electronics. Rather than building sophisticated prog-rock playing patterns, it is the overall ambition of compositions and concept feeling that stays behind. Guitar is actually more restrained than in the 80's and so are drums. Keyboards are the main instrument on this album. My favourite ones are partly prog-related "Docked" and "Beached". The track "Reflections" quite nicely represents the more retrospective but not any more romantic mood to be found here. It's fine to realize that in 1981, there were still prog-rock bands willing to experiment, develop and put out concept albums. Things were not so consistent on the next Camel album, unfortunately.
 I Can See Your House From Here by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.91 | 684 ratings

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I Can See Your House From Here
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars The last Camel album of the 70's is not as bad as it might seem looking at the year number. Not much has been left for a classic progressive rock fan. A lot to offer for a crossover prog-pop-new-wave fan. Compositions are mostly made out of clever ideas and arrangements are decent. I like the inclusion of Kit Watkins as second keyboardist. Not only is he a clever player but also contributes a decent instrumental "Eye of the storm" which is reminiscent of late 70's Happy the Man stuff he did and he uses a particular synth colour. Abundance of keyboards on this album is evident, not only as a lead instrument but also to create textures. "Who we are" and "Ice" are two obvious progressive-laden numbers. "Ice" stand outs by being one of the most reflective numbers Camel ever did, so many emotions and melancholy - only Hackett could compare. At the end of the track, acoustic guitar provides a way to say good-bye to the classic era of Camel. On a more commercial side, I find romantic pop-prog numbers outstanding and comparable to Genesis. "Hymn to her" and "Your love is stranger than mine" are both good additions to the album. This is a crossover prog album that will find its fans equally in and out of band supporters circle.
 Rain Dances by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.63 | 961 ratings

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Rain Dances
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Rain Dances marks a more polished and commercial appeal of the band although there are still enough pure progressive rock elements. Some simpler tracks are compensated by increased Pink Floyd influence and we even have Brian Eno helping out with his electronics. "First light" is thankfully fully instrumental and we even have saxophone here but you can say that this is not the first- class Camel Instrumental any more. "Metrognome" is an experiment to combine to pop-prog, Canterbury and classic Camel prog into one composition. Does it succeed? You decide. "Tell me" and "Highways of the sun" are two romantic songs sung by Sinclair and Latimer, respectively. Not bad and comparable to Genesis of the era. "Uneven song" brings things unevenly closer to prog with its killer rhythm; it reminds me of "Kaipa" title track from 1978 because of bass and drums. I love Banksy keyboards, especially rising Moog. Pity that the composition is ruined with vocal sections. Subtle fusion elements combined with disco are displayed at "One Of These Days I'll Get An Early Night", quite untypical of Camel. "Elke" seems like out of place on this album and would fit more on the "Low" album by David Bowie but I love the dark tone anyway. "Skylines" may be the prog peak on this album, all instruments hammer it through, killing guitar and Moog solo while walking bass, pity that the song is only 4,5 minutes long. "Rain dances" may be an attempt at contemporary progressive electronics by Eno or Kraftwerk, well done.

A bit uneven and diverse album worth exploring.

 Moonmadness by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.38 | 2289 ratings

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Moonmadness
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars The last progressive rock masterpiece by Camel although they would resurface every now and then with albums back in a good shape. Little commercial ambitions can be felt but in a very limited extent. The album features the track "Lunar sea", which I consider peak of Camel's compositional and playing skills. It is this album where the band showed their best virtuoso playing skills so high quality sound output is recommended.

"Aristillus" starts things on a serious and symphonic note without lyrics but rather layered keyboards and guitar. "Song within a song" has synths similar to "Lunar sea" and shows the first traces of romantic songwriting that band would get used to in the late 70's efforts. Still, the instrumental part is a classic Camel high quality section albeit with disco rhythm. "Chord change" seems to be like a song composed of multiple other Camel songs, a bit of Canterbury, a bit of Lunar sea. Tasty guitar solo is irresistible. Rich keyboard sound, dancing fuzz bass and dynamic drumming are highlights. "Another night" has a simple melody but advanced instrumentation save it from being a pop track. This is a typical late 70's track but with a better arrangement than later songs. "Air born" is a haunting symphonic song with a tasty guitar a la Finch. Latimer shows his fitting flute skills. "Lunar Sea" alone is a reason to acquire this album. The beginning and end develop synth textures and water landscape. The dynamic brilliant guitar/drum/bass sections are just after beginning and before the last minute and present the peak. The middle senction belongs to gradually developing keyboard tension with great Moog sound. Especially the last dynamic section is THE one to listen and close eyes: excellent guitar solo with competing drum fills.

Essential masterpiece to the collection of every progger.

 The Snow Goose by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.30 | 2301 ratings

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The Snow Goose
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars The most unique Camel album that finds the band being at most focused. Conceptually, this is a symphonic prog album maintaing musical complexity of the Mirage and Moonmadness but bringing more experimentation without commercial ambitions. Compositions are rather short but very memorable; my complaint is that they could more often last longer to be further developed. Canterbury influence, despite being symphonic prog with orchestra and flute, is still manifested; take "Rhayader" or "Migration" as an example with organ sound like from Soft Machine/Caravan. The next track is the most intensive track with very interesting keyboard sounds and emotional/symphonic mellow part. "Sanctuary" shows Latimer in the acoustic spotlight, not far away from Mr. Hackett.; Fritha, on the other hand is Bardens number with keyboard textures. Title track has a catchy melody; it is both high quality and air-friendly. "Flight of the snow goose" is an uplifting track with walls of Moog; incredibly catchy too. "Dunkirk" is a marching graduating piece with great fast paced drumming and guitar.

Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection, no doubts about it.

 Mirage by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.40 | 2695 ratings

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Mirage
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars Camel made a huge leap forward with their second album that included them in the major league of progressive rock acts. Music got more advanced, complex and adventureous. All players do a fine job upgrading their duties to version 2.0 that contains traces of rock, Canterbury style, subtle jazz and folk. Inclusion of flute becomes one of Camel's trademark.

The first song has all typical and best Camel sound can offer: busy drumming/bass guitar, excellent guitar soloing. Maybe the most famous track from the album and certainly among best ones. "Supertwister" is a mellow track notable for its peaceful flute, maybe a bit reminiscent of Genesis Gabriel's era. "Nimrodel" is another highlight - a suite with multiple moods and again you feel the intense Canterbury feeling with tightly played instruments and guitar effects in the last part of the epic. We find ourselves high on the overblow progressive rock sky. Coming down from the clouds is "Earthrise" with excellent Minimoog leads and loud guitar soloing. Less of a classical music but more upbeat instrumental progressive rock of highest calibre. "Lady fantasy" is the second epic on the album and sound-wise more like from the first album. There is a classic rock/hard-rock feeling to it. The music here is at times very soothing but towards the end evolves into a powerful riff and Hammond power.

While not a revolutionary album, Camel set the first lasting trademark with this album and influenced countless proggers. It belongs to the group of 30 best progressive rock albums in the history of prog-rock.

 Camel by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.96 | 1303 ratings

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Camel
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Camel debut album came too late and was miles behind the top progressive efforts of 1973 like Genesis, ELP and Yes. This does not mean that there isn't enough confidence; the band is building on rock/hard-rock basis and has more than enough energy to show. Compositonally, melodies point at good composing and future mellower songwriting although compositons are less advanced and risky than their peers at this time. The only instrument that really stands out on this release, is guitar. Keyboards sounds very conventional and are substantial part of sound but aren't progressive, it's mainly old good mellotron/organ. Drums are quite straightforward without irregular changes. Vocals are insignificant but help soften songs. The standouts are "Never let go" and the last track. On the extended edition, you can admire a 19-minute live jam of a studio album unreleased track that has a chord sequence reminding of the Beatles. Good but non-essential.

 I Can See Your House From Here by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.91 | 684 ratings

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I Can See Your House From Here
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Zoltanxvamos

5 stars I Can See Your House From Here, Quite the camel album indeed. The elements of Jazz Fusion in the first number 'Wait'. The alternating time signatures in the keyboard solo battle, Kit Watkins playing in 10/4 and Jan Schelhaas in 11/4. From a playing standpoint, 'Wait' is one of the most technical songs in the bands discography, and a hard hitting introduction to this wonderful album. 'Your Love Is Stranger Then Mine' can be seen as a soft rock attempt, the written and playing is all good but the key thing to focus on is Collin Bass' vocals. His vocals are absolutely amazing on this very underrated gem by a brilliant prog band. 'Eye Of The Storm' is an instrumental with great keyboard lines, good flutes and great guitar playing, what is there to hate about this? 'Who We Are' is a mix of complex prog, soft rock, and a bunch of orchestration, Andy Latimer's voice is actually very good on this track too. The mix of soft rock, prog, and orchestra is staggering on this song, it makes me wonder why anyone would right this borderline Jazz Fusion album anything even close to pop. 'Survival' is a much more orchestral piece (again... how is this pop?), the chords are beautifully written by Mr. Andy Latimer, and this track fits well on this studio work. 'Hymn To Her', the more calm and melodic piece before the long song on the album 'Ice', is also very well written, the vocals are very good here too. 'Neon Magic' is much more fast and I guess people can say this is an accessible track (when there is absolutely nothing on this album that was even borderline accessible, even in those days.), this song has the more complex approach with this lyrics and playing style, guitar licks all over the place, keys and atmosphere. 'Remote Romance', the other song people target for being too commercial friendly when it really isn't. 'Remote Romance' actually fits more as a space rock song done by Camel, its mainly keyboards and its full of vocoders, quirky keyboard licks, its basically just a space rock song. 'Ice' is the final piece on this album, its the longest song by 3 minutes, its slow, melodic, and the guitar parts and overlapping keyboards just make this song the real gem on this studio work by Camel.

Conclusion: This is not a pop album, this is more Jazz Fusion than Pop. The odd times, the keyboard solos, the orchestration... do I actually need to go on? This is one of Camel's great masterpieces, and its nowhere near pop.

 Stationary Traveller by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.44 | 688 ratings

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Stationary Traveller
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by iluvmarillion

4 stars I absolutely adore two of the songs off this album ' the title track featuring a beautiful guitar solo from Andy Latimer and the closing track, Long Goodbyes. While the other songs on the album aren't quite as strong, this is a vast improvement over their previous effort, The Single Factor.

The album concept is a theme of fleeing East Berlin for the West and the feeling of being a refugee without leaving your home (hence Stationary Traveller). The opening track Pressure Points is a cacophony of instruments including guitars and synthesizers which ends abruptly, unfortunately because it would have been so much better with a few extra bars added in.

Vopos begins with some atmospheric synthesizers that reminds me of David Bowie's Low album, then goes into a rhythmic keyboard pattern before bursting into electric guitar. Chris Rainbow does vocals on two tracks, the fast paced keyboard piece, Cloak and Dagger Man and Long Goodbyes. The title track isn't unlike the way Genesis's Firth Of Fifth develops. It begins quietly with the main piano theme, then acoustic guitar joins in followed by pan flute and finally you get this gorgeous electric guitar that sails over the top of everything.

West Berlin, which is largely keyboard and drums, has a catchy chorus and this is followed by Fingertips which has the best lyrics on the album. It builds to some typical Mel Collins sax playing.

Some songs are too long and don't know where to stop. Long Goodbyes is one of those songs that seems to be over too soon. It begins with synthesizer then bursts into the main chorus, then breaks back to the starting theme, then back again to the chorus before it wraps into some beautiful Latimer electric guitar playing and piano chords at the end.

Camel are one of those bands who simplified their approach to a more commercial, synthesizer based sound in the 80's and while not reaching the heights of their classic 70's albums like Mirage and Moonmadness, they at least managed to maintain a high standard of work and Stationary Traveller is their next best album after Nude from the 80's.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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