Friday, April 13, 2007

CAMEL - Mirage + Snow Goose + Moonmadness


This 1974 followup to their eponymous debut is pretty darn good and shows the band developing themes introduced on the debut. Simply, they took the shorter pieces on the debut and expanded them by inserting a lengthy ostinato played on the bass guitar atop which (fantastic) guitar and Hammond organ solos were layered. These jam sessions are very exciting and both Andy Latimer and Pete simply rip. The harder edged "hard rock" sounds on the debut seem to have been pared back a tiny bit, although there is plenty of rocking energy on Mirage. The jazzier elements also become a little bit more pronounced on a few pieces.

This album features the "classic" Camel lineup of Andrew Latimer (electric and acoustic guitars, flute, and vocals); Pete Bardens (Hammond organ, electric piano, acoustic piano, mini-moog, mellotron, and vocals; Doug Ferguson (electric bass); and Andy Ward (drums and percussion). These guys are very good musicians and work well as an ensemble. Andy and Doug form an especially tight rhythm section and Andy Latimer is a fantastic guitar player. Although the vocals are not their strong suit, I do not mind them one bit and find that they work very well with the material.

The five tracks on Mirage include a few shorter instrumental pieces in the 3-6 minutes range and two longer tracks in the 9-13 minute range that feature their particular approach to prog, which fused some jazz and classical influences with rock. Of the longer pieces, I think Nimrodel works very well (love the mellotron playing), although I think that there is too much of an emphasis on riffs in Lady Fantasy, even though this is a pretty good track too. My favorite instrumental track is Earthrise, which I consider to be representative of the quintessential Camel sound.

All in all this is a great, high energy album of prog rock from Camel and is recommended. The follow-up to Mirage would be their instrumental interpretation of the story The Snow Goose (1975), and would show them moving in an even softer direction. Many folks feel that the excellent Snow Goose is their finest album and I agree. Mirage and The Snow Goose are recommended along with Moonmadness (1976) which follows the format .

1. Freefall
2. Supertwister
3. Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider
4. Earthrise
5. Lady Fantasy: Encounter/Smiles for You/Lady Fantasy

Snow Goose
1. The Great Marsh
2. Rhayader
3. Rhayader Goes To Town
4. Sanctuary
5. Fritha
6. The Snow Goose
7. Friendship
8. Migration
9. Rhayader Alone
10. Flight Of The Snow Goose
11. Preparation
12. Dunkirk
13. Epitaph
14. Fritha Alone
15. La Princesse Perdue
16. The Great Marsh

1. Aristillus
2. Song Within a Song
3. Chord Change
4. Spirit of the Water
5. Another Night
6. Air Born
7. Lunar Sea

LINKS: (copy links to browser and change *!!* to *tt*)


Snow Goose


Please leave a comment


pat said...

wow thanks for all this gems!bye

Luis said...

One of the best groups of the prog era... and an optimal bitrate.

Amazing blog.

Thank You.

Gordon said...

I agree with luis. One of the best bands of the prog era. Personal favourite here is probably Mirage although Moonmadness is up there aswell.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for Snow Goose- I relish listening to this , thanks for posting

hugh_manatee said...

thanks very much for sharing....i haven't listened to these since they were _new_....thanks for the chance to revisit old musical friends again.

Salvador said...

Can't get enough Camel, Thank you

Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing these albums, i've been looking around for diverse "prog" albums for some time now. 4 years or so. and since im so young. 28 years... i don't have the aspect of remembering back to the days when it was first released. but my father named me after F.Zappa his idol. So i can say that with my mothers milk i got my share of progressive sound input at the same time.... erm... where was i.. yes! im upgrading the music i love the most to 320kbps for better listening pleassure and in the future im gonna get some vinyls. thats the goal atleast. Thank you for excisting mr Rockanthology.