Camel

Released: February 1973
Recorded: 15–26 August 1972 at Morgan Studios, London
Length: 39:17
Label: MCA (USA)/Decca (United Kingdom)
Producer: Dave Williams

Camel is the first studio album by English progressive rock band Camel. It was released in 1973. The bonus track “Homage To The God Of Light” was originally released in Peter Bardens’ solo album The Answer in 1970. Camel’s debut album can be considered among their finest. Very similar in sound textures and production to their second release, it features some jazz-rock improvisation tracks, along with simple (yet grooving) rock songs. Peter Bardens’ fantastic Organ improvisations are heavily featured here, although Latimer’s guitar solos feel held back a little.

Timeline

By August of 1972, Camel were signed to MCA Records. They quickly entered the studio to record their first self-titled album, Camel. A collection of individual songs, chiefly from Andrew Latimer and Peter Bardens, the album was greeted with muted success and MCA did not take an option for a second album. By now, the group had acquired management, Geoff Jukes and Max Hole of Gemini Artists (later to become GAMA Records), and moved to Decca Records where they would remain for 10 years. The push and pull relationship between Latimer and Bardens brought out the best from their compositional skills. They inspired one another with their individual solo work both in the studio and on stage. Energies were high.

Tour

Camel gigged 9 months of the year and firmly established a reputation for their excellent live sound in the UK, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. They shared the stage with other artists such as Stackridge, Barclay James Harvest, Gong, Hawkwind, Pink Fairies, Global Village Trucking Company, and Spyro Gyra.

Information

  • The Record’s original back cover has a black & yellow picture of the band. The album was once available on LP by MCA records, and was reissued by Camel Productions on CD. The CD has a lyrics sheet and pictures of the group.
  • Note: A remastered edition of Camel has been released in 2002 by MCA/Universal. This edition contains additional 23 minutes in two bonus tracks: Never Let Go (Single version) and Homage to the God of Light (live at the Marquee Club, 29th October 1974).
  • Camel sold about 5000 copies in it’s first year.
  • Camel never got the success it should have had, and it became somewhat a collector’s item only years later.
  • Camel toured this album, supporting Barcley James Harvest.
  • Eddie (no last name) played Congas on Slow Yourself Down. This “Eddie” was a mate of Peter Bardens’. Peter never knew his second name.
  • The CD release does not include the song credits: 3,4,5 by Latimer, 2,6,7 by Bardens, and 1 by Ward/Latimer.
  • Andy said to a fan that the photos of the group members were taken at Andy Ward’s flat.
  • Rami Zakh suggested that the obscure Six Ate title refer’s to the song’s time signature, which is mostly 6/8. Susan Hoover Approves that it’s true.
  • Dave Williams, the album’s producer, urged the band to find a real singer. The idea was finally dropped after the band auditioned a singer who started dancing on stage while the other were gigging through instrumental improvisations.
  • The album’s recording started in August 15th and lasted 12 days. Andy Latimer summarized the album’s recording as “a bloody nightmare”.

Track listing

Side one

  1. “Slow Yourself Down” (Andrew Latimer, Andy Ward) – 4:47
  2. “Mystic Queen” (Peter Bardens) – 5:40
  3. “Six Ate” (Latimer) – 6:06
  4. “Separation” (Latimer) – 3:57

Side two

  1. “Never Let Go” (Latimer) – 6:26
  2. “Curiosity” (Bardens) – 5:55
  3. “Arubaluba” (Bardens) – 6:28

Bonus tracks

  1. “Never Let Go” (Single version) (Latimer) – 3:36
  2. “Homage to the God of Light” (Peter Bardens cover) (Recorded Live at The Marquee Club – 29 October 1974) – 19:01

Personnel

Camel

  • Andrew Latimer – guitar, vocals on “Slow Yourself Down” and “Separation”
  • Peter Bardens – organ, mellotron, piano, VCS 3 synthesizer, vocals on “Never Let Go”
  • Doug Ferguson – bass guitar, vocals on “Mystic Queen” and “Curiosity”
  • Andy Ward – drums, percussion

Production

  • Engineered by Roger Quested
  • Sleeve design by Modula

Release details

  • 1973, MCA 250 634-1, MCA MUPS 473, MCA 2665, MCA 201 350. Release Date February 1973, LP
  • 1973, UK, Deram 8829252, Release Date February 1973, LP
  • 2002, UK, CP-002CD, Release Date 3 June 2002, CD (remastered edition)

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Spirit of the Water Website by Steve Marsden.
Thanks to Ben Bardens, Wikipedia, Ofir Zwebner, Shane Carlson, numerous other fans and of course the Band itself!