Thursday, December 18, 2014


Camel unfolded a daydream fantasy freefall from the progressive procession of this smoldering sophomore supertwister.  The group originally began as The Brew with Andrew Latimer, Andy Ward, and Doug Ferguson in Surrey, England. The trio recorded the album 'I Think I'll Write a Song' as the backup band for singer/songwriter Phillip Goodhand-Tait.  They brought Peter Bardens onboard and changed their name to Camel, securing a record deal with MCA for their eponymous debut at the end of 1973.  The next year they switched to the Deram Records subsidiary of Decca Records to record their second album, 'Mirage' at Island Studios and Decca Studios No. 2 in London with producer David Hitchcock.  The sessions featured Andrew Latimer on guitars, flute, vocals on "Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider" and "Lady Fantasy";  Peter Bardens on organ, piano, Minimoog, Mellotron, vocals on "Freefall", Fender piano, and Clavinet;  Doug Ferguson on bass;  and Andy Ward on drums and percussion.   Howard Kilgour and Bill Price were the engineers. 

Latimer says:  "We were only signed to MCA and then we got dropped from MCA after that first album, well they dropped a lot of artists at that time but it was a great experience and it was a great time for the band. When we just started out. It was a very exciting time. We were all young and very enthusiastic bags of energy and worked well together as a four piece. It was a very magical time for us, but things like Lady Fantasy, we still play it. It's a sort of golden oldie. In certain periods of each album, there is a certain naivet‚ about pieces that I like, that are fun. They bring a smile to me when Andy was, you know, blowing in a bucket of water, bits of lunacy....Just nice periods, because Andy was always into that sort of thing; I mean, on one track or two he decided he'd use hair spray or deodorant spray, and to use it's sound. By the end of the session, the actual studio stunk to high heaven. (laughter). But you listen to a track and you conjure up these images and it brings a smile to your face."

The artwork on the album was inspired by the package of a pack of Camel cigarettes and had to be re-issued with a different cover featuring a camel dragon after the cigarette company threatened suit.  'Mirage' was a minor hit in the US, going to number one hundred and forty-nine on the national album chart.  It was enough to land the group a spot supporting Wishbone Ash.  Latimer remembers:  "Well, we went all over America. I mean, it was unbelievable tour for us. We started out thinking it was going to be a month's tour, but the manager came to us in New York and said, 'How do you fancy spending Christmas here?' We said 'Where?' and they said, 'Florida' and we said, 'well, all right.' and we did and it went on for three months, this tour. We supported Wishbone Ash and we supported Kiss and Steppenwolf. It was funny because when we came over to America thinking, 'We'll show the Americans some English-type material' and we started playing all this stuff and the second gig in, somebody shouted out, 'ROCK AND ROLL!!', you know, started jeering at us, so we thought, 'We better play all our fast stuff'. We only did a half hour or 45 minutes and we were doing all these fast numbers. It was kind of funny! (laughs)"

full album:   

Side one
"Freefall" (Peter Bardens) – 5:53
"Supertwister" (Bardens) – 3:22
"Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider" (Andrew Latimer) – 9:17
Side two
"Earthrise" (Bardens, Latimer) – 6:40
"Lady Fantasy" (Bardens, Latimer, Andy Ward, Doug Ferguson) – 12:45
("Encounter" / "Smiles for You" / "Lady Fantasy")

Listen very carefully, my words are about to unfold
Concerning a lady I've seen but I never could hold
I can see by your smile,
Take a long while,
The words that come through,
I see that they're true,
For she reminds me of you.
Don't misunderstand me, it's not always easy to say
The words in your head and your heart that you just can't explain
I can see clearly,
A face in the sky,
Moon's in your eye,
You're passing me by.
Tell me the reason why.
I can see clearly,
A face in the sky,
Moon's in your eye,
You're passing me by.
Saw you riding on a moon cloud,
Saw you walking on a whirlpool,
From the corner of my eye,
I saw you.
Saw you sitting on a sunbeam,
In the middle of my daydream,
Oh my Lady Fantasy,
I love you.

No comments:

Post a Comment