Thursday, February 28, 2013

40 Year Itch: Those We Missed From Feb '73

Pleasant progressive rock from the UK that never quite made it over the hump ( ha?) to become big stars in the USA. Future sax player Mel Collins would perform that intense solo in the Rolling Stones hit "Miss You" and Brian Eno would contribute to their 1977 album Rain Dances. But Camel was still seeking its sound when they recorded their self-titled debut, highlighted by "Never Let Go" and the instrumental "Six Ate" ( a play on the tune's time signature).

Not a single original member of Fairport Convention remained when the band recorded Rosie. Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny made guest appearances on the title cut but the album is dominated by the songs of  Dave Swarbrick ( who played on  Unhalfbricking and joined the band for Liege and Lief) and, oddly, the voice of Australian newcomer Trevor Lucas. The hilarious band on the road tune , "Hungarian Rhapsody", is another highlight.

Cool album cover but these dull expanded jams can best be summed up , as Robert Christgau noted, by the title of the final cut: "(Sometimes I Feel So) Uninspired." The album has its fans. But to these ears, Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory is one of 1973's big disappointments along with Bob Dylan's Dylan, Fleetwood Mac's Penguin, The Byrds reunion album and David Bowie's Pin Ups.

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