Saturday, April 18, 2015

40 Year Itch : An Ungulate Takes Flight

Camel : Rhayader Goes to Town 

The record company freaked out when they first heard the record because it was just one piece of instrumental music. They were saying "Hey, how can we sell this shit? How can DJs play it on the radio?" There weren't even any grooves between the tracks.
-Andrew Latimer

   While Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here is the most commonly praised prog rock album of 1975, Camel's criminally overlooked all-instrumental The Snow Goose is finally enjoying a revival. In 2014, readers of Prog Magazine voted it  #31 in the Top 100 Prog Albums of All Time.
     It is actually entitled Music Inspired By The Snow Goose.
    The 1941 Paul Gallico novella, The Snow Goose, is about a young girl who finds a wounded goose and enlists the town's outcast hunchback, Rhayader, to help nurse it back to health. For the follow-up to Mirage, Camel wanted to record a concept album inspired by the book. 
   One problem. 
  The 82 year old author wasn't interested in having his story sung by a bunch of long haired hippies. So Camel recorded its third album as an instrumental. The Snow Goose is one of the year's great "growers". It leaps from mood to mood, sometimes in the same song with beautiful instrumentation flawlessly played.


    The third track, "Rhayader Goes to Town", gives you a good sense of the album. It begins with Emerson Lake and Palmer grandeur, then shifts into the kind of Giorgio Moroder synth disco that could have appeared on the American Gigolo soundtrack, before slipping into some trippy sounds that would have sounded just fine on Dark Side of the Moon.
    The album peaked at #22 in the UK Charts and Melody Maker declared Camel "Britain's Brightest Hope". They would be for at least one more album...


   John Lennon's final performance before a live audience takes place at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on April 18, 1975, to perform on "A Salute to Sir Lew Grade", supported by Dog Soldier.

No comments:

Post a Comment