Camel - Camel went through numerous line-up changes over the years, but thanks to the dedication and efforts of guitaris/vocalist Andy Latimer, Camel are very much alive today, and have recently released their new album "Rajaz ".Andy Latimer is still one of the world's best guitarists. Visit their website.

 CAMEL
Camel - Lady Fantasy, taken off "Mirage" in 1974, their second album. This line-up featured original members Doug Ferguson on bass, Andy Ward on drums, Peter Bardens on keys and Andrew Latimer on guitars and vocals, all of whom, baring Bardens, had been members of Phillip Goodhand-Tait's backing band. They formed the band in the UK in 1972. Bardens, previously with Them and Shotgun, dominated the band's sound to such an extent that they became known as Peter Bardens' Camel, in deference to Peter Frampton's Camel. Their debut album, released in 1973, is one of the best progressive rock albums ever released, and it set the stage for greater things to come for the band. This album, "Mirage", and the featured track, "Lady Fantasy", which was, and probably still is, a favorite at live concerts, is also considered by some to be amongst their best recorded work, although it was their third album, "The Snow Goose", that got them an entry into the UK Top 30 charts. Latimer relocated stateside some years back and he's kept Camel alive and well all these years. He's released a number of excellent Camel albums over the past five years or so, the latest being 1999's "Rajaz", and his abilities and reputation as one of the world's leading guitarists is unquestionable.

Camel
Camel - Slow yourself down, taken off their awesome first, self-titled album, released in 1973. Dedicated to guitarist Andy Latimer, who celebrated his 53rd birthday on the 17th May. Camel have been featured on a number of occasions on these pages, so you can refer to previous weeks if you want more information on this great UK prog outfit. The line-up on this debut album was Latimer, keyboard player Peter Bardens, bassist Doug Ferguson and drummer Andy Ward. This was their first and only album to be released on MCA Records - from here onwards they moved to the Deram stable, alongside Keef Hartley Band, Caravan and others. We've been informed by a very reliable source that most of the above mentioned bands' early Deram back-catalogue material is to be remastered and re-released shortly. Later Camel albums such as "Harbour of Tears" and "Rajaz" were released on the band's own Camel Productions label, as was this debut album. If you experience any difficulty obtaining their albums from your local CD store, you can order directly from Camel Productions at P.O.Box 4876, Mountain View, California 94040 USA. 
  

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Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Camel never achieved the mass popularity of fellow British progressive rock bands like the Alan Parsons Project, but they cultivated a dedicated cult following. Over the course of their career, Camel experienced numerous changes, but throughout the years, Andrew Latimer remained the leader of the band.

Formed in 1972 in Surrey, Camel originally consisted of Latimer (guitar, flute, vocals), Andy Ward (drums), Doug Ferguson (bass), and keyboardist Peter Bardens, previously of Them. By the end of 1973, the group signed with MCA and released their eponymous debut. In 1974, the band switched record labels, signing with Decca's Gama subsidiary, and released Mirage. In 1975, Camel released their breakthrough album The Snow Goose, which climbed into the British Top 30. The band's English audience declined with 1976's Moonmadness, but the album was more successful in America, reaching number 118 — the highest chart position the band ever attained in the U.S. Following the release of Moonmadness, Ferguson left the band and was replaced by Richard Sinclair (ex-Caravan); at the same time, the group added saxophonist Mel Collins. Latimer and Bardens conflicted during the recording of 1977's Rain Dances and those tensions would come to a head during the making of 1978's Breathless. After Breathless was completed, Bardens left the band. Before recording their next album, Camel replaced Bardens with two keyboardists — Kit Watkins (Happy the Man) and Jim Schelhaas (Caravan) — and replaced Sinclair with Colin Bass.

By the time Camel released their 1979 album, I Can See Your House From Here, rock & roll had been changed by the emergence of punk rock, which resulted in less press coverage for progressive rock, as well as decreased record sales. Camel suffered from this shift in popular taste — I Can See Your House from Here received less attention than any of the band's releases since their debut. Latimer returned to writing concept albums with 1981's Nude. In 1982, drummer Andy Ward was forced to leave the band after suffering a severe hand injury. Camel's 1982 album, The Single Factor, was a slicker, more accessible affair than previous Camel records, but it failed to chart. Stationary Traveller (1984) was another concept album.

After the release of the 1984 live album, Pressure Points, Camel entered a long period of hibernation that lasted until the early '90s. In 1985, Decca dropped Camel from its roster. Latimer wasn't able to find a new label because he was embroiled in a difficult legal battle with Camel's former manager Geoff Jukes; Camel eventually won the lawsuit in the late '80s. Throughout this period, Camel produced no new music. In 1988, Latimer sold his home in England and moved to California, where he founded the independent label Camel Productions. By the time Camel recorded their follow-up to Stationary Traveller in the early '90s, the band was, for most intents and purposes, simply Andrew Latimer and a handful of session musicians. Dust and Dreams (1991) was the first release on Camel Productions. In 1993, PolyGram released a double-disc Camel retrospective, Echoes. In early 1996, Camel released Harbour of Tears. 

 

Kit Watkins
Pete Bardens
Colin Bass
Mel Collins
Doug Ferguson
Andy Latimer
Jan Schelhaas
Richard Sinclair
Andy Ward

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Caravan
Yes
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Renaissance
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Colosseum II
National Health
Brian Eno
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Styx
The Strawbs
Jethro Tull
Robert Fripp
Asia

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Camel - 1974 - Mirage - 2.5/5

Camel - 1975 - The Snow Goose - 3/5

Camel - 1976 - Moonmadness - 3/5

Camel - 1977 - Rain Dances - 4.5/5

Camel - 1978 - A Live Record - 2/5

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