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4.7 out of 5 stars19
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 10 January 2006
A fine debut, and my personal favourite of all their output, from one of the great 70s rock bands, blending elements of blues, soul and jazz into a rich prog rock tapestry.
Peter Bardens' keyboard work provides the band's musical foundation, alternately driving the material along (Slow Yourself Down, Separation, Arubaluba) and offering a lush backdrop for Andy Latimer's melodic guitar (Six Ate, Curiosity, Mystic Queen, Never Let Go). The re-mastered edition also features a crackling rendition of live favourite Homage To The God Of Light, recorded at the Marquee.
A few influences are clearly discernable, with touches of Santana, Genesis, Moody Blues and Caravan/Hatfield&the North echoing through here and there, but the music herein is definitely their own. Don't look for vocal performances, they were never the band's strong point, but if you like great tunes and great playing, you'll more than likely enjoy this album.
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on 7 March 2007
No gimmicks, no over extravagance, no pomp and no pretentiousness. There is something a bit more cool and chilled out to Camel than their contemporaries. In fact, it's safe to say that a lot of Camel's early work wouldn't be scoffed at in todays music world.

Their debut really is something special. Ok, vocally, they were never that great, but musically, the fusion of jazz and swirling prog is smooth and accessible. Why were they never more popular???

Slow Yourself Down, Mystic Queen, Never Let Go and the excellent Arubaluba are certainly the highlights here. The songs are still fresh after 30 odd years, and the remastered sound is good. I've only just recently discovered Camel, after being a Yes/Genesis/Pink Floyd fan for many years. However, I feel that this album, and the next four they recorded are as good as if not better than the masterworks of those other luminaries. In fact, I would probably take the debut and 'Mirage' over 'Close To The Edge', 'Dark Side Of The Moon' and 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway' any day. Old fossils? Go dig 'em up!!!
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VINE VOICEon 3 September 2007
Camel's debut album sounds at first like archetypal prog, but is so stylishly jazzy that at times it almost swings. 'Slow Yourself Down,' bolstered by Peter Bardens organ flourishes, exemplifies this. 'Mystic Queen' slows the pace, allowing the band some more dramatic touches, including some beautiful guitar work from Andy Latimer. 'Six Ate' skips airily along, while 'Separation' is more of a hard-driven track. It also features a more prominent vocal, an aspect Camel struggle with, though to little concern. The haunting 'Never Let Go' is the most instant track. I first heard this on 'A Live Record' and, perhaps because of that, prefer that version. 'Curiosity' drips in gradually under a ticking hi-hat and allows some inspired guitar and keyboard soloing. 'Arubaluba' benefits from a portentous, plodding combination of organ and guitar to introduce it, but breaks out into a thunderous rhythm.
The bonuses include a 19-minute live version of an old Bardens composition, a bonus indeed, but the regular album tracks are the stars of the show.
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on 3 September 2012
This is an excellent remaster of Camel's first album. If you're a fan it's worth buying for the added track 'Homage to the God of Light'. If you've come across this by accident - which might be unlikely! - then it's worth the price to get an introduction to one of the most under-rated rock bands from the 1970s.

It's hard to describe Camel's music without using words which these days might be the kiss of death for any aspiring band; symphonic and progressive, particularly. But other words, of more timeless appeal, also apply; melodic, tuneful, well-played, rhythmic. Listening to this, Camel's debut album, you'll find that they all apply and that the qualities they'd go on to showcase in later albums are all in evidence here.

Others describing Camel's sound have tended to focus on Andy Latimer's guitar and Pete Bardens' keyboards and for good reason too. They were both outstanding musicians and they get the chance here to show that with the interplay and ensemble playing that would feature strongly on later albums in evidence here. The rhythm section of Doug Ferguson and Andy Ward tends to attract fewer plaudits, but they do more than provide a platform for the others; there's almost a latin, Santana-like, quality to some sections of the music here.

The album doesn't pass without a grumble or two, though. Some of the lyrics are a bit dodgy as is some of the vocal work; and some of the live versions of these songs knock the originals into the long grass. The definitive, magnificent version of 'Never let Go' is on 'A Live Record' and 'The Paris Collection' has a much better version of 'Slow Yourself Down'. But grumbles are all these are; just because they're done better elsewhere doesn't make these original versions bad, far from it. The remastering has been done well, with any alterations to the mix done with a very light touch; would that they were all like this. Four and a half stars is what I'd give if Amazon allowed me to.

The extras make this a 'must have' for any Camel fan, though. The single version of 'Never Let Go' is included for completeness but the 19-minute 'Homage to the God of Light' is excellent. Recorded live at the Marquee Club in October 1974, it captures the band on top live form; jazzy and funky, melodic and rhythmic, all those words I used earlier in this review are in evidence here. An excellent addition that makes this debut album worth revisiting for those familiar with it and getting to know for those who aren't.
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on 26 November 2005
A promising 1973 debut from Camel. The music may have been Special thanks to songs like Mystic Queen, Arubaluba and most
inmporant the track Never Let Go which stills remains one of their best songs. Camel were to find their direction via their
second album Mirage. The Snow Goose and Moonmadness signalled
the full realisation of Camel's style. Remarkably they were never quite so big as Genesis,Yes,Pink Floyd,Jethro Tull and E.L.P
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on 29 February 2012
I have a number of Camel albums, but had never heard this one until I bought it (at a very good price, bearing in mind the extra tracks!).

I can't say that for me it is worth 5 stars, as everyone else seems to have given it, but nevertheless it represents a pretty strong debut album, although for me it has, at first listen, fewer memorable songs than some of the others. I also found Andy Latimer's usually exquisite guitar sound to be a bit "processed" on this album. His style and sound really developed a little later, and to me he has remained one of the outstanding "lyrical" guitar players, with roots in the blues, but the ability to play in a variety of styles whilst retaining the emotional quality of the music.

Strange as it may seem, to me there is a definite hint of Santana to some of the tracks, particularly in the rhythm section.

Good to have the extra tracks, and to hear the original version of Never Let Go, not only once, but twice, with both the album and single versions. The live track "Homage To The God Of Light"" is also nice, and reminds me of some of the work Peter Bardens did on his late 60s/early 70s solo albums.
His Hammond organ sound is exactly as it should be, and the playing matches!

A word also about the rhythm section, who are top class.

All in all, for me, a very nice, but not essential album.
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on 28 November 2012
This first camel album has all the tracks I'd expect and a bit more so its twice what you'd expect.
I'm a long time fan so I'm bound to be biassed but this has been a great quality CD and regularly put into the car door pocket.
Never let go.

I do know that the default Camel logo is a Dromedary by the way!
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on 16 March 2011
I love this album. This is a great piece of mid-1970s prog rock, with slight jazzy, psychedelic leanings. Although their first album, this is in my opinion their best, far better than Mirage, Moonmadness or any other.
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on 5 March 2013
Progressive Rock really took off in the UK in the 1970s and by 1973 Camel had debuted with an interesting effort which displayed excellent abilities with guitar and keyboards.
The additonal tracks are a single version of Never Let Go and a live Homage To The God Of Light, an instrumental which runs for 19 minutes.
If you alraedy like Progressive Rock this is certainly worth a listern.
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on 23 March 2015
very good album.most songs have a 2 minute or so vocal at the beginning(which i think are better than other reviews have mentioned) the rest of the song is nearly all instrumental.many different style passages and no boring meanderings. good guitar/organ and flute. THE NEXT ALBUM MIRAGE IS A 5 STAR ALBUM
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