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Thread: Live rendition of Camel's Nude specifically, Kit Watkins in Camel generally

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    Member bigjohnwayne's Avatar
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    Live rendition of Camel's Nude specifically, Kit Watkins in Camel generally

    Over the past couple year's I've found that the Camel album I return to the most is "Nude".


    I was always baffled that Kit Watkins was associated with Camel for a pretty long period of time, as far as members of Camel go (1979-1982) and yet he only appeared on one studio album, "I Can See Your House From Here". ICSYHFH is an underrated album with a terrible record cover. He did play on at least three tours though: the ones for "I Can See...", "Nude" and "Single Factor". (Two of those tours were memorialized in live releases.)

    The recent-ish remaster of Nude by Esoteric records has a near complete live rendition of the album as a bonus (from the same concert as "On the Road 1981", I think) with the lineup of Latimer, Colin Bass, Andy Ward, Jan Schellhaas, and Kit Watkins.

    The studio version of Nude had featured Watkins and Schellhaas on the writing credits, but not as players. I guess Camel's live band had done a small number of live shows under a different name to road test the Nude material. I wonder why that group didn't record it?

    At any rate, the live version is great--featuring Watkins' playful and nimble pitch bends. His playing really elevate songs like "City Life", in my opinion. It is only lacking a couple short instrumental chunks, "Please Come Home", and "Lies". I must admit I never liked "Lies", though somebody does, as it keeps popping up on compilations. If I was going to edit down Nude to 35 minutes, I would've only subbed "Pomp and Circumstance" in for "Changing Places."


    Any fans of Watkins in Camel?

    Are On the Road 1981 and On the Road 1982 worth getting?
    Last edited by bigjohnwayne; 03-03-2018 at 01:38 PM. Reason: First two sentences were a jumbled mess

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    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigjohnwayne View Post

    I was always baffled that Kit Watkins was associated with Camel for a pretty long period of time, as far as members of Camel go: 1979 to 1982, I think. He only appeared on one studio album, "I Can See Your House From Here", an underrated album with a terrible record cover.
    Baffled that he was associated for a pretty long period of time?

    I agree it's a horrible cover, but I don't think too much of the album itself. Nude's a significantly better album, imo.
    Steve F.

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    Member bigjohnwayne's Avatar
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    Haha I typed too quickly.

    Let me edit that so it makes sense.

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    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    If you are baffled because he wasn't in the band for a long time, the answer is that he didn't enjoy being in Camel.
    Steve F.

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    This space for rent: Well established location. Perfect opportunity for an up and coming smart-ass to benefit from our years of provocation!

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    Marklar Jimmy Giant's Avatar
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    On The Road 1981 is a fantastic live album.
    I liked that much more than 1982.
    Both worth having though.
    JG

    "MARKLAR!"

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    If you are baffled because he wasn't in the band for a long time, the answer is that he didn't enjoy being in Camel.
    For my money, Kit as a "hired gun" in Camel is a lot less interesting than Kit solo or Kit & Coco where his own compositions are allowed to shine. I get the impression -- unsubstantiated, but logical -- that his input was always second-tiered below Latimer's in Camel. I love Andy Latimer's writing too... but to hear Kit's full potential you have to look outside Camel.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Giant View Post
    On The Road 1981 is a fantastic live album.
    I liked that much more than 1982.
    Both worth having though.
    Isn't one of them lacking bass?

  8. #8
    Get On the Road '81 Now!!!!!

    Sent from my SM-G925V using Tapatalk

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    I once read an interview with Kit posted on alt.music.progressive. He said that he joined Camel with the understanding that he would have the opportunity to contribute songs. But Andy changed his tune (literally!) in the run up to making Nude. Kit then quit the band. But he was hard up for cash, and Andy wanted him for the tour, so they struck a business deal.

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    Member bigjohnwayne's Avatar
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    Sounds like a missed opportunity for Camel.

    I love Watkins as a writer and a player.

    I'm just imagining a Latimer solo in "While Chrome Yellow Shine".

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    The rejected songs ended up on Kit's first solo album. I would love to travel to the parallel universe where they became Camel songs. Andy did use a portion of one song that ended up as the intro to "Docks."

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    Member Since: 3/27/2002 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soc Prof View Post
    The rejected songs ended up on Kit's first solo album.
    Labyrinth? which songs?
    Why is it whenever someone mentions an artist that was clearly progressive (yet not the Symph weenie definition of Prog) do certain people feel compelled to snort "thats not Prog" like a whiny 5th grader?

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    Yes, Labyrinth. Kit didn't say in the interview which songs.

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    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    How is Labyrinth?

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    Member Mr.Krautman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    How is Labyrinth?
    Wonderful track. It can be found on Happy The Man's 3rd (Better Late...) which also includes a different version of Eye of The Storm (the only Watkins credited song on Camel's I can see...), and also on Kit Watkins Early Solo Works 1980-82 (both highly recommended records)
    Watkins is not only a fantastic keyboard player (the best one Camel ever had on board) but a great and imaginative composer with a very personal feeling and touch. It's a real shame his contributions to Camel as a composer were so (purposely ?) restrained.
    All his solo works (before he took a new-age/meditative path and quit keyboards playing in favour of electronic wind instruments) are excellent and highly recommended, especially those with the french drummer Coco Roussel. No idea if these are still readily available though.
    A sadly underrated artist in the prog world.

    I know these have been posted before but for anybody in love with MiniMoog solo's and great instrumental prog this is pure delight (the last one is just incredible):





    Last edited by Mr.Krautman; 03-04-2018 at 05:51 AM.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by bigjohnwayne View Post
    The recent-ish remaster of Nude by Esoteric records has a near complete live rendition of the album as a bonus (from the same concert as "On the Road 1981", I think)
    The credits show those as 2 different shows at the Hammersmith Odeon, one in February and one in April of 1981, though it does seem a bit odd they'd play there twice only 5 weeks apart.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Wah3 View Post
    The credits show those as 2 different shows at the Hammersmith Odeon, one in February and one in April of 1981, though it does seem a bit odd they'd play there twice only 5 weeks apart.
    Looks like they played the February date as a regular part of the UK part of the tour. They then spent a couple of months touring the rest of Europe but decided to play the final date of the gig back on home turf, at the time the Hammersmith Odeon was the premier mid-size venue in the London area.

  18. #18
    Member bigjohnwayne's Avatar
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    From the same concert as before, here is Kit Watkins playing the composition that was on Nude with Latimer edits as the song "Docks".

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    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    How is Labyrinth?
    It’s really good.
    Steve F.

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    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  20. #20
    Interesting thread!...

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    Has Kit Watkins retired? In looking at his site, it looks like the last full new album of material was back in 2005, though there a couple 20-minute environmental soundscape tracks from 2015. Does he play out at all anymore?

  22. #22
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Roth View Post
    Does he play out at all anymore?
    He hasn't played live with any regularity since the early 80s. One or two very special, ambient concerts in the 90s or early 2000s, but that's it.

    and yes, in terms of musical output, he's basically retired and out of the game.
    Steve F.

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    This space for rent: Well established location. Perfect opportunity for an up and coming smart-ass to benefit from our years of provocation!

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    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  23. #23
    Member Since: 3/27/2002 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER's Avatar
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    I love all of Kit's Prog albums

    He had some Ambient albums called Thought Tones Vol* but I never bought those because when I heard them at a friends house I knew they weren't my thing. The one Ambient album I have of his called Circle is pretty nice though. Then there's his take on "Classical" pieces called A Different View which is nice

    His first 3 solo albums are on Azimuth records and 2 of them are great: Labyrinth and Kit and Coco-In Time. The other one, Frames Of Mind is half vocal tunes that are too simple with nothing of real interest to Proggers

    His next 5 albums (beside the Ambient and Classical ones I mentioned) are all really great mixes of mellow and uptempo Prog. Hard to pick a favorite but perhaps Azure, Sunstruck and Wet, Dark and Low are the best 3.

    The album by Coco Roussel with Kit on Keys called Reaching Beyond should also get a mention here as it is pretty good.
    Why is it whenever someone mentions an artist that was clearly progressive (yet not the Symph weenie definition of Prog) do certain people feel compelled to snort "thats not Prog" like a whiny 5th grader?

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Last time I wrote to him -- maybe ten years ago? -- he was very approachable and happy to answer questions. I'd encourage anyone to contact him if you want. I believe his contact info is on his website.

    But yeah. His ambient stuff from the last two decades is a lot less interesting. Even the Tone Ghost Ether stuff left me kind of wanting.

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    Personally I think the cover of ICSYHFH is one of Camel's best - some of the others are more than drab in comparison!
    The album title and artwork make me think of parallels with Caravan which might be quite understandable at the time.

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