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Thread: FEATURED ALBUM: Camel - Moonmadness

  1. #1
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    FEATURED ALBUM: Camel - Moonmadness

    I didn't first hear Camel (that I know of) until about 1994 when I picked up a copy of the Camel compilation "Echoes". Camel was one of the first bands that I heard really opened up my eyes to the broader progressive rock landscape from the 70s and 80s that was out there waiting to be discovered. Moonmadness remains one of my all time favorites in the catalog. How do you all feel this album ranks in the Camel lexicon?




    Review from ProgArchives
    4.5 stars. "Moonmadness" was the highest charting CAMEL record in the U.K.

    It starts off with a short keyboard based instrumental called "Aristillus" that sounds like a marching song. When I hear the first notes of "Song Within A Song" I just melt. No words necessary. The beautiful flute with piano and vocals are pure magic until the song changes after 3 minutes to the end. "Chord Changes" features plenty of that from Mr.Latimer as well as some fantastic drumming and keyboard melodies. Great band interplay on this 7 minute instrumental.

    "Spirit Of The Water" features the most beautiful melody I think I have ever heard. Gulp. My complaint is it's way too short. I really like the vocals on "Another Night" along with the keyboards and drums. Nice guitar around 6 minutes. "Air Born" is a very melodic track opening with piano and flute. It's also the only track with mellotron. It makes me feel so good. "Lunar Sea" is a jazzy, atmospheric instrumental that features some great guitar and keyboard passages. Amazing tune !

    This is a mature, beautiful piece of music history. This is possibly my favourite CAMEL album as well with the debut and 'Mirage" rounding out my top three. - Mellotron Storm




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    Good album, possibly their most balanced and successfull effort IMO. Lunar sea was the first Camel song I ever heard and I still like it. Gonna spin it soon, it's been a long, long time now.

  3. #3
    Member Burley Wright's Avatar
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    It's my favorite Camel album and that's saying something because I love all Camel albums, especially Mirage through Rain Dances. I also have to include Nude among my very favorites. Song Within a Song could well be my favorite Camel track ever. They're firing on all cylinders on Moonmadness.

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    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    No. 2

  5. #5
    Andy Ward's playing in A Chord Change shows that he was one of the best prog drummers around. That song and Song Within a Song are two of my favorite Camel pieces. With that said, I favor Snow Goose over Moonmadness, and maybe Mirage over Moonmadness too.

  6. #6
    Definitely my favorite Camel album. For me, this one finally puts all the pieces together in the format that I personally feel suits Camel best... the song-based format. I really like Snow Goose, but to me there's a fair bit of fluff on that record which is absent on Moonmadness. "Lunar Sea" is probably their all-time high point, but there's a ton of great stuff on this record. For me, it was all downhill after this, but what a great final statement from the original lineup.

    Bill

  7. #7
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moecurlythanu View Post
    No. 2
    Well, that was harsh

    Actually Mirage holds first spot with me, then Moonmadness, but it's close. The song Chord Change is so reminiscent of early Allman Bros to me. Andy's vox didn't really hold up on those later albums (IMO) but the early albums were a great example of doing the best with what you have. I can't imagine Air Born without his lilting voice. Not a duff tune on Moonmadness to my estimation and it would be my number if Mirage didn't have Lady Fantasy on it.

  8. #8
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3LockBox View Post
    Well, that was harsh


    Quote Originally Posted by 3LockBox View Post
    Actually Mirage holds first spot with me, then Moonmadness,
    Ditto. Hence my No. 2 designation.

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    Camel is another of those bands that I had heard about but didn't know their music for a long time. My first indirect exposure was Pete Barden's Seen One Earth. I got a bunch of PB's albums but never went to Camel until I picked up Echoes. It was then I realized I had been missing out on some great music. Moonmadness is one of those great albums. Probably not my fav (The Snow Goose) from Camel but close.
    Last edited by Tangram; 04-14-2022 at 11:48 AM.

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    Is it just me or do US fans seem to go for Camel in a big way, more so it seems than us in the UK?

    Certainly, among my proggy friends, Camel tended to be second or third division....

  11. #11
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    in my top3 Camel album, but behind the debut & Mirage (in that order)
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  12. #12
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    I saw Camel live when this album had just come out-I had the Snow Goose but it was years before I picked up a copy of Moonmadness. The Snow Goose is my favourite but this is a good one.
    'I would advise stilts for the quagmires"

  13. #13
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    Absolutely my favorite Camel rekkid. Was very happy to see them perform this whole album live no too long ago.

    btw, I just noticed they are touring Europe next year:


    Wed 03 May 2023

    Netherlands
    Utrecht
    Tivoli

    Buy Tickets

    Thu 04 May 2023

    Netherlands
    Utrecht
    Tivoli

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    Sat 06 May 2023

    Germany
    Bochum
    Ruhr Congress

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    Sun 07 May 2023

    Germany
    Böblingen
    Kongresshalle

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    Tues 09 May 2023

    Germany
    Hannover
    Theater am Aegi

    Buy Tickets

    Wed 10 May

    Germany
    Reichenbach
    Neuberinhaus

    TBA

    Fri 12 May 2023

    Poland
    Zabrze
    Dom Muzyki i Tańca

    Buy Tickets

    Sat 13 May 2023

    Poland
    Łódź
    Wytwórnia

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    Sun 14 May 2023

    Poland
    Poznań
    Sala Ziemi

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    Wed 17 May 2023

    Denmark
    Copenhagen
    Amager Bio

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    Thu 18 May 2023

    Norway
    Olso
    Sentrum Scene

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    Fri 02 Jun 2023

    UK
    Manchester
    O2 Apollo

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    Sat 03 Jun 2023

    UK
    Edinburgh
    Usher Hall

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    Sun 04 Jun 2023

    Ireland
    Dublin
    Vicar Street

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    Tue 06 Jun 2023

    UK
    Southampton
    O2 Guildhall

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    Wed 07 Jun 2023

    UK
    Aylesbury
    The Waterside Theatre

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    Thu 08 Jun 2023

    UK
    B'ham
    Birmingham Symphony Hall

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    Sat 10 Jun 2023

    UK
    London
    Eventim Apollo

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  14. #14
    So I have to wait till my birthday next year, to see them?
    Hope Andy is still alive then and that I can make it.

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    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovecraft View Post
    Is it just me or do US fans seem to go for Camel in a big way, more so it seems than us in the UK?
    As an American, all I can say is that Camel received zero mainstream radio exposure, so only a small group of prog enthusiasts probably knew them back in the day.

    I would also suggest they would have not done particularly well here because they didn’t have a strong vocalist and very few instrumental tracks got a lot of radio play.

    But I was drawn to Camel right away when I first heard them because of the Gilmouresque guitar playing, extended length tracks, and heavily melodic overtones.
    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by lovecraft View Post
    Is it just me or do US fans seem to go for Camel in a big way, more so it seems than us in the UK?

    Certainly, among my proggy friends, Camel tended to be second or third division....
    Back in the day, when I was at school (in Edinburgh), Mirage was one of those lps that seemed to be permanently being shared around - it was always noticeable in the transparent record bags. So, around the time of its release, it was definitely a "thing"!

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    As an American, all I can say is that Camel received zero mainstream radio exposure, so only a small group of prog enthusiasts probably knew them back in the day.
    This is my experience as well. From the time I started getting heavily into Prog in 1978-79 through the 1980s, I never once heard Camel. None of my friends through that period who were Prog fans knew of them. I do recall seeing Nude in a record store and wondering about it, but iirc, it was a pricey import that was too much for me to take a chance on.

    It wasn't until the 90s when their albums came out on CD that I ever heard their music.

    Bill

  18. #18
    Member Camelogue's Avatar
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    Discovered Camel around 1977. Obviously I was hooked immediately. First album I heard was the debut and the second was Rain Dances. Rain Dances just absolutely blew me away. Soon discovered the rest of their back catalog including this release Sublime!

  19. #19
    My first Camel was - A live record, which I probably bought around 1978. The second Camel I bought was I can see your house from here, not long after it was released.

  20. #20
    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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    Lunar Sea is a big favorite. Moonmadness was in heavy rotation back in the 70's on the college stations, along with Mirage and The Snow Goose.
    I liked Rain Dances, the addition of Mel Collins was a draw. He was sort of everywhere around that period.
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  21. #21
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    "Moonmadness" is the number one, quintessential Camel album in my world. As stated above, all the pieces came together on this one and it was spectacularly performed from start to finish. On my Top 50 of all time as well.

    I purchased my first Camel album, "Mirage" as a vinyl import when it was released in the Spring of 1974. I loved it too, from the start, and after that bought the debut and most everything afterwards until "Breathless", when I got off the bandwagon. However. I did end up getting the "Nude" release and finally "Echoes". I didn't care much for "Nude" but "Echoes" filled in the blanks nicely and is on CD to boot (which is now the only Camel recording I have, having dispensed with my vinyl records).

  22. #22
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    As usual/expected , the 2023 tour will miss Belgium .

    As for getting into Camel, it wasn't easy, not because the album were scarce ou unheard on the radio (though it wasn't getting around much, either) but it took me around a decade to start appreciate - and TBH, never fully succeeded. I had started with Mirage and Goose, and was ultimately bored so I didn't continue... Only heard their debut during the 90's and I finally found they could also be "rock". .

    As for the album sleeve getting some wall record shop exposition, I think we had to wait for Nude.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  23. #23
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    As an American, all I can say is that Camel received zero mainstream radio exposure, so only a small group of prog enthusiasts probably knew them back in the day.
    They got a bit of play in Southern California, at least. My first exposure to them, I think, was when one of the local FM rock stations played the newly released Snow Goose album in its entirety.

    Just picked up a vinyl copy of Moonmadness recently, and it is such a wonderful album. I’ve always ranked Snow Goose as my favorite, but I think this one really tops it.

    Does anyone else think the title of “Air Born” doubles as a nod to the Beatles’ “Flying”?
    Hurtleturtled Out of Heaven - CD available now, vinyl coming soon.
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  24. #24
    Member Paulrus's Avatar
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    A bonafide classic, and a desert island disc personally.

    And re: how well known Camel was back in the day, they DID travel to the U.S. to tour behind this album. There's a well known boot of them playing a club in San Francisco in 1976, and I would occasionally bump into people who remember them from that period when I'd be standing in line for gigs in the Bay Area back in the 80s and 90s. So they generated a small but intense buzz right out of the gate. I think they were let down by the label and management when the scene shifted in the late 70s, but then again few bands came through all that unscathed.

    I'm glad Andy relocated back to the UK. That's a much better home base for touring if he wants to have some kind of ongoing live presence.
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

  25. #25
    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    I bought this on vinyl in the '70s. It's my 2nd favorite, after The Snow Goose.
    Regards,

    Duncan

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