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Camel - Highways of the Sun CD (album) cover

HIGHWAYS OF THE SUN

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

3.41 | 15 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Bassist Doug Ferguson left Camel early in 1977, unhappy of the jazzier direction that was largely brought by the inclusion of saxophonist Mel Collins to the tour line-up and warmly supported by drummer Andy Ward. Ferguson was replaced by Richard Sinclair (Caravan, Hatfield and the North), and also Collins plays on Rain Dances. That album is really good, at times pure jazz-rock. The already superb, airy Camel sound became even tighter and airier than before, and the new rhythm section of Sinclair and Ward is fantastic. In Sinclair the band full of rather weak vocalists also got a good singer, though not fully taken advantage of.

Unfortunately, all this I wrote about the album lacks in this track which was inevitably chosen for a single, released two weeks after the album. Listening to it, one could think there aren't any changes (for the better anyway) at all in the Camel camp. OK, the song and its happy atmosphere isn't bad. But compared to the majority of Rain Dances it sounds almost amateurish and dated. Especially the bass and drum work is unbelievably bo, bo, bo, boring. No good vocals either. Seems to be Andy Latimer. The single edition is about 30 seconds shorter than the album version.

B-side track is much better (but it wouldn't have been fitting to be an A-side song). 'Tell Me' features Sinclair's vocals, though I believe even Latimer could have sung it decently as it is so soft and ethereal; he sang similarly delicate tracks on Moonmadness. This song is very slow and soft, maybe not exactly sad but far from cheerfulness. In a word, beautiful! Here you also hear more interesting bass playing than on A side. The synths and flute are played with a deep feeling.

This single doesn't deserve high rating since the A side is unrepresentative of the album's nature and also the B side is from the album.

Matti | 3/5 |

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