How this wonderful album ever made it into record stores is beyond me. It
was Camel’s third studio outing and after success with shorter pieces
inspired by literary novels, they decided to do a whole album based on one
book (actually correctly titled a novella). “The Snow Goose” by Paul
Gallico was eventually decided upon and tells the stirring tale of one man
and his small boat plugging backwards and forwards across the English
Channel, rescuing the desperate retreating British forces from the bombarded
beaches of Dunkirk in 1940.
Writing and recording
started in early 1975 at Island Studios in London and then overdubs were
laid down afterwards at Decca Studios before the whole thing was handed over
to the London Symphony Orchestra, with David Bedford doing the final
At this point the
package was delivered to Decca Record executives to give their approval.
The record company suits were appalled, there were no lyrics, so the band
members were then asked to go back in the studio and add some words to the
music, to which they refused. So the record company threatened not to
release it at all.
Whilst all this was
going on permission was sought from Paul Gallico to call the album “Paul
Gallico’s Snow Goose”. But Gallico was a fervent anti-smoker and as Camel’s
last album had been adorned by a packet of Camel cigarettes, he refused. So
the album had to change its title to “Music Inspired by The Snow Goose”,
just to appease the author.
The record company
suits finally gave in on the album and the all instrumental 16-track LP
vinyl record was released to the public in July of 1975. It was immediately
acclaimed as a Progressive Rock classic and it is still held in very high
esteem to this day. It made it to number twenty-two in Britain and also
cracked the American Billboard charts.
The music itself is
inspiring, summoning up the courage of the old man rowing backwards and
forwards across the twenty-two miles of English Channel with the Snow Goose
flying overhead and the image of a Union Jack fluttering in the wind behind
his boat as he does his bit for the boys stranded on the beaches.
The compositions are
nothing short of superb, with the late, great Peter Bardens playing his
keyboards with the skill of a master and Andy Latimer laying down some
triumphant lead guitar and some haunting flute as well. Doug Ferguson and
Andy Ward are also a more than competent rhythm section. David Bedford and
the London Symphony Orchestra do not put a finger out of place and the album
engulfs you right from the beginning before gently releasing you at the end
after repeated Channel crossings.
The success of the
album meant that Camel, along with the London Symphony Orchestra, played to
a sellout crowd at the Royal Albert Hall in London and “The Snow Goose”
section of this concert was later released on the Camel album, “A Live
Camel went on to
further success although they did concede to putting vocals on some of their
tracks on future albums. Andy Latimer still leads the band to this day. A
solid 5 stars!
Peter Bardens -
Andy Latimer - guitar
Doug Ferguson - bass
Andy ward – drums and
The Snow Goose (16
The Great Marsh
Rhayader Goes To
The Snow Goose
Flight of The Snow
La Princesse Perdue
The Great Marsh
Written by Mott The Dog (not a sailor’s dog) who can be
often heard telling salty tales at Jameson’s Irish Pub, Soi AR, North
Update Saturday, March 10, 2018 - March 16, 2018
Lionheart: ‘Second Nature’
Stratton of Lionheart.
Lionheart first formed in 1980 after
Dennis Stratton was unceremoniously dumped from the ranks of heavy metal
monsters Iron Maiden. His crime? Listening to the wrong sort of rock music
whilst on tour and trying to bring some melody into the Maiden’s sound.
Upon landing on his feet he quickly
looked around for band mates to form a new group. Lionheart were formed
from various musicians who all had their names up in lights followed by the
bracketed (ex- Tygers of Pang Tang, ex- Liar etc.) Not perhaps the best of
omens, although Steve Mann on guitar and Rocky Newton on bass proved to be
At first the line-up changed almost
every gig, but finally the band took shape and altered direction from heavy
metal copyists to a more melodic rock sound aimed at the American market.
They finally got a recording deal and went into the studio to record their
debut album, a wonderful collection of strong melodic rock called “Hot
World tours followed with many major
acts of the time, but it just never came together in terms of sales or
recognition and despite a small but devoted fan base, the band was kicked
into touch in 1986 after six years of not really getting anywhere.
The band members stayed in touch over
the years as they pursued other projects, but then out of left field they
were offered a chance to reform and relive some former glories at the
Rockingham Festival in 2016. The key three players were more than up for
the chance and with the addition of Clive Edwards on drums, who had been in
past editions of Lionheart, and new singer Lee Small, they played the
festival and stormed it. It all felt too good to just let go so more tours
were set up and a brand new album recorded (it was like watching a scene
from the magnificent rockumentory Still Crazy, only these guys are for
This album under review is the result.
“Second Nature” is selling slowly but building a reputation as new markets
open up. A tour of the United Kingdom as dual-headliners with Airrace could
just be the pivotal flick of the switch.
“Second Nature” we all hope will be
second time lucky. Although thirty-three years have passed, it is obviously
a follow up to “Hot Tonight” and includes some superb jousting guitar work,
sublime multi-vocals and a rock solid rhythm section. The songs are of
obvious quality and cover a wide spectrum of their chosen genre.
After the atmospheric opening of
“Prelude”, the band slot into the driving beat with four class rockers, all
perfectly suited to be played in stadiums and in 2018 one can only hope they
will be heard at the major festivals all over the world. There are also
some powerful ballads like “Every Boy In Town” and a superb instrumental
called “On Our Day” which really allows the guys to stretch out. “Heart
Beat Radio” is driving rock played to perfection with great melodies. The
whole album is brought to a unique conclusion by “Reprise”, finishing things
off in grand style.
Any rock fan with a sense of melody
should go and get this treat of an album and put a spring back in your step.
Dennis Stratton - guitar & vocals
Steve Mann – guitar and vocals
Rocky Newton – bass guitar & vocals
Clive Edwards - drums
Lee Small - vocals
Give Me The Light
Don’t Pay the Ferry Man
Angels With Dirty Faces
On Our Way
Every Boy In Town
Time Is Watching
Note: Written By Mott The Dog
who can be found relishing this type of music at Jameson’s The Irish Pub,
Soi AR in North Pattaya.