John Field designed the cover after the label sent out a job order to different artists. They only had the title of the album to work with.
This is the thing.
Bands in the 70’s experimented. They experimented with song structures and most importantly with sounds. As the technology got better and the studio techniques got better, the sounds just happened to get better.
And sometimes artists would get it right and at other times they would get it wrong.
I had a quest in the 90’s.
To listen to as many progressive bands and artists from the 70’s I could find. In my favour was the price crash of vinyl. For those who don’t know, most people were selling or giving away their vinyl collections as they made the transition to CD’s. Suddenly the second hand record shop had more people visiting it than the actual “record store” which sold overpriced CD’s.
Then in the late 90’s, peer to peer sharing would become a thing which would lead to even more discoveries.
I would see the band name in lists of progressive artists to check out from the 70’s in various magazines I was purchasing.
“Moonmadness” is studio album number 4 released in March 1976 on Decca and Gama Records and is their last album recorded by the group’s original line-up of Andrew Latimer, Peter Bardens, Doug Ferguson, and Andy Ward.
The band broke through with the previous all instrumental album called “The Snow Goose” and for “Moonmadness” they decided to incorporate vocals.
A 2 minute instrumental that does nothing.
Song Within A Song
I heard Kansas first and this song feels like a Kansas song in the intro, before it goes into a Pink Floyd “Us And Them” kind of feel.
At 3.15, it goes into a musical interlude. It’s slow, it’s got time changes and yet it is hummable. Who said that to be progressive you need to be technically excellent and be able to play time changes at break neck speeds?
And you don’t get a Camel record to listen to memorable vocal melodies. Its music first and vocals are a distant last.
It sounds like a TV intro theme.
Spirit Of The Water
The intro has this “Moonlight Sonata” feel and I like it.
The song just percolates and it feels haunted especially the piano melody.
Keyboardist Peter Bardens who also wrote this, shines. Press play to hear it.
King Crimson comes to mind. A repeating guitar line, is echoed before the excellent main riff comes in.
And that main riff is excellent.
Press play to hear this song.
On Spotify, the release is an expanded edition which has the single edit for “Another Night”, which is all about the riff and it is an excellent edit. There is also the piano demo for “Spirit Of The Water” which is even more haunted and impressive.
In other words, press play to hear these two tracks,
3 thoughts on “1976 – Part 5.8: Camel – Moonmadness”
Don’t know them, but that cover screams the 70’s.
This is one I’m not familiar with at all. I’ve heard the name but nothing beyond that. It requires more than a quick listen to make any kind of judgment.
Just press play on the two tracks I mentioned and that’s all you need from this album.