‘Underage’ is a covers album and prog rock rarity, and in case you were wondering, this is NOT the ‘Camel’ more widely known in prog rock circles, it’s another band altogether.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Camel (#2)
SERIAL: PSL 10449
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
LINEUP: Alex Jackson – lead vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, leslie organ * Dave Summer – lead guitar, vocals * Martin Fischer – guitar, vocals, piano, organ, harpsichord * Pete Huish – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Pinball Wizard * 02 Where Is My Mind * 03 Tin Soldier * 04 Forget It, I Got It * 05 Mystery Tour * 06 Can’t Be So Bad * 07 Society’s Child * 08 Sitting On Top Of The World * 09 Evil Woman
No connection to the immensely popular Andy Latimer fronted progressive band of the same name although this Camel hailed from the UK as well. Reliable information on the band is scarce although vocalist Alex Jackson is actually Alex Ligertwood who would later go on to gigs with Brian Auger, Average White Band and more importantly Santana during what many Glory Daze readers feel is Carlos’ best period.
Camel’s only album was recorded in four days at the state-of-the-art RCA Studios in picturesque Rome, Italy where the record was released in tandem with a West German issue where it would languish in obscurity before collectors got a whiff of what is a pretty good album.
Well, a good album of covers although it’s very well done with interesting choices. The Who‘s ‘Pinball Wizard’ typifies the Camel sound – heavy proto progressive with a soulful psychedelic feel. Both ‘Where Is My Mind?’ from Vanilla Fudge and Small Faces ‘Tin Soldier’ are inventive takes on what were already killer songs, the latter featuring some really nice harpsichord.
Spooky Tooth‘s ‘Forget It, I Got It’ dare I say is more energetic and preferable to the original. But the album’s cornerstone has to be the Fab Four’s ‘Mystery Tour’ which trips-out and tunes-in to all sorts of Syd Barrett/Pink Floyd styled weirdness.
Pretty cool, not to mention the unusual but brief spoken word/bric-a-brac snippets that play out between a few tracks. While Moby Grape‘s fast rockin’ ‘Can’t Be So Bad’, Janis Ian‘s ‘Society’s Child’ and Cream‘s bluesy workout ‘Sitting On Top Of The World’ are acceptable too. The riffs on yet another Spooky Tooth classic ‘Evil Woman’ are heavy as hell and akin to early Uriah Heep hooking up with Pink Fairies.
Reissued on the shadow-y German based Walhalla label, the sound quality is good although the packaging is sparse to say the least. Still, it’s cheaper than an original LP and a no-brainer for fans of early classic and prog rock rarities.
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