A Live Record is the first live album by the progressive rock band Camel, released in 1978. It is a double LP, composed of recordings from three different tours. LP one features recordings from the Mirage tour in 1974, and the Rain Dances tour, in 1977. Tracks 1–4 on the LP are from the Rain Dances tour and 5–6 are from the Mirage tour.
LP 2 features the original line-up all the way, and is devoted to a complete performance of the band’s instrumental concept album, The Snow Goose, during the tour for the album in 1975, performed with at the Royal Albert Hall backed by the London Symphony Orchestra in 1975.
There’s a line in the classic British TV comedy The Young Ones (about 4 students who share a house ) where Rik, the People’s Poet, utters the line “God, I’m bored. I might as well be listening to Genesis!” The only reason they had used Genesis as the punchline is because the writers had obviously never heard of the band Camel, and in particular this double live album.
As with a lot of live albums I’ve heard doing this blog, this one is most definitely an album of two halves. Things don’t get off to a good start as there’s a small bass solo in the first bloody song! Things settle down quickly and what’s next is two sides of bland, inoffensive easy-listening prog-muzak. The band are pretty good musicians (guitarist Andy Latimer plays some lovely solos) but there a terrifing lack of soul/heart/spleen/kidneys to the music which makes this quite a soporific listen. Even the album’s title is utterly bereft of any originality! The album is not helped by the chronic lack of audience noise on sides 1 and 2.
The second album, featuring The Snow Goose in full, is a more lively affair (comparably), probably has something to do with the LSO backing the band and the hearing the audience’s applause. There’s less muzak on this part of the album but it still neither engaged me nor made me want to seek out more stuff by the band.
I try not to write stuff that’s too critical because I’d rather build up than tear down but I was really struggling to find positives in the record. The 2nd part of the album is better than the first, the music is nice but fairly inconsequential and now the Hawkwind album is no longer the worst listening experience I’ve had on this blog. Hard DO NOT RECOMMEND for anyone out there and there’s no way on god’s grey earth I’ll listen to this again; It’s all the fun of a slow motion hanging. 2/10
Next up is Dorothy Gale’s favourite prog rock band, but until then TTFN!