|Richard Sinclair ~ Camel Reflections|
"Greetings you 'Camel-Only-'Uns'...and you all know what I mean "if you know your onions"
So here I am, in 2004, being asked to write about my time with 'Camel'...twenty six years after I was first given a call by group manager Laurie Small, delivering the invite to go and play and sing with Andy Latimer, Andy Ward and Peter Bardens - an audition, for the forthcoming 'Raindances' album. And Oh what a joyous time I had, learning the pieces of music by Andy and Pete, with energy man Andy Ward at the motor. All worked out well on this 'first try out, down on the farm' in Devon. Being one of the many lucky music makers on this planet earth, I spent three happy years sometimes touring and sometimes recording- made the two studio albums, Raindances and Breathless, much fun, fun fun - with lots of anguish about the 'Boys Club Membership' and 'Who's Turn it is to Make the Tea?' The Golden Rule was Never discuss the music, when the concert finishes...just have fun and leave it until the the midday coach tour stop on the way to the next gig, the bass Bonks had to be in the right place and if Bonkety Bonkety Bonk was not right, then 'pick a window, you're leaving'...and by the way, who passed me that paper bag of beer?
Yes, OK, "It's Great to be a Super Star" and as Peter once remarked " A Star is Bored!" - "A Star is Bald!" he added. Dear Pete, always a real Star, twinkling, tinkling, now the Sun has left the Sky....us and your songs will always be together. After that I was known as 'A star is bald' Peter once signed himself into a hotel as Mr. P. Igmy...and that stuck! After he was tannoyed over the airport "Would Mr. P Igmy please report to the check in desk!"
Olympic Party Champion, Andy Ward 'Wurt' or 'Wurty' and I shared many a hotel room, that was designated 'Party in your room' and if you could get through the gaffer tape around the door and cope with the ' redecoration' could find yourself singing with the road crew until the sunrise, when a very tired team after 2hours sleep, would be heading off in the crew bus ahead of us, to set up the stage for the next sound check.
And our team leader, 'Sir Edmond Varicosi' or 'Lats' was constantly directing us back on the rails... ...when we were riding on a ship that had no sails. My time with Camel and with band leader Andy Latimer has held me in good stead, for now I am a band leader too and can fully appreciate the dedication that Andy gave to his music and with all the aspects of the job.
I needed a motor for my first solo CD 'Richard Sinclair's Caravan of Dreams' linked up once again with Andy Ward and we played together again from 1986 until the mid nineties, with my own outfits, 'Going Going' 'R.S. Caravan of Dreams' and 'R.S.V.P' and now that we both have our own websites, are planning to make some new music together, so please keep in touch!
So folks, today I am sitting in my kitchen, in my Canterbury home, listening to a live recording of Camel circa 1979 at The Roxy, CA. given to me by a Camel Tribute Band from San Diego, Southern California - who I met at BajaProg 2004, a family Camel Tribute Band, which is incredible in itself! and I'm having a good time reliving the lyrical themes. I've recently been asked to perform 'Tell Me' and 'Unevensong' with the Japanese Band 'Ain Soph' in October, when I shall be working with cousin Dave Sinclair on our Sinclair and Sinclair 'Land of Gray & Pink' tour. These days, I'm happy to be in a position where I can play Solo, or make several Duos, Trios and a Richard Sinclair Band, if the cash is there to pay the players!
I'm always interested to hear from you folks by Email.
Love from Richard Sinclair.
The album opens with the acoustic song Disassociation. A fine example of Richards mellow and acutely melodic voice with some finely understated acoustic guitar. A terrific start to the album already I was very pleasantly surprised.
This was followed by an acoustic version of the Caravan classic Land of Grey and Pink. Just Richard, his acoustic guitar and a set of bongos. Really excellent!
I was really in my stride at this point and the album was building nicely as the cleverly constructed Whats Rattlin? began.
However, as I was soon to learn, this was not an album that was going to let me become complacent...because what followed was a collection of jazz-based tunes which gently reminded me of my childhood - having been brought up on a wide range of jazz music from my dads record collection (which even to this day ranges into the many thousands!).
What is absolutely certain is that Richard and his fellow musicians are, without doubt, top-notch musical talents whose strong song composition and musical virtuosity, enhanced by wide ranging talents, is clearly without question. The lyrical quality of Richards songs is very endearing and always extremely entertaining. No shallow clichés here folks. Just clearly and simply stated tell it like it is lyrical content, neatly inter-woven with tight melodies, under-pinned with strong bass-lines from the man himself. From Barefoot onwards there follows a musical delight that truly offers something for everyone. In particular, the jazz lover is in for a real treat! You will be taken on a musical journey that will never fail to surprise whilst constantly pushing you to explore new musical heights that you may never have perhaps seriously considered previously.
Raga of D Pieces is an entrancing and spell-bounding acoustic guitar treasure absolutely magical!
Our former Camel-Tracker Andy Ward is featured on Three Go Wild which is, in itself, an interesting bass-driven piece interspersed with enticing percussion from our former Camel skins hero!
The album concludes with the Caravan bonus track Uncles Farm. Hang-on a minute this sounds familiar I know that tune Ill name it in ONE! Yes indeed, Uncles Farm is a rework of the comic tune found on Camels album Breathless. Yep youve guessed it its Down on the Farm. Only, this time, Richard has presented this tune in his own unique way, whilst not losing the songs original charm, that will nevertheless remain instantly recognizable to all Camel fans!
Richard Sinclair LIVE TRACKS is an absorbing album that I have enjoyed very much. It surpassed any expectations or preconceptions that I may have held and I have, in turn, found myself replaying it over and over again.
So go on spoil yourself "
Review to be published shortly