(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
Often one of the most maligned concept albums from the progressive rock genre, Camel's third album, The Snow Goose, was not well received by critics of the time, also the author of the "Snow Goose", Paul Galieco, a non smoker, had originally sued the band when he figured that the band's name was synonymous with with promoting the cigarette brand. A lot of legal battles would follow, and the band had to eventually relinquish part of their royalties as part of the settlement.
Originally released in 1975, this album was a mature work written exclusively by Peter Bardens and Andrew Latimer, which musically was light shades better than the band's first two releases, but in hindsight, The Snow Goose a lush and passive affair, devoid of any lyrics, focused on the band's strong suite, which was the band's long Jazz-rock instrumental passages, which was similar to what bands like Caravan and Focus were doing, but Camel just seemed to have a style of their own, like Andrew Latimer's virtuosic guitar passages equaled by his phenomenal flute playing.
Arguably the most influential keyboardist of his time, the late Peter Bardens, provides a elegant soundscape, even finding time to solo here and there. The band's rhythm section, Doug Ferguson on bass and the severely underrated Andy Ward on Drums are pretty much subdued here as for no band member actually steals the spotlight form each other, working cohesively within also adding The London Symphony Orchestra to further augment most of the songs on the album.
Eventually, The Snow Goose, was financial disaster, due to the law suit, and was also extremely hard to be reproduce live as the band could not afford to have the Orchestra with them at each performance, so the band on a hand full of occasions, played The Snow Goose live in its entirety, as documented on the band's A Live Record, which adds a bit of more "spunk" to each song in comparison to the lush affair of the studio version of The Snow Goose.
In comparison to what rawness of Camel's first two albums, and the complicated albums that would follow, The Snow Goose is a strange, but great album, that except for on a number of occasions, rarely "rocked" like the band was known for and although the album was 100% instrumental, the album's tightness, rarely lent itself for the fiery instrumental breaks the band was know for, which is why most fans of the band felt this album was a disappointment, but I feel the total opposite when I listen to The Snow Goose, I think that it is the greatest album the band ever did, I often place it in the same class as many of the greats of it time.