Camel is a progressive rock band that hardly broke into the mainstream but has had a dedicated cult following for the last 30 years. It has a two distinctive phases: an early prog act with strong psychedelic roots from their debut album to "Moonmadness" and a jazz-fusion outfit after keyboardist Peter Bardens left the band, from "Rain Dances" till the mid-80's.
If you must get just one album, get The Snow Goose, a concept album based on a story by Paul Gallico. Your next choice should be "Pressure Points Live".

(I have purposefully left out a number of live albums and compilations that don't add much to understanding the band. In fact, the only two live albums mentioned are "A Live Record" and "Pressure Points", since these offer radical reconstructions of the studio material)
  • Camel(1973)
    1. Slow yourself down
    2. Mystic queen
    3. Six ate
    4. Separation
    5. Never let go
    6. Curiosity
    7. Arubaluba
    Andy Ward: Drums and percussion
    Doug Ferguson: Bass and vocals
    Peter Bardens: Organ, mellotron, piano, VCS3 synthesizernd vocals
    Andy Latimer: Guitar and vocals

    Camel's debut album is probably one of their best. Very similar in sound and production to their second release, Mirage. Never got the success it should have had. The cover has a picture of a camel mixed with a train (?), with tears coming from the camel's eyes and turning to stars. Back cover has a black & yellow picture of the band. It was available on LP by MCA records, now available by Camel Production on CD. The CD has a lyrics sheet.

  • Mirage(1974)
    1. Freefall
    2. Supertwister
    3. Nimrodel / The Procession / The white rider
    4. Earthrise
    5. Lady Fantasy
    Doug Ferguson: Bass
    Andy Ward: Drums, cans, bottles & body mist
    Peter Bardens: Organ, piano, celeste, mini Moog, mellotron & vocals
    Andy Latimer: Guitar, flute & vocals

    A superb album, featuring lots of rythm changes and organ/guitar solos. Third track is based on Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings". Mirage reached number 149 on the US Billboard charts, and was followed with a massive tour over the US. The cover features a distorted version of the CAMEL cigarettes pack, with the same CAMEL logo. The US version has the picture of the camel from the first album only now it has a dragon's body, and it's eating strange crystal pieces on a desert surface on some distant planet. Available on CD and LP. CD version has inner notes by John Tracy.
  • The Snow Goose(1975)
    1. The great marsh
    2. Rhayader
    3. Rhayader goes to town
    4. Sanctuary
    5. Fritha
    6. The snow goose
    7. Friendship
    8. Migration
    9. Rhayader alone
    10. Flight of the snow goose
    11. Preparation
    12. Dunkirk
    13. Epitaph
    14. Fritha alone
    15. La princesse Perdue
    16. The great marsh
    Andy Ward: Drums, vibes, varispeed percussion
    Doug Ferguson: Bass and duffle coat
    Peter Bardens: Organ, mini Moog, electric piano, pipe organ, acoustic piano, ARP Odyssey
    Andy Latimer: Electric, acoustic and slide guitars, flute, vocals

    Camel's most accessive album. Recommended for starters, and for everybody... Based on the novella "The Snow Goose" by Paul Gallico. It took Latimer and Bardens two weeks of intense work in a solitude cottage away from the world, in order to write this masterpiece. The Snow Goose reached 22 in the UK charts following a major success worldwide. The Snow Goose features an orchestra on some parts. There are Two vocal parts, but without any lyrics - This album is completely instrumental. Cover has the CAMEL cigarette logo with picture of a snow goose in white, blue and gold. Few versions has a short description of the story on the back cover, in reference to each song. It is said there is a double-fold version of the LP but I've never seen one. Available on LP, Cassette and CD. The CD release has some more inner notes by John Tracy.
  • Moonmadness(1976)
    1. Aristillus
    2. Song within a song
    3. Chord change
    4. Spirit of the water
    5. Another night
    6. Air born
    7. Lunar sea
    Doug Ferguson: Bass, lead vocal Song Within A Song
    Andy Ward: Drums, Percussion, voice on Aristillus
    Peter Bardens: Keyboards, vocal on Spirit of the Water
    Andy Latimer: Guitars, flute, vocal on Song Within A Song, Another Night, Air Born

    This album is very bombastic, most of it has a "Spacy" kind of music. Very strong rythem parts, Spacy guitars and lots of synthesisers. The sound of this one is completely different than the first two, a classic progressive album. It even tends, somewhat, to fusion. Cover has a bright picture of a woman (man?) sitting by a rock looking at the moon above. No more cigarette logos. It is said there's another double-fold version of the cover where the picture is in the inside while there's something else (what?) on the outside. Available on both CD and LP.
  • Rain Dances(1977)
    1. First Light
    2. Metrognome
    3. Highways of the sun
    4. Unevensong
    5. One these days I'll get an early night
    6. Elke
    7. Skylines
    8. Rain dances
    Andrew Latimer: 6/12 string guitars, pan pipes, fretless bass, flute, acoustic guitar, electric & acoustic pianos, mini moog, "string synthesiser", glockenspiel, treated guitars
    Peter Bardens: Mini moog, string synth, electric piano, organ, acoustic piano, car horns
    Andy Ward: Drums, Nocarina, Teeth, Cheek, Turkish Ring, Money, Percussion, Finger cymbals, glockenspiel, liquid boo bams, rototoms, talking drum, smurd, swanee whistle, tunisian clay drums
    Richard Sinclair: Bass, vocals
    Mel Collins: Saxophones, bass & concert flutes, clarinet, bass clarinet
    Brian Eno: Mini moog, electric & acoustic pianos, bells, random notes
    Fiona Hibbert: Harp
    Martin Drover: Flugel horn
    Malcolm Griffiths: Trombone

    Ferguson left, Sinclair joined, bringing a much Jazzy attitude to the music of Camel. Still very progressive. A good album for those who tend toward fusion / jazz rock. Cover features a boy standing behind a window with rain dropping and two women jumping to the sides. Back cover has a picture of the band. Available on CD and LP.
  • A live record(1978)
    1. Never let go
    2. Song within a song
    3. Lunar sea
    4. Skylines
    5. Ligging at louis'
    6. Lady fantasy
    7. The Snow Goose
    Line-up: Peter Bardens: Keyboards
    Andrew Latimer: Guitars, flutes, vocal
    Andy Ward: Drums and Percussion
    Mel Collins: Saxophones and flute
    Richard Sinclair: Bass on first 4 track, vocals on 2 first tracks
    Doug Ferguson: Bass on the rest of the tracks.

    A double live album, with very good sound and playing, although one may prefer the studio version of "The Snow Goose" which has a nice live performance (with an orchestra!) but not as accurate and impressive as the original album. Camel usualy play good live shows and this album is very recommended for all those who liked their first albums. "Never let go" is a radical jazz reconstruction of the track from the first album. "Liggin at Louis'" is a jazzy track from 1974. Cover is black with a robot's finger shooting a lightning into a red record floating in the air. Available on LP and CD.
  • Breathless(1978)
  • Breathless
  • Echoes
  • Wing and a prayer
  • Down on the farm
  • Starlight ride
  • Summer Lightning
  • You make me smile
  • The sleeper
  • Rainbow's endLine-up
    Andrew Latimer: Guitar, CS80/50, Vocals
    Peter Bardens: Keyboards
    Andy Ward: Drums, Percussion
    Richard Sinclair: Bass, Vocals
    Mel Collins: Flute, Saxes
  • Camel becoming poppier - this tendency will become stronger with the years. Sinclair wrote Down on the farm, featuring blechs and other stupid voices. During the sessions it was clear that Bardens was leaving the band when the recording was done. Cover has picture of a camel, on a mountain skyline background. There's also an inner sleve with pictures of the members. Available on LP.
  • I Can See Your House From Here(1979)
    1. Wait
    2. Your love is stranger than mine
    3. Eye of the storm
    4. Who we are
    5. Survival
    6. Hymn to her
    7. Neon magic
    8. Remote romance
    9. Ice
    Andy Latimer: Guitar, Vocals, Backing Vocals
    Andy Ward: Drums, Percussion
    Colin Bass: Bass, Vocals
    Kit Watkins: Keyboards, Flute, Clavinet
    Jan Schelhaas: Keyboards
    J McBurnie: Lyrics
    Viv McAuliffe: Lyrics
    Mel Collins: Alto sax on "Your Love is Stranger than Mine"
    Peter Bardens left the band. Some songs are good, and Ice is a very strong guitar/piano classical piece. Cover has a picture of the earth viewed from space, with a floating astronout nailed to a cross. Available on CD and LP.
  • The single factor(1982)
    1. No easy answer
    2. You are the one
    3. Heroes
    4. Selva
    5. Lullabye
    6. Sasquatch
    7. Manic
    8. Camelogue
    9. Today's goodbye
    10. A heart's desire
    11. End peace
    Andy Latimer: Guitars, piano, vocals, keyboards, organ, mellotron, bass
    David Paton: Bass, fretless bass, vocals
    Graham Jarvis: Drums
    Duncan Mackay: Prophet synth
    Chris Rainbow: Backing vocals, lead on "A heart's desire" and "End piece"
    Francis Monkman: Harpsichord-synclavier
    Anthony Phillips: Grand Piano, organ, classical and 12 strings guitar, poly moog, ARP 2600, Marimba
    Pete Bardens: Organ, mini moog on Sasquatch
    Hydne Bendall: Yamaha CS-80
    Tristian Fry: Glockenspiel
    Jack Emblow: Accordion
    A popish record with much resemblence to Alan Parsons Project. (No wonder: same people on both groups: Chris Rainbow, David Paton). Lots of guest appearances: Peter Bardens on one track, Fry and Monkman were members of Sky at that time and both bands shared the same producer and engineer (Tony Clark and Haydn Bendall). "Camelogue" is undoubtedly the best song in this album. Cover is grey/blue "computerized" picture of a face (andy?). The back cover is slightly different, but same idea. Available on LP and CD. Some LP pressing are not fold out and have no inner notes/lyrics.
  • Stationary Traveller(1985)
    1. Pressure points
    2. Refugee
    3. Vopos
    4. Cloak and dagger man
    5. Stationary traveller
    6. West Berlin
    7. Fingertips
    8. Missing
    9. After words
    10. Long goodbyes
    Andy Latimer: 12 strings, acoustic, classic and electric Guitars, flute, bass, piano, PPG, Juno 60, Yamaha CS-60, Drumulator, pan pipes, vocals
    Paul Burgess: Drums
    Ton Scherpenzeel: Yamaha CS-80, Grand piano, PPG, prophet, accordion, Juno 60
    Hyden Bendall: PPG voices, Fairlight
    David Paton: Bass, fretless bass
    Chris Rainbow: vocals
    Mel Collins: Saxophone
    This one is even more Alan Parsons than Alan Parsons... Obscure concept by Susan Hoover about both sides of the Berlin Wall (now X - Wall). The cover has a b/w picture of woman standing on a street (in Berlin?... there are signs in German). The back cover is the same only the woman now stand backwards. same idea in the inner sleve where a woman stands on a road with buildings in the background. Inner sleve has lyrics and information. Available on CD and LP, maybe on cassette.
  • Pressure Points: Live in Concert(1985)
    1. Pressure points
    2. Drafted
    3. Captured
    4. Lies
    5. Sasquatch
    6. West Berlin
    7. Fingertips
    8. Wait
    9. Rhayader
    10. Rhayader goes to town
    Andy Latimer: Lead guitar and vocals
    Colin Bass: Bass guitar and vocals
    Ton Scherpenzeel: Lead keyboards
    Chris Rainbow: Vocals and keyboards
    Richie Close: Keyboards
    Paul Burgess: Drums and percussion
    Mel Collins: Sax on Fingertips
    Peter Bardens: Organ
    Camel's second live record is a very good performance of their (even weaker) songs on stage. Note Bardens playing with them the two songs from "The Snow Goose". The cover is dark, strange face flooded with light with marks all over it (ie pressure points). All this is in a box on a skyline background. Back cover has pictures from the show. Available on CD and LP.
  • Dust and Dreams(1992)
    1. Dust bowl
    2. Go west
    3. Dusted out
    4. Mother road
    5. Needles
    6. Rose of Sharon
    7. Milk n' honey
    8. End of the line
    9. Storm clouds
    10. Cotton camp
    11. Broken banks
    12. Sheet rain
    13. Whispers
    14. Little rivers and little rose
    15. Hopeless anger
    16. Whispers in the rain
    Andrew Latimer: Guitars, flute, keyboards, vocals
    Colin Bass: Bass
    Ton Scherpenzeel: Keyboards
    Paul Burgess: Drums
    David Paton: Vocals
    Mae McKenna: Vocals
    Christopher Bock: Drums
    Don Harriss: Keyboards
    Neil Panton: Oboe
    Kim Venaas: Timps, harmonica
    John Burton: French horn
    Camel's comeback is an intense and moving concept album, very close to Nude in the global sound but much more touching. Highly recommended for those of you who got used to the 80s Camel, but it is very different from the first five Progressive albums. Concept by Hoover about moving further along the road, based on a story. The last 8 songs are instumental, standing together as one piece (a la Nude and The Snow Goose). The record was inspired by John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" Cover has a b/w photo of a boy standing on a road. CD and Cassette available from Camel Production and some specialized prog outlets only.
    Apparently, there was another album in the mid-90's on which I can't find any information
  • Rajaz(2000)
      Three Wishes
    1. Lost and Found
    2. The Final Encore
    3. Rajaz
    4. Shout
    5. Straight to My Heart
    6. Sahara
    7. Lawrence
    I have only heard a few songs from this album in Camel's recent tour by South America. "Three Wishes" has some sensible flamenco influences, "Lost and Found" is a come-back to the early albums classic progressive style, and "Rajaz" is a very touching psychedelic rock song.