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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Camel - 1982 The Single Factor
Camel - 1982 The Single Factor

ALBUM: The Single Factor
LABEL: Decca
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 1994, Decca/Deram, 800 081-2 * 2009, Esoteric Recordings, ECLEC 2156


LINEUP: Andy Latimer - guitars, piano, lead vocals * Peter Bardens - organ, keyboards * David Paton - bass, lead and background vocals * Chris Rainbow - lead and background vocals * Anthony Phillips - acoustic guitar, marimba, piano * Francis Monkman - harpsichord, synclaiver * Hayden Bendall - keyboards * Graham Jarvis, Simon Phillips - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 No Easy Answer * 02 You Are The One * 03 Heroes * 04 Selva * 05 Lullabye * 06 Sasquatch * 07 Manic * 08 Camelogue * 09 Today's Goodbye * 10 Heart's Desire * 11 End Peace * 12 You Are The One (edited version)


In the progressive rock world there are very few bands I enjoy more than Camel. Playing their first gig supporting Wishbone Ash in 1971 and signing to MCA a year later, Camel have consistently delivered some of the best music progressive rock has to offer. From classics like 'Mirage' and 'The Snow Goose' to later works such as 'Stationary Traveler' and 'Dust And Dreams' Camel, despite numerous line-up changes are an Oasis from the at times, Desert of prog rock. Unfortunately, not all progressive fans feel this way, often blasting the group's later albums, in particular 'The Single Factor' for 'selling out'. I couldn't disagree more and have always treasured progressive bands with an eye on the commercial brass ring. I say far better to be a commercial Camel than an unlistenable Magma!

The Songs
Taking a page from the Alan Parsons Project songbook and two its members David Paton and Chris Rainbow, 'The Single Factor' is a star studded record. Former Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips appears, Hayden Bendall and keyboard maestro Francis Monkman from Sky both offer their services to this enchanting album as well as Simon Phillips and Duncan Mackay. Opening with 'No Easy Answer' it's clear this is a very different Camel than previously heard. The song has a glorious hook complete with hand claps. 'You Are The One' follows similar pop territory bringing to mind some of Steve Hackett's work while 'Heroes' is a gorgeous ballad with vocals by David Paton. There are three found on the album, 'Selva' a reflective ballad in typical Camel style, 'Sasquatch' reportedly written about keyboardist Peter Bardens feet(!) and 'End Peace which close out side one following Chris Rainbow's beautiful vocal work on 'A Heart's Desire'.

In Summary
The only thing missing from 'The Single Factor' is long time drummer Andy Ward which the liner notes point out 'does not appear on this album due to a serious injury to his hand'. Rumour is there were larger problems within Camel and Ward's relationship to the band, but who knows? Ward would do a brief stint with Marillion in 1983, but I haven't paid much attention to his career since and I don't have a clue where he is now. For fans of Alan Parsons Project and 80's Barclay James Harvest, 'The Single Factor' is a must have. For progressive fans too snooty to give it a listen? It's your loss.

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#1 | sabace on January 06 2012 19:08:12
I only have one camel lp - raindances and I love it - apparently raindances was their commercial era . If you could recommend any of their other lps I'd appreciate it!
#2 | Eric on January 06 2012 22:22:25
My favorite is 'Breathless'- a sweet as pie collection of prog pop that gets better with age. Pete Bardens released a really nice solo 'Heart To Heart' during the same time which I planning on reviewing in the coming months. Check out Bardens keyboard work on Van Morrison's 'Wavelength' album too, also released in the same period.
#3 | sabace on January 08 2012 18:11:15
thanks eric - I'll check it out!
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