Martin Cooper checks out the style of melodic prog player An­drew La­timer of Camel.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS - NEXT MONTH Martin pays mu­si­cal trib­ute to Soundgar­den and Au­dioslave’s Chris Cor­nell

Pro­gres­sive rock band Camel were formed in 1971 by gui­tarist An­drew La­timer, and also fea­tured Andy Ward on drums and bassist Doug Fer­gu­son. A lit­tle while later they were also joined by key­board player Peter Bar­dens. The band signed to MCA Records in 1972, but after their epony­mous de­but failed to sell they left the la­bel and signed to Deram Records, which was part of the Decca group. La­timer also played flute on the band’s al­bums, as they pushed the bound­aries of pro­gres­sive rock, even though they failed to have much com­mer­cial suc­cess in the UK. Their sec­ond al­bum, how­ever, was a hit in the US and this led to a tour that lasted sev­eral months in Amer­ica.

One of Camel’s best-known al­bums was their third re­lease, 1975’s The Snow Goose, which was a pro­gres­sive in­stru­men­tal af­fair that gave the band far greater com­mer­cial suc­cess and also led to a head­line gig at the Royal Al­bert Hall with the Lon­don Sym­phony Or­ches­tra. Camel pushed the door of more eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble com­mer­cial song­writ­ing as the 70s con­tin­ued, but still re­tained their pro­gres­sive foun­da­tion and al­ways show­cased La­timer’s melodic guitar. Many line-up changes have oc­curred through­out Camel’s ca­reer, but La­timer has been at the helm for the du­ra­tion. The band dis­ap­peared from the mu­sic scene after their con­tract with Decca Records ended in the mid 80s, and they couldn’t find in­ter­est from other la­bels. But, as with many bands they came back from hia­tus, re­form­ing in the 90s with La­timer tour­ing as re­cently as 2016. He says he has enough new ma­te­rial to fill sev­eral al­bums, so who knows what might be in the off­ing.

La­timer’s play­ing is gen­er­ally very melodic and he al­ways plays for the song, even though many of the ar­range­ments are com­plex and lengthy. His lead play­ing in par­tic­u­lar is very high in melodic con­tent. La­timer has also in­flu­enced a num­ber of other pro­gres­sive gui­tarists, such as Mar­il­lion’s Steve Roth­ery.

The track this month is in D and is fo­cused around D Mixoly­dian (D-E-F#-G-A-B-C), with a C Ma­jor chord re­in­forc­ing that Mixoly­dian sound. The lead parts use notes

(F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E), and chords from F Ma­jor

Eb with an ex­tra Ma­jor chord and melodic lines. The main chal­lenge is go­ing to be mov­ing be­tween time sig­na­tures, be­cause the track starts in 7/4, moves to 4/4 for the solo and then switches to 6/4 for the end sec­tion. This may take a lit­tle while to get used to, but it re­ally is as sim­ple as count­ing up to 7, 4 or 6 and be­ing aware of where in the bar any spe­cific chords or lines ap­pear.


An­drew La­timer here no doubt cre­at­ing an­other mem­o­rable solo

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