Carmen as seen on Fandangos in Space. Clockwise: David Clark Allen, John Glascock, Angela Allen, Paul Fenton, Roberto Amaral
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Genres||Progressive rock, flamenco rock|
|Labels||EMI, Mercury, Angel Air|
|Associated acts||Widescreen, Flamexicano!, 'Papa Tigre'.|
|Past members||David Clark Allen|
Carmen was a British-American band active from 1970-75. Their style was a fusion of rock, progressive, and flamenco music and dance. Carmen's first album, Fandangos in Space, is ranked number 46 in the Rolling Stone list of 50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time.
The group was founded by David Clark Allen, a Mexican/American Californian trained in flamenco guitar. Originally a seven-member band in Los Angeles, the band relocated to London, England, in January 1973, where the personnel soon stabilized as a quintet.
In London, they became friendly with several rock stars of the time, including David Bowie - who introduced them internationally by including them on his Midnight Special '1984 Floor Show', Marc Bolan (Paul Fenton became his studio and tour drummer), and Bryan Ferry. Obtaining the services of producer Tony Visconti, Carmen released three albums: Fandangos in Space (1973), Dancing on a Cold Wind (1974), and The Gypsies (1975). By early 1975, the band was enjoying its greatest success, playing as an opening act at concerts by Santana, Blue Öyster Cult, and Electric Light Orchestra, and touring for three months as the opener for Jethro Tull. A series of unfortunate events then occurred while the group was recording The Gypsies at Longview Farm. Paul Fenton seriously damaged his knee, stopping his career as a drummer for many years. Carmen and Tony Visconti ended their musical relationship, and the band's manager left. Carmen disbanded shortly after finishing their last album in 1975 and John Glascock went on to join Jethro Tull.
Carmen's stage performances featured Amaral and Angela Allen dancing on a specially amplified stage floor, so that their flamenco zapateado became an integral percussive addition to the music. Spanish influences in their sound included acoustic guitar interludes in flamenco style, occasional Spanish lyrics, themes of betrayed love reminiscent of Federico García Lorca, and castanets, all supported by a traditional rock rhythm section.
David Clark Allen
David Clark Allen continued to pursue a music career after Carmen disbanded. He played guitar on Michelle Phillip's solo album produced by Jack Nitzsche and was managed by Herb Cohen during the late 70s. He wrote two songs (Shame and Stay) for Agnetha's solo album, Wrap Your Arms Around Me - produced by Mike Chapman and a single release by Swedish band Katz - Heart Beats Stronger. David was diagnosed with thyroid/throat cancer in the early 80s. After a successful operation and radioactive therapy, he changed his name to Housk Randall - and became a sexual anthropologist/photographer. As Housk he had 5 books published in 4 languages: Revelations, Rituals of Love, The Customised Body, Piercing, Radical Desire and Bizarre Rubber - a photographic fantasy catalogue for fetish designers DeMask. In 1996 he married, changed his name to David Randall-Goddard and established a successful family photographic studio Family Portraits.
For the 2006 reissue of Carmen's three albums by Angelair, David produced an instrumental album Widescreen with remixer/producer Larry Lush. Widescreen became the name of the band David then formed with Larry. They opened for The Buena Vista Social Club, Ojos de Brujo, Eliades Ochoa and were regular performers on the festival circuit in England for many years. Widescreen eventually morphed into Flamexicano which disbanded in 2013. David then formed an Americana/Latino roots rock band, Papa Tigre which disbanded in 2015. David next completed 2 1/2 years work/study at IMW recording studios/Islington College - qualifying as a recording engineer/producer. Academia has proved exciting to David, who is in his second year of a two-year MMus at Goldsmiths.
Glascock joined Jethro Tull in 1975, and Angela Allen, his romantic partner at the time, contributed backing vocals on Tull's recording Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die!. Their relationship ended shortly after, and in 1979, at the age of 28, Glascock died due to complications caused by a congenital heart condition.
Angela Allen has relocated to Los Angeles and continues to sing. She contributed vocals for the Widescreen album.
Paul Fenton was badly injured in a fall from a horse around the time of Carmen's break-up. He had already built a career for himself as a drummer outside of Carmen, in particular working with Marc Bolan's T. Rex; later, he went on to form and play in a Bolan tribute band that included many of the original members of T.Rex. He continues to tour the world with this group - as drummer and de facto manager.
Roberto Amaral, who currently resides in Van Nuys, California, has continued to create music as a singer, songwriter and producer. At the same time, he has established himself as the leading Flamenco teacher/choreographer from his own studio in Southern California. After over 40 years, his dance companies, including Ballet Espanol de Los Angeles, Fuego Flamenco and Espana clasica, continue to receive public and critical acclaim. He collaborated on the book and composed the musical score for an original stage play incorporating Flamenco dance. He has also formed a music publishing company called Delicia Music.
The first two albums were re-issued by Angel Air records as a 2-CD set in October 2006. Carmen's third album The Gypsies was re-issued by Angel Air records in May 2007, also as a 2-CD set; the second CD, entitled Widescreen, contains new instrumental music by David Clark Allen.
Widescreen - the band David formed with Laurence Elliot-Potter - supported The Buena Vista Social Club, Eliades Ochoa, and Ojos de Brujo and played for many years regularly on the UK festival circuit.
- David Clark Allen - lead vocals, acoustic flamenco guitars, electric guitars, synthesiser, mellotron, piano, backing vocals, lyrics (1970-1975)
- Angela Allen - lead vocals, synthesizer, mellotron, piano, backing vocals, dancer (1970-1975)
- Roberto Amaral - lead and backing vocals, lyrics, dancer (1971-1975)
- John Glascock - bass, bass pedals, synthesisers, lead and backing vocals, lyrics (1972-1975)
- Paul Fenton - drums, percussion, backing vocals (1973-1975)
- Brian Glascock - Drums (1970-1973)
- Dennis Trerotola - lead vocals (1970-1971)
- Adam Moody - guitars (1970-1971)
- Mark Moody - bass (1970-1971)
- Vicente - dancer (1970-1971)
- Rick Chavez - guitars (1971-1972)
- Mark Anthony - guitars, lyrics/music (1970-1972)
- Nigel Griggs - bass (1971-1972) Nigel also played bass guitar in the band Split Enz from 1977 to 1984 and performed in Schnell Fenster from 1986 to 1992.
- "50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
- "DAVID CLARK ALLEN - Composer - founder of CARMEN - flamenco rock". Davidclarkallen.com. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
- "Roberto Amaral". Roberto Amaral. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
- A review of this 2 CD set is available here.
- "CARMEN Dancing On A cold Wind Fandango In Spase プログレッシブロックの部屋です！！". Music.geocities.jp. Archived from the original on 28 May 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
- "Diary of a Studio Owner". Studiowner.com. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
- "DAVID CLARK ALLEN - Composer - founder of CARMEN - flamenco rock". www.davidclarkallen.com. Retrieved 12 August 2017.