The Snow Goose (album)

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The Snow Goose
Camel TheSnowGoose.jpg
Studio album by Camel
Released April 1975
Recorded Island Studios, Decca Studios (overdubs), London
Genre Progressive rock, instrumental rock
Length 43:05
Label Gama/Decca
Producer David Hitchcock
Camel chronology
The Snow Goose
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
RateYourMusic 4/5 stars
SputnikMusic 4.5/5 stars
MagicMelody 5/5 stars
MelodicMusic 5/5 stars
ProgArchives 4.5/5 stars
ProgReviews 5/5 stars

The Snow Goose is the third album by the band Camel, released in 1975. The critical success[2] of "The White Rider" suite (based on J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and appearing on the band's previous album, Mirage), inspired the group to write more novel-inspired conceptual suites.[2]


The band considered several novels on which to base their next album. For a time they settled on Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse, and some songs were written before the idea was abandoned in favour of Paul Gallico's novella The Snow Goose. The album's name, originally The Snow Goose was altered to Music Inspired by The Snow Goose to accommodate legal protests by Paul Gallico.[3] Gallico's protests were not, as is often[3] stated, motivated by a disapproval of smoking – Gallico was in fact a keen smoker[4] – but simply on the grounds of copyright infringement.[5] The album was originally due to feature lyrics based on Paul Gallico's text, but due to his objections, an instrumental was made instead. The music was mostly written during an intensive fortnight in a cottage in Devon, England.[3]

In January 1975 work on "Snow Goose" began at Island Studios in London with David Hitchcock undertaking production duties for the band once more and Rhett Davies as sound engineer. Overdubbed At Decca Studios was engineered by John Burns. The London Symphony Orchestra participated in the recording and composer and Conductor David Bedford was enlisted to write the highly evocative orchestral arrangements for Latimer and Bardens´ creation.

Doug's duffle coat, mentioned in the credits, was used by Andy Latimer and Doug Ferguson on 'Epitaph' to simulate a flapping of wings by waving it in the air.

The album went on sale in April 1975, eventually reaching number 22 in UK album chart in the summer of the year (13 weeks on chart).Certified Silver. In USA the album was released on 19 July 1975, achieved a Billboard chart placing 162.

The album opened the doors to international level and in the following years would achieve great prestige, especially in Europe and Japan. The album is considered one of the masterpieces of symphonic rock[2] and in 2014 was voted no.31 in the Top 100 Prog Albums of All Time by readers of 'Prog' magazine.

The Snow Goose (2013)[edit]

In celebration of Camel's return stage, The Snow Goose was re-recorded in May 2013 and released November 2013 just titled as The Snow Goose (dropping the "Music Inspired By"). The recording stands as a tribute to former bandmates Peter Bardens, Andy Ward and Doug Ferguson and remains steadfastly faithful to the original work.[6][7]

Musical passages description in the context of the short story.[edit]

1."The Great Marsh"

Just before dawn till sunrise.


He lives in an old lighthouse on the Essex marshes, caring for the wild birds.

3."Rhayader Goes to Town"

The townsfolk react coldly towards Rhayader because of his odd appearance. But their fear is mixed with curiosity for he has a noble bearing.


The Snow Goose swept off course by a sea storm just reaches the Essex coast. Fritha finds her exhausted and wounded on the beach and gently cradles her, for she has heard that nearby lives a man who is a great healer of birds.


When she meets Rhayader she too is frightened, but her concern for the Snow Goose overcomes her fear.

6."The Snow Goose"


While the Snow Goose gradually gains strength, tended to by Rhayader and visited by Fritha, a strong bond of affection grows between the three of them.


9."Rhayader Alone"

With the departure of the Snow Goose, Fritha no longer visits the lighthouse and Rhayader is once more alone with the melancholy sounds of the marshes.

10."The Flight of the Snow Goose"

One day high above the horizon appears the familiar shape of the great white bird. Rhayader in his joy sends for Fritha.


Rhayader gets ready to sail, together with the small Armada of other boats to help in the desperate rescue operation at Dunkirk.


As Rhayader departs, leaving Fritha behind he cannot prevent the Snow Goose following him out across the channel and right into the heart of battle.


Rhayader ferries many stranded soldiers to safety until at last he is hit, and the Snow Goose is seen circling low over the spot where the little boat has gone down.

14."Fritha Alone"

15."La Princesse Perdue"

Fritha realising somehow that Rhayader will not return and is still looking out to sea when she spies the Snow Goose. She is filled with a sweet sadness as she follows her princess homing in, as if to land, only to fly away, out of sight, lost forever.

16."The Great Marsh"

Live performance[edit]

The album's success led to a prestigious sell out concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London, with the London Symphony Orchestra in October 1975. The Melody Maker magazine to declare Camel to be Britain's "Brightest Hope" an accolade which resulted in ever increasing attendances at concerts and highly memorable appearance on BBC television's "Old Grey Whistle Test", (where the band performed with a woodwind section a medley of "Snow Goose" themes) and an equally memorable performance on the BBC Radio One "In Concert" programme. To follow up on the success of the album Decca decided to release an edited version of "Flight of the Snow Goose/Rhayader" as a single in May.

Tour 1975:


Apr-13: Greyhound – Croydon. Apr-20: Winning Post – Twickenham. Apr-22: Hippodrome Theatre – London. Apr-26: Leicester Polytechnic – Leicester. Apr-27: Civic Hall – Guilford. May-1: Cleopatra's – Derby. May-2: Newcastle University – Newcastle. May-3: Univ of Science & Tech – Manchester. May-4: Roundhouse – London. May-6: Music Hall – Shrewsbury. May-7: Bristol Polytechnic – Bristol. May-10: Stadium – Liverpool. May-13: Barbarella's – Birmingham. May-15: Winter Gardens – Cleethorpes. May-16: College of Fashion – London. May-23: Thames Polytechnic – Woolwich. May-24: Civic Hall – Guildford. May-31: City Hall – St Albans. June-6: Mayfair Ballrom – Newcastle.


June-15: Summerpop '75, Turfschip – Breda.


June-20: University Of Sciences – Manchester. June-21: Old Grey Whistle – London. June-25: Town Hall – Torquay. June-26: Johnson Hall – Yoevil. June-27: Regal Theatre – Redruth. June-28: Guildhall – Plymouth. June-29: Town Hall – Birmingham. June-30: Free Trade Hall – Manchester. July-1: City Hall – Glasgow. July-2: Charter Theatre – Preston. July-3: City Hall – Newcastle. July-4: Victoria Hall – Stoke. July-6: New London Theatre – London. July-12: City Hall – St Albans. Aug-1: Town HallWatford. Aug-3: Fairfield Hall – Croydon. Aug-9: Kursaal Ballroom – Southend. Aug-16: Stadium – Liverpool. Aug-24: Pavilion – Torquay. Aug-25: Winter Gardens – Malvern.


Sept-20: Schwabingerbrau – Munich. Sept-23: satori-Sale – Colonia. Sept-27: Münsterlandhalle – Cloppenburg.


Oct-3: Corn Exchange – Cambridge. Oct-5: Hampstead Pavilion – Hemel. Oct-12: Leith Theatre – Edinburgh. Oct-17: Royal Albert Hall – London. Nov-7: Town Hall – Birmingham. Nov-8: Friar's – Aylesbury. Nov-18: New Theatre – Oxford. Nov-20: Marine Hall – Peterborough. Nov-21: Walthamstow Polytechnic – Walthamstow. Nov-22: Leeds University – Leeds. Nov-25: Guildhall – Plymouth. Nov-26: Theatre – Redruth. Nov-27: Brangwyn Hall – Swansea. Nov-28: Trent Polytechnic – Nottingham. Nov-29: Kursaal – Southend.


Dec-5: Musikhalle – Hamburg.


Dec-16: City Hall – Sheffield. Dec-18: Town Hall – Reading.

Tour 2013[edit]

Camel embarked on a brief tour in autumn 2013, performing The Snow Goose for the first time since the Royal Albert Hall show in 1975. Andrew Latimer was joined by Colin Bass, Denis Clement, Guy LeBlanc and Jason Hart for the tour, which marked the first time the band had played since their farewell tour.

A statement from the band for the initial show said: "The evening pays tribute to former band member Peter Bardens, who died of cancer at the same time as frontman Latimer was battling a terminal illness. Ten years later, Latimer has regained health and is willing to celebrate a career that spans over four decades. This two-set show will also embrace compositions recorded throughout those years in a personal covenant of appreciation for a deeply rewarding life of music."[citation needed]

To coincide with the tour, Camel released a re-recorded version of the Snow Goose with new arrangements and artwork.

Album Track listing[edit]

All songs by Peter Bardens and Andrew Latimer.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "The Great Marsh"   2:02
2. "Rhayader"   3:01
3. "Rhayader Goes to Town"   5:19
4. "Sanctuary"   1:05
5. "Fritha"   1:19
6. "The Snow Goose"   3:11
7. "Friendship"   1:43
8. "Migration"   2:01
9. "Rhayader Alone"   1:50
Side two
No. Title Length
10. "Flight of the Snow Goose"   2:40
11. "Preparation"   3:58
12. "Dunkirk"   5:19
13. "Epitaph"   2:07
14. "Fritha Alone"   1:40
15. "La Princesse Perdue"   4:43
16. "The Great Marsh"   1:20
Bonus tracks on 2002 remaster
No. Title Length
17. "Flight of the Snow Goose" (Single edit) 2:05
18. "Rhayader" (Single edit) 3:09
19. "Rhayader Goes to Town" (Recorded live at The Marquee Club) 5:07
20. "The Snow Goose/Freefall" (Recorded live at The Marquee Club) 11:01
Bonus disc on 2009 Japanese remaster

Tracks 1–11 recorded live from 1975 BBC Radio One concert

No. Title Length
1. "Rhayader Goes to Town"    
2. "Sanctuary"    
3. "The Snow Goose"    
4. "Migration"    
5. "Rhayader Alone"    
6. "Flight of the Snow Goose"    
7. "Preparation"    
8. "Dunkirk"    
9. "Epitaph"    
10. "La Princesse Perdue"    
11. "The Great Marsh"    
12. "Selections from The Snow Goose (BBC 2 Old Grey Whistle Test 1975)"    
Re-recorded 2013 edition
No. Title Length
1. "The Great Marsh"   2:04
2. "Rhayader"   3:02
3. "Rhayader Goes to Town"   5:20
4. "Sanctuary" (revised edition) 1:06
5. "Fritha"   1:19
6. "The Snow Goose"   3:12
7. "Friendship"   1:44
8. "Migration" (revised edition) 2:02
9. "Rhayader Alone"" (revised edition) 1:50
10. "Flight Of The Snow Goose"   2:01
11. "Preparation"   3:53
12. "Dunkirk"   5:25
13. "Epitaph" (revised edition) 2:07
14. "Fritha Alone"   1:39
15. "La Princesse Perdue"   4:46
16. "The Great Marsh"   1:34



Release details[edit]

  • 1975, UK, Decca Records 291,034, Release Date April 1975, LP
  • 2002, UK, London 8829292, Release Date 3 June 2002, CD (remastered edition)
  • 2009, Japan, Universal, UICY-94132/3, 27 May 2009, 2CD (SHM)
  • 2013, UK, Camel Productions, CP0014CD, 4 Nov 2013, CD

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Erlewin, Stephen Thomas. "The Snow Goose – Camel | AllMusic". Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Kris. "Snow Goose – Camel | Classic Album Covers". 
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ "It's Cheaper To Chop Up Pound Notes". Charleston Daily Mail: 6. 17 July 1947. 
  5. ^ "Camel". 
  6. ^ "Camel Productions". Official Camel Website. Camel Productions. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  7. ^ "Camel - The Snow Goose at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved 9 February 2014.