Since 1991, Camel have been an independent recording entity and therefore Camel decide when to release product. However, such decisions are rarely the simple task they appear. Everyone wanted a pre-xmas release for Harbour of Tears, but as the holidays approached, CP and Andrew Latimer elected to accept the advice from distributors and close associates to release after xmas, in early 1996.
new studio album
l5th January 1996
The holidays bring many seasonal changes in the climate of the music industry. Advertising opportunities vanish in the scramble to get consumer's attention. Although a new Camel album is in great demand, competing with "the majors" is something Camel and CP want to avoid. Camel and CP want to ensure Harbour of Tears is promoted properly and released throughout the world at the same time. CP knows Harbour of Tears is worth the wait.
An album of concept, Harbour of Tears is a collection of stories drawn together in a common theme. After the death of his father, Andrew Latimer realised he had no details of his paternal family history. With only one surviving relative, an 86 year-old Uncle, Andrew discovered a heritage rich in diversity and mystery. His grandfather worked in Liverpool's shipyards; his Irish grandmother was a seamstress from a large family that had left Ireland in the late 1800's, scattering to England, Canada, Australia and America. But this journey of discovery ended as soon as it began. No one had maintained a family record. No one knew where the relatives had gone and the new generation had no idea where they had come from. Andrew quickly found that virtually everyone he knew had the same story of a lost past.
But what seemed a disappointment at first, turned into an outlet for music as a lilt of Ireland floated through recanted memories. Andrew learned that the last sight of Ireland his grandmother's family would have seen was Cóbh Harbour. A beautiful deep-water harbour, Cóbh (pronounced: Cove) had witnessed literally hundreds upon thousands of fractured family's who passed through this Irish harbour making Cóbh the last eyes of Ireland they would ever see. So great was this human tragedy, Cóbh was dubbed the 'Harbour of Tears'. For 1,200 souls on the Lusitania, Cóbh was the last sight of life as she sank just off the Old Head of Kinsale, just shy of docking at Cóbh. The angel above stands in tribute.
This common bond created the music for Camel's Harbour of Tears. Recording began in March 1995 when camera-shy Mickey Simmonds contributed his keys before returning to the UK to put the finishing touches on his solo album. Colin Bass arrived for bass and vocals before going to Indonesia for work on his next solo album, also. Sadly missing from the Camel camp is Paul Burgess who has announced his retirement from drumming to spend more time with his family. Though he will be missed terribly, Andrew, Colin and Mickey understand the demand recording and touring puts on families. They and all at CP wish Paul and his family happiness and success.
Colin and Andrew during mixing of Harbour of Tears
Harbour of Tears has, as does Dust and Dreams, the bonus of contributions from Mae McKenna and David Paton. After completing his solo projects, Colin Bass returned to put the final touches on recording and he and Andrew are mixing Harbour of Tears as CP goes to press.
CP feels confident that Camel will be on the road in 1996. As news of the success of Camel's 1992 tour travelled around the world, promoters began contacting CP to arrange dates in their territory for the next performance schedule. CP is excited at the prospect of expanding Camel's next tour to possibly include dates in Puerto Rico, Poland and Israel. Dates in Germany, America and the UK are expected to be more comprehensive including a possible date at the Glastonbuy Festival in the UK. CP will keep our promise to get Camel to as many places as humanly possible. However, if CP cannot arouse the interest of a promoter in your territory, a performance will not be logistically or financially possible. CP ask that fans do not think this is because Camel do not want to come to their town. Camel are a group of people who want to see you as much as you want to see them. "Performing live is the whole point" Colin Bass told CP. Andrew added: "Camel audiences are fantastic. On tour, we can really express ourselves and get immediate feedback."
The immediate feedback is expected to be sampled in '96.
In the last newsletter, we announced CP's attempts to license and distribute early footage of Camel that had been filmed or recorded by the BBC. Affectionately referred to as "Auntie Beeb", the BBC is a vast corporation and navigating the channels of authorisation proved more time -consuming than expected. Regrettably, CP will not be able to offer video footage from the BBC recordings this year but CP is determined to accomplish this end and will offer the videos as soon as it is possible to organise the legal licenses. CP will not have to worry about acquiring video rights for Camel's 1996 tour. Plans are already in the making for a full-length concert video of the next tour.
takes her time
Colin indicates solid approval as Andrew records the guitar solo on the track "The Hour Candle"
to publish or not to publish
CP received a record number of letters this year: 3,062! Many of those letters were filled with concern that the spring newsletter had been missed but this was not the case as CP did not publish 'The Nature of the Beast' in spring. CP's policy is that if there is no definite news, we will not go to the expense of publishing. All at CP were empathetic when fans wrote expressing their deep concern at not having received a newsletter. We were also heartened to know that our efforts are appreciated by so many. As a result, CP will endeavour to produce some kind of communication in future to let everyone know that, in Camel's case, no news is good news.
CP again thanks everyone who has ordered merchandise. Those who have done so know that most Cds are personally autographed by Andrew Latimer whenever possible. In the event you choose to buy items for holiday presents this year, be sure to include the name of the person you are buying for. We have implemented a customer number for each of Camel's fans and you will find this number next to your name on the address label. This enables CP to process the orders more efficiently and quickly.
Also, we have added some necessary changes to the order form. South American fans have been repeatedly disappointed by orders lost in the post and to prevent this, we must now charge
for registering the parcel on all orders going to South America. This is a time-consuming addition for the packing department which CP prefers to not include but in this case it is necessary to protect the shipments. CP regrets increasing costs. Also, CP has added a charge for sales tax on orders in the state of California. In the past, this charge was included in the cost of goods but has proved unsuccessful and so, again, it is a reluctant inclusion.
CP would like to say thanks to a number of individuals who stand out with Camel. Some are long-time 'friends' who have stayed in touch throughout the years and some are new 'friends' who have extended their kindness to us all, in one way or another. Our fond appreciation goes out to: Sandie and Lucie Doyle, Hiroshi Masuda for Nifty, Yuki Wada and Masashi Ohgawara, Brendan Newport, Ofir Zwebner, Joe Clements for Genie, Leon Economides, Jonathan Dann, Daniel Occhini and others for their exquisite jewelry, Jeff and Josie Fitzsimmons, Jill Lemmon, David Minasian, Dominic Forsythe, Randy Kruger, Gunther Brünstein, Martii Vasamaa, Brad Owen, Enzo & Gianna, Arie, George, Henny & Gabey and many others.
Thanks also to the valuable dedication of fanzines such as: I.E. Magazine, Exposé, SI Mag, Camera Obscura, Rockstyle Magazine, Paperlate Magazine, Progression, Entr' Rock & Roll, Varia, Headline Productions, Melodie & Dissonanze, Pipeline Magazine, Episode Magazine, Background Magazine and Big Bang. There are most certainly others we have missed but we are no less in their debt. It is Camel's and CP's privilege to have so many friends.
As 1995 draws to a conclusion all at CP are looking forward to the holiday season. CP will be closed again from 15th December to 5th January but will do everything possible to fill xmas orders in time.
CP will publish another newsletter in the first half of '96 to bring everyone up to date with Camelnews and plans for Camel's tour. Until then, our grateful thanks for the last four years of CP's success and our wish that, whether you I do or do not celebrate this time of year, CP wish health, happiness and peace to one and all.
15TH JANUARY 1996
$16 / $18
Newsletter written by Harriet Stroud & Paris Ford
Edited by Roger Wells
Snapshots from Susan Hoover
Photo's scanned by Brad Owen