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Music CD Reviews
Book Review: Waiting for the Lady
by Lang Reid
The latest book from Bangkok based Christopher G. Moore is a
novel, Waiting for the Lady (ISBN 974-90755-6-0). Published by Heaven Lake
Press this year, it was received for review in hard cover format, but will be
available later in paperback.
The book begins with the main character, Sloan Walcott,
somewhat of a ‘soldier of fortune’ finding a camera in Rangoon Airport.
That camera had an unfinished roll of film inside, which on processing was
found to have 18 shots of the Burmese dissident (and democratically elected
leader) Aung San Suu Kyi, plus an enigmatic shot of a young woman with a tattoo
on one thigh. How these come together and their true meaning, takes you firstly
on a trip from Bangkok to Rangoon.
Walcott does not have the totally cynical character that
Vincent Calvino, the main character in many of Moore’s other books, portrays.
However, a man who finds that his wife has carefully filled his shoe with doggy
doo for his 52nd birthday is entitled to a fair degree of scepticism. However,
Walcott perhaps deserved his doggy insole for demonstrating his almost total
lack of soul.
After a meeting with the Lady, the tale moves on through
Burma, delving deeply into the past and the Japanese involvement in Burma in
WWII. Graphic scenes of war bring out the emotion and pathos in those who
become embroiled in it. The ending is powerful, with the message that history
is what you make of it, depending upon the veracity of those who wrote it.
This book is on sale in all major book outlets, with
Bookazine having it on the shelves at 895 baht for the currently available hard
cover printing. If you have not read any of author Moore’s previous books,
you will quickly become a fan after reading this one. I continue to be
enthralled by Moore’s narrative, and the way he can quickly set the mood for
any scene. He describes people you “know” and you tend to turn the pages
wondering if you will read yourself on the next one! I am convinced I have
eaten at the Floating Balls noodle stand, well if not, one run by the same
Moore has a great sense of humour too, with the scene where
Sloan and his side-kick Hart tour the Drug Elimination Museum in Rangoon,
producing guffaws as I read through the constant parade of one-liners and
Moore is an intellectual writer, with some deep sociological
views that gleam through the pages. In a passage describing the deaths of
student dissidents in Burma, he writes, “Such idealism is a genetic dead end.
It rarely gets transmitted to the next generation.” Indeed, just where are
the sons of yesterday’s protest movements?
Christopher G. Moore is an author who can conjure up a plausible story to
keep you reading his books till the last page. Waiting for the Lady is no
exception to this. A great read and a book that I am happy to have on my shelf
too. You’re not getting the review copy back, Christopher! Even if you send
Music CD Reviews: Camel - A Live Recording
by Mott the Dog
5 Stars *****
Camel was formed in late 1971, when veteran keyboard wizard
(previously with Rod Stewart in “Steampacket”, Peter Green and Mick
Fleetwood in “Peter B’s Loonies”, and Van Morrison in “Them”), Peter
Bardens joined forces with power trio “The Brew”. Their third album, ‘The
Snow Goose’, really established the band as a force to be reckoned with.
Released in 1975, after the first two albums had been released to great critical
acclaim but very weak sales, leaving the band scratching their proverbial heads
wondering in which direction to go.
Nobody would have put money on a forty minute instrumental
covering both sides of the vinyl record based on Paul Gallico’s short story
‘Snow Goose’. But The ‘Snow Goose’ turned out to be The Golden Goose as
it rocketed up the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. By the end of 1975,
Camel had been voted brightest hope by Britain’s prestigious weekly rock
journal Melody Maker. There followed two equally successful follow-up albums.
Only this time both albums had some vocals on them. (‘Moon madness’ in 1976
and ‘Rain dances’ in 1977).
It was on the ‘Rain dances’ tour that most of this live
album was recorded. Five of the first seven songs on this CD are from that
album, and were not released at the time because of their similarity to their
recently released studio versions. But with this digitally re-mastered double CD
they have been faithfully restored, and a wonderful addition they are too.
By 1977 Camel had really got into their stride (don’t get
the hump - no pun intended). Original bass player Doug Ferguson had left the
band acrimoniously before the recording of ‘Rain dances’ and was replaced by
the musically superior Richard Sinclair, previously with Canterbury Prog Rockers
‘Caravan’. With Sinclair’s whimsical voice to go with the Camel songs, it
was a match made in Rock ‘n’ Roll heaven.
Legendary wind instrumentalist Mel Collins, who had joined
the band in the studio for the recording of the last album, decided to join them
on the road, augmenting the sound further with wonderful flourishes from his
saxophones and flutes. Collins declined an offer to join the band full time as
he preferred to keep his options open for his very lucrative session work.
However, he satisfied his road dog emotions by touring with Camel right up until
Although all of the songs on this collection are recorded
live, they are not all from the same concert. In fact, they are not even all
from the same year or line-up. The songs kick off with nine from the ‘Rain
dances’ tour with Sinclair and Collins on board. Then we are whisked back to
1974 for two epics (‘Lady Fantasy’ is nearly fifteen minutes long) recorded
at the Marquee in pre Snow Goose days. But the real feather behind this
Camel’s ear is on disc two, which includes the whole of ‘Snow Goose’
recorded by the Virgin mobile studio at a memorable concert with the London
Symphony Orchestra at London’s Royal Albert Hall on October 17th 1975, with
David Bedford taking up the conductor’s baton in a version of Camel’s Magnum
opus that even exceeds the studio version. The music is then brought to a close
by two fine numbers from 1976. In all, nearly three hours of sumptuous music.
You can only marvel at the skill of all these musicians at
work. You do not need words to explain the story of ‘The Snow Goose’ as you
can literally hear the waves against the side of the little boat as it ploughs
back and forth across the English channel, plucking the men from the beaches of
Dunkirk as the ‘Snow Goose’ circles overhead
So what happened? I hear you ask. Unfortunately this Camel
does not really have a happy ending. Within one year Peter Bardens had left the
band, citing musical differences. (Tragically Peter Bardens died of cancer in
January of 2002, following a distinguished solo career.) After one more tour
Richard Sinclair was asked to leave the band, and later Andy Ward would succumb
to alcoholism, being unable to cope with life on the road. Original bass player
Doug Ferguson never re-joined the music industry, such was his disillusionment
with the whole business side of things, while Andy Latimer still carries his
guitar in the dromedary cause to this day leading his herd down the rocky road
of Progressive Rock.
A song within a song
Lunar sea (gettit?)
Never let go
Ligging at Louis
‘The Snow Goose- ‘The great marsh, Rhayader, Rhayader
goes to town, Sanctuary, Fritha, The snow goose, Friendship, Migration, Rhayader
alone, Flight of the sow goose, Preparation, Dunkirk, Epitaph, Fritha alone, La
Princesse Perdue, The great marsh
The white rider
Andy Latimer: Guitars and vocals
Peter Bardens: Keyboards and vocals
Andy Ward: Drums
Doug Ferguson: Bass and vocals
Richard Sinclair: Bass and vocals, first nine songs
Mel Collins: Saxophone and Flute, first nine songs
To contact Mott the Dog email: [email protected]