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Sopwith Camel s/t

Named after the World War I flying machine, the Sopwith Camel were an American psychedelic fivesome of Peter Kraemer, Norman Mayall (no relation to John, the name is actually misspelled on the album from the correct Mayell), Martin Beard, Terry McNeil and William Sievers. Sopwith Camel formed in San Francisco in the late 60s and released their first album on Buddah Records in 1967, split up, reformed, and released a second album in 1972.

 

Their self-titled album their first displays the band at the height of the counterculture obsession. The problem is the resulting output reeks of a desperation to produce something (anything?) that could be considered psychedelic, that it ends up being nothing of the sort. This over conformity to noncomformity hangs over every note and sounds incredibly dated, even for classic psych afficianados. While there are moments of originality which offer something more provoking to the listener the tracks Frantic Desolation and Maybe in a Dream show the band exploring its abilities the overall effect falls short of their contemporaries. Their greatest appeal will be to fans of West Coast psych.

 

On a curious note, the band may be as well known for their promotional posters, than their music. In these, they share billing with none other than 13th Floor Elevators, Grace Slick, Jefferson Airplane, and Allen Ginsberg among others.

 

2 stars out of 8

 

Tracklist

1- Hello, Hello

2- Frantic Desolation

3- Saga of the Low Down Let Down

4- Little Orphan Annie

5- You Always Tell Me Baby

6- Maybe in a Dream

7- Cellophane Woman

8- The Things That I Could Do With You

9- Walk in the Park

10- The Great Morpheum

11- Postcard from Jamaica

12- Treadin (Bonus)

 

 

 

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