Sopwith Camel – The Sopwith Camel (1967/2018)
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Digitally remastered and expanded edition of this 1967 album including one bonus track. Sopwith Camel released their first and only album on the Kama Sutra Records label. The band’s only hit single, “Hello, Hello”, became the first hit title to emerge from the San Francisco rock scene. The band was unable to follow up the success of their album and hit single and disbanded later in 1967. Talking Elephant.
Energing from the fertile San Francisco ballroom scene in 1966 Sopwith Camel had a ferfreshingly melodic spin on the overamplified electric kool-aid coming from their psychadelic peers of The grateful dead, Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Their hit song “Hello hello” reached the top ten with a style more akin to retro-schmaltz served up by Harpers Bizarre. The majority of their material is a variation of the well crafted pop songs that their Kama Sutra labelmates the Lovin’ Spoonful were turning out. The band has reformed several times and are still playing in the San Francisco area to this day.
“From the fertile San Francisco ballroom scene, the Sopwith Camel emerged in 1966 with a refreshingly melodic spin on the overamplified electric kool-aid coming from their psychedelic peers the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Quicksilver Messenger Service. The band’s name was almost snatched by Bay Area concert impresario Chet Helms, who was looking for a catchy moniker to promote the new blues-based group being fronted by Janis Joplin and eventually settled on Big Brother & the Holding Company. Unfortunately, the band has suffered the double indignation of either being cast in the same lot as its trippy hippie counterparts or as sunshine pop lightweights — neither of which is wholly accurate. Their one hit — the title track, “Hello, Hello” — did reach the Top Ten. However, its style was more akin to the retro-schmaltz served up by the New Vaudeville Band or Harpers Bizarre than any of the other tracks on the long-player. Sporting two- and three-minute pop songs, the Sopwith Camel had more in common with bands such as the Charlatans or Notes From the Underground than the Dead or the Airplane. They could rock out, as the acid blues “Cellophane Woman” and the guitar solo in “Frantic Desolation” prove. However, a majority of their material is a variation of the same well-crafted pop songs that their Kama Sutra labelmates the Lovin’ Spoonful were churning out. Both “You Always Tell Me Baby” and “Maybe in a Dream” contain some interesting chord changes and vocal harmonies that invite comparison to Curt Boettcher’s Sagittarius project. The band has reformed several times since the late ’60s. A 1972 reunion yielded the LP The Miraculous Hump Returns From the Moon — which was reissued on CD by the band in 2002.” (Lindsay Planer, AMG)