Peter Frampton: Frampton’s Camel

MAY 1973 (39 YEARS AGO)
Peter Frampton: Frampton’s Camel is released.
# Allmusic 4.5/5 stars
# Rolling Stone (see original review below)
Frampton’s Camel is Peter Frampton’s second album, released in May 1973 in the UK. It was the first album that Frampton recorded in the United States. Most of the album was written in New York. It reached #110 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart.
Frampton pursued a somewhat grittier sound on his second solo outing, 1973’s Frampton’s Camel, which was recorded in New York at Jimi Hendrix’s old Electric Lady Studios. Four years later, Frampton would record there again for his #2 hit album I’m in You.
Frampton’s original drummer Mike Kellie decided to leave the band because of differences with Frampton. The album shared its name with the band Frampton assembled for the occasion, which was actually more of a group project, including bassist Rick Wills, new drummer John Siomos, and keyboardist Mick Gallagher.
Peter Frampton has finally assembled a full-time band and this album is its initial offering. While Frampton’s Camel doesn’t quite reach the strata of excellence attained by Peter’s stunning Wind Of Change, it’s still a strong, solid effort that does little to tarnish Frampton’s image as one of rockdom’s coming stars.
Ever since he left Humble Pie Frampton has displayed a musical sensibility and flair for snappy arrangements that belie his metal-masher past. Both here and on his solo LP he’s combined good material, good musicianship and, most importantly, good sense into a colorful collage of songs, that doesn’t have to be played at peak volume to be enjoyed.
As he did on Wind Of Change Frampton here displays the remarkable breadth of his prior musical experience and just how well he’s absorbed his influences. The jazz roots he sprouted during his days with the Herd show throughout his spicy guitar solos (particularly so during “Which Way the Wind Blows”) and his outright rockers (“All Night Long” and “White Sugar”) prove he can still move as he did with the Pie. Frampton even does a credible cover of Stevie Wonder’s “I Believe,” which, while not as convincing as the original, is still catchy enough that it gets me to sing along with the chorus.
But it’s the ballads where Frampton scores most heavily. “Lines on My Face” is the album’s strongest cut, a song in which everything seems to fall into place. Frampton’s Winwood-like vocal and razor-sharp guitar lines counterbalance perfectly, the latter accentuating the former’s inner mourning with darting bursts of instrumental conviction. “Don’t Fade Away” also works well, treading the fine line between acoustic and electric in a way that captures the best of both sounds.
Frampton’s fellow dromedaries are Mick Gallagher on keyboards, bassist Rick Wills and drummer John Siomos. A competent lot, but if this album is any indication their roles are solely those of permanent sidemen. “Do You Feel Like We Do” is the only song where they could conceivably display their instrumental chops, but even there Frampton’s incisive vocals and playing dominate them completely.
My only complaint is that the album breaks little new ground—at times Frampton’s Camel sounds like little more than Wind Of Change out-takes. But since it’s Frampton’s first effort with a full-time band that’s easily overlooked. And besides, for my money Wind Of Change was 1972’s best album, so what better material could they regurgitate? Frampton’s Camel probably won’t be ’73’s chart-topper (at the half-way point Raw Power is still in the lead), but on my list it’s gonna be mighty close. (RS 139)
~ GORDON FLETCHER (July 19, 1973)
All tracks composed by Peter Frampton; except where indicated
Side one
“I Got My Eyes On You” – 4:29
“All Night Long” – 3:19 (Frampton, Gallagher)
“Lines On My Face” – 4:50
“Which Way the Wind Blows” – 3:32
“I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)” – 4:10 (Stevie Wonder, Syreeta Wright)
Side two
“White Sugar” – 3:37
“Don’t Fade Away” – 4:39
“Just The Time Of Year” – 3:58
“Do You Feel Like We Do” – 6:44 (Frampton, Gallagher, Wills, Siomos)


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