Peter Bardens – Write My Name In The Dust (1971)

FrontCover1.JPGPeter Bardens (19 June 1944 – 22 January 2002) was a keyboardist and a founding member of the British progressive rock group Camel. He played keyboards, and wrote songs with Andrew Latimer. During his career, Bardens worked alongside Rod Stewart, Mick Fleetwood and Van Morrison, and recorded solo albums. Being managed by John Schatt of The Filmpow Group.

Bardens was born in Westminster, London to Dennis Bardens, a novelist and biographer, and grew up in Notting Hill. He studied fine art at Byam Shaw School of Art, and learned the piano, before switching to the Hammond organ after listening to Jimmy Smith. In 1965, he spent a brief spell as the keyboard player with Them after leaving The Cheynes. He moved on and formed Peter B’s Looners which eventually morphed into Shotgun Express, a band that played soul music and featured Rod Stewart, Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood. Fleetwood later said Barden’s recruitment into the band kick-started his musical career.

In 1970, he formed The Village and recorded The Answer, an album featuring Peter Green and Andy Gee. Bardens recorded an eponymous album in 1971 which was released in the United States as Write My Name in the Dust before forming Camel in 1972 … (by wikipedia)

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Write My Name in the Dust was the American release of Pete Bardens’ second album, which was simply titled Peter Bardens in the U.K., though the contents were identical. It was a curious low-key, slightly downbeat affair whose unspectacular mixture of hard rock, blues, some female soul-gospel backup vocal arrangements, and more meditative jazz-classical-influenced progressive music was very much of its time. Bardens’ first album (1970’s The Answer) had suffered from drawn-out song construction, a trait that remained present to a large degree here, though without guitarist Peter Green on hand to help lift the proceedings. There was a lethargic hangover feel to tracks like “Feeling High,” and attempts at pure blues and lighthearted music hall on briefer tracks were inconsequential distractions. The more serious and stately passages demonstrated Bardens’ formidable genre-blending skills as a keyboardist, particularly on organ. But the material wasn’t up to the standard of his playing, though the lighter, more focused moodiness of “Sweet Honey Wine” resulted in the record’s best track. (by Richie Unterberger)

And the titeltrack is one of the best songs, Peter Bardens ever wrote !

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Personnel:
Peter Bardens (keyboards, vocals)
Victor Brox (violin, cornet, jew´s harp, vocals)
Reg Isadore (drums, percussion)
Vic Linton (guitar)
John Owen (bass)
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Andy Gee (guitar on 08. + 09.) (2) (tracks: B4, B5)
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background vocals:
Anita Pollinger – Judy Powell – Linda Lewis – Liza Strike – Maxine Iffla

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Tracklist:
01. North End Road (Bardens) 1.25
02. Write My Name In The Dust (Bardens)     6:34
03. Down So Long (Bardens/Isadore/Linton/Owen) 7.00
04. Sweet Honey Wine (Bardens) 4.26
05. Tear Down The Wall (Bardens) 7.21
06. Simple Song (Bardens) 2.20
07. My House (Bardens) 6.17
08. Feeling High (Bardens) 5.08
09. Blueser (Bardens) 2.15

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Write my name in the dust:

Grave

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Pete Bardens – Seen One Earth (1987)

FrontCover1There are two incredible things about Peter Bardens’ career: (1) how very diverse his output is and (2) how bad (at least comparatively so) almost everything he did outside Camel was! His first two, pre-Camel solo albums were plodding Blues rockers very much of their time and with little or no indication of what was to be in Camel. Then Bardens co-founded Camel which is one of my all time favourite bands and he personally contributed enormously to the early output of this fantastic Symphonic Prog band, writing or co-writing some of their most well-known songs. What happened can be read in the Camel biographies, but the short version is that there was a tension between Bardens and guitarist Andy Latimer which led to Bardens leaving the band around the time of the Breathless album (while Latimer has carried on the flame till the present day, though with some gaps). Bardens’ first post-Camel solo release was the awful Heart To Heart. For that album he radically changed his style once again and created something that was very different from both Camel and his pre-Camel solo material. There were Funk Rock and lounge Jazz tendencies on that one, but basically it was a Pop album. The most shocking aspect of it was not the change of style but the low quality of the song writing. How was it possible for the man who wrote such extraordinarily great songs for Camel to produce such weak tunes on his own?

Some eight years later, Bardens released Seen One Earth for which he once again radically changed his musical style. The closest comparison I can think of here is Vangelis! This is electronic/New-Age-type music. While not in any way remarkable, I actually think this is the best album Bardens ever did outside Camel. Three stars is a generous rating for this, but it does stand out from the rest of Bardens overall weak solo discography.

The opening song is a weak almost lounge Jazz tune that gave me a bad first impression. However, with the second and especially with the third track, faith was restored. There are some nice electronic keyboard noodling and towards the end of Man Alive some rhythmic piano that reminds of Vangelis’ work. The title track, which is the highlight of this album for me, has a similar spacy feeling as the famous Camel song Lunar Sea. Indeed, the structure of the song is somewhat similar even if this is a very different kind of music overall. I’m sure this will appeal to at least some Prog fans, especially those with a special taste for Progressive Electronic. Almost everything here is electronic and instrumental, but there are some occasional non-electronic instruments on some of the tracks. Home Thoughts is a mellow piano instrumental with some sparse guitar lines and In Dreams features some lead vocals. (by SouthSideoftheSky)

Overall, a quite pleasant electronic affair that stands out among a large number of weak solo releases by the former Camel man.

BackCover1Personnel:
Pete Bardens (keyboards, drums, synthesizer)
Adrian Dessent (guitar)
Honey Hylton (vocals)
Neil Lockwood (vocals)
Peter Van Hooke (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Seascape 4.25
02. Man Alive 4.28
03. Seen One Earth 5.44
04. Home Thoughts 2.18
05. Prelude 2.26
06. In Dreams 5.32
07. The Stargate 6.28
08. Many Happy Returns 2.17

All songs composed by Pete Bardens

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