Review Summary: The old traces were concrete; dreaming became plausible once again.
The drought led to erosion, the winds blew away fertile soil, and the blizzards came and “Dusted out” more than 100000 families, during the 1930s. I guess it’s hard for non-Oakies to introject the denotations of a trail leading west, even when the facts are presented to them. West has an inherent wontedness to introject folks coming in from the east; almost like a polar opposite, it has a particular appeal towards those who seek after land, gold, fame, a new home or a second chance. It exerts an even greater appeal on those who've lost theirs.
Behind romantic shades, belonging to a pair of eyes with superficial knowledge of historical context, California may seem to have an inherent wontedness towards absorbing, assimilating and becoming independent. It happened with the Spanish missionaries and the Mexicans, and, when California admitted to the United States, it did so as a free state. In modern times, a lot of foreigners seem to consider California as the place to be…
Andrew Latimer moved in from England and founded his own Camel Production Label in 1991. Following a seven year hiatus, this was his effort to rejuvenate Camel. On the musical landscape he never had the piece of land, gold or fame his talents warranted, withal the vast majority of the Oklahoman families relocating back during the great depression were not leaving a luxuriant life to begin with. Nonetheless, the little they once had, mattered to them and to those who followed them: friends, relatives, siblings, aging parents or a young pregnant “Rose of Sharon”. In Camel’s case - strictly speaking Latimer’s case- it mattered to the fans that were… also, to the fans that will be.
Behind John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath, the writer, wearing realistic shades and bearing profound knowledge, reminds us that California and most places during the Great Depression had a wontedness - being tough, or cruel towards those who didn’t have much to begin with, but it was not inherent: policies certainly played their part, and migrants paid the consequences. Therefore, on the trail leading west you may lose relatives or former collaborators and once there, it may become apparent that pregnant mothers don’t always give birth. Besides you may come to find that things, from which you were running away, may still find you in “Cotton Camp” or under a twist of irony - disasters leading you to leave your home in the first place, could transform to the complete opposite yet still disastrous extreme as in “Sheet Rain”. Yet not all is futile; as thunderstorms and “Hopeless anger” recede, some may find hope on higher grounds, and a mother that would be, despite her grief, can still find use for her motherhood. And Andrew Latimer could still make great music.
I guess it’s hard for a non-Camel fan to introject the denotations of a trail leading back to the days when Latimer, Bardens, Ward and Ferguson were a band, making progress that never gained the warranted piece of land, gold or fame on its respective landscape. I certainly think it’s even harder for one unfamiliar with Steinbeck’s novel, to introject my review on “Dust and Dreams”. With regard to both the above cases, I can admit that this album might not be the one to pave the way for a fan that will be; if your eyes are fond of being behind Pink water shades though, you might somehow dig in.
Anyway, some may argue that a drought or hurricane season lasting seven years can erase traces. I'm glad this album renders this notion obsolete. The mother road is there tracing back to the glory days of the 70s, even if dust, contextual or even musical, covers it. You see, the old traces were concrete, and dreaming became plausible once again. After all, Latimer is air and as such I can’t see wind or rain being an issue for him. I also believe that Camel fans, present or will be - are very much alike him.
And In “Dust and Dreams” they can hear something still whispering through the rain, through a guitar (he really digs David in this one, let me tell you), and his voice. As for the dust here and there, the few patches on the worn down clothes... with some patience and a few spins, you can still distinguish the same familiar figure - not Latimer’s figure... Camel’s spirit. I myself would be patient with old friends coming home, allowing them to shake the dust off their clothes after a weary long journey, before… despite my anxiety hasting me to greet them and say:
- Welcome home, I missed you so much!
- But it’s only me… the others didn’t make it.
- Who... who do you think I was expecting?
- Never mind. After all, we didn't expect lots of people joining us up here, did we?
- No, we didn't... come in.
If you are a fan, or if you will be one day... I think you can also be patient. Yet, when it comes to Camel - we are very much alike.