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reDiscover Peter Frampton’s ‘Frampton’s Camel’

Released in 1973, ‘Frampton’s Camel’ is classic early 70s rock, with a melodic hits and set the stage for ‘Frampton Comes Alive’ a few years later.

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Peter Frampton's Camel

While legions of fans first became enamored with Peter Frampton in 1976 with the release of the brilliant Frampton Comes Alive, just three years earlier Frampton had released Frampton’s Camel on A&M Records on 20 October 1973.

When Peter Frampton was labelled the Face of ’68 by Rave magazine he was with The Herd, a pop oriented band who nevertheless produced some classy singles. In April 1969 Frampton left the Herd to form the ‘supergroup’, Humble Pie with Marriott on guitar and vocals, Jerry Shirley on drums and Greg Ridley on bass. After four albums Frampton quit Humble Pie in October 1971 to go it alone, releasing the appropriately titled Wind of Change the following year.

He then formed Frampton’s Camel to tour the US in support of his debut – their first public appearance was at The Academy of Music, New York in September 1972 supporting The J Geils Band. In December 1972 the band went into Electric Lady Studios in New York to begin recording the album that became Frampton’s Camel.

Frampton’s band was a moveable feast throughout the early 1970s but at this time it was future Blockhead and former Animal, Mick Gallagher on keyboards, and especially the Hammond B-3, bass player Rick Wills formerly with Cochise and later with stadium rockers Foreigner and American drummer John Siomos whose credits by this time had included the brilliant, ‘Hello It’s Me’ with Todd Rundgren. For this album Frank Carillo, very much a jobbing American musician who had also played on Wind of Change was drafted in to play acoustic guitar and backing vocals.

Frampton’s Camel is classic early 1970s rock, but with a difference, it includes some outstanding melodic songs – always a trademark of Peter’s career. The album opens with the funky ‘I Got My Eyes On You’ written by Frampton and while it is very definitely ‘of its time’ it is completely indicative of what made both this album and Frampton so appealing. ‘All Night Long’ is one of the two co-written songs on the album; this one with Gallagher that also features some gorgeous guitar work. It was also one of the two tracks released as a single, but it failed to dent the charts on either side of the Atlantic.

Track 3 is the familiar, if you came to Peter via Frampton Comes Alive, ‘Lines on My Face’ that was on side 4 of the live album. This is a trademark Frampton ballad with a tingling guitar solo and an emotional vocal. It’s followed by ‘Which Way The Wind Blows’ that harks back to the gentler side of Humble Pie and their country rock influences with the addition of another sumptuous melodic guitar solo. It was also released as a single at the time but also did nothing on the charts.

Frampton has always had an ear for great songs to cover and on this album it’s Stevie Wonder’s ‘I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)’ that had been released on Talking Book a couple of months before Frampton’s Camel entered the studio. It closes side one of the original LP and works a treat in that it takes the original and imbues it with something fresh, no mean feat when covering Stevie Wonder.

Side 2 of the LP opens with ‘White Sugar’, a definite nod to the Stones and their classic ‘Brown Sugar’ in title and in something of the feel of the track that has a great piano solo from Gallagher. ‘Don’t Fade Away’ is a return to the melodic rock ballad style that Frampton is so good at. Similarly ‘Just the Time Of Year’ it emphasises what a very good songwriter Frampton had already become.

The album closes with ‘Do You Feel Like we Do’ written by the entire band and a track that would go on to become one of the standout cuts on Frampton Comes Alive where it also closed side 4 of the double LP. What’s not to love about this track? It is easy to hear why it translated into such an excellent stadium rocker. A great riff that allows it to build, and build, and that Gibson rings out loud and clear.

Ultimately with no hit singles Frampton’s Camel struggled to sell in large numbers, after its release in October 1973, although it did eventually make No. 110 on the Billboard chart where it hung around for half the year. In retrospect it obviously deserved way better and with the benefit of hindsight it’s the solid, grounded stepping-off point for Frampton’s subsequent success. His song writing and guitar playing had matured so much by this point, giving him the confidence perhaps to step into the spotlight alone and assume superstar status.

Follow the Peter Frampton Best Of playlist for more classic tracks.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Kendra Landry

    July 3, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Yes, it is true that “Frampton Comes Alive” was my into to the man’s great music. A few friends and I collected as many of his works as we could get our hands on, in the days before an easy internet search. I owned and loved this album and many others. Frampton is still a genius guitarist and his recent works are definitely worth a listen. I was privileged to see him perform on his Comes Alive tour back in the 70s, and I was able to see him again in 2008 at Interlochen, Michigan. He is still a masterful writer, guitarist, and performer! Thank you for this wonderful trip down memory lane!

  2. Karen Galpin

    July 3, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    You are soooo wrong!!! I was totally into Peter way before Frampton Comes Alive. I did buy this album when it first came out and still have it all these years later! My favorite Peter is before Frampton Comes Alive. Saw him many, many times the Comes Alive…he was alive and well way before 1976!!! Hail Peter!!!

  3. jamal zeglam

    July 3, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Great songs & music peter,love to listen to and the way you play guitar as well ! Awesome oh yeah…….

  4. Angela

    July 3, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Fantastico P.Frampton

  5. Argus

    July 4, 2014 at 5:55 am

    Here is what I admit. I listened to this album and every other one before “Comes Alive” ever came out. These are still in my rotation every year and I know these by heart. I saw Peter 2nd row at the Baltimore Civic Center when he started touring to support “Frampton.” He opened for Ten Years After an blew them away. The studio albums were always superb. For those like myself who appreciated the studio music first the success of “Comes Alive” was a mixed bag because few understood the quality of the recorded music it was based on. So happy that nearly 40 years later a few of you are finally getting around to what Peter was about before all the fame. “Comes Alive” is a great live album but the studio work is better and on top of that they are superb recordings.

  6. Ed Gallagher

    July 4, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    I’d been a fan since ‘Winds of Change’ and spent a lot of time trying to make people understand what a great artist he was. ‘Comes Alive’ was probably one of the greatest ‘Told Ya So!’ moments of my young life. Saw him in ’74, ’76, ’77, ’92, and mid ’90’s and he never less than great. Keep rockin’ Peter!

    • Bridgette Halloran

      July 6, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      Ed, I so agree with you! When FCA came out, I too had that ‘Told You So’ moment!…

  7. Cindy Buchan

    July 4, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    <3 My favorite album of all time and only ONE of his fantastic albums among my collection. It's Always Been the Music!

  8. Chuck

    July 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Humble Pie’s Smokin album will always be a favorite. Framton Comes Alive is just a masterpiece. Thanks Peter.

  9. Bridgette Halloran

    July 4, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    I too am a huge fan of the FIRST 4 for several reasons. The intricacy of technique is really showcased with these lovelies, that we just do not get to hear during the LIVE cuts. There are so many songs on these albums that are just so fantastic. ‘Don’t Fade Away’, my personal favorite for that awesome guitar solo, just blows my mind everytime I listen to it. If you came up on these LP’s, FCA will surely take a second seat to them because of the partiality we feel with them… and then of course, there is the loyalty issue that one feels having known Frampton’s work before all the hype! Somehow I feel more legitimized as a fan than those who discovered his music after the Live one. I want to scream out… Listen to ‘The Lodger’… listen to ‘Fig Tree Bay’… all of ‘Something’s Happening’ is pure magic… finally ‘Frampton’… Nowhere’s Too Far’ and Money? Great, great stuff here on these babies… my babies… they hold a very special place in my heart simply for the memories and the era, aside from the masterful execution of solid rock driven, flawless guitar playing! Yea… these are always within reach when I go to put in a Frampton CD.

  10. Spanky

    October 21, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Had “Wind of Change” and “Camel” when they came out. Most friends said they really liked this guy, who is he? My God didn’t everyone in the world listen to Humble Pies’ Performance at the Fillmore?

  11. Jim Porson

    October 21, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    My all time favorite musician.I was lucky to see that band by chance at the Academy Of Music in 73 and immediately Frampton became my fav because his show was unique in a mellow yet rocking.I enjoyed how he would sit on a stool and play his acoustic favorites.A very underrated guitar player.My favorite song is ‘Line on my Face’.Since 73 I have probably seen him 50 times.Actually liked him before’ Frampton Comes Alive’ success changed him for a while and he has a long road back.He credits good friend David Bowie for helping snap out of his slump post my least favorite album ‘I’m in You’ yuck.Tkday I enjoy him as much as I did in 73′.Peace to all the family of friends.

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