In 2008, Giorgio Debiasi with some of the musicians created a great webpage about old beat groups from Italy- www.beatsessanta.it
Sopworth Camel is among them. There is only one problem. Giorgio's webpage is in Italian. I've got his permission to translate his page
about Sopworth Camel to English and Polish. The text below is written by Giorgio. My commentaries are written in cursive.
Sopworth Camel is a rock group which formed in Italy in 1969 by four English musicians and is the first band from Italy that might
be regarded as a "super-group". The Musicians came to Italy with various groups during the beat era in 60s. Martin Fisher (b.1947
in Kingston, London, UK) and Pete Huish came to Italy in June,1966 for a couple of gigs with a band called Thane Russal and Three,
where they played guitar and drums respectively. Pete Huish was a great drummer and his style sounds similarly to John Bonham's. One day
the guys, Martin and Pete, desired to switch to different style than Thane Russal was known from. Their biography inevitably connects with
a guitarist Dave Sumner - a member of Primitives and Motowns. The Motowns arrived in Firenze, Italy stright from Liverpool in
1966. Dave was electrifying italian audiences from south to north. After Martin and Pete were through with their original bands, they offered
Dave to join the forces and set up a new group. As the trio was formed, Martin, a former guitar player, picked up the bass. He played using
an octave divider, a stomp box allowing the player to adjust the pitch of the instrument one octave above or below the usual tone. Martin had
to go to London to get one of these effects because they were hardly found in Italy. The band was named Sopworth Camel. Pete thought up
the name (in London slang - Sopworth Camel = Sopwith Camel). They played their first concert at Piper Club in Rome, Italy in early 1969.
After that they decided to make the Naples their headquarters. Sopworth Camel contributed to Martin's progress - he developed a unique
technique of playing the bass, very rich and ear-catching and, together with Pete Huish, they were able to create such a complex background
that Dave was completely free of exploring his guitar style. Many musicians longed to be a part of that trio but only Alex "Eck" Ligertwood
aka Alex Jackson (born 18.12.1948 in Glasgow) managed to achieve the goal. He played in group called The Senate. They came to
Italy in 1968. RCA gave Sopworth Camel an opportunity to record a single and an album. They choose to release a 45 including an italian
version of "Only My Woman" former recorded by the Marbles (the title in Italian was "Sei La Mi Donna"). On the B-side they included
Spirit's classic "Fresh Garbage" (1969). Following the success of the 45s, they released a full lenght album called "Underage - dedicated
to all those who understand" in 1969 and 45 with songs from the album,"Mystery Tour / Society's Child". The material recorded
at RCA Studios in Rome in 2nd, 3rd, 9th and 12th, June, 1969. Woruth noticing - the name of the band is only Camel. In studio they
were supported by Gaetano Ria - sound engineer, Tony Mimms who played the piano on a couple of tracks and was awarded with the title
of assistant producer. Actually the band had a complete control over the music and the mix. G. Tosti who was expected to be the musical
supervisor never even entered the recording studio! The album cover was drawned by Gordon Faggetter, a drummer of Cyan Three. The
nine covers featured on the album are taken from their live set and some of them are better than the original versions.
From left to right:
Alex "Eck" Ligertwood aka Alex Jackson - voc, acoustic gt, piano
Martin Fisher - voc, 3 octave gt / bass, piano, organ, harpsichord
Pete Huish - drums
Dave Sumner - voc, lead gt
The album includes tracks:
01. Pinball Wizard (P.Townshend) from repertoire - The Who
02. Where is My Mind? (Mark Stein) from repertoire - Vanilla Fudge
03. Tin Soldier (Lane, Marriot) from repertoire - Small Faces
04. Forget It, I Got It (Miller, Wright) from repertoire - Spooky Tooth
05. Mystery Tour (Lennon, McCartney) from repertoire - The Beatles *
* In my opinion, this song is Camel's interpretation of some by
The Beatles songs as: Magical Mystery Tour, Got to get into
my life, Paperback writer, Good Morning-Good Morning
06. Can't Be So Bad (Miller, Stevenson) from repertoire - Moby Grape
07. Society's Child (Janis Ian) from repertoire - Spooky Tooth
08. Sitting on the top of the World (Chatmon-Vinson) from repertoire - Cream
09. Evil Woman (Larry, Weiss) from repertoire - Spooky Tooth
The band went on playing gigs in Italy. There were also invited to play abroad. The musicians were also backing vocalists in italian singer
Nada's group (there was also Derek Wilson in his band).
When Dave Sumner decided to leave the band and came back to the Primitives, Martin and Pete moved to Britain to seek for a new guitarist.
In those times Peter Frampton got in touch with them and Frampton made an album under the name of Peter Frampton's Camel. After the
concert at Caracalla Pop Festival in October, 1970 Camel disbanded.
After Camel split:
Martin Fisher came back in Englad untill Dave Sumner offer him to join one of the last Primitives line-up. After a year Dave leave the band
and a new guitar player, called Laury, joined the band. Then Martin started playing in the studio as a session man with Derek Wilson,Mike
Fraser, Laury and Lally Stott. Then he moved to UK again and played for a couple of years with a band called East of Eden, recording the
album "Another Eden".
Alex Ligertwood - if you want more info, go to his webpage - www.alexligertwood.com
Pete Huish - he played with his band in England and Canada. He passed away.
Dave Sumner - he continued his career in Italy with Mad Dogs, West Coast Lizzie, Made in England i Superobots.
If you want see photos from Martin Fisher and Dave Sumner archives go to - www.beatsessanta.it
SP - Sei la mia donna (Only one woman) / Fresh garbage - RCA Italiana, PM 3478, Italy, year: 1969, as Sopworth Camel
SP - Mystery Tour / Society's child - RCA Italiana, PM 3497, Italy, year:1969, as Camel
LP - Underage - RCA Italiana, PSL 10449, Italy, year:1970, as Camel
LP - Underage - RCA International, INTS 1107, Europe (without Italy and UK), year:1969, as Camel
LP - Underage - Breeder Backtrack, TS 1107, Europe, year:????, as Camel
CD - Underage - Walhalla, WH 90335, Europe, year: 2004, as Camel
Double CDs - Piper Club 1965-2005 - BMG, songs: Sei la mia donna (CD2), Siting on the top of the world (CD1), year:2005
Box-4 CDs - Piper Club - BMG, songs: Sei la mia donna (CD1), Fresh garbage (CD3)
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