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Inspired By The Snow Goose

An Album By Camel as a Soundtrack from a Paul Gallico Novella

By Mike Singleton 🌜 Mikeydred 🌛Published 3 years ago Updated 3 years ago 3 min read
The Snow Goose Live

Some time in the 1970’s the band Camel released an album called “The Snow Goose”, inspired by Paul Gallico’s short novel of the same title.

The novel is a small book and my copy is 48 pages with illustrations. Although volume contains another story “The Small Miracle” .

“The Snow Goose” is the object of our attention, and the album was released in the mid 1970s when the default format was vinyl , so albums tended to be around 40 minutes , any more and you began to get groove cramming and a drop in the sound and fidelity of the recording.

Forty minutes is also the time it takes to read the Paul Gallico novel. The plot summary below is taken from the Wikipedia entry here.

“The Snow Goose is a simple, short written parable on the regenerative power of friendship and love, set against a backdrop of the horror of war.

It documents the growth of a friendship between Philip Rhayader, an artist living a solitary life in an abandoned lighthouse in the marshlands of Essex because of his disabilities, and a young local girl, Fritha. The snow goose, symbolic of both Rhayader (Gallico) and the world itself, wounded by gunshot and many miles from home, is found by Fritha and, as the human friendship blossoms, the bird is nursed back to flight, and revisits the lighthouse in its migration for several years.

As Fritha grows up, Rhayader and his small sailboat eventually are lost in the Dunkirk evacuation, having saved several hundred men. The bird, which was with Rhayader, returns briefly to the grown Fritha on the marshes. She interprets this as Rhayader's soul taking farewell of her (and realizes she had come to love him). Afterwards, a German pilot destroys Rhayader's lighthouse and all of his work, except for one portrait Fritha saves after his death: a painting of her as Rhayader first saw her – a child, with the wounded snow goose in her arms.”

I enjoy reading the book as I listen to the album which is instrumental with some ethereal choral vocals , driven by Pete Bardens’ keyboards . I saw them perform this at Preston Charter theatre and of course had my own copy. I don’t have it on vinyl any more , the benefit of the digital copy is that you do not need to change sides when it;s half way through , you can listen to it non stop. The album is called “Music Inspired By The Snow Goose” and this is why , again taken from the Wikipedia entry.

“In 1975, the British progressive rock group Camel made an orchestrated instrumental album based on Gallico's novel, initially titled The Snow Goose. Gallico threatened to sue the band for copyright infringement, and therefore the band had to change the title to Music Inspired by The Snow Goose. The album was a great success and established Camel as a successful group, leading to a sell-out performance with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, London, in October 1975, which was later released as part of their first concert album A Live Record. Camel toured Europe in late 2013 and early 2014, performing the album in its entirety for the first time since 1975. In 2014, readers of Prog magazine voted it no. 31 in the Top 100 Prog Albums of All Time”

The album starts and ends on “The Great Marsh” taking us through Rhayader and Fritha’s relationship , the Snow Goose that brought them together and Rhayader’s eventual disappearance in the evacuation of Dunkirk.

This is the only time where a pairing of a book and album actually works for each other. Although Gallico threatened to sue the band the release of the album cased a lot of people to buy the book , so will have swelled his bank account.

I would seriously suggest you invest in a copy of the album and book and you may experience the joy that I get quite often when I read the book as I have the album playing.

I have included a live medley from the album by Camel but here is a link to the whole album but you can buy a copy of the album and book on the links in this story


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    Mike Singleton 🌜 Mikeydred 🌛Written by Mike Singleton 🌜 Mikeydred 🌛

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