Monday, November 13, 2006

Carmen - "Fandangos In Space" {UK} [1973] (Flamenco with Prog Rock)

An unique band, Carmen combined flamenco music with progressive rock. Adding to their distinctiveness was the fact that during long instrumental passages, members of the band would dance onstage, adding those sounds to the instrumental mix. Composed of Roberto Amaral (vocals, castanets), David Allen (guitar), his wife Angela Allen (keyboards), John Glascock (bass), who later worked with Jethro Tull, and Paul Fenton (drums), Carmen's sound was focused on up-beat flamenco guitar with a strong rhythm section and subtle keyboards. Their first album, Dancing on a Cold Wind, was released in 1973 and featured the 23-minute epic "Remembrances (Recuerdos de Espana)." It was followed by Fandangos in Space in 1974. The quintet's final album was The Gypsies, released in 1975, a more restrained effort than previous releases. ~ Geoff Orens, All Music Guide

In the early seventies, the British-American group CARMEN broke new ground in rock music, combining the British flair for progressive rock with traditional Spanish folk themes into a very fresh, energetic and powerful new mix. The sound is centered around guitar, keyboards are used subtly but to good effect. On the whole, they are a rather hard band to describe ... "They sound only like themselves, because it IS so unique". Some vague comparisons could be made to JETHRO TULL, MEZQUITA (some of the Spanish themes), and TRIANA (the flamenco/prog combination).

CARMEN released three albums only: "Dancing On A Cold Wind", "Fandangos In Space", and "The Gypsies". It's hard to say which of the first two albums is better, both are excellent starters. Two great tastes that taste great together. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED...!

Fandangos In Space
Released in 1973, Fandangos in Space introduced to the world the one of a kind blend of flamenco music and progressive rock of Carmen. Produced by Tony Visconti (whose credits at the time ran from Gentle Giant to David Bowie), it is a stunning demonstration of virtuosity, creativity, and songwriting skills. The Spanish/gypsy element translates into some predictable and clichéd
lyrical topics, like bull fights, but the musical elements are so well integrated into the progressive rock vocabulary (including hand claps, castanets, and flamenco footwork) that one wonders why nobody followed the band's footsteps (literally!). Fandangos in Space opens with the three-part "Bulerias," a roller coaster of sharp complex rhythmic prog and flamenco; future Jethro Tull member John Glascock's bass work is simply amazing. The piece establishes the main musical motif that will come back later in "Looking Outside" and the closing "Reprise." Roberto Amaral's typical falsetto vocals are put to good use in the torrid "Bullfight," while David Allen gives rare
emotional depth to "Lonely House," a ballad built on the metaphor of an abandoned house. When Allen, his wife Angela, and Amaral join forces for the chorus line ("you've gone"), the listener dives into the despair conveyed by the lyrics. The second half of the album is loosely linked thematically and musically, each melody subtly hinting at the others. "Looking Outside (My Window)" brings another highlight and includes a flamenco dance as an interlude. A must for prog rock fans, Fandangos in Space is one of the genre's unsung classics. ~ François Couture, All Music Guide

01. Bulerias: a) Cante / b)Baille / c) Reprise (1:44)
02. Bullfight (4:48)
03. Stepping Stone (2:52)
04. Sailor Song (5:15)
05. Lonely House (4:08)
06. Por Tarantos (1:44)
07. Looking outside (My window): a) Theme (1:56) / b) Zorongo (1:17) / c) Finale (4:09)
08. Tales of Spain (5:20)
09. Retirando (2:13)
10. Fandangos in Space (4:33)
11. Reprise (3:00)

- Robert L. Heimall: Cover Design
- Peter Mew: Engineer
- Carmen: Main Performer
- David "Leather Sax" Allen, Jr.: Guitar, Vocals
- Paul Fenton: Drums, Percussion
- John Kongos: Engineer
- Roberto Amaral: Castanets, Foot Percussion, Percussion, Vibraphone, Vocals
- Angela Allen: Foot Percussion, Keyboards, Mellotron, Synthesizer, Vocals
- Benno Friedman: Photography
- John Glascock: Bass, Bass Pedals, Vocals
- John Kurlander: Engineer
- Alan Harris: Engineer
- Tony Visconti: Engineer, Producer

01. Bulerias .......................
07. Looking outside (My window) ...

Video -

Link for download "Carmen - Fandangos In Space" in comments ...


isabelbc said...


Tom said...

Sounds good,

Anonymous said...

Very rare prog album. Thanks. Ricardo from Chile

Pedro said...

The first album from them can be post!??
It is a real gem that i don't search.
Many thanks for this real gem too ;-)

isabelbc said...

Carmen "Dancing On A Cold Wind"

Ben Coleman said...

This is absolutely awesome! Thanks so much for giving me to chance to FINALLY hear this LP!

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing album. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

wow...thank u VERY much for this album...i had it once on lp, but lended it out to a 'friend'; friend AND lp disapeared...i searched VERY long for this!...and finaly found...u REALY made my day!!! thnaks thanks thanks

Anonymous said...

Link for Fandangos in Space is no longer good.

whitepunksondope said...

Its great that there was still a working link for the first Carmen album, given the fact the original post was so long ago.
It would be great if you could re-post this album. I have only just discovered the utter joy of Carmen and the other great prog-cosmic-flamenco band, called strangely enough "Flamenco"..their 1973 self-titled album is is this blog ;)

isabelbc said...

hi whitepunksondope,

Link ok ->



Post a Comment