Sopwith Camel, fronted by poet Peter Kraemer,
were a jug-band in the vein of the Lovin' Spoonful that fused
vaudeville and acid-rock.
Their first Sopwith Camel (Kamasutra, 1967),
produced by Erik Jacobsen, has the honor of having
spawned the first hit record of the San Francisco hippy movement,
Hello Hello, a catchy ragtime,
and also contains the fuzzed boogie Cellophan Woman,
the baroque and mostly instrumental Maybe in a Dream,
Postcard from Jamaica (a close relative of Chuck Berry's
the honky-tonking Frantic Desolation,
and many other vignettes that harken back to the 1920s and 1930s
(like Little Orphan Annie and Walk in the Park).
They could have been the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band of California.
The band's rhythm section (bassist Martin Beard and drummer Norman Mayell) went on to play on
Norman Greenbaum's hit Spirit in the Sky (1969).
Sopwith Camel reformed for their second album
The Miraculous Hump Returns from the Moon (1973), another elegant
and witty collection of simple roots-rock.
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