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Procol Harum - Procol's Ninth CD (album) cover


Procol Harum


Crossover Prog

2.85 | 117 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars An awful waste of guts and gore?

If nothing else, "Procol's Ninth" served to show that the band still had it in them to create a wonderfully crafted, supremely melodic song. The openning track "Pandora's box", which has some of Keith Reid's most imaginative lyrics, was a huge hit single for the band. When coupled with a magnificent Gary Brooker melody, we have one of the band's finest moments.

The track rather overshadows what follows, the rest of the album being a succession of well performed and produced, but ultimately undistinguished songs. The excellent production stems for the band's collaboration with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who also wrote the side two opener, "I keep forgetting". Leiber and Stoller are perhaps best knows as the writers of rock and roll classics such as "Hound dog" and "Jailhouse rock", the song covered here however is decidedly more ordinary. Unusually, this is one of two covers on the album, the other being a run through of the Beatles "Eight days a week".

The Reid/Brooker compositions are all straight forward songs, ranging from the bluesy "Taking my time" to the acidic power of "Fools gold". While the instrumentation is broad and powerful, there's nothing much of a prog nature here, each song being short and self contained. Indeed, the performances and production tend to cover up what are otherwise pretty mediocre compositions. "The unquiet zone" for example is a true nonentity, saved by a fine guitar solo by Mick Grabham. Lyrically, Reid shows that even the best can have off days as he opines

"This surely is a dreadful war, an awful waste of guts and gore".... hmm.

Tellingly, Reid covers the subject of his writers block on "Typewriter torment".

"Without a doubt" is the only song which has anything approaching an intricate structure, Brooker's fine vocal performance and the big sound production making for a fine if rather uncharacteristic number. The closing Beatles cover was apparently included simply because the band featured it in their live act. The album version is however a throwaway of little merit.

And that's about it really. "Procol's Ninth" is not a bad album, but the fine production is largely offset by some undistinguished songs and a lack of development of any of the tracks. For PH fans, the album is certainly worth a listen, but I hesitate to recommend it to anyone simply wishing to explore their music.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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