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Procol Harum - A Salty Dog CD (album) cover

A SALTY DOG

Procol Harum

 

Crossover Prog

3.53 | 176 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars While Brooker's grandiose vision dominated "Shine on Brightly", "A Salty Dog" was a more down to earth affair, and the most democratic of all Procol Harum albums. Not only do Matthew Fisher and Robin Trower write a lot more of the music, but they even get to sing. The result is generally positive, and effectively squelches the sophomore jinx in its tracks.

Musically, "A Salty Dog" seems to achieve in 4 minutes what "In Held Twas In I" tried in vain to realize in 17. Sure, the orchestra helps matters along, but this is also a grand song with a beginning, middle and end. The only other transcendent number is the album closer, "Pilgrim's Progress", in which Fisher sings assuredly atop his plaintive organ. The merry outtro initially seems out of place but is just the kick that the cut and album need as they dance over the maritime horizon. Fisher's other tunes are both winners, one being another sea epic, the powerful "Wreck of the Hesperus", in which Brooker's piano and the orchestra shine. "Boredom" is a departure for the group, like their own take on Sailor's Hornpipe or some such, albeit slowed down to Procol speed, and it is eminently pleasant.

Even though I am not a fan of Robin Trower and what he did to the Procol sound, I did enjoy his early solo work and find that he does better with his own material than when providing clumsy input to that of Brooker, hence both "Juicy John Pink" and "Crucifiction Lane" provide adequate settings for his blues inspired forays. Not my cup of tea, but certainly adequate. The same can be said for most of the rest, with "The Devil Came from Kansas" perhaps the best of these.

"A Salty Dog", with few exceptions, lacks the cohesion of the group's debut and the high minded targets of the followup, and cannot be pronounced an exciting album by any stretch, but it proclaims a band that is getting older and still learning new tricks.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |

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