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Procol Harum - Prodigal Stranger CD (album) cover

PRODIGAL STRANGER

Procol Harum

 

Crossover Prog

2.41 | 77 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars "Great to see you again..eh, written any songs?"

Released in 1991, "The prodigal stranger" is presumably a reference to the return of Robin Trower on guitar. He joins Procol Harum stalwarts Gary Brooker and Matthew Fisher for what promised to be a triumphant return to the exciting, early days of the band.

Unfortunately, they all forgot to bring along any songs worthy of this classic line up. The album therefore consist entirely of what amounts to pretty good AOR. Trower's guitar may be there, but I defy you to spot it on more than a handful of occasions.

I'm perhaps being a little too harsh in order to get the point across, there are some decent songs here. It all starts off promisingly enough with "The truth won't fade away". A dramatic intro plus the uplifting distinctive voice of Brooker is enough to start the knees trembling in anticipation. That however, is as good as it gets. Tracks like "Man with a mission" and "One more time" are little more that average compositions.

The ballads tend to work better, even if they do smack at times of attempts to write "A whiter shade of pale, part 2". "(You can't) Turn back the page" could actually be a massive hit for a current boy band, is that scary or what?!

Many of the tracks have similarities with contemporary, and not so new artists. "One more time" is straight from the Phil Collins songbook, "A dream in ev'ry home" could easily be by Steve Winwood, and "The hand that rocks the cradle" is Stephen Stills "Love the one you're with" slowed down a bit. "The king of hearts" comes closest to "Whiter shade of pale", complete with "She wandered through.." lyric.

The wonderful voice of Brooker and his great piano work, together with the emotive sound of Fisher's Hammond organ make it clear that this is indeed Procol Harum. The album is competent and worthy of the name, but nonetheless it must go down as a missed opportunity.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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