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Procol Harum - Chrysalis Years 1973-1977 CD (album) cover


Procol Harum


Crossover Prog

3.02 | 9 ratings

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3 stars Critics thought Procol Harum was a spent force in the early 70s. Matthew Fisher's departure was followed by that of Robin Trower and by the time of the fifth album Broken Barricades, nobody seemed interested. But then a live concert recorded with an orchestra (Live In Edmonton) produced a surprise hit single (Conquistador) and a new Procol Harum line-up with guitarist Mick Grabham, bassist Alan Cartwright and the redesignated Chris Copping (who moved from bass to organ) complementing the established trio of Gary Brooker (Vocals/piano), Keith Reid (lyrics) and the effervescent drummer B.J. Wilson. During the band's second run of glory, four studio albums were cut with the Chrysalis label (Grand Hotel, Exotic Birds And Fruit, Procol's Ninth and Something Magic) and this compilation does a great job of distilling those highlights on a single CD.

There are some truly brilliant songs such as the marimba/flute flavoured Pandora's Box, the majestic heart-breaking defeatist anthem As Strong As Samson, Fool's Gold and the orchestra-dominated theatrical single Something Magic all of which show that Brooker and co. still had something special going on. The rockers Toujours L'Amour, Nothing But The Truth, Bringing Home The Bacon and best of all The Unquiet Zone also show Grabham and Wilson playing very excitingly off each other. The epics TV Caesar, The Idol and Grand Hotel all have their moments, with Grand Hotel being particular strong. And finally you have the light-hearted mandolin-driven A Souvenir Of London, and bouncy tunes like Wizard Man and Fresh Fruit provide a nice balance to all the intensity.

Unlike the A&M The Best Of, which this initially complemented, this Chrysalis Years compilation doesn't have any non-album goodies. There is also the odd questionable omission such as Fires (Which Burn Brightly), Beyond The Pale, The Final Thrust and The Piper's Tune and I do feel that either The Mark Of The Claw or Strangers In Space (both from the last album Something Magic) should have been included to show the direction that Procol were contemplating heading in, when the band called a day. But overall, there are lots of goodies and not a single dud on this collection, which might be all of latter-day Procol Harum that the casual prog fan needs. ... 64% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 3/5 |


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