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Procol Harum

Crossover Prog

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Procol Harum Broken Barricades album cover
3.35 | 175 ratings | 16 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Simple Sister (5:48)
2. Broken Barricades (3:09)
3. Memorial Drive (3:43)
4. Luskus Delph (3:44)
5. Power Failure (4:29)
6. Song For A Dreamer (5:36)
7. Playmate Of The Mouth (5:03)
8. Poor Mohammed (3:05)

Total time 34:37

Bonus tracks on 2002 remaster:
9. Broken Barricades (Single Edit) (2:32)
10. Power Failure (Single Edit) (3:09)
11. Simple Sister (Mono Version) (5:48)

Bonus tracks on 2009 remaster:
9. Broken Barricades (Long Fade - Raw Track) (3:06)
10. Simple Sister (Raw Track) (5:49)
11. Poor Mohammed (Backing Track) (2:43)
12. Song For A Dreamer (King Jimi) (Backing Track) (4:56)

Line-up / Musicians

- Gary Brooker / lead vocals, piano, synth (?), orchestral arrangements
- Robin Trower / guitar, lead vocals (6,8)
- Chris Copping / bass, Hammond organ, guitar (?)
- Barrie James Wilson / drums

- George Martin / brass & strings conductor (uncredited)

Releases information

Artwork: CCS

LP Chrysalis ‎- ILPS 9158 (1971, UK)

CD Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab ‎- MFCD 846 (1987, Europe) Remastered (?)
CD Repertoire Records ‎- REP 4980 (2002, Germany) Remastered by Eroc with 3 bonus tracks
CD Salvo ‎- SALVOCD022 (2009, UK) Remastered by Nick Robbins with 4 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy PROCOL HARUM Broken Barricades Music

PROCOL HARUM Broken Barricades ratings distribution

(175 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (46%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PROCOL HARUM Broken Barricades reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Fifth album from the Southend On Sea group, but clearly after an unfocused ASD, a much better but incredibly depressive home, Procol is confirming the harder rock direction Home had given them. Nothing wrong with this except that this album does not really sound like a Procol album, and the group is again losing focus. Actually, I personally read this album as a dead-end street, with the only exit a line-up change as Trower is clearly now ready to fly on his own (this will take a few years after one false start) and Dave Knights (only ever adequate on bass but not stand-out) getting the axe.

From the strong starter Simple Sister (with Trower shining his brilliant Mountain-like riffs and lines) and the impressive ultimate crescendo (Strings and horns section) that can be considered one more excellent Procol bit. Trower also shines in his Memorial drive with heavy riffs, but the track is too bluesy and clearly the different facets of the schizophrenic group are losing the listener. The Brooker tracks are also not the most groundbreaking: the heavily-orchestrated and syrupy Lukus (this track receives a second life in the Edmonton album as a bonus), or the title track, or even yet Power Failure featuring an interesting (live) percussions passage demonstrating (if need be) that BJ Wilson is a much over-looked drummer in prog. One of the highlight of the album is the dreamy Trower-penned Song For A Dreamer, indicating his future solo career: We can see ourselves on Bridges Of Sighs and Trower is really influenced by Hendrix's works. A lovely track with Wilson's percussions again taking a good spotlight, not very Procol-esque track, but one of the most psychedelic moments of theirs. Playmate Of The Mouth is again reminding of the lead-off track Sister, with heavy horns arrangements. The album is closing on another hard rocker Poor Mohamed were Trower is shinning like a sun.

Although an atypical album for Procol, this album still has enough moments to be heard by all Procol investigators. But Clearly with three tracks and his guitar piercing the screen in every track, there was changes ahead. Robin is now rerady to become a Hood and start career. Clearly the two stars on this album are Wilson's percussions and Trower's sizzling lines. Not essential an album, but worthy.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album continues in the same rocking vein of its predecessor, at times even enhancing it due to the further increment of the guitar presence: Trower had, by then, not only become an important composer for the band, but also a major influence for his partners, and therefore, for the band's musical direction. The solid opener 'Simple Sister' is in some ways an equivalent to 'Whiskey Train' (the opener for "Home"), a straight rocky number equipped to take the listener's attention by storm. Everything works quite well here: the guitar riffs and leads; the precise, punchy drumming; the exciting piano washes after the guitar lead; and finally, the orchestral crescendo that starts during the interlude's last part and goes on right to the end with all strings and brasses joining in the rock vibe. As a notable contrast, the evocative title track shows the articulate symphonic trend that PH masters with total ease and crafty inventiveness. The Baroque inspiration for its beautiful basic piano arpeggios are appropriately complemented by the synth colours and counterpointed by Wilson's inventive drumming - the latter factor works impressively after the last sung verses, all the way down to the fade-out. Even softer is 'Luskus Delph', which is the most PH quintessential song of the album: a nice captivating melody, an elegant use of countermelodies, classy orchestration on strings and woodwind. The rocky side of the band is more prominent here, and its showcases tend to be quite energetic: that's particularly true of Trower's two most up-tempo compositions, 'Memorial Drive' and 'Poor Mohammed' - the later featuring a pedal steel guitar. Brooker's up-tempo numbers have a more lyrical approach, as it is shown in 'Power Failure': this song mixes hard rock and R'n'B in the frame that encapsulates the catchy motif, and its percussive- ridden interlude adds extra intensity to the main groove. On the other hand, 'Playmate of the Mouth' (yes, the lyric is actually as obscene as the title suggests) uses a more relaxing tempo, with a soul mood provided by the piano's recurring cadence and the use of a kinky brass section. 'Song for a Dreamer' is Trower's elegy for his guitar hero Jimi Hendrix (he had just died back then), and it certainly is the most peculiar song of the album. Its languid tempo conveys the air of somber mystery you may expect from any tribute to a fallen hero. Trower displays lots of sonic tricks on his guitar after he's sung the few lyrics, but he doesn't use those tricks as a medium for technical virtuosity: on the contrary, the main idea is to create a psychedelic ambience as if portraying the hidden corners of the heart in an oppressive psychedelic context. I feel it as something like 'Voodo Chile'-meets-"Ummagumma" live stuff, with an added touch of sadness. While Trower is undeniably the protagonist on this one, it would also be fair to state a special mention for Wilson's labour (one more time), which provides an Eastern-like exotic fire with his syncopated ritualistic drumming. I enjoy this album a bit less than "Home", since I find that the musical inspiration is not as strong and the interplaying is a bit less solid - but, all things considered, "Broken Barricades" serves as an adequate Trower testament of his PH days.
Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In a way, this was an album that Procol Harum simply had to make. With guitarist Robin Trower champing at the bit, they let the keyboards take a back seat and made their most guitar-dominated of all. Despite a couple of notable songs, the end result is a disjointed, often dull affair.

The folly of the post Salty Dog move of replacing organist Matthew Fisher and bass player Dave Knights with Chris Copping who played both instruments is revealed by the lack of variation on this album. Not that Copping is weak on either instrument ... in fact he proved to be quite a competent organist in later albums like Exotic Birds And Fruit and Procol's Ninth and he was arguably the most talented of Procol Harum's three bassists. But, even though it was surely was possible to double up on both instruments in the studio setting, the organ is almost non-existent on this album. And that's a real shame.

Of course, it's not all bad. The opening track Simple Sister is a killer riffer of a tune. With potent brass and ominous lyrics and one of Trower's best performances, this is an all time Procol classic. There's also the totally un-Procol like cut Song For A Dreamer, on which Trower gets to indulge all his Jimi Hendrix fantasies, with some ethereal spoken stoner lyrics, and phased guitar leads. As a big fan of Procol's drummer B.J. Wilson it was also a real treat for me to hear the drum solo during Power Failure.

Unfortunately a string of unspectacular melancholy ruminations (the title track and Luskus Delph) and mediocre blues rockers (Memorial Drive, Playmate Of The Mouth and Poor Muhammad) really weigh this album down. While Trower's playing stands out, and every one else is solid, the songwriting cupboard seemed to have been quite bare for this one.

I'd have to say that this one only very narrowly escapes the unwanted tag of being Procol Harum's worst studio album during the band's orginal run. It's a shade better than 1977's Something Magic, but weaker than all the others. ... 53% on the MPV scale

Review by Gooner
4 stars Definitely a Robin Trower album(musically speaking). Features one of Gary Brooker's most interesting gothic ballads in Luskus Delph and some of the strangest lyrics by Keith Reid. Generally speaking, this is a hard blues rock album. Power Failure is some of the most entertaining drumming you'll ever hear on record, and that includes drumming from the jazz greats. B.J. Wilson is nothing short of incredible. Quite intricate on the cowbell. Heck, if you're into lyrics...just buy it for Ketih Reid.
Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars While the dark "Home" was a continuation of their classic style, this one is more guitar-oriented. More of a rocking (and bluesy) affair.

Still, the opener which is one of their hardest number is an excellent song. Trower delivering a great guitar part; he is also superbly backed up by the whole band. "Simple Sister" is amazingly powerful and hypnotic. The kind of track that pushes you to listen to it again as soon as it finishes. THE highlight.

The title track is another classic type of Procol song. A sad mood and a melancholic tone. It could have been featured on "Home". I quote: "Whose husband was the first to fall? Who died the worst death of them all"?

The band has not forgotten their bluesy influenced music either, but frankly "Memorial Drive", "Playmate Of The Mouth" or "Poor Mohammed" don't hold too much of a good song.

This album is rather a deception for me. "Home" showed that "Procol Harum" had pretty well digested Fisher's departure, but they couldn't reach the same quality on this work. The psychedelic "Song For A Dreamer" is original but no more. Another manner for Trower to show his talent.

If you would except the great opener, there is nothing outstanding here. Just an average album. Two stars.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Broken Barricades" is the 5th full-length studio album by UK rock act Procol Harum. The album was released through A&M Records in April 1971. "Broken Barricades" was recorded at AIR studios in London and produced by Chris Thomas. This would be guitarist Robin Trower´s last album with Procol Harum before pursuing a solo career.

The original album featured eight tracks while the 2002 CD Re-issue features three bonus tracks (Single edits and mono versions of some of the original songs). All eight tracks are high quality compositions brilliantly showcasing Procol Harum´s by now trademark style. Gary Brooker´s omnipresent piano playing, strong vocals and memorable vocal melodies, Robin Trower´s bluesy guitar delivery, Barrie James Wilson´s strong and busy drumming and Chris Copping´s excellent bass and organ/synth playing (classical inspired). The lineup has not changed since the release of "Home (1970)" but the tracks generally stand out more on "Broken Barricades" compared to the material on "Home (1970)". Strong and memorable pop/rock compositions with just enough innovative ideas to occasionally be tagged semi-progressive.

"Broken Barricades" is a very well written and diverse album. Tracks like the powerful "Simple Sister", the beautiful "Broken Barricades" (which features piano/keyboard work reminiscent of Genesis), the equally beautiful and string laden "Luskus Delph", The powerful "Power Failure" (featureing an almost fusion-like middle drum part), and the psychadelic Song For A Dreamer", represent some of the highlights of the album and at the same time display the diversity of the material. The whole thing is packed in a warm and pleasant sounding production. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars The momentum of their early smash hit was by now quite worn off, and PROCOL HARUM seems to be playing by the numbers here. Trower may be affecting the group sound to a greater degree but it is less with his distinctive panache and more with disinterested licks. While the subject matter may be less depressing than on "Home", the result is not heartwarming.

"Simple Sister" is saved by a fine extended instrumental section and buildup, but is otherwise a rote heavy tune of its time, as are "Memorial Drive", "Playmate of the Mouth", and "Poor Mohammed", which are bluesy by Procol standards but sub-par. The title cut is pretty if far less developed than similar tunes in the group's heyday. With Trower rising to prominence, Brooker and Copping don't shine as much on keys as one would expect from the group; in fact the only song that was something of a stretch for a member was "Song For A Dreamer", in which the guitarist tries on the type of psychedelic style that reflects an aspect of his soon to be initiated solo career, unfortunately with only mild efficacy.

"Power Failure" is the highlight, as It performs natural selection on "Simple Sister" and adds a nimble solo by B.J Wilson. Still, this isn't nearly enough to clear a murky release and break the 2 star barrier.

Review by thehallway
3 stars Procol Harum's fifth commitment to the studio is an excellent 'sweaty rock' album, with only Gary Brooker's soulful vocals reminding us that this was the same band who shone on brightly with symphonic hits in the late sixties. Compared to the Hammond-drenched proto- prog of Procol's first few albums, Broken Barricades has a much rawer, high-energy rock sound to it, with Robin Trower shamelessly splattering his blues guitar all over the place. With Brooker's omnipresent piano and the poetic, Sinfield-esque lyrics of Keith Reid, the album has enough warmth and substance to stop it from sounding like another Zeppelin-clone.

The gutsy rockers 'Simple Sister' and 'Power Failure' open each side and are probably the best songs on the album. They contain a good balance of the band's talents, with the latter incorporating a fantastic drum solo from powerhouse B J Wilson. Along with 'Playmate of the Mouth', the other highlight, these songs represent Procol's unique sound at this point in their career; honky-tonk piano, continuous guitar soloing, and the occasional slice of strings or brass, topped off with those chillingly good vocals from Brooker.

The Trower-penned 'Memorial Drive' sounds like a piece of 70's Rolling Stones, and is decent enough but unmemorable. 'Luskus Delph' is a symphonic piece that should have been on an earlier album because it feels out of place here. Likewise, the psychedelic 'Song for a Dreamer' does not fit this album's style and should have been saved for Robin Trower's solo albums (where it is less of a problem to imitate Jimi Hendrix for 40 minutes). The title-track is equally un-rocky but it is a great song. Perhaps it would have worked better at the end of the album as it has that kind of "Last Waltz" feel about it.... a fitting coda to this short-lived incarnation of the band. 'Poor Mohammed' is the actual closer; a weak finish with little going on musically. You may enjoy it if you like to overdose on Trower's blues guitar noodling but by this point in the album I'm sick of him!

Certainly it is the guitar and drums that stand out on this album, but also the four or five excellent compositions and the nice, clean production. Unfortunately, I do get a sense of Brooker and co running out of ideas in places, making one chord sequence last as long as they can because their song-writing reservoir has dried up. There is maybe 25 minutes of great rock music here, the rest forgettable and derivative (however, the beautiful 'Luskus Delph' would find a better home on Procol Harum's live album with an orchestra). In any case, Broken Barricades deserves a bit more attention than it has received over the years.

Review by Guillermo
4 stars I prefer this album much more than their previous album (titled "Home") because the songs are more melodic and Progressive. They even used some orchestral arrangements in some songs ("Simple Sister", "Luskus Delph") and some synthesizer playing ("Broken Barricades"). The best songs in this album in my opinion are: "Simple Sister" (the best of all, with some Heavy Progresive Rock arrangements), "Broken Barricades" (with a very good melody played on the keyboards and very good arrangements in general) and "Luskus Delph", with a very good Classical Music arrangement (and this song also was included in a live recording as a bonus track in one of the re-issues of their "Live" album from 1972, played in a very similar way). "Power Failure" included a very brief good drums and percussion solo by B.J. Wilson which also included a somewhat humorous "fictitious ovation" from an obvious "imaginary in concert audience" at the end of it. "Song for a Dreamer" is a song which was composed by Robin Trower and Keith Reid in memory of Jimi Hendrix, and it is a song with some Indian Music influences (maybe they could have included a sitar and a tabla in this song!). Despite that Trower composed the music of three of the eight songs in this album, and that the band sounded better and more united in music styles in this album, Trower left the band to become a soloist. The band carried on without him replacing him with Dave Ball, and they also added a new bassist (Alan Cartwright) to leave Chris Copping free to concentrate only in playing the organ.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Broken Barricades, the fifth album of Procol Harum is the one associated most with the playing of Robin Trower. Trower performs and sings on the psychedelic, Song For A Dreamer, a homage to Jimi Hendrix who died only a fortnight after Trower last saw him perform. Robin Trower is often compared t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2382573) | Posted by iluvmarillion | Saturday, May 16, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Broken Barricades is the fifth studio album released by Pocol Harum and is one of rock music's greatest "should have beens." As far from the twin keyboard sound of piano and Bach influenced organ that propelled the group to stardom four years earlier, Broken Barricades relies primarily on Gary Br ... (read more)

Report this review (#1589570) | Posted by SteveG | Thursday, July 21, 2016 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Although this has strong production and sounds great with the 2009 remastered Salvo version, the songs are boring to me. Most of the songs repeat the same melody over and over. There's not much change within the songs. Some of the songs sound like they are trying like other bands (Bad Company o ... (read more)

Report this review (#1558214) | Posted by Boojieboy | Monday, May 2, 2016 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The cover picture on Procol Harum's fifth record "Broken Barricades" indicades that this is a rock band or a hard rock band. So don't be surprised if you have hard to see this as a prog record. I had. Over a white fog we see the faces of the four members: Gary Brooker(vocals, piano), Chris Cop ... (read more)

Report this review (#1089775) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Saturday, December 14, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars BROKEN BARRICADES A lot of tosh has been written about this album Here are a few simple comments 1. 1st PH album with 16 track recording- giving much more space for drums for a start. 2. First use of Moog which Chris Thomas programmed and Gary played 3. The seeds of a parting of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#235616) | Posted by copmus | Saturday, August 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This wonderful album is one of my personal favorites. "Broken Barricades" does not appear at most lists of Procol Harum's best works, which IMHO does not makes justice to this record. "Broken Barricades" opens with "Simple Sister", one of the most powerful album openers I've ever heard, with a ... (read more)

Report this review (#87067) | Posted by M. B. Zapelini | Sunday, August 13, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is an excellent album, with incredible tracks. The best track of this album is Simple Sister, witha great arrangement on guitar tracks and piano, an excellent piano solo, not so fast playing but very good and agradable to hear. I give 5 stars to this album, is an excellent work... ... (read more)

Report this review (#42892) | Posted by | Sunday, August 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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