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PROCOL HARUM

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Procol Harum biography
PROCOL HARUM came out of the ashes from a band called the PARAMOUNTS that had its roots back in 59 (!!) and had split in early 66. Gary Brooker meet lyricist Keith Reid and began writing songs and by 1967, it became clear that they would need the help from their old colleagues from PARAMOUNTS days to form their new band to be called PROCOL HARUM. They developed a really new sound with two KB (piano for Brooker and Hammond organ for Fisher) and a guitarist extraordinaire called Robin Trower who was greatly influenced by JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE. They quickly became one of the precursor of progressive rock (along the MOODY BLUES and The NICE) and mixed in some classical influences (BACH in "Whiter Shade of Pale") and sold millions of singles but also albums.

They became the first band to build a multi-movement suite that lasted a whole side and this was in early 68 in their second album called "Shine on Brightly" and became a real influence for all progressive groups to come. By their fourth album "Home", the sound had evolved to an almost hard-rock but by the following one, the guitarist Robin Trower left for a long and successful solo career, leaving Brooker alone at the driving wheel. From their "Grand Hotel" album, the sound will be tamer but still explosive but all of the succeeding album would follow suit, the band still enjoyed many hit singles. Until they folded in 77, victim of the punk wave. They sporadically reform around the Brooker-Reid duo and Fisher to record a new album and small tour, the most recent being in 2003.

PROCOL HARUM is highly recommended for all the progheads who are interested in the birth of prog and its roots as well as its inventive use of an symphonic orchestra often used a real instrument in their music.

: : : Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :

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Procol Harum - Greatest HitsProcol Harum - Greatest Hits
Remastered
A&M 1996
Audio CD$8.64
$4.31 (used)
Broken BarricadesBroken Barricades
Import
SALVO 2009
Audio CD$6.16
$4.67 (used)
Live in Concert with the Edmonton Symphony OrchestraLive in Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
Import · Remastered
SALVO 2009
Audio CD$6.42
$10.85 (used)
In Concert With Danish National Concert OrchestraIn Concert With Danish National Concert Orchestra
Eagle Records 2009
Audio CD$8.20
$8.11 (used)
Shine On BrightlyShine On Brightly
A&M
Vinyl$8.77 (used)
Grand HotelGrand Hotel
Import · Remastered
SALVO 2009
Audio CD$6.42
$5.37 (used)
Live in Concert With Edmonton Sym OrchestraLive in Concert With Edmonton Sym Orchestra
Import · Remastered
Repertoire 2003
Audio CD$61.03
$11.83 (used)
Best of Procol HarumBest of Procol Harum
A & M Records 2002
Audio CD$1.08 (used)
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PROCOL HARUM Broken Barricades A&M SP 4294 DBX AUDIOPHILE w/ DBX Info Insert US $3.99 [1 bids]
30m 22s
PROCOL HARUM: Exotic Birds And Fruit LP CHRYSALIS RECORDS CHT1058 US 1974 NM- US $13.49 Buy It Now 1h 12m
PROCOL HARUM - Live: In Concert With Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (reissue) - LP US $33.74 Buy It Now 1h 15m
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1h 47m
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2h 58m
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2h 59m
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3h 8m
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1972 20 Original Recordings CD-Don McLean, ELO, Hollies, Procol Harum, The Move+ US $2.99 [0 bids]
8h 12m
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8h 37m
Procol Harum - A Salty Dog CD (CD 3123) US $17.99 [0 bids]
9h 7m
PROCOL HARUM HOME SP-4261 LP US $7.99 [0 bids]
9h 16m
PROCOL HARUM SOMETHING MAGIC CHR-1130 LP US $7.99 [0 bids]
9h 18m
Procol Harum - Greatest Hits Vol 1 - Pickwick 12" vinyl US $1.99 [0 bids]
9h 29m
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9h 48m
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9h 51m
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14h 16m
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18h 58m
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22h 31m
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23h 6m
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23h 50m
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1 day
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Greatest Hits [A&M] by Procol Harum CD 1996 A&M US $7.95 [0 bids]
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PROCOL HARUM shows & tickets


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PROCOL HARUM discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PROCOL HARUM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.90 | 224 ratings
Procol Harum
1967
4.05 | 218 ratings
Shine On Brightly
1968
3.53 | 176 ratings
A Salty Dog
1969
3.50 | 119 ratings
Home
1970
3.32 | 100 ratings
Broken Barricades
1971
3.84 | 159 ratings
Grand Hotel
1973
3.32 | 93 ratings
Exotic Birds And Fruit
1974
2.69 | 69 ratings
Procol's Ninth
1975
2.94 | 83 ratings
Something Magic
1977
2.40 | 54 ratings
Prodigal Stranger
1991
4.30 | 28 ratings
The Long Goodbye
1995
2.98 | 54 ratings
The Well's on Fire
2003

PROCOL HARUM Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.01 | 84 ratings
Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
1972
3.98 | 11 ratings
BBC Live in Concert
2000
3.00 | 3 ratings
One More Time
2003
3.66 | 20 ratings
In Concert With The Danish National Concert Orchestra And Choir
2009

PROCOL HARUM Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.10 | 10 ratings
Live (DVD)
2002
4.12 | 14 ratings
Live at The Union Chapel
2004
4.58 | 12 ratings
In Concert With The Danish National Concert Orchestra And Choir
2009

PROCOL HARUM Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
The Best of Procol Harum [Fly]
1971
3.00 | 7 ratings
The Best of Procol Harum [A&M]
1972
4.00 | 3 ratings
Rock Roots
1976
4.91 | 2 ratings
Procol Harum's greatest Hits Vol.1 (Pickwick)
1982
2.50 | 2 ratings
Portfolio
1988
3.00 | 7 ratings
Chrysalis Years 1973-1977
1989
3.00 | 3 ratings
The Definitive Collection
1992
3.44 | 5 ratings
Homburg & Other Hats: Procol Harum's Best
1995
3.09 | 4 ratings
Greatest Hits
1996
4.08 | 6 ratings
30th Anniversary Anthology
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Halcyon Daze: The Best of Procol Harum
1997
3.00 | 1 ratings
Three Classic Albums
1998
4.64 | 5 ratings
Pandora's Box
1999
3.00 | 1 ratings
Procol Harum, The Best Of (Golden Times)
2001
4.33 | 3 ratings
Whiter Shade Of Pale
2001
4.00 | 1 ratings
Singles, A's and B's
2002
4.13 | 7 ratings
Classic Tracks and Rarities: An Anthology
2002
4.00 | 1 ratings
Procol Harum/Shine On Brightly
2002
4.04 | 5 ratings
First Four
2003
3.50 | 2 ratings
A Salty Dog / Home
2003
4.00 | 4 ratings
Secrets Of The Hive - The Best Of Procul Harum
2007
3.17 | 4 ratings
All This And More... - A 4-Disc Compendium
2009

PROCOL HARUM Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.77 | 7 ratings
A Whiter Shade Of Pale
1967
3.50 | 2 ratings
Quite Rightly So
1968
3.50 | 2 ratings
Homburg
1968
3.96 | 5 ratings
A Salty Dog
1969
3.96 | 6 ratings
Conquistador (live)
1972
3.00 | 2 ratings
Robert's Box
1973
3.50 | 2 ratings
Souvenir Of London
1973
3.00 | 2 ratings
Nothing But The Truth
1974
3.75 | 4 ratings
Pandora's Box
1975
2.00 | 1 ratings
A Whiter Shade Of Pale - 40th Anniversary Edition
2007

PROCOL HARUM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Grand Hotel by PROCOL HARUM album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.84 | 159 ratings

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Grand Hotel
Procol Harum Crossover Prog

Review by Dreamer of Pictures

4 stars I originally wrote a review of this album in the early 1970s for The Tech, published by Massachusetts Institue Of Technology students. That review is available online in a PDF of the edition in which the review was published, through www.mit.edu. I loved the album in general back then, though I had q few quibbles with a couple of tunes. Today I am delighted to say that the album has stood up well over the decades. The following Grand Hotel tracks are on my iPhone: Grand Hotel, Toujours l'Amour, a Rum Tale, For Liquorice John, Fires, and Robert's Box. That last one is mostly a modest paen to the gentleman's approach to addiction, but at the end develops into the heaviest non-orchestrated finish every recorded by Procol with Mick Grabham on guitar, a real delight.

I want to tell you the tale of the album cover.

While I was in college, my editor and I wrangled an interview with Brooker and Reid when PH came to Boston on the Exotic Birds tour in 1974. We met in their hotel room at the Sheraton in the Prudential Center, a very nice crashpad. I still have an Ektachrome slide or two that I shot of the duo in that room.

Most of the questions came from my editor, who was like me a fan and paid attention to detail. But the final question came from me, and it provoked quite a response. I knew cut & paste when I saw it, and it was quite clear that the front cover and the foldout in the Grand Hotel vinyl album cover included the head of new guitarist Mick Grabham atop the body of former guitarist David Ball.

So I asked them why the cut & paste had happened.

Both Brooker and Reid shot out of their chairs. They were outraged that anyone had actually caught them at that particular deception. Then, after a minute or so, Brooker calmed down and spilled the beans.

Ball was still in the band during both the photo sessions for the cover, shot in Los Angeles, and the recording sessions for the album, done in the UK. Then Ball quit PH before the album was released. The band had to decide what to do about that, and the contract deadline for the album was looming. They did not have time to hire a new guitarist, re-record the album, and travel to reshoot the photos. They could do two out of three, and the parting with Ball was not pleasant so the hiring task was first on the list. After hiring Mick Grabham, they re-recorded the album with him, and then faked the photos. Back then there was no Photoshop. And big album covers made it easy to see cut & paste. It is not so obvious on the relatively tiny photos in the CD release.

In 2003 I was fortunate to see PH perform yet again, performing at the Birchmere in Alexandria VA. This time they sat afterward to sign autographs. I handed my CD of Grand Hotel to Brooker for an autograph, and I reminded Brooker about that conversation 29 years earlier. He smiled and said Dave Ball does indeed appear on the cover. He turned over the CD to point at the champaign glass on the back. Indeed there he is. The entire band appeared among the bubbles, highly distorted by the curved glass and the liquid. Apparently their cut & paste guy could not figure out how to distort Mick's head to fit in that odd context.

The unreleased tapes of the Ball version of Grand Hotel may still exist somewhere. I happen to think Grabham was a far better fit for PH. And my editor was Neal Vitale, now a major publisher with a whole lot more money than any rock musician I ever interviewed.

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 Procol Harum by PROCOL HARUM album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.90 | 224 ratings

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Procol Harum
Procol Harum Crossover Prog

Review by MJAben

2 stars Innovative? Absolutely. Talented? Without a doubt. Interesting? Mostly. Well crafted? Well... no, not really. Some songs are absolutely fantastic, Whiter Shade of Pale, She Wandered Through the Garden Fence, Repent Walpurgis for example. Others are mediocre, Conquistador, Kaleidoscope, Cerdes for example. Others still seem downright out of place, Something Following Me, Mabel and Good Captiain Clack. The other two songs I haven't mentioned A Christmas Camel and Salad Days I feel fall somewhere between the fantastic and mediocre songs here, although they aren't bad they don't have that little extra something that the others do. In a way, they feel like they were trying to emulate and re-create some of the majesty in their stronger songs but they just come off as inferior.

I'm not going to go into the importance of this album, on which it would have to be rated higher, that being said, as it stands as an album, it ranges from some breathtaking melodies to an absolute mess (Mabel). I don't think the album is without it's merits, it has some incredibly strong music but the parts are greater than the whole here and some absolute masterpieces are brought down by other songs giving the album a very mixed feel.

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 Grand Hotel by PROCOL HARUM album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.84 | 159 ratings

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Grand Hotel
Procol Harum Crossover Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In my opinion, this is PROCOL HARUM`s most solid album from start to finish, with a lot of Progressive Rock arrangements, and it is maybe their most Progressive album. Maybe it also has some "pompous" and "bombastic" arrangements, but it is very good anyway. Even the cover design is a bit "pompous", but maybe this band always has had a tendency to it in many ways, even with Keith Reid`s lyrics. With Gary Brooker being the founder (with Reid) and the only original musician which remained from the original line-up of the band, he was by then the only composer of the music of the band, and he took the music direction and the control of the band in a right way, supported by a very good line-up of musicians which by 1973 had a new guitarist (Mick Grabham) and this line-up remained unchanged until 1976. In fact, this line-up came to my country to play some concerts at the "Auditorio Nacional" in Mexico City and in Guadalajara (another city in in my country) in late August 1975, and it seems that it happened because they were asked to play here by the then President of my country because one of his sons liked this band. Even the concerts from Mexico City were recorded and some parts of them were broadcasted in the then goverment`s TV channel (Canal 13, later privatized in 1993) in two one hour programmes in two sunday evenings in late 1975. All these things were by then very rare things to happen in my country because during the seventies Rock music concerts were mostly considered as being "out of the law" by the goverment, and the gigs from Mexican bands were done mostly as "clandestine" things. Also, some parts of the audience almost always caused riots, and it seems that some of this happened at the concerts that this band played in Mexico City, but it seems that there were not very big riots. I was ten years old then, and I did not attend those concerts, but some of my brothers, cousins and their friends went to one of those concerts. I only watched to both TV programmes, and one of my brothers recorded them in cassettes (from the TV speaker) which don`t work anymore. But anyway, I remember that the band played the "Grand Hotel" song in concert here, sounding very well.

I like all the songs from this album, which also include some humour in some songs like "A Souvenir of London" and "Bringing Home The Bacon", and even some Tango music arrangements in the title track. There are some orchestral arrangements done by Brooker for several songs, and in "Fires (Which Burnt Brightly) " there is a French soprano singer called Christianne Legrand singing a very good vocals arrangement. "Toujours l'Amour", "A Rum Tale" and "T.V. Ceasar" include some "heavy" playing by the band. New guitarist Grabham sounded very well integrated to the band`s musical style and sound.

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 Broken Barricades by PROCOL HARUM album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.32 | 100 ratings

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Broken Barricades
Procol Harum Crossover Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Home by PROCOL HARUM album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.50 | 119 ratings

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Home
Procol Harum Crossover Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After the "A Salty Dog" album was recorded, Matthew Fisher (organ) and David Knights (bass) left the band, and they were replaced by Chris Copping, who played both organ and bass for this and their next album (titled "Broken Barricades"). And it was also a curious thing, because this quartet (Gary Brooker, Robin Trower, B.J. Wilson and Chris Copping) also played together before in a Rhythm and Blues band called THE PARAMOUNTS , which recorded some singles in the early sixties. So, this line- up of THE PARAMOUNTS was reunited between 1969-71, plus lyricist Keith Reid, of course, in this PROCOL HARUM line-up.

This album is a bit more "dark" in music and lyrics than "A Salty Dog", and with more emphasis in more Heavy Rock songs by Trower and more simple Blues influenced songs by Brooker. As a whole it is not one of my favourite albums from them. But it has some good songs like "Whisky Train" (with music by Trower and sung by him, and it also was released as a single, I think), "Whaling Stories" (the best song from this album, and the most Progressive song in this album in structure and arrangements, which was better played in their "Live" album from 1972 with additional very good orchestral and choral arrangements), and "Your Own Choice" (which included an harmonica solo by Harry Pitch). The rest of the songs are good but not very interesting for my taste.

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 Something Magic by PROCOL HARUM album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.94 | 83 ratings

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Something Magic
Procol Harum Crossover Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I really don`t know but maybe by 1977 the members of PROCOL HARUM were tired of being ten years recording albums and of being on tour. Maybe this album was only a "contractual obligation" to finish the contract with the record label, and it is similar in some ways to ELP`s "Love Beach" album from 1978, which was clearly a "contractual obligation album" after which the band finally split for several years. But if "Love Beach" showed some shorter songs more oriented to Pop Rock than to Prog Rock (plus a long "Suite" in the side two of the LP, like this album), in this album PROCOL HARUM still tried to show some Prog Rock songs, some of which really sound as previous reviewers mentioned: pretentious, bombastic, pompous, etc. As a whole the album is not so bad, but it really shows signs of being recorded while being tired.

For this album, there were some "new" things. First, bassist Alan Cartwright left the band, so Chris Copping returned to play the bass, and new member Peter Solley added synthesizers to the sound of the band and used a Farfisa organ instead of a Hammond organ. The Hammond organ became very identified with the "old" sound of the band, so its absence made the sound of the band change a bit. There are also some orchestral arrangements, well done, but a bit pompous. Also, the album was recorded in Miami with the Albert Brothers doing the production job (a production team which at the time was producing albums by the BEE GEES and other similar bands from the Disco Fad). I even read an interview done with Gary Brooker some years later saying that the Albert Brothers did not like the songs very much but anyway they worked with the band in Miami. Even Brooker had some doubts about the quality of the songs then! But maybe the record label wanted a "new" PROCOL HARUM sound so they suggested to the band to work with those producers. I think that the combination finally did not work very well.

So, this album sounds "uninspired", even if the band still sounds well, as the songs are very well played, arranged and produced. But maybe Brooker and Reid were looking for a "way out" for the career of the band, at least for some years. So they agreed to work with those producers and to make a "polished" and a more "late seventies modern album" to finish the recording contract. The band even toured in 1977, but without Chris Copping, who was replaced by Dee Murray, a bassist who worked a lot with Elton John`s band. PROCOL HARUM finally split by mid 1977.

The main "problem" in this album for many people is the long "Suite" called "The worm and the tree", which has the lyrics recited by Brooker instead of being sung. Musically, is not a bad song, but maybe the idea of reciting the lyrics was not very good after all.

Peter Solley (previously an ex-member and the main composer of the band PALADIN in the early seventies) is a very good keyboard player. Unfortunately his style maybe did not fit very well with the band`s style, but his playing is very good anyway.

Some reviewers mentioned Punk as a cause of Prog Rock`s lack of popularity in the late seventies. Well. In my opinion Punk was only another musical fad, but in this case, a musical fad which lacked a lot of quality in comparison to Prog Rock and even with Disco Music and New Wave music. Punk was a fad which did not last and in my opinion did not contribute with anything good to music, with some exceptions like THE CLASH. Like TREVOR RABIN said in one interview which was included in the DVD version of YES`s "9012Live " video, Punk was "rubbish". I agree with him.

This album as out of print for a lot of years since the late seventies. Maybe it did not sell many copies as the label wanted.

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 Shine On Brightly by PROCOL HARUM album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.05 | 218 ratings

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Shine On Brightly
Procol Harum Crossover Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A question that I still have in my mind: which was the first Progressive Rock album in history? Some people say that it was KING CRIMSON`s "In the Court of the Crimson King", which is a very good album. But by 1968 PROCOL HARUM with this album in particular was a very big influence in the development of that musical style, I think. At least, the inclusion in this album of a great piece of music like "In Held `Twas In I" was a real indication of how very good things could be done mixing several styles of music in a musical "Suite" of almost 18 minutes of duration with several titled parts, each one of them with different moods and "Symphonic" influences. I can`t remember now if there was a "Suite" of a similar duration being released before 1968, but in the same year IRON BUTTERFLY`s "in-a- Gadda-da-Vida" long song was released. But the style of that long piece of music, even if it has some Prog Rock influences, it even is more influenced by Psychedelic Rock.

"In Held `Twas In I" was composed by Gary Brooker, Matthew Fisher and Keith Reid. In this album this song was performed without the orchestra (but the orchestra was employed in their "Live" album from 1972, and was arranged by Brooker), but using a sitar in some parts, and with Fisher even singing lead vocals in "In the Autumn of my Madness" part and playing the very good piano part in the "Grand Finale" part. By this time Fisher and Brooker were working very well as a team of composers creating a very good musical piece. In their next album ("A Salty Dog") , Fisher was going to continue to contribute to the songwriting and even contributing some orchestral arrangements, singing more lead vocals and even being the producer of that album. Robin Trower was also starting to write songs with Reid. Unfortunately, this very good line-up of the band (Brooker, Fisher, Trower, Wilson, Knights and Reid) could not continue working together due to some personal problems between the members, and by mid 1969 Fisher and Knights left the band.

While I consider that the main song in this album is "In Held `Twas In I" , this album also has some other very good songs, like "Shine On Brightly" (which maybe is one of the most played songs in concert from this album and one of their most known songs), "Quite Rightly So", "Rambling On" and "Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone)", all with some "mysterious" lyrics written by Keith Reid.

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 Procol Harum by PROCOL HARUM album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.90 | 224 ratings

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Procol Harum
Procol Harum Crossover Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars In this first album the band still was trying to define in more clear ways their muscial style. I still can find some influences from Blues music in their music, and this album was quickly recorded in a few days (in less than a week, if I remember well), almost recorded "live in the studio", and,.. in Mono (WHY?). With the passing of time, they have released some Stereo versions of some of the songs from this album, but those Stereo versions maybe were recorded with the original line-up of the band (which included drummer Bobby Harrison and guitarist Ray Royer). But it seems this album was recorded after the new members (B.J. Wilson on drums and Robin Trower on guitar, which in fact were Gary Brooker`s old mates from the band "The Paramounts" in the early and mid sixties) joined the band.

I have read in the web that their "A Whiter Shade of Pale" single was liked a lot by many musicians in 1967, including The Beatles and others, who praised it a lot. Without doubt, that song was very influential in the later development of Prog Rock music. So, after promoting this song with several gigs (with the original line-up and then with the new line-up) they quickly recorded this album, but I can`t understand why this album was released until late 1967 (and some sources say it was released until January 1968), and when it was finally released, it did not include that song in the U.K. (but in the U.S. the album included that song). It seems that some management problems and a change of record label in the U.K. were among some of the problems involved in the late release of the album.

Anyway, this album in its original released form had some very good songs, like "Conquistador", "She Wandered Through the Garden Fence" (the best of all, in my opinion) and the funny "Mabel" ( with some British humour). There are also some Psychedelic influences in the music, a very logical thing because this album was recorded in 1967, and Matthew Fisher`s Classical Music arrangements in his organ playing are very good. I think that this album really sounds like it was recorded "in a hurry" and with a low budget, but it is good anyway. Despite being recorded in Mono it sounds good for my taste. But the band was going to record better albums than this debut album.

I think that the cover design is very good too, very much related to the music and the lyrics of the band. It looks to me that it was inspired by the song "She Wandered Through the Garden Fence" or by "A Whiter Shade of Pale", but I could be wrong.

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 Exotic Birds And Fruit by PROCOL HARUM album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.32 | 93 ratings

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Exotic Birds And Fruit
Procol Harum Crossover Prog

Review by Prog 74

3 stars Procol Harum is one of my favorite bands and their first three albums should be part of every serious prog-rock collection. However, by the 1970s their albums became a rather or hit miss affair. Most of them are good, some of them great such as 'Broken Barricades', 'Grand Hotel' and of course their live collaboration with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. This album falls into the "good" category. The first 5 songs are actually quite outstanding giving one high hopes for this being another great album. Among the highlights are "As Strong as Samson" and "The Idol". The former is one of their greatest songs. Very majestic with a beautiful melody. The piano playing is especially lovely. That lovely piano playing continues on into "The Idol". This is a real sweeping epic of a song. Procol Harum's classical influence is really on display here along with their ability to craft some brilliant pop hooks. Very few bands blended classical and rock as effortlessly as these guys did. Unfortunately after the wonderfully menacing "The Thin End of the Wedge" the quality of the songs drop significantly. "Monsieur R. Monde", "Fresh Fruit" & "Butterfly Boys" are all throwaways with "Fresh Fruit" especially having some cringe inducing lyrics. Thankfully all is not lost for the closing track, "New Lamps For Old", is one of the finest songs on the album. Not quite on par with "As Strong as Samson", but brilliant all the same. Intelligent lyrics with Gary Brooker singing quite soulfully. Gary Brooker is one of my all time favorite singers and this song really demonstrates just what a powerful singer he is. This is an all around fine album with a beautiful reproduction of a Jakob Bogdani painting on the cover. The album cover is so nice that it could even be framed and hung above the fireplace! Wife permitting of course. Released in 1974, this album is probably the last good album from Procol Harum and should be owned by all fans of that legendary band.

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 A Salty Dog by PROCOL HARUM album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.53 | 176 ratings

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A Salty Dog
Procol Harum Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars On their third album, Procol Harum continue to plough the same early progressive rock furrow which they'd sketched out on their debut and polished on Shine On Brightly. At points the lack of really substantive musical development over the preceding albums threatens to make this one feel a little redundant, though there's still a lot of enjoyment to be had - the outro to Pilgrim's Progress, in particular, has a delicacy and beauty hitherto unseen in the Procol Harum repertoire. There's more straight-ahead blues this time around too, which makes this one a little more diverse than Shine On Brightly. Not their best, but not all that bad either.

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