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Procol Harum - Procol Harum [Aka: A Whiter Shade Of Pale] CD (album) cover

PROCOL HARUM [AKA: A WHITER SHADE OF PALE]

Procol Harum

 

Crossover Prog

3.92 | 322 ratings

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erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Halfway The Sixties Gary Brooker and Keith Reid decided to write songs for other artists. Unfortunately for these young musicians this didn't work out and in 1967 they founded a band to perform these songs by themselves. Gary recruited Robin Trower on guitar, Dave Knights on bass and B.J. Wilson on drums. But he also wanted an organ player to sound more sophisticated, inspired by the gospel and rhythm & blues music from the USA. Through an advertisement in the known British music magazine Melody Maker they found Hammond organ player Matthew Fisher. He liked the songs very much and immediately joined the brandnew band named Procol Harum, derived from the name of a cat!

On this reissue CD (my version is Repertoire Records) you can listen to the amazing progressive sound Procol Harum delivered since their eponymous debut LP was released in 1967. This reissue also contains the single A Whiter Shade Of Pale (released before the album was recorded), because of idealistic reasons it was not on the original LP release (the band didn't want the public to pay two times for this timeless composition!). And it also contains four bonustracks Lime Street Blues (this turns out to be pure rock and roll with powerful guitar and floods of Hammond), the single Homburg (slow rhythm with majestic Grand piano, melancholical vocals and a churchy organ sound), Monsieur Armand (catchy rhythm, lush organ and fiery guitar) and Seems To Have The Blues All The Time (bluesy vocals, a powerful Hammond solo and again a fiery guitar solo). About the original LP, after the wonderful Hammond drenched single A Whiter Shade Of Pale (based on Bach's Air On The G String) the band presented mature, adventurous and varied compositions: warm vocals, strong duo-keyboards (piano/organ) and a short but swirling Hammond solo in the quite melancholical Conquistador, a bluesy climate in Something Following Me (powerful guitar solo) and Cerdes (swelling Hammond sound), a swinging rhythm in Kaleidoscope (excellent Hammond sounds) and Lime Street Blues (boogie woogie piano) and funny atmospheres in the short Mabel and Good Captain Clack. But the magnum opus on the debut album is the instrumental piece Repent Walpurgis, written by Matthew Fisher: first a slow rhythm with soaring Hammond and tender piano, then a sensitive guitar solo and warm piano arpeggio's and finally wonderful interplay between a sparkling piano, lush organ waves and howling electric guitar, goose bumps!

If you want to discover some great Proto-Prog from the late Sixties, this is a CD to check out, a big hand for Procol Harum! My rating 4,5 stars.

erik neuteboom | 4/5 |

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