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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 | 321 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Historical but..

Recorded away back in 1967 but not released until a year later, Procol Harum's first album completely failed to capitalise on, or indeed include their massively successful single "A whiter shade of pale".

The sound of Procol Harum is instantly recognisable. Gary Brooker has one of the most distinctive (and for that matter best) voices in rock. Mathew Fisher's Hammond organ, which featured so classically on "AWSOP", is present throughout the album, and guitarist Robin Trower adds some fine lead guitar work.

The music now understandably sounds dated, but not nearly as much as you might expect. "Conquistador" which leads off the album is a great song, but with the later "Live with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra" version having provided the hit single, the original here sounds a bit tame and laid back.

There are a couple of throw away tracks, "Mabel", is mildly amusing but forgettable, and "Good Captain Clack", is a Beatles influenced drunken sailor song.

Others though, such as "Cerdes" and "A Christmas Camel" are more structured, early prog pieces. "Salad days" sounds like a demo version of a theme which would be developed better on "Shine on Brightly", nice organ though. "Repent Walpurgis", the only Fisher composition, is a beautiful instrumental, classically influenced, and another fine example of early prog. The track serves as a good vehicle for demonstrating both Fisher's talents and those of Trower.

It is important to hear this album in the context of when it was made. There must be many prog bands which followed who knowingly or unknowingly were influenced to make the music they did by the early works of Procol Harum. A fine historical document.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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