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Procol Harum

Crossover Prog

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Procol Harum The Best of Procol Harum [A&M] album cover
3.02 | 10 ratings | 4 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. A Whiter Shade of Pale (4:03)
2. Lime Street Blues (2:59)
3. Homburg (3:55)
4. In the Wee Small Hours of Sixpence (2:59)
5. Quite Rightly So (3:38)
6. Shine on Brightly (3:30)
7. A Salty Dog (4:38)
8. Long Gone Geek (3:08)
9. Whisky Train (4:29)
10. Simple Sister (5:47)
11. Conquistador (4:14)

Total Time: 43:20

Line-up / Musicians

- Gary Brooker / lead vocals, piano
- Chris Copping / bass, organ, synths (9-10)
- Matthew Fisher / organ
- Dave Knights / bass
- Keith Reid / words
- Robin Trower / guitars
- Barrie James Wilson / drums

Releases information

LP A&M 3259 / CD A&M 75021-3259-2

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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PROCOL HARUM The Best of Procol Harum [A&M] ratings distribution

(10 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (60%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PROCOL HARUM The Best of Procol Harum [A&M] reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Guillermo
4 stars This album is a very good compilation album of songs the band recorded between 1967 to 1972. It has some hits ("A Whiter Shade of Pale", "Homburg", the live version of "Conquistador" from 1972) and "the best" songs of albums released between those years. The "A Whiter shade of Pale" single has the original Procol Harum line-up of Gary Brooker, Matthew Fisher, Dave Knights, the almost inaudible guitarist Ray Royer, with the exception of original drummer Bobby Harrison who was replaced by session drummer Bill Eyden. Harrison appears on the B-side of "A Whiter..." called "Lime Street Blues". Songs 1 to 4 are mono recordings.The rest are stereo recordings. For some years this compilation was almost the only available source for some of these songs, as some of Procol Harum`s albums were out of print or were not re-issued on C.D. until years later.
Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This was a LP era "best of", meant to supplement Procol's A&M albums which had made a few criminal omissions, thanks to the group's less than brilliant tactic of leaving their hit singles off the albums. In that context it's a perfect companion to those unadulterated albums, but in the days of bonus tracks, its relevance drops significantly. If you want to limit yourself to just a solitary compilation, there are better single CD collections out there.

Nonetheless its hard to argue with the music on offer here. First off there's the magnificent A Whiter Shade Of Pale, the mesmerizing psychedelic masterpiece that just happens to be my favourite song of all time. Procol's other outstanding, heartbreaking singles Homburg, Quite Rightly So and Shine On Brightly are also given a slot while there's a track each from the A Salty Dog (the spellbinding heavily orchestrated title track), Home (Robin Trower's riff-heavy Whiskey Train) and Broken Barricades (the slow-burning Simple Sister) albums. Round this off with three exciting B-sides Lime Street Blues, In The Wee Small Hours Of Sixpence and Lone Gone Geek and the live hit version of the first album's brassy Conquistador (which can be found on the live album Live In Edmonton) and you really have some stellar music that tempted me to give this album a four-star rating.

Nonetheless the fact that the non-album tracks are included on the Procol Plus ... series of reissues, and the fact that I've heard a far more comprehensive single CD collection covering the same 1967-1972 era means that I can't go too far in praising the collection that first got me into this exceptional band. ... 58% on the MPV scale

Review by Chris H
3 stars What can be said about the very release that introduced the world of Procol Harum to me? Not much other than the fact that it is an incredibly well rounded compilation, with a bunch of hits from every line-up and some B-side semi-rarities.

The obvious classics are all here, such as "A Whiter Shade Of Pale", "A Salty Dog" and Conquistador". Mixed in with these, you get some awesome B-sides including the funny and catchy rhythm and blues styled "Lime Street Blues" and the guitar filled "Long Gone Geek". Robin Trower shines on the rock n' rollers "Whiskey Train" and "Simple Sister", two of my favorite Procol Harum songs ever. The live version of "Conquistador" is the perfect way to close a perfectly arranged and inclusive compilation.

Sure all of these songs are available on other releases and nothing can beat owning the actual studio albums, but this is a perfect spot to own the classics and nothing but the classics condensed into one package. Definitely not essential, but if you are new to Procol Harum, you should pick this up if you spot it. Trust me, it is worth it.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars My first introduction to Procol Harum and not a good one. This focuses mainly on singles and doesn't feature too many great album tracks. Upon first listen a lot of the music here could come off as organ-centred, R&B influenced '60s pop. Two of the songs are pretty much hard rock. Those two show the influence of guitarist Robin Trower. You rarely get a glimpse of Procol Harum: Prog Band. PH were interesting for having both a piano player and an organ player. The lyrics of Keith Reid are some of the best to come from this era.

One of the best songs, "Conquistador", is presented in a live version. The big single "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" rips off Bach and has some wonderful lyrics. Great deadpan delivery of the vocals with such silly lyrics. On "Homburg" you can hear an influence on VDGG and Genesis. "Shine On Brightly" is a great song. You can hear more influence on Genesis here. You can listen to "A Salty Dog" here on PA, and it's one of the best songs on this compilation. Great vocals. "Simple Sister" is another great song, a mix of hard rock and symphonic rock. Love the long instrumental middle section.

If you are really interested in getting into Procol Harum, I would advise you to start off with either their 1968 album Shine On Brightly or their 1973 album Grand Hotel. These guys too often get forgotten about, and compilations like this don't help. This is only for those who only want to have the more popular songs here. The best songs here are found on the early albums anyway. 2 stars.

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