Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Procol Harum Plus
Genres: World Music, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
1998 digitally remastered reissue on Westside of their debutalbum with 10 bonus tracks. First released in 1967 on Regal Zonophone (in the U.K.) & Deram (in the U.S.) it includes classics like 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale', 'Con... more »
1998 digitally remastered reissue on Westside of their debutalbum with 10 bonus tracks. First released in 1967 on Regal Zonophone (in the U.K.) & Deram (in the U.S.) it includes classics like 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale', 'Conquistador' & 'Homburg'. All tracks are remastered from the original albumproduction master tape. The booklet includes previously unpublished photos. All but three of the 20 tracks are in mono.
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The first album and one of the finest
cerdes | Topeka, KS USA | 05/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recording a full album after the wonderously intoxicating hit, "A Whiter Shade of Pale," must have seemed an extremely difficult task, but it is one that Procol Harum pull off with an enormous amount of musical and lyrical success. Songs such as "Cerdes (Outside the Gates Of)", with its guitar drenched British R&B sound and mythologically inspired lyrics, as well as the jangly "She Wandered Through the Garden Fence" are obvious Procol masterpieces. The album's instrumental closer, "Repent Walpurgis," is one of the most powerful passages in rock history. The only song that really misses on the album is the slightly humorous "Mabel," but the song clocks in at under two minutes and does little to ruin the beauty of the remaining tracks. Westside's reissue includes "A Whiter Shade of Pale" as well as the bluesy and appropriately titled "Lime Street Blues" and the majestic and mournful "Homburg." The remaining tracks are all alternate versions of Procol classics and are probably only of interest to the die-hard fans such as myself. Overall, this album is an essential part of the Procol Harum canon, and is a nice starting point for those new to the band's unique style and sound."
Nearly flawless debut
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 11/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Doors, Hmmmm? Well, Procol Harum really doesn't have anything in common with The Doors except the prominence of Matthew Fisher's organ. Lyrically and musically The Doors veered from bluesy to pretentious claptrap. I always felt The Doors were over rated but on to the album.
Procol Harum (the name is an alliteration of a latin term)appeared out of nowhere in 1967 with A Whiter Shade of Pale. The original UK album didn't have the hit single on it (it was added for the US and other countries). Lyrically obtuse at times but musically adept, Procol Harum offered a rarity in music--a wedding of R&B grit to post-psychedlic/classically inspired music. Singer Gary Brooker (he became the singer by default--the original lead singer quit) has a delivery that recalls the best R&B singers from the 60's. I hear traces of Ray Charles and Percy Sledge in his delivery. Although Keith Reid's lyrics can occasionally be a bit obtuse, most of his words lack the pretense of many other lyricists of the time. Brooker's delivery of Reid's lyrics are heartfelt even if it's not clear what he's singing about.
Matthew Fisher's organ was a prominent feature on the three albums (he was gone by album four entitled Home). The melody for the hit single Pale (included here as a bonus track and on the terrific recent reissue from BGO Records)borrows the melody and chords from a piece by Bach and manages to spin it into rock gold.
Robin Trower appears on a number of tracks but since Procol Harum wasn't really a band until after the single and his guitar isn't quite as omnipresent as on later releases. Aside from Fisher, the most striking instrument (despite being buried in the mono mix) is Bill Eyden's drumming. His fluid, precise jazzy style was clearly an influence on Bill Brufford and other progressive rock drummers.
Just about every song on Procol Harum is a gem. Sadly there isn't a true stereo mix of this fine album so much of the detail is lost in the mono mix (there is a 1997 remix of Pale on Classic Tracks and Rarities that sounds beautiful). The mono sound is very good considering the age of the tapes. The bonus tracks are nice but many are not essential (the best of them are on the Classic Tracks and Rarities CD issued in 2002).
BGO's release of this album is a twofer with both the debut and weaker second album included (along with singles and b-sides). I'd recommend picking that up only because it's a better deal price wise."
How does one measure the quality of an album?
Moldyoldie | Motown, USA | 10/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One way to measure the quality of an album is it's singability. By no means am I a singer, but when I'm alone in the car with this album playing, I can't help but singalong with Gary Brooker at the top of my lungs on every track. (Those high notes during the chorus of "A Whiter Shade of Pale" are a definite challenge, however!)
The instrumental "Repent Walpurgis" even has me singing the notes.
For Procoholics everywhere, the bonus tracks are an interesting sidelight. For everyone else, this is the perfect introduction to a band I'm glad to say is my very favorite. (I'm 46, by the way, and have listened to a lot of music.)
I'd recommend the new listener buy the group's albums in chronological order and experience a marvelous musical and lyrical evolution...not to mention a real treat. The lyrics are like any good poetry, not necessarily representative of anything but magically evocative. The music will stay with you forever."