The Definitive Reissue
Kurt Harding | Boerne TX | 04/05/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For years, Broken Barricades was one of Procol Harum's albums that was completely out of print and if you could find it on CD, it was expensive and the sound quality questionable. Then along came Gary Brooker who re-released it himself on his own label followed shortly thereafter by what appeared to be the definitive reissue on Germany's Repertoire label. That was so well done its hard to imagine how it could be improved upon. Well, in some ways (except in package design) that's now been done as part of Salvo Records' ambitious project to remaster and reissue all official Procol Harum albums.
Not to knock the Repertoire reissue, but man does this sound good. All of my favorites come alive in a way I couldn't before imagine. Simple Sister, Song For A Dreamer, and Playmate of the Mouth sound especially delightful. The bonus tracks, particularly the raw track for Simple Sister and the backing track for Song For A Dreamer, sound great as well. I am glad that Salvo found some extras to put on this edition that would not merely ape those supplied on its predecessor.
If you are a Procol Harum fanatic like I am, you should own this edition even if you already own the more than adequate Repertoire reissue. As with the other CDs in this series, Broken Barricades comes with a meaty and informative booklet that contains pictures, commentary, and pertinent album info. Get it while its cheap, you won't be disappointed."
Keep It Simple, Sister...
4-Legged Defender | ATL. GA. | 01/11/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although their LP sales never showed it, Procol Harum had already toured the states 11 times by the time this Lp was complete, packing houses and mystifying audiences from coast to coast. Though it only hit as high as #32 on the Billboard Album charts, New York`s Village Voice hailed it Album Of The Year. Yielding classics such as 'Simple Sister' (check out the wicked,barbed lyrics), and the barn-burning, storm-bringing 'Power Failure', not to mention that both Trower and drummer B.J. Wilson (RIP) consistently shine on this LP like no other, this is the first time a bass player was used, and there`s an absence of the hallmark organ that gave the band its original earmark (hence the need for a bass player). This Salvo remastered reissue is a joy to listen to, the booklet is great to read and look at the rare pics and promo items and ads, `love the tri-fold covers that they package these Lp`s in, and there are some good bonus raw backing tracks to 4 of the tunes as well. This was Trower`s swan song w/ Harum, and his Hendrix tribute, 'Song For A Dreamer', clearly indicated where he was heading on his solo career, with spacey, dreamy, wide-open-spaces for his signature licks to flow and ebb. A great listen then, a great listen now..."
It Was All Once Bright Jewels
D. Mills | Silly Valley, CA | 04/11/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sounding unlike anything Procol that went before or came after, Broken Barricades is Procol Harum at its most uncompromising. Forcing Robin Trower's metallic sound into a sometimes uneasy coexistence with Gary Brooker's more silken measures, its impact is derived from its austerity. If you are new to Procol Harum and come to this album after Edmonton Live or a Whiter Shade of Pale, this one will set you right back in your seat.
Lyricist Keith Reid conjures up a world that is grey, angry and nostalgic. There are two hard-core rockers, 'Simple Sister' and 'Power Failure' which bathe the listener in a bubbling cauldron of sultry sound. These are true collaborations between keyboardist Brooker and guitarist Trower and represent what might have been if Trower and the band not parted ways after this album.
There are Brooker's melodic moments: the wistful title track (one of his finest creations), which opines for an idyllic world gone to rotten hell. Then there's 'Luskus Delph's steaming vat of imagery. (In case you didn't know, the title is an amalgam of 'lust' and 'suck'). If that isn't enough for you, Brooker adds a necrophiliac love song 'Playmate of the Mouth', proving that even as the world collapses, its oldest profession shines on brightly.
Robin Trower's contributions are harbingers of the style developed in his solo career. 'Memorial Drive' and 'Poor Mohammed', sound a bit like clones of each other, with the latter leaving a more lasting impression . He follows with 'Song For a Dreamer', his tribute to Jimi Hendrix, who had departed this world six months before the album was recorded. It sounds slightly out of place, but who can resist that buried vocal suggesting that the 'doctors say we should operate'.
Listeners who don't care for this album see the divergence between Brooker's melodic approach and Trower's increasingly lean, spare style. I admire this album, but also wonder what might have come of a true Brooker\Trower collaboration, but that was not to be. Procol took an extreme foray into their symphonic side, and Trower went on to explore the bridge of sighs.
The sound is throughout is magnificent. BB had always suffered from muddy sonics, instilling an unwarranted feeling of lethargy. BJ Wilson's magnificent drumming, previously resembling the thud of sodden cardboard, now shines with a newly-apparent high end. For the musicologist in all of us, Salvo offers up valuable backing tracks for 'Simple Sister', 'Poor Mohammed' and 'Song For a Dreamer'. The single edit of 'Broken Barricades' doesn't add much, but I love hearing the song again before the disk ends."