Live MFSL MFCD 188 CD [the review refers to the now-deleted Mobile Fidelity issue, not to the 2002 Repertoire re-issue]
Fifty-two musicians, 24 singers, and Procol Harum gathered together on November 18, 1971 in Edmonton, Alberta to perform and record this live album. They were not clicking around. From the opening strains of Conquistador (all sawing violins and harsh Spanish trumpets) through an impassioned Whaling Stories to the grand finale of In Held 'Twas I, the Jubilee Auditorium throbs and sways. Appropriately enough, A Salty Dog (PH's first collaboration with an orchestra) is also featured here and shows how adept they were at using classical players to underpin and punctuate the songs, as opposed to just casting them adrift over the band. The boys play well and Gary Brooker is in particularly fine voice, but best of all is hearing a decent rock band backed by a massive orchestra, live. Originally recorded with much skill on Wally Heider's Mobile Studio, this has survived the transition to CD admirably and is one of the more successful experiments of its kind.