I've had 'glimpses of Nirvana' in record stores – finding Procol Harum
rarities. 'Who will search for Holy Grail?' You can, too, with this discography.
And good luck, because finding some of this elusive material isn't easy.
Or to quote a Matthew Fisher line, it would help 'if they told me where
to look. And what direction, and just how long it took.' Humble pilgrims,
I assure you that I don't have everything on this list, either. One thing
I know from actually writing a book-length discography (one of my 17 books
is Goldmine Comedy Record Price Guide) is that while hunting for
one rarity, you're liable to find something you never even knew existed.
Meaning, this page will probably be updated periodically. If you have
an album, single or CD that isn't on this list, please
e-mail so the page can be revised. 'Write it down, it might be read.
Nothing's better left unsaid.' Sorry for the 'USA' bias in the listings
here. Hopefully as folks add to the list, there will be more Procol items
here from unusual record labels from all over the world. This list is going
to keep growing like a beanstalk. Isn't it?
In 1996 the re-issue (Repertoire REP 4666-WY) changed the album title to A Whiter Shade of Pale and added four bonus tracks from 1967, Lime Street Blues, Homburg, Monsieur Armand and Seem to Have the Blues All the Time. Aside from a very good quality pressing, this edition includes a lot of vintage band photos as well as some interesting album notes.
SHINE ON BRIGHTLY – 1968 (A&M (SP 4151) CD releases include A&M CD 4151 and Carrere 96.636 in France. There are two different covers for the album. The 'American' version seems to have gained favor: a naked mannequin in front of an upright piano in an eerie green-yellow landscape. Shine On Brightly was released in Australia on the Festival label: stereo SFL-933058 mono FL-33058, with the 'American' cover.
In 1996 the re-issue (Repertoire REP 4667-WY) appeared, and aside from some extra band photos and album notes, there was a real rarity among the bonus tracks. Procol fans already heard the stereo Homburg and In the Wee Small Hours of Sixpence, but how about Il Tuo Diamante! Finally on CD, Gary Brooker singing in Italian.
A SALTY DOG – 1969 (A&M Records SP 4179, re-issued on Music for Pleasure, MFP 5277 in England – once with a textured cover and once with a shiny cover). The CD version was issued in the USA both by A&M and by Mobile Fidelity (1/2 Speed Master) MFCD 823.
A Salty Dog, as released by Music For Pleasure, was a compilation of cuts from the first four albums. It had a similar blue cover to the original album, but with a cartoon sailor, not the intimidating, grinning old salt. The Australian edition of A Salty Dog (Festival stereo SFL-933399 mono FL-33399) featured the original A&M artwork, but the back cover featured a questionnaire answered by band members
The 1996 re-issue (Repertoire REP 4668-WY) offered one bonus track, Long Gone Geek.
HOME – 1970 (A&M SP 4261) The combo of Home and Shine on Brightly were issued together as a two-for in England, on the appropriately named Toofa label (Cube/Toofa 10) CD release: Mobile Fidelity (1/2 Speed Master) MFCD 793. The Australian version was A&M SAML-933871
BROKEN BARRICADES – 1971 (Chrysalis ILPS 9158 UK, A&M SP 4294, USA.) Original editions had a 'die-cut cover' but the re-issue didn't. For some reason, lyrics are printed for only four of the eight songs. CD re-issue: Mobile Fidelity (1/2 Speed Master) MFCD 846. No die-cut cover for the CD booklet. Australian version: (A&M SAML-934169)
A CONSUMER'S GUIDE TO PROCOL HARUM (aka Procol Harum Lives – 1971 A&M SP 8053) This disc-jockey item sports a smiling (!) picture of the group on the front cover. One side of the LP offers various Procol songs from the four previous A&M releases (Deram still owned the first album). The flip side is an interview with band members.
LIVE WITH THE EDMONTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA – 1972 Featuring the group's first hit in five years, and last charted hit of the 70s, Conquistador. Chrysalis (CHR 1004, UK) A&M (SP 4335, USA). CD reissue by Mobile Fidelity (1/2 Speed Master) MFCD 788; Australian version: (A&M SAML-934560)
HOLLYWOOD BOWL, Los Angeles – 4 Aug 1973. Legitimate DJ copies of this radio concert can be found, albeit not easily. The King Biscuit Flower Hour CD was produced by the DIR Radio Network. Since it was a radio broadcast, this may the most bootlegged Procol Harum item around. This show features orchestrated versions of some songs not on the Edmonton A&M album, notably A Christmas Camel.
GRAND HOTEL – 1973 Chrysalis (CHR 1037). The album was also released in a 1/2 Speed Master version (Sweet Thunder #15, and on CD (Chrysalis VK 41037). It is now available as a British import (Castle ESM CD 29); Australian Chrysalis LP version: CYL-34834
EXOTIC BIRDS AND FRUIT – 1974 Chrysalis (CHR 1058) This and the last two Procol albums for Chrysalis were not issued on CD until 1995, when the British 'Castle Communications' did the honors. For the CD version (Castle ESM CD 291) there's a bonus track: Drunk Again, the b-side to the Nothing But the Truth single.
PROCOL'S NINTH – 1975 Chrysalis (CHR 1080). A decent reason to hunt for the vinyl album: the 12x12 cover is big enough to let you get a better look at the facsimile autographs of the band members. CD re-issue Castle ESM CD 292; Australian Chrysalis LP version: CYL-35601
INNER VIEW – 1976 (Sound Communication Inc. 4JSCMV 43426 US) A radio interview conducted by Jim Ladd. A limited number of copies of this syndicated show were sent to radio stations.
SOMETHING MAGIC – 1977 Chrysalis (CHR 1130). CD release: Castle ESSM CD 293. One side is the musical fable The Worm and the Tree. The group briefly toured to support the album and then ... well, took some time off. Australian Chrysalis LP version: CYL-36123
THE PRODIGAL STRANGER – 1991 (Zoo 72445-11011-2) The return, featuring many Brooker / Fisher / Reid songs and one contribution from Robin Trower: All Our Dreams Are Sold. There are two very attractive promo CDs from Zoo. Chapter One is a greatest hits CD and Chapter Two: The Prodigal Stranger is the new album packaged like a small clothbound hardcover book.
THE RETURN OF PROCOL HARUM: THE INTERVIEW (Zoo ZP170442) This CD, distributed to radio stations and the press, features Gary, Keith, Matthew and Robin discussing the re-birth of Procol Harum. Half the CD is a repeat of the interview, 'answers only.' DJs could then ask the questions (supplied in the CD booklet) and cue up the answers to make it seem that band members were actually with them at the local radio station.
IN THE STUDIO – 1991 This CD was distributed to radio stations as part of the In the Studio syndicated series. Various band members are interviewed and selections from Prodigal Stranger are featured. The show was from 'The Album Network' and 'Bullet Productions.' Radio listeners heard this show on September 16, 1991.
THE LONG GOODBYE (aka Symphonic Music Of Procol Harum – 1995 (BMRG -RCA Victor 09026-68029-2.) Produced by Gary Brooker, the CD features newly-orchestrated Procol songs (plus the title track, originally on a Brooker solo album). Gary arranged only three of the symphonic treatments but sings on most cuts. Exceptions range from the interesting (Tom Jones on Simple Sister) to the embarrassing (Jerry Hadley's campy visit to Grand Hotel). Matthew Fisher and Robin Trower are on Repent Walpurgis, while Procol's bassist Dave Bronze and drummer Mark Brzezicki play on most cuts.
THE WELL'S ON FIRE – 2003: Procol Harum go into the studio with their most-stable-ever line-up and record an hour's worth of music that pleases all comers: it includes two 'lost' songs from way back: A Robe of Silk and So Far Behind: details here
THE BEST OF PROCOL HARUM aka Flyback Procol Harum (Fly #TON 4 , England)
THE BEST OF PROCOL HARUM (EMI Stateside (5C 052-92 455, Holland)
PORTRAIT (EMI Stateside (5C 054.91107, Holland)
SUPERSTARSHINE VOL. 9 (Polydor 2343 051)
ROCK ROOTS – 1976 (Cube ROOTS 4) This British album featured two unreleased rarities: Seem to Have the Blues Most All the Time and Monsieur Armand, both recorded on 20 October 1967. Mr. Armand eventually became R. Monde, in the new recording done for Exotic Birds and Fruit. The two cuts finally surfaced on CD via the Early Years album listed below.
PROCOL HARUM'S GREATEST HITS VOL. 1 – 1978 Pickwick (SHM 956) UK
PROCOL HARUM – 1982 Impact (6886 555) Released in France
THE BEST OF PROCOL HARUM (A&M 4401, CD version A&M 3259). The original vinyl had a cover picture of the solar system which seemed to have a metallic shine to it. The silvery gatefold opened up to reveal 6 group photos plus one blown up almost beyond viewability. The CD has a plain cover and adds no bonus tracks to what was a pretty slim (11 songs) package.
PROCOL HARUM: THE COLLECTION – 1985 (Castle CCSCD 120) A 14-cut CD that covers both very early favorites and seven Chrysalis-era songs
PROCOL HARUM: THE CHRYSALIS YEARS – 1989. (Chrysalis VK 41705) After issuing Grand Hotel on CD, Chrysalis balked at doing the same for their remaining three Procol titles. Instead, there was this 14-track compilation – including 4 songs from Grand Hotel.
PROCOL HARUM: THE EARLY YEARS – 1992. (Earl D-6) This 20-cut CD made in France includes the original Monsieur Armand and Seem to Have the Blues All the Time. The album concentrates on early singles, B-sides and cuts from the first four albums. It also contains the stereo version of Homburg and an alternate take for In the Wee Small Hours of Sixpence.
30TH ANNIVERSARY ANTHOLOGY (Westside WESX 301)
The much-anticipated 3-CD anthology released in 1997 doesn't disappoint. Well, not too much. Some fans hoped for unreleased live tracks, others expected a real 'anthology' including all the best songs from the band's entire career. Instead, Westside simply squeezed the first four albums on 2CDs, and what didn't fit was tossed on to the third. But oh, that third CD! It features previously unreleased versions of Homburg, Conquistador, She Wandered Through the Garden Fence and Magdalene. Most importantly, there's a real stereo version of A Whiter Shade of Pale and an instrumental version as well.
ISLE OF WIGHT / ATLANTA POP FESTIVAL – 1971 (Columbia G3X 30805) A Salty Dog is performed live on a compilation tape of great moments from rock festivals
There's also 21 Years of Alternative Radio 1: Various Artists 1998 SFRCD 200 which is said to contain a live three-verse version of AWSoP.
A Whiter Shade of Dirty Water CD by Procol Harum / Pretty Things etc, mainly Matthew Fisher and friends.
A Salty Dog was available on Music For Pleasure, but was a totally
different release than the original. It was a
compilation of the first 4 albums, but had a similar blue cover but
with a cartoon Salty Dog sailor not the intimidating sailor on the original
LEAD ME TO THE WATER – 1982 (Vertigo (VOG-1-3314, Mercury SRM 1-4054 U.S.A. CD release: Line Records LICD 9000150). George Harrison and Eric Clapton make brief cameos. For the first time, lyrics by Gary Brooker himself, who chronicles his interest in fishing, Mama (Home Loving), and nice girls who aren't 'low flying birds.' The most Procol cut for both music and lyrics: Mineral Man. Gary even took his own photo for the back cover.
ECHOES IN THE NIGHT – 1985 (Mercury / Polygram 824 651-1 M-1 (U.S.) Featuring BJ Wilson on drums, and some tracks co-written with Matthew Fisher, this is the most 'Procol' of Gary's solo albums. One cut, The Long Goodbye is now a staple of Procol Harum shows. Also Procoholic in concept and execution: Ghost Train, with Keith Reid's lyrics about a serial killer and Brooker / Fisher's musical depiction of life as a menacing roller-coaster ride.
WITHIN OUR HOUSE – 1996 (Gazza Records, Gazza 001) Gary, with choir, string quartet, and members of Procol Harum, performed a live concert for church charities. He generously shares the spotlight with his choir and players, but does take lead vocals on several tracks, including Procol favorites A Salty Dog, Nothing But the Truth, Whiter Shade of Pale, and Holding On. He's the solo composer for Psalm for St. Mary, offers his solo album hit The Long Goodbye and performs the title track, a new Brooker-Reid number which is modest, warm, optimistic and religiously circumspect.
NOTES: Gary is on Alan Clarke's 1972 solo album My Real Name is Arnold, Lonnie Donegan's Puttin' on the Style album for Phonogram, and Mickey Jupp's Legend. Gary produced half of Mickey Jupp's Juppanese album. You won't find the original blue vinyl edition too easily, but it's on CD from Line Records. See also sessions list.
Gary's on keyboard and vocals for Frankie Miller's 1977 Full House album, and is on the rock version of Peter and the Wolf. Gary played piano on Stephen Bishop's 1980 album Red Cab to Manhattan and guests with Eric Clapton on 1981's Another Ticket. He supplies back-up muscle singing with Eric on It's In the Way That You Use It, which is on Clapton's 1986 album August and was featured in the film The Color of Money.
For those who'd like to hear a more Andrew Lloyd Webber-ish side of Gary, he sings the ballad Limelight (easiest availability on the CD The Best of the Alan Parsons Project Volume 2). The softly-produced song could easily be the showstopper for most any middling Broadway show. And speaking of such, Gary is on the Evita movie soundtrack, but only one brief track, and sharing the vocals.
In the world of elusive singles, fans might want the picture sleeve edition (detail and pictures here) of Say It Ain't So Joe / Angelina (Chrysalis CHS 2347 UK) and most definitely the rare 1980 British single containing two non-album tracks: Leave the Candle / Chasing the Chop (Chrysalis CHS 2396). Bas Möllenkramer has a 1982 promo single (not for sale) by Gary Brooker having A-side The Angler and B-side Badlands (non-album track?), Mercury 6059 532: it has a black picture sleeve with silhouette of someone sitting at a piano and similar lettering to the Lead me to the Water album.
Gary plays on George Harrison's All Things Must Pass album, and is on Hammond (!) for several tracks of the Kate Bush The Red Shoes CD. Gary's on piano for some tracks on Ringo Starr's obscure 1982 album Old Wave. There's a nice picture of Gary in the CD re-issue booklet.
On The Hollies 1979 album Five Three One-Double Seven Four. Brooker is credited with keyboards. He also wrote one song on the album, Harlequin, and it sure sounds like him singing in the background (drums on the song are credited to BJ Wilson).
Willie And The Poor Boys – Live: Bill Wyman's part time band:
Gary Brooker, Andy Fairweather Low, Graham Broad, Jerry Henderson, Terry
Taylor and Bill Wyman of course.
It was recorded live in Sweden for Swedish radio, and available on Sequel Records (part of Castle Communications plc). It was recorded in July 1992, and released in 1994. Gary sings lead on most of the tracks (& keyboards on all), which are old rockers like Stagger Lee, High School Confidential. 12 tracks in all
On the cover of Journey's End, Matthew looks like he could use a hug. The album is legendary for its songs of bruised feelings, wounds not yet healed, and lessons bitterly learned. It's more of the same on the second volume, but with a wider range of emotion that goes from resignation and acceptance (Not Her Fault) to the vengeful fantasies of the title track.
MATTHEW FISHER – 1980 (Vertigo 9198652,
U.K., A&M 4801, U.S.A.)
STRANGE DAYS – 1981 (Mercury NL 6302 108)
The latter two have been re-issued on CD via BGO in England. The A&M album features Procol friends past (and future) Tim Renwick and Mick Grabham on guitars and some backing vocal support from James Dewar and Rod Argent. Sidenote: while Gary's the one with the R&B roots, does anyone agree that Why'd I Have to Fall In Love With You could've been a killer track as covered by The Four Tops?
Fisher 45 picture-sleeves here
NOTES: Fisher's CD A Salty Dog Returns (Kingdom) is, as the phrase goes, 'not available in stores.' Well, not many stores. It's an instrumental effort produced by Mike Ober (a name not unfamiliar to those who have visited the Procol Harum websites section of this website). Contact Mike for mail order sales. The album features Matthew playing all instruments (!). Cuts include Dance Band on the Titanic and such intriguing titles as G String, Rat Hunter, Peter Grump and Sex and Violence. Plus ... yes ... A Whiter Shadow of Pale. A bonus live track featuring an entire band: Green Onions
Matthew has many production credits, including his work with Robin Trower. His first was for Prairie Madness, a two-man group that released one album for Columbia in 1972. Matthew plays organ on a few tracks, and some tracks were co-produced by him. His main contribution was to create a moody melancholy that made this record a bit more mysterious and affecting than similar records of the day from The Eagles and other California desperadoes. Strong in the Sun, a 1973 Chrysalis album by the group Tir Na Nog, features Matthew's production and keyboard work.
A more recent effort involving Fisher is the CD A Light Went Out
in New York by The Downliners. It can be ordered from Tom
McKee, Endangered Records.
Recently-released is the 1980 solo album, Stumbledown Romancer, from Robin Trower vocalist James Dewar that Matthew produced. Several labels were interested in the effort, which will hopefully raise funds for Dewar's family.
United by The British Invasion All-Stars (members of Yardbirds, Pretty Things, Pirates etc), includes the Green Onions track later appearing on Matthew's album A Salty Dog Returns. Matthew plays Hammond throughout. It's mainly R & B standards. It's Promised Land 246890, and was the second All-Stars CD.
Matthew and BJ Wilson were among the friends on Joe Cocker's classic album With a Little Help From My Friends. See also sessions list and Fisher's other projects.
FOR EARTH BELOW – 1975 (Chrysalis CHR 1073, CD: F2 21073)
LIVE – 1975 (Chrysalis CHR 1089, CD: F2 21089)
(These two are available together on one CD from BGO.)
LONG MISTY DAYS – 1976 (Chrysalis 1107, CD: CHR 21107)
CITY DREAMS – 1977 (Chrysalis CHR 1148)
(These two are available together on one CD from BGO.)
CARAVAN TO MIDNIGHT – 1978 (Chrysalis CHR 1189, CD: F2-21189)
VICTIMS OF THE FURY – 1980 (Chrysalis CHR 1215, CD: F2-21215)
(These two are available together on one CD from BG0.)
BLT – 1981 (Chrysalis CHR 1324, CD: 21324)
TRUCE – 1981 (Chrysalis CHR 1352)
BACK IT UP – 1983 (Chrysalis 41420)
BLT was Jack Bruce (the new vocalist!), Bill Lordan on drums, and Robin Trower. (The best of the Jack Bruce material was re-issued on CD as NO STOPPING – 1989 (Chrysalis F2-21704).
BEYOND THE MIST – 1985 (Passport 6049)
PASSION – 1987 (GNP Crescendo 2187)
TAKE WHAT YOU NEED – 1988 (Atlantic 781-838-1)
IN THE LINE OF FIRE – 1990 (Atlantic 82080-2)
BBC RADIO ONE LIVE – 1992 (Griffin/Windsong GCD 336-2)
20TH CENTURY BLUES – 1994 (Demon, V-12 78857 500012)
SOMEDAY BLUES – 1997 (Demon, V-12 50020-2)
KING BISCUIT PRESENTS – 1995 (King Biscuit)
Procol Harum songs
versions of PH songs