Procol Harum is one of the many rock groups that you may be vaguely aware exists, but you can't really place in much context.
They are not churning out a string of hit records, yet you know that in rock music circles they are a respected group.
The five Britons will be in San Bernardino on Saturday night to jog a few memories. They will appear with Blodwyn Pig, another British group, and special guest star Leon Russell.
Procol Harum has actually made four albums including Shine on Brightly and A Salty Dog. Their latest is Home on A&M. They have also had a major hit single – A Whiter Shade of Pale – which rode the record charts for weeks in the summer of 1967.
After that hit, they all-but disappeared.
What they did actually was to regroup. They felt that all that fame and glory had come a little too quickly and that they didn't have the sound that they wanted.
The original members, Keith Reid and Gary Brooker, replaced the guys they had on guitar and drums and now the other members of the group are BJ Wilson, Chris Copping and Robin Trower.
In the late autumn of 1967, the Procol started turning out albums at the rate of about one a year. And they worked to develop their sound, which combines the powerful soul voice of Brooker, the lead guitar of Trower, the eerie liturgical organ, and Wilson's drums.
They have toured America several times and are hear now to bolster their fourth album. Last year they performed In Held ’Twas In I from their Spine [sic] on Brightly album and A Salty Dog with full orchestral backing at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada.
Blues rock artist Leon Russell, who is also on the bill with Procol Harum, is gaining a wide following with his guitar, piano and organ work.
Most of his career he has been a backup man for a lot of famous groups and musicians. Most recently he has been part of Delaney and Bonnie and Friends and Joe Cocker and his Mad Dogs and Englishmen.
But he is the emerging now as a performer in his own right and he currently has an album called Leon Russell in [sic] release on the Shelter label.
Russell was born in Oklahoma and studied classical piano for ten years. He has worked with Phil Spector, the Righteous Brothers, Herb Alpert, The Byrds and many others. His Los Angeles home is a fully equipped recording studio.
The Saturday night concert [it was 2 September 1970], which is being promoted by Concert Associates of Los Angeles, is having slow response at the ticket office. Last night’s Ten Years After concert at the Swing had sold only about 1,200 advance tickets by afternoon.
More Procol Harum history in print | Review of this gig | 1970 tour dates