Procol Harum

the Pale

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Christmas Quiz 2015/16

The Solutions

First, competitors had these quite easy questions to answer. The search-engine resources specified each day were usually pretty useful, and common sense ruled out a lot of the answers as irrelevant, or otherwise wrong-headed.

Day 1 When Procol Harum shared the bill with The Bee Gees in Stuttgart, how many songs did they perform that were on the original UK release of their first album?
Four, if you count Repent Walpurgis, the instrumental, as a 'song'

Correct: clue letters W and T

Procol Harum and the Bee Gees in Stuttgart, I don't believe that ever happened

March 1968 ... lots of evidence at BtP, the only source of Procol Harum info you'll need for the present task

It's a total of eight songs, if you count youthful hits like AWSoP and Homburg too

Those 'youthful hits' weren't on the album
Day 2 What squats on the piano,  next to the music desk, on the UK Shine on Brightly album cover?
It appears to be a Prussian Blue clock of rather odd design

Correct: clue letters O and R

That's not a piano, dumbass, it's a harpsichord

Despite having only 69 keys, its heavy build and characteristic casework are unmistakably pianistic. The 'Harpsichord from Hell' appellation is misguided.

It's quite clearly a Fat Old Buddha of rather ordinary design

The Old Buddha's not on the music desk; he's on the horizon.
Day 3 Many tracks on Procol's third studio album open with sounds that had not started any of their earlier songs. Which song starts and ends with the same sound, one they never used again in the studio?
Difficult one; I reckon A Salty Dog must be the song you're referring to

Correct (sound of gulls): clue letters R and A

Easy one; pretty obviously you get that solo acoustic guitar only on Too Much Between Us

But that's not the sound that ends the song as well

Long Gone Geek
... what a classic belter. Why wasn't it on the album?

Exactly: not on the album
Day 4 Which song lyric on Procol Harum's 1970 LP masterpiece was said, by Keith Reid, to have come to him after watching the film Midnight Cowboy?
Mr Reid once claimed that Midnight Cowboy prompted him to write The Dead Man's Dream

Correct: clue letters D and M

No More Fear of Flying
is the only Procol track with 'sacred cow' on it

True ... but not relevant to the question

Lay Lady Lay
, written for the film, uses the same four chords as About to Die. You can sing the one over the intro to the other. Don't believe me, schmuck? Try it.

All true. But it doesn't answer the question
Day 5 The Broken Barricades LP sounded quite un-Procol like when it was released, yet over a third of the album's songs have been performed by the band with orchestras. Which song was released, in its orchestrated form, as a top 20 'B' side?
Has to be that song where Gary sings 'peach preserve'.

Correct (Luskus Delph): clue letters S and P

Simple Sister
was definitely played at the Edmonton gig, but not recorded: that's the version on the 'B' side to the 1972 chart success Conquistador.

Hard to see how something that wasn't recorded could have been a 'B' side

My best guess is that long, very heavily produced track about the Grand Hotel. I forget the name of it.

It's called Grand Hotel, and it wasn't on Broken Barricades
Day 6 Which Procol song (heard on the 1971/2 live orchestral album) apparently has an unstable title?
's original album sleeve has Look to Your Soul – but the 2015 double-vinyl reissue calls that song I Know if I'd Been Wiser
Correct: clue letters H and L

Definitely Whaling Story. The earlier issue on Home is printed as Whaling Story pt II

It isn't printed as that. GB has announced Whaling Stories (not 'Story') as 'Pt II' in concert

It's a trick question. In Held 'Twas in I is not, strictly speaking, a song at all, but a quasi-Wagnerian suite, or cycle, of thematically related yet harmonically (and indeed melodically) distinctive pastiches.

Irrelevant, pretentious bullshit ...
Day 7 Why does Mick Grabham look so tall in the group photos on the Grand Hotel album?
Mick's head is superimposed on another man's body. It would have been unfeasibly expensive to re-shoot the photograph after lanky Dave Ball – who was originally the guitarist in the shot – had left the band

Correct, strangely enough: clue letters U and E

For pity's sake, man, there's nothing particularly strange about being that tall. The whole idea of 'average height' implies that there will be some people taller than it, and some less tall; but we're not necessarily talking giants and dwarfs.

The voice of reason, some might say – but not a relevant answer

He was tall because his macrobiotic diet was so healthy. He wouldn't eat ordinary food. I know for a fact that he was obligated to leave the band in 1977 because he had simply grown too tall to play safely on any indoor stage.

'For a fact'? Like many cyberfacts, this is twaddle
Day 8 Exotic Birds and Fruit contains a song that refers to Procol Harum's then record company ... not their first album to do so!
Look at the Shine on Brightly album, I think it's the first song on the second side: the name of the band's record company is part of the title of that one. Butterfly Boys is a coded reference to the Chrysalis record label, which they were on after that.

Correct (Magdalene): clue letters F and S

But it's possible that A Dream in Ev'ry Home is really 'A Deram in Ev'ry Home', which was true, if you think back to the time – 1967 or so – when the band's big hit (A Whiter Shade of Pale, on the Deram label) was at the top of the charts.

The anagram works, just about, but it's daft, and that song came out after Butterfly Boys anyway

You cannot be serious.

Oh yes we can
Day 9 Which of these tiny sonic ingredients of Procol's Ninth can be detected with ordinary hi-fi listening equipment?
Often overlooked, the still small voice (sounding like lyricist Keith Reid) which says 'hi'
from inside the mix at 2.29 in The Piper's Tune
Correct (have a listen!): clue letters F and I

Faintly audible, the persistent incisive croaking of David Sanborn's alto sax at 4.42 on Taking the Time
The track (as released) doesn't last that long; I'm not sure one can be particularly certain which sounds originate with Sanborn anyway

The masterful restraint of Alan Cartwright's plectrum, hovering expectantly over the strings of his bass in the first nine seconds of the excellent Fools Gold
A hovering pick makes no sound, and there's no bass on the first nine seconds of the song
Day 10 Which piece from Something Magic was played live by Procol Harum with The Hallι Orchestra?
It was surely Strangers in Space:  a very lovely number from this album
Correct: clue letters L and N

Man with a Mission
, and surprisingly nice it was too.
They played it, yes; but it's not from the right album

Enormous chords (representing The Tree) as the poor Worm gets torn asunder by a particularly vicious guitar-solo, representing The Young Man and his Sword.
All very interesting ... but TWatT wasn't played, live, with the Hallι nor with any other orchestra
Day 11 Name a song published on The Prodigal Stranger that we have not yet heard on stage (according to BtP's setlists, at any rate!).
Didn't we shout enough for The Pursuit of Happiness? Apparently they didn't hear us. It would be so nice to hear that one ending a concert instead of Conquistador or A Whiter Shade of Pale.
Correct, sadly: clue letters E and F

Many's the time I've wept tears of woe over this mysterious omission: unfortunately it's Holding On, which is really good on the record.
Holding On has been very frequently played live

Some of the other correspondents' answers are a bit baroque, possibly to the point of bogusness. Mine is straightforward: A Real Attitude !

A Real Attitude
is a leftover song from the album, not published and as far as we know played only once live
Day 12 Which song – which track – was reported to be Keith Reid's favourite from the The Well's on Fire set?
He told BtP in 2003 that the rather ordinary Every Dog Will Have His Day was his favourite ... though he did also say 'basically I pretty much like all of it'
Correct, strangely: clue letters R and O

Obviously Procol Harum found the instrumental track – the album's grandiose closing statement – a pretty good gigging number but, as Keith had made no contribution to it, he couldn't be held responsible if punters didn't like it for any reason
How does this opaque proclamation answer the question?

Every Dog Will Have Its Day
. You can find the answer easily by searching the 'Beyond the Pale' fan website, which I ran across lately for the first time.

That's not the correct title of a Procol song. You can find this out easily by searching the 'Beyond the Pale' fan website.

Now the way forward was a piece of cake, really. The First Letter of Each Correct Answer contained information that helped competitors find a crucial 'Clue Word' ...

They just had to convert the First Letter of Each Answer  into a number, using this table:
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

If the First Letter of the answer was, for instance, 'M' ... then converting 'M' to '13', and counting along, the Clue Word would be the 13th word in the answer.

Many competitors spotted, as we'd hoped, that this principle ruled out some of the answers ... one that starts with an 'M' – 'Man with a Mission,
and surprisingly nice it was too' – but isn't even 13 words long is not going to contain a Clue Word.

The Clue Words are printed in Red in the table of answers above

The initials of the Clue Words spelt  W O R D   S H U F F L E R

To which competitors added the initials of the words in green that followed the red words

T R A M P L E S   I N F O

Taken together, WORD SHUFFLER TRAMPLES INFO looks like a pretty convincing message, from the puzzle's compiler, that you're on the right lines.

The riddle was, can you use these 24 letters to make the titles of two Procol Harum tracks, occurring on the same album
(considering only the twelve albums featured in this twelve-day quiz – original UK issues, no bonus tracks)
and, crucially, separated by one track in the running order?

It was easy and quick to establish how few pairs of almost-adjacent tracks have names amounting to 24 letters!

Reordering the letters ...


... reveals a high proportion of F and R ... which surely signals 'Fresh Fruit'

If you take out those letters, you're left with

A D E F L L M N O O P R S W ... which is not hard to wordshuffle into 'New Lamps for Old'

 The place to look for the prize-winning answer was in the song that separates the anagrammatised tracks Fresh Fruit and New Lamps for Old ...
which was of course Butterfly Boys, to which your attention has already been drawn in the questions on Exotic Birds and Fruit.

The final final instruction invited competitors to listen to Butterfly Boys, identify the chorus (the bit where a section of melody
has the same words each time we hear it – unlike the 'verse', where the words are typically different each time we hear the melody),
and send us a one-word answer ... the last word of the chorus of that song.

It's CAKE ... as foretold by wording such as 'icing on the camels' back' or 'piece of piss', and indeed the graphic on the first and last pages of the competition (and this one).
By making the answer effectively a piece of cake we hope we satisfied the two members of Procol's rhythm section who asked for easier puzzles this year.

Competitors' reactions made pretty interesting reading (here)... BtP's glad that people have on the whole enjoyed the fun!

Back to the how-to-play page for the 2015 'Beyond the Pale' Christmas puzzles | Back to the worked example | Schedule of Triumphant Victors

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home