Procol Harum

the Pale 

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'Too Many Poets'

Chris Copping's Verdict, Part 1

Chris Copping writes to BtP:

KR lyrics are like jewels in a Swiss watch. They sparkle. They have a life and rhythm of their own yet they beg to be set to music. And when the combination is right the whole takes on the stature of a Turner painting.

So what are we looking for apart from Alpine horology and Pre-Impressionist painting?

Apart from the rhythm, the words have to sound right when sung.

And KR lyrics abound in acerbic wit, strange juxtapositions, poetic images. But never overstated.

Before going into the serious contenders in this well-turned out comp, let's give an honorary mention to some of the parodies and spoofs. She wandered through the Internet was pretty funny, Grunt Finale so silly I couldn't help laughing. And what was the one with "vestal vinyls?" I also liked the name Bob Zimmerframe. In Hell also amusing, but my award for humor must go to the Dogshit Twins although the band never sacked the producer.('Twas Chris Wright, LAIRD of Kensington).

NOW on to serious stuff which could make a PH song (as opposed to a party piece for the Palers). The following is a result of narrowing the field down from over 100 entries to under 20:

1 Makes me Wonder

I like the name Jimmy Butcher and I quite like the chorus but I’m not sure about mates and States. Overall this entry scans OK but lacks the correct Procolic ring 

2 Two Sides to Every Coin
[Alan Terego]

There are two verses that scan rather nicely but there seem to be two versions of the chorus and a possible bridge. If shuffling the pack is allowed this will make it to the next round although you wouldn't shuffle a KR lyric

3 Tomorrow's Tombstones

Some very nice imagery indeed here. But I cannot hear it being sung successfully certainly not in a Procolian context.

4 Whiter Shades
[Dion Charles]

Who wrote this? Gotta be a Southend boy ... who else would know Crowstone, Chawkwell Park, Peter Pan’s playground. And although the verses stop this entry getting any further I think the chorus is very nice – and the connection between the Shades and Whiter Shade is interesting – and coincidental.

5 Cream of the Crop
[Eve Ryman]

This has many Procolian qualities not least its rhythm – it all scans pretty well apart from the bridge – they are words that will sound good when sung. It's that nice abstract content which gives many a PH song extra depth – so see you next round

6 Rainbow Sewer
[Andrea Loud-Warehouse & Tabitha Rice Paper]

I love the authors’ names and I love the oxymoron of tedious epiphanies almost like ships running afloat. But it does sound a bit New Lamps for Old.

7 Darkest Before the Dawn
[Ramblin' Ron]

Three verses and a chorus all hang together pretty well – they will sing OK (maybe a preposition altered here and there). I like the "corpse is self-composing", I like the general occult whiff – not sure about the middle – don't mind the optimism (light at end of tunnel) but it just doesn't seem to sing well – maybe it could be spoken. Through to next round

8 A Moment in Time
[Farther Tyme]

Absolutely no doubt of the title as each verse or whatever begins with it. But it all reads and scans well – and will sing well – a challenge for the music writer

9 The Sad Ascent

This flows from start to finish – it asks for music – it sounds quite PROCOLIAN with maybe a soupcon of vintage Elton John – definitely a finalist

10 Suspended Sentence
[Andromeda Sago]

This has a late 60s PH ring to it without reminding of any particular song

11 The Life I Know
[Chuck S]

Another strong contender – well written, scans, sings, interesting imagery. We could have an album’s worth at this rate

12 Taken Away
[Joseph Craig]

Well written, scans well but somehow a very straight set of words with no twist (like "I wish that I could have died instead" etc). If the standard were not so high, this could have made the next round.

13 It All Came Undone

Again, without the competition of some of the above entries, this could easily make the next round. But it is not only these entries – there is the real PH tale of the same thing in Nothing but the Truth one of my favourites ever.

14 Mr Bartholomew’s Dream
[Charles David]

Definite hint of Dylan on this one. And it’s different enough. Yeah – next round.

15 Perfectly Drowned
[Romulus Remus]

Can't make up my mind about this one. It made it so far but I have to pass on it for now.

16 Alamo
[Basil Eunathco]

Pretty bizarre imagery – then again pretty bizarre times – in fact it is so topical it has to go through – another big challenge to the music writer (will need more than a hint of Morricone)

17 Wanderers in the Dark
[Mel Drum]

Great hook, nice sense of mystery – has the right Procolic ring AND A Bloomsday connection – actually the most Blooming lyric (the Ithaka chapter)

18 Johnson's Corner

VERY strange – do we allow Rizlas in PH songs (certainly allowed in the dressing room) – we shall see.

Chris Copping's Final Cut

Manchester: Palers' Convention

Back to 'Too Many Poets'

 Index of Faux-lyrics for 'Too Many Poets'

Thanks, Jonas Söderström, for the banner!

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