Procol Harum

the Pale

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Broken Barricades : contemporary album review

Anne Marie Micklo in Rock, 5 July 1971


Incredible sexual imagery; humor subtlety and exaggeration

Well. See, when I sat down to write this it was with a couple of sheets of notes next to me, on which I had scribbled hasty thoughts that would burst in enlightening flashes whenever I listened to Procol Harum, things about Home being an album about death and Broken Barricades one about decomposition; or things about the group being a vegetable garden and Keith Reid the coffee grind / eggshell compost heap; or things about this album's being most analogous to earth-good rich warm moist black fertile earth. But they're all very elementary now, those flashes and analogies and comparisons, because they're all after the fact. They're not valid anymore, because I've accepted the album as part of me, and since it is, all I can do is tell you about me.

For the past month or so, ever since Broken Barricades came out, I've been using it to supply myself with strength in the evening, or morning, or morningnoonandnight if I have a day off ... not the way I use the Stones, who have never failed to give me the energy necessary to complete any task immediately at hand, but more to sustain my vision, keep the faith - to shore up what seemed at times to be a sorely lacking conviction that it was worth going on.

This may not impress you, after all you've got troubles of your own, it's no hanging matter, you have only my word of the degree of my despair to guide you. But an album - a work of art, any thing - that remains so infused with power comes from more than just a happy coincidence of circumstance and time. Procol Harum have sustained me. Luskus Delph, Playmate of the Mouth, Power Failure. Incredible sexual imagery; humor, subtlety and exaggeration. These have sustained me. Simple Sister. Robin Trower's guitar notes, one, by one, by mute-screamed one, have done the same.

At night I sit down, put on Broken Barricades, and prepare to work. More often than not, I spend the rest of the night lost in some sort of mental reverie. I "get nothing done" that you could see. But my mind has been to lots of places. Lots. It's my word against yours. But you're a fool if you don't take me up on it.

Thanks, Marvin, for finding, transcribing and
commenting: 'seems as if it would have made good liner notes for the album'

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