Procol Harum

the Pale

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From Billboard down the years

Contemporary not to say contradictory album reviews


27 June 1970

Procol Harum is back with some personnel changes though their patented profound rock sound remains unchanged [sic]. Organist Matthew Fisher and David Knights are out, Chris Copping is in on organ and bass, while lyricist Keith Reid and Gary Brooker continue to write their operatic and apocalyptic rock allegories. Still There'll Be More, Nothing That I Didn't Know and Your Own Choice are powerful Procol Harum epics [sic].

Broken Barricades

8 May 1971

Procol Harum again investigates the possibilities of sound both in vocal and instrumental and remain one of the most interesting groups around. Released as the group tours the US, the LP features some fascinating songs by Keith Reid and Gary Brooker, including Luskus Delph, Playmate of the Mouth, and the title song.

Live In Concert With the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra

13 May 1972

Procol Harum (and friends) have created a magnificent album disproving the theory that the melding of rock groups with symphony orchestras has to result in a lot of pretentious hogwash. If Keith Reid is Procol's spirit then Gary Booker is its guts and backbone. Especially praiseworthy are the heights of feeling and emotion attained here.

A Whiter Shade of Pale

9 December 1972

This marks the reincarnation of Procol Harum's first album. Only [sic] the outer cover and the label have been changed, the music is still the same allegorical intense sort that proved so very fascinating six years ago. The highlights remain A Whiter Shade of Pale, Repent Walpurgis, Conquistador (in its original form) and A Christmas Camel.

Exotic Birds and Fruit

413 April 1974

Procol Harum stick fairly closely to their firmly established and quite successful formula of keyboard-based tunes punctuated by Gary Brooker's power filled vocals, but they seem more commercial than they have in their past few efforts without having sacrificed any of the quality of their performance. As usual, Keith Reid has put together a fine group of lyrics and the band is tight without featuring any one outstanding soloist. Unlike recent efforts, this LP contains a number of potential singles, and should once again widen the band's audience that greeted their Whiter Shade of Pale some eight years ago. Best cuts: Beyond the Pale, As Strong as Samson, Monsieur R. Monde [!].

Procol's Ninth

16 August 1975

Procol Harum seemed to have been lost in their own musical world over the past few years, with the resulting LPs often seeming contrived and somewhat pretentious [but see above!]. With this set, Gary Brooker has started to use his powerful, soulful voice again, Keith Reid is writing short, good but easy to listen to songs, the legendary team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller are producing the band and the result is their best and most commercial set since A Salty Dog. Strings and horns are here, but they're kept in the background as support instruments. Here, as opposed to recent LPs [sic], the band's music dominates, with each member getting a chance to show his wares in a solo spot of sorts. Strong emphasis on rhythm here, as well as on strong rock guitar from Mick Grabham. Musical feel is from rock to jazz to blues to soul to a tinge of classical. Even a Cab Calloway feel here and there. Best cuts: Fools Gold, Taking The Time, The Final Thrust, Without A Doubt, The Piper's Tune, Eight Days A Week [!]

Something Magic

12 March 1977

This stalwart progressive English rock group paves new ground [sic] with its second side 18 minute three-part suite The Worm & The Tree. This synthesized symphonic sounding fable is an ambitious effort both lyrically and orchestrally. The band, now together 10 years, still features Gary Brooker's distinguished vocals and the strong lyrics of Keith Reid. The remainder of the band is also intact [sic] with Pete Solley supplying the haunting synthesizer. Best cuts: The Worm & The Tree, Something Magic, The Mark Of The Claw

Other reviews of PH albums

Billboard charts: lots of data


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