Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum at Crystal Palace, July 1974

Josef K at The Archive

Here's an excerpt, reproduced by kind permission of the webmaster, from an interesting page about the Crystal Palace gig on 27 July 1974 at which Procol Harum performed. Do explore the ambitious parent site ['Being a history (of sorts) of commercial Rock festivals of the United Kingdom , from 1961 to 1975 and of the Free Festivals of the United Kingdom , from 1970-1985'] not least for its spacious treatment of the great Vivian Stanshall.

"Strangely enough Procol Harum was scheduled next. You'd have expected them just prior to Wakeman's pièce de résistance but I suppose Chrysalis, their record company, wanted to promote heavily Leo Sayer who was a "promising singer-composer" teaming with David Courtney.

"Anyway, Procol Harum delivered a very honest set (13 numbers) starting with their very own version of Music for the funeral of Queen Mary freely adapted from Walter Carlos's version of Purcell as heard in Kubrick's Clockwork Orange. This led into Bringing Home the Bacon, Shine On Brightly, Homburg, Grand Hotel, and culminated with the last two numbers Butterfly Boys and Simple Sister, the drive of the band contrasting with Gary Brooker's apparent delusion with the rock world.

"I was never a fan of this band but was strongly impressed by their performance and bought Exotic Birds and Fruit which they had come to promote. I remember reading an article by a British music weekly critic who said both Procol Harum and Leo Sayer sounded as if the snare drum had been mixed in stereo through the PA and like there were two snare drums; listening back to the tapes today I must admit the sound is weird but altogether very pleasant ...

"... Not one of my greatest musical emotions but a nice day on the green, no more no less - with a mention to Procol Harum's Mick Grabham for some nice licks."

Josef K.

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