Procol Harum

the Pale

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Sam Cameron's Procolpaedia


Originally a form of expression from the black American ghetto where speech (in place of singing) is allied to rhythm with instrumental musical backing relegated to a minor role. Although despised by many 'real' music lovers who is to say it is not a form of poetry if it is not music per se?

Its influence spread far beyond its origins into such preposterous white pop as Heart and Soul by T'Pau. Naturally the ever-vogueish Procol Harum would not be immune to this trend. In 1989 the first public airing of the Prodigal Stranger song Man With A Mission was delivered in France by Gary Brooker ("and friends"): this is indisputably a rap version although the slightly jump jazzy backing was reminiscent of Ian Dury and the Blockheads. As if to prove this was not a fluke, Gary took to rapping A Whiter Shade of Pale in the midst of other numbers during 1999 tours with Bill Wyman accompanied by Beverly Skeete calling 'Gary's in the house' lest the point be lost on us. (see here)

Affectedly amateurish USA band lead by Paul Westerburg. Had a habit of recording tribute songs [such as Alex Chilton] and [according to Ross Taylor] one is about Keith Reid ... though Ross now informs us that he was having a laugh and Mr Reid is not about the Keith Stuart Brian member of that tribe.

Some might say the world's greatest rock and roll band, but perhaps the socially related memories and iconic stature now leave more trace than the music.

Bill Wyman got to know the Paramounts in the days before the Rolling Stones were successful. Reportedly Brian Jones had an acetate of the first Procol album. In the mid-seventies Gary claimed that he had been asked to work on the new Stones album. Gary's association with Bill Wyman has endured. He played at Bill's wedding to Mandy Smith and has performed in Willie and the Poor Boys and (currently) in the Rhythm Kings.

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