Procol Harum

the Pale

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Broken Barricades

Contemporary album review ... and reaction

'Beautiful Procol': Mark Plummer, British music press (exact source unknown)

The reason for Procol Harum never being given the place that is rightfully theirs by British rock-and-roll audiences is something that is completely beyond me. Simply they are one of the top bands to have emerged from Britain, and with their funky rhythms and lyrics they compare favourably with the Grease Band and the Band. 

Here with Broken Barricades we have another beautiful piece of music compressed on to two sides of an album that will probably sell a few measly copies in Britain and thousands across the water where their music is fully appreciated.

As a band they have everything going for them musically: Gary Brooker, a fine singer and pianist; Chris Chopping [sic], a funky bassist, who plays pretty good organ, too; BJ Wilson, a drummer vastly underrated, and lastly Robin Trower, a guitarist who could play with the best and make an impression on tired bored ears. 

As far as Procol Harum albums go, this is not the best they have recorded and falls far short of some of their other classic material, but it is still damn good music that should be heard. Try this for size; you just cannot know what you have been missing since Procol Harum went down with A Whiter Shade Of Pale.

Reader's letter in response ...

Keith Reid probably had twins when he read Mark Plummer's incredible one-word definition of his lyrics, and fellow-sufferer Gary Brooker must also have given birth (to four-letter words and thoughts of poison-pen letters), as his beautiful arrangements on Broken Barricades can never, by any stretch of a musical imagination, be termed 'funky' (Ugh!)

Perhaps Robin Trower's composition Poor Mohammed comes very remotely near that over-hyped cliché; but please, don't insult Procol's few British devotees, as well as misleading your readers, by heralding their music with a term more applicable to soul or reggae!

A Bagley, 19 Woodland Rise, Welwyn Garden City

Same album: more reviews

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