'Beyond the Pale'
The Procol biography: comments by Chris Copping
Chris Copping sent these notes to Diane Rolph when he first read Claes Johansen's Procol Harum : Beyond the Pale : here he has tidied and expanded them for BtP. It's an interesting mixture of criticism and endorsement, and it will be interesting also to hear Claes's response in due course.
- 28 pages on the Paramounts and only 15 on PH 1972-77 is particularly annoying with its inaccuracies on the Paramounts ... a prιcis of the quotes from the Whiter Shades of R'n'B compilation would have been more appropriate.
- p 15 loss of Robin's mother: She was alive and well when Robin and I first got together (late 50s)
we used to go round her place for doughnuts sometimes at tea-time. I also knew Shirley, Len Trower's second wife
- p 18-19 as I remember it, the first gig with no singer had us split the vocals
we took it in turn I think I sang Down the Line for example. But very badly. And Gary was the least bad. I'm not sure if I said "You could be like Ray," but someone did for sure. In fact p 2021 is riddled with errors.
- The Paramounts Compilation album has pretty good notes I left around Christmas 1962
we'd had 1-2 years at The Shades with regular line-up. Pre that, I guess 1960/61-ish we had other singers as well as Bob Scott (Billy Kent, Jimmy Miskell ... who remembers that?!). I believe Tony Diamond sang in some combination of ours (pre-Paramounts) because he was on the one of the two Rock Across the Channel gigs when the Shads played and Gene Vincent couldn't make it. I remember Tony saying to one of them "If Vincent was 'ere, you'd look like kids." Actually the Shads had a really tight sound with Meehan on his Gretch kit and Jet Harris looking and sounding cool. Then there were the guitars!
- We played a couple of US bases when I was there West Malling, and Bentwater I can remember.
- I may have suggested Diz to the guys. Then BJ came later. I met him and still went to the odd gig even when I was at Uni. They dropped in on me once when I was "up" at Leicester
I always remember Robin shoving a few quid in my hand enough for a fortnight's beer at least
very generous family, the Trowers.
- p 33 I think Gary used a Hohner PIANETTE (the Clav was used on many a funky record
and also on The Unquiet Zone but that was much later.
- Good, the mention of Reidy and Marc Bolan: but stop trying to analyse KR lyrics
best just treat them like a painting, esp. when married to music..
- He rightly praises Cerdes and Kaleidoscope great tunes.
- The chord sequence in Repent was that of Beggin' by 4 Seasons.
- Not bad coverage of Shine on and Salty LPs
- p 128 Waltham Abbey not Walton
- Correct mention of early recordings on Home in film.
- p130 Have a good idea that Liquorice John Death was belted out after finishing recording Home. It was a great night.
- Claes seems to damn Whisky Train with faint praise. I am proud of being part of that
important to mention that it was recorded completely live on to 2 track tape. ("No you can't turn the guitar up!"). But: correct mention of the different factions in Home songs
- Not sure it was Larry Adler on harmonica it may have been someone called Morrie
Adler was not the only harmonica player.
[Roland from BtP adds: it was Harry Pitch: see
- Unlike Claes, I like the contrast between the death-images of Home and the playful cover. It's great. Giving an alternative running order on Home is a bit opinionated but I s'pose it reminds that CDs can be reprogrammed ( yawn)
puts Isle of Wight down I remember GB singing Salty just as the Sun
was setting and it was magic. Otherwise it was fairly R&B Mojo or some mag had a good word for that set.
- The Philly bootleg may in fact have been WPLJ which I have on a boot vinyl at wrong speed
[review here] and also has examples of the "fart machine." (see illustration)
- Could've mentioned that Barricades was the first 16-track PH
recording (maybe he did) important for a great drum sound.
- Simple Sister Gary orchestrated it. Why would George Martin conduct it? Check that ...
- p 137: OK for an author to have an opinion, but GB piano solos in About to Die & Memorial Drive are brilliant understatements that any Booker T fan would appreciate
- p138 I am sure that the UK / Jethro Tull tour was Autumn 1970 not 1971. I remember Trower asking one of Tull about their "flute player".
- p141 I don't think that Maff ever admitted Dave Ball's guitar being the
reason for not partying, until years later. What if Mickie had turned up then
Maff might have stayed, I might have got good on bass, Maff might have enjoyed touring and pigs might have flown.
- Should we mention that Dave's Conquistador solo was overdubbed in the studio. More important to mention Chris T joining up different takes to get the best bits on Edmonton. The orchestra were crap and CT did a brilliant salvage job.
- He correctly mentions Mick's head on Dave's body no Photoshop then.
- Observations on Fruit pretty good. I think that it is a superior album to Grand
Grand is classic BUT Birds and Fruit F*ckin' Rocked something PH did not always do naturally. Mojo mag (couple of years ago) described Side 1 as being a bastard
that was praise. Chris Thomas deserves a lot of the credit for that album. But the record company in their wisdom blamed the producer for not setting the charts alight.
- We tried producing The Poet ourselves and it was very ploddy. Then we met with Bob Ezrin. We loved his production on Cooper and Lou Reed. BJ had played on some of the Berlin sessions and I joined in on one. Although my bass wasn't used I got to see Bob in action
very impressive. But when Bob heard our demo, he said "I don't hear it, too many gaps" etc etc. So it didn't happen (not mentioned in the book)
- Leiber & Stoller were great like meeting royalty. In early days they'd produced acts like the Drifters where they used orchestral instruments in a very hip way
before Spector or Brian Wilson. They actually produced a fine sounding record. If only we had done So Far Behind instead of Eight Days a Week the album might have been meatier.
- New Line-Up: Pete's Farfisa was the one Sly used, and through a Leslie didn't sound too bad-better for modern sounds (the slalom pedal for instance). Maybe Salty and AWSoP etc needed the real McHammond but we were trying to adapt to the modern age
Pete had a Multiman synth which did brass and harpsichord etc and was pretty nifty with an ARP Odyssey. He should not be criticised. I thought his modern keyboard sound gave us a kick up the 70s.
- In Miami the band has to bear some of the brunt we co-produced it can't pin it all on the Alberts. I thought at the time that Worm
was special sort of Tolkien-like. We let someone else orchestrate the title track (the concert master) and it was very proficient but a bit Hollywood
GB could have given it a bit of wellie.
- 1971-APRIL US Trower's last tour
- 1971 JULY 1st tour with Cartwright and Ball, played Edmonton (regular gig)
- 1971 NOV 2nd tour with above LIVE ORCH gig in Edmonton
- 71-72 Start recording Grand Hotel
- 1972 US April tour, LIVE starts climbing charts
- SUMMER 1972 LIVE climbs and peaks at #5. Eagles warm-up band, etc etc, bit of friction in camp, Dave's last tour. Find Mick: Rainbow Concert
what a first gig for Mick baptism by fire. Scandinavian tour
- Autumn 72, re-start Grand Hotel : think we started each song again except Souvenir. Check with CT but I'm pretty sure
but then he was remixing Moon at same time
- 1973- Coerced into signing with Chrysalis (Warners) met Mo Ostin at T Ellis's house
BJ brought up the "Science student in Don't Look Back" where Terry Ellis, looking like Clark Kent, attempts to "interview" his Bobness (chortle)
- APRIL first US tour with Mickie big party at Plaza/NY