Really Procol Harum is Gary Brooker, Keith Reid and Mathew [sic] Fisher. Gary writes beautiful songs, Keith writes probably the most original lyrics to be heard in England since John Lennon first put pen to paper, and Mathew is a stately organist whose vast waves of sound add immense richness and fullness to Procol’s overall sound.
As a first LP this is staggering in its wealth of musical ideas. The much-discussed Procol progress post Pale is actually fulfilling all its vast early promise and confounding all the yeah-but-they’ll-never-be-able-to-follow-it-up brigade.
‘To Be Listened To In The Spirit In Which It Was Made’ says the only line on the sleeve which is not actual information about the record. And there you go. It’s just too easy to say ‘but the words don’t mean anything’ – but that could be said about just about anything, from Lewis Carroll and Bob Dylan to Salvador Dali or John Lennon.
In fact the only criticism which could be levelled at the LP as a whole is that Gary Brooker’s voice, distinctive and pretty though it is on most of the tracks, isn’t quite strong enough to carry off the album. Maybe if they could develop another vocalist or some harmony work Procol would be perfect.
Musically, the group is beautiful. Throughout the record Mathew’s organ and Robin Trower on lead guitar lead the group into some incredible flights of fancy. The drums and bass both lay down a full solid beat to help achieve that rich Procol sound.
Best tracks? Conquistador is everybody’s favourite.
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