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To online Procol people, 2002

'The Commander's Christmas Speech' from Gary Brooker

Gary Brooker sends a special greeting to all online Procol people at the end of the year 2002! This message was handwritten by Gary, typed up by Franky, and sent by FAX to BtP UK, where it was scanned and retyped. See the full-size FAX [466k] by clicking here

Dear Roland, Jens, and all at BtP

The Commander's Christmas speech.

At last the time has come for a new PH studio album. It's hard to conceive that there's been more time between PH (XI) and (XII) than 1967 -77. "Prodigal Stranger" was an album made over 18 months with the passing of BJ in between and the record company was not as long-lasting as PH, which took the wind out of the sail. But now we're in full flight with the band that has been regular 'on stage' for many years, and the opportunity given by Terry Shand's Eagle Records come at a good time.

We're happy with what we've accomplished in the studio at Roger Taylor's barn, Rafe McKenna in the producer's chair and Josh the engineer has produced a fine sounding album. Keith has given some gems and all the band given their best. This is all we can do ... 'until the next'. Hopefully Eagle will see a longer project than Zoo.

The year 2002 has been up & down, some great gigs for Procol in Denmark, Poland and Italy, the completion of an album, and yet 'Holding On' is still a current song.

It's been fantastic how BtP has informed fans that we were appearing in their "coin du monde" . Thanks to everybody and for a great meeting at Croydon this year.

Finally, the Palers' Project album is to me what it must be like to listen to a new PH album. It was obvious, even a couple of tracks in, that this was no 'pastiche' but a great appreciation of past works. By the end I began to see how important the words had been! I always knew this but to see my tunes 'bunged out the window' was a pleasure; at no point was the original musical mood lost. The 'Palers' Project' certainly proved something I'd never dared to dream, that PH songs were coverable; of course they are, it just takes imagination and artistry!

The input with the "Project" was too numerous and inspired to point out - let me tell you'all that it's been compulsive listening for Franky and I since Xmas day. "Well done" is not good enough, and I was really moved by every track.

If Procol weren't actually doing something now, that would have made me run out and "do it"!!!!!!

I love you all.

Gary B

'Beyond the Pale' keeps an archive of the Commander's Yuletide greetings: to review past salutations, click on 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, or 2001

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