Procol Harum

the Pale

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Home ... Plus!

WESM 535: Liner notes

By the time A Salty Dog was released, both Matthew Fisher and Dave Knights had split from the group. It was now decided that Fisher would be the group's producer. Former Paramount Chris Copping was enlisted to play bass, and lyric-writer Keith Reid (a non-musician) attempted to play the Hammond. Four tracks for Procol's fourth album were recorded on this basis, but scrapped when they proved to be 'unsatisfactory'. George Martin protιgι Chris Thomas (then at the start of what continues to be a long and illustrious career in record production) was enlisted as producer – a relationship that would endure for a further four albums – and Procol's fourth album, entitled Home, went into production throughout February / March 1970.

Procol were now a four-piece, with Copping playing bass and occasional organ (and bass keyboard when on tour). This led to a much more rock-oriented band, who were in effect The Paramounts re-born. The material on this album is more consistent and stronger than that on its predecessor, A Salty Dog. But it is a dark album: Keith Reid's lyrics are preoccupied with death and nightmares. However, they do make for extremely evocative compositions, and come no better than the surreal nightmarish sea-shanty Whaling Stories, a song which paved the way for many 1970s' 'progressive' rock groups. At the other end of the spectrum are the upbeat rockers Still There'll Be More and Your Own Choice, the latter featuring great, albeit uncredited, harmonica playing from the legendary Larry Adler. No singles were released from this album in the UK, although the Trower / Reid composition Whisky Train, a take on Elvis Presley's Mystery Train, was released as a single in the States. The album charted at UK #49 and US #34.

Procol Harum went on to make a further six albums before splitting up in the wake of Disco and Punk in May 1977, ten years after their inception. They reformed in 1991 and recorded The Prodigal Stranger for ZOO / BMG. In 1996 they released The Long Goodbye (The Symphonic Music of Procol Harum) for BMG, featuring The London Symphony Orchestra. 2,000 people attended a live equivalent of the album at London's Barbican on February 6th 1996. On July 19th 1997 Procol Harum celebrated their 30th anniversary with a very special concert in Redhill, Surrey. Virtually every Procol line-up appeared on stage, and the gig concluded with everybody gathering together for a rousing version of A Whiter Shade of Pale.

Home – original credits
Gary Brooker – piano / vocals
Robin Trower – guitar
BJ Wilson – drums
Chris Copping – Hammond organ / bass guitar
Keith Reid – words

Chris Thomas – producer
Jeff Jarratt – engineer
David Bailey – photographer
Dickinson – album cover designer

Originally released in the UK on EMI Regal Zonophone SLRZ 1014 in 1970.

Robin Trower and Chris Copping, Procol 1970; possibly at the Isle of Wight Festival

HOME – the original album
The previously-released portion of Home ... plus! has been remastered from the original Ό inch production tape as used for the mastering of the original vinyl release of SLRZ 1014

Whisky Train
Within 18 months Robin Trower would split from Procol to form his own band. By 1975 he was selling out stadiums in the USA and entering The Billboard Top Ten. His post-Procol work was very different to this particular composition.

The Dead Man's Dream
This song was, according to Keith Reid, inspired by the film Midnight Cowboy – although no lyric alludes to it. Seen from 'the perspective of a dead man', this was so disturbing that John Peel allegedly refused to have the group play it on his radio show!

Still There'll Be More
'I'll blacken your Christmas and piss on your door', writes Reid, who explained to a 1974 Texas radio audience that the song was ' ... supposed to be ... a venomous outpouring at someone ... really telling somebody off!'.

Nothing That I Didn't Know
A great acoustic Procol lament, with superb vocalising from Brooker, accompanied (unusually) by his accordion playing.

About To Die
This Trower / Reid composition, with its curious theology, was a 'live' favourite in 1970 / 71: the original written lyrics of this song occasionally differ to those which Gary actually sings here.

Barnyard Story
'I was living in the graveyard ... maybe death will be my cure', writes Reid, who seems to be looking back on a time of former inspiration: 'Once I stood upon Olympus'.

Piggy Pig Pig
This is an absolute stormer! Recently revived by Procol at their 30th Anniversary Reunion gig, it is truly a neglected Procol classic! According to Chris Copping, Keith Reid '... might have even played [Hammond] on the record', as he can be seen to do in the 1970 Copping Brothers film, The Procol Harum, made for Australian TV; a fan-club video of this is now available (check 'Beyond the Pale' at for details)

Whaling Stories
Later re-recorded Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in 1971, this became a Procol standard, which was known to last over ten minutes 'live'. Despite its complex and innovative structure, Gary Brooker was known to introduce it on stage as 'The Procol Blues'.

Your Own Choice
This rocker was one of the great successes of Procol's Isle of Wight performance in 1970, though sadly not included in the transmitted TV documentary. 'There's too many poets and not enough rhyme ...' writes Keith Reid, mocking his own craft, tongue-in-cheek, at the end of one of Procol's finest albums!

Bonus Tracks
The following tracks were mixed down from the original eight-track one inch multi-track session tapes, and are being released for the very first time. An extensive archive trawl by Abbey Road studio librarians Cary Anning and Ian Pickavance enable [sic] us to bring them to you. The songs were mixed and remastered by Nick Watson at Sound Recording Technology Studios, St Ives, Cambridgeshire on 16 and 17 December 1998.

The songs are a combination of either the best alternative takes available, and [sic] the best alternative mixes that have yet appeared on compact disc.

Rockin' Warm-Up / Go Go Go (Move On Down The Line)
Done 'live' in the studio, this is purely an ad lib warm-up for the beginning of the Home recording sessions. Suitably impressed, producer Chris Thomas would oversee Procol's recording of a Rock'n'Roll covers LP later the same year. Entitled Ain't Nothing To Get Excited About, it was recorded under the pseudonym 'Liquorice John Death' as a tribute to a friend of the band's, Dave Mundy, who provided the name. Although bootlegged rather badly, the said album remained unreleased until 1998! Ain't Nothing To Get Excited About is now available on Gary Brooker's own label, and can be obtained by sending £13 by cheque / PO to Gazza Records, PO Box 166, Godalming, Surrey GU8 4YG. These tracks, however, have never been released on any album by Procol Harum, nor on the above 'Liquorice John' CD.

The Dead Man's Dream – Take #7
This alternate take is a later and altogether more chilling version.

Procol have a laugh ...

This shows just how happy the reformed Paramounts were back then.

 Still There'll Be More – Take #3

This earlier alternate take is a wonderful ad-lib instrumental jam, and refutes any allegations from the uninformed that Procol could not rock.

About To Die – Take #1 (breaks down) + Take #2 (complete)
Earlier takes without the vocal part: altogether rather different.

Barnyard Story – Take #4
This is the original take remixed and remastered with Chris Copping's Gothic-sounding Hammond in full church mode, and higher in the mix.

Piggy Pig Pig – Take #2
Chris Thomas provides the intro. This is the original take remixed and remastered with a bit more pork, and none of the original overdubs.

Your Own Choice – Take #14
This is the remix and remaster of the take used on the original album. By far the best take, it is now even better than before. It is also slightly longer.

Whaling Stories – Take #2
This earlier alternate take shows the band performing 'live' in the studio and working out the rhythm section. Gary Brooker can be heard cueing-in BJ Wilson's drum parts in this instrumental version. This take does not include any of the subsequent percussive overdubs: hammers, cymbal work and bells. The choral parts were recorded separately and overdubbed on to the original version: they're not included here.

Henry Scott-Irvine – Home ... Plus! album co-ordinator

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