Procol Harum

the Pale

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Celebrate Walpurgis!

Yan Friis (Norway)

But my mother didnít like it

I didnít know what the title meant. I didnít care. I just shivered in delight as the band made the piece thunder and roar, and breathe, breathe over those melancholy piano-notes that cut the piece in two. And then the storm set in. A towering storm of distorted, paper-dry electric guitar that forced even that organ, that floating, shiny, soothing organ to kneel down beside the piano in awe and fright.

Not even Jimi Hendrix had impressed me like this. And still I liked the organ best. Repent Walpurgis was a stunning piece of music. It beat the rest of the album to pulp. It made the album. An album that did not deliver what I had hoped for: More shades of pale, more Homburg, more magic from the other side.

Sometimes the album got close. Like in She Wandered Through The Garden Fence. Or it delivered something else, like the heavy blues of Cerdes. But it never reached the heavens until the double beat of the bass drum and the melancholy and beautiful organ-runs of the Repent Walpurgis-intro hit me like the caress of a woman and the heartbeat of horror.

I was so impressed I wanted to share it with someone. I picked my mother. She despised rock music. She found it primitive and noisy. She loved Mozart and Beethoven and Brahms and Bach and didnít even care much for Yesterday.

Once she had nodded her approval over the piano-break in The Beatlesí In My Life. And she did fall for Eleanor Rigby. But this, I thought, this must impress her. So I called her. I donít know why I thought she would like it. Maybe it was the organ, and that piano-break in the middle. But I forgot Trower.

She listened in disgust. Her ears were not trained for the beauty I heard in those cascading guitar-notes and the keyboards behind them. The piano break came as a relief, but she made fun of it, and I could not defend it because she was the classical pianist in the house.

And then Trower re-entered the piece, on the double.

I had lost again. But Repent Walpurgis stayed with me. I still think it is a stunning piece of music. And I still donít know what the hell itís all about.

Anyway, it was the first time in my life that I saw beauty trigger anger. My motherís anger made me love the music more. I had joined a club. And nobody but the chosen few could apply for membership.

Gradually the rest of the album grew on me. Thanks to Repent Walpurgis. That track kept me returning to its grooves. If only it had been in stereo.

Yan Friis

More Walpurgis revels here

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