Procol Harum - Procol Harum (Regal Zonophone UK | September 1967)

Taken from The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock, here is an Album of the Week to enjoy and discuss.
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Procol Harum - Procol Harum (Regal Zonophone UK | September 1967)

Post by webmaster » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:55 am

The members of Procol Harum suffered most of the 60s as The Paramounts, whose minor claim to fame was a cover of "Poison Ivy" that hit the UK Top 40 in 1963. They finally broke up in 1966, but by the following year had resurrected themselves as Procol Harum. Released in May, their first single "A Whiter Shade of Pale" b/w "Lime Street Blues" shot immediately to No. 1 in the UK, selling over 4 million copies. Musically adapted from J.S.'s "Air on the G String" (itself an arrangement by German August Wilhelmj), Keith Reid's surreal lyrics were delivered by Gary Brooker's somber yet soulful voice over the swirl of Matthew Fisher's Hammond organ; in short, it brought a new sophistication to pop music and deservedly earned its fortune. Next, with guitarist Robin Trower and drummer B.J. Wilson, the band regrouped (more or less) to their Paramounts' lineup to record their self-titled debut album (retitled A Whiter Shade Of Pale upon reissue in 1973). Reid, the band's full-time lyricist, and Brooker wrote most of the record, though Fisher did contribute the excellent instrumental "Repent Walpurgis." While the album itself could not match the impact of the single, it did contain some great songs: "Ceredes (Outside the Gates of)" is quite ballsy, punctuated by Trower's lead guitar, while the splendid (and splendidly titled) "She Wandered through the Garden Fence" featured more of Fisher's great Hammond organ runs. Procol Harum delivered mature R&B, not far from Traffic on the map, yet always 100 percent original. The album failed to chart in the UK, but did break into the US Top 50 where it saw an earlier release in September.

"Always ready with the ray of sunshine"

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