Like a million others in 60s Britain, Procol Harum were R&B fans breast-fed in classical music. Unlike others, though, they were prodigies, and that's why the combination worked. Pianist Gary Broker could write momentous hooks, and wail a distinctively strained un-black blues. Matthew Fisher massaged organ gorgeously and penned epics of his own (Repent Walpurgis, Wreck of the Hesperus), Robin Trower garotted the highbrow leanings with nasty-ass guitar (The Milk of Human Kindness). And BJ Wilson's crazed drumming on tracks like Power Failure and Bringing Home the Bacon could really spazz you out.
The irreplaceable Wilson overdosed, Trower got hijacked by the ghost of Hendrix, but Brooker and Fisher still team up. Before this year their last studio album was 1991's The Prodigal Stranger, remarkable mainly for 'updating' the Procol sound to about 1980, so the current The Well's On Fire is a special delivery. Long seasoned side-men pull it damn close to the classic feel, and the songs are strong enough that several have made the current set: Shadow Boxed rocks like Nothing But The Truth, Fellow Travellers draws a tear like A Salty Dog, Weisselklenzenacht reprises the Walpurgis instrumental angst, and lyricist Keith Reid's wry wit remains.
John Anson Ford Amphitheater, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East. Hollywood; Monday 28 July 8pm