Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale

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In defence of The Prodigal Stranger

Al 'One-Eye' Edelist on John McFerrin's review


This is where I write in response to those and Mr. McFerrin who promote a distaste for this wonderful collection (review in question here)

While most would agree that The Prodigal Stranger is overproduced, Hammond is NOT lacking, and signature Trower guitar is not as evolved as in his earlier days nor does it need be, imho   it is this group of tunes and this more recent line-up that makes these contributions Shine On Brightly live. 

Live is where these songs benefit and excel the most. Having exceeded my own expectations of travel over the past few years, I have had the good fortune to hear and view all these tunes live; with the exception of The Pursuit of Happiness, which to my knowledge has never been performed live. Yes, though The Truth Won't Fade Away evokes true Procoldom, it is an older song that was included in this collection. Here, though, the drumming of Henry Spinetti and the organ lines run above the curve in reintroducing PH as the opening cut. 

I then decided to relisten to the group as a whole as a studio piece. Now having listened through twice, not only does Mr McFerrin miss the mark, but I believe most Procoholics do as well. Listen through as I have and you will hear every PH strain of Hammonding ever performed and recorded. And Hammonding is present in every song. Guitar is not always as prevalent an instrument in every collection post-Edmonton, but it is as performed here by Trower not a contradiction to his earlier efforts, nor Ball's, Grabham's, and Whitehorn's contributions. 

Most importantly, older Procol themes run successfully throughout this collection while not overtaking the newness of a reintroduction. If anything is noticeably different, it is some of the bassing of Bronze and more so the drumming of Mark B. But they do "play the songs." Maybe not as complimentary or within the same vein those who contributed in the past, but first-rate and Procol-like all right! 

Then take what these tunes have evolved into as live pieces; they take flight perhaps because we are used to hearing over-produced versions. Do yourself a favor and give this album another listen. It is a well-blended and well-crafted collection that does nothing but continue to verify the brilliance of Procol Harum.


 The McFerrin review alluded to above

Reviews of Procol Harum albums


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