PROCOL HARUM: A Salty Dog. [Matthew Fisher (producer); Ken
Scott, Ian Stuart, Henry Lewy (eng.).] AAD. Mobile Fidelity MFCD 823.
Procol Harum is one of the most underrated bands from the late 1960s, disdained by many critics because their first hit, A Whiter Shade of Pale, was a gimmick: Bach set to pretentious gobbledegook lyrics. That song was the last time songwriter Gary Brooker leaned on Bach. His own melodies and piano playing make grand, sweeping statements, more reminiscent of classical music than the black roots of rock and roll. Robin Trower's blues-based power-chord guitar playing added the right amount of raunch to the mix. The music here paints a powerful Cinemascopic sonic picture of life on the high seas, sailing for the British Empire in its heyday. It's not image-specific, so it works metaphorically as well as literally, making its message more universal.
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