Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale

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Exotic Birds and Fruit

Maybe a record-company promo blurb?


Exotic Birds and Fruit is Procol Harumís eighth album. Recorded in London, and produced by Chris Thomas, the album features nine extraordinary songs from composer Gary Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid.

Undoubtedly Exotic Birds and Fruit will re-affirm Procol Harumís reputation for lyrical potency and melodic forcefulness.

Procol Harumís music has always conjured up powerful imagery of sturdy endurance, stately honour and towering attributes, at once part of the individual and collective genius of Gary Brooker, Keith Reid, BJ Wilson, Chris Copping, Alan Cartwright and Mick Grabham.

The nucleus of the group Ė Brooker and Reid Ė first encountered each other in 1966 when Reid was clerking and Brooker was trying to make ends meet by backing up singer Sandy Shaw. The partnership between lyricist Reid and composer Brooker solidified upon the twoís first meeting. In quick succession there followed a demo tape for record companies and an ad in music trade publications asking for musicians. Matthew Fisher and David Knights came in at this point and the group was born.

Whiter Shade of Pale, released on 12 May 1967, shot Procol Harum to the top of the charts, where they lingered for several weeks. The musicians were Brooker, Reid, Fisher, Knights, lead guitarist Robin Trower and drummer BJ Wilson [sic]. Their first album Procol Harum" was recorded in eleven days.

There followed after that initial album annual releases from the group which included two masterpieces, Shine On Brightly and A Salty Dog. In early 1969, Procol Harum made a tour of America.

Following this tour, Knights and Fisher left the band and were replaced by the multi-talented bassist-cum-organist Chris Copping. Broken Barricades, their next release, shocked rock critics by proving that Procol Harum, once considered to be the property of intellectuals, could make a rocker album.

After Broken Barricades, Robin Trower left the band and David Ball came in as guitarist. BJís bassist friend Alan Cartwright rounded out the group.

In November of 1971, Procol Harum recorded a 'Live' album which put them across to a mass audience with a totally new re-vitalisation of their music. Procol Harum Live in Concert Ö was the bandís first major success, with a gold record for emphasis.

In 1972, when time came to produce another album, Ball had left the band, and Procol Harum set about finding another guitarist. They eventually found him in Mick Grabham, a former member of the well-respected band Cochise. Together they recorded their next album Grand Hotel which has been called the groupís most elegant album to date. Like its immediate predecessor, Grand Hotel very quickly turned to gold.

Late last year, Procol Harum returned to Air London Studios and recorded Exotic Birds and Fruit.

(We don't know the origin of this piece Ö anyone recognise it? Thanks, Jill, for typing)


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