The Imponderable Strangers
Sam Cameron wanders through the small print in search of Prodigal Strangers:
Interesting CD booklet this one ... three levels of 'players':
- Level One, evidently Procol Harum: just
Gary Brooker – Piano, vocal; Keith Reid – Words; Matthew Fisher – Organ; Robin Trower – Guitar
- Level Two: additional musicians, some later to become established Procols
Dave Bronze – Bass, Mark Brzezicki – Drums, Jerry Stevenson – mandolin and guitar, Henry Spinetti – Drums on The Truth Won't Fade Away; Steve Lange, Maggie Ryder, Miriam Stockley – Backing vocals on Holding On; Producers: Matt Noble with Gary Brooker, Matthew Fisher & Keith Reid; Assistant engineers Matthew Olivier, Eddy Murphy, Pete Christensen. Note Jerry Stevenson on mandolin and guitar is in this list, which has no other guitar persons in it. Also note that no backing vocalists are given other than for Holding On which would imply all the vocals on The Hand that Rocks the Cradle are by GB. How come MF doesn't even do a backing vocal?
- Level Three: the imponderable strangers:
Our thanks to all who provided encouragement and helped in the making of this record. Especially Bobby Mayo, Chris Merola, Tommy 'Ayres', Tim Renwick, Frankie La Rocka, Ed Stasium, Scott Mabuchi, Al Hemberger ... Note that they provided 'encouragement' and helped in the making, but are not exactly listed as playing
Well who are they, and what can we guess that they contributed?
- Tommy Ayres
still a mystery (but is he Tommy Eyre ? See here and here …)
- Bobby Mayo: sometime Foreigner guitarist;
certainly played guitar on Into the Flood, which is not on the album
- Scott Mabuchi: engineer / producer
of Stevie Winwood / Ace Frehley / Foreigner
- Al Hemberger: co-owner of the Loft Studios,
where the album was made. Also bass / vocals with Annie and the Natural World Band. Also made album Mayo and Berger with Bobby Mayo.
- Ed Stasium: producer
Tea Party / Plasmatics / Ramones / Jeff Healey Band (There's a song co-written by Keith Reid on Healey's 1988 album River of No Return: see here). Also percussion on an album by, oddly enough, The Pursuit of Happiness: The Down Road. 
- Frankie la Rocka: drummer
with John Waite / Bryan Adams / Aerosmith / Bon Jovi. Also once in a band called Company of Wolves
- Chris Merola: guitar / vocalist; makes solo records
(more info at Cropduster records)
- Tim Renwick. veteran UK session guitarist
once of Sutherland Brothers and Quiver. Played on Brooker solo albums and the first leg of the Prodigal promotional tour instead of Trower until Whitehorn was recruited
- The CD booklet credits one Darroll Gustamachio as additional mixer for One More Time only; Gustamachio worked on albums by Freddie Jackson and Whitney Houston, and on a Debbie Gibson dance mix (see here and here): may we conclude that he was specifically brought in to impart some chart funkiness to One More Time, rather than simply being employed in a jobbing capacity?
So that's at least three full-time guitarists and a full-time drummer there plus a lot of assistant engineers even though three are fully-credited on the album. Can it be that Trower jumped ship and many people came in to play parts instead and that there are legal reasons why A Real Attitude and Into The Flood were left off in preference to Learn To Fly [which does sound like Trower]. Certainly record company pressure would want Trower officially in the line-up as part of the sales drive.
Conclusion: maybe all of these guys played on tracks of some other songs or versions of these and presumably none are on the album unless their record companies won't allow credit which would mean who the hell are we listening to on which tracks?
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