Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale

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More on those Imponderable Strangers

Joan May


Referring to Sam Cameron's article about the people in the Prodigal small print, BtP regular Joan May adds

I'm beginning to wonder if this started out to be Gary's next solo album, hence all the "helpers" such as Noble, Thompson, etc. and that he invited Reid, Fisher and Trower in at the last minute due to what happened to BJ, perhaps to bring him out of the coma, as Gary has said.

The only thing going against this hypothesis is that Reid wrote all the words or did he? Reid's name would need to be on all the original tunes for it to be a Procol rather than a Brooker album. But most of those words are NOT characteristic of Reid one of the album's biggest disappointments could Noble, Thompson, Brooker and / or some of those other "friends" have written some of those words but Reid's name put on all the songs anyway? It wouldn't be the first time that sort of thing has happened in the music biz, certainly ... just a thought.

I heard that the "Tommy Ayres" credit really refers to Tommy Eyre, the organist on Joe Cocker's With a Little Help From My Friends, his first huge hit, on which BJW played so gloriously. In Joe's authorised bio by JP Bean, Eyre was quoted as saying that 'everybody loved that pretend Bach thing ...' in AWSoP and Joe wanted a similar Bach-style organ in the song (see here).

Additional mysterious PS participants include Matt Noble and Chris Thompson [see here and here], who receive co-writing credits for some of the songs. They are two more reasons it's difficult to think of The Prodigal Stranger as a Procol Harum album no previous PH album had composers outside the band co-writing any of the original material. Chris Thompson has written other songs with Keith, outside of PH: two Thompson / Reid tunes appear on Chris's latest CD Backtrack see here.


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The Imponderable Strangers

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