Steve Smith • April 2017 • Los Angeles Daily News • online here
The thirteen-song [sic] Novum is the first album not to feature lyrics by Keith Reid. Up to this point, the sevety-year-old Reid had provided the words to every Procol non-instrumental song that group singer-pianist Gary Brooker (sometimes with organist Matthew Fisher) put to music. Even though Reid didn’t play an instrument, he was always listed an official member of the group.
This time around Brooker, current organist Josh Phillips and the band’s longtime lead guitarist Geoff Whitehorn teamed with lyricist Peter Brown. The 76-year-old Brown is best known for his collaboration with Cream and its singer-bassist, the late Jack Bruce.
[The next paragraph is completely incorrect, as it refers to a different Peter Brown, about whom you can read here]
Brown, who was also a pal of The Beatles, achieve [sic] notoriety due to being called out by name in their 1969 single, The Ballad of John and Yoko. John Lennon, who wrote the song, also sang: '“Peter Brown called to say. You can make it OK. You can get married in Gibraltar near Spain.'
Group leader Brooker and guitarist Robin Trower (who achieved worldwide superstar status as a solo artist in the ‘70s) began in 1964 in Southend-on-Sea at the mouth of the River Thames, 40 miles east of London, as The Paramounts, an R&B outfit. In 1967, they ditched the soul sound, exchanging that for a stately, classical progressive rock sound and changed their name to Procol Harum, Latin for “beyond these things” or “of these far off things.”
Brooker and Procol Harum begin a summer tour on 6 May in Edinburgh, Scotland. The 29-show jaunt runs through 5 October on the island of Malta.
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