Procol Harum

the Pale 

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A Whiter Shade of Pale

1997 Repertoire re-issue reviewed online at Samantha

German digipak reissue of 1967 album includes four bonus tracks, Lime Street Blues, Homburg, Monsieur Armand & Seem To Have The Blues All The Time. All tracks on this CD are in mono as originally released in 1967.

The year of 1967 was an incredible year for music. You had Disraeli Gears, Sgt. Peppers, The Doors, and many other amazing albums. Oh and you also get A Whiter Shade of Pale released by Procol Harum. Procol Harum is one of those forgotten [sic] bands of the 60's [sic] , lost in the big names of the Beatles, Stones, and The Who. But they should not be forgotten and what better way to commemorate them by picking up A Whiter Shade of Pale which happens to be one of the finest albums, dare I say, ever made.

It starts off with the classic song A Whiter Shade of Pale which sounds like church with all the organs played beautifully by Matthew Fisher. And those lyrics, simply majestic, Keith Reid (who wrote all of Procol's material ) is one of the finest lyricist of all time. His words are pure poetry.

After the majestic A Whiter Shade of Pale we dive into the rest of the album which is also incredibly good and not just filler as some people tend to think. Conquistador is probably the second best track behind the opener. I also love the bass on that song. She Wandered Through the Garden Fence is a lot of fun to listen to with lyrics that are really catchy. Something Following Me is more serious in tone but the lyrics once again are incredible as is the arrangement. Mabel is definitely a nod to Bob Dylan, Cerdes (Outside the Gates) is probably the darkest song on the album but still magnificent. A Christmas Camel has a tone very similar to Bob Dylan's Ballad of a Thin Man. If there were any throwaways on this album it would be the next three Kaleidoscope, Salad Days, and Good Captain Clack but none of these songs are terrible and still manage to be listenable. The album closes on the instrumental Repent Walpurgis which is eerie but magnificent.

But that's not all. You also get 4 bonus songs which include two okay ones ( Lime Street Blues and Monseigneur [sic] Armand ) and two fantastic ones (Homburg and Seem To Have The Blues All The Time) The latter of the two includes my favourite lyric of the album "Well I owed a lot of money/I was weak and easily led/I tried to rob a bank/ The cashier shot me dead".

You may have not heard of this album, this group, or even the title song but if you like classic rock or just good music in general. Give this band a try. They might surprise you...

Read an eyewitness account of one recording session for this album
The 2009 re-release of this album

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