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Beyond
the Pale 

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A Salty Dog

Reviewed by Stephen Reid on Amazon, December 2011



This is a great album, made better by the bonus tracks. The production (and orchestration) by Matthew Fisher is flawless. The title track is a haunting and atmospheric song of the sea. The keyboards (both Brooker's piano & Fisher's Hammond) are sublime, Keith Reid's lyrics are simultaneously witty, scholarly and raunchy. Robin Trower shows why he was regarded by many as a natural heir to Jimi, and Gary Brooker's vocals make you wonder how the hell he was overlooked while the likes of Rod Stewart were held in such critical awe for so long. The album cover (a brilliant spoof of the old Player's Navy Cut cigarette pack) is one of the most iconic of the sixties. But that's not what this review is about. No, this review is about Barrie Wilson's drumming. 
 
The late Barrie (BJ) Wilson was in my opinion the best of the five best drummers of the rock era you don't want to know the other four (oh okay then, it's John Bonham, John Densmore, Topper Headon and Dave Mattacks). Good drummers keep the beat almost unobtrusively - they drive the rhythm, and that's it, but when BJ plays you find yourself listening to the drums like they were a lead instrument, with no detriment to the rest of the track. His drumming quite literally punctuates Procol's melodic and lyrical masterpieces. Listen for example to The Milk Of Human Kindness (and the bonus 'raw' track) - I defy you not to anticipate every across the beat hit he makes. Apparently he used to sit side on [sic] to the drum-kit, leading one reviewer of a Procol gig to comment that BJ looked like an "octopus in the bath" while drumming what a great image!

Hail to the drummer; Barrie Wilson powerhouse behind the kit.


A Salty Dog reviews | BJ Wilson's page at BtP


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