Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum's Home

A Record to Die For

Here's the text of a 'Records-to-Die-For' ('R2D4') review in Stereophile, and a response by a reader

David Sokol in Stereophile, February 2001

Procol Harum, Home : A&M SP 4261 (LP). 1970. Chris Thomas, prod.; Jeff Jarratt, eng. 39:02

Procol Harum will forever be remembered for A Whiter Shade of Pale, its cryptic, dual-keyboard smash from the Summer of Love. But it is the band's fourth LP, released three years later, that stands not only as Procol's masterpiece but also as the definitive progressive-rock album. Preoccupied with nightmares, graveyards, and death (quite appropriate for an R2D4, no?), Keith Reid's lyrics are surreal and gothic, though often overshadowed by Gary Brooker's and Robin Trower's disarmingly cheery or churchy melodies. In addition to the eerie songs – in The Dead Man's Dream, for instance, the singer relates a most delirious and spooky deathbed vision, only to wake up and die – there's also a classic slice of down-and-dirty rock (Whiskey Train), and some of the most tasteful and inventive rock drumming of all time, courtesy the late BJ Wilson. (Home is available as part of the band's three-disc 30th Anniversary Anthology, released in 1997 on Westside, and as a single disc with nine bonus tracks, released on Westside in 1999.

Other records featured in that month's R2D4 include Don Cherry, 1951 Bayreuth recording of Wagner's Götterdämmerung, a Walter Gieseking recital, Elgar, Thelonious Monk, Kim Richey, David Johansen ...

Richard D Diamond in Stereophile, April 2001

Best of all time?


I was about to write to you to complain about the scarcity of classical entries in February's 'Records To Die For' feature (98% of what I listen to is classical music, with the remaining 2% in various other genres). Then I came across the best "R2D4" entry in years, by David Sokol (p.89). I agree with David: in my opinion, the best rock recording of all time is Procol Harum's Home.

For those unfamiliar with this album, it should be listened to as a whole. It will rival some of the best symphonies for its emotional impact. Unplug the phones, turn off the lights, and hold on for the ride. You will be taken from a real high to the depths of hell and back again.

Congratulations, David Sokol!

Thanks, Richard

Contemporary reviews of Home

The original release of this album

Home by any other name?

Magical connotations of the words

Home on Repertoire Records

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