Procol Harum

the Pale

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Christmas Conundrums 2003

The Signature-Hunter : solution!

December 25 : first clue, and solution

I was at this concert with my friend Rolf in my home-town carrying the only Procol Harum album ever made at that time, which I had just received at a Christmas present, only, imagine my surprise when four only songs from this album were performed by Procol, because perhaps it was a short recital with much stage time given to Barry Gibb usw, who were the headline act. Hesitant urge drove me to invite the Procol guitarist to sign my album and it does not show well on the black cover, still I value it greatly of course, and this is how I became Autogramm hunter.

Hans collected the signature of Robin Trower on his copy of the album Procol Harum
at the Procol Harum show in Stuttgart 1968

December 26 : second clue, and solution

I have the good luck to work on ships many years, this is how I came to visit other lands and often hear Procol Harum play in great foreign cities which pleased me grossly. At this time I determined to invite my favorite Procolist from each concert to endorse their latest album (so, I had been away from home and did not buy their salty third one yet one). On this one day I heard Procol play two concerts, marvellous of course, and wanted their organist (he was shortly to leave the Gruppe to everyone's grave damage) to endorse my copy (later he rejoined and is composer of my favorite Procol nummer ever). Baking hot East Coast summer, concerts were at a skating rink yet everywhere it was drugs, drugs, drugs, I cannot get to the band. Hugest retina of spaced-out Yankee roadie that I ever had seen, eventually offers my help, and he bringed the album back safely to me with my second treasured Procol Autogramm on it, neat writing just by the piano-picture.

Hans collected the signature of Matthew Fisher on his copy of the album Shine on Brightly
at the Procol Harum show in New York 1969

December 27 : third clue, and solution

My first concert of the new decade in the home town port of my Scottish friend Gareth, also a seaman, who looks like the picture on front of the album I am carrying at that time. Only a few songs from that record are played, because the composition of the band has recently changed and they have not a full-time organ-player now. Only eleven songs in the set, not one song from the first album too, but Procol include a great rock medley and I decide to get their magnificent Singer to endorse the cover on my album. Then, disaster! I drop the album in great press of the Playhouse. Despair, utterly. Gareth unites me with the album when he prevents the crowd from trammping it into the Autumn leaves outside dressing-room doorway, and I am a happy salt myself.

Hans collected the signature of Gary Brooker on his copy of the album A Salty Dog
at the Procol Harum show in Glasgow 1970

28 December: fourth clue, and solution

Sixt song of this excellent concert is the titel-track of Procol's newest album, but I have not bought it at this time, as I am still crossing the Atlantic on shipps. Though this gig took a long journey out of Chicago via St Louis, very wonderful in late summer. Procol is five-man gruppe once again and its new guitar-player gives delight but he is not heard on the album I am carrying with me. So I decide to get Autogramm of the organ-player, who plays no more bass on stage, and he is dressing as BatMann on the cover. Much riot after concert. Trainee thugs obstruct my, but soon the Autogramm is there on the record cover, hurray.

Hans collected the signature of Chris Copping on his copy of the album Home
at the Procol Harum show in Missouri 1971

29 December: fifth clue, and solution

Grand concert of 17 songs at least, my first concert on American West-Coast thanks to shipping routes I am working at the time. Now I have newest album, and holes stamped in the front cover: where will they place musicians name, whom would I get to write it for me this time? Marvellous start to show with Shine On then fierce rocking song about 'bacon'. Regent hiatus (between Trower and Grabham) naturally, but a wonderful show from this short staying guitar player that is always under-rated in histories of the gruppe, so I now had my fifth Procol Autogramm even if he does not play on the same album that he endorses, I do not care.

Hans collected the signature of David Ball on his copy of the album Broken Barricades
at the Procol Harum show in Santa Monica 1972

30 December: sixth clue, and solution

Less than twelve weeks later I see Procol again, though it is a different port on different Continent and a different combination of musicians, in fact Keith Reid also performs on stage and the appearance of the gig is like picture drawn on the front cover of the Procol-album I am carrying. Such a great songs, such a clever orchestrations, I am in Nirvana the whole show. Using theatre for this conzert was a wonderful idea and I have to get the master poet, himself, to sign for me, by his image on the back cover, he is friendly and it is not problemm.

Hans collected the signature of Keith Reid on his copy of the album Live at Edmonton
at the Procol Harum show in London 1972

31 December: seventh clue, and solution

More as a year passes before next Procol gig for Hans, I am luckily my ship is in Sweden on a bitter night and the band plays many sea-mariners songs as Rule Britannia, Whaling and A Salty Dog. Nice to hear Leo Kottke comes on the stage to sing together a song with Harum. Austere night, cold, but warm welcome for me back-stage, now the band knows of my strange hobby and they line up to make Autogramm, still I insist one only musician endorses each record-album and this time it is the great slogmeister who places his two initials and name right by his Topp Hat on the bands fine record from this year.

Hans collected the signature of Barrie Wilson on his copy of the album Grand Hotel
at the Procol Harum show in Gotheborg 1973

1 January : eighth clue, and solution

Following Spring my ship is on the United States again, a favorite port though I do not overturn the Tee in the harbor! Three Great British bands on the stage in one evening, on the patron day of the British Saint George, tremendous show, I think Procol give Crimson a hard time but many hairy Men in the crowd cheer hard for Fripp, I call them Butterfly Boys which also is the first song of the show. Hirsute agent from band calls me to backstage rooms where I have Autogramm from hairy bass player, problem where to write on dark album not to spoil fine-art picture but he finds his spot and makes 'Alan Can't-write' joke most amusingly as he adds his endorsement.

Hans collected the signature of Alan Cartwright on his copy of the album Exotic Birds and Fruit
at the Procol Harum show in Boston 1974

2 January : penantepenultimate clue, and solution

Now I am back in my home country in freezing winter months to hear Procol, with their new album in my hands; Problemm, for Hans: it is already signed when it left the factory! Great, long, gig, my first time to hear Pandora's Box, I Keep Forgetting, The Piper's Tune, The Unquiet Zone, The Final Thrust ... and of course brilliant, solely brilliant, Blue Danube treatments: the river, in the city of this concert, flows into Danube, and the crowd appreciates Gary Brookers regional informations. I get Autogramm on the insert lyrical sheet, from the great guitarplayer who looks like a Viking. I tell him, there are seven natural wonders of the world. Natures eight wonder, is Procol Harum.

Hans collected the signature of Mick Grabham on his copy of the album Procol's Ninth
at the Procol Harum show in Munich 1976

3 January : antepenultimate clue, and solution

Imagine my surprise; my last shipp voyage to USA West Coast and there Procol are playing two nights in my favorite city by the bay. With me I have their latest album as always to get one Autogramm. I am expecting new orgelmeister who plays on the album but also I find new bass player. Where is Mr Copping, whom I always enjoy so greatly? But nobody can complain, except that I missed a concert on the day before in same town, and never succeeded to hear This Old Dog. Sheering taut synthesizer work from the new man, big new sound for Procol, and he places his Autogramm by his picture on shipboard on the album: neat for me, my last shipp voyage.

Hans collected the signature of Pete Solley on his copy of the album Something Magic
at the Procol Harum show in San Francisco 1977

4 January : penultimate clue, and solution

Only twenty-three years gap now, until I see Procol Harum again, and never had thought it possible, to do this. I am retired from seafarer's life and travel to England by train. Procol plays in a park, few persons there, wonderful music open to the air with orchester again. Procol is strange with two guitarists and a Saxophone on some songs. Firework magnificently ends the show. Mr Brooker is magic and still remembers me even if we have both changed our visible appearances. Introduces me to many people, some website men that also play Procol songs in an amateur band of 'The Palers', and he introduces me to his new drummer, marvellous, who plays on the CD albumm I am carrying, and signs in the neighborhood of the umbrella. Reigate shunt line took us back to London and train again across the water to my homeland, great start to New Millennium of Procol musics.

Hans collected the signature of Mark Brzezicki on his copy of the album The Prodigal Stranger
at the Procol Harum show in Guildford 2000

5 January : last clue, and solution

Back in my hometown, less as twelve Months ago, with even a new Procol albumm in my pocket once more, and who could ever have thought of it! 23 songs in the concert, a magic night recorded for Radio in addition, and songs like War is Not Healthy that we Germans delight to hear with Iraki conflict on our minds. Many young persons at this gig, I join the line with them for guitarists Autogramm, the great man in the tight trouser! Young people loves Procol. Heritage nuts all delighted to hear this band, not declining like elder statesmen of rock, are as strong as they have ever been, if not stronger: and so I have a bandsman name on every album since Procol started on the road, and have been all across the world, to hear my finest Music.

Hans collected the signature of Geoff Whitehorn on his copy of the album The Well's on Fire
at the Procol Harum show in Stuttgart 2003




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