Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale

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Celebrate Walpurgis!

Larry Pennisi (Phoenicia, NY)


Memories of the First Walpurgis

My introduction to Procol Harum was somewhat convoluted. After the initial furore of AWSoP subsided, my next exposure to Procol came in the form of Shine On Brightly. Perhaps this is fortunate in the sense that Shine On Brightly acted as precursor for an even more eclectic collection of songs, namely the Procol Harum album. And so it was, a year after its initial release, that I was left alone with Procol One.

It had snowed furiously the night before in NYC and that Saturday morning, I made the pilgrimage to a local department store to pick up the Procol Harum album. I was only marginally prepared for what I was to hear, though totally charmed by the Beardsley like art work. I can recall the smell of the room, the glaring bright whiteness of the freshly fallen snow through the curtained windows and the sense of total time displacement that accompanied that music. Distinct memories abound. I loved Cerdes upon first hearing, thinking what an odd piece it was in contrast to the others on the first side. Christmas Camel fell, surprisingly, into immediate disfavor. It took another few listenings to get my equilibrium back after its unique melodic sense and unconventional chord changes took root.

Finally, the low D note concluding Salad Days (which immediately floored me) was struck. A moment's silence and the opening thump thump thump thumps of Repent Walpurgis filled the room for the first time. I was struck by the organ tone immediately, then the blues tinged, classical motif, then the rolling thunder of BJ's drums into Robin's mind bending guitar section. It was all over for me at that point. Numbed by the auditory onslaught of the preceding five minutes and six seconds, I knew then ... at that very moment, that I was privy to a new era. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Larry Pennisi Cerdes96  


More Walpurgis revels here


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