Procol Harum

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Procol Harum in Venezuela

In spirit if not in flesh


'Beyond the Pale' is always delighted to receive personal Procol-type memoirs from fans and visitors, such as this fascinating letter from Guillermo Miyares, who writes:


I would like to share with you some data about PH and living in Venezuela, South America

Probably the most-heard version of AWSoP heard in Venezuela is one done in Spanish by Josť Feliciano called Con su blanca Palidez, done with mainly acoustic guitar and Latin percussion. Also some Venezuelan rock bands recorded it in Spanish, trying to copy the organ sound probably with a Farfisa, with horrible results. The PH version is still heard on many classic rock FM stations all over the country.

I remember watching on TV a Salty Dog video that consisted basically in slow-motion shots of the group playing live, also an Italian TV special aired here called 15 minutes with Procol Harum during the 70s and I still remember vividly those shows.

The first PH album that was released here was Broken Barricades, and all the albums that followed (except the Prodigal Stranger). AWSoP was only available on compilations albums that were very popular at that time. No solo albums were released here.

Usually Venezuelan versions would be the front and back cover of the album (no double fold, but Broken Barricades was released with the fold-out but not the cut-out) and hissy vinyl, so I used to travel to the States and buy music with the right cover and vinyl quality.

I think that a fan base existed here, because otherwise the record company would not have released the records, since the rock market was (and still is) rather small. Now with the CDs cover and sound quality are excellent, on par with USA / European recordings.

In Venezuela you could get Rolling Stone, Circus and Creem, American magazines that featured coverage of Procol Harum, specially in the 70s and also a magazine from Argentina called Pelo ('Hair' in Spanish) which had very good critics, and once called BJ 'the most sensitive drummer of England'. They ran the article about the university thesis that analysed the words of A Salty Dog in many levels and reviews of PH albums of the times.

PH never played live here (like most rock bands). I think only now many bands are discovering the Latin American market. Many members of bands that come here often return and spend time in our beaches (most beautiful of the Caribbean) and rain forests.

Venezuela is country of many different facets that makes it worthwhile visiting (Gary, Matthew, Robin and Keith, are you listening!)

Be very well,
Guillermo


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