Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale

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Procol Harum (after the re-shuffle)

Derek Boltwood in Record Mirror, 30 September 1967


When five individuals come together to experiment with music and ideas, and produce a collection of individual sounds blended together to create one of the most fantastic, and one of the biggest hit records of 1967, one must expect a certain amount of chaos, confusion and consternation to reign.

And so it was in the case of Procol Harum.

Now, they assure me, all their troubles are at an end., The group have reformed, bringing in Robin Trower and Barrie Wilson to replace guitarist Ray Royer and drummer Bobby Harrison. And all the behind the scenes difficulties that were so well publicised seem to have sorted themselves out as well.

'Best of terms'
As Gary Brooker, the lead singer says: 'We learn a lot from our experiences with A Whiter Shade of Pale. It was very difficult for us, a newly formed group, to cope with all the problems involved in having such a huge hit on our hands. Things just started happening before we knew where we were. But now we're ready to meet whatever comes along. All this has nothing to do with Bobby and Ray, you understand. When we reformed the group Bobby and Ray left us on the very best of terms, and are all the best of mates still. And we've sorted our management out now as well. Tony Secunda and Keith Reid have really got everything organised and Tony is our hero. The thing is that, until you've been a number one group, you can never know what it requires. However, we learnt the hard way, and now we're ready for success when it comes along again.

'I think we may get another number one with Homburg it's a beautiful number, and a good song to record, and we did as best we could with it. I think it has more instant impact that [sic] A Whiter Shade of Pale and the song is as good, if not better.'

I wondered if the sudden disappearance of the pirate radios from the scene would affect their record at all.

Dave Knight [sic] speaks ...
No. The absence of the pirates won't affect the charts. Perhaps the climb to the top won't be as rapid as it was with Whiter Shade of Pale, but it'll get there. Anyway, I think WSofP would have been exactly the same without the plugs and apart from that, the BBC are our friends.'

At this point the normally silent Dave Knights said something, but I was so stunned at this sudden flow of conversation, that I've completely forgotten what it was. Still, I thought I'd best put it down for the record that the silence of many moons had finally been broken.

And what about the two new members of the group? Robin and Barry [sic] both used to play in that very under-rated group the Paramounts, with Gary, before the formation of Procol Harum. What, I wondered, did they think of their new comrades?

'Really nice guys,' said drummer Barry [sic], who idolises Ringo Starr to the extent of using Ringo Starr drumsticks.

'When I first met them at the audition,' said Robin, 'I was surprised to find that they were real people like you and me, and not gods at all. In fact,' repeated Robin, 'they ARE really nice guys.'


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