Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procul [sic] Harum: sixties pop fossils [sic]

Timisoara Pinto in Il Tempo, 7 July 2003

More than thirty years ago they gave life to the symphonic rock vein. Two "survivors" left from the original line up

They will appear with the unusual pairing of organ and piano to play all the big hits of the past

All of English pop-rock owes them something. Tonight Procul [sic] Harum will play at Centrale del Foro Italico, the legendary group from London, progenitor of the symphonic rock which , through the mid sixties and the beginning of the seventies, gave birth to progressive, psychedelia, and to those extended "suites" for which the margins of a vinyl single were often too narrow.

An unmissable appointment with a band that has not exactly made constancy its hallmark. Rare live shows, records spread over time, an impression of revival for its own sake on some patched-up tour.

Two certainties: Matthew Fisher's Hammond organ and the blues piano of Gary Brooker, the group’s vocalist. Piano and organ together, a pairing never seen before. The band is now back thanks to the two founders, the only original members of Procul [sic] Harum, mystical even with their name, which beyond all etymological suppositions, it seems was the same used by Guy Stevens (at that time the group’s producer [sic]) to name his [sic] cat. Together with Brooker and Fisher, Geoff Whitehorn, lead guitar, Matthew Pegg (son of Fairport Convention bassist), bass guitar, and Mark Brzezicki, drums, will play in a new and revitalised line-up that has recently released a new album The Well's on Fire which comes out at a distance of twelve years from their previous one.

On the setlist, ample space for their classics, from Homburg (known in Italy also as L'ora dell'amore too thanks to a cover-version by I Camaleonti) to Pandora's Box, Grand Hotel, A Salty Dog, and the majestic A Whiter Shade of Pale which in 1967, together with the eccentric formula of organ, piano and surrealist texts, gave the band their moment of glory. Classical music at the service of a hippy imagination. And to think that the original nucleus of the group came out of the experience of the Paramounts, with a repertoire between Ray Charles and James Brown, and in 1964 the co-eval Rolling Stones in the TV programme Thank Your Lucky Stars had named them as the best English rhythm' n' blues band.

It was "Il Piper" in Rome which hosted their Italian début in 1967 when their big hit A Whiter Shade of Pale inspired by Bach's Suite N° 3 in C major had just been translated by Mogol for "I Dik Dik", with the title of Senza Luce. Then it was Procol [this time correct] who tried their hand at the Italian language, with Fortuna and Il Tuo Diamante immediately closing the new case.

Trans. Stefano Ciccioriccio / Martin Clare – grazie!

Procol Harum concerts in 2003: index page

More Procol history at BtP


PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home