Procol Harum

the Pale

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Lord's Taverners Charity Band at the Albert Hall

Gary Brooker's own account

Gary Brooker played a concert at the Royal Albert Hall on Monday 15 March 2004: read about it here: his three songs were: Stagger Lee, Lead Me to the Water, and A Whiter Shade of Pale.

On 21 March Gary rang 'Beyond the Pale', and spoke about this concert, which he had enjoyed doing. The reasons for his song choices were simple: 'Wyman's lot' were the house band, and he had played Lead me to the Water with them before; they still had his arrangement of it. As for Stagger Lee, Gary very much likes the song, and he took the opportunity of setting it in E flat, for the convenience of the brass, and 'to keep the guitarist and the bass player on their toes!'

'It's a good paced rock'n'rolly sort of number,' said Gary. 'If you're doing only three songs, there's no point in doing ones that don't get nowhere.'

In order to make Stagger Lee 'get somewhere' Gary performed two concluding verses that he had written himself, which run as flows (BtP hopes this is an accurate transcription of the Commander's dictation):

The last time I saw Billy
He was buried over there
Stagger Lee was in shackles
On his way to the 'lectric chair

So next time you get money
Don't go gambling with yo' life
Give it to your brother
Or your family or your wife

'I did toy with 'mistress' instead of 'brother',' said Gary, 'But it didn't seem quite the thing.'

Stagger Lee is also a piece that Gary has sung with the Rhythm Kings before: in fact, it can be heard on The Bootleg Kings Live in Europe, as can Land of 1,000 Dances with which the Albert Hall show concluded.

Gary's final piece at the gig was 'The Inevitable' as he dubbed AWSoP, played with himself on piano and voice, Georgie Fame on Hammond, and Frank Mead on soprano sax. This is much the arrangement that Gary played on Jools Holland's Later programme when the Rhythm Kings guested on it, save that the organ there was played by Holland himself. Read about this show from May 2000, by clicking here.

More Brooker non-Procol information here

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