Procol Harum

the Pale 

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Procol Harum at John Carroll

Jim Girard in The Scene, Vol 3 No 57, 9-15 November 1972


Craig Kimber kindly sends BtP this sloppily-pretentious but well-meaning piece of period writing from 1972. It was a front-page above-the-fold article in a free publication, accompanied by a promo picture of the Dave Ball line-up. He attended the gig in question, in the school's gymnasium, on 17 November 1972, where Tir na Nog and Steeleye Span supported.

17th November 'Live at JCU': Procol Harum at John Carroll

When Procol Harum's first recording, A Whiter Shade of Pale, was released in the States most people were floating around in some ephemeral cloud, wearing beads and digging Bach's Sleeper's Awake with words. Their first album was equally 'heavy' complete with Keith Reid's poetry and Gary Brooker's vocals and or piano work. Songs like Conquistador were either ignored or just got lost as joints lit up.

As Procol Harum switched to A&M Records very little changed; were they destined to be a one hit group? Albums such as Shine on Brightly, A Salty Dog, Home and Broken Barricades brought several personnel changes and very little else for them. However, aside from their usual esoteric followers, Broken Barricades had proven them to be a fine, hard-driving band that could masturbate the mind of any psuedo-hip [sic] suburbanites or any child of the ghettos. By now they could transfer the power and poetry to the stage and still maintain their norm la numbers [sic] from their first LP.

Not until Live at Edmonton did they make their second commercial successful single [sic]. Ironically, it was Conquistador, from their first LP. (That first LP is now re-released on A&M.) This proves, of course; that they weren't ahead of their time, but rather just always writing top quality material. And each of their six albums were [sic] substantial offerings worthy of keeping a part of their stage show unlike the candy-coated escapes [sic] of The Moody Blues' "theme" albums. For unlike The Moodies, Procol Harum was a group born somewhere between the local bar and the college rather than acting as paragons of virtue, having found the truth ... heavy [sic].

And though they change personnel as often as David Bowie does his blouse, Procol Harum haven't changed what made them legendary Keith Reid's words and Gary Brooker's voice. Presently, the other members of the group are Chris Copping on organ, Alan Cartwright on bass, BJ Wilson on drums and their third lead guitarist: Mick Grabham.

A new album from the group is due in February and is to be called Grand Hotel.

Procol Harum will play John Carroll University on Nov. 17th at 8:30 p.m.

  (Thanks, Craig)

More Procol History in print at BtP 




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