Procol Harum

the Pale

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The One and Only One

A brief review by Roland from BtP

The One and Only One is a four-track, ten-inch vinyl EP issued by Procol Harum for 'Black Friday' 2017, Records Store Day. It was recorded live during the
first few gigs of 2017, during the band's UK tour.

Eagle Records – ER204121
Vinyl, 10", EP, Limited Edition, Green, Transparent

Cerdes (Outside the Gates of)
Heavy outlook from the start; variations in texture. Vocal so familiar, yet freshly articulated in many places. Remember, this is fifty years on: it’s extraordinary. The first Whitehorn solo earns well-deserved applause for its intensity. Dunn’s drums bring it to a sharp conclusion. Then onward, with dramatic organ … the steady bass with its occasional flurries of mischief. The second guitar solo … ‘reach out for facts!’ exhorts Brooker … impossibly nimble and expressive. The ending explosive.

The EP offers two songs from 1967, in a way, except this is the Edmonton revision, from 1971. Ear drawn straight to the bass guitar. Amazing detail in the drums. The piano seems to drop in and out of the mix … no doubt there are operational reasons for this. But the overall sound is wonderful: kudos to Novum producer Dennis Weinreich. The vocal so authoritative! Organ is great in verse three, and the solo is as full of notes as one could possibly imagine. A warm Bristol response! People asking backstage exactly how these songs were being recorded were advised that they were welcome to know, but that they’d have to be killed directly afterwards. No doubt more will be made public about the technique in months to come.

Last Chance Motel
First of two songs from 2017: Josh on lead synth at the start, with some fine guitar floating about. Gary’s voice and piano … spellbinding. The harmonies thicker and more focused than they ever came out in concert, despite the excellent live sound curated by Bunny Warren. GB has settled on a variant wording in the chorus. Nice piano break. Good to hear the organ coming aboard later. ‘Ostracised’ not a word you’d expect to hear in a country song. A very effective novelty, just treading the margins of satire. I still can’t really figure out the story, though.

The Only One
Very flexible piano and guitar at the outset. The very personable vocal. The acoustic guitar with sounds from the Montage synth: such a nice blend. The bass so active in the choruses and so restrained in the verses. The third chorus has not yet developed the alternative bassline that distinguished it later on in the tour. Only half a dozen performances into the tour and the song already sounds like a classic … to chart its growth over thirty gigs was a great privilege: the end product was even more extraordinary.


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