Procol Harum

the Pale

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King Jimi, he was there

Procol and Hendrix

David Pearcy, a serious Hendrix collector, writes to BtP with these Procoloid quotations, mostly from a recently-released book on Hendrix called The Ultimate Experience by Johnny Black, a day-to-day look at Jimi's life:

Gary Brooker

12 May 1967
"We played our first gig at the Speakeasy the day A Whiter Shade of Pale came out so nobody knew us. Because we only had ten Brooker / Reid songs, we played those, then we played a few others that we liked. We played a Bob Dylan song, a Rascals song, and one called Morning Dew that Tim Rose had recorded. Hendrix was down at the Speakeasy watching us playing and he suddenly jumped up onstage when we started Morning Dew, grabbed the bass off our bass player, turned it upside down, and joined in. He loved us. He thought we were lovely."

[Photo, right, shows Hendrix in a hotel room with the first Procol album
on his pillow. His friend (and verbal collaborator!) Keith Reid took
this record to him in person, shortly after it was released in the UK]

5 December 1967, Green's Playhouse, Glasgow

"The gig was an absolute shambles, with Jimi having the curtains closed on him halfway through his set, because he was supposedly doing rude things with his guitar. Then green-clothed, short haircut, cap-and-gloved staff tried to pull him off the stage".


Does anybody know what the Rascals and Dylan songs were that Gary remembers playing on this occasion?

30 April 2000: Frans Steensma writes to BtP: "Last Sunday I told [The Rhythm Kings'] Beverly Skeete (who sings Groovin', a Young Rascals
number) that when Gary put in an ad in Melody Maker 33 years ago to form Procol Harum he wanted musicians for 'a new project with Young Rascals / Dylan type sound'."

Robin Trower

4 September 1970: Berlin [Canned Heat, Procol Harum, Ten Years After, and Jimi Hendrix]

I think it was above their [the audience's] heads you know? I mean, I couldn't take in a lot of what he was doing and I'm a musician, a guitarist, so you can imagine what it was like for them. [setlist from this show]

So anyway, then I was walking up and down outside the dressing room after he'd come off, and I was sort of saying, "Should I go in?" Then I burst into the dressing room all of a sudden and said, "Er, I've gotta tell you, it was the best thing I've ever seen."

Which it was. And he said, "Uh, thank you, but, uh, naw." And I just went, "Whoops, that's it," and walked out again.

Keith Reid

4 June 1967 (gig at the Saville Theater) Hendrix, Denny Laine's Electric String Band, The Chiffons, & Procol Harum

"He blew out the sound system. This was his first number! So they fixed it and then he went and did the same thing again."

Hendrix on Harum

30 January 1968: when the Jimi Hendrix Experience returned to the US, they did a press conference at the Copter Club, Pan Am Building, Manhattan, New York, City for various magazines, TV and radio. This story is from the July 1968 edition of Hit Parader.

Jimi commented that the San Francisco bands impressed him most when he returned to America, but said,

"Some of the groups in England are better than some of the West Coast bands. Now this is my own opinion, but I like a group called The Family. Denny Laine has a very good group too. I like Procol Harum because I've seen a lot [sic] of their gigs. Procol Harum has been criticized, particularly in England, for having a non-existent stage act. I don't judge a group by the way they move around on stage. I go by their sound."

I Was Just Drunk (article from 1968).
ays Jimi Hendrix about the vandalism-episode in Sweden.

Jimi Hendrix has a reputation of being a violent, impulsive man, who burn the guitars on stage, sleeps with them, and at last steps on them. Now, he has got the reputation of being an ungovernable man off-stage, after the just mentioned furniture smashing episode at a Swedish hotel the other day. But in reality Jimi Hendrix is a gentle, friendly, and chatty guy, who would not harm a cat, but just wants to sit and dream his Technicolor- and stereo-dreams, from where he gets his inspiration.

One can sit with him in several hours, as I did last Saturday, and talk nicely. Then suddenly, his face disappears, and he is gone into a dream, just to return and tell a fabulous story about two little white-dressed dancers, that possible is going to be a new track on the next Jimi Hendrix Experience' album. When asked about the furniture smashing he says:

"Man, I was just drunk. That can happen to anybody. But because one throws a couple of things through a window in a sudden madness, it does not hit the front-pages. That is the hard side of being a public person. One cannot rock one's ears without somebody making a story out of it." With the exception of a gash of six stitches and a row of missing buttons, Hendrix had forgotten the episode due to his stereo-dreams, which are all about writing modern mythology about the Earth, space, foreverness and closeness in an LP-form.

"I have also thought about changing our stage-act completely," he said. "In the future, I will present a stage play with colors, which is going to play one part, dancers, and other groups, who are going to play different parts. And we will play different parts, either with or without instruments. I would like to have Procol Harum with me. They appear like a troop of Shakespeare-actors when they get on stage. Then we have this to look forward too."

SL HENDRIX INTERVIEW  (another article from 1968).

What do you think of the direction in pop music, especially in England, with small stage plays, and total shows with light and more?

"In one way it is good, but in the other way it is bad, because groups like Procol Harum get disregarded, because they do not do it. Then people read a review and say, oh, here is the proof they bore people. But Procol Harum has something to say, and they just do not jump around. It is not their fault. It is the young, who only want the fashion things. The lightshow has to work for you and not reverse. Jefferson Airplane is only shadows, not more than voices in front of a light show. There is not much about them now; they just show any light behind themselves. Like in Roundhouse. Which runs for four hours. It does not appeal to me ... it is just tomfoolery. But the thing with stage acts is a completely different thing. Could you imagine taking Othello and do your own version of it? You write some really nice songs, not exactly text lines ... Great. The Who use stage acts, like A Quick One While He's Away, but they just stand there while they sing. They should jump into it ... like we will do it from now on. More I cannot say. We have some plans; I just hope that it will not drop away from us. Ha ha.

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