Procol Harum

the Pale 

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Salty Dog engineer Ken Scott

His praise for BJ Wilson, and the triple-beard hilarity episode

'Ken Scott, who was the engineer for A Salty Dog, has a new book out called Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust,' (writes valued BtP contributor, Marvin Chassman). ' There isn't a whole lot about Procol in it but here's an excerpt from one of the Procol mentions':

"With regard to actually recording A Salty Dog, I remember very little, although a session of orchestral overdubs does spring to mind. Piano player Gary Brooker had done an orchestral arrangement for A Salty Dog and organist Matthew Fisher did one for Wreck of the Hesperus. This was still during a time when the orchestral studio musicians weren't into the whole pop thing, and they especially didn't like long-haired guys conducting them. That's what they got on those sessions because not only did Gary and Matthew do the arrangements, they conducted them as well and the orchestra was not happy in the slightest. It was almost a "fuck you" kind of attitude they had. Usually the orchestra was a lot friendlier and more eager to please with the regular arrangers that they were used to. If they found something wrong with long-hairs it was, "Well, of course there's something wrong. Look who's done it," as opposed to "Hey, you made a mistake here. Can you fix it?"

"There was an incident that occurred when we were mixing that we didn't find very amusing at the time, but probably was very funny looking back on it. We had just done a mix and Gary, myself and Matthew were listening intently to a playback of it. Suddenly Matthew's girlfriend, who was sitting to the side of us, burst out into uncontrollable laughter for no reason that we could see. We were pissed. There we were paying all of this attention to every little detail and this woman just burst out laughing in the middle. We all sort of looked at her and said, "OK, so what is so damned funny?" Well, we three each had beards at that point in time, and apparently we were all sitting there with our right elbows on the board, and all three of us were
stroking our beards in exact time to the music. This is what she found so very funny. I'm sure it was, but we certainly didn't feel it at the time."

"When I think back to those sessions, one of the things I loved was working with drummer BJ Wilson. He was one of the first really open drummers, leaving a lot of space in his playing. Ringo did it at times, but BJ was fairly consistent and his playing matched the music perfectly. You could get really big tom sounds because of all the space he left. Nigel Olsson (Elton John's drummer) and Bob Siebenberg (drummer for Supertramp) played the same way, their tom fills being open and sort of loping." (thanks, Marvin)


BJ's page at BtP | A Salty Dog

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