Procol Harum

the Pale

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Geoff Whitehorn

'Geoff Who?' (1990)

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All the backing tracks were produced using an Akai Asq10 sequencer driving Roland D110, U110, and JX-P8 synths and an Akai S950 sampler.

Guitar tracks use Paul Smith Signature guitar, Marshall 9001 pre-amp, Marshall 1" x 12" Jubilee combo

Produced, arranged and played by Geoff Whitehorn

'I spent months writing and programming, but it was all recorded in about four days of down-time in commercial studios.'


All beautifully-played, solid compositions; the backing tracks as well-faked as you could wish: in all a tasteful and varied set of samplers of the guitarist's art and the programmer's ear for varied textures. Strongly constructed and chord-intensive, otherwise not clearly related to Procol Harum music – at this stage, indeed, he had yet to play with them, though he was a committed fan of the band. An album for the guitar enthusiast to pore over and for the general listener to enjoy, while supplying the visuals and vocals that the 48 minutes of music seem to imply. Review by Roland Clare:

Shakuhacki Boy (Whitehorn)
Mid-tempo, with unvarying backbeat; clear guitar sound; mellow and melodic: interesting jazzy chords in the middle.

Ninetyonogy (Whitehorn)
Funkier, with twin guitars featured; a dirtier guitar sound and some nifty bass; brass chorus on synths; all a fascinating introduction to a vocal line ... that never arrives

Theme: Escape from New York (Carpenter / Howarth)
Moody, slow, menacing snare sound; lots of low guitar contributes to the sensation of a heavy film soundtrack: big build towards the end with twin guitars again.

The Doodle (Whitehorn)
Another number on which the guitar takes the place of a vocal line, over some punchy backing with attractive synth layering. Thoroughly effective doubling of the guitar melody on high synths.

S.T.D. (Whitehorn)
Powerful riffing on this tribute to Subscriber Trunk Dialling (surely not to sexually transmitted disease?): mildly jazzy changes reminiscent of Steely Dan: a fine excursion with harmonics and whammy bar while the 'band' goes into stop-time. Van Halenesque ending!

Beef or Mutton (Whitehorn)
Rich, echoey Knopfleroid guitar sound in the intro, all-too soon submerged in an identikit rock backing track, followed by a fascinating bridge back to the opening textures. The schizophrenic title is aptly chosen.

Latin Echoes (Whitehorn)
Not in the least what you'd expect from the title: background detail faintly echoes Bowie's Ashes to Ashes; semitonal progress of bass-line makes for harmonic inconsequentiality, though the backing textures are rich and intriguing.

Marvid (Whitehorn)
A slow, moody and restrained number with overdriven solo riding over dark minor chords; as with most of the tracks, the illusory drummer keeps time rather than decorating the track, but here there is more variety of percussion sounds; towards the end, some suitably frantic playing.

Crusadin' (Whitehorn)
Some angsty Walpurgislike chords in the intro, and an insistently catchy jackass synth-figure in the verses behind some understated guitar: another song that sounds ready for a vocal. Welcome burst of lively bass at one point!

E.J Blues (Whitehorn)
A welcome foray into compound time for this bluesy cut: a stand-out on first listening. Don't expect a twelve-bar, though: this uses sophisticated harmonies as intensively as the rest of the album. Choice, expressive guitaring.

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy (Zawinul)
First showing for a piano sound – momentarily reminiscent of Playmate of the Mouth. Nice and spare, with effective drum entry after a while. Great ensemble feel in the 'backing band'. Halfway through the guitar comes into its own and takes an exciting, fluent solo. Harmonically very bluesy. Would have made a very good opening track to the album!

Wanna Buy a Synth, Boy? (Whitehorn)
Many layers of guitar here contribute to an exciting and varied finish to the album. Close your eyes and you can imagine the band!

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