Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum pictures: 6

Contributed to BtP by Larry Pennisi

Matthew and BJ from the first Joe Cocker album, which Denny Cordell produced far better than the first Procol LP. BJ played on A Little Help From My Friends and Just Like A Woman, to which Matthew stunningly added his Shine On Brightly and Salad Days sounds simultaneously. His early use of Hammond percussion and reverb gave the organ that identifying stamp.


Fresh on the heels of their unexpected 1971 triumph with Conquistador, Procol was given the highly visible spot on the front cover of Cashbox magazine an American music trade paper. The caption simply read, 'Procol Harum : Conquistadurable'. The oddest things about the success of that single were that it was an unusual type of song for AM radio and that it was recorded live with an orchestra. The glory was ours for the taking. We always knew ...didn't we?


This 1971 record was released with a different red and yellow cover as well. It features the 'alternate' stereo version of Conquistador which Westside released in 1997: a lot of this material has been around longer than meets the eye. The stereo Garden Fence was also released about 25 years ago. The price sticker on the front cover still reads 2 dollars and 99 cents!


Here the faceless Procol Harum was being packaged by A&M records for mass consumption ... and I quote the bottom of the rather long advertisement that ran in Crawdaddy, 1971: 'It is at long last, Procol Harum for the millions.' Guess it didn't pay off to spend the extra money to underline Procol Harum!


Fillmore East, 1971: instead of 'recovering' from the loss of Fisher and Knights, the regrouped Procol veered slightly to the left. The four-piece 'may have lost some of their baroque veneer', but they made new fans while keeping old, with Trower stepping out front with his searing guitar playing. Bassist / organist Chris Copping and the ubiquitous BJ kept the foundation firm while Gary and Robin tried some new moves.


Sadly, this photo suffered an accident somewhere along the line. Nonetheless, it gives an idea of how large the newly-reformed five-piece group was with piano grande and Hammond B3 at either side. I always preferred the 'look' of this layout to the drums-at-the-side arrangement of later years. Note that Alan Cartwright on bass is to BJ's left, whereas Dave Knights always stood to BJ's right. BJ was known to say that it was difficult to hear Gary, even with monitors, unless he was closer to him in the line-up.


Index for Larry Pennisi's pictures

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