Procol Harum

the Pale

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home

A Salty Dog Returns




This set of instrumentals was released in two startlingly-different covers. Apart from the life-belt motif (a link to the 1969 classic) the two designs have little in common, the 'indoor' one looking technical and wistfully retrospective, the 'outdoor' one looking brightly organic, implying a narrative of rescue or salvation. One depicts the artist, and trumpets his Procol pedigree: the other opts for typographic near-invisibility. But which illustration suits the music better? And which is more commercial?

To the left, the original sketch for the UK artwork by the artist/designer
Steve Hooke : note significant differences in the execution of it.

Musician: Matthew Fisher

Engineered and Produced by Matthew Fisher except for Track 3 Produced by Matthew Fisher and Mike Ober and Track 13 Produced by Mike Ober and Matthew Fisher

Executive Producers Mike Ober and Don Craine: Recorded at Old Barn Recorders, Surrey

Beach-scene cover by Mark Hall: Manufactured & Marketed by Kingdom Records Ltd

1 Dance Band On The Titanic

2. A Salty Dog Returns

3. Nutrocker

4 A Whiter Shadow Of Pale

5. Pilgrimage

6. Rat Hunter

7. The Strange Conversation Continues

8. G String

9. Linda's Theme

10. Peter Grump

11. Excerpt from Nutcracker

12 Sex and Violence

13. Green Onions

14. The Downliners Sect Manifesto


All written, except for tracks listed below, by Matthew Fisher (copyright control)
Track 3 (Tchaikovsky arr. Fisher, but closely based on B Bumble and the Stingers' version, actually written by Kim Fowley); Track 11 (Tchaikovsky arr. Fisher)
Track 13 (Jones / Cropper / Steinberg / Jackson Carlin Music Corp.)

Liner notes from the UK and US versions
Matthew Fisher, founding member of Procol Harum, is forever immortalised for playing the classic organ part on A Whiter Shade of Pale and other such Procol hits as Pilgrims Progress, Shine on Brightly, and Wreck of the Hesperus [sic]. Matthew was writer / singer (along with Gary Brooker), organist and producer of Procol's classic A Salty Dog album and producer of Robin Trower's first three albums. This all-instrumental album, Matt's first solo album in a decade, features Matt's incredible keyboards that helped form the foundation of the early Procol Harum sound. Matt plays all the instruments on this album except Green Onions, a live-in-the-studio recording which features Pretty Things Dick Taylor on lead guitar, Yardbirds' Jim McCarty on drums, and Downliners Sect's Don Craine and Keith Grant on guitar and bass. Green Onions is a preview from the Yardbirds, Pretty Things, Procol Harum, Downliner Sect, Creation, Nashville Teens, Pirates Founders Supersession album (Promised Land 246890) featuring Matt, Jim McCarty, Dick Taylor, Creation's legendary guitarist Eddie Phillips, Don Craine, Keith Grant, Nashville Teens Ray 'Tobacco Road' Phillips and Pirates guitarist Mick Green. The sound of Matthew Fisher is sweet romantic uncontrived purity played with macho melodic genius. The legend continues.

Notes: from the UK version only:

The instrumentals on A Salty Dog Returns were recorded over the past four years by Matthew Fisher in his home studio originally for private, personal fun and here are Matthew's comments:

1. Dance Band On The Titanic
Any resemblance to Tears for Fears is intentional! Mike, the executive producer, gave this a catchy title based on a short science fiction story he liked.

2. A Salty Dog Returns
I was trying to write some New Age Music as well as trying out my new sequencer. It is, thankfully, too melodic to qualify and Mike and I titled it as such because its mood seems like a continuation of where the Procol album left off and I began again. Hence the album's title.

3. Nutrocker
A classic and personal favourite recorded specifically for this album based on the executive producer's request.

4. A Whiter Shadow of Pale
Nice pun for a track dedicated to the Shadows who turned me on to rock'n'roll!

5. Pilgrimage
Originally titled Arctic Roll and written for a documentary for Greenpeace about Antarctica. They didn't use it so screw the ozone layer!

6. The Rat Hunter
A reply to The Deer Hunter. My budget wouldn't run to John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra so I had to play the guitar myself and synthesise the strings on my Arp Odysee.

7. The Strange Conversation Continues
Not liked by the executive producer who wanted this track off the album but left it on to humour me. Gary Brooker likes it though! I put this track together by making tape loops of any sounds that came my way, telephones, etc. The high hat for instance is the sound of a toilet flushing put through a couple of noise gates. This was recorded without synthesiser (the Arp had just died) or sequencer.

8. G-String
A theme tune for an imaginary TV series about a private detective.

9. Linda's Theme
Linda is / was my wife. We no longer live together but this was written before the split.

10. Peter Grump
A spoof on the great theme song Peter Gunn by Henry Mancini.

11. Excerpt from 'The Nutcracker'
Nutrocker without nuts! Played on the Arp Odysee!

12. Sex and Violence
Inspired by 60s TV series like The Saint.

13. Green Onions
A preview of the live-in-the-studio Supersession album of 60s greats mentioned on the back of the album featuring great lead guitar by Pretty Things' Dick Taylor. Mike thought this track was suitable for this album as well and it will also be on the Supersession album.

14. The Downliners Sect Manifesto
A tribute to the great unsung rock band who were contemporaries of the Rolling Stones and are still going strong playing kick-ass rock! I played keyboards in the Downliners Sect prior to joining Procol Harum.

Review of this record and another | More Fisher solo albums | Words of the songs on this album

Joan May advises that Green Onions is available for download (Amazon, iTunes) under the artist name 'British Invasion All-Stars' You may also buy this CD from here

You may also buy the CD from Amazon UK here, or download Green Onions here.

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home