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the Pale

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Matthew Fisher ... US Opinions

The following rants and speculations (which particularly focus on the AWSoP writing credit issue) are excerpted from the Message Board on America Online (AOL) - Keyword mmc -- rock/pop -- Classic Rock -- Procol Harum


Subj:  WHITER SHADE:  BACH? Date:  95-12-23 14:14:40 EST From:  ROCURNEW  

For years, I've searched for the Bach piece that inspired the organ line in "Whiter Shade of Pale."  It has been - mistakenly, I believe - identified as the "Sleeper's Wake" cantanta, but if anyone knows the true source, or if the melody is original and simply Bach inspired, I'd be very grateful to learn what it is.  

[For Matthew Fisher's own opinion about this, click here]

Subj:  Re:WHITER SHADE:  BACH? Date:  95-12-24 12:07:58 EST From:  Jem33  

I  thought the piece was "Sleepers Awake." Whether it's a cantata or not, I don't know.   I'm 99% sure the song was based on Bach.  Will look thru the fanzines I have for more info...  

Subj:  Fisher/Bach Date:  96-04-10 20:21:11 EDT From:  Jem33  

I remember someone posting awhile back that they didn't believe the often repeated story that WSOP was based on Bach's "Sleepers Awake."   Now the Matt Fisher interview on the WWW Page sort of confirms that:  Matt says He wrote the classical organ part, based on 2 Bach pieces.  BUT - he didn't say which ones :-(  

Subj:  Fisher's Registration Date:  96-06-10 15:08:10 EDT From:  Jem33  

Hi Tex! I'm much more of a guitar fan than one of keyboards, and when I like a keyboard it's almost always the acoustic piano, but as a result of comments by you and others on this board, as well as exposure to previously unfamiliar live material and  re-listening to PH's studio works, I've become a major Matt Fisher/Hammond organ fan!! I think he's the Bach of our century, and if I believed in reincarnation I'd say he _was_ Bach. What first interested me in going back and listening was your post in the Al Kooper folder, with praise for Fisher's playing,  which you said had "great registration."  I'm not familiar with this term as it applies to organ playing.  Can you enlighten?  

Thanks! :-)  

Subj:  Organ Registration Date:  96-06-10 22:08:04 EDT From:  BigTex1976  

Jem, Organ "registration" on a Hammond refers to the art of selecting/creating different tonal qualities by adjusting the settings of the "drawbars" which roughly correspond to footages on a pipe organ ... each drawbar is number from 1-8 and there are 2 sets of eight (?) drawbars for each of the two 61 note manuals on the B-3 (Note Matthew did NOT play a B3 on all Procol albums or concerts) .... The WSOP registration has been reported to be 6886 0000..... 8880 0000 is a very commonly used jazz organist's registration, commonly combined with percussion.   Sorry, I can't really recall right now whether there are 8 drawbars or 9;  it's been a while since I've been behind a B3 ...  I think it's eight ... but I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong ...  

And, yeah, I think Matthew was and is one of the best at it ....  


Subj:  Re:Out of Time Date:  96-06-11 02:30:23 EDT From:  Jem33

Matthew Fisher is quoted in the Q Mag 2/92 PH article that he felt he was underappreciated for his playing in AWSOP, and in one tv appearance wore a monk's cowl in protest - to symbolize his invisibility as far as press coverage was concerned.  I realize I've been guilty of the same underappreciation, until recently.  One possible reason is that I always assumed, from everything I'd read, that the organ line in the song was note-for-note Bach, so I gave Bach the credit, not Fisher. And some articles credited Brooker or the band in general for choosing the Bach.  Now it's evident, from the Ober/Fisher interview, that Fisher actually wrote that melody, loosely based on several Bach pieces.  I hear beautiful Bach influenced organ all over Fisher's playing, including on Prodigal Stranger and some of his solo works.  The ending to King of Hearts is a prime example. I agree with Howard that PH brings out the best in all its members.  My taste in PS songs coincides with his too.  The ending to Pursuit is great - sort of reggae-dub-stylings in a non-reggae tune.  And I also love Gary's final vocal note on Perpetual Motion - just hinting at but not quite hitting it.  Joe Cocker did the same kind of thing on You Are So Beautiful, but Gary's is even better.  

Subj:  Applause By Proxy Date:  96-07-04 19:52:17 EDT From:  Jem33  

Hi Tex!  Happy Fourth!  I think you have tape of the performance I'm posting about....  

I posted awhile back that Al Kooper toured last year and incorporated Matthew's intro to AWSOP into a long organ medley.  What I should also have mentioned was this:   In introducing his Killer tune "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know,"  on a Mountain Stage radio performance, Kooper said "This song is probably older than most of you [young enthusiastic audience - Great!], but I still have to play it."  He then did the song and toward the end, launched into the organ medley.  As the strains of AWSOP began, the audience Burst into cheers and applause!! [He also did a snippet of The Band's Chest Fever - no applause - live with it Robbie <g].  

Funny thing about that audience, though:  

The Man they were applauding wasn't even there. And if asked to name Him,  they probably wouldn't have a clue....  

Subj:  Matthew Fisher Wrote It! Date:  96-07-09 23:42:05 EDT From:  Jem33  

Keyboard Review Magazine (from the UK) did a very interesting article on MF in 4/92.  In one section about AWSOP, they had this to say: "The combination of Reid's unfathomable lyrics and the classical organ strains (supposedly adapted by Brooker <sic from from <sic  Air On G String <sic) has long remained a fascinating combination......" This is a recent example the press disinformation that has led to MF's being so underappreciated all these years!    Air on a G String bears only a distant family relationship to AWSOP.  (The other Bach piece usually cited is "Sleepers Awake," and if someone can steer me to it, I'd appreciate it - I've never heard it).  And of course, Gary wasn't responsible for this part of the song at all. As Matthew has said,  the organ part of AWSOP was influenced by a couple of Bach pieces, but the composition is his. Why has it been so hard for the music press to assimilate this simple fact?  

Subj:  Re:Matthew Fisher Wrote It! Date:  96-07-10 22:02:38 EDT From:  Biffyshrew  

Jem33 wrote: Air on a G String bears only a distant family relationship to AWSOP.  

True, but there is still a resemblance.  

(The other Bach piece usually cited is "Sleepers Awake," and if  someone can steer me to it, I'd appreciate it - I've never heard it). [In December 2005 Matthew posted a demo of this piece, using synths and a rhythm machine, at

This title (often rendered in the original German as "Wachet Auf!") refers to two related pieces.  The more familiar is a very charming choral prelude for organ.  This is one of Bach's big hits, and there are a zillion recordings of it, many of them arranged for other instruments or ensembles.  The title also refers to the Cantata #140 (full title: "Wachet auf! ruft uns die Stimme," literally, "Awaken, cry the voices to us"), the fourth section of which is the same music as the choral prelude but with singers handling the cantus firmus (which means the original Lutheran hymn tune which Bach uses as a "foundation" for the composition--you see, even old Papa Bach based some of his pieces on older tunes!).  Either way, unlike "Air On The G String," there is NO resemblance to AWSOP!  

So this whole post was a waste of time...  

Your pal, Biffy the Elephant Shrew     @}-`--}---- Hear soundbites from THE BRANDNEWBUG CONCERTOS and see lots of other cool stuff at "People are the true flowers of life, and it has been a most precious pleasure to have temporarily strolled in your garden."--Lord Buckley  

Subj:  Re:Matthew Fisher Wrote It! Date:  96-07-10 22:29:47 EDT From:  Jem33  

  So this whole post was a waste of time...  <<<  

Biffy!!!! The above is Totally Untrue!  

Many Thanks for all the info!!  :-)  :-)  

Subj:  Greatest Miscredited Song Date:  96-07-31 19:45:22 EDT From:  Jem33  

Entertainment Weekly's 8/2 issue features the 100 Greatest Summer Songs, and AWSOP is an easy-to-remember-number 69!!  But here's the description:  

" That stately organ riff (appropriated from one J.S.Bach) brought to mind the inside of a cathedral, a cooling image that matched the song's icily enigmatic feel."  

Well, this may be our Big Chance to send this Huge national mag a barrage of our views on where that organ line Really came from!  It's approaching 30 years that this musical miscarriage of justice has been in effect, and it's about time for a correction.  Isn't It? The mag has a site here (keyword EW), from which I think letters can be sent to the Editor.  

Subj:  matt fisher Date:  96-10-28 19:59:22 EST From:  Ivorytickl  

why isnt this room called matthew fisher with gary brooker and the procoldums i mean if it wasnt for matthews incredible hammond m100[he didny play a b-3 on original] structure to whiter shade gary and the boys would probably be a small memory today. not to take away from the merits of all members which there were many except maybe dave ball. matt was the real founder of the classical/rnb rock that even unjustiy they copped from the band   i dont remember heavy classical influences in the band worth mentioning?!  sometimes the good guy laughs last and in someways i believe this is matthew.  he has been shunned scorned ridiculed and misused by his band mates ripped off outright for songwriting credits and royalties. even accused of stealing from bach and the like[what great classical composer varies] from ignorant musically useless critics! and through all of this he has remained a humble yet most deserving recipent of some award for being one if not the finest hammond player in the business.    and double even after all the crap   who calls him back the very people who stomped on him all those years. why call him because the only way to make a real procol comeback was to have the real essence of the band [knowing how easy he is get the best of the best at a modest price ]and to have such a versatile entity that all would be at ease knowing there was a real working captain of the ship aboard[not just a look good guy] if its not a secret yet  i am one of matthews biggest fans   i am also a friend  bias aside i have NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH  for THE TRUTH WONT FADE AWAY,will it gary?     hey where the hell are all the procol fans    hey hey r u there?   is it on johnny am i on a pilgrims progress alone.    i talked to matthew the other day  and we had a little chat about what was the meaning behind his ILL BE THERE     very interesting    very interesting tom  mc ENDANGERED RECORDS    where the endangered species may roam wild and free!!!!!  

Subj:  Re:matt fisher Date:  96-10-29 15:35:07 EST From:  Jem33  

Hey, tom mc - I have a bone to pick with you! How DARE you imply that Matthew Fisher isn't a good looking guy??!!  <G No, all kidding aside,  you're the first fan I've encountered who's as livid as I am about MF's Unsung Hero status vis a vis AWSOP.  In wondering about how this oversight could've happened, I've arrived at a hypothesis - implausible at first glance, but more credible as I think about it:  

What if Gary really believes that the organ parts of the song came from Bach?  

Judging from interview material, the members of PH don't do much offstage communicating with each other  (now if they'd only get email....).  This could just be a major misunderstanding that never got resolved.  

I see how the Bach/AWSOP story could've been perpetuated, even among knowledgeable musicians. I've played a good deal of Classical music,  largely Bach, who's my favorite (non-PH) Classical composer, and I believed that story until this past year when I read the interview at the PH Website. Lending credence to this belief was the fact that the [piano --jm] interlude in Walpurgis IS note-for-note Bach  (a prelude known to me as the Bach/Gounod "Ave Maria"),  and so I naturally believed the press  reports that there was a Bach piece somewhere called "Sleepers Awake,"  incorporated in AWSOP. Maybe Gary believes it still....  

This year, thanks to Biffy on this Board, I've found Sleepers Awake, and realized I'd heard it before but not under that name, and that it sounds NOTHING like AWSOP.  I Had been playing "Air on a G String" for years during my Classical training - and this too sounds nothing like AWSOP to me.   So unless someone can come up with another Bach piece that Does emulate those organ lines, I have to conclude that MF composed them.  How can anyone do otherwise?  

This song is well on its way to Immortality, and a large part of that is due to MF's organ parts which are often its most loved and recognized components..  As I posted earlier, Al Kooper only had to play a few notes of the organ intro to elicit cheers from that young Mountain Stage audience. And the hit TV show "Third Rock From the Sun" used Only Matthew's part of the song to provide a beautiful conclusion to one of its episodes.  

The 30th Anniversary of AWSOP is approaching and I think some ceremonies are planned for the occasion.  Wouldn't it be Fantastic if MF's name could be added to the credits as part of these proceedings?  If handled right, this could also bring some positive media attention to this much neglected band.  What an Exciting Prospect!!     :-) :-)  :-)  

Subj:  Re:matt fisher Date:  96-10-29 17:17:06 EST From:  Indanger4  

thank u thank u  finally someone who obviously doesnt believe everything she reads   maybe that explains why clinton will probably get reelected   the press can really pull a number on you, give ,em half a chance!!!!!     there is no fact in that matt has quit procol actually he told me a few weeks ago that he hasnt heard from gary in ages... so dispense with that poop although i really wish he would and go back to REAL songwriting  what he does best    yes that would be wonderful if he could finally get the recognition he deserves   however dont hold your breath it hasnt happened yet!!!!  

Subj: Re:matt fisher Date:  96-10-29 17:21:09 EST From:  Indanger4  

hey why dont some of you   and yes i know you're there   left banke fans come to the new page on this block    ive only got 30 more hours on this free thing and i go back to att its much better there ... aol has lost a ton of money lately  time for a take over i suspect and to the person who wants the long goodbye  the reason it isnt in the stores is cause it stinks!!!! sorry to say the orchestral arrangements are embarassing for one so tall  

Subj:  Re:matt fisher Date:  96-10-29 19:37:19 EST From:  Haclac  

Well I have no problem if people have favorites among the various members of PH and if MF is the one shoot attacks out about ripping off income/credit etc. seems a little strong unless you have proof. I'm not saying it doesn't exist only that I haven't necessarily heard it mentioned at least in this forum before and I know Joan is a pretty big supporter of MF. Without being a Pollyanna about , no one really sticks out . Certainly GB as main songwriter probably deserves the majority of the credit ( assuming this is true of course). AWSOP's success to me was three parts..organ/ lyrics/ Percy Sledge type singing.  While the first 3 PH albums may be considered their best by many, the fact that MF was not around for most of the rest mutes his role as prime force in the group even if the quality was a little uneven in the later years...remember a certain guitarist was missing too. GB's quote when RT leftr always sticks out to paraphrase " people don't realize that they are good because they are part of a whole"...meaning that we loved RT's guitar in the context of the PH songs. I liked Bridge of Sighs but not compared to any PH album with or without RT. While I also enjoy MFs solo stuff it also does not compare to PH. do any of you guys play the MF CD as much as any PH Cd? Even you Joan? Hey it's great if you do but for me the whole is really a sum of the parts and take one out and the whole suffers. BUT STILL IN CLOSING LET ME SAY that you have to make YOUR OWN CHOICE but please BE KIND AND HUMOR ME!   Howard  

Subj:  Re:matt fisher Date:  96-10-29 20:27:36 EST From:  BigTex1976  

yeah, I actually play my Fisher stuff about as much as my PH stuff ... sometimes a little more ... My best of all worlds:  Having PH records once/twice a year with Fisher AND Trower on 'em PLUS solos from one and all ... Left Banke site here ???  Thanks for the pointer ... one of my favorite bands.  There is a really nice compilation CD out there from them ...  VERY interesting music ...  

Subj:  Re:matt fisher Date:  96-10-29 20:28:17 EST From:  Ivorytickl  

well howard  ignorance is bliss   if you feel that since you have not heard of the grief that ph  members gave him 2 in particular and since you dont realize the original foundation for procols sound and more so the only song that coulda and did put ph in the limelight was largely matthews contibution then of course how could you feel any different than you did about reading my statement! trower was replaceable and so was matt but never did ph recapture what made them   i mean what is the most popular and most musically interesting album ... matts salty dog !  home might have been if matt had finished the album he started to produce... matt never made a penny off whiter shade  in fact brooker even said in a recording i also have that  matt only coincidently started playing what he [gary] already wrote for the formation of whiter everyone knows that is bulls...   and later down the line  keith comes back and tells the truth  that it was fishers part that really made the song  this is just one little incident that put the man who made procol a back seat man   to tell u the truth  i love to listen to matts stuff overall it is so much more articulate than ph the words are usually so intelligently put its a sin he isnt a writer of great books instead of tremedous music... ph is cool but fisher is coolerest!!!   thats one mans opinion  whats yours  wed like to know howard to just like ph is ok in my book but to debate is so much more interesting than to agree dont u think??!!  cheers tmc Endangered Records remember"if its that good , its got to be ENDANGERED!  

Subj:  Re:matt fisher Date:  96-10-29 20:32:36 EST From:  Ivorytickl  

oh yeh forgot   he didnt have to be around for the rest of procol  his sound was not too ablely copied by the copping man and solley was a waste.  why were there rumours floating for years that fisher always had a helping hand in the background   because the real fans couldnt bear for him to leave   of course he did not do any thing while he was gone with procol    why did they ask him back for ph live but he couldnt stand dave ball  because sometimes there is just never enough of a good thing and once the fish has bitten your hook{nothing sexual intended}  you're hooked for life  and aint life just grand!  

Subj:  haclac Date:  96-10-30 13:19:32 EST From:  Edangered  

hey haclac dont be mad at me  i really think the band collectively is the greatest thing going in pop rock   but matt is a different drummer musically on his own  so obviously every procol fan may not care for matt as much and not every matthew fan  may care as much for procol[like me] although i love procol too    case in point about listening to the solo stuff   no i dont listen to bobby harrisons funkist  although matt is on it    i listen to david knights  ruby  red cyrstal fantasies  its nice mellow pop i dont listen to mick the lad or cochise  i dont listen to trower   i like joe cocker with bj a little and so on i really have a hard time listening to garys rubbish  except  echoes[am i biased?!]  and bits and pieces of his other stuff although i like say it aint so  and chasing the chop so whats next  

lets compare bj to our new boy from big country  whatya all think  not a fair comparison you say different eras u say   to different styles u say i say poop to u all   bj was when at his peak and even echoes did him some  justice sorta  he was one of the best articulate drummers  

and u may scoff me but i think  densmore from the doors was also a very sensitive articulate drummer of his own kind  there now whaddya think of that tough guy!  

Subj:  Re:matt fisher Date:  96-10-30 19:23:24 EST From:  Haclac  

Ouch...the trouble with this computer stuff is of course who knows how people are feeling. I certainly didn't mean to come off stridently in my defense of PH as a whole on what is a very friendly and I'm assuming that goes for everyone. I do have to continue the discussion however on some points of Ivoryticki's.    I wasn't sure why I didn't understand "the original foundations of...(AWSOP)" or if they were even that mysterious ..what did you mean by that? To say that the success of AWSOP is largely due to MF even if KR feels that way is still opinion. Can you imagine that song with moon/june/spoon lyrics...not even close to the same song with out any light fandango etc. The parts make the great whole (that being said it's not one of my favorite PH fact disliked it when it came out). Similarly Salty Dog as the most musically interesting album is also opinion...certainly it is their most varied in terms of style which may be what you are saying but I think cases can be made for the first album especially and maybe even Shine On..    I would have loved to have the 5 guys on the first three be PH forever, I think the last 7-8 albums would have been much better for it and I also agree that the keyboard sound was never the same after MF left but the keyboard sound on Salty was a big change from the 1st album so things would have changed anyway with new technology and influences. Obviously RT on BB is a lot different from RT on the first 4 albums...that's the way that goes.       Anyway I certainly don't have any gripe with you guys preferring MF to PH (tough to believe though :) ), but on my desert island it would be PH cds. I know I'll CRY OUT FOR MERCY cause STILL THERE'LL BE MORE.   Howard  

Subj:  Re:matt fisher Date:  96-10-30 22:09:48 EST From:  BigTex1976  

Copping was a decent addition on bass but no more than adequate on the Hammond ... he put a lot more bottom in the sound that was lacking with David Knights ...  I wish Matt had stayed to play with Copping but really it probably would not have worked ...  

Subj:  Re:matt fisher Date:  96-10-31 02:55:51 EST From:  Jacksbj  

Actually I missed MF's voice after ASD.  It was so interesting on that album to have three separate vocal styles going, not many other band have done that.  Matt's voice was so soothing, Gary's so strong and Robin's so earthy. But I have to say that there was plenty of good music after he left, and none of his solo efforts I've heard at least have come up to that quality.  The sum is greater than any of the parts certainly, but I believe the core has always been KR writing a fantastic enticing lryic and Gary wrapping a melody around it.  Look what they could do, kick ass with Monsiour R. Monde and then do a song like Grand Hotel that conjures up a decadent night of bliss better   than any other, ever.  That to me is the core their mystique, and why they seemingly could go on doing it regardless of the make up of the rest of the group.  But alas, on the Prodigal Stranger, it all seemed to get so muted.  Some songs had it in a way, but most were way too mild.  Keith needs a nice dose of angst again, and then they need some money to bring it all to us again.  A nice fantasy. Fires which burnt brightly, now energies spent? Maybe so...  

Subj:  AWSOP Date:  96-10-31 15:18:12 EST From:  Jem33  

Hi Howard! You wrote:  ....To say that the success of AWSOP is largely due to MF even if KR feels that way is still opinion. Can you imagine that song with moon/june/spoon lyrics...not even close to the same song with out any light fandango etc. <<<<  

I love this song,  mainly, and in equal measure, for Gary's soulful gorgeous vocals and melody, and MF's organ intro and countermelodies throughout.  If I had to choose just one of these, on most days it would be the "dub version" - i.e. Matthew's Heavenly Organ (no pun intended).  I also love KR's lyrics, and he IS my favorite lyricist/poet.  But when I listen to music, the lyrics are of secondary importance. I'd love the song as much with any of a large number of alternate lyrics - as long as they didn't interfere with the flow of the music - by, e.g., advocating a human-rights violation or sounding dopey as in "moon/june/spoon" or "round and round and round and round again" or something like that.  

BTW,  It's interesting that you mentioned "moon/june" in light of ASD... ;-)  

Subj:  Re:matt fisher Date:  96-10-31 17:26:55 EST From:  Edangered  

well for a little bit matt stayed with copping on the original home  at least from the production stand point  u r right   dave knights was good enough in the beginning but as procol grew copping was a bit better the dave they never really were much in the bass department anyway maybe matt shoulda played the bass he was a bass player and a guitar player too  

Subj:Re:matt fisher Date:  96-10-31 17:35:10 EST From:  Edangered  

remember u cant turn back the pages  of course there might not of been the fire in prodigal but how old r these guys now  where is the formed group unity  hard to get it back in one try  they still did a great job   ill say it another way about fisher  i just personaly think his music is the best period  he even told me once to the effect that procol is probably the only band that will let him play the way he wants to   and yes the total can outweigh the single entity  but matts music solo is not comparable to procol and was never in the least meant to be i think so its like apples and oranges and as for the alone on a island i would have to bring more then just procol lets see hmmm i think of love forever changes and  procol salty dog and the first  and of course matts am and first rca  not to mention my album a light went out[advertising again sorry] and the doors soft parade and my favorite band of all time ars nova both the elektra and the atlantic releases  there r more but hey   its all your turn what would you all bring to the island with you all alone besides the electricity to plat the stuff   i have to add i would bring a dam good turnstyle and throw out the cds  

Subj:  Re:Longevity Date:  96-10-31 17:37:30 EST From:  Edangered  

remember  music is math and math is music  u only have a scale to work with there is going to be something that appears to be redundant all the time  i hear it everyday  but as for a bach straight out n out lift  nonsense!  

Subj:Re:AWSOP Date:  96-10-31 19:42:03 EST From:  Haclac  

Hi Joan...touche on the moon/june in ASD...and I totally agree with you about melody over lyrics..many an insipid lyric has become palatable on top of a memorable tune and it's certainly the music that grabs me first. I wonder though what caught people's imagination most about AWSOP......while I think that organ line that just grabs you right off the bat may be key, half of me thinks that the lyrics were so original in this case that they may have been just as important with the many people who bought it.      The "round and round and round" reference also hurt a little since I am a big STrawbs fan and they have a song with just those lyrics...good melody though :)... Howard  

Subj:  WSOP Origins Date:  96-11-08 09:32:19 EST From:  EMVan1  

Scrolling through the board in my non-existant free time I came across a couple of references to the WSOP organ line, and the bit about it being borrowed from Bach being somehow wrong.  As I see and hear it, there are three versions of this story: It's from "Air on a G String."  Wrong. It's from a Choral Prelude.  Technically correct (and quite possibly where Matthew heard it first). It's an adaptation of the solo violin line of the fourth movement of Cantata 140, "Wachet Auf . . ." ("Sleepers Awake").  Correctumundo. The resemblence is too close to be accidental.  It's not as close as "The Milk of Human Kindness" and "That's All" (Genesis), but it's close.  

Subj:  Re:WSOP Origins Date:  96-11-09 11:11:01 EST From:  Biffyshrew  

I've been listening to Bach's Cantata #140 ("Wachet Auf!"/"Sleepers Awake!") for well over 20 years now, and I still can't detect anything in the violin parts or anywhere else in the piece that even remotely resembles the organ line from AWSOP.  Exactly where in the cantata's seven sections is this tune supposed to occur?  The only thing in the Bach canon I've ever come up with that sounds like AWSOP is the Arioso movement from the third Orchestral Suite (popularly known as "Air On The G String"), and while that has a distinctly similar melodic/rhythmic contour, it's simply not the same tune. Until someone comes up with some specific evidence to the contrary, I'll agree that the famous organ line is an original creation by Matthew F.  

[For Matthew Fisher's own opinion about this, click here]

Biffy the Elephant Shrew     @}-`--}---- ...visit me at "In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place."--Mohandas K. Gandhi  

Subj:  Re:WSOP Origins Date:  96-11-09 19:00:25 EST From:  Jem33  

Here's what MF said about AWSOP in the Ober interview - on the Website: ....The organ parts are based on my own ideas and two different Bach pieces but wasn't a note for note crib. It was just a couple of notes here and there and the rest were me. I never received songwriting credit for it which cost me a lot of money and I'm not too happy about that.  <<< In a BBC Interview in 1992, he specified the 2 pieces as Air on a G String and Sleepers Awake - from which he took "a coupla notes here and a coupla notes there and the rest of it was me." And Joe Cocker's keyboardist, Tommy Eyre, talked about the "pretend Bach" that Joe liked so much in AWSOP and that he wanted something similar for "With a Little Help From My Friends." Of course I believe MF, Tommy Eyre, Joe Cocker and Biffy on this one, but have to hear it for myself too. The Sleepers Awake I've heard recently is a 4-minute (approx.) Excerpt from Cantata 140 (which was first performed 1731), and this Excerpt was also used by Bach as the opening piece in his Six Organ Chorales,  published in 1746. I haven't heard the entire Cantata - about 25 minutes long - or at least not in many years.  So it was off to the CD Store today.  I still haven't listened, but had an interesting encounter with the store's resident Bach expert.  He found the CD for me in less than a second, and when I told him why I wanted it he said "Oh of course, that intro to AWSOP is a Bach organ piece - from ......from....."  Then he started reviewing pieces in his mind, singing a few bars of each "no,  that's not it...." etc. , looking from one CD to the other, and becoming more and more perplexed.  (He didn't think it was in 140, btw).  After some pondering he said "Well, if it wasn't Bach it's the BEST piece written in the Style of Bach that I've ever heard!"  I had to agree on that one! He promised to continue researching the question - I think I got him going <g. I also read that the original manuscript of 140 has been lost.  The CD I bought was recorded in 1992,  so even if I hear AWSOP in there, I can't be 100% sure that they didn't "nick" a few bars from Fisher <VBG. BTW,  I hear a definite influence of Bach's Minuet in G in the first 4 1/2 measures (assuming 4/4 time) of the vocal part of Why Can't You Lie To Me."  

Subj:  Re:WSOP Origins Date:  96-11-10 16:34:18 EST From:  Jem33  

Well I didn't have to buy that CD after all.  The Sleepers Awake I had already heard Is the 4th movement of Cantata 140 and there's where I think I found the notes that Eric was referring to. I had to practically listen one note at a time, rather than for the melody,  to catch them. Of the 12 measure main melody line of SA, there are 2 measures of notes (but Not the rhythm of those notes) that sound like a brief section of AWSOP:  where the grace notes first appear, measures 3-5 and half of measure 6.  But those progressions of notes don't sound alike from one piece to the other because of the differing rhythms and what comes before and after them. While I do hear Bach's Minuet in G clearly in Why Can't You Lie to Me,   I don't hear Sleepers Awake  at all in AWSOP,  because the context of the notes in each melody is so different..  

Subj:  Re:PH PerceptionsJem33contd. Date:  97-02-03 23:38:51 EST From:  DEDACTR

Did you know that Matt also rejoined the band when they got Ball, but immediately left because he refused to play in Procol if Ball was on guitar? Good for him, showing such rare assertion, usually uncharacteristic of him. Why the hell did Gary hire Ball anyway; but then again, why the hell has Gary done many of the things he's done for many years? Also, since I'm rather new to this folder, I get the impression that you think Matt's been shafted in the acclaim department, and also in the financial (AWSOP) department. Matt actually has more "cult" acclaim than any member of Procol; just listen to the audience applause at any concert after the band members are introduced. He's gotten plenty of due; and since when had anyone in Procol, or even Procol as a band, gotten THAT kind of due? Back in their halcyon days they were an alternative band. They received the kind of due that of band usually gets. As for AWSOP: the song was already written when Matt put his part to it. Like most if not all pop/rock songs, someone sits behind a piano or sits down with a guitar, plunks out some chords, makes up a melody for it, and the musicians in the band or the studio musicians fill in their parts, and bingo, you have a record. That's whu there are no "geniuses" in pop/rock music; as much as we love it, the creation of it is still pretty much a rudimentary affair. Matt was creating his "part" for it, just the way hundreds, thousands of rock/pop musicians creat their parts for songs which are already written (chord changes and melody which is all you need to write a song, good or bad, you write the chord changes and the melody out on manuscript paper and send it out to Washington D.C. or mail it to yourself, it's copyrighted, and it's YOURS. It doesn't matter what a guitarist (Elliot Randall on "Reeling In The Years" for example) or an organist (Matt on AWSOP) does to make it instantly recognizable. All musicians do that. It's their job. They fill things out, make up contrapuntal melodies, create riffs etc. etc. And Matt, although venemously pissed off (his hate lyrics to Gary on his first two solo albums make me and anything I've said in this folder sound like Mother Theresa) has come round in recent time to seeing things Gary's way (doesn't everybody these days see things Gary's way?) concerning this issue. He simply didn't write AWSOP. And Memorial Drive, Poor Mohammed, Song For A Dreamer, and Playmate Of The Mouth don't suffer from poor production. They're sludge and ruin that album. Yes "Broken Barricades" is a stunning song, beautifully executed, and can stand up against anything Procol ever did. 'Night all.  

Subj:  Writing credits Date:  97-02-04 21:33:48 EST From:  BigTex1976  

<<  And Matt, although venemously pissed off (his hate lyrics to Gary on his first two solo albums make me and anything I've said in this folder sound like Mother Theresa) has come round in recent time to seeing things Gary's way (doesn't everybody these days see things Gary's way?) concerning this issue. He simply didn't write AWSOP. Songwriting credits, like much else in life, are simply negotiated amongst the contributors or putative contributors ... personally I think Fisher deserved a credit on WSOP ... classification of the organ part in that song as a musician just "doing his job" completely lacks a sense of proportionality;  I have seen contributors get writing credits for a **lot** less ...  Gary and Keith could have easily and rightfully given Matthew a writing credit on it; they chose not to and that, in my view, was piggish. BTW, for the record, you do not have to send a song anywhere for it to be copyrighted ... copyright arises as a matter of law the instant original expression is fixed in a tangible medium ... there are, however, certain advantages to registering your copyright with the Copyright Office in Washington ....  

Subj:  Re:PH Perceptions Jem33 Date:  97-02-04 22:44:34 EST From:  Jem33  


No I don't see sides being taken and don't take offense. Matt, ...... has come round in recent time to seeing things Gary's way ...<<  

Can you cite a reference for the above?  As recently as 1992, in a video interview, MF has said he felt he should have a Co -Writing credit on AWSOP.  

And what's wrong with the sound quality on A Salty Dog. I think it's quite fat, round, full and clear. Matt did a great job with it <<<  

I don't think anything is Wrong with ASD.  I will tell you what I didn't like about it though:  

The extraneous instruments - xylophones, marimbas, wooden flutes, hand claps  - I just don't care for these sounds - they make the songs sound hokey to me. If you like them there's nothing wrong with them as far as you're concerned. The orchestration on Hesperus and ASD.  I've already explained why I don't care for this. Nothing Wrong with it though, to one who likes that sort of thing.  BTW, I have finally heard the Unstrung Hesperus and LOVE it!!!!!  Instead of the orch.  the lovely piano arpeggios continue - I assume played by MF - and the drums are more prominent in the mix.. I had a kind of "I can die now" reaction to hearing this, as it's one of my favorite PH songs. I don't feel I need to hear an Unstrung ASD from the album, because I have such a Beautiful live version of it - London, 1976.   It doesn't get much better than that!  

The recording of the drums.  To my ears  the bass tones are all but missing.  I have live footage of 2 of these songs - Pilgrim's Progress and ASD - with the drums in all their glory, from the cymbals and snares down to the toms and bass drum - and the difference is Staggering (to me). BTW,  I think I've heard the MF produced Whiskey Train (that's the one on the Liquorice John Dead boot, right?)  and I don't like it nearly as much as the one on the album.  I hope to hear the rest of the MF-Home someday.  

Subj:  Re:PH PerceptionsJem33contd. Date:  97-02-04 23:21:24 EST From:  EMVan1  

<<Like most if not all pop/rock songs, someone sits behind a piano or sits down with a guitar, plunks out some chords, makes up a melody for it, and the musicians in the band or the studio musicians fill in their parts, and bingo, you have a record. That's whu there are no "geniuses" in pop/rock music; as much as we love it, the creation of it is still pretty much a rudimentary affair. Well, Brian Wilson would spend a few hours teaching 30+ musicians their parts individually, all the time telling them not to worry, it would make sense when they heard it all together (like he could, in his head).  So add an "almost" to that "no geniuses" and I agree.  BW, in fact, is, IMHO, the greatest orchestrator in the history of Western music (and I believe I'm familiar enough, and fond enough, of classical music to have an educated opinion).  In fact, I don't think there's any competition, although in fairness to Ravel, et al, Wilson had a much expanded pallette to draw with.  


Subj:  Re:PH Perceptions Jem33 Date:  97-02-07 20:31:12 EST From:  Jem33  

Hi DEDACTR! Re Matthew Fisher's lyrics on his first 2 solos  - I don't hear "hate" - just a great artist who's been terribly hurt.  I also see this hurt and discouragement  in an interview with MF that ran in the 9/95 issue of Mojo Magazine - not re PH specifically, but about his entire musical career - very sad.  I posted it awhile back - may do so again on request.   I really don't  know what the original rift between MF and GB was all about, because I believe GB said in a Rolling Stone article that none of the band got much money for AWSOP - that GB and KR  sold the rights early on.  I think MF TRANSFORMED that song by what he added.  Without his contributions,  IMO  it would just be another R&B style tune, albeit with unusual lyrics <G, and I doubt it would've been a hit at all.. I think MF still feels he should have co-writing credit but is willing to play with PH anyway, as he (almost) was when Dave Ball was in the band. Re the extraneous sounds on ASD - In addition to Boredom,  I really didn't care for the hand claps during the ending to Pilgrim's Progress.  The LIVE version I've heard was so Gorgeous without them! Re Boredom -  I just don't like calypso music, or whatever that was, and those marimbas, etc didn't help matters any <g. .  I do like the 90's version of the song, though, because they used the Classic PH instrumentation and switched to a Reggae beat,  and reggae is one of my Favorite styles.  

Subj:  Re:PH Perceptions Jem33 Date:  97-02-08 13:50:38 EST From:  DEDACTR  

Hi Jem,      I don't know about you, but "I'll be there to see you wriggling as you burn, I'll be there to give the knife an extra turn," sounds as close to "hate" as a person can get, and I sure as hell wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of such sentiments. Although Matt's lyrics are a bit more toned down elsewhere on his first two solo albums (still accusatory and vindictive), I don't hear a "great artist who's been terribly hurt"; instead, I hear a great talent who has compromised that talent by  being terribly puerile, immature and mawkish. A few of those songs though are so strong musically that they still hold up quite well for me as long as I don't listen to his terribly self-indulgent lyrics which can be quite laughable in retrospect. Speaking of retrospect, I'm very familiar with the Mojo interview you mentioned, and what I get from it is that when he reviews a lot of what I've just been talking about, he feels much the same way. You know, we all get "hurt", and if you have a predilection toward artistic endeavour and you want to express that "hurt" in a song or a poem or a painting, etc., you can either capture that "hurt" in some profound way and transform it, raise it to a level of universal understanding and empathy, or otherwise wear it on your sleeve like a child which is what Matt does--and really, when you look at it,  how could he not? He's talking about a pop/rock musician squabble. "Hurt" doesn't get more insignificant than that.      And as I've said, there have been hundreds of pop/rock songs that have been "TRANSFORMED" by a musician (or musicians) who contribute their expertise, and while they are co-creators of the "RECORD(ing)" of that song, the "arrangement" of that song, they are not necessarily co-creators of the song itself, especially when the true creators (in this case Gary and Keith) feel exactly this way.  

Subj:  Re:MF Perceptions Jem33 Date:  97-02-08 19:09:57 EST From:  Jem33  

Hi DEDACTR! I think we're in agreement about MF's lyrics.  He was very hurt, and was expressing that.  I didn't say he expressed it in a mature manner <G.  I just tend to empathize with artists whose work I admire, and the concept of "hate" didn't come up in my consciousness when listening - sadness is more like it. I think he was referring to the Music, not the lyrics  in 1995 when he said he cringed at his solo works.  At least that's what he said.  I do wish some interviewer would ASK the man exactly what aspect of his work he cringes at - he's said this in several interviews and no one ever follows up on it!  

Subj:  MF/AWSOP - Again Date:  97-02-08 21:17:20 EST From:  Jem33 .....

I just played the sheet music to AWSOP.  The first 8 measures are MF's intro - note for note. The rest includes the simple main melody line (undisputedly composed by GB), with countermelodies underneath it which I believe to be MF's contributions as well, because they're similar to the intro. The credits on the sheet music list Gary Brooker as the sole composer of the music.  This makes no sense to me whatsoever. Here's an excerpt from a 5/15/92 article/interview with GB  (from The Plain Dealer - Cleveland? - by Jane Scott,  Plain Dealer Rock Reporter) - .... The song was not based on a Bach cantata, as was commonly believed, but on a cigar ad, said Brooker.  "I'm very fond of Bach - I had recently discovered him, and found him very accessible.  But just before I wrote the music I heard an ad on British telly done by that famous French jazz pianist Jacques Loussier,"  he said.  "I tried to play the musical ad one day and didn't get very far, but I kept after it and carried on from there." Brooker's partner Keith Reid had written the lyrics and placed them on Brooker's piano.  Dave Knights played the bass on the recording, a session man played drums. Fans still try to get Reid to explain the lyrics.....<<<  

There ensued a discussion of the lyrics - available on request.  

[At first I wondered if the reporter got confused about the Bach, and if she was the one who forgot to mention the *Missing Organist* !!   More recently,  I discovered that Jane Scott isn't a rookie rock reporter, as I'd assumed, but an experienced,  highly respected journalist. I now feel confident that she reported Gary's comments accurately. --jm]  

The article is VERY puzzling.  I can think of several explanations - in order of probability:  

GB is talking about composing the Main melody of AWSOP.. OR GB really believes he composed MF's organ lines.  And MF truly believes HE did.  (MF said he did, not only in the Ober interview, but on a BBC radio interview,  also in 1992 - not sure if the article or the radio interview came first)   If this is truly a difference of memory/opinion between MF and GB  - I'd definitely agree with MF,  as he's the one playing those parts  and they sound a lot more like his compositions than like GB's.  Also - MF did cite 2 Bach pieces as influencing the organ parts - and he's right.  There are elements of Air on a G String and Sleepers Awake there, though in different enough contexts to make AWSOP a separate piece. GB is mistaken to say there's no Bach influence in the organ parts (if he meant the organ parts when he said that). OR GB is trying to imply - without coming right out and saying it - that he composed those organ lines,  knowing full well that MF did...   [While this is a logical possibility, I have to believe it isn't the correct one. -- jm ]  

Subj:  GB's Grand Date:  97-02-16 01:17:11 EST From:  Jem33

I just (re)watched the 1991 Letterman [sic - I meant Carson --- jm]  appearance and noticed Whitehorn stepping all over MF's organ lines in AWSOP (grr....).   It was good to see GB playing the Grand Piano though.  In the several videos I've seen of '90's PH, he's playing an Electric piano, and I must say that's not a pretty picture to me, nor does it sound as good as a Grand.  I know they did this to save money, but - has anyone seen them in the '90's where GB gets to play the Grand again?  I hope so. On the subject of the MF/GB parting of the ways in the late '60's - I'm almost sure there was much more to it than the composer credits for AWSOP. If it were just that, as Howard says, MF would've left long before. [I no longer believe this - see 2/27 -- jm]  I don't really want to know what it was, as that was in the past and I don't think it affects the present or future. The AWSOP composer credits, on the other hand, do impact on the future.  MF deserves his due credit for a song that's almost sure to live on into the next Centuries.  

Subj:  Re:GB's Grand Date:  97-02-16 14:50:23 EST From:  DEDACTR     

Greetings to you Jem,      It's very easy to "step all over" Matt's organ lines these days. The 90's Fisher is a much different person, and therefore musician, than the one I experienced many times in the late 60's. He simply just doesn't have it on stage anymore: no fire, no passion, no volume! Only someone who was utterly self-confident (which he was in those days--blowing EVERYONE away!) would say (as he did) that he wasn't surprised that AWSOP went to number one: He just knew that everything he touched would turn to gold. That's why he crashed emotionally and psychologically when his first two solo albums failed. And gradually he lost it.      Gary, Keith and Guy Stevens put an advertisement in Melody maker, January 28, 1967. They were looking for musicians to record original material: ALREADY WRITTEN original songs. All the musicians who answered this ad (Royer, Knights), and the subsequent ad on February 28 seeking Hammond organist (Fisher) undoubtedly had no problem that they were to be working on about a dozen songs already written by Gary Brooker and Keith Reid. This became a problem only in RETROSPECT, AFTER the song became a big hit. What was Gary and Keith supposed to say to Matt after they worked the song out and recorded it in April (it was released May 12): "Those sure are fine organ parts Matt! Tell you what: the song (like Xmas Camel, Cerdes, Garden Fence, Conquistador, Salad Days, Kaleidoscope, etc.--to which you also put wonderful parts!) belongs, as you know, to me and Keith. But if Pale clicks, we'll give you retroactive songwriting credit/royalties (not to the other songs now, just to Pale!). If it doesn't click, well...we'll just keep the songwriting credit the way it is, the way it is for ALL these great songs which you've blessed, and you'll be sure not to mind mate because you won't feel in the future that you were swindeled since the song was a bust.      And yes, there is a lot more to the MF/GB rift than just composer credits for AWSOP. And it sure as hell DOES affect the present and future. Gary always tried to be "the boss." I don't  necessarily castigate him for that: he put the band together, it was his band, and that was a tacit agreement by all involved going in (this included songwriting credit). But in those days Gary and Keith had something, something very special (something which they have long since lost), so who would mind this, especially in the initial stages? It was Robin though who was the ideal opponent for Gary's "bossing". It was Robin who lured Gary into the Paramounts. The Paramounts were Robin's group! It was in his dad's cafe that they played each Sunday. Robin knew that he had actually given Gary his chance, so in due time, he also knew that there would be no way that he would let Gary boss him for long. As gary knew that it was HIS music they were playing, he kept trying to outdo Robin and Matt. That's why it was the ideal musical situation: THREE mighty forces on one stage or in one recording studio (B.J. of course made FOUR, but ego never entered the picture with him). Although Gary had great musical clout at the time with which to play boss (always a gentleman boss, but boss just the same), one can understand that musicians like Robin and Matt just couldn't/wouldn't take it any more. Copping owed Gary (old friend from the Paramounts, feeble organist, ushered in more for his amenability to the Procol/Brooker hierarchy than for his amazing musicianship; there were plenty of excellent musicians to choose from IF you didn't mind dealing with the ego which undoubtedly would come with it, something Gary wasn't interested in). Ball and Grabham were just hired players (again, amenability to Brooker as CEO of Procol was the key word here) so what the hell could you expect as far as Procol being a democratic institution? So Gary took over completely after 1971. This was not a total disaster since Brooker/Reid could still come up with some valuable material, sometimes.  

Subj:  Re:GB's Grand (cont'd.) Date:  97-02-16 15:06:47 EST From:  DEDACTR

As Keith deteriorated completely, Gary's songwriting ability was necessarily affected. He kept his great voice and flair for melody. But Gary the "boss" has a definite and detrimental affect on the present and future because the boss's brain is fried, the ship has run afloat, Procol's dead (has been so for a long time), and there's no one around to point the Captain to dry ground. Everyone's running around spewing Hosannahs and Aves to the boss, who can't see the forest from the trees.      As far as AWSOP songwriting credit impacting on the future ("the next centuries") is concerned: I highly doubt that anyone alive on this planet in the year 2209 is going to give a dry fig as to who wrote AWSOP, or who did or didn't get the proper credit. We might all still be buzzing about that song in this folder (how many are we after all?), but I think it's a good guess that no one will know or care anything about it "centuries from now". It's a pop song, not a cure for cancer.  

Subj:  AWSOP Date:  97-02-16 18:46:37 EST From:  Jem33  

Hi DEDACTR!   highly doubt that anyone alive on this planet in the year 2209 is going to give a dry fig as to who wrote AWSOP, or who did or didn't get the proper credit. We might all still be buzzing about that song in this folder (how many are we after all?), but I think it's a good guess that no one will know or care anything about it "centuries from now". It's a pop song, not a cure for cancer.<<<  

No it's not a cure for cancer but I don't think it's just a pop song either. I think AWSOP and much of PH's output is Classical music.  The same kinds of folks who give a dry fig (LOL!) now about  who wrote Bach's music will care about PH's music centuries hence.  Just a guess on my part of course, and a hope for musical justice.  

Subj:  OUCH!  Re: AWSOP, GB, MF,etc Date:  97-02-16 19:47:18 EST From:  Jem33  

Hi Again DEDACTR! I think the GB/MF rift was about more than just GB being "the boss." In fact, MF has said in '90's interviews that he felt that KR was the real "boss" of the band, not GB.  Those lyrics of MF's imply betrayal, not just someone exercising authority. In examining the sheet music for AWSOP,  I think there's more of MF's music there than GB's. In such a situation, when a song is modified to this extent by an additional composer, you Bet I think that composer deserves credit, whether the song is a hit or not.  And I'm beginning to wonder who fed that mis-info to the press for all those years about the organ lines in the song being composed by Bach.    Was this an attempt to avoid giving MF credit?  It sure caused me not to credit him for 28 years or so.. Yes I've noticed MF's quietness of stage playing in the '90's - tho I've just seen and heard tapes. He even mentioned it in an interview in the Brit Mag Keyboard Review - saying  " It's fortunate we're not a very loud band - I'd probably have had more problems.  But we're actually very quiet onstage."  I was surprised to read this, as they were certainly NOT quiet when I saw them, albeit sans MF. I don't think being quiet onstage is anything to be proud of!  But he does come alive for AWSOP - and GW allows him to be heard in most versions! <g ... Subj:  Re:OUCH!  Re: AWSOP, GB, MF, Date:  97-02-17 01:56:03 EST From:  DEDACTR      Hi again Jem,      Whenever I mentioned Gary as " the boss" in my previous post(s) I was referring to him as MUSICAL boss. Of course Keith was THE boss--managerial boss, that is. He took on all managerial responsibilities. Aside from the main issue here, which was Gary and Keith as Musical and Managerial Authority in Procol, what was Matt feeling so "betrayed" about anyway? AWSOP?      If I may be so bold (what, again?), I'd like to suggest Jem that this business about examining the sheet music to AWSOP to determine its true authorship might be a bit misguided. There are some publishing houses that hire people to sit at desks transcribing off-the-record arrangements of pop songs. For example, I have a rare Procol songbook that I picked up in Italy many years ago which includes, among many other things, the sheet music for "Shine On Brightly". There are note-for-note transcriptions for many of Matt's little organ fills, and the complete note-for-note transcription of his wonderful solo between verses two and three, which for me is the highlight of an astonishingly beautiful song. But up in the right hand corner it says: Music and Lyrics by Gary Brooker and Keith Reid. Most songwriters of pop songs, even those like Gary who are more knowledged in musical notation, send in lead sheets with just the melody, words and chord changes. I really don't believe Matt would have ever bitched about getting credit for AWSOP if it hadn't been a big hit, in which case we wouldn't be talking about this here. As I said, the Procol hierarchy was cemented before anybody joined, and everyone who did join knew it and accepted it. I think Matt does equally--if not more--brilliant organ work on many other old Procol tunes, but there's no question of credit there because none were hits. This kind of retrospective sour grapes is nonsense. Your fierce admiration and idolatry and defensiveness of Matt is very kind and humane, but, if I might add, a bit over the top? Best regards.  

Subj:  Re:OUCH!  Re: AWSOP, GB, MF, Date:  97-02-17 10:47:23 EST From:  Jem33 Hi Again DEDACTR:  

I may be taking a chance here because I don't have the album in front of me but I'm pretty sure MF was credited as co-composer of Shine On Brightly. ( Thought I'd write out the title instead of abbreviating it, so there'd be no misunderstandings.... <g )  

Subj:  Re:OUCH!  Re: AWSOP, GB, MF, Date:  97-02-17 12:56:21 EST From:  DEDACTR     

Hi Jem,      Nice guess, but no, the credit for "Shine On Brightly" is listed as Brooker/Reid. In fact, the two compositions on that album which are credited as Brooker/Fisher/Reid are "Quite Rightly So" and "In Held 'Twas In I". And this is interesting, especially in the light of what I've been saying about the authorship of AWSOP, a song that was ALREADY WRITTEN, together with MANY others, way before Procol actually formed in April, '67, and to which Matt was applying his expertise considerably before the song's subsequent release and success, and with the tacit agreement, at that time, and by ALL involved, that ALL these songs were written by Brooker/Reid, were completed (even in their skeletal form, the form of most pop/rock songs before musicians start working on them), and were the very reason why advertisements were placed in the trades, and the very reason why those musicians answered those advertisements and found themselves in a recording/rehearsal studio: To work on these new BROOKER/REID compositions, regardless of how things might or might not turn out commercially for any of this music. What is it about "Quite Rightly So" that makes it a Brooker/Reid/Fisher composition? Who knows? Matt's contribution on record is certainly prominent. But this was always the case in all that old Procol material for which he didn't get credit, and for which (because no one made any big money?) he hasn't retroactively sulked. Obviously, Keith must have brought in the words for QRS and both Gary and Matt literally worked on the chord structure, sequence, and melody, either alone or together or both. Hence, the listed credit. "In Held 'Twas In I" poses an even more interesting question: Is it solely because of "Autumn Of My Madness" that Matt gets credit for the entire suite (I doubt it), or is he also responsible for other important musical contributions as they were putting the piece together in the studio (more likely), contributions which are not readily recognizable as having Matt's unmistakable imprimatur? I don't think it's a surprise to anyone who has been reading this folder the last few weeks that I am the first person to quickly and sharply point out Gary's shortcomings as a songwriter, group leader and performer (especially from Procol's Ninth to the present day), but I don't believe he cheated/shafted Matt out of any money, and that Matt's retroactive bitching over this matter is more attributable to Matt's general   moodiness/melancholy/dissatisfaction with life in general. It's a prominent aspect of his character. I was at a Procol concert once (the quartet) and some heckler in the audience kept screaming out "Where's Fisher?" Finally Gary replied, "He's back in the hotel soaking/sulking in a hot tub." I couldn't figure out if Gary said "soaking" or "sulking", but six of one, half dozen of the other.  

:  Guess What? Date:  97-02-17 14:30:34 EST From:  Jem33 YIKES!! 

I was about to apologize about SOB composer credits but decided to examine my CD's just to be sure.  My A&M CD of  (w/the green cover) lists Brooker/Reid as composers of the title track, but my Castle Communications more recent (Brit) edition - 1992 (Harpsichord-From-Hell cover) - lists Brooker//Reid/Fisher!!    I hope this is a harbinger of things to come ;-) :-)   :-) YES!!  

Actually  this seems like a GOOD question to send those Shine On fanzine folks.  They solicited questions from fans awhile back,  although they haven't answered any of the several questions I've  already asked them - maybe they will in the upcoming issue... I have no idea what MF was referring to in those lyrics, nor who did what to whom and I don't really think I should know the details.  I'm not "taking sides" on that issue at all,  and sorry if I gave that impression.   I just meant to say that I think MF is expressing hurt and betrayal,  not "hate" and not just the resentment of a "boss."  In the 1992 BBC interview he said that most people see Gary as the leader of the band but that they're Wrong - it was Really Keith!!   I feel uncomfortable speculating further on the exact meaning of those lyrics because they seem to be about a personal issue rather than a musical one.  And I haven't heard MF retroactively complaining about whatever that problem was -  he speaks very respectfully about Gary and Keith.  He only mentions that he should have co- composer credit for AWSOP. {I'll repeat myself here "again,"  but briefly - please forgive}:  To my ears,  AWSOP was Not already written before MF joined the band - it was just Partially written - an R&B style song without the Bach-influenced signature that became its most distinctive feature. . MF talks in that Ober video interview about how In Held was composed.  I'll try and listen again and let y'all know what he said.  


:  Re:Guess What? Date:  97-02-17 18:29:38 EST From:  DEDACTR      Dear Jem,      I have the Castle Communications CD of Shine On Brightly right here in front of me (not that I need it) as I type this, and it says that Gary and Keith are responsible for everything except, as I've already said, "Quite Rightly So" and "In Held 'Twas In I". It's been like that since 1968 when the LP came out, it says it on the label, it says it on the inside album cover, it says so on the sheet music, and no amount of wishing it otherwise will make it any different. The same holds true for AWSOP, and many other vintage Procol songs from those earliest times which Matt did much to immortalize. Since my closely argued discussion on this matter yesterday and today has done little to dissuade you (nor would it comfort Matt, I'm quite sure), how about this: Since the appeal of "Power Failure" rests almost totally on B.J.'s magnificent drum work (MUSICALLY, the song is nothing more than an extremely simple four measure melody which repeats over and over for three verses, no modulations, no bridge, no chorus), why don't we spearhead a campaign to list him as a co-composer with Gary, and then figure out how much of the total income accrued so far since the Broken Barricades album was released (1971) can be redirected back to his heirs. All the best.  

Subj:  Re:Guess What? Date:  97-02-17 22:43:12 EST From:  Jem33 My Castle CD of SOB - 1992 - says Brooker/Reid/Fisher for the title track  .I have it in front of me as I type.  That is no lie. This is very strange - is your CD from 1992?   My guess is it's probably a mistake, but it's nice to see it anyway... :-)  

Subj:  Re:OUCH!  Re: AWSOP, GB, MF, Date:  97-02-18 00:43:37 EST From:  EMVan1  

I think the whole debate boils down as follows. The procedure by which the songwriting credit for AWSOP's music is given to just Brooker is, as DEDACTR has explained, absolutely *standard operating procedure* in the world of pop. Songwriting credits have *always* been given based on conception and *never* been given based on arrangement, regardless of the importance of the arrangement to the finished product, regardless of whether aspects of the original recording artist's arrangment become so closely identified with the song that they must retrospectively be viewed as part of the composition and not the arrangement.  (It *would* be possible to record AWSOP without the organ part.  A good question: has anyone done so? Even one such version would weaken Matt's argument.)  

Now, whether this is FAIR is another question entirely.  (If there has never been a version of AWSOP recorded without the organ part, then Matt has a very strong argument that it is not fair.)   But if Matt has a complaint, it is with the SYSTEM, not with GB.  

Practically, there's no way of knowing, when a song is recorded, whether any part of the arrangement will end up as important as the framework.  Imagine this scenario:  

I write a song, and one of my band members adds a part that appears to be absolutely crucial to the song.  I am a magnanimous guy, so I say, "boy, Matt" (any resemblence . . .:-), "that's such a great part that I'm going to give you a cut of the song."  The song is a minor hit.  

Then Marvin Gaye Jr.. does an absolutely radical remake (does anyone *ever* play the original, fast Martha and the Vandellas version of "I Heard it Through the Grapevine," even in cover bands?) which omits the apparently crucial part.  It goes to #1 and stays there for fourteen weeks.  Therafter the song is covered by hundreds of artists, but almost always in the radical new arrangement.  

Do you think Matt X would or should give back his share of the song, in light of what happened?  

Now, if I were GB, I would have retroactively cut MF in on AWSOP, even if he had never asked. I would have done so without changing the formal writing credit, so as not to set a precedent for others to complain if they were in MF's position.  And I would have made public the fact that MF now had a share of the song, stressing that I had done so out of a sense of fairness, that it was a personal issue between me and him, and that it should not be regarded as precedent-setting.  I would stress that historians writing analysis should regard MF's contribution as central, and remind one and all that formal songwriting credits often do not tell the actual story (witness all the "Lennon-McCartney" compositions actually written entirely by one or the other).  

OTOH, I just tipped a bellboy $10 . . . and I am *not* GB. Eric  

Subj:  MF/AWSOP Date:  97-02-18 20:03:33 EST From:  Jem33  

[Eric Wrote]: Songwriting credits have *always* been given based on conception and *never* been given based on arrangement....regardless of whether aspects of the original recording artist's arrangment become so closely identified with the song that they must retrospectively be viewed as part of the composition and not the arrangement.  <<< I don't hear MF's parts of the song as "arrangement."  I think he composed over half the music of the song.  AWSoP is unusual for a "rock" tune - that's no surprise, it is PH after all, and not just Rock but Classical, IMO - in that it has 2 equally important melodies - GB's vocal melody and MF's instrumental melody (I'm no longer calling them 'main' and 'counter').  The latter starts at note #1, proceeds by itself for 8 measures (I'm no longer calling it an 'intro' ) and is then joined by the vocal melody,  both melodies continuing in counterpoint to one another on to the end [of each verse. Matthew's Melody soloes again between verses and at the end  --jm].  That's how  I hear the song anyway. Those first 8 bars are so well known and loved that they can be used to represent the entire song.  As I posted earlier, Al Kooper incorporated only this portion into his organ medley and it elicited cheers from that young Mountain Stage audience.  "Third Rock From the Sun" used only the First Eight to provide a beautiful conclusion to one of its episodes.  Most or all press reports about the song cite MF's organ lines as defining components,   though of course they don't use his name but rather attribute his work to Bach.  I think if anyone tried to sell sheet music to the song without MF's melody, that sheet music would not be accepted simply as an alternate "arrangement" but would be angrily returned as Defective (It *would* be possible to record AWSOP without the organ part.  A good question: has anyone done so? Even one such version would weaken Matt's argument.) << I'm pretty sure every cover version of AWSoP has included the First Eight, though not always played on organ, and most have at least some of the rest of the organ melody.   I suppose it's theoretically possible to record the song without MF's parts but that shouldn't affect his credit for PH's version (and I don't think one need worry that the non-MF rendition would be a hit). AWSoP could be (has been?)  recorded as an instrumental but that doesn't mean KR should be denied credit for the original version. Hmmmm - would KR get composer credit and royalties for an instrumental cover version?  (I mention royalties only for sake of argument, because GB and KR have said they don't receive royalties for AWSoP).  I suspect he would, but If not -  if only the portions actually used in the cover are credited,  perhaps there could be a breakdown of the music credits - vocal melody by GB; instrumental melody, MF -  with MF receiving credit only on cover versions that included his contributions..  

I can envision the song being recorded as as instrumental with Only MF's melody - GB's omitted - and still being recognizable instantly as AWSoP, even if the listener began at measure #9.  I think it's possible that this version would be More recognizable as AWSoP than an instrumental version with just GB's melody, and all of MF's work omitted.  

There have been - so far -  3 questions in this discussion: 1)  Were the organ parts written by Bach? - we discussed this extensively earlier. 2) If not - were they written by MF,  or GB?  ( I just realized this was a question after reading that Cleveland Plain Dealer article). 3)  If MF - are they "arrangement" or "composition?" At least we  (those interested in this topic) agree on the answers to the first 2  - "No,"  and "MF" - right?  If so - as far as GB is concerned, I'm not so sure he agrees with us on question #2, so he may not even be Ready for #3.  <G     But if Matt has a complaint, it is with the SYSTEM, not with GB. <<< I don't know that MF Blames GB for his not being credited.  He's never said that.  For all I know he does blame the System and not GB.  

Subj:  Writing Credits Date:  97-02-19 00:50:39 EST From:  BigTex1976  

There is no "objective method" for the determination of songwriting credits ... it is essentially a contract between and among the writers ... you could BUY a credit for a song if the other writer(s) agreed to it ... I suspect that Matthew's understanding was that he would get credit for his part; actually, more likely, he simply assumed that he would get credit ... and THAT is always dangerous ... And, yes, of course Keith would get royalties for an instrumental version of WSOP, assuming he had not sold his rights or otherwise transferred them ...  

Subj:  Way To Go Wendigo!!!! Date:  97-02-21 14:42:28 EST From:  Jem33 I just read all the posts fast so this may already be there BUT: In the latest Shine On - MF answers 2 of Wendigo's Questions!!!!!!  The only ones answered by the band so far!!!!!!   YES!!!! Many Congrats,  Wend!!!  :-) Also it says that MF will soon have his own Web Page!!  Double Yes!  :-)  :-)  

Subj:  Shine On Q&A Date:  97-02-24 12:48:54 EST From:  WendigoNY Hi All, You were asking re the Shine On Q&A in the new issue. Let me just say, cos here's my big chance!,  I was *tickled pink* to actually have MF answer my questions! The question that is more pertinent to this folder asks about the dialogue between the "In" and the "I" (IHTIA). MF answered: "As far as the first question is concerned, I'm not sure I understand it. (Note: He did!) If Cathy is referring to the shouting at the end of In The Autumn of My Madness then there is certainly a lot of yelling going on. The only recollection I have regarding this is that Denny Cordell shouts out the names "Royer" and "Harrison" (2 ex-members of Procol), probably in the hope that some hippy freak would read some amazing meaning into it." My friends and I would spend hours trying to figure out what the heck they were yelling about (hey, we weren't hippy freaks! But I did have love beads.)  Wore my SOB right through! I admit I can't quite hear "Royer" and "Harrison". I do hear a great "Quiet!" at the beginning (or "Wyeth!").  Anyone else have an interpretation of the voices? Question 2 was about Prairie Madness, a duo MF produced here in NYC in the early '70s. The album came out, but the band disappeared -- immediately. Long story short, the two musicians (Ed Millis and Chris Ducey) no longer play together. In his response Matt related a cute story about Ed Millis in Africa: "He told us about a time he wandered off the beaten track and was getting rather worried that he might have strayed into territory no white man had ever seen before. Just as he was thinking this, a little black kid appeared. He took one look at Ed, grinned and sang, "That's the way uh-huh uh-huh I like it!" and ran off." I'd like to say this was a Prairie Madness song, but it wasn't. Looking forward to MF's web page, yes!! Regards to Jem and Dedactr. Thanks for the Separation info, Dedactr. I printed it out and will savour it later. ALSO, I went downtown this weekend and found (YES!!) Easter Island!!!!! Yippie!!!!!!!!!! Hearts a flutter! I closed my eyes and my room suddenly had a Joshua Light Show going. Dedactr, I thought I was going to run into you all Sunday with my big bag full of PH goodies (UK SOB, Homburg and other hats...). I'd better get some work done so I can pay the Visa bill. Love, Wendigo  

Subj:  MATTHEW FISHER LIVE Date:  97-02-24 19:30:07 EST From:  YARDBIRDS1 If anyone is interested in arranging any live concerts privatee or otherwise with Matthew FIsher & The British Invasion All-Stars (The Yardbirds Jim McCarty, Nashville Teens lead vocalist Ray Phillips" of Tobacco Road fame, Matt Fisher on Hammond,  either THe Pretty Things Dick Taylor or Eddie Phillips of The Creation on lead guitar, Don Craine & Keith Grant of the Downliners Sect on rhythm guitar and bass and/or Jimi Hendrix Experience's Noel Redding guitar/bass let me know as Matt said he's free to do it right now.  I produced and put together this band.  The number to actually contact in England is Don Craine at (From USA dial 011-44)-181-892-0480 who  will answer all monetary and logistical questions.  Mention Mike Ober (me) if you call.  

Subj:  Re:Shine On Q&A Date:  97-02-24 21:19:07 EST From:  DEDACTR      Dear Wendigo,      I couldn't wish more bliss and everlasting happiness on a Procol devotee than that he or she could own a copy of Easter Island, for me, the ultimate Procol musical document (after the first three albums, of course). I was listening to it myself on Sunday, so in a very real way we did meet, as we always will, at that pool inside the forest, in whose waters we shall drown.      The first of your two questions that Matt answered in Shine On was particularly pertinent to me. After the Fillmore concerts in '68 and '69, I'd always vowed that if I met Gary somewhere, I'd ask him two questions, and only two. So when I met him in the men's room at Farleigh Dickinson University (New Jersey) in 1970 where Procol was giving a concert, I had my big chance. Unfortunately, due to schoolboy nervousness at the time, I only accomplished half of my objective (Gary still gets me nervous today, but for totally different reasons). The first question, which I managed to force out of my mouth, was about the incredible instrumental I'd heard them play which began with B.J. on tympani rolls. He told me it was called "Stoge Poges" (the name of a little village in Buckinghamshire west of London) which I proceeded to do a little research on to see if I could find some parallels between Matt's awesome instrumental and Thomas Gray's great "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard", which he wrote at Stoke Poges, because its somber and reflective mood seemed to me to fit Matt's music very well (probably he would say there is no connection). When I asked Gary why they never recorded it, he said that they didn't like the way it turned out in the studio (I found out much later that Matt then proceeded to give the acetate of this recording--the only studio document in existence of the piece--away to an acquaintance (he actually GAVE IT AWAY!). Regardless of how the studio version sounded, what we hear on Easter Island is astounding. It's probably one of those pieces of music that for some groups only seems to work well in a live context. Anyway, the second question to Gary, the one which I forgot to ask him as I emerged from that mens room in a stupor (only to run smack into B.J. and Keith, but by that time my mouth had come a bit unglued), was about something Gary is singing as the cacaphony at the end of "In The Autumn Of My Madness" fades. It always sounded (and indeed still sounds) like something almost recognizable, but then it's gone. I've always wondered what it is he's singing here, for it always stood out for me among all that noise and screaming. Are you (or anyone else) able to get a handle on it? Take care.  

Subj:  Re:Second longest...... Date:  97-02-26 21:50:44 EST From:  Haclac

Hey lots of good stuff lately. UnfortunatelyIcan still hardly ever get in to this system...maybe if I got a night job. I was listening to an old PH tape in the car today (well not that old I guess) of the In the Studio show with Red Beard where they usually dissected a famous album with the group, but in this case did a best of PH with GB, KR, RT and MF commenting. This must have been done when they had gotten together for PS, i'm guessing and everyone was prety jovial. Interesting was the point of coming to ASD when Matt said they did it in Abbey Road and had all kinds of toys to play with and it was the first time they realized they could do it by themselves and of course MF produced. Then discussed why he left, which was simply a decision not to tour because he loved producing so much...which left the obvious question which of course was never addressed by the host of why did he not produce Home. They just went on to GB explaining why they went to a 4 piece and that they wanted to be a little harder with the next album and of course out of the schute came Whiskey Train. I hesitate to brong up the MF/GB stuff again in the face pf the new material people are presenting, but this tape hit me with that question. Anyone know why he did not produce Home?  ......  

Subj:  MF Revision Date:  97-02-27 15:27:23 EST From:  Jem33

Howard wrote: I hesitate to bring up the MF/GB stuff again in the face of the new material people are presenting, but this tape hit me with that question. Anyone know why he did not produce Home?  

Well I was going to bring it up again anyway.  Those not interested need read no further.  

I don't think anyone but MF really knows why he left and didn't produce HOME. He's given several stories but they sound like euphemisms to me - e.g. he didn't like touring outside the UK because he'd miss his favorite things like English Sausage, English Tea and English Telly. My opinion has changed since I last posted about this - based on review of lyrics off his first 2 solos and some comments here.  I now believe that the reason he left Was the composer-credit for AWSOP -  that he expected (thought he was promised?) credit, and waited for it to materialize until 1969,  when he realized it wasn't going to happen.   IMHO,  this has had a profound and lasting effect on MF's general sense of well being, and especially on his music.  In "Going For A Song" (slang for being undervalued),  I think he includes excerpts of AWSOP and PP as symbols of all the music he created with PH - that style that's so uniquely his and that we've all missed so much since he left PH. When he says "Please don't make me sing that song..."  I don't think he means just singing or one particular song - but rather that he's giving up that style because it's too painful to play or to compose. To do so would remind him of what he felt was a betrayal  - would make him "feel so sad." By the time he joined the PS album and tour,  he was again willing to play some of his Classic pieces,  though not always with great enthusiasm, but was/is still not composing in that style. The songs he co-wrote for PS are non-distinctive pop tunes, although you can hear lovely bits of his classic organ lines running through the album if you listen for them.  In Mike Ober's interview he was respectful toward GB/KR, but expressed dissatisfaction about 2 things:  not being made an equal partner for the album and tour - which was why he went to Cambridge and missed Edmonton '92, making it (IMO) a Gary Brooker rather than a PH concert, no matter how it was billed - and of course the AWSOP credit,  which still haunts him as well it should. The positive side of all this is that, unusual for one with his demographics, MF's brain is unabused and intact.  *** I Don't think we should assume that he's unable to reproduce the magic of his peak works just because he's older! ***  He's as brilliant (witness the "maths" degree)  and creative as ever. I Know he has the potential to produce much more of the music that we all love - there are hints of it in the organ snippets on PS.   But in order for this to happen,  I think the AWSOP oversight will first have to be corrected. And - I think it Could really be an oversight, not a purposeful betrayal;  I should've made that clear before.  I still hope that Gary will come to agree that it should be rectified. It's NOT too late... The song's 30th Anniversary is fast approaching,  5/97 I think, and that would be a Perfect time for MF to receive his musical justice and begin work on the "new Hesperus.."  

Subj:  Re:MF Revision Date:  97-02-27 16:53:50 EST From:  WendigoNY

Jem says: To do so would remind him of what he felt was a betrayal  - would make him "feel so sad."  By the time he joined the PS album and tour,  he was again willing to play some of his Classic pieces,  though not always with great enthusiasm, but was/is still not composing in that style.  <<  

But Jem, why does he then call that little solo work he did "A Salty Dog Returns" and why the ASD seagull sounds on the song "Strange Days"? Do you think he divorced himself from his great and furious Matthew Fisher sound out of spite while holding these other reminders close? It's curiouser and curiouser! Back down the rabbit hole, Wendigo  

Subj:  Re:MF Revision Date:  97-02-28 00:21:44 EST From:  YARDBIRDS1  

In response to why Matt called his album, "A Salty Dog Returns" - he didn't, I did, to try to increase the commercialness of the album.  Matt chuckled fine.  I also titled the majority of the albums songs.  - Mike Ober, Producer  

Subj:  Re:MF Revision Date:  97-03-01 12:20:27 EST From:  Jem33  

Hi Wendigo! Thanks for posting your Shine On Q&A with MF   :-) You wrote : But Jem, why does he then call that little solo work he did "A Salty Dog Returns" and why the ASD seagull sounds on the song "Strange Days"? Do you think he divorced himself from his great and  furious Matthew Fisher sound out of spite while holding these other reminders close? It's curiouser and curiouser! << I was talking "pain and suffering,"  Not "spite."   I'm encouraged by the organ lines running through PS that he hasn't totally divorced himself from his signature sound, and that there could someday be a "remarriage." I do like some of the songs on MF's solo albums, especially the first 2 - faves being: Hard To Be Sure (containing his best lyrics imo), Theme From Separation, Going For A Song (isnt' it Gorgeous how that Hammond clip from AWSOP makes its way in there??), Not Her Fault and Song Without Words. It's amazing that I never noticed all those Heartbreaking lyrics  ---  Play the Game, Going For a Song, I'll Be There, and Especially Journey's End :..-(    until someone on the Board pointed them out a few months ago!!!  I generally don't focus much on lyrics unless they're really strange like KR's. As you can probably predict, I wish those Orchestral overlays on MF's solo albums weren't there, so that the beauty of his vocals, Hammond and piano could come through louder and clearer.  I'm tempted to write RCA and ask them to work with MF on reissuing those 2 on CD in Unstrung form - sans overlays.  He would need to re-record some melody lines of Theme From Separation and maybe others on Hammond,  if the idea interested him at all that is... More generally - I even envision an Unstrung Trend being a musically uplifting (and also lucrative) new avenue for musicians and record companies. There was a lot of critical acclaim for the Lean versions of Beatles tunes on the latest Anthology release - it almost seemed like a Revelation to those critics - how great the unadorned music sounded without all the Silences choked out. {Love ya, Bronze!  :-) ) .  I'd certainly buy any number of albums reissued in Unstrung form - overproduction has been my pet peeve forever!  See Paul Simon's great under-rated film One Trick Pony - the Lou Reed Meddlesome Producer character - for a perfect dramatization of what I mean.  

Subj:  Re:MF & Home Date:  97-02-27 21:49:43 EST From:  BigTex1976

With the direction that "Home" took I really couldn't see Matthew in the producer's chair ... seemed to me that Copping had a major impact on the sound, feel and energy level of the band or that Gary brought him in because that's where he was already going with things ... Re Running From Your Love, as much as I love playing and listening to the Hammond organ (especially when Fisher is on the bench) I just don't see how it could have subbed for the string arrangement, which is nothing short of magnificent as is ... perhaps some backing on the Hammond would have been interesting but I don't think even the mighty B-3 could carry all the nuance and power of that arrangement ...  

Subj:  Running frm yr love Date:  97-02-28 13:22:48 EST From:  WendigoNY  

BigTex said: <<Re Running From Your Love, as much as I love playing and listening to the Hammond organ (especially when Fisher is on the bench) I just don't see how it could have subbed for the string arrangement, which is nothing short of magnificent... I like the way that violin sounds pissed off on Running From Your Love. Maybe the sound of the Hammond would be too well-mannered for this duty. Have you tried it out on yours, then? What it comes down to for me (and some other folks in this folder) is that I'm MF-Hammond starved. I listen to the MF solo works  (as I wrote earlier) and can appreciate them. But I find myself tensing as I listen and trying to squeeze out the bits of keyboard genius therein. Talk about blood from a rock! Oh, the obsession! St Matthew, play for us! ;-) Glad it's Friday, Wendigo  


:  Re:Running frm yr love Date:  97-03-01 03:46:14 EST From:  BigTex1976 << 

I like the way that violin sounds pissed off on Running From Your Love. Maybe the sound of the Hammond would be too well-mannered for this duty. Have you tried it out on yours, then?  

Well, Hammonds CAN be well-mannered but they can also grunt, growl, piss and moan if you want them to ... I've worked out with the basic harmonics and rhythm on the Hammond and the synthesizer but no, I have not actually tried to work out the orchestral arrangement or a re-arrangement of it.  It would take a lot of overdubbing ... maybe one day I'll give it a whack ... but that will not exactly be Fisher doing it, now will it ?? There have been several mentions of Fisher's early aggressive style but, aside from Kaleidoscope, Lime Street Blues and perhaps Wee Small Hours -- maybe a couple of others -- I really don't hear it that way.  And, as for some other comments I don't think he's lost a thing technically.  In Dallas (1991) right after I spoke with him he got up on stage and did some solo warm-ups and the guy had it all ... complete mastery of the instrument (an absolutely top-notch B-3 with two Leslies) .... THAT sounded very aggressive and frankly gave me goose bumps; moreover, he was very assertive in directing the band onstage during the show ... the guy clearly knew what kind of sound he was looking for in the band and was not at all shy about demanding it. And he got it ... the set was very nearly flawless.  I might also add that on that occasion, at least, Gary showed great respect, warmth and friendship for Matthew in his introduction of the band ... it was really a great night Apart from the engineering I still think the first album is arguably Procol's best work and I suspect a lot of that has to do with the fact that it was just a five piece band, essentially recorded live in the studio without embellishment.  Although I love the vast majority of their work I'm not sure that any of it had the same kind of pure energy the first one did ... the 14 seconds of solo in Kaleidoscope IS pure in-your-face Hammond genius;  I always wanted that solo to go on further but then again -- we've  talked some about the silence -- perhaps that's the genius ... he closes the loop (Matthew always does) but still manages to leave you out there on the edge, wanting more ... wondering what in hell he might have done to your innards with another 14 seconds ...  perhaps there is the lost aggression mentioned before ... you don't hear that sort of playing on Prodigal Stranger but I don't think there was any music on there which could have properly hosted it, either ... but there is no question in my mind that Matthew was well up to delivering the performance ... The other thing I find fascinating about Fisher is that if you meet him, talk to him, shake his hand ... there is almost nothing in any of that which would suggest that this guy could get up on a stage or studio and just tear your head off ... and then he does.  

Subj:  Running From Your Love Date:  97-03-01 04:07:11 EST From:  Jem33

Howard wrote: Running from Your Love is absolutely awesome. I play that song 2-3 times in a row it is so dynamic...some of the best orchestration I have ever heard on a pop song (even Joan would have to agree).<< Well I do like this orchestration better than just about any other - because the high strings are crisp and fast instead of schmaltzy and sluggish, and the emphasis is on the bass-er tones - cellos? trombones? whatever.  But that orchestral wimp factor is still there a bit.  I think the song would sound even HOTTER [if orch. were replaced -- jm]  with Hammond on top and a wall of guitars - or one Gary Moore - on bottom.  

Subj:  Re:Running frm yr love Date:  97-03-01 09:32:46 EST From:  DEDACTR   

   I've heard Matt live three times now since the Procol rennaisance of '91, and I don't hear anything even close to what I heard live from him in '67-69. I don't believe he's lost anything technically either; I just believe that musically he's gotten very complacent on stage, and has resigned himself to comping Gary, being a member of Gary's back up band, which is what Procol has deteriorated to, for me, especially the last two tours. He was most definitely an "aggressive" player in the old days, and one can hear it all over the first album; but as a live player, it's all over Easter Island, very aggressive, very IN YOUR FACE. That's the way he really played then, and sounded, and he doesn't do anything like that now. Yes, Gary is extremely respectful to him on stage, to everyone really. He's a solo performer now and has all these dedicated musicians on stage, behind him, supporting this notion he has of himself. It's all so....TAME. And not a little bit lame, too.  

Subj:  Re:Running frm yr love Date:  97-03-01 14:00:22 EST From:  BigTex1976  

<<      I've heard Matt live three times now since the Procol rennaisance of '91, and I don't hear anything even close to what I heard live from him in '67-69. I don't believe he's lost anything technically either; I just believe that musically he's gotten very complacent on stage, and has resigned himself to comping Gary, being a member of Gary's back up band, which is what Procol has deteriorated to, for me, especially the last two tours. He was most definitely an "aggressive" player in the old days, and one can hear it all over the first album; but as a live player, it's all over Easter Island, very aggressive, very IN YOUR FACE. That's the way he really played then, and sounded, and he doesn't do anything like that now. Yes, Gary is extremely respectful to him on stage, to everyone really. He's a solo performer now and has all these dedicated musicians on stage, behind him, supporting this notion he has of himself. It's all so....TAME. And not a little bit lame, too. Tame, perhaps ... lame, no, I don't think so ... Complacent on stage ... I guess you just didn't see him essentially running the show in Dallas ... this guy was NOT complacent ... as for "Gary's backup band" ... well, I guess if you're in the mood to slam Fisher you can characterize it that way;  another take is that it by most conventional standards Procol Harum has ALWAYS been Gary's band and everyone else has been "just a sideman" ... but WHAT A BAND, WHAT SIDEMEN ! I don't want to start another flame session here, and in fact will not participate in one should it erupt (at least not too extensively :)) but I think you (DEDACTR) are a pretty aggressive guy yourself and apparently like a lot of testosterone in your musicians, which is fine ... I do too at times ... but there are other styles, other moods and I'm hard-pressed to understand  why you berate some of the players and some of the material incessantly ... Matt does what Matt does and some people actually take pleasure in listening to it, however imperfect it may be ... could it be more ?  Who knows ... I hope we shall find out; guys like Fisher ought to be in the studio a lot more ... and here I give credit to Mike Ober, who DID put his time and money into getting the world a bit more Fisher material  

Subj: Matthew Fisher I am placing you on probation Date: 26 Apr 1997 00:24:36 EDT From: YARDBIRDS1 Message-ID: <  

An open letter to Matt:  

Shame on you buddy for the "comments" you supposidly made in an uncredited 1994 interview on the Procol Web site.   As you still want to play with the guys (& tour as well) in The British Invasion All-Stars & they all enjoy your company, I find the comments a bit bizarre.  First off, I would place your playing and the others performances on "Green Onions", "Gimmee Some Loving" and "Heavy Weather" better than anything you did with Procol except "Whiter Shade of Pale", "Pilgrim's Progress", "Wreck of Hesperaus" & "Shine on Brightly".   Secondly, the guys in the British Invasion All-Stars wipe the floor or equal the current Procol:  Lead guitarist Eddie Phillips (from the  cult group Creation) wipes the floorwith  Renwick (who I admire) or Whitehorn.  Keith Grant (Downliners Sect) on bass destroys Dave Bronze or Pegg.  Jim McCarty (Yardbirds) and Mark Brezenski play different styles on drums so that's not a fair comparison, I'll call that a wash. I'll concede Gary is a more soulful singer than Ray "Tobacco Road" Phillips who you weren't crazy about but Ray can rock out more.  Matthew Fisher of the British Invasion All-Stars gets to do more of his thing than Matthew Fisher of the current Procol.  As to your comments on the recordings - all you listened to were poorly dubbed cassettes not the CD's because you didn't have a CD player at the time.  Repent Walpergus, Repent!   I still love you though!  PS Anyone wishing to buy the British Invasion All-Stars CD should EMAIL me!  - Mike Ober  

Subj: Re: KBFH concert CD request Date: Sun, 20 Apr 1997 10:46:47 EST From: Haclac Message-ID: <  

... Just wanted to comment on the 2nd part of the MF interview that Tex just added to the PH web page (thanks Tex)...I guess it depends upon which side of the MF/GB story you are on and I tend to be a GBer, but MF to me always comes across as honest (I'll give him that...though he never quite tells the whole story), but a bit of a prickly, unhapy guy who just can't seem to find what he wants. To say he is sorry he ever joined PH seems pretty ridiculous to me. Obviously no one knows if he might have had some other success (though the state of his solo stuff belies that), but the freedom he  has now to just go to school and do whatever is completely dependent upon his PH success (which his talent was a big part of). I happen to like prog rock and IHTWI is the cut that really sold me on PH so I have a bias there, but his dislike for that seems like restrospective discontent with his state of affairs. I know the money question is always there and that has been discussed mightily on these boards (with never enough facts to convince me) and that might be a true source of his uncharitable outlook on the only thing that makes him noteworthy (besides producing RT). Cher up proud of some great music...get on with life...go to the reunion and celebrate what many would love to have haveleft an indelible impression on the arts...way to go.     Howard  

Subj: Re: MF Interview Date: Sun, 20 Apr 1997 13:19:55 EST From: Jem33 Message-ID: <  

Hi Howard! I  was kind of surprised that MF said he's sorry he joined PH, because on Mike Ober's interview I'm almost Sure he said he's sorry he ever Left it! [Can anyone confirm that, or should I try and find the reference in that 4 hours?]  Maybe it depends on his mood on any particular day... I also wonder why he mentions money in relation to AWSOP (in Mike's interview) - GB/KR have said on at least 2 occasions in print - Rolling Stone many years ago, and Q Magazine in 1991 - that they don't receive royalties for that song - they sold the rights early on.  I know MF doesn't communicate very often with GB/KR - could he be Mistaken about this and be suffering needlessly all these years about the money?  Of course I think it's about something much more important than money - MF's Musical Legacy...I understand his sadness about that. I've been curious about the composing of IHTII.  He said in both interviews (I think) that GB/KR had composed it up to the "beanstalk" part and then came to him...  Could he have written the music for the rest?  I especially hear his signature on Autumn and Grand Finale - my favorite sections btw - I wonder if he solely composed the music for those sections..  

Subj: Re: MF Interview/IHTII Date: Mon, 21 Apr 1997 04:44:38 EST From: EMVan1 Message-ID: <  

<< I especially hear his signature on Autumn and Grand Finale - my favorite sections btw - I wonder if he solely composed the music for those sections..  

Since the number of songs where Matt composed alone exceeds the number where he's given a credit along with Gary, I think this is a very safe guess.  It's always been my assumption that he wrote all the music for these two sections. Whether he also helped GB with "Teatime at the Circus" and "Look to Your Soul" is another question; I certainly don't hear it.

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