Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum 1967

UK / US : which is the Ur-version ?

In an interesting note from America to 'Beyond the Pale' (November 2007) Karl Baker sends the scans below, prefaced by this note:

'One of the things that keeps bugging me is when it's always said that A Whiter Shade of Pale did not appear originally on the first album, but was added to the US version. Why? Because the US version on Deram (DES-18008) pre-dated the UK version on Regal Zonophone by several months and therefore should be considered THE first album.'

From a British perspective, it was a familiar but puzzling truth that transAtlantic record companies were wont to reschedule track-listings in the 60s without reference to the recording artists themselves (the second Beatles album made available to US buyers contained excerpts from no fewer than four of the original UK releases). Procol Harum completed their first, eponymous album, a long while before Regal Zonophone released it in Europe, and it was their wish (according to Gary Brooker, in a 2007 interview BtP conducted in preparation for the Secrets of the Hive liner-note) not to make fans pay twice for the AWSoP track, which they'd already bought as a 45 rpm record in the summer. So although the US version predates the Procol Harum album's release in the UK, it doesn't represent what the band or its home record label wanted: which is why the press in general doesn't regard the US version (which uses electronically re-processed stereo, includes A Whiter Shade of Pale, suppresses Good Captain Clack, and relegates Conquistador to the second side) as an authentic manifestation, any more than the anomalous Italian pressing is.

Karl continues,
'I finally got around to doing a transfer of my original vinyl to CD-R the other day and thought that I'd share with you the cover art/label scans that I did to accompany the disc. Keep in mind that several of the songs have different fades on it and as you can see that the sequencing of tracks is also a bit different from the UK version.'

The front cover – closely similar to the UK version, though the vegetation extends further above
the title, and that alarming plant, bottom right, is not depicted in full


The credits on the back of the US album (shewn below)
correspond closely to the UK wording (shewn above),
though the tracklisting is different

Close-up of those song titles and so forth

The running-order and composer-credits on the US version of the album.
The 'stereo' label is controversial
The second side of the album, with the re-sited Conquistador

Thanks Karl ... very useful stuff

About the original album The original album in its Russian version

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