Procol Harum

the Pale

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Rock Roots

Decca Records , 1976


A CD of 'Rock Roots' was also issued in France in 1989: Carrere 96684 (thanks, John)  

1   A Whiter Shade Of Pale

2   Lime Street Blues

3   Homburg

4 Seem to Have the Blues (Most all The Time)

5 Monsieur Armand (early version of Monsieur R Monde)

6   Conquistador

7   In The Wee Small Hours Of Sixpence 

Quite Rightly So

Shine On Brightly 

10 Long Gone Geek 

11  A Salty Dog 

12  Wreck Of The Hesperus 

13  Your Own Choice 

14  Whaling Stories



Liner notes:

The summer of 1967 is still generally remembered as rock music's finest hour. It brought Flower Power and Scott MacKenzie's 'San Francisco'; it brought 'All you Need Is Love' and 'Sergeant Pepper', but the whole tone of that glorious summer was set not by the Beatles, but by a new British group, Procol Harum.

Procol's first single, 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale', was released on May 12, 1967. By June 10 it was number one, where it stayed for six weeks before stepping down to make way for the Beatles and remaining in the charts all summer.

'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' came as a complete surprise; nobody had ever heard anything like it before. Reviewers, at a loss to describe the way it blended the forces of rock and classical music; dubbed it 'gothic'.

Procol Harum (the name means 'beyond these things') originally comprised: Gary Brooker (vocals and piano), Matthew Fisher (Hammond organ), Ray Royer (lead guitar), David Knights (bass) and Bobby Harrison (drums). That first line-up lasted just for the first single, after which Harrison, who had in fact only played on the B-side, and Royer left, to be replaced by B.J. Wilson and Robin Trower respectively.

This second line-up was to remain unchanged through three albums, 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale', 'Shine On Brightly' and 'Salty Dog', after which, in 1969, Fisher and Knights left and Chris Copping came into the group for the 'Home' album where the compass of 'Roots' ends.

At some point in Procol's very early history, lyricist Keith Reid, who has written the words of every track Procol have recorded, became an accredited member of the group and, alhough he plays no instrument, he's been one ever since.

'Roots' is not a monument to a dead band. Now in their tenth year of existence, Procol Harum are still making incredibly innovative music and they still have original members Brooker and Wilson with Reid in the line-up. 'Roots' shows how it all started. It includes several examples of the classical/rock blend which began with 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale', a whole lot of rhythm and blues and a bonus of two previously unreleased tracks recorded in 1967.

In the intervening years, many have tapped the vein of music that Procol released in 1967, but nobody has come up with anything to make these early tracks seem outmoded by comparision, and they still sound as fresh and inventive today as they did when they were first put down. (Ray Fox-Cumming)

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