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Mick Grabham reflects ...

'A Series of Odd Diversions'

In the Autumn of 1998, after an interesting conversation about the Guitar Orchestra album and another about Mick The Lad, Roland Clare invited Mick Grabham to reflect in general on his time with Procol Harum ... ruminative, gently Geordie, occasionally very animated or amused, but always warm, Mick led off with the Redhill experience ...

This whole thing, with the party last year, I was knocked out, you know, that people ... still had an opinion ...

About the band, or about your own playing?

The whole thing really.

It may be quite a small number of people, but it's an incredibly ardent group.

Oh, I know!

Is there any chance of us seeing you playing at the moment?

I play in a band called Los Amigos, with a guy that used to be in Cochise, Rick Wills: we've got a kind of R&B trio. The drummer's a guy called Nigel Hart, who you won't have heard of.

Have you still got a favourite Cochise track?

Oh God! One of my favourite Cochise songs would be one called China, which I wrote; another would be one called Past Loves, which Stewart Brown wrote. And we did a good version of Love's Made A Fool Of You. Well ... goodish! That was a single too: in fact it got in the American charts, and we couldn't believe it!

I'd like to ask you about Dee Murray as well, if you don't mind me raising ... a name ...

No, I don't mind talking about Dee.

I assume it was your connection with him that brought him into Procol Harum for the final tour.

That's correct, that's right.

Was that because you particularly wanted to work with him, or did he seem very much right for the gig?

We needed to get someone to play bass, and I said, 'If we get Dee then there's no problem.'

Amazing that he was free, isn't it?

No, he wasn't playing with Elton John then. There was so many ins and outs ... I don't know if he was playing with him later, but he wasn't playing at that time.

I imagine he was seldom not playing, with somebody?

Oh, you'd be surprised. He'd been playing with Elton John all those years, you don't necessarily just stop doing that and everybody in the world wants you to play bass. He wasn't that busy.

I suppose if you've been with one unit all that time, you haven't made the connections.


Gary Brooker has said that, that when Robin Trower left, 'We didn't know anybody.' It's hard to believe from the fan point-of-view, of course. Can you elaborate on the sequence of bass-players? After Alan Cartwright left, did Chris Copping not want to go on playing bass, in his wake?

Well, it's a grey area, you know. But I love Chris's bass-playing, I thought it was the bass-playing sound of the night last year at ... wherever it was.

I think Dave Bronze was pretty fine too.

Oh he is excellent, but Chris is so organic ... you know.

And did you enjoy playing with Pete Solley, back in the 70s?

Oh yes! But I wasn't a fan of the Farfisa sound, though.

Are you a Hammond purist?

No ... but you've only got to stick them next to each other ...

How about the synths: were you happy with that development in the Procol sound?

Not personally, no.

They took a lot of solos on the Something Magic album which might otherwise have gone to the guitar.

I don't know about that particularly ...

You have that one glorious solo on the Worm and the Tree! Did you really record most of that long suite in one day?

Well I must have said that once, I suppose. I saw that written somewhere recently too. But ... it must be an old statement, because I can't bloody remember. But it would only have been the basic backing track.

And a solo like that: is that the result of several takes, is it patched together or played in one go?

It is vaguely patched: it's mainly one solo but I do remember there's a bit, it might be just the last note in fact ... Stephen Stills was in the studio at that point, and I was trying to explain to Ron and Howie Albert how I wanted to drop the last note in from another take. Well they just didn't get the hang of what I was saying, but Stephen Stills understood all right, and it was him that organised it in the end.

Did people like Stills just drop in to that studio then, or was he a guest?

He just dropped in. Did you know that Eagles were making Hotel California at Criterion at the same time as we were doing Something Magic?

And did the two bands socialise at all?

Never saw hide nor hair of them, the whole time we were there! I saw their doctor, mind, but that's another story! That solo, though. It took a while to get the big sound on that, I remember. In the end I remember using a hired Marshall stack, turned up as loud as it would go, with no headphones; they turned the fold-back in the studio up and I was listening to speakers all the time.

Not my favourite album though!

Is it true that the band recorded other sessions before that album, after Procol's Ninth?

Did we?

That's the question! With Bob Ezrin?

That was before Procol's Ninth! He was in line for maybe producing what turned out to be Procol's Ninth. I remember us playing him ... we'd done a recording of what is known on the album as Without a Doubt, but at the time was called The Poet. We'd done a version of that at Phillips Studios, and we played him that. He said, (American drawl) 'You haven't got that dance pocket, ya gotta have that dance pocket'.

No, it was just ... he missed the point. He was just hearing the Bee Gees.

Is that why we get that offbeat, rising motif in the arrangement?

No, we never recorded it with him. We recorded The Poet ourselves, at Phillips, with no producer, specific, and I think that was the only demo that we had to play him. I wouldn't say that he didn't like it, but he was speaking ...

A different language?

Absolutely. So it didn't work out.

That song was much more powerful in the flesh than it ever was on the record.

I played the demo – it wasn't recorded as a demo, you know, but it ends up not being released so it's 'a demo', you know – and that's ... in some respects, anyway ... more happening than the album version.

In general songs of that era do sound better live, though

In general yes: but Lieber and Stoller generally concentrated more on the structure of the songs more than actual sounds and making it sound ... giving it that 'vibe' ... they left that to the engineer, and it sounds that way, sounds a bit under-produced.

In fact I've got an even earlier, proper demo of that, made by Gary on his own, really good. I mean, it's as rough as anything, him playing in his barn.

What does he do for a home demo?

I don't know that there is a bass on there. Clavinet, might be a piano, two clavinets ... and drums.

Which he likes to play, I think?

Well it's really good, it's excellent, fits it perfectly. In fact I prefer his demo, or the band's first recording of it, to the finished record.

It sounds very studied on the album, not as though it was all done ... in one think.

No, I know what you mean.

I suppose you do the scheduling of the track order when everything's finished: to my ears the album starts with four great tracks and tends to tail off. The Final Thrust is an odd inclusion ...

Well (laughs) ...

Is that one of the ones you did a film for ... that would have been an early rock video.

I can't remember that. We may have been filmed doing it, but whether anyone would consider that to be 'a video' ... you wouldn't consider it a video, there weren't videos then, the Phillips machine was the only video thing that was out then. But we may have been filmed doing it, I don't know.

I think you were filmed doing Pandora's Box. Wasn't that film damaged in the flood at Chrysalis in Oxford Street?

I wouldn't know, you know. I've spoken to Gary before, about these re-issues coming out, of the last albums: I said, 'Weren't there any out-takes to go there?' and he says no, there weren't any outtakes. Well, there are things like some of Procol's Ninth without the brass, and the other version of The Poet.

I don't think we're going to see those re-issued at the moment though, are we? The records that are coming out on Westside are the ones that were licensed to Essex music.

No, I was talking about the ones that have come out already.

Well they put out Drunk Again, which was nice to hear again.

That was the nearest they got! Did they even put on the other instrumental ... Backgammon?

No they didn't. It's a shame. And can you tell us why was that recorded ... was it just as a Booker T-type fun track?

We just recorded it! Just did it.

The name ... has that got any interesting origin?

We were all into backgammon at the time. Simple as that. We were in some rented house in Miami and we'd play games when we weren't recording, and it would be fishing out the back or playing pool or playing backgammon ... or there might be a few games going on during the recording of the album ... that kind of thing.

The rhythm, though, of the opening bass riff (sings) ... sounds like 'Backgammon, backgammon' in the same way that Piggy Pig Pig has its title and bass rhythm the same ... (sings)

At the time I always assumed that Backgammon was a nod in the direction of Chinese Chequers by Booker T and the MGs ... sort of in the same genre, title-wise and musically.

Gary's not very keen on material coming out now that wasn't legitimately released at the time, is he?

I don't know, I haven't spoken to him in depth about that.

At the time of the Anniversary Boxed Set he seemed very put out by it.

Fair enough, isn't it.

It's not quite so easy to see why tracks like Backgammon, that were released, aren't put out.

They're more or less covered, the B sides, aren't they now?

We'd all like to hear the material from Something Magic that was never used!

Yeah. But there wasn't anything that wasn't used ...

The things you played through to Ron and Howie Albert, surely ...

No, we just sat down and literally played them ...

No tapes running ...

Oh no, no no, it wasn't even in the studio, it was at the house we were renting, they came over when we first got there and we sat in a room with one piano and acoustic guitar or something like that.

They didn't even hear band versions?


Wasn't it pretty arrogant to dismiss so much material without hearing it played by the full band?

Well I think the same thing applied to Ron and Howie Albert as did to Bob Ezrin: I don't think they quite 'got it'. They were used to dealing with this big American 'Raahck' thing, know what I mean ...

No research to see what kind of stuff you've been putting out so successfully before?

Maybe not. They had loads of work at that particular period. I don't know if they do now.

And did you all feel kicked in the teeth when they made that 'chocolate-covered dogshit' remark? Or was that a laugh at the time?

Where's this line come from, then?

I think it was Gary in Record Collector (see here).

(Laughs) Yeah, yeah, well there were a few arguments ... during the making of that album, not the whole time or anything like that, but one or two times when they would lose their cool really (laughs) and that was probably the kind of time that Gary's referring to. I can't remember the exact thing, but I can remember them getting off their bike a few times!

The line's supposed to be 'You can take dog shit and cover it in chocolate, but when you bite into it, it's still dog shit!'

That sounds right, yeah.

Not very funny?

Oh, you've got to get it in context. It was probably to do with a track at the time. But you know, one of those things.

Did you sense when you were doing that album that it would be the end of the band's recording career?

No, (ruminates) ... can't say I did.

You didn't feel that the Worm and the Tree was going to be a ball and chain, in a way?

No, because you'd just done your new record, you know. I mean I didn't think it was fantastic, other than initially ... but in the cold light of day ... it's easy with hindsight.

Did you enjoy playing that live?

Yes. Yes. I did.

Gary didn't remember playing it in England, but I definitely heard it.

Oh we did, we definitely did, for a whole tour. I remember some guy had done us ... at Hammersmith ... there was slide-show behind us to illustrate it, and it was diabolical ... OAPs in the park feeding the ducks, that kind of thing.


Really. No exaggeration.

I remember slides accompanying Strangers in Space: two heads, one slipping into the other, nicely understated.

Yeah, I think this was just at Hammersmith that this slide show went on. It was just awful, awful, nothing to do with ...

Didn't Keith Reid have any control over that kind of thing?


So he liked it?

Well (pause) ... you tell me (laughs).

Keith always wrote out the set list?

Every night.

Was it because he kept track of what you'd played at particular venues, and what went down well?

I don't know. Maybe he knew the form. Certainly we would have a different running-order every night. Never used to go out and do the same show every night.

Is it down to him that material from the entire lifespan of the band stayed in the repertoire?

I wouldn't say so, no. We were always getting songs out, things from other albums, way back

I'd have thought it would be nice for musicians to be ringing the changes.

(Enthusiastic) You're right, yeah yeah. You're dead right. But sometimes you'd think, what the hell are we doing that song there for?

You liked Keith's words?

Oh yes, of course, how could you not? Which forgives everything else, anything else ... almost.

How did your collaboration on Mark of the Claw come about?

It came about simply because I said I'd like to write a song for the band, or have a go at writing a song for the band. Keith gave me the words to Mark of the Claw, and that was it.

I think Gary said you helped him out because he didn't have enough compositions for the album.

There is ... I don't know if Gary's still got it, but I remember Gary and I going down, Gary and I sort of demoed it, down at his place ... so he may still have a copy of that.

Is that the only one you did with them?


What about the other missing songs we've heard about: A la Carte, Musical Fish?

Musical Fish, yes. I was never overly fond of Musical Fish, actually.

There are quite a few songs like One Eye on the Future, and So Far Behind ...

I don't know either of 'em. I don't know either of them by title.

Well they might not be the right titles! Maybe A la Carte and Musical Fish are the titles of songs that we think have other titles. But One Eye on the Future is very characteristic: (sings)

It sounds vaguely familiar, but ...

Long time ago, I guess.

Yes, But as to whether ... but the only one I can think of that was never recorded, that we played live a couple of times ... I don't know how long we did it for ... now, how did that one go? (sings the guitar riff that starts So Far Behind)

That's So Far Behind! I heard you play that at Aylesbury ... that and the Blue Danube.

When you did those grand orchestral-type numbers, did you originally get those off a score, or did you sort them out by ear?

(Pause) Well I may be wrong, but I think I can remember seeing the score around for the Albinoni – initially – when we rehearsed it. And I can ... Blue Danube ... I think there was a score around for that. Maybe – initially – I'm not too sure.

Pieces like that one, so bitty and repetitive: it must be nightmare knowing whether you're going into the right bit at the right time.


We never know if there's any truth to the 'Classic Rock' label that the band attracted: did they have music up on stands during rehearsal ...

Oh it was definitely not like that. It was not academic, for sure. You know Gary would have read the thing ... or whoever, probably Gary reading the Albinoni; I'm not saying that is the case: he may have known the bloody thing off by heart for all I remember ... but I do remember, there was certainly music around at some stage ...

I saw your début at the Rainbow ... I bet that was nerve-racking.

It was, nerve-racking!

It all came across well. I just wish there was a recording I could get hold of.

I can't believe that it wasn't recorded. But it might have been.

You mean you think it was?

I don't think it was, but I've read that it was. But what does that mean?

Sounds as though the Hollywood Bowl gig was a good one too. Not sure about sticking Rule Britannia on the end of TV Ceasar, though.

It was all a bit bloody ... I dunno, it was all a bit ... we had a sound guy who thought it was a good idea to put the entire PA on one side of the stage for that gig, and it was all a bit weird. (The sound man's account is here) I mean, it was good, but ...

Reviews say that the sound was abominable, but the recording that was done for radio is great. Did you have a favourite Procol Harum song to play?

Oh my God! A favourite Procol Harum song? There would never be one, I don't suppose. A Salty Dog would be one, I suppose.

A song with no guitar part, originally! What about Thin End of the Wedge?

(Emphatic) I love that Thin End of the Wedge.

Everyone was happy to hear that again at Redhill.

Well, it's always been one of my favourites. But you know, there's dozens of them.

And have you got ones you didn't like to play?

Not really, I can't think of anything glaring, straight off.

I wondered if you felt restricted, playing so long in a keyboard dominated band? (see here)

Well ... there were some great times. But there's a lot of crap you carry around with you, you know, when you've been with the same people for so long.

So it wasn't a case of musical differences?

I don't know, I don't know. You know, not a lot of those songs sound as though they've come off a guitar.

Sitting at the piano, you can often find Gary's chords right there under your hands. But not Thin End of the Wedge. Maybe some of that goes well on guitar?

Well at Redhill ... in rehearsal you know ... there was one of those bloody chords we just couldn't find. Gary found it eventually.

From what I've read it sounds as though you were the first to leave, in 1977.

It wasn't really like that. We weren't aware that the band was splitting up, it was just that I left: they didn't split because of that. I was interested in taking my playing in another direction.

And have you played much with Gary in the long gap?

Well ... I went into the studio after Procol, when I was putting my own band together, and we spent ages trying to find the right keyboard player. And not long ago I listened back to what we had recorded then and I thought it sounds pretty good, don't know why we thought we needed a piano-player. But yes, Gary did come up and play on three or four one night.

Your own compositions?


You've gone on record as saying that you don't have the mind of a songwriter (see here).

Well I don't know about having the mind of a songwriter, but I'm not a songwriter inasmuch as I come up with new material all the time like a songwriter does. I'm a guitar player.

Well Gary's a songwriter, but it's a while since we've had any new material from him. Are you aware of any plans?

I'm not aware of any plans like that at the minute, no.

The best he's said to me is, 'We're not dead yet.'

No, it didn't feel like it was dead, last year, that's for sure.

Have you heard the recording of Redhill?

I have, yes. It's all right.

Do you have any reservations?

Only the guitar-playing.

Oh come on! It's a bit low in the mix, I suppose ...

It's the old syndrome! 'Mick you're too loud'. I used to get messages sent to me from the bloody mixing-desk, 'Keith says you're too loud.'

Really? Was that in solos or ensemble-playing?

In general.

It didn't sound like that in the audience. Anyway I thought the desk could always turn you down.

Only so far.

So they thought they were hearing your onstage amp?

Probably. Whatever.

What was it like in those latter days, then? Was it depressing, with you looking for an opportunity to quit? Or was everyone hanging on, hoping the climate would get better for that sort of music again?

It wasn't a question of 'looking for an opportunity to quit'. It just wasn't like that at all. But on the last tour I did think it was pretty grim, supporting people like Foghat and Supertramp. It was a bloody nightmare.

Mind you Bob Siebenberg is a terrific fan of BJ. Are you surprised to see such a big following for his playing now?

Oh, he was such an integral part of the whole thing.

Did you see what Gary said about BJ's playing on A Salty Dog?

[Mick hadn't: discussion ensued about Brooker's remark: 'It was made great ... by BJ Wilson ... ' full story here]

You were quoted, about Barrie, saying something like, 'Playing to keep time is like building a house out of bricks.'!

Well ... sort of Chinese whispers ... that's inverted a bit. It was murder trying to get him to play straight.

Was there pressure on him to play straight?

No no no no no no [sic!]. No no! Not in the slightest. He played exactly what he wanted to, more or less, Barrie. There was nothing like that at all. No I'm talking about, if we ever did any other kind of things that were straight and not Procol Harum things, demos for people and sessions for other people ... to get him to play absolutely straight was ... against the grain.

But that's not what people wanted him for!

No, but when you're in another musical context, you don't always need that ... what he had.

How would you characterise that 'what he had'?

Oh God, I don't know (pause). Intuitive. I don't know, just unique, really, but that doesn't say anything really, does it?

When did you last see him?

I can't remember, and that's the truth. I can't remember.

Did you ever hear Procol Harum subsequently, on the 1995 tour or at the Barbican, with Henry Spinetti on drums?


A lot of people are surprised how the music stands up without BJ.

Well I was surprised that evening [Redhill], with Graham Broad, not that I didn't think he would be good ...

You've played with him?

We both played in Bandit, but not both at the same time. He was out before I was in.

You made the third Bandit album, I think, with Matthew, that never came out?

That is correct, yes. That was done at [Fisher's] The Old Barn.

Is that how you came to be involved in his solo record?

That followed after that, yes.

And are you playing on just one track?

Yes ... I can't think there's any lead guitar on that; I'm not sure: there might be, you know: I can't remember. What I remember is playing chords: I don't remember playing any solos over, or anything like that.

You know how carefully hard-core fans listen out for the people they're interested in. By the way, did you do The Rocky Horror Show?

I did indeed.

And did Barrie Wilson?

We did indeed.

It doesn't appear to be very well-credited. That was just a session, was it? Hired guitar?

Well I remember seeing our names at the end of the film.

Perhaps it's not on the CD?

Ah! Well I've seen lots of copies of The Rocky Horror Picture Show that only credit the other guitar player who was on there, I can't remember his name, Count something or other ... and Dave Wintour on bass, and no mention of BJ or I; and on other copies I've seen the full list of everybody, or the four main musicians.

How did you come to be involved in that?

Through this booking agency that I'd always done sessions for; we didn't know anybody involved there, nothing like that.

Was Barrie Wilson with the same agency?

No no, I think the guy that got me the gig got us as a pair; I might be completely wrong, Richard O'Brien or whoever it was, they might have been Procol Harum fans ... but I tend to think not, I tend to think it was as I said initially.

And you got lots of session work through that route? Which is the Kelloggs Cornflakes advert that you did?

(Sings with gusto) "Open a packet of Kellogg's Cornflakes ..."

I do remember that one! [Mick thinks it was in F, actually, not G as shown ... but I ain't changing it now! RC]

Any other famous ones?

I do remember playing on a Jacob's Club! I can't remember, lager ones, who knows, I can't remember. Millions of those kind of things.

So how long do you get on a commercial like that?

Oh you're not in there five minutes, really.

Do they have it written out?

Yes. Only chord-sheets for the guitar, generally speaking. Any sessions that I did, some were through this agency, they were just people that I'd gotten to know over the years, you know, then they turned out to be a session agency. But when I was with Plastic Penny, we were managed by, on the floor below, a guy called Lionel Conway; on the floor below Page One records was DJM. And we used always to have access to Dick James' demo studio, and there'd be people in and out of there, and they'd need a guitarist and this that and the other, so going back from that time it just sort of followed on from there.

Would you remember playing on a record called American Gothic? A fan tells me he can't hear you on that record.

(Long, ruminative exhalation)

It seems that you told Melody Maker [24 March 1973] how much you'd enjoyed the sessions for American Gothic with David Ackles ...

American Gothic ... I don't ever remember playing on a David Ackles record. I can't say I've even heard of the album that you're talking about.

I had a feeling that would be the solution! The particular piece of journalism is full of mistakes ... [see here]

Not that I know have I ever had anything to do with David Ackles, but having said that, I've done the odd thing that I just wouldn't remember who it was for, you know, here and there.

It probably seems amusing that fans listen so carefully, for evidence....

Oh no, I listen to records for evidence too. I listen to records for evidence of Lowell George and the like. I've just found a Mick Taylor album that I got almost given, and I thought 'Oh I'll just give it a listen and see what it's like', then I discover that Lowell George is on it ... probably just the same as you listening and saying, 'Oh yeah, that's him!'

So Lowell George is a favourite, then?

(Heavy emphasis) Oh, ab – so – lute – ly!

He's often mentioned in a Procol Harum connection. Did you tour with Little Feat? Or was that before you joined the band?

No, they'd never heard of them before I arrived. I introduced their music to Procol as far as I'm aware. I tell you what, there was a connection though. Ritchie ... (oh, this senility!) ...

Is that the roadie connection?.

Yes, that's it. Then they supported us once, in New Jersey, I think, and about a year later we supported them.

Another detail question: did you deliberately quote the Simple Sister guitar rhythm in the playout of Beyond the Pale? (sings triplet figure)

(Considers, then laughs) Oh, I see. No! Not consciously, no! No, I see, yeah yeah yeah.

And is that a bouzouki, the twangling in the background?

I think it's mandolin. Mind you, it might have been a bouzouki.

Is that the sort of thing Chris Thomas added after the band had gone home?

No, that'll be somebody like BJ playing mandolin. It might be mandolin and banjo or something together playing that. That would have been Chris, or maybe Gary. You probably know that all the mandolins on Grand Hotel are Barrie? It probably says that on the album.

It says that, but I never really know whether I'm hearing mandolins or not ...

Just that big wash of ... (sings) ... I can hear mandolins. He overdubbed them and overdubbed them: it sort of becomes another instrument once you've got them tracked and double-tracked.

Was he a good mandolin-player? Or was it something he liked doing?

No he wasn't a good player particularly, but it was just something he was into. Not madly into.

Convenient little instrument to carry around though, isn't it? I take one camping! I suppose the rhythmical thing, the wrist-vibrato or whatever, would have come very easily to a drummer.

Yes, suppose so.

Do you know what the instrument is in the build-up in the middle of Simple Sister?

It's speeded-up piano, isn't it?

Some people say it's Gary playing a Moog, but I wondered if it was something like mandocello.

It could be but you'd have to be bloody good to play that. My money goes on speeded up piano, but I wasn't on the record, so I can't hundred percent guarantee that. (Mick was right: see here)

Dave Ball has visited 'Beyond the Pale', you know: we've got an interesting page about his playing left on Grand Hotel.

All the tracks on Grand Hotel were completely recorded with me, except for Souvenir of London: whatever he plays on that, I don't. I'm not on that at all, but apart from that ... there's no patched-up tracks on that album, and I never heard any of the songs other than rehearsing them with the band. To this day I've never heard Dave Ball play them.

So when you played Fires (Which Burnt Brightly) onstage at the Rainbow ...

How could we have played Fires (Which Burnt Brightly) onstage at the Rainbow ... was Grand Hotel out then?

No, it was new material from an album we hadn't heard then. You played Grand Hotel, which was superb, and Souvenir of London, which as far as I remember fell to pieces completely ... it was such a novelty that none of it mattered. Gary playing a National guitar I think.

Well (laughs) I really don't remember that in the slightest.

Back to the present, can you tell me, are Los Amigos recording, or just gigging?

We're about to do some kind of recording, see how it works out. We're based around Cambridge, but we gig all over.

Why did you move up there? Does it go back to Rick Wills being from around that way?

No, it's just one of those things that has come full-circle, really. We had friends who lived up this way. We were looking to move and we looked in all sorts of directions. We saw a house we liked and moved up here.

Is there much of a scene up there, with local bands?

It's pretty much like anywhere else, really. Plenty ... yes there are local bands, and that kind of thing. But the fact that Rick was from this vicinity was nothing to do with me coming up this way. It just happened that he moved back to this vicinity shortly after I'd moved here, and the friendship was rekindled.

And that's where you played in The Maff Fisher Experience, at Wolfson College. Was that a Cambridge connection, or was it through knowing Matthew from other musical contexts?

It was to do with Gary 'phoning up and saying, 'D'you fancy doing a gig in Cambridge' ... with whoever it was who was playing.

So it was Gary got you for that, yet it was billed as the Maff Fisher Experience.

(Laughs) I'd forgotten it was billed as that until you said that. I'd forgotten it had been. It was just R&B, really.

On paper it looked like a pretty good band.

Yes, it was a good night. I can't remember what we played.

I could tell you what was on the set list! A Whiter Shade of Pale was played early on, it wasn't reserved as the climax or anything.

I wouldn't trust set lists!

Well ... better sign off now, Mick. Thanks for a fascinating chat.

Just one thing before you go. I've got some pictures of BJ that no-one will ever have seen ... I actually thought of this a long time ago and the photo-box comes out from under the stairs ... and I did just come across a couple of BJ when we were recording (sings ...) Beyond The Pale ... I'd much rather people saw them that were interested, than stuck in a box under the stairs.

[Conversation turns to arrangements for sending the pictures of BJ to 'Beyond the Pale' ... finally ... ]

You know I don't really feel that I've done an interview with you about Procol Harum, really. More a series of odd diversions. But ... what the hell!

I didn't want to come at you with a bunch of pre-arranged questions, really. You get to more interesting places if you let the conversation wander. People are going to find a lot of this really intriguing.

Well, you're welcome. You're very welcome.

Mick Grabham's BtP page Grabham albums

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