Procol Harum: The Best of, Then and Now (Salvo)

 |   |  1 min read

Procol Harum: Homburg
Procol Harum: The Best of, Then and Now (Salvo)

It is hard to believe -- and somewhat sad -- that the authorship of Whiter Shade of Pale, this group's defining moment (and which also captured the dreamy, surreal English Summer of Love in '67), should only have been resolved in Britain's House of Lords a few years ago.

It's also a shame that -- just as in any film about the war in Vietnam it seems obligatory to have Creedence song -- Whiter Shade of Pale has come to be the only identifiable song by PH for most people.

At the time their follow-up Homburg and Conquistador got considerable mileage on radio and those who followed their career were rewarded with albums such as A Salty Dog. And in retrospect we would recognise them as being one of the first prog-rock groups -- but one which didn't give in to the indulgence of 20 minute pieces.

PH kept a pop sensibility and, like the Beatles, managed to convey a benign, trippy experience in fewer than four minutes.

Changing line-ups certainly hindered a sense of continuity and as a consequence the music changed. But this 17 track compilation (the hit, Homburg, a live Conquistador and mostly Seventies tracks, closing with two live pieces from 2009) should serve as an introduction to a band which had more breadth than many might expect: the Dylanesque Gerdes, the not-to-be-ignored nautical melancholy of A Salty Dog, the driving Nothing But the Truth, and the slinky Pandora's Box which gave them the oxygen of minor chart success in '75 before they broke up in '77.

Of course they reformed and tour today, but for the casual traveller in their world this is where to get your ticket punched.

Like the sound of this, then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Various Artists; Legendary Wild Rockers (BBE)

Various Artists; Legendary Wild Rockers (BBE)

Collated by UK retro-DJs Keb Darge and Little Edith, this is 20 tracks of rare Fifties rockabilly and surf-rock where guitars twang, rhymes are kept simple but effective, saxes honk, Little Lil... > Read more

Jeffrey Foucault: Ghost Repeater (Signature)

Jeffrey Foucault: Ghost Repeater (Signature)

Not sure where this album has been -- it was recorded in 2005 and released in the rest of the world the following year - but it has just turned up in my letterbox. Produced by Bo Ramsey (a... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bob Dylan: Original Album Classics

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bob Dylan: Original Album Classics

Every few years or so, some writer or magazine kicks off the idea that Bob Dylan's horrible Eighties need reconsidering. So the search is on for lost gems but, just like gold nuggets in a... > Read more

RIENZI IN ROME: The man, the madness and the music

RIENZI IN ROME: The man, the madness and the music

Rome hadn't seen anything like him before, this strutting little fanatic who was so gifted with words he could move a crowd to mass action. A born propagandist, he was often invited into the... > Read more