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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Procol Harum

BBC Live In Concert

Review by Gary Hill

Procol Harum consisted of Gary Brooker, Chris Copping, Mick Grabham, Alan Cartwright, B. J. Wilson and Keith Reid on this disc. This is a solid live recording featuring some good prog sorts of music from this classic outfit.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Conquistador
Heavily piano oriented, this is a classic eerly prog cut that really works well. It is an energetic and potent live performance with a strong guitar solo and a nice keyboard break. The number also features a wonderously strong outro.
Bringing Home the Bacon
Starting in a classic hard edged early prog type of mode, this one has some intriguing twists and enough prog type riffs to keep fans entertained. All of that is contained in a solid hard rock sort of motif. The song features an interesting instrumental break that begins with blistering guitar work and evolves into keyboard driven elements. This one is quite strong.
Whaling Stories
Starting in bluesy tones, this epic begins building in dramatic ways. After a time, it changes gear drastically, moving in a very solid and builing prog manner.The instrumental break is dramatic and neo-classical with great textures. A scorchingly evocative guitar solo segment ensues. After the power of this, the cut shifts gear to sedate and potent piano/vocal dominated territory. Then it builds back up to prog drama then almost an early Genesisish outro.
New Lamps For Old
Feeling a bit like late era piano dominated Beatles (ala Long and Winding Road), this is a strong classic rock oriented cut that really works well.
Beyond The Pale
A somewhat ethnically oriented, a Genesisish tone serves as the intro. The cut then becomes a bouncy sort of vaguely off kilter rocker that is meaty, fun and progish.
As Strong As Samson
A classic rock oriented cut in a prog ballad sort of mode, this one builds up into a harder rocking mode. It is a potent prog rock number.
Simple Sister
Hard edged rocking guitar tones start this cut, but the keys and vocals really make the number. "Simple Sister" is an accessible hard edged rocker that really catches your attention and features some solid riffing.
The Idol
Feeling a bit like Blind Faith or Traffic, this is a good solid '70's rock ballad with prog leanings. It gets quite strong toward the end as it becomes more hard edged.
Grand Hotel
Starting in a slow balladic mode, this one covers a lot of musical territory, particularly when it takes on an Eastern European flavor, faster and faster. It then turns to a nice classical piano solo. This is some wonderful prog with strong ethnic textures. It is definitely based on a spirit of fun, too.
Butterfly Boys
Essentially a lot like an old era Elton John rocker, this one features a progish section late in the piece.
Nothing But the Truth
This is good solid prog with Genesisesque and Traffic oriented leanings. It is still firmly rooted in the classic Procol Harum sound.
 
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