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Procol Harum - Greatest Hits CD (album) cover


Procol Harum


Crossover Prog

3.09 | 4 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars After their excellent debut album and the smash success of "A Whiter Shade of Pale", Procol Harum had a fine string of quasi hit singles and a more mediocre succession of moderately successful albums. Truth be told, the "comeback" smash "Conquistador", as powerful as it was, was released during their decline, even if it doubled their quota of huge hits to 2, the other being the majestic "Whiter Shade of Pale".

The story of Procol is really one of a superb quirky lyricist, a fine bluesy singer who played piano, and a master organist, and the sounds they made together. When Robin Trower seized the reins, the group was never the same, relying a lot more on his Hendrix influenced bluesy hard rock guitar. While some might argue this was a return to the roots, the group was distinct in a large measure because of their keyboard sound, and this decayed over time, especially when Matthew Fisher departed. It is telling that Mr Trower appeared on neither of the hits, joining up just after the first album and exiting after "Broken Barricades".

While this compilation does a commendable job of including the minor singles - it does miss the fine "Quite Rightly So" which can be obtained elsewhere - the album track choices can be a bit Trower heavy, and nothing is included from 1973 or later. Even if "A Salty Dog" is an inspired seafaring epic, "Whaling Stories" is an overdone attempt at proceeding further into the salty spray. "Boredom" is a pleasant diversion with acoustic guitar, whistles and alternate vocals, I believe those of Mr Fisher. "Power Failure" bests both "Whisky Train" and "Simple Sister" in likability and cooperation level among the guys, and even includes a rare studio drum solo that works!

A good compilation for the uninitiated and those who didn't get the single-only releases the first time around, this album exposes some of Procol Harum's strengths and inevitably their weaknesses. But even those are mostly well chosen highlights. 3.5 stars rounded down.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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