Grand Hotel (album)
|Studio album by|
|Genre||Progressive rock, symphonic rock|
|Label||Chrysalis, Esoteric Recordings|
Repertoire (2000 German reissue)
|Procol Harum chronology|
Grand Hotel is the sixth studio album by Procol Harum. Released in 1973, it signalled a change of direction for the band. Guitarist Dave Ball who had joined the band for their live album the previous year left shortly after the photo shoot for the proposed album's cover to be replaced by Mick Grabham. Grabham's head was superimposed on the front and back cover of the album on Ball's body. Although the band had gone through significant personnel changes in previous years, the band would enter its most stable phase with this line up.
Although "Grand Hotel" appears on the surface to be a concept album, the "concept", according to lyricist Keith Reid, doesn't extend beyond the title tune.
The single "A Souvenir of London" was banned by the BBC for its reference to venereal disease in the lyrics of the song. Reid claimed that the song was really inspired (regardless of how it turned out and was interpreted) by a visit to a souvenir shop near George Martin's Air Studios. "Almost every album has had at least one comic song...and this one was a bit tongue in cheek" Reid stated as part of an interview for the 2009 CD reissue.
|Christgau's Record Guide||C|
Reviewing for Rolling Stone in 1973, Bud Scoppa called Grand Hotel a "confused and uneven transitional album" and "a collection of overblown production jobs that, at their worst, approach self-parody, and simpler, less grandiose tracks that suggest Procol Harum may yet find a way out of the corner they have worked themselves into." Village Voice critic Robert Christgau similarly noted the split in musical identity: "For years, these guys have vacillated between a menu of grits that certainly ain't groceries and larks' tongues in aspic. Despite their current white-tie conceit, they still haven't decided."
In a retrospective review, AllMusic's James A. Gardner gave the album three-and-a-half out of five stars and said the replacement of the band's original guitarist Robin Trower with the "capable, even powerful, but not nearly as distinctive" Mick Grabham resulted in a greater reliance on "ornate arrangements than guitar riffs, making this somewhat more dignified than either of their previous studio albums, Home and Broken Barricades."
2009 Salvo reissue
In 2009 Salvo reissued the CD remastered by Nick Robbins. Vocalist/keyboardist/composer Gary Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid supplemented the original CD with two bonus tracks. Both were "raw" tracks i.e., they did not feature overdubs. One of the bonus tracks, "Bringing Home The Bacon", is the only one to feature former guitarist Dave Ball. The 2009 reissue also featured an essay by Patrick Humphries and was reissued in a cardboard sleeve.
|3.||"A Rum Tale"||3:21|
|1.||"A Souvenir of London"||3:21|
|2.||"Bringing Home the Bacon"||4:18|
|3.||"For Liquorice John"||4:26|
|4.||"Fires (Which Burnt Brightly)"||5:08|
- Sides one and two were combined as tracks 1–9 on CD reissues.
|1.||"Grand Hotel" (raw track without orchestral)||6:09|
|2.||"Bringing Home the Bacon" (raw track featuring Dave Ball)||6:06|
|1.||"Grand Hotel" (raw track without orchestra)||6:09|
|2.||"Bringing Home the Bacon" (Dave Ball-era recording)||6:06|
|3.||"Toujours L'amour" (early take)||3:40|
|4.||"Fires (Which Burn Brightly)" (early take)||5:04|
|5.||"Robert's Box" (early take)||4:39|
|1.||"Bringing Home the Bacon"|
|3.||"Fires (Which Burnt Brightly)"|
|4.||"A Salty Dog"|
|5.||"A Rum Tale"|
|7.||"For Liquorice John"|
|9.||"A Souvenir of London"|
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||28|
|United States (Billboard Top LPs)||21|
- Procol Harum
- Gary Brooker – vocals, piano
- Mick Grabham – guitar
- Chris Copping – organ
- Alan Cartwright – bass guitar, acoustic bass
- B.J. Wilson – drums, percussion
- Keith Reid – lyrics
- Christiane Legrand - vocals (8)
- The Pahene Recorder Ensemble - guest appearance (6)
- John Punter - engineer
- Spencer Zahn - artwork, design
- Jeffrey Weisel - photography, drawings in internal booklet
- Keith Reid Interview by Patrick Humphries for 2009 reissue booklet
- Keith Reid interview by Patrick Humphries for 2009 reissue booklet
- Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: P". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 10 March 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
- Scoppa, Bud (10 May 1973). "Procol Harum: Grand Hotel". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 25 January 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
- Christgau, Robert (August 1973). "The Christgau Consumer Guide". Creem. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 241. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- BPI Archived 21 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- Adams, Douglas. The Salmon of Doubt.
- ProcolHarum.com – ProcolHarum.com's page on this album