Procol Harum (album)

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Procol Harum
Procol Harum.png
Studio album by Procol Harum
Released September 1967 (US), December 1967 (UK)
Recorded June 1967
Studio Olympic Studios, London, England
Genre Psychedelic rock, proto-prog
Length 35:05
Label Regal Zonophone
Producer Denny Cordell
Procol Harum chronology
Procol Harum
(1967)
Shine On Brightly
(1968)Shine On Brightly1968

Procol Harum is the debut studio album by English rock band Procol Harum. It was released in September 1967 by record label Deram in the US, following their breakthrough and immensely popular single "A Whiter Shade of Pale". The track doesn't appear on the UK version of the album, but was included on the US issue. The UK version of the album was released in December 1967 by record label Regal Zonophone.

Writing[edit]

All songs were originally credited written to Gary Brooker (music) and Keith Reid (lyrics), except "Repent Walpurgis" written by Matthew Fisher, after works by French organist Charles-Marie Widor and German composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

In 2005, Matthew Fisher filed suit[1] in the Royal Courts of Justice against Gary Brooker and his publisher, claiming that Fisher co-wrote the music for "A Whiter Shade of Pale". On 30 July 2009, the House of Lords issued a final verdict on the case in Fisher's favour. A lower court had ruled in Fisher's favour in 2006, granting him co-writing credits and a share of the royalties. A higher court partly overturned the ruling in 2008, giving Fisher co-writing credit but no money. The Court of Appeal had previously held that Fisher had waited too long to bring his claim to court. The House of Lords disagreed, stating there was no time limitation for such claims. Lord David Neuberger of Abbotsbury's opinion stated: "Fisher's subsequent contribution was significant, and, especially the introductory eight bars, an important factor in the work's success...".[2][3]

Procol Harum's lyricist Keith Reid told Songfacts that the music for "Conquistador" was written before the lyrics. He added that this was unusual as "99 out of 100" of the Procol Harum songs, back then, "were written the words first, and then were set to music."[4]

Recording[edit]

The track "Salad Days (Are Here Again)" is credited as being from the film Separation.

Release[edit]

Procol Harum was released in September 1967 in the US, and three months later in the UK. Though the album was recorded on multitrack, it was issued as mono-only in the UK, and in mono and rechannelled stereo in the US. Despite extensive searching, the original multitrack tapes have not been located and thus a stereo mix of the original ten tracks may never be possible. Several alternate takes, however, have been mixed into stereo and are available on CD. As recently as 2004, the original single, mixed to stereo, has appeared on a "Dick Bartley Presents: Classic Oldies" compilation on Eric Records.

The original North American release included a poster of the album cover.

The album has been repackaged and reissued many times. Two of the significant reissues are Procol Harum...Plus!, a 1998 CD compilation on the Westside label including all the songs from both the Deram and Regal Zonophone release, plus "Homburg" (the group's second single) and nine additional tracks from the period; and a monaural audiophile vinyl LP edition released in 2003 by Classic Records, with yet a different track order, including "Homburg" as the opening track and without "A Whiter Shade of Pale" or "Good Captain Clack". The set includes bonus singles of the original monaural and alternate stereo versions of "A Whiter Shade of Pale". A 2009 remaster by Salvo Records, using the original mono masters, was released, with bonus tracks including the singles "A Whiter Shade of Pale", "Homburg", B-sides and alternate stereo takes. However, many of the tracks are played at a higher speed. A 2015 remaster by Cherry Red Records expands the album into a 2-CD set.

A live version of the track "Conquistador", from the album Procol Harum Live with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, was released as a single in 1972 and charted to #16 in the US on the Billboard Hot 100 after 10 weeks on the chart.[5]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[6]
Classic Rock7/10[7]
Crawdaddy!(favourable)[8]
MusicHound3.5/5[9]

In his retrospective review of the album, Bruce Eder of AllMusic wrote: "Not everything here works, but it holds up better than most psychedelic or progressive rock."

Legacy[edit]

The album was included on Classic Rock magazine's list "50 Albums That Built Prog Rock".[10] It was included in Rolling Stone's 2007 list of "The 40 Essential Albums of 1967".[11]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Gary Brooker and Keith Reid, except as noted.

Side A
No.TitleLength
1."Conquistador"2:42
2."She Wandered Through the Garden Fence" (two versions of this song were released—one with a "firm" ending, not a fade-out)3:29
3."Something Following Me"3:40
4."Mabel"1:55
5."Cerdes (Outside the Gates Of)"5:07
Side B
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."A Christmas Camel" 4:54
2."Kaleidoscope" 2:57
3."Salad Days (Are Here Again)" (from the film Separation, 1968) 3:44
4."Good Captain Clack" 1:32
5."Repent Walpurgis"Matthew Fisher5:05

US version[edit]

Side A
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."A Whiter Shade of Pale"Brooker, Fisher, Reid4:04
2."She Wandered Through the Garden Fence" 3:18
3."Something Following Me" 3:37
4."Mabel" 1:50
5."Cerdes (Outside the Gates Of)" 5:04
Side B
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."A Christmas Camel" 4:48
2."Conquistador" 2:38
3."Kaleidoscope/Salad Days (Are Here Again)" 6:31
4."Repent Walpurgis"Fisher5:05

German version[edit]

2015 Esoteric Recordings 2-disc deluxe edition[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Procol Harum
Additional personnel
Technical
  • Simon Platz - executive producer (for Fly Records)
  • Eddy Offord, Frank Owen, Gerald Chevin, Keith Grant, Laurence Burridge - engineer

References[edit]

  1. ^ Patel, Pravina (26 June 2005). "Let Me Have My Writer's Share of Pale". The Mail on Sunday. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Classic 1960s Song's Organist Wins Royalties Battle – CNN.com". CNN.com. 30 July 2009. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  3. ^ "House of Lords – Fisher (Original Respondent and Cross-Appellant) v Brooker and Others (Original Appellants and Cross-Respondents)". parliament.co.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Conquistador by Procol Harum Songfacts". Songfacts. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  5. ^ Billboard Hot 100, Billboard magazine, July 29, 1972.
  6. ^ Eder, Bruce. "Procol Harum – Procol Harum : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  7. ^ Hughes, Rob (August 2015). "Procul Harum Reissues". Classic Rock. pp. 104–05.
  8. ^ Williams, Paul (September 1967). "[Procol Harum review]". Crawdaddy! (12).
  9. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 902. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.
  10. ^ "[Classic Rock article]". Classic Rock (146). July 2010.
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert; Fricke, David (12 July 2007). "The 40 Essential Albums of 2007". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 10 March 2015.

External links[edit]