The Prodigal Stranger
|Studio album by|
|Released||27 August 1991|
|Producer||Matt Noble with Gary Brooker, Matthew Fisher & Keith Reid|
|Procol Harum chronology|
The Prodigal Stranger is the tenth studio album by Procol Harum, released in 1991. The album is dedicated to the memory of Barrie James (B. J.) Wilson, who had been the drummer on all of the group's previous albums. Recorded after a 14-year break, even singer Gary Brooker was uncertain whether or not the sessions would work out for the band: "We never knew if it would work out, but we did know one thing and that was that the basis of us making the new Procol Harum record would be if we could get together a good set of songs...it was very like making a first album."
Although Fisher hadn't played with the band since 1969's A Salty Dog, he stated at the time "I felt that I just sort of slotted back into it, like it had only been like the day before ... so it's not so much déjà vu as just carrying on where we left off." Fisher continued to perform and tour with Procol Harum until after the tour to support 2004's The Well's on Fire
The reunion of the remaining four (lyricist Keith Reid is considered a full member of the band) members didn't last long. Robin Trower performed on the album and co-wrote the music for "All Our Dreams are Sold" but he declined to join the group on the following tour and was replaced by Tim Renwick. The tour to promote the album was well received and attended in both Europe and the United States reflecting the respect and status of the group but was not reflected in album sales. The album didn't chart in the Billboard Top 100 in the United States although the single "All Our Dreams Are Sold" got decent airplay rising to #29 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Charts.
The album received mixed reviews best summarized by the review at allmusic.com which stated that while Brooker was in fine voice the writing by Brooker's partner Keith Reid was "in a mundane, conventional mode" while Entertainment Weekly suggested "...and though the songs in The Prodigal Stranger are occasionally overproduced, singer Gary Brooker's powerfully soulful voice still makes the difference every time. Most of The Prodigal Stranger would have sounded perfectly wonderful in 1969 — and in this case, that's a compliment."
- "The Truth Won't Fade Away" (Gary Brooker, Matthew Fisher, Keith Reid)
- "Holding On" (Brooker, Reid)
- "Man with a Mission" (Brooker, Matt Noble, Reid)
- "(You Can't) Turn Back the Page" (Brooker, Noble, Reid)
- "One More Time" (Brooker, Fisher, Reid)
- "A Dream in Ev'ry Home" (Brooker, Fisher, Reid)
- "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" (Brooker, Thompson, Reid)
- "The King of Hearts" (Brooker, Noble, Reid)
- "All Our Dreams Are Sold" (Brooker, Trower, Reid)
- "Perpetual Motion" (Brooker, Noble, Reid)
- "Learn to Fly" (Brooker, Fisher, Reid)
- "The Pursuit of Happiness" (Brooker, Noble, Reid)
- Gary Brooker - piano and vocals
- Matthew Fisher - organ
- Robin Trower - guitar
- Mark Brzezicki - drums
- Dave Bronze - bass guitar
- Keith Reid - lyrics
- Additional personnel
- Jerry Stevenson - guitar and Mandolin
- Henry Spinetti - drums on "The Truth Won't Fade Away"
- Steve Lange, Maggie Ryder, Miriam Stockley – backing vocals on "Holding On"
- Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound, NYC - mastering
- Gardner, James A. (2011). "Prodigal Stranger - Procol Harum | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
- Promotional interview with Gary Brooker, www.procolharum.com/zoo_promo.htm
- Promotional interview with Matthew Fisher, www.procolharum.com/zoo_promo.htm
- Billboard Mainstream Rock Charts, 1991
- "Music Review: The Prodigal Stranger, by Procol Harum". Entertainment Weekly. 6 September 1991.