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Rock - Paru le 7 avril 2014 | Metro

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Pop - Paru le 12 mai 1967 | Fly Records

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Pop - Paru le 22 avril 2017 | Fly Records

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Rock - Paru le 2 juin 1969 | Fly Records

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Rock progressif - Paru le 1 mars 1973 | Esoteric Recordings

Procol Harum's first album for Chrysalis, Grand Hotel, found the band returning to the grandeur of earlier works such as Shine on Brightly and Salty Dog. Robin Trower's replacement Mick Grabham is capable, even powerful, but not nearly as distinctive as his predecessor; consequently, the material tends to rely more on ornate arrangements than guitar riffs, making this somewhat more dignified than either of their previous studio albums, Home and Broken Barricades. Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid step up with strong material, notably the title track, "Toujours L'Amour," and "Fires (Which Burnt Brightly)." While the keyboard and orchestra-based arrangements harken back to earlier triumphs, the lyrics deal less with whaling stories than with social commentary; "A Souvenir of London" is about social diseases, with "T.V. Caesar" about the pervasive influence of television. © James A. Gardner /TiVo
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Rock progressif - Paru le 1 mars 1977 | Esoteric

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Rock - Paru le 1 septembre 1967 | Fly Records

Pour savoir ce que fut le summer of love et le psychédélisme britannique de l'année 1967, il faut avoir écouté ce disque. Tout le monde connaît la chanson « A Whiter Shade Of Pale » (certaines éditions du CD donnent d'ailleurs ce titre à tout l'album), mais l'ensemble des chansons méritent le détour pour se plonger dans cette ambiance car, à grands renforts d'orgue Hammond brûlant et de batterie énergique, Procol Harum a fixé pour la postérité l'état d'esprit du flower power londonien. Les compositions sont pop, syncopées, très marqués par le blues et la soul. La voix brisée de Gary Brooker, les vagues d'orgue hammond hyper saturé, donnent à ce disque un côté terriblement sensuel parfois renforcé par les rythmes de la basse (notamment sur « Cerdes »).Procol Harum n'en reste pas moins l'un de ces groupes de la fin des sixties qui ont cherché à enluminer la pop d'une couleur classique. Grands amateurs de Bach, Brooker et Fisher ont glissé dans ce disque de nombreux contrepoints savants et autres emphases instrumentales. Dans le tube bien connu, mais aussi dans « A Christmas Camel » et surtout dans « Repent Walpurgis », instrumental aux accents de cathédrale gothique.Le succès de ce disque a été immense au point d'occulter les suivants. Dans l'ensemble, il n'a pas aussi mal vieilli que d'autres albums de la même époque et du même genre. Pour qui aime les sons mécaniques du Hammond, « A Whiter Shade Of Pale »  peut encore offrir de grands moments de plaisir. © ©Copyright Music Story Julien Oeuillet 2017
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Rock - Paru le 7 mai 2021 | Esoteric

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Pop - Paru le 3 mai 2019 | Fly Records

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Rock progressif - Paru le 1 janvier 1975 | Esoteric

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Rock progressif - Paru le 1 janvier 1972 | Esoteric Recordings

This whole album was an afterthought -- Procol Harum had been invited to play a concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the DaCamera Singers in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in August of 1971, at the tail-end of their last tour with Robin Trower in the lineup. Amid all of the preparation -- including the writing of new orchestral arrangements by Gary Brooker and with a new lead guitarist, Dave Ball, just joining the lineup -- Brooker decided that it might be a good idea to preserve a professionally made tape of the show and suggested that A&M Records, to which they were signed, might want to record the performance; the label agreed with just a week to go until the concert. Even "Conquistador," the song on which the resulting album's commercial success was built, was added at the last minute, with no time for the orchestra to rehearse the arrangement that Brooker wrote on the flight from England. They did it cold, opening the concert, and the eventual album featured a performance -- highlighted by the orchestra's brass in a Spanish mode, running scales on the strings, and B.J. Wilson's powerful drumming -- helped loft the single to number 16 in America. The group's second-biggest hit record (after "A Whiter Shade of Pale"), in turn, helped lift the album into the American Top Five. Ironically, the success of the LP also left Procol Harum's image slightly askew, with the presence of the orchestra and choir and the selection of songs, from the most ambitious part of the band's repertory, all combining to present the group as more of a progressive rock act than they actually were. "Conquistador" was the most accessible song on the album, and nothing else here matches it for sheer, bracing excitement, but the rest -- especially "Whaling Stories" and "A Salty Dog" and the multi-part "In Held 'Twas I" -- were all opened up by the vast canvas provided by the orchestra, and the group didn't wimp out in their own performance; Wilson, Ball, Brooker, and company all played hard and heavy where the songs required it. [Note: Long out of print on CD, Procol Harum Live: In Concert With the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra & the Da Camera Singers was finally reissued in August of 2002 by Repertoire Records in a newly annotated edition with one bonus track, "Luskus Delph," which was recorded at the same show and only ever issued on vinyl as a U.K. single B-side.] © TiVo
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Rock progressif - Paru le 11 juin 1971 | Esoteric Recordings

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Rock progressif - Paru le 1 janvier 1975 | Esoteric Recordings

For their ninth album, Procol Harum turned to production by the veteran songwriting team of Leiber and Stoller, who had written the first single ("Poison Ivy") by Procol predecessor band, the Paramounts. Though the band is in top form (especially drummer B.J. Wilson) and despite a strong start (with the exquisite "Pandora's Box," a U.K. hit), the album largely runs out of steam by side two. Too much of the Brooker and Reid material is competent rather than exciting. Likewise, Procol fails to render memorable versions of two cover songs, Leiber and Stoller's "I Keep Forgetting" or the Beatles' "Eight Days A Week." Most of this album's best material can be found on the Chrysalis Years collection. [Grand Hotel and Procol's Ninth were later re-released as Cornerstone, a budget double album.] © James A. Gardner /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 6 septembre 1968 | Fly Records

Si peu de choses ont changé dans la sonorité de Procol Harum entre le premier et le deuxième album, un virage a néanmoins amorcé. Dépoussiéré de ses accents flower power, le groupe s'engage en direction du rock progressif et livre un album très en avance sur les classiques du genre, essentiellement grâce à sa pièce maîtresse, « In Held 'twas In ».Assorti à la voix chaude de Brooker et à un jeu de batterie démentiel, l’orgue Hammond est plus que jamais la marque de fabrique du groupe. En nappes, en accords, en solos, jazzy ou classique, et surtout saturé, il se fait entendre tout au long de l'album. Ouvrant les premières secondes du disque, il ne cesse de résonner ensuite et connaît sur certains morceaux (« Quite Rightly So » surtout) des moments glorieux ou il se fait profond, vivant, et donne un véritable corps aux chansons. Si l'on peut notamment regretter que la guitare électrique soit un peu faible, le son de l'album n'est pas pour autant vieillot. Il a cette patine des grands classiques. Entre blues, rhythm 'n’ blues et pop, Shine On brightly est un bel échantillon de ce virage entre sons typiquement sixties et rock des années 70 qui s’avancent.Surtout, il y a ce monument : « In Held 'twas In I », morceau de 17 minutes, qui prend plusieurs années d'avance sur Pink Floyd ou Genesis. Divisé en cinq sous-parties, il introduit le second instrument caractéristique de Procol Harum : le clavecin. Nous rejouant ici le bal des vampires, il devient facteur d'angoisse et de frisson, sur fond de bombe atomique, sirène d'alarme, ou hurlements... sans oublier ce passage où le groupe parodie la musique de cirque comme Stephen King parodie les clowns, et une ouverture faite d'une incantation Zen. Le thème principal du morceau, joué au début du titre au cithare, est repris plus tard à la guitare électrique – à noter que ce morceau comporte les plus belles interprétations de Robin Trower.Occulté par le succès de son prédécesseur, cet album n'a connu la notoriété qu'aux Etats-Unis. La reprise de « In Held 'twas In I » par Transatlantic a été l'occasion de le redécouvrir et de rendre justice à cet album, presque classique du genre. © ©Copyright Music Story Julien Oeuillet 2017
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Rock - Paru le 21 avril 2017 | Mercury Studios

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Rock progressif - Paru le 1 janvier 1974 | Esoteric

Procol Harum's seventh studio album, Exotic Birds and Fruit, was released in April 1974. In its original LP incarnation, four songs made up side one -- "Nothing But the Truth," "Beyond the Pale," "As Strong as Samson," and "The Idol" -- all of which featured some of the band's best later work. They had retreated somewhat from the orchestral hybrid of their previous album, Grand Hotel, although "Nothing But the Truth" still boasted a string arrangement. They replaced the sweetening with extra muscle in the remaining instruments, making this one of the group's harder rocking sets. And lyricist Keith Reid, having explored elegant decay in Grand Hotel, was unusually straightforward in his social prescriptions here. True, the words still dripped with literary references to everything from Shakespeare to ancient mythology, but, as Reid declared up front, this time he was interested in "Nothing But the Truth." He expressed that truth most eloquently in "As Strong as Samson," an outright political statement, if one spoken in general terms. The song was also downcast, and composer/singer/pianist Gary Brooker gave it a lovely, wistful melody. The disillusionment was completed with the final song on the first side and its tagline, "Just another idol turned to clay." In contrast to the masterpiece that was side one, side two of the LP was uneven, containing second-echelon songs, the best of them perhaps being the most lighthearted, "Fresh Fruit," a tune that gave Brooker a chance to exercise his barrelhouse piano talents. In this CD reissue, annotator Patrick Humphries suggests that the rocker "Butterfly Boys" might have been directed at the executives at the band's label, Chrysalis Records. If so, they must have been unhappy, as Brooker cried, "Give us a break! We got the crumbs...you got the cake." The reissue adds two bonus tracks, the first being the non-LP B-side "Drunk Again" (Reid writes so much about drinking, it makes you worry about his liver), a rocker that allows Brooker to bring out his inner Jerry Lee Lewis. The second is an alternate mix of "As Strong as Samson" that is in a lower key than the master take. Since it seems to be the same take, just a bit slower (and 17 seconds longer), that may account for its being in D flat. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock progressif - Paru le 29 juin 2018 | Esoteric Recordings

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Rock progressif - Paru le 1 janvier 1975 | Esoteric

For their ninth album, Procol Harum turned to production by the veteran songwriting team of Leiber and Stoller, who had written the first single ("Poison Ivy") by Procol predecessor band, the Paramounts. Though the band is in top form (especially drummer B.J. Wilson) and despite a strong start (with the exquisite "Pandora's Box," a U.K. hit), the album largely runs out of steam by side two. Too much of the Brooker and Reid material is competent rather than exciting. Likewise, Procol fails to render memorable versions of two cover songs, Leiber and Stoller's "I Keep Forgetting" or the Beatles' "Eight Days A Week." Most of this album's best material can be found on the Chrysalis Years collection. [Grand Hotel and Procol's Ninth were later re-released as Cornerstone, a budget double album.] © James A. Gardner /TiVo
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Rock progressif - Paru le 20 novembre 1991 | Volcano

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Rock - Paru le 5 juin 1970 | Fly Records