September 12, 2007

Procol Harum: Secrets of the Hive

Even if Procol Harum did not invent progressive rock, the English band is pretty high up on the pyramid of musical inventors. A new 2CD "Best of" compilation called Secrets of the Hive is the forerunner for a series of remastered and expanded albums over the next 18 months. A 4-CD anthology is due in the autumn of 2008.

Procol Harum scored a major hit with their first single A Whiter Shade of Pale. Nobody has figured out what the song is actually about -- some claim it was inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The organ part is inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach's "Sleepers Awake" and "Air on a G String". The only undisputed fact is that the band members are still fighting over the copyright. We are talking big money here. To be continued in October 2007 with yet another court ruling.

Back to the music. Procol Harum went through many line-up changes, but still managed to keep their unique sound. Vocalist and organist Gary Brooker sings like no other singer in the business and lyricist Keith Reid is on a par with legendary song smiths like Ray Davies and Van Dyke Parks.

Secrets of the Hive sounds crystal clear, kudos for the tech guys who did an excellent job transferring the masters. It comes with a well written booklet, describing the highs and lows of the bands career. All the big hits are here, with enough album tracks and rarities thrown in to appeal to the hardcore fans. If you want to have just one Procol Harum album in your collection - and every home should have one - this 2CD set will be hard to beat. Fans will also buy the 4 track CDEP A Whiter Shade Of Pale which features the lost 1967 version of Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone).

Secrets of the Hive is a joint effort of Fly Records and Salvo Music.

» - Beyond The Pale (fan site)

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