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…
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.
There are a lot of people who'll champion the Grand Hotel album, but as far as I'm concerned, it is Exotic Birds And Fruit that is the most complete album in the latter half of Procol Harum's career. In fact, I'd say this album is the best one outside of the classic first trio of albums.
One of the reasons for my unqualified seal of approval is the absolutely gorgeous As Strong As Samson, which is a heart-breaking, nihilistic song of beauty. "Psychiatrists and lawyers/destroying mankind/driving them crazy and robbing them blind" sings Gary Brooker as Chris Copping turns in his best ever organ solo … another tearing, searing, yet emphatically melancholic piece. B.J. Wilson's drumming is top-notch on this one, rolling us all the way to heaven and back again. Every little nuance of this perfect, perfect song melts me. When Gary sings "there ain't no use" as the tune fades out, you know he's right.