Gary Brooker wrote music and lyrics for all the songs on his second album and acted as his own producer, resulting in perhaps his most personal statement as an artist. Unlike No More Fear Of Flying, on which he sometimes just seemed to be the singer on his own record, here Brooker delivered his songs with feeling, enabling him to overcome the star power of his backup musicians, who included Eric Clapton, George Harrison, and Phil Collins. This was partly because Brooker no longer felt the need to separate himself from The Procol Harum sound that was so much a part of his natural musical identity. Brooker's lyrics weren't as philosophical as longtime writing partner Keith Reid's, but they could be just as intriguingly oblique.
After 10 albums with Procol Harum, lead singer, composer, and keyboard player Gary Brooker launched his solo career with this album. Of course, there were Brooker's familiar characteristics – the steady piano work, the butterscotch soul voice. But he switched lyric partners for this set (except for the title track), trading longtime Procol wordsmith Keith Reid for Pete Sinfield, who had performed the same function for Procol contemporaries King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Brooker also tried a couple of tunes by Stiff Records pub-rocker Mickey Jupp (Jupp's versions are better) and Murray Head's "Say It Ain't So, Joe" (Roger Daltrey's version is better). The result was a varied set that succeeded in sounding like something other than Procol Harum's 11th album, although it did not demonstrate that Gary Brooker solo was going to be an improvement over the group.
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.
Esoteric Recordings are proud to announce the release of a newly re-mastered and expanded edition of the classic 1970 album HOME by PROCOL HARUM. Released in June 1970, the record followed on from the huge international success of the band's debut single A Whiter Shade of Pale and the superb albums PROCOL HARUM, SHINE ON BRIGHTLY and A SALTY DOG. Hailed by many fans as one of the finest albums released by the band, HOME saw the exquisite song writing of Gary Brooker and Keith Reid reach new heights on pieces such as The Dead Man's Dream, the epic Whaling Stories, About to Die and more. Produced by Chris Thomas, the album captured a new line-up of the band featuring Gary Brooker (voice, piano), Chris Copping (bass guitar, organ), Robin Trower (lead guitar), and B.J. Wilson (drums).
Esoteric Recordings are proud to announce the release of a newly re-mastered and expanded edition of the classic 1969 album A SALTY DOG by PROCOL HARUM. Released in June 1969, the record followed on from the huge international success of the band's debut single A Whiter Shade of Pale and the follow up single Homburg and the superb albums PROCOL HARUM and SHINE ON BRIGHTLY. One of the finest releases of the era A Salty Dog saw the exquisite song writing of Gary Brooker and Keith Reid honed to perfection on highlights such as the album's title track, The Devil Came From Kansas, Wreck of the Hesperus, The Milk of Human Kindness and more. Recorded at Abbey Road studios, the album captured the excellence of the musicians in the group, namely Gary Brooker (voice, piano), Robin Trower (lead guitar), David Knights (bass guitar), B.J. Wilson (drums) and Matthew Fisher (Hammond organ).
2CD deluxe expanded & remastered edition! Esoteric Recordings are proud to announce the release of a newly re-mastered and expanded edition of the classic 1968 self-titled debut album by PROCOL HARUM. Released in January 1968, the record followed on from the huge international success of the band's debut single A Whiter Shade of Pale and the follow up single Homburg. One of the finest releases of the era Procol Harum captured the exquisite song writing of Gary Brooker and Keith Reid and the excellence of the musicians in the group, namely Gary Brooker (voice, piano), Robin Trower (lead guitar), David Knights (bass guitar), B.J. Wilson (drums) and Matthew Fisher (Hammond organ). The overall result was a collection of songs that would prove to be truly ground breaking, despite only having being released in Mono at the insistence of producer Denny Cordell.
In the mid Seventies, the heyday of "classical rock", the best British musicians gathered together to release an adaptation of Prokofiev's masterpiece "Peter And The Wolf". Featured in this interesting adventure are Phil Collins, Cozy Powell, Manfred Mann, Bill Bruford, Jon Hiseman, Jack Lancaster, Gary Moore, Brian Eno, Robin Lumley, Julie Tippetts, Percy Jones, Gary Brooker, John Goodsall, Keith Tippetts, Alvin Lee, Chris Spedding… Written in three other languages apart from English (French, Spanish and German), this version is told by Viv Stanshall. One can also notice the surprising presence of the legendary French violinist Stephane Grappelli, who usually performs jazz music.
This was the "reunion album" for Procol Harum in 1991, but recorded without B.J. Wilson, who died in late 1990, and this album was dedicated to him in the C.D. booklet notes. For this reunion, the members were Gary Brooker, Matthew Fisher, Robin Trower and Keith Reid, plus session musicians or musicians who previously recorded and toured with Gary Brooker as a soloist. The sound of the album is an "updated" Procol Harum for the 90s, with female backing vocals in some songs, and some synthesizers (not listed in the credits).