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.
On November 29, 2002, one year after the passing of George Harrison, Olivia Harrison and longtime friend Eric Clapton organized a performance tribute in his honor. Held at London’s Royal Albert Hall, the momentous evening featured George’s songs, and music he loved, performed by a lineup that included Clapton, Jeff Lynne, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Monty Python, Billy Preston, Jools Holland, Ravi and Anoushka Shankar, Joe Brown, Ringo Starr, Dhani Harrison and many more. In honor of George Harrison’s 75th birthday (February 25), the Grammy®-winning release CONCERT FOR GEORGE, will be available for the first time on vinyl, released as a 4-LP Box Set, as well as well as new CD/DVD and CD/Blu-ray combo configurations.
Founding Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman essentially retired from music after leaving the band in 1993, choosing to dedicate time to his family and his restaurant, Sticky Fingers. He returned to music in 1997 with Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings, a rotating old-time rock & roll, R&B, blues, and boogie collective of superstar musicians anchored by keyboardist Georgie Fame, guitarist Albert Lee, pianist Gary Brooker, and guitarist Terry Taylor. Their first album, Struttin' Our Stuff, appeared that year and it was followed two years later by Anyway the Wind Blows, which featured cameos from Peter Frampton, Geraint Watkins, Paul Carrack, and, notably, fellow Stone Keith Richards. Groovin' arrived in 2000, reaching a career peak of 52 on the U.K. charts. Next was Double Bill in 2001 and Just for a Thrill in 2004, before the band primarily dedicated itself to live performances.
The fourth album by Procol Harum was released as the band was in the midst of a significant shift. With the departure of organist Matthew Fisher, guitarist Robin Trower stepped more to the fore. The two-keyboard approach was still being utilized, with singer Gary Brooker's piano being joined on some selections by the organ playing of multi-instrumentalist Chris Copping. However, the stately grandeur that had been previously applied with grace and subtlety gave way to a band that rocked much harder…
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music
There is an interesting divide in the reviews here…some think masterpiece, some fairly unenthused. I think this is Procol Harum’s best album. Every song is a winner, although the presence of three vocalists does provide a scattered feeling.