Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra - Procol Harum Import, Original recording remastered
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The familiar strains of 'Conquistador', 'A Salty Dog' and 'In Held Twas in I' ring out with the same resonance of 30 years ago, but what's evident is a reworking of the inner voices, notably the woodwinds and choir, which now sound positively celestial. The lesser-known 'All This And More' is elevated by the glowing choral work which somehow seemed buried before.
'Luskus Delph' is a delightfully coy tune from their Broken Barricades album (often introduced by Gary Brooker as "a sultry bit of underhanded smut"). If you had the Conquistador single, you've heard it. I waited 37 years and it was worth it just to hear the horn motif and choir winding its way around Keith Reid's suggestive lyrics. 'Simple Sister' is tarted up here with brass and orchestral flourishes, but lacks the ominous repeated theme that usually closes it, while 'Shine on Brightly' is the band without orchestra - probably a warm up, but showing the band in good form.
If you are not familiar with this album, and want to hear the best of rock/symphonic fusion, by all means pick this up. You may know 'Conquistador' already, but hold on until the close of 'In Held Twas in I' (played at the highest volume your neighbors can tolerate), and I guarantee you'll be blown away.
For devout Procolers, now is the time to upgrade your collection with this new offering.
So why do I give this only four stars? Well, mostly because Conquistador is the only song in which the orchestration becomes an integral part of the composition. On the other cuts, the orchestra merely adds highlights although those highlights are not unimportant to what both the band and the orchestra were trying to do here. The other cuts from the original release where the orchestra does most to enhance the music are A Salty Dog and certain parts of the epic In Held Twas In I. As for the bonus cuts, orchestral impact is minimal. I enjoy most the version of Luskus Delph.
Pieces not mentioned are good as well though a lot more could have been done with Simple Sister. The abbreviated take on that here reminds me of how radio butchered the Doors' Light My Fire in the interests of brevity for AM play. Also, even though Gary Brooker has a very appealing and distinctive voice, the vocal parts of In Held Twas In I formerly performed by Matthew Fisher show that he is sorely missed.
This is the album where Procol Harum came out of the closet to proudly display the classical leanings fans always suspected they had. As with the other Salvo remasters, this CD comes with a handsome and interesting booklet containing all pertinent album info, pictures, and interesting commentary that is highly retrospective but with a judicious dose of contemporary viewpoints. I highly recommend this and all other Procol Harum remasters by Salvo issued to date.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This still holds up as probably the finest synthesis of progressive rock and orchestra. "Days of Future Past" as a studio document has its "sound' and its... Read morePublished 2 months ago by john R. Thomas
It's not "Salty Dog" but like the material and
the Symphony effect.
Symphonic rock at it's best. Intelligent lyrics married to inventive interplay between instruments.Published 2 months ago by Ed Stofko
Better than expected from an old P.C.fan.Awesome re-master ..JKPublished 4 months ago by John A. Kolberg
What a great legendary live performance given in front of packed opera house in Edmonton, Canada, in front of 3,000 people. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Michael Drumstix
Likely the best Procol Harum album not made in the studio. Proof that rock and orchestra can live in harmony.Published 8 months ago by Mike Jones