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Customer Review

on July 1, 2000
One reason I bought this CD is because these phenomenal underpaid musicians deserve the royalties. I sure HOPE they got a decent deal from the record company! I wish artists' takehome pay from CD's were common knowledge in the music biz, because this should be a factor in fans' purchasing decisions. My other reason is that there's more of Robin Trower's excellent blues guitar in the fadeout to Wish Me Well than there was in the original. But -- other than that tune -- I like the originally-released versions MUCH better than these rejected outtakes, and I agree with most of what reviewer Kurt Harding has said. A couple of points of clarification: The alternate/rejected version of "A Whiter Shade of Pale" on this CD is actually a LATER recording than the hit single -- no matter what the liner notes say -- the Westside reissue liner notes are riddled with errors. Come to the ProcolHarum fan Site to find the correct information. The hit single was recorded before the band was fully formed, but the essentials were already in place for this immortal song, i.e. Gary Brooker's fantastic soulful vocals and Matthew Fisher's enchanting Hammond organ. The song also needed a tasteful and musical drummer, and they got one -- no, not B.J. Wilson who would add his phenomenal musicianship to the band a few months later when the first album was recorded, and definitely not Bobby Harrison, who was hired as a band member the day before the hit single was recorded, but left soon after, along with Ray Royer, who played thankfully barely audible guitar on the hit single. The drummer on the single was the wonderful jazz session man Bill Eyden. The version on this album is with Bobby Harrison and you can hear how his drumming (and Gary Brooker's too-loud piano in places) detracts from the mood of the piece. It was incredibly lucky for them that they got the Perfect Recording of this immortal song in a "first take," recorded Live in the studio with no overdubs or studio tinkering -- as all their music should have been recorded (with state of the art engineering) but sadly wasn't. A minor annoyance is that the cover on the CD depicts the aborted lineup with Royer and Harrison (they're pictured 2nd & 3rd from the left) although most of the songs on the CD feature the Procol of the first album, with Robin Trower and B.J. Wilson.
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