Procol Harum

The Long Goodbye: Symphonic Music of Procol Harum

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With its pop adaptations of Bach and its album with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Procol Harum was an early advocate of a marriage between rock and classical music. So, this album of Procol Harum music recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and (on the title track) the Sinfonia of London, with former Procol Harum vocalist/pianist Gary Brooker singing on seven of the 12 tracks and producing, and with former Procol Harum guitarist Robin Trower and organist Matthew Fisher appearing on a version of "Repent Walpurgis," would seem like a more comfortable combination than similar recent collections devoted to the Rolling Stones and Yes. But the effectiveness of the band's music lay in a balancing of styles, and here the symphonic approach dominates, making the music seem less stately than soporific. Brooker sounds bored, and the set only livens up vocally when guests Jerry Hadley ("Grand Hotel") and Tom Jones ("Simple Sister") step in.

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