Procol Harum

A&B: The Singles

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Although Procol Harum owed their career to their initial single, "A Whiter Shade of Pale," they were never really a singles band. Annotator Chris Welch notes that the group was not a one-hit wonder, but it might be called a three-hit wonder by tossing in "Homburg" and "Conquistador" (four, if "Pandora's Box," a U.K. Top 20, is included). For the most part, Procol Harum were known for their LPs, so the idea of organizing a compilation around singles that happen to have been excerpted from those LPs, largely without the band's say-so, in one country or another, is a curious one. But A&B: The Singles, a three-CD set running just under three and three-quarter hours, manages to include most of Procol Harum's better tracks along with rarities that will intrigue fans. Of course, there are the non-LP B-sides, such as "Lime Street Blues," "Good Captain Clack," "Long Gone Geek," "Drunk Again," "Backgammon," and "Into the Flood." Then, there are foreign curios, including "Shine on Brightly" sung in Italian ("Il Tuo Diamante") and a French single with "Adagio di Albinoni" on one side and "Blue Danube" on the other. Getting into hair-splitting territory, there are singles that represent alternate takes ("Quite Rightly So," "In the Wee Small Hours of Sixpence"); that have been remixed ("As Strong as Samson Is"); that have been edited for single release; or that are in mono because that's how they were released as singles. The average fan may lose interest at this level of obscurity, but the more fanatic will be engaged. And that's who this collection is aimed at: Procol Harum aficionados who have already bought most of these tracks umpteen times, but not all of them, and not necessarily in these exact forms. For those fans, this album is a godsend; for others, it will seem redundant.

blue highlight denotes track pick