Procol Harum

The Best of Procol Harum [A&M]

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Procol Harum is a band that is (these days anyway) rather obscure, but has had a definite influence on rock music, in general, and progressive rock, in particular. "Best Of" albums seldom are that, and whether or not this one is certainly falls under the area of debate. However, the album is a good introduction to the many sides of this complex and intriguing band. For those who only know of the group's two hits, "Whiter Shade of Pale" and "Conquistador," the disc provides both of them. However, for the more knowledgeable fans, it has a purpose, too. Fans of progressive rock will certainly find a lot of the material here of interest. Besides the aforementioned "Whiter Shade of Pale," which some consider the first progressive rock song, there are other showings of early prog here. "A Salty Dog" is certainly one of these. The song "Simple Sister" is both a solid rocker and, seemingly, a big influence on Chicago's "25 or 6 to 4." "Shine On Brightly" showcases the group's psychedelic tendencies and Beatles influences. The album also includes two hard-rockers that are a bit in the mode of the Yardbirds/Jeff Beck. So, as a showcase of the diversity of this group, the CD is definitely of value. There are some weak points here, but don't all bands have their less-than-best cuts?

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