PROCOL HARUM - All This And More (2009) [Only CDs]
2009 box set. Comprised of 3 audio CDs with 52 songs and a 22 track PAL DVD of rare live footage, documenting the forty year history of Keith Reid & Gary Brooker's legendary British band. Includes their early smash hits & rare b-sides, studio album tracks, plus an awesome sampling of live recordings from California, Edmonton, Golders Green, Utrecht, Irvine Meadows, Isle of Wight & Schio spanning the years 1969 to 2007.
Disc 1 cherry-picks the crop from the band’s first four years and albums, though for my money slips up in excluding both ‘Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone)’ from Shine on Brightly and ‘Whaling Stories’ from Home. Minor quibbles aside, it’s a decent harvest of Procol Harum’s first phase, distilled into 16 tracks. ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale‘, ‘Homburg’, ‘A Salty Dog’ and all five suites of the epic prog rock cornerstone ‘In Held ‘Twas in I’, are present and correct, as one would hope.
Aside from ‘Your Own Choice’, which appears on fourth album Home and mysteriously makes the opener here, Disc 2 covers 1971 and beyond, snaffling songs from Broken Barricades, right up to 2003’s The Well’s on Fire. These include the excellent and moving lament ‘For Liquorice John’ from Grand Hotel, the Gypsy campfire ambience of ‘Beyond the Pale’, and a restored version of ‘The Blue Danube’, recorded live in 1976 at the Bournemouth Winter Gardens and produced by Steve Winwood’s brother, Muff. Needless to say, the lion’s share of the goodies rightly come from the 1971-1977 era, prior to Procol Harum’s 14 year break.
Disc 3 is a real treat for those already familiar with the albums, as it brings together 14 live performances stretching back as far as 1969. Amongst the gems collected here are an extended workout of Home’s ‘Whisky Train’ from 2007 and a rendering of the epic ‘Last Train to Niagara’, which contains lyrics and musical motifs from Procol Harum’s long history, tied together by the central theme of a reflective train journey.
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