Sunday, April 29, 2007

And So It Was That Later....

Those who know me best -- by which I mean a couple of ex-girlfriends and several posters at Eschaton who I haven't actually met -- know that over the years I have taken a certain amount of, shall we say, abuse due to my enthusiasms for certain bands who strike regular folks as, well, icky.

For example, my fondness for the 4 Seasons, well known in these precincts, has inspired a fair amount of "say it ain't so" guffawing, and as a result I plan to post a spirited defense of my fellow Jerseyites as soon as Rhino's apparently definitive new
4 Seasons box set
arrives in the mail.

I've also gotten chortles galore when rhapsodizing about the thousand sensitive beauties of the Guess Who , and one of these days I intend to similarly defend the honor of those underrated Sons of Saskatoon. (Perhaps we'll have an All Canadian Content Day in Plum P's honor).

But the band that people really -- and I mean REALLY -- think I've taken leave of my good senses over whenever I allow as how they might have been great is, hands down no contest, Procol Harum. And by people, I mean my esteemed co-blogger NYMary, among scads of others.

Since the first thing of mine NYM let me post here was in fact a long and hopefully convincing appreciation of PH, I'm not gonna belabor the point further, except to say that this video -- from a German TV show in the early 70s -- pretty much encapsulates everything I like about the band. If you're keeping score, the songs are the gorgeously mournful "Pilgrims Progress" and "Quite Rightly So," one of the truly great lost singles of the 60s.

Two points worth noting: This isn't the group's classic lineup, but with the exception of a not quite ready for prime time guitar solo near the end (I don't remember which of Robin Trower's replacements was in the band at this point) it sounds exactly the classic lineup anyway. More important, as was his wont, genius drummer B.J. Wilson pretty much steals it. Wilson, who memorably pounded the skins on Joe Cocker's studio version of "A Little Help From My Friends," is pretty much my all time favorite rock drum guy, and he remains to this day the only one whose (rare) live solos failed to reduce to me to scowling fidgets.


dave™© said...

Hey, Steverino - here's a somewhat shaky performance of "Conquistador" from 1967!

geor3ge said...

Procol Harum is the shite. My best aging-hippy buddy from Oklahoma tells me that when everyone was listening to the Beatles, the Beatles were listening to Procol Harum.

That said, "Whiskey Train" has to have one of the best damned guitar riffs in the univrse.

Anonymous said...

Look at on May 1 Mr. Simels

Anonymous said...

Buck up, Mr. Simel, and don't abase yourself for your musical tastes. I found your post on the procol harum website and followed it to PowerPop - I'm also a closet Guess Who fan. You certainly have nothing to be ashamed of...

Mister Pleasant said...

Bless Youtube. There is a good 30 minutes worth of PH videos from this same performance, all of them top drawer. B.J. Wilson's drum intro to "Still There'll Be More" is off the Richter scale.

And on a Guess Who note, my mid 70's college roomate razzed me mercilessly for my obession with "Rockin" and the absolutely killer opening track "Heartbroken Bopper". It is still one of my favorite listening experiences.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve!

I always wondered where you'd gone after your long association with Stereo Review. I always knew that I could count on you for a "feel good" review of Procol Harum's LPs. BJ is also my all-time fave drummer. He could play tunes with his kit - amazing stuff.

I still have your review of Something Tragic stuck into my hardly-played copy of that LP. How sad that a band that had created so much beautiful music could have have created a piece of dreck like that. I would sooner slash my wrists than listen to The Worm & The Tree again!

Paul from Toronto

P.S. I also am a big fan of Dave Edmunds, another under-appreciated artist whose voice, guitar playing and production skills were blessed by the God of Rock & Roll.