The music gods broke the mold when they created Procol Harum. Formed in 1967 by Gary Brooker, Keith Reid, organist Matthew Fisher, guitarist Ray Royer and bassman David Knights, the band went through several personal changes and at various times included notables such as guitarist Robin Trower and Elton John bassist Dee Murray in its lineup.
But regardless of who was in the band, Procol Harum presented a sound that was almost impossible to categorize or label. Songs like “Whiter Shade Of Pale” felt right at home on Top-40 radio as well as the then-blossoming FM radio format called “progressive” or “underground.”
The albums getting expanded digital releases come from the band’s early-to-mid ‘70s period – Grand Hotel (1973), Exotic Birds & Fruit (1974), Procol’s Ninth (1975) and Something Magic (1977). Reissued by Union Square Music and scheduled to be re-released Nov. 1, each remastered digital album includes bonus tracks included to provide a peak into the creative process that was Procol Harum.
The tour begins in Harrisburg, Pa., at The Forum Auditorium Nov. 4, plays the NYCB Theatre At Westbury, N.Y., Nov. 5 and the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, N.J., Nov. 6. Other stops include Snoqualmie, Wash., Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.
It’s worth mentioning that more than one stop will include a performance with a symphony orchestra. One of the band’s shining moments in the early ‘70s was its performance captured in the 1972 live album Procol Harum Live With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Featuring Harum classics such as “Conquistador” and “A Salty Dog,” PH with the ESO quickly shot up the charts and is still considered one of the best band / symphony collaborations ever released. Procol Harum will rekindle its relationship with the ESO during two shows at Edmonton’s Winspear Centre Nov. 9-10.
Another symphonic stop is Dec. 4 in Wilmington, Delaware, when the band performs with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra at the Grand Opera House.
For more information on the Procol Harum reissues, click here for the Union Square Music website.