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Live in concert with the Edmonton Symphony = Papersleeve = (CD)
Procol Harum already had some experience with orchestral performance by the time Live in Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra was recorded (in Alberta, Canada, November 1971) and this experience no doubt helped them to make what was a landmark in the notoriously tricky area of rock-classical fusion. The fact that they had a full symphony orchestra and choir as their backing band meant that already symphonic songs like A Salty Dog, Whaling Stories and In Held Twas in I now came even more spectacularly alive. Its like seeing something on an eight-millimetre film and then suddenly seeing it on seventy-millimetre Panavision with stereo... Gary Brooker reflected proudly at the time. While contemporaries like Pink Floyd, Yes, and Emerson Lake & Palmer were still limbering up, Procol really pushed the envelope with their Live album. And their efforts did not go unrewarded... Of all the rock-orchestral fusions this one really does work. A very complete and highly talented album which should help dispel this groups image of the 1967 one-hit wonders, wrote Disc. One of the finest pieces of music released this year... opined NME. The Live album gave Procol a surprise UK hit with Conquistador one of the very first Brooker and Reid collaborations. To cash in on this Top 20 success, Procols American label rushed out The Best Of..., a competent, eleven-track compilation which was of interest at the time for rounding up some notable B-sides Lime Street Blues, In the Wee Small Hours of Sixpence, and Long Gone Geek that were previously unavailable on albums. Later that same year, buoyed by their collaboration with the ESO, Procol played a well-received gig at Londons Rainbow Theatre with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and London Chorale (Tickets 1.50, 1.25, 1.75p). But one gig was never enough... Back then, to keep your name in the public eye you had to go out and tour and keep on touring. Like so many years, much of 1972 was spent on the road; but the band already had their minds on another project, which still ranks very high in the Procol pantheon... the very wonderful Grand Hotel
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