Expanded Procol Harum reissues (2015)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by sharedon, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. stetsonic

    stetsonic Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kouvola, Finland
    I only have the Westside 30th Anniversary box so don't take my word for it but there's some in-depth discussion on the matter in this very thread. The Salvo version of "Shine On Brightly" (and, to a lesser degree, the first album) apparently runs too fast while the Esoteric does not so they're most definitely different transfers (and unique masterings, for that matter).
     
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  2. originalsnuffy

    originalsnuffy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upper Midwest, USA
    A number of the releases in the last twenty years claim to be from original master tapes. Clearly there a differences in EQ and in the case of the first two Salvos speed differences. For the first four I think the westsides and esoterics are pretty good. I like the salvos a bit more than the repertoire releases from broken barricades on. A number of people like MFSL versions the best but I do not concur
     
  3. eelkiller

    eelkiller Technically right but still wrong

    They are not clones of the Salvos. Newly remastered,
     
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  4. originalsnuffy

    originalsnuffy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upper Midwest, USA
    Yes, I think Esoteric has done a great job and look forward to the new box. I also think the track selection for the previously released material is good.

    I still think they should reconsider what is being released on the forthcoming boxed set, and add back the 1971 radio concert (and known as Shine on Live and the Elusive Procol Harum) and possibly KZEW 1974 if it exists in decent reels. The bootlegs of both are very listenable. Or maybe make those available via FLAC downloads.

    I do have a good CD version of the Hollywood Bowl 73 which is being released as it came out as a King Biscuit Flower Hour broadcast and some CDs made for distributing the broadcast found their way onto the collectors market. I know because I bought one via Goldmine many years ago.

    Actually I don't think the full broadcast tapes of the Hollywood Bowl show exist anymore which is a shame; but what was broadcast was good. I remember a great version of Piggy Pig Pig at the concert. I was 15 years old at the time and was there. The sound at the concert was poor but the performance was good and the radio broadcast trounced the sound at the actual concert event. Much better than the real thing!

    I do have boots of everything that is being released, audio and video, but look forward to plunking down cash for improved official releases.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  5. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    Any opinions on the new (2017) AUSSIE WSOP LP (NOT the 2017 RSD on MOV LP, which sticks with the usual UK tracklist on blue Fly label)? THIS 2017 Aussie is on some unknown Aussie label, licensed by Fly, with the North American tracklist (WOOHOO!!!), the poster (WOOHOO!!), and tipped-on shirtboard cover which does NOT say stereo ("electronically processed" or otherwise) anywhere on the cover, front or back.

    BUT the disc inside says "Stereo" (PFFFFFTTT), though I wonder with such a small label whether it really is fake stereo or they just used their standard label template or made a mistake. After all, if the label is correct, then the cover must be a mistake (no mention of stereo), but also vice versa, meaning the label could be a mistake and the cover correct. And why would Fly all of a sudden license out fake stereo to this one label, just this one time, after so many years (actually decades) of repeatedly licensing the mono to Cube, Repertoire, Westside, Salvo, Esoteric, and the Japanese?

    If anyone knows anything about this, I sure would appreciate info. I can't play mine right now (Thorens in the shop and getting a new cart). Worst case scenario is that I paid $38.00 for a sealed copy on eBay with international shipping and at least the poster inside, which has been hard to find in perfect condition. For this title, especially with the North American tracklist (no "Clack", who should stay in Davy Jones' locker so far as I am concerned), I am ALWAYS willing to take a flyer. That way I only have to get up once to cue past "Mabel" midway through the 1st side, but not the 2d side with "Conquistador" back where it belongs.

    Besides, fake stereo is the only way I ever knew the US WSOP until the CD era. It was technically available in US mono (I suppose by special order no return) on original release, but no retailer I knew of was carrying it, since the joint RCA-Columbia announcement of the beginning of mono phaseout (25 May 1967 Billboard) was some three months earlier than it's September 1967 US release. I spent a Saturday afternoon that September with the college football game on and the sound off, fruitlessly calling retailer after retailer through the Yellow Pages about the mono. No dice. I guess the retailers (mostly Main Street Mom and Pops in that era before chains) couldn't jump on that stereo only bandwagon fast enough. For years I quixotically (and almost reflexively) headed straight for the Procol Harum section every time I went into a record store before starting my standard bin browse, just on the off chance of maybe finding a stray orphaned mono. That includes The Record Hunter as a visitor in New York in May 1969 (which is how I found out about "A Salty Dog", which I gladly purchased along with "Gilded Palace of Sin"). I just KNEW that there HAD to be a mono version (if only for the sole purpose of making a fake stereo version from it). But I never once saw a North American mono. Ever. Anywhere. Even browsing collections of friends, roommates and dorm neighbors in high school and college produced the same result. "Electronically processed" on the top left. I finally gave up about 1973 when A&M reissued WSOP, adding "Clack" to the usual North American tracklist, and in continued fake stereo to boot.
     
  6. originalsnuffy

    originalsnuffy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upper Midwest, USA
    In my days of vinyl grazing I always stopped by the Procol section. There were always a few cut out copies of the firms album on Deram; but I can't remember if they were ever mono. Must admit I thought they were mono but my personal copies are long gone. The A&M re-release was definitely rechanneled stereo.

    In the day you could purchase the Fly label collection confusingly called "A Salty Dog" for a mere $2.00. It sounded great. And the first album on Deram could be found for $2.00 also; but with a punch out and I don't think a poster was included. Also Journey's End by Matthew could be found cheap. Along with Stones light aka Jamming with Edward.
     
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  7. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    New release mono was increasingly hard to get in the US after late May 1967 when the US mono phaseout was announced in Billboard magazine. Even Sgt. Pepper's was available only in stereo at the stores I could get to by bike (being only 14), and that was just a week after the announcement in Billboard. If the mostly mom and pop retailers didn't read about it in Billboard, one can be certain that the distributors clued them in anyway. But I didn't mind buying the stereo for all titles after that, because that announcement also decreed that stereo records could now safely be played on most newer mono players as well, and they would now become the same price as mono anyway. That was all I needed to hear. What did anyone know about different mixes back then? I intuitively assumed that where any title was released in true stereo the labels just folded it down for the mono version (it never occurred to me then that profit-conscious labels would spend time and money just to bother with two mixes). And I hadn't seen a title in fake stereo since Cryan Shames "Sugar and Spice" (Columbia) in 1966.

    However, that US PH debut stood out like a sore thumb, because it alone among 1967 releases prominently announced on the cover that it was fake stereo, which I just couldn't stand based on previous experience. And fake stereo meant that there just HAD to be a mono version (how otherwise to even MAKE a fake stereo?). So it became an almost obsessive quest for me, unlike any other title, right from the day of release. I should have special ordered the mono then, but I figured I would find one soon enough if I kept looking. I never did, nor did any single person I knew of who had the album. Based on that, my guess is that the cutouts you saw were also the fake stereo, since any mono copies would have had to spend time in the bins before they became cutouts. Perhaps some of the mono special order stock ended up as cutouts too, but I never saw any. I didn't stop looking among new stock until about 1973 when A&M reissued, adding "Clack" to the US tracklist and an ugly thick purple border around the cover art. That's when I knew it was "game over", except for the used bins. I never saw a single US mono there either. Not even in a college town with a large Big Ten university (Madison). I ALWAYS checked.

    About 1991, as the Soviet Union was beginning to break up, I had a brief rush of excitement as the first Russian mono pressings started turning up. They were mono ("Yes!!!"), but flipping to back of the jacket they were UK tracklist as well (sigh). Not long after, I could get a mono CD that included WSOP at least as a bonus track, so that I could use my remote to play the US tracklist, jettisoning not only "Clack", but "Mabel" as well. That's when I finally stopped looking even in used record stores. I finally landed a minty Canadian mono (with same US tracklist) years later on eBay, and even later a sealed Classic (UK tracklist, except "Clack" bounced, "Conquistador" back to side 2, and "Homburg" instead leading off side 1, with an included WSOP single in both mono and true stereo, and really good sound to boot). As soon as I get my turntable back, I'll try out this new 2017 180g US tracklist Aussie that just arrived. The cover is consistent with mono, but the label inside says stereo. Either one or the other has to be an error. I'm hoping it's the label. But since it was licensed by Fly (as the Salvo had been), it will likely be cut from digital. and I will need to check for speed issues as well.

    In truth, I should point out that I still enjoyed album immensely (my favorite track, "Cerdes", with those killer guitar breaks rivaling later work by David Gilmour) even in fake stereo. The Deram fake stereo was much less aggressive ( and therefore much less objectionable) than the fake stereo commonly employed on US recorded titles, particularly Capitol's Duophonic. So could live with it, especially since I had to anyway.
     
  8. soundQman

    soundQman Idealist of the Musical Apocalypse

    Location:
    Arlington, VA, USA
    Fake stereo records created by simply having different equalization left to right (bass vs. treble), instead of messing with the phasing, could be tolerable when the channels were summed to mono via system hardware. Example: Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour LP.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
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  9. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    Also phasing, time delay to desynchronize of channels, sometimes drenching in reverb. Capitol Duophonic was one of the worst. The name should have alerted buyers, but some undoubtedly thought that Duophonic was just Capitol's trade name for stereo. Unlistenable on any gear. The Brits were generally less aggressive with it. Even some Yardbirds fake stereo summed decently to mono.
     
  10. originalsnuffy

    originalsnuffy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upper Midwest, USA
    I have a FLY double LP of the first album and Salty Dog. I am pretty sure that the first album is Mono on that. I am out of town right now but will check it out tomorrow.
     
  11. BurtThomasWard

    BurtThomasWard Guided by Loke

    Location:
    Norge
    Well, I took the plunge and ordered the lot over this weekend. Better gettin' in shape before that box set, right? This damn forum is costing me money again... :D

    Funny thing is, before Wednesday I wasn't a fan by any stretch of the imagination. I liked exactly two songs, the obvious one (which I've heard countless times the last 40-odd years) and the title track from A Salty Dog. I had the reissue of the debut and ASD that @originalsnuffy mentions in the post above, a gift from a friend of my father. I just didn't like it. Tried getting into the band by buying a cheap compilation cd 10-12 years ago (mainly to have those two tracks mentioned above on cd), still didn't click.

    And then I was foolin' around on YouTube and for the heck of it played a live "Salty" from Germany, which was followed by the studio "Long Gone Geek". Suddenly I heard something there that never had been apparent before. Put on the compilation and was ready for disappointment. But track after track was great. Some where even better than that. A lot better.

    I've read the whole thread this weekend and ended up deciding that the Esoteric deluxes was the way to go. An unusual amount of posters actually agreeing on something being quite good on the HOF? I've never in my day thought I'd see something like that.

    A bit off topic: where sjould I go from here? What is essential? Or most essential, anyway. I've heard Grand Hotel and really liked that one. How are the 'comeback' albums? Any live discs I cannot live without? Answers will be greatly appreciated.
     
  12. Fred68

    Fred68 Loves Music

    Location:
    USA
    Most (all?) of the forum would disagree with me, but Something Magic is my favorite post-Trower album.
     
  13. BurtThomasWard

    BurtThomasWard Guided by Loke

    Location:
    Norge
    Yes, that is the one I see getting singled out for much dislike (and a little hate as well). Is that mainly because of the second side or is the album as a whole very different in style from the other mid-seventies records?
     
  14. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I hate to say you are probably right. Especially in my case, preferring either "Grand Hotel" or "Exotic Birds" by a very substantial margin. I frankly thought that PH were clearly running out of gas even when I heard "Procol's Ninth."
     
  15. Bob J

    Bob J Forum Resident

    As much as I love Procol Harum, I've never fully warmed up to "Procol's Ninth". I agree that they were running out of gas then. Sticking "Eight Days a Week" on there could have been an indication of new material being in short supply too. "Something Magic" has one very good side and one disposable one. "Exotic Birds and Fruit" is a definite keeper. Some great tracks on that one. "Grand Hotel" is a classic PH record although I can do without "TV Caesar" and "Souvenir of London".
     
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  16. BurtThomasWard

    BurtThomasWard Guided by Loke

    Location:
    Norge
    I heard that one just for the first time now and found parts of it uneven. But "The Idol" was fantastic.
     
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  17. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Esoteric will get you through the first four (through "Home") in very good shape with lots of good bonus tracks and good notes. The first album is mono like it should be, and can be programmed to play the better US tracklist with WSOP and without "Clack". And the Esoteric beats the Salvo if only because it may have some speed issues (disputed). Also you get true stereo mixes of MOST of the album tracks to boot. "Shine on Brightly" is properly in true stereo, but Esoteric also gives you the mono mix as well. Though the latter mix is neither revelatory nor essential, it is nice to have anyway. And it beats the otherwise excellent Salvo, which has speed issues (undisputed). "Salty Dog" and "Home" don't really beat the Salvos or even Westsides per se, but they do tie together the best bonus tracks. The first four are essential PH canon and the Esoterics will get you there, but you will need Salvo after that.

    Don't overlook the fifth, "Broken Barricades" also considered essential PH canon. No Estoerics for that one or any later ones, but Salvo takes over to get you through "Exotic Birds". I personally regard "Ninth" and "Something Magic" as dispensable, and there is no Esoteric nor Salvo for either, but whatever you can get for them should be just fine (and will be the only game in town anyway) if you are interested.

    For the reunion and later albums, I would start with "The Well's on Fire" as perhaps the best. "Prodigal Stranger" didn't get a lot of love from the critics (primarily because of more modern-sounding production and arrangements), but I think it is underrated and worth a listen to the reunited surviving classic lineup. In any case, I prefer both to "Ninth" and "Something Magic".

    Don't miss the live "In Concert with the Danish National Orchestra and Choir" (about 2006) in the open air at Ledreborg Castle. It is on both CD and DVD, but if Region 2 works where you are, I would go with the DVD. An all region DVD is available but it costs an arm and a leg even for used. Or just try the CD first. That would be the first choice for latter day live, though none of the others are the least bit bad either. I would only avoid "The Long Goodbye" as being too heavily oriented to the symphonic sound for what is, after all, a great rock band.
     
  18. originalsnuffy

    originalsnuffy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upper Midwest, USA
    Weaselriot is pretty much right on. For me, every album through Exotic Birds and Fruit are worth owning. After that, next best for me is Procol's Ninth, followed by pretty much nothing at all. I mean if you had to pick one it might be the Well; but really the last full satisfying album was Exotic.

    The best tracks from Procol's Ninth are on one of the live discs that the forthcoming boxed set will have. That show was broadcast at one time as the British Biscuit and is in fact worth owning.

    If you had to create a list, for me that changes based on mood. But I would probably rank things as follows:

    A Salty Dog
    Live at Edmonton
    First Album
    Grand Hotel
    Exotic Birds
    Broken Barricades
    Home
    Shine on Brightly

    I do like a lot of the B-sides from the early years like Lime St. Blues, Long Gone Geek, Drunk Again, the versions of Blue Danube and Adagio di Albinoni (spelling?).

    ...but I like all of them...

    With regard to Something Magic; I would highly disagree with Fred. The title track is good. A few cuts are tolerable and Worm and the Tree is awful. Which is all of side two. One reviewer called the album Something Tragic and that is how I refer to it now.
     
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  19. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I might very mildly disagree with originalsnuffy regarding preference of Procol's Ninth over Well and/or Prodigal, but those titles are pretty much the last place to start in any event. I would only add that finding a region correct DVD for the Danish symphonic concert about 2006 is well worth the hunt, beating for my money even the much earlier Edmonton Symphony, if only because of the latter's play time over two hours covering a much larger portion of PH's catalog than Edmonton.

    BTW I have noticed, on Procol Harum's own website, that reissues by Salvo, the older Westside and even older Repertoire are listed, but there is no mention of Esoteric at all, despite the latter being the most recent even if coverage stops after "Home".

    The fact that Esoteric did not continue after "Home" AND that there is no mention of Esoteric on the PH website has me wondering whether Gary Brooker and/or others in the PH camp had some sort of falling out with Esoteric, such that the remainder of their catalog was yanked away from Esoteric. Perhaps they released some bonus tracks that Brooker didn't want released? I am a bit curious about this. At the very least, some of those Esoterics may become collector's items as a result of containing bonus tracks that were never intended to see the light of day, and thus in future never will. Just speculating, of course. Or maybe the rub was just something that was said in the extensive Esoteric booklet essays and notes.

    If that is the case, all of the Esoterics are still readily available on Amazon for now, and they do correct the undisputed speed issues from the Salvo "Shine on Brightly", as well as the more disputed speed issues from the debut album. For all of the albums after the first two, the Salvos are just fine, at least as good as the Esoterics if not better, though with fewer bonus tracks (one disc instead of two compared to Esoterics). For that matter, it's hard to go wrong with any of the Westsides either. Even the Japanese K2HDs based on the Westsides sound excellent to me (and I am not usually a fan of the K2HD, especially their awful ELP releases, for starters).

    That leaves no real reason to go for any of the Repertoires, not because they are bad (and they're really not), but if only because the more recent ones are more readily available anyway, sound at least as good if not always better, with more and more bonus tracks. That said, DO get the Repertoire for "Broken Barricades" if you NEED to have the die-cut gatefold cover like the original Unipak LP to float your boat.

    Then just enjoy the fine music for what to me is one of the most underrated and underappreciated bands of the entire classic rock era.
     
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  20. Lk4605

    Lk4605 Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    You're right ,not a word on Esoteric records in PH site...!
     
  21. BurtThomasWard

    BurtThomasWard Guided by Loke

    Location:
    Norge
    First of all, thank you for your very thorough and thoughtful answers. Very helpful for a beginner such as me.

    I was searching for those later albums in the original run. First on eBay and then Amazon and a couple of more 'local' shops, but it looks like the Salvos could be going out of print as well. Broken Barricades is almost impossible to get for a reasonable price and if you follow the link from their homepage to amazon, you will see that the album is listed as 'temporarily out of stock'. Same goes for a few of the others. Perhaps we will see Esoterics rereleases of these as well. Im not sure if I will take a gamble on this or not at this point. The remastering of the later tracks on the forthcoming box set will probably be a pointer.

    Haven't heard SM yet, but I will later today. I really like (parts) of Ninth. Was going to check out that Danish one, partially because some of my family is from Denmark. Procol is very popular there, for some reason.

    I'm afraid that I will end up with everything. 'Thankfully' the catalogue isn't that big. Watching a few of those live shows from German tv was in fact one of the things that made me get into the band. I see that they are also included on the forthcoming box set.

    As I wrote somewhere above I thought that EBaF was a little uneven, but I think it will be a grower. Sounds like it.

    Once again, thanks for the help, guys.
     
  22. Dok

    Dok Forum Resident

    Then why is Esoteric releasing a big box set with tracks from all of their albums in March? https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/procol-harum-still-therell-anthology-1967-2017-8cd-box-set/
     
  23. BurtThomasWard

    BurtThomasWard Guided by Loke

    Location:
    Norge
    Yeah, I sorta touched on that subject in the post above yours. Seems a bit strange with the Salvos going out of print at the same time as well, eh? ;)
     
  24. Dok

    Dok Forum Resident

    Sorry, I guess I didn't read your post closely enough! I was a little surprised that Weasleriot didn't appear to be aware of it.
     
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  25. BurtThomasWard

    BurtThomasWard Guided by Loke

    Location:
    Norge
    No problem at all, friend.

    I pointed it out just to make this coincidence (or rather lack of) even more clear.
     
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