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on 5 May 2010
I bought and played this to death on vinyl back in 1970 while still in the `Sixth Form'. I owned all the first four Procul albums at the time. All these LPs long-since sold when times were lean and shops to trade-in LPs were great in number - and much appreciated by folks in need!
By the merest whim one day, I accidentally found Procul on You Tube.
Remembering this (`Home') as my favourite, I sent for it via Amazon. Good move!
What a nostalgia rush! Not just that, but my favourite tracks on the album seem as fresh and exciting as back then.
So what have we got on it here, then?
A great voice leading the charge; some finely interwoven piano and organ throughout; beautifully crafted song writing; strange, yet wonderful lyrical content; pulsating rhythm section; grand guitar work, restrained where necessary, cutting loose with aplomb at other times.
Lyricist Reid's words, with their preoccupation with death and all-that-festers marry magnificently with Brooker's aching melodies. There's a major sense of drama soaring out right across the album.
Trower's more riff based compositions offer a contrast and yet still give Brooker full reign with what is, undoubtedly, one of the greatest ever rock voices.
There must have been, at this point in their career, a growing divide in the `needs' of the two obvious factions - but thankfully, on this album, all efforts seem to have been geared to making the blend work - and work it does!
For example...
Later-to-be-guitar-hero,Trower, is totally missing on `Barnyard Story' (as are bass and drums - just listen to the piano and organ make the most of the space!) and he offers a simple, yet wonderfully effective, sparse acoustic guitar on the quite charming, almost folky, `Nothing that I didn't know' which rises to a magnificent crescendo and then has a calmer petit mort to follow.
(`Whaling Stories' does this same manoeuvre wonderfully, to a far more magnificent effect, later on)
And yet Robin `goes for it' in classic manner with some fine supportive crunch chords and solo figures dotted across the other material, `Whaling Stories' for example, where his lead playing does justice to the rising tension and drama of the piece.
High drama too in `Dead Man's Dream' - another choice piece for me!
Interspersed are some driving rock songs (`Whiskey', `Still More', `Piggy') that provide the necessary contrast needed, balancing the more sombre melodies of the seriously melodramatic compositions that Brooker/Reid conjure!
It's passionate stuff - with the magnificent Brooker tearing notes out of the air in anguish at times - love it!
BJ Wilson was a fine drummer (lowest slung drummer I ever saw sat on a stool, `live') and his efforts are mighty throughout - though I would want a re-mix in parts! To my ears, the cowbell on `Whisky' seems irritating at the volume it's at (nice part, just TOO prominent!) - and his fine fills in the quiet `Nothing I didn't...' are just TOO loud - their effect would still be there if they were toned down a shade or three (my wife says they `spoil the track' for her - I wouldn't go that far myself; I forgive the minor aberration as I just LOVE the song!).
I don't underestimate Mr Copping's contribution either! Always well-chosen notes on the bass, very well played - but it's on the organ where he excels - his counter-melody and general just-right, his accompaniment flowing easily around the rest of the instrumentation - beautifully interwoven with the voice and piano, particularly.
The two bonus tracks? Backing tracks with vocals left off - not really needed - Only mileage there is, that one can wail and yell along when there's no one else in the house!
What else? Oh yes - Nicely packaged, interesting booklet with background info (Larry Adler, eh? Who'd have thought!)
All in all - a fine album - once again - to be played to death (sic) in this `Home'.
Cheers Procul! Love it! - Duncan McFarlane [...]
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on 20 June 2009
It's a good thing that the first four Procol albums weren't messed about with during the early years of remastering. Audio technology has moved on to the point where every ounce of sound data from the original recordings can be processed to perfection. Now 40 years later we can enjoy the crystal clarity of Gary Brooker's vocals, the sand-blasted scream of Robin Trower's guitar, and the colourful production of songs that, if handled by a standardised pop production line, would have turned out as just plain ordinary and unworthy of remastering. Procol were always trying to achieve something special but, victims of their own debut single success, tended to be shelved for later attention if nothing else was happening (and in the music industry that never was the case). Why the band failed on the album front is a debate that will never be closed - some cite the Radio One Playlist Policy, others that they were ahead of their time, and a small few (like myself) that art music would never appeal to anything but a small but ardent following. This particular album it noteworthy for being their last undaunted attempt at achieving success....future albums seemed monochromatic by comparison.
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on 19 June 2012
I see why music critics back in the early 70's considered "Home" as Procol's finest work. The tongue in cheek lyrics of "Still There'll Be More"'s show lyricist Reid's darker side. Brooker's vocal range is at its height, and this album was the coming out party for Robin Trower. While 1 or 2 songs lumber, the balance of the songs are strong rockers (Whisky Train) or rock opuses (Whaling Stories) No matter the song, Procol Harum's musicianship shines on brightly through.
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on 16 June 2009
After now having bought this album about 4 times, including the original vinyl issue, I find this new re-release a bit pointless as the 1999 cd issue had far more extra tracks on it, whereas this has only 2, both of which are already released.
Looking forward to the Procol Harum Anthology dvd sometime soon.
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on 17 March 2012
These re-releases are of excellent quality. However, they could have been released as single disk with two albums and an occasional bonus track thereby taking up less space and probably costing less.
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on 14 January 2012
One of the great (& darkest) albums of this era. Also buy "Live With The Edmonton Orchestra" Both albums hugely underated!
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