on 15 November 2009
This was the opportunity to put out all the previously unreleased material that Procol Harum have been keeping under wraps for so many years. The fact is that the opportunity hasn't been taken, and because of that I can't give this box set a full 5 stars.
Any anthology is down to personnal taste, but there are some really glaring omissions in this set. And why on earth is the full In Held Twas In I suite included?
Basically, what you get for your bucks are 2 CDs of previously released material, heavily weighted towards the first 4 album releases, and without representation from the Edmonton record or Something Magic, and only one track from Broken Barricades. Some of Procols greatest work is missing from these CDs and there are none of the eagerly anticipated tracks sucn as I'm A Reader and A Writer, So Far Behind, Musical Fish, One Eye on the Future, Old Dog and You Better Wait (though some of these are released on the 40th anniversary version of Something Magic). The 'rare' tracks are confined to B-sides which most Procol fans will have several times over.
Of course, the music is great. That goes almost without saying, and for the casual fan will more than suffice. Not for the fanatics though!
Just a quick note as well to concur with the previous reviewer regarding the difficulty of getting the CDs out of the case. Back to the drawing board with that one! The packaging, otherwise is exemplary and the booklet informative and full of great pictures.
Returning to the musical content then....
The third CD is Procol captured Live. Some great tracks here, especially with the appearance of 'Night Train to Niagara'. Some cuts are too close to their original studio versions. This is almost definitely down to the Procol's consumate professionalism, but I personally prefer my live concerts to have a rougher edge. A few of the tracks are a bit sterile.
The forth CD is essentially extracts from 5 previously available shows dating back to the Danish TV show of 1974, through Copenhagen 2001, the great Union Chapel concert of 2003, the Isle of Wight 2006 and the orchestral augmented show from Ledreborg 2006. All are in fantastic quality, but beware, if you have collected live Procol concerts, you may already have these.
So, all in all, a great overview of the band through the past 40 years, but a little short on those missing gems. Ah well, maybe they'll be in the 50th Anniversary Box Set....
on 9 November 2009
This is a maginificent anthology of on of the original progressive-rock groups. The track selection is good for the newcomer and there's enough rarities for the fan too. The booklet is good, if somewhat gushing.
But which idiot thought up the new inserts? They are some kind of complex sprung plastic design which grips the CDs only via the edges and therefore you can't push into the middle to get them out, instead having to resort to gently trying to force them over the edge clips without breaking the CDs in the process.
This box is well worth buying, but if you do, take the CDs out of the box and repackage them as soon as they arrive. This could prevent you hearing horrible, expensive cracking sounds one day when you're impatient to play the discs...