10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Big Music For A Small Planet ( nevertoolate #14 ),
This review is from: Grand Hotel (Audio CD)
October 13th 1970. The Royal Albert Hall, London.
Jethro Tull, Tir Na Nog and "special guests" Procol Harum in concert.
Now there was a gig for a young Wolf to get steamed up about.
The anthemic quality of Procol Harum's music and Mr Brooker's
unshowy yet affecting voice were captivating from the beginning.
'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' and 'Homburg' (1967); 'A Salty Dog' (1969);
'Conquistador' (1972) were all part of the dizzy soundtrack to my
largely misspent teenage years.
The classy, complex, classically oriented arrangements set
the band apart from their peers. This was BIG music.
Life-enhancing, enduring and loaded with irresistible pathos.
1973 saw the release of perhaps their most opulent
and engaging project. 'Grand Hotel' is, indeed, music of
grand design and epic ambition.
The evenly paced piano and organ entry to the opening
title track is quickly catapulted by B. J. Wilson's thundering
percussion into an uproariously lavish big-boned, wide-screen,
production number. Orchestra, choir and a complete fin de siecle
Viennese ballroom are all thrown headlong into the mix. Gloriously
excessive but by some strange internal magic it all holds together.
'For Liquorice John' allows Mr Brooker's plaintive vocals to soar.
Keith Reid's impressionistic lyrics compliment the elusive melody perfectly.
Likewise 'TV Caesar' with it's fine central guitar solo from Mr Grabham.
'Toujours l'Amour' and 'Bringing Home The Bacon' prove that the band
was no slouch when it came down to rocking-out either.
'A Souvenir Of London' creates a kind of whimsical one-man-band ambience.
'A Rum Tale' and 'Robert's Box' are more than worthy makeweights.
Final song 'Fires (Which Burnt Brightly)' brings the album to a
magisterial conclusion. Christine Legrand's charming Swinglish
vocal contribution is an absolute stroke of genius. I smile with joy
every time I hear it.
Beg, borrow or steal to get this album into your life.
After thirty five years my vinyl copy is wearing a little thin but I'm
hoping that it will last for as long as I'm able to watch the sun rise.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Oct 2012 08:46:56 BDT
Another great review Mr Wolf! It was a toss-up between this and 'A Salty Dog' but you've successfully nudged me into getting this one..
In reply to an earlier post on 4 Oct 2012 09:01:51 BDT
Thanks for your kind comments.
Tricky decision....Both albums are marvellous....and just to make it even more
difficult for you do listen to 'Live With Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (40th Anniversary
Edition)'....yet another glorious recording...I've reviewed it too if you'd like to take a look.
In reply to an earlier post on 4 Oct 2012 09:25:56 BDT
Yes I certainly will have a look (although maybe next week; I'm supposed to be SAVING money - or so the wife tells me!). Ditto 'A Salty Dog'...
On impulse (and without hearing anything from it AND generally being of the impression that they're a bit mediocre) I bought BJH's Everyone Is Everybody Else. Hasn't arrived yet. Any thoughts?
In reply to an earlier post on 4 Oct 2012 10:00:18 BDT
I saw them at the Weeley Festival in 1971. Not one of my favorite 70's bands
I'm afraid ('Mockingbird' is about the only song of their's that I remember well and
that was a bit of an oversweet confection for me!) but judging by the positive
Amazon reviews it clearly has its supporters. Let me know how you get on with it.
....now Van Der Graaf Generator on the other hand.... :o)
In reply to an earlier post on 30 Oct 2012 08:14:01 GMT
Hello again. Just a quick couple of points:
I have now lived with 'Grand Hotel' for the last few weeks and can confirm it is very fine album (so thanks for that!)
Secondly, that BJH album I bought is poor, VERY poor (what was I thinking?). I've actually done a short review of it - no doubt the negative votes will soon pile up..!
Best regards, Kevin
In reply to an earlier post on 30 Oct 2012 10:26:01 GMT
Last edited by the author on 30 Oct 2012 10:26:52 GMT
Sometimes we don't know unless we try. Have a listen to Susanne Sundfor's new
album 'The Silicone Veil' if you get the chance. I think you might just love it.
In reply to an earlier post on 4 Nov 2012 20:38:26 GMT
Hello again. Just thought I'd let you know I'm currently listening - as I type - to 'The Silicone Veil' on Spotify, It is...fantastic! Reminds me of so many things (Cocteau's, Mandalay, maybe a dash of Bjork and Portishead) but I'd go as far as to say better than any of them (for me at least). Some lovely keyboards in there, unusual melodic lines and arrangements; I've never heard anything quite like it. I'd never heard of her before: where do you dig this stuff up from?? Anyway, despite the fact that it sounds perfectly fabulous listening to it for free from Spotify I will - in a moment - be coughing up for it 'proper' (well, I now feel it's my duty given the all-round excellence of it!).
Note to anyone else who strays across this thread: do as The Wolf says - get this recording; it really is something special.
In reply to an earlier post on 5 Nov 2012 09:22:06 GMT
Hello Again Kevin
I'm glad you have found something to love in this wonderful album too.
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