PROCOL HARUM

(UNITED KINGDOM)

GRAND HOTEL

(1973)
LABEL:

CHRYSALIS

GENRE:

ROCK

TAGS:
Easy-Listening, Symphonic
""Grand Hotel" manages to be captivating from beginning to end while remaining very varied. If you must have only one Procol Harum album, it is this one!"
CORTO1809 (10.09.2012)  
5/5
(0) opinions (0) comment(s)
A lot happened between "Broken Barricades", their previous studio album released two years earlier, and "Grand Hotel". The band was left bloodless, a shadow of its former self, falling into an unconvincing hard-rock. Since then, Robin Trower, who was probably cramped in his rhythm guitar suit, left to live his life as a guitar-hero, giving Gary Brooker back his peace of mind and the direction of the band that he should never have shared. As soon as he returned to the helm, Brooker led his band in a concert where he shared the spotlight with a fifty-two piece orchestra and twenty-four backup singers, returning to his classical, or at least orchestral, roots. Strengthened by the success of this experience, he released the same year as "Dark Side Of The Moon" the most accomplished album of his discography. 1973, a year blessed by the gods!

The couple Brooker/Reid is at its best. The compositions are at worst pleasant, at best bewitching. The texts are less dark, less disturbing, even if they evoke serious themes like suicide or illness and that the humor, with which they are sometimes enamelled, is necessarily of a black color. The piano has regained a predominant role and regales us with a festival of crystalline arpeggios or vigorous chords. It reconnects with the organ in many tasty duet numbers. B.J. Wilson proves, if it was still necessary, what a great drummer he is, giving with finesse what it is necessary to avoid that certain titles get stuck in a too sweet melody. In spite of the predominance of the keyboards, each instrument manages to find its place and knows how to be heard without drowning the others. Finally, the numerous orchestrations allow the compositions to take a magnitude conferring them their letter of nobility.

Each title is a small wonder and would deserve a review. We will retain only three of them. The record starts with the majestic eponymous title, grandiose, precious, romantic, offering a few measures of waltz and knowing how to marry with happiness a refined and classicizing music to a pure rock and stripped of its savagery. 'For Liquorice John', written as a tribute to a friend who ended his life, transports us the time of a melancholic and unreal melody in the badly lit and foggy alleys of Sherlock Holmes. No time to recover from the emotion in which we were immersed that the angelic vocals of 'Fires' overwhelm us by the deep nostalgia it transmits.

"Grand Hotel" manages to be captivating from beginning to end while remaining very varied, as proven by 'A Souvenir Of London' with its banjo and its percussions with a spoon, or 'Robert's Box', smiling rock of the islands. You will have understood it, if you must have only one Procol Harum, it is this one. Still, it would be a shame to stop in such a good way.
- Official website

TRACK LISTING:
01. Grand Hotel - 06:10
02. Toujours L'Amour - 03:31
03. A Rum Tale - 03:20
04. Tv Caesar - 05:52
05. A Souvenir Of London - 03:23
06. Bringing Home The Bacon - 04:21
07. For Liquorice John - 04:27
08. Fires (Which Burn Brightly) - 05:10
09. Robert's Box - 04:45

LINEUP:
Alan Cartwright: Basse
B.J. Wilson: Batterie / Percussions (et 22 mandolines)
Chris Copping: Orgue
Christiane Legrand (invitée): Chant (8)
Dave Ball (invité): Cuillères musicales (5)
Denny Brown (invité): Cuillères musicales (5)
Gary Brooker: Chant / Piano
Keith Reid: Textes
Mick Grabham: Guitares
   
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