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Something Magic [Import]

Procol Harum Audio CD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 48.95
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Product Description

Digitally remastered and expanded edition of the British band's 1977 album including three bonus tracks. Stylish packaging includes a 20-page booklet, rare photos and memorabilia plus extensive sleevenotes by Procol expert and respected author Patrick Humphries with contributions from band members. 11 tracks. Salvo. 2009.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars At Their Nadir June 29 2004
Format:Audio CD
I bought this years ago when it first came out on vinyl, hoping it would be an improvement over it's very uneven predecessor, Procol's Ninth. I was appalled at the musical stench that arose from the grooves of the album as it played. The Worm and the Tree was the worst; it was a sad swan song for the most intellectual song writing duo of the 60s/70s and for the band that gave voice to their creative vision. The words and music reeked of creative and spiritual exhaustion.
In the last couple of years, I have rediscovered my old love for the music of Procol Harum and have been building a CD library that includes many recordings that were not readily available in the days of the LP. Recently, I decided to give Something Magic another shot and so ordered this remastered reissue.
Repertoire Records has done a fine job presenting this recording in the most attractive light possible. Included with the CD is an informative and well-written booklet that gives the listener an idea as to why Procol Harum was on the rocks at this time.
Now that I have revisited the album and have listened with new ears, I find that it has risen in my esteem. Gary Brooker and Keith Reid were still a formidable songwriting team. Just read the lyrics of the first four songs and listen to the musical arrangements on them. They scream classic Procol Harum. Even The Mark of the Claw, the music for which was written by Mick Grabham, is Brookeresque in its sound.
The Worm and the Tree remains problematic. The music, particularly in part one is often gorgeous and dreamy. The lyrics on the other hand, though they are meant to be allegorical, are often maudlin and jejune. As for the final two "bonus" cuts, they are OK, but rather disposable and not worthy of the Procol Harum I knew.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A thankfully premature death April 28 2004
Format:Audio CD
This is, as others have said very well, not Procol Harum's best. Apparently the recording sessions were difficult as the producers and the band were not getting along. The decision to recite the words to Worm and the Tree was regrettable. Nevertheless, there is some fine music on this CD - particularly Mark of the Claw and the title cut.
Thankfully, this was not the end of Procol Harum. It took two steps for them to truly get Something Magic back - Prodigal Stranger was a little too slick - but good music nonethless. Well's on Fire is updated Procol Harum. If you are new to the band get everything - even Something Magic!
And they are on tour again in 2004! So far only European dates (Vienna and Budapest) but who knows, they cancelled some dates in the US last year and promised to be back in '04 to make them up!
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harum Say Farewell (For 14 Years) April 28 2005
By Alan Caylow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
With their record sales in decline, and no hit singles in several years either, Procol Harum entered the studio to record their "make it or break it" tenth album, 1977's "Something Magic." Onboard was new keyboardist Pete Solley, while former keyboardist Chris Copping moved over to play bass, replacing Alan Cartwright. "Something Magic" is easily Harum's most controversial album, primarily for the 18 1/2-minute epic, "The Worm & The Tree," which takes up the second-half of the album, and was roundly criticized at the time as being pretentious. However, I say the controversy has been completely blown out of proportion. "Something Magic," although not the greatest record Procol Harum ever made, is a very excellent album. Bad? Not at all. Gary Brooker & company, in my opinion, have *never* recorded a bad album, and "Something Magic" is no exception. The title song, "Wizard Man," and "Mark Of The Claw" are all first-rate Harum pop-rockers, "Skating On Thin Ice" is the track that mostly resembles classic Harum of old, and it's great. And "Strangers In Space," with it's hypnotic, ethereal feel, is very beautiful stuff.And "The Worm & The Tree"? Granted, I can understand why this epic piece, structured like a children's rhyme set to music, with Brooker *speaking* all of the lyrics instead of singing them, probably wouldn't work as a live number. But, as a studio creation, I think "The Worm & The Tree" works just fine. The music is wonderful (including some excellent orchestral arrangements), the band's performance is strong, and Brooker's narration is quite good (even when he's not singing, Gary Brooker has a great voice!). And the story itself, written by band lyricist Keith Reid, is a very good allegorical tale about life, death, and re-birth. Pretentious or not, I like "The Worm & The Tree." And I like the whole album, too.Deciding that they'd finally run out of steam as a band, Procol Harum disbanded following the tour for "Something Magic," and Gary Brooker went on to a short-lived solo career, releasing three albums on his own. But, like in the tale of "The Worm & The Tree," Procol Harum was NOT gone for good. 14 years later, Harum were re-born with their fantastic comeback album, 1991's "The Prodigal Stranger." But "Something Magic," despite the poor sales, was a great album for Harum to end their first phase of work together. It's also a fond farewell to the band's late, great drummer, B.J. Wilson, who made his final appearance with the band on this release (he passed away in 1989). "Something Magic" is an excellent Procol Harum album, "Worm" and all.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something Magic Feb. 15 2000
By Gary Smalz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this album. It features organist Pete Solley on a Yamaha of all things, replacing Chris Copping's Hammond. While the Yamaha can imitate the Hammond, it adds a new dimension of the synthsizer, which was emerging technology in the 70s. This album includes the obligatory Procal 3/4 waltz, with BJ Wilson's outstanding, explosive drumming. While many have panned the song/poem "the Worm & the Tree", I feel the piece has withstood the test of time. It's composition is sophisticated, well executed and spans many musical styles. Recited or sung, the piece has merit, especially when put in the context of 1977. I recommend this album. It is Procal Harums 10th and final effort (if you don't count the re-union albums of the 1990s) and is worth a listen.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars At Their Nadir June 29 2004
By Kurt Harding - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I bought this years ago when it first came out on vinyl, hoping it would be an improvement over it's very uneven predecessor, Procol's Ninth. I was appalled at the musical stench that arose from the grooves of the album as it played. The Worm and the Tree was the worst; it was a sad swan song for the most intellectual song writing duo of the 60s/70s and for the band that gave voice to their creative vision. The words and music reeked of creative and spiritual exhaustion.
In the last couple of years, I have rediscovered my old love for the music of Procol Harum and have been building a CD library that includes many recordings that were not readily available in the days of the LP. Recently, I decided to give Something Magic another shot and so ordered this remastered reissue.
Repertoire Records has done a fine job presenting this recording in the most attractive light possible. Included with the CD is an informative and well-written booklet that gives the listener an idea as to why Procol Harum was on the rocks at this time.
Now that I have revisited the album and have listened with new ears, I find that it has risen in my esteem. Gary Brooker and Keith Reid were still a formidable songwriting team. Just read the lyrics of the first four songs and listen to the musical arrangements on them. They scream classic Procol Harum. Even The Mark of the Claw, the music for which was written by Mick Grabham, is Brookeresque in its sound.
The Worm and the Tree remains problematic. The music, particularly in part one is often gorgeous and dreamy. The lyrics on the other hand, though they are meant to be allegorical, are often maudlin and jejune. As for the final two "bonus" cuts, they are OK, but rather disposable and not worthy of the Procol Harum I knew.
Though this album may not delight everyone, those who are Procol Harum fans should own it to remind themselves that even at their nadir, this was (and is again) a very good band. On the strength of the first four songs and select parts of the infamous Worm and the Tree, this CD rates a solid three.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ...So sad to see such emptiness, so sad to see such tears... Feb. 14 2003
By Brent - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Procol Harum were on their way out, in a world beseiged with disco and punk. Chris Copping switched back to bass, and Gary Brooker brought Pete Solley in for the coveted organ role. And Pete even played some synthesizers (BLGH) to attempt to keep Procol in tune with the times, but....no. And having schlockmeisters, Ron & Howie Albert to "produce" (heh-heh-heh) "Something Magic" ensured its - and the group's - imminent demise. STILL, though: the fourth song, Guitarist Extraordinare Mick Grabham's "The Mark Of The Claw" made purching the album worth it. It's a grinding rock and roller, but the astounding solo that Pete Solley plays on the song almost justifies synthesizers' very existence. Go on, you've bought albums and/or CD's for just one song before...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing up their sleeve... June 7 2011
By Wayne Klein - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Review for 2009 remaster.

Clearly the magic had run out or at the very least some of the inspiration. Although the material on the first half of "Something Magic" has its moments, it's the second half of the album that drags the album into the territory of self parody and Spinal Tap. Given the quality of the last couple of albums prior to this one that slip wasn't a complete surprise but with "Something Magic" the band created a new low for rock music.

Working with Ron and Howie Albert as producers was clearly a mistake--the duo rejected half of the material for the proposed album and Gary Brooker and Keith Reid had to scramble to come up with new material to fill out the album. Although the material that was rejected might not have been on the level of the band's best material, it was a huge step up from the recited poem that takes up the second half of the album.

That isn't to say there aren't highlights. Brooker's soulful vocals continue to take center stage here selling at least the first half and creating hopes that a razzle-dazzle trick will magically appear while they are still on center stage. The title track is a pretty good song and each of the first "side" tracks have some merit.

The three bonus tracks featuring two performances live in the studio are quite good but it's a pity the band couldn't pull off the illusion of a cohesive, memorable album here their last before their reunion 15 years later.
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