5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Musicians
After waiting many years it is difficult to be objective isn't it? We Procol fans live from famine to feast. Hearing Well's on Fire (and anxiously awaiting the song by that name) and hearing the band on tour on San Francisco (an amazing experience) reminds me of many things - first and foremost that Procol Harum is about music - about where it comes from and where it...
Published on Sep 21 2003 by steven11301
3.0 out of 5 stars New Procol will please old fans, but won't win many new ones
If you look through the reviews here, you will see many longtime Procol fans are enjoying this album, the first since 1991's "The Prodigal Stranger". I don't hear the big improvement over "Prodigal" that a lot of others do. This album doesn't have the glossy Album-Oriented-Rock production that "Prodigal" did, but overall I found that...
Published on May 27 2003 by woburnmusicfan
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1.0 out of 5 stars Awful,
By A Customer
This review is from: Wells On Fire (Audio CD)I had high hopes for this after reading other readers' reviews. What a disappointment! The songs are completely forgettable and often tuneless. Hard to believe they would release songs like "Every Dog Has His Day." Yuck.
Save your $$.
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Musicians,
This review is from: Wells On Fire (Audio CD)After waiting many years it is difficult to be objective isn't it? We Procol fans live from famine to feast. Hearing Well's on Fire (and anxiously awaiting the song by that name) and hearing the band on tour on San Francisco (an amazing experience) reminds me of many things - first and foremost that Procol Harum is about music - about where it comes from and where it is. To hear Handel reset by Brooker is an amazing musical moment and the the signature piece at the end is a truly moving musical statement. We can only hope that the next album (and US tour) are months in the future and not years. Procol Harum is about an incredible combination of words and music. May they live forever...
2.0 out of 5 stars Go Bananas instead!,
This review is from: Wells On Fire (Audio CD)I just bought Procol Harum's latest album The Well's On Fire, along with Deep Purple's latest album, Bananas (import) and couldn't have had a more one sided listening experience.
Two of my favorite bands seem to be going in different directions and I'm not talking musical. I can't believe how weak The Well's On Fire is, the playing lacks spark and the songs simply aren't good or memorable. The arrangements are typical been there, done that and Procol Harum just don't sound like their having much fun! When the disc ended I knew I wouldn't be in a hurry to play it again any time soon.
On the contrary, Deep Purple's new album is everything Procol Harum's isn't. Great songs, unbelievable performances and the band sound like they are having FUN! Plus, the running order of the album is just outstanding. I've played Bananas10 times as much as Procol Harum's latest.
It's safe to say this is not Procol Harum's finest hour, but it might be Deep Purple's.
Two stars: The Well's On Fire
3.0 out of 5 stars New Procol will please old fans, but won't win many new ones,
This review is from: Wells On Fire (Audio CD)If you look through the reviews here, you will see many longtime Procol fans are enjoying this album, the first since 1991's "The Prodigal Stranger". I don't hear the big improvement over "Prodigal" that a lot of others do. This album doesn't have the glossy Album-Oriented-Rock production that "Prodigal" did, but overall I found that album's songs catchier. It's great to hear Gary Brooker, one of the best voices in rock, again, and I hope I don't have to wait another dozen years for their next album. But "Well's on Fire" doesn't come close to the five stars I'd give to the "Whiter Shade of Pale" or "Salty Dog" albums. If you're not already a Procol fan, this album probably won't make you one, and isn't the place to start exploring this band.
Pianist/singer Brooker, organist Matthew Fisher, and lyricist Keith Reid remain from early Procol, joined by "Prodigal" drummer Mark Brzezicki, bassist Matt Pegg (son of Fairport Convention's Dave), and guitarist Geoff Whitehorn (who can do a decent Robin Trower impersonation). There's no standout track here, no song that really makes your ears jump to attention. My favorite tracks are the jittery "Shadow Boxed", bluesy "The VIP Room" and "Every Dog Will Have His Day", and classic rock "So Far Behind". Reid's lyrics aren't as off-the-wall as in the past, but he provides some nice social commentary on tracks like "The Question" and "This World Is Rich". A couple of the more thoughtful lyrics are matched with boring music, though, such as "The Emperor's New Clothes" and the 9/11-inspired "The Blink of an Eye". "Weisselklenzenacht" ends the album with a big, building Fisher instrumental, in the manner of "Repent Walpurgis".
(1=poor 2=mediocre 3=pretty good 4=very good 5=phenomenal)
4.0 out of 5 stars Procol Harum Lives,
This review is from: Wells On Fire (Audio CD)Procol Harum, in any of its various permutations, has never made a bad album. This CD ranks up there among their best, although nothing will ever beat their first album or Salty Dog or Grand Hotel.
Gary Brooker and Keith Reid are one of those stellar songwriting teams (need I refer to Lennon and McCartney?) that mesh so well that anything they do is worth hearing. This is a new offering and I'm grateful to be able to hear it.
Yeah, Procol Harum at their worst indulged in some bombastic moments, but none of those are present here. We're fortunate to have Matthew Fisher's organ intertwined with Brooker's piano and vocals. The drums, bass and guitar are by new members who I've not heard of before, but they are equal in quality to the original members.
"The Emperor's New Clothes" is as good a critique of the present political tragedy as we're likely to hear. It's a sorry comment on current formatted radio formats that we'll likely never hear it over the airways. All the more reason to order this CD for your own enjoyment.
Thank God. Procol Harum LIves.
3.0 out of 5 stars Must buy, but not their best effort,
This review is from: Wells On Fire (Audio CD)I don't want to repeat the prior reviews, but these are my original thoughts. First, it wasn't until the 7th song when I felt the band got on track. Until then, the songs sounded bland, and similar to the style of the Police. You will notice a difference in the songs. Keith Reid picked up a little anti-capitalism in the past dozen years too, it seems to me.
The final song, Weisselklenzenacht, doesn't sound like Repent Walpurgis (my second favorite Procol song), but the parallels are obvious. Both are purely instrumental, both are at the end of their respective albums. Weisselklenzenacht has strains of "Air on a G String," the bass theme in AWSOP. I loved it, and it is worth the cost of the CD by itself!
You must buy this CD, but don't expect too much from it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Life is Good,
This review is from: Wells On Fire (Audio CD)Who thought Gary & Co. could pull this one together? I must echo comments that this is the best Procol since Exotic Birds & Fruit. I was severely disappointed by Something Magic & Prodigal Stranger and had extremely low expectations for this album -- but I can't stop listening to it. Of course, BJ is missed, I think Matthew got the "Copping Treatment" in the mix too often (bring him UP!), and some songs have the "GB solo" sound, but these are minor quibbles. The songs are there, Matthew's back, life is good.
4.0 out of 5 stars another Gulf War, another Procol Harum record,
This review is from: Wells On Fire (Audio CD)The last one came out shortly after the 1991 Gulf War. I can't say what it means, although some political figure seems to catch the brunt of "The Emperor's New Clothes". I wonder who. I heard three songs that would once have been considered radio-friendly. The production is more to scale after all the synthesizers, reverb, and backing singers on the last record (Prodigal Stranger). But Robin Trower didn't mail in any guitar on this effort and he would have been a welcome addition on the rock'n'roll numbers. The lyrics are pretty good, although "The Blink of an Eye" is another less than profound rumination on September 11 and "The Question" is a less pithy lift of Bo Diddley's "Before You Accuse Me". "The VIP Room" seems a little kinky ("Playmate of the Mouth", anyone?). The keyboards are out front with both Gary Brooker and Matthew Fisher getting plenty of short solos. Brooker sings great and Fisher is tasteful as always. As usual with oldtimers, there are a couple numbers that echo past successes, "Fellow Travelers" (Fisher's adaptation of another baroque theme a la "Whiter Shade") and the closing instrumental. But otherwise this is different from any other Procol Harum record. One more suggestion: once a song gets some momentum, don't interrupt it without adding something important. Nice job, guys, can't wait for your next record in 2015! And let it be without another Gulf War.
2.0 out of 5 stars well's on fire,
This review is from: Wells On Fire (Audio CD)I was disappointed by this latest release from Procal Harum. They were one of my favorite bands quite awhile ago; their Felt Forum appearance magnificent.Although Gary Brooker still has a great voice and soulful piano playing, most of the music sounds generic and the lyrics mostly bland. As I listen to this CD I am wanting Reid to go further with his lyrics rather than staying in a safe mediocre zone. He is capable of brilliance as are Fisher and Brooker.
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Return,
This review is from: Wells On Fire (Audio CD)Mention Procol Harum to most people and if you don't get a blank stare, you hear "Oh, yeah, they did that Whiter Shade of Pale song, right?"
Mention they have a great new album and you may hear "You're kidding, those dinosaurs are still around?"
Part of Procol Harum's problem has always been that they have been identified with a song that is admittedly one of the finest songs ever to come out of the sixties. Most people just don't even know that they did anything afterward! Let's hope their excellent new album Well's On Fire changes all that.
I've listened to it now at least several dozen times and have read all the reviews posted here. Let me make a few observations. First of all, it is unfair to stack the current lineup against the fabled Procol Harum lineups of blessed memory. Those days are gone; some of the players don't want to come back, and one can't. Second, the heart and soul (Gary Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid)of Procol Harum remain and Matthew Fisher is back. We should be thankful for that. Lastly, I'm happy to hear that the music is really all new. If I wanted to hear one of their old songs, I would put on an old album. Weisselklenzenacht does not sound like Repent Walpurgis as some suggest and I am grateful. Repent Walpurgis is one of a kind and should forever remain so.
Now to the music. Despite Matthew Fisher's return, the new PH lineup sounds more that of the days of Exotic Birds and Fruit and Grand Hotel rather than that of the first three albums on which Fisher played before he left the band. Some songs are instantly recognizable as having the classic Procol Harum sound: An Old English Dream, The VIP Room, Fellow Travelers, and The Emperor's New Clothes. I enjoy all those, but am specially pleased with rocking numbers like Shadow Boxed, The Question, and the very topical and timely Wall Street Blues. Every Dog Will Have His Day is also excellent, but we could have been spared the howling.
The Blink Of An Eye, the band's 9/11 remembrance falls short, but is not as trite as some suggest. The phrase about "living on Easy Street" and having the "rug pulled from under our feet" may sound hokey, but to me it merely poetically suggests a rude awakening from self-absorbed complacency.
Well's On Fire represents a sweet return to the limelight for Procol Harum after years in the shadows. I recommend it to one and all.
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Wells On Fire by Procol Harum (Audio CD - 2008)