Ultimate Collection #006


Ultimate Collection #006

Procol Harum – “Broken Barricades” (Island / Chrysalis UK LP ILPS 9158)

This is the first British record that I have added to “My Ultimate Collection”.  Both this one and the next record that go into “My Ultimate Collection” are British records from 1971.

I have 4 proper variants of this album (British LP, US LP with both die-cut and non-die-cut covers; Japanese paper sleeve CD), and some singles that correspond to this album.  It’s the 5th Procol Harum studio LP.  It’s the final PH LP to feature guitarist Robin Trower.  It’s easily my favorite 70’s Procol Harum album.  It’s not a long album, and I don’t even think the Japanese CD of it has any “bonus tracks”.

I was 12 years old when this album came out in early 1971.  I waited and got a British import LP of it as quickly as possible, being that it was at least $1 more than a US copy.

It’s one of those records where I think, at some point, every song on it has been a favorite song of mine for a week or three.  I recently heard it (the title track, “Broken Barricades”) playing in a shoe store (doubtlessly on some satellite station), and it took me a few hours to back down to Earth.  I told Dorothy:  “There isn’t a radio station in L.A. that would play this at all – much less during the day!”

It’s classic British rock music – the equal to the best works of The Beatles or The Rolling Stones.  I cannot recommend this album – or the band Procol Harum – highly enough.  No self-respecting anglophile should be without this album.

How did I get so lucky?  This album never had any aspect of ‘overkill’ work against it.  No “hit singles”.  I never heard it ‘over-talked’ – I don’t remember any reviews for it – I wouldn’t have cared to read about anybody ‘not liking’ this album, anyway!  I was and am 100% this album’s target market.  English language rock music, perfectly executed. All Hail Gary Brooker, Keith Reid, Robin Trower, Chris Copping, and B.J. Wilson (R.I.P.)!

The decades came and went – and this album remained pleasant and essential for me.  I have not lived without it for nearly 40 years, and I look forward to the next 40 years with it.  This might not be my absolute favorite British LP ever, but…it must be damned close…

Procol Harum has always been a special band for me.  Probably my strongest memory of 1968 is that of their debut album.  Probably the first record I ever discussed with my older brother was “A Salty Dog” – no, he didn’t know what the lyrics were about, either!  As of this writing, I have never seen Procol Harum play live in concert, except on my TV.

Rest in Peace, B.J. Wilson! (Now go and listen to “Power Failure”, folks!)

This entry was posted in 1971, Progressive Rock, Record Collecting, Ultimate Collection and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Ultimate Collection #006

  1. postpunkmonk says:

    Hrm. I’m about five years younger and Procul Harum mean zip to me. I guess timing is everything. I also don’t consider the Beatles or the Rolling Stones to be the ne plus ultra of British rock. The Beatles are boring to me, though I did grow to like the Rolling Stones in the latter half of my life. I’m almost to the point of buying a few of their albums now at the ripe old age of 47. The compilations I’ve had until now are not doing it enough for me any more.

    Ironically, I have seen Robin Trower live! He toured with Bryan Ferry at the time of the excellent “Mamouna” album [which he produced]. I saw three dates of that tour [Atlanta, Tampa, Orlando]. I believe that Trower was on the second leg of the US tour in 1995, which meant he wasn’t in Atlanta.

  2. Ndugu says:

    We spoke with Gary Brooker recently for Songfacts, and he’s still out touring with Procol Harum. Quite and interesting guy, and fun to hear about how he puts music to Keith Reid’s words. Hope you get to see them at some point.

    Gary Brooker interview

  3. ronkanefiles says:

    PH are one of my favorites for the last 40 years. 1st album is stunning, as is A Salty Dog, Broken Barricades, Grand Hotel…

  4. monex.com says:

    Procol Harum is the self-titled first album by British rock band released in September 1967. The original Deram release of the LP included a large poster of the album cover artwork by Dickinson. Though the album was recorded on multi-track it was issued in mono-only in the UK and in mono and rechanneled stereo in the US.

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