Procol Harum

Broken Barricades (CD)

Format: CD
Cat. No.: SALVOCD022
Barcode: 698458812223
Playing Time: 52:50

Procol Harum squeezed the recording of their fifth album Broken Barricades in between tours, as was their custom. Besides the rolling title track, the opening songs on both sides of the album (Simple Sister and Power Failure) were storming rockers. The latter particularly emphasises just what a striking drummer BJ Wilson was one of the few players who could actually make a drum solo interesting (significantly, following a Joe Cocker session a few years before, Wilson had been Jimmy Page’s first choice to join his new band, Led Zeppelin, on the drum stool).

On its release in 1971, Broken Barricades further enhanced Procol’s standing. Three tracks were co-written by guitarist Robin Trower, who demonstrated his frustration with the restrictions placed on his playing by the ‘Procol sound’. Trower had been particularly upset by the premature death of Jimi Hendrix in London the year before, and the album’s Song for a Dreamer paid tribute to the man now recognised as rock’s most innovative guitarist.


With Trower on fine form, writing the album’s obvious choice for a single, Poor Mohammed, and playing some of the best guitar of his career, Broken Barricades is hard rock and roll, with an accent of finely-wrought musical heaviness, occasional brass adding inflection to the group’s exceptional playing. Broken Barricades is also Keith Reid writing searingly direct words, Gary Brooker providing appropriately powerhouse music, singing most soulfully, and pumping his piano with abandon and BJ Wilson and Chris Copping laying down a rhythm that is always interesting and accessible.

A quick reminder of the way we were in 1971: to obtain Procol Harum’s Broken Barricades, you had to go into a record shop and buy it with ready money. Of course, you might decide to splash out on John Lennon’s new LP, Imagine, instead... or that saucy new record from The Stones, Sticky Fingers... or Carole King’s beguiling Tapestry... or Led Zeppelin’s fourth... But if you persevered and went for Broken Barricades, the shop assistant would know exactly where to find it printed helpfully on my original copy is the instruction: ‘File Under: Progressive Rock’.

And Procol just kept on progressing. Rock bands had worked fruitfully with orchestras before, notably The Beatles and Deep Purple. But Procol took the bull firmly by the horns with their next release, the ground-breaking Live in Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.


Bonus Tracks
Broken Barricades (long fade) (raw track)
Simple Sister (raw track)
Poor Mohammed (backing track)
Song for a Dreamer (King Jimi) backing track
Simple Sister
Broken Barricades
Memorial Drive
Luskus Delph
Power Failure
Song For A Dreamer
Playmate Of The Mouth
Poor Mohammed