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The Well's On Fire

music reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: The Well's On Fire

Artist: Procol Harem
Genre: Rock
Release Date: March 2003

Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
2½ stars out of 4

Is this yet another feeble attempt for a rock dinosaur to make a comeback? I answer that commonly asked question with a reverberating no! Procol Harum is back with a new album called The Wells On Fire, and it sounds like they have not missed a step after all these years. Lead singer Gary Brooker sounds like he always has and the rest of the band is right in stride with him.

After a few listens it became clear they did not spread their abilities it too thin on this release. There is quite a range of music offered on this CD. I heard a lot of first-rate rock, blues, and progressive art rock on this steady album. What was nice was that they were able to mix it up and separate it so the genres are evident to the ear familiarized with listening to such an amalgamation.

Shadow Boxed is a straight shot with no chaser; it rocks, plain and simple just as many of the tunes do. I really liked the pragmatic The Emperor's New Clothes, with ancient fairy tale lyrics reinvented to fit todays twisted world along with a hefty helping of cynicism set to a modern beat. We are not talking about satire; this is cold and calculating realism, very different from songs like Whiter Shade of Pale of yesteryear. The most impressive track was the one without vocals. The guitar and organ lead the way with Matthew Fisher (organ) and Geoff Whitehorn (guitar) stealing the show on Weisselklenzenacht (The Signature). It packs a powerful punch and it is a stick of rock dynamite with many explosive twists and turns provided by this disciplined and experienced unit. Red-hot blues-rock inflected chops populate the vivid closer with swirling up-tempo organ accompaniments. They certainly close the curtain with sense of drama and flair.

This is an album well done by one of rocks legendary bands. Although this is certainly not their best work, their longtime followers will be very pleased and a newly found audience will surely endeavor to seek out their back catalog after hearing this album. Yes, there is still a fire burning in this wellspring of rock music.

1. An Old English Dream (Brooker/Reid) - 4:41
2. Shadow Boxed (Brooker/Reid) - 3:34
3. A Robe of Silk (Brooker/Reid) - 2:43
4. The Blink of an Eye (Brooker/Reid) - 4:42
5. The VIP Room (Brooker/Reid) - 4:55
6. The Question (Brooker/Reid) - 5:01
7. The World Is Rich (Brooker/Reid) - 5:20
8. Fellow Travellers (Fisher/Reid) - 4:47
9. The Wall Street Blues (Brooker/Reid) - 4:26
10. The Emperor's New Clothes (Brooker/Reid) - 4:17
11. So Far Behind (Brooker/Reid) - 3:51
12. Every Dog Will Have Its Day (Brooker/Fisher/Reid) - 5:20
13. Weisselklenzenacht (The Signature) (Fisher) - 5:24


Procol Harum - Producer
Gary Brooker - Piano, Vocals
Matthew Fisher - Organ
Geoff Whitehorn - Guitar
Mark Brzezicki - Percussion, Drums
Matt Pegg - Bass



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