Procol Harum: The Ghosts of a Whiter Shade of Pale by Henry Scott-Irvine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a well-written and exhaustive account of the recording and touring history of Procol Harum. It takes us from the days of the Paramounts in the Southend of the early sixties right through to the draining four-year court case that pitted the band's original organist against his former employers over forty years later. The coverage is comprehensive and well organised and the early chapters on the Southend scene are especially engrossing.
In spite of the determinedly factual basis of the book, it's entertainingly written in a relaxed and highly readable style. As you'd expect, there is much quoting from interviews with band members and others closely connected to them and a selection of photographs.
Overall, I found it a little light on analysis perhaps: the author prefers to let the facts and the interviewees' own words stand for themselves rather than offering his own interpretation or critique but then some may see that as a strength of the book rather than a weakness!
Without a doubt, this is an essential book for anyone even remotely interested in the band and its origins. No prior knowledge is assumed: this is definitely not an "insider" book for fans only. Thoroughly recommended.
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