Procol Harum - Live At Fairfield Halls LP (1976)

To celebrate the Greek OXI (no relation but I'm glad it happened), this Procol re-up with a new cover sleeve (from a fantastic painting by Joos Van Craesbeeck), much better than the previous one I did. All details below, notably the uncertainty about the place where this concert was captured. Catch it here.

It's not certain that this recording was made at the Fairfield Halls of Croydon, but it's rather sure that it was not made, as often announced on bootlegs, in London since the setlist is not consistent with the London show from January 1976. On the Beyond The Pale site, it's said that Chris Copping thinks this is the Fairfield Halls set and I decided to keep this version and modified the title of the LP accordingly. Unfortunately, Procol was quite the skeleton of what it had been only 2 years before. The spark of life seemed to have vanished and you can hardly find any of the emotions the band provided at his peak. Mick Grabham reported that playing in the band had became a job such as any other job and dissatisfied, he would soon leave. Here is a way to verify this assertion. The unstoppable and boring version of the "Blue Danube" is one example of the wayloss attitude of Gary Brooker but most of the versions of old songs are rather weak. Don't expect in this recording the same sound quality than in the previous live ones. It's rather lo-fi but I thought it was a good adjonction. If you're enough interested in Procol's career and don't have the bootlegs proposing this collection (one is Five and Dime, the other is Live in London), try it.

In streaming, one of the best thing on this set, "The Unquiet Zone" version, a song from the weak Procol's Ninth album, much better live than with the Leiber & Stoller production. I did not chose it because it features "doom" as last word neither because the text could have been perfect lyrics for any doom or sludge band (a description of how humans are hunted like animals, maybe about WWII and the jews situation), but it surely contributes.

The Unquiet Zone. They seek us in this unquiet zone They chase us on from hole to hole They hunt us down like carrion crows They search us out like frightened moles This surely is a dreadful war An awful waste of guts and gore An awful waste of human life This senseless, bloody, bitter strife We huddled close against the ground Scared to make the slightest sound And all around the great guns boom The constant march of pending doom


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