Bootleg Bin: Procol Harum — April 1969: Los Angeles and San Francisco CA

The most soulful of the so-called “progressive” groups, Procol Harum is best known for the mega-hit “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” Yet fans know that the group produced many songs that equaled (or arguably surpassed) the quality of that song. Most of the few live Procol Harum bootlegs are either of abysmal audio quality, or FM broadcasts (great quality) of their later years, which aren’t as compelling as the early stuff.

Now comes this disc, a compendium of two shows from their Spring 1969 USA tour. Five tracks from LA’s Troubadour plus eight tracks from the Fillmore West (San Francisco) that same month. Soundboards both. Now one can hear “Conquistador” in its original form, and the majestic instrumental “Repent Walpurgis” in all its glory. This lineup of the group featured the contrasting keyboard sounds of leader Gary Brooker (piano) with the classical touches of Matthew Fisher (gospel-inflected organ), topped off with the fretwork of Robin Trower (heard here in his pre-Hendrix-fixation stage).

Sources report that this disc is NOT a copy of the relatively well-traveled Easter Island bootleg disc, but rather sourced from the master tapes. Apparently somebody knows somebody.

Difficulty to Locate: 8 out of 10
General Listenability: 9 out of 10

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