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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

A Salty Dog

Procol Harum

1969

A Salty Dog
Album Summary

This album has been submitted by a user and is not included in any edition of the book.

A Salty Dog is the third studio album by English rock band Procol Harum, released in 1969 by record labels Regal Zonophone and A&M. A Salty Dog has an ostensibly nautical theme, as indicated by its cover (a pastiche of the famous Player's Navy Cut cigarette pack). Interspersed with straight rock, blues and pop items, A Salty Dog showed a slight change of direction from its predecessors, being thematically less obscure. The title track itself was the first Procol track to use an orchestra, as would be referred to in the live album performance released some three years later. The album was the first record produced by Matthew Fisher, who quit the band soon after its release. This was also the last Procol Harum album to feature bass guitarist Dave Knights. A Salty Dog was recorded in March 1969. The musical tensions between the group and Robin Trower were beginning to show in this album, and although his guitar sound remains integral to most of the tracks, "Crucifiction Lane" (featuring a rare Trower vocal), in retrospect, shows that Trower was already moving in a different direction from the rest of the band. Still, this album is much more musically varied than the two previous albums, with three Fisher vocals and one by Trower. Many of the instruments the band used on A Salty Dog had been previously used on albums by the Beatles and the Shadows.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.97

Votes

64

Genres

  • Rock

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Reviews

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Sun Apr 28 2024
5

Yay, I get to review the album I submitted. First, I'll say that I knew I was going to add a Procol Harum album, because they are one of my all-time favorite bands and I think they have been unfortunately overlooked, often viewed as one-hit wonders with Whiter Shade of Pale being their first release and becoming such a mega-hit. They have so much amazing material though, that I struggled to decide which album of theirs to include. I could have chosen any of their first 7 studio albums, or possibly a good choice would have been their live album with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. This album to be honest is a bit inconsistent, but the songs that are great are really great, so I went with this one. (Yeah, I know the album cover is awful. Procol was not great at album covers.) Let's walk through the tracks: 1. A Salty Dog. The title song is one of the most beautiful songs ever created and recorded by a rock band. The strings are amazing, the melodies beautiful, Gary's voice is perfect, and the lyrics evocative. It's such a mellow song, but the drumming of BJ Wilson (one of the best drummers of all-time who turned down Jimmy Page's offer to be in Led Zeppelin) is just amazing and really completes the song. A masterpiece. 2. The Milk of Human Kindness. A bit of a throwaway. Not a super interesting song, but Robin Trower's guitar playing is nice. 3. Too Much Between Us. Another bit of a throwaway. A different, more mellow, sound for the group, but not their most interesting song. 4. The Devil Came from Kansas. It might sound like another throwaway on first listen, but there's some cool stuff going on here, including some harmonies, which is not typical for Procol Harum. This song reminds me of another of my favorite bands of the time, The Band. 5. Boredom. Another sort of filler song, but still interesting due to the use of some unusual instrumentation. Okay, after a few tracks that are inconsistent let's carefully flip our vinyl over to side 2, where things get really interesting. 6. Juicy John Pink. The purest blues that Procol Harum ever did. Sounds like three or four really talented guys sitting around in a basement jamming. 7. Wreck of the Hesperus. One of Matthew Fisher's best contributions to the band. The piano, the soaring strings and orchestration, the lyrics, it's a great complement to the title song. 8. All This and More. This is Procol at their finest. The song starts sounding beautifully classical, then evolves over the course of the song to reach moods that are both dark and ominous, but also soaring and inspiring, with great guitar and piano throughout. 9. Crucifiction Lane. Another great Robin Trower contribution. He was clearly going in a different direction from the band, but one of the things that makes this album great is the variety. Definitely the most diverse Procol album. 10. Pilgrim's Progress. Another of Matthew Fisher's best and a fitting closing to the album. Another classic Procol track, with classical/churchy sounding organ at the core, some nice piano in the mix, solid drumming by the amazing BJ Wilson, and lyrics that are mysterious and allude to seeking a higher truth and wisdom. The closing bit is just a perfect end. It's not a perfect album, but if you give Procol Harum a chance and check out their first several albums, you might discover some pretty amazing music that has been largely overlooked. Sadly, many of their best albums (namely Shine on Brightly, Home, and Broken Barricades) are still not available on Spotify. I finally got to see them in concert in 2019, more than 50 years after they got their start. Mostly different lineup, but I was shocked that Gary Brooker's voice still sounded largely the same at age 74 as it did in his twenties. Even their final album, 2017's Novum, while not up to the level of their earlier releases, is still excellent. 5 stars, of course.

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Sat Feb 17 2024
4

I don't listen to Procol Harum a lot but when I do I'm always struck by how singular the sound is. Nothing else quite like it. Lyrically very interesting as always.

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Wed Mar 20 2024
4

lol ok that is a hilariously shit album cover. I'm guessing HIPSTERS. And why did someone submit an album from 1969? Wasn't 6000 albums from that exact year enough already? Ok it's proggy like early Genesis? Production is surprisingly good for its time. The jokey artwork doesn't really have any relevance beyond some of the lyrics being about the sea. Not too bad overall, could have replaced many other 69 albums here. 4/5.

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View Author
Sat Feb 24 2024
3

Humor as required in a sea album is present, while the record remains generally calm and less than rough. There's much clear energy in the recording - really the recording side of things. Adds up to softly interesting prog, not a singularly arresting record.

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Fri Mar 01 2024
3

Surprised this wasn't already in the list, but it seems that despite being both popular and lauded in its time, most prog has fallen out of fashion with critics and pop culture in general.

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Sat Mar 02 2024
3

Kind of like a more chill Jethro Tull. If you've ever listened to Jethro Tull and thought "these guys need to calm down" then Procol Harum is for you.

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Sat Mar 02 2024
3

That was pretty nice. Great vocalist, and overall good songs.

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Sat Mar 02 2024
3

I actually quite enjoyed this. Enough depth, but also good sounding tunes.

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Thu Mar 14 2024
3

It's a breath of fresh air to see a Procol Harum album among indie rarities from the last few years and random albums from the 90s. To be honest, it doesn't feel like a masterpiece, but it's a good genre album from the late sixties, enjoyable and very well done

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View Author
Mon May 13 2024
3

Never heard of this band, but I enjoyed the combination of Tropicalia meets 60s-esque rock. Didn't drag or overstay its welcome and felt fresh relative to some other contributions from the decade, so a good listen all in all.

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Wed May 15 2024
3

It's pretty interesting and a better Brit 60s LP than a lot of those included in the book.

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Tue Mar 12 2024
2

Eh, I'm not sure I understand the unique appeal compared to a few others on the list.

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Sat Mar 30 2024
2

y u do dis not bad, but this cover gives me nightmares 2

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View Author
Thu May 16 2024
2

It was just kinda there. Nothing particularly noteworthy.

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