Procol Harum – Grand Hotel LP
Label: Chrysalis – CHR 1037
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Gatefold
Released: Mar 1973
Style: Symphonic Rock
A1 Grand Hotel 6:10
A2 Toujours L'Amour 3:31
A3 A Rum Tale 3:20
A4 T.V. Ceasar 5:52
B1 A Souvenir Of London 3:23
B2 Bringing Home The Bacon 4:21
B3 For Liquorice John 4:27
B4 Fires (Which Burnt Brightly) 5:10
B5 Robert's Box 4:45
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Grand Hotel is the sixth studio album by Procol Harum. Released in 1973, it signalled a change of direction for the band. Guitarist Dave Ball, who had joined the band for their live album the previous year, left shortly after the photo shoot for the proposed album's cover, to be replaced by Mick Grabham. Grabham's head was superimposed on the front and back cover of the album on Ball's body. Although the band had gone through significant personnel changes in previous years, the band would enter its most stable phase with this lineup.
The single "A Souvenir of London" was banned by the BBC for the reference to venereal disease in its lyrics. Reid claimed that the song was really inspired (regardless of how it turned out and was interpreted) by a visit to a souvenir shop near George Martin's Air Studios. "Almost every album has had at least one comic song...and this one was a bit tongue in cheek" Reid stated as part of an interview for the 2009 CD reissue.
|Christgau's Record Guide||C|
Reviewing for Rolling Stone in 1973, Bud Scoppa called Grand Hotel a "confused and uneven transitional album" and "a collection of overblown production jobs that, at their worst, approach self-parody, and simpler, less grandiose tracks that suggest Procol Harum may yet find a way out of the corner they have worked themselves into." Village Voice critic Robert Christgau similarly noted the split in musical identity: "For years, these guys have vacillated between a menu of grits that certainly ain't groceries and larks' tongues in aspic. Despite their current white-tie conceit, they still haven't decided."
In a retrospective review, AllMusic's James A. Gardner gave the album three-and-a-half out of five stars and said the replacement of the band's original guitarist Robin Trower with the "capable, even powerful, but not nearly as distinctive" Mick Grabham resulted in a greater reliance on "ornate arrangements than guitar riffs, making this somewhat more dignified than either of their previous studio albums, Home and Broken Barricades."
- Procol Harum
- Gary Brooker – vocals, piano
- Mick Grabham – guitar
- Chris Copping – organ
- Alan Cartwright – bass guitar, acoustic bass
- B.J. Wilson – drums, percussion
- Keith Reid – lyrics
- Christiane Legrand – vocals (8)
- The Pahene Recorder Ensemble – guest appearance (6)
- John Punter – engineer
- Spencer Zahn – artwork, design
- Jeffrey Weisel – photography, drawings in internal booklet