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10.4.08

Gary Brooker




Gary Brooker - Echoes In The Night - 1985 - Mercury

In 1985, Gary Brooker released "Echoes In The Night," a great album and nearly indistinguishable from a Procol Harum release. Nothing wromg with that as it pleased thousands of Procol Harum fans. It was produced by Matthew Fisher and Gary Brooker. with the late B.J. Wilson on drums. Seven tracks had music by Gary, Matthew (or both) with lyrics from Keith Reid. 'The Long Goodbye' became a Procol standard. This could well be Gary Brooker's best solo album. All the tracks are excellent, and the album sowed the seed for the Procol Harum renaissance. There is a very "interesting" review of this album @ ECHOES - "REVIEW" I would urge you to read it, and then listen to the album. Because of this review, A.O.O.F.C would be very grateful for your opinions om this album. For more information on Gary Brooker and his terrific 1982 album, "Lead Me To The Water," check out G.BROOKER/BIO/LMTTW

TRACKS

Count Me Out (Brooker / Sutherland)
Two Fools In Love (Brooker / Fisher / Reid)
Echoes In The Night (Brooker / Fisher / Reid)
Ghost Train (Brooker / Fisher / Reid)
Mr. Blue Day (Brooker / Sutherland)
Saw The Fire (Brooker / Fisher / Reid)
The Long Goodbye (Brooker / Fisher / Reid)
Hear What You're Saying (Brooker / Fisher / Reid)
Missing Person (Brooker / Sutherland)
Trick Of The Night (Brooker / Fisher / Reid) [Not on original 1985 US Mercury release. This was a bonus track on the 1994 CD issue of this album on Line records]

MUSICIANS

Gary Brooker – Keyboards, vocal
B.J.Wilson – Drums & Percussion [R.I.P]
Matthew Fisher – Keyboards
Matt Lettley, Henry Spinetti – Drums
Ray Cooper – Percussion
Tim Renwick, Phil. Palmer, Robert Ahwai – Guitar
Eric Clapton – Lead guitar on Echoes in the night
Dave Bronze, John Giblin – Bass
Jamie Talbot – Sax
Rory Gallagher – Slide Guitar
Jean Rich, Ronnie Carryl, Linda Page, Jeanette Sewell, Shola Phillips, Franky Brooker – Backing Vocals
The London Community Gospel Choir
The National Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Nicholas Dodd
Producer: Gary Brooker / Matthew Fisher

REVIEW

Gary Brooker couldn’t have spelled out Procol Harum’s condition more plainly than he did during the band’s last shows, when he sang, 'Fires which burnt brightly, now energies spent.' After a punishing run of ten years, the English quintet fronted by Brooker brought down the curtain for good in 1977. Brooker rekindles some of the old passion on Echoes in the Night, his first LP in three years and his third since Procol’s demise. For the first time since 1969, the pianist is working with both producer-keyboardist Matthew Fisher (who fashioned the organ part for A Whiter Shade of Pale from bits of Bach) and BJ Wilson, drummer on all of Procol Harum’s albums. Lyrics for five of the ten new songs - some sinister, others outright romantic - are by Procol’s Keith Reid. Those hoping for a Procol Harum reunion, however, may be taken aback by the pop polish of Echoes in the Night. Its straightforward melodies, co-written mostly by Brooker and Fisher, fold up forever the crazy quilt of influences that Procol Harum patched together in its early days - from Richard Strauss to Kurt Weill, from Bob Dylan to Percy Sledge. Fisher and Brooker are now secure with their joint songwriting-producing style, which puts a premium on original melodies and arrangements instead of eclectic derivation. Behind Brooker’s voice, the thick web of instrumentation has been woven so meticulously that you might well wonder how many takes and mixes were required to get it all right. The Long Goodbye begins simply, as Brooker’s husky delivery infuses Reid’s words with a stately sorrow before the arrangement bursts wide open to reveal Wilson’s powerful drumming, Fisher’s Hammond organ, an orchestra and a choir. Hear What You’re Saying pits a languorous alto voice against Brooker’s tenor, while a fusillade of keyboard notes ricochets off a clockwork rhythm pattern. The autobiographical Echoes in the Night builds in intensity to re-create the mood of the Sixties. It aptly features Eric Clapton, who pitches in with the very sound that Reid conjures up verbally. Despite the pains he’s taken, Gary Brooker very likely will never record another song with as much chart impact as A Whiter Shade of Pale. But if he and his session mates can maintain the standard of pop excellence shown on Echoes in the Night, that may matter no more than, say, the break-up of Blind Faith did to Steve Winwood. Judging by the evidence here, it hasn’t been a question of "energies spent" - simply one of talent held in reserve during a break from the business. © Richard Hogan from Rolling Stone

The article below is a Mercury / Polygram Press Release from September 1985 [ from www.procolharum.com/gb_echoes_press.htm ]

It has been eighteen years since Gary Brooker and Keith Reid wrote the haunting A Whiter Shade of Pale, launching an outstanding, ten-album, ten-year career for Procol Harum. Today, with the release of Gary Brooker's latest solo LP Echoes in the Night, the songwriting core of that epochal group is back together again. Not only are they writing together for the first time since the break-up of Procol Harum in 1977, Brooker is joined on his Mercury / Polygram LP by the group's original drummer BJ Wilson and former Procol keyboard player Matthew Fisher. Echoes In The Night, co-produced by Brooker and Fisher, is a re-generation of creative souls who created classic songs for a generation. "While it is the same three writers and musicians, plus myself, it wasn't a question of 'recapture'," Brooker notes, "it was a matter of finding something new. This album is even better than before, actually. Looking back, our ideas were often confined by a somewhat mystical reputation. Today we have a meeting of new ideas that are just as meaningful yet much less complicated." As A Whiter Shade of Pale and other Procol Harum classics reverberate in the memories of millions, a new set of collaborative melodies echo through the air on the new album. In addition to the efforts of Reid, lyrical excellence springs from Matthew Fisher and Ian Sutherland. The first single from Echoes In The Night, a track called Count me Out, is co-written by Brooker and Sutherland and features the energetic percussion of Ray Cooper. A look back at earlier times is in the title cut, Echoes In The Night, of which Brooker says, "It's about how little bits of things can jolt you back to a certain time and place: a song, a friend, a lover. What I do through the music is reflected in Keith's lyrics." Memories are stirred by the lead guitar of Eric Clapton. Gary Brooker's orchestral arrangements, which proved successful in Procol Harum's classical experiments, are exercised again on the Brooker / Sutherland piece Mr Blue Day. The track features the National Philharmonic Orchestra, as does the Brooker / Fisher / Reid composition, The Long Goodbye. Gary's love of gospel music surfaces here, with the London Gospel Community Choir included in the mass of eighty people who participated in the song. Brooker's musical career began with The Paramounts, a British R&B band who had a UK hit in early 1963 with a cover of the Coasters' Poison Ivy. They played the British beat circuit for a couple of years, backing up Sandie (Always Something There To Remind Me) Shaw live, and they even supported the Beatles on their final British tour in 1965. Brooker nearly gave up a career in music after that to join IBM as a computer operator in the industry's infancy. Dusty Springfield's backing group The Echoes beckoned also, but a chance meeting in 1966 with lyricist Keith Reid led to the formation of Procol Harum. They were pioneers in the use of two keyboards and classical themes in rock, and successfully integrated the pyrotechnics of guitar great Robin Trower, who left in 1972. It was Keith who came up with the words for A Whiter Shade of Pale, and Gary, inspired by Bach's Suite in D Major, wrote the music. The song was Number One worldwide for months. Since its release in 1967, A Whiter Shade of Pale has sold some six million copies. The song's phenomenal success provided the foundation for the group's career, as they endured personnel shifts while nurturing a growing underground following for a decade. Their first album exercised a strong influence on The Band at their Woodstock retreat, while their 1971 live album, recorded with Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, created a unique standard in classical / rock fusion and spun off another worldwide smash hit, Conquistador. Procol Harum maintained a consistency of excellence throughout their ten-year history, further highlighted on such albums as Shine On Brightly, Salty Dog, Grand Hotel, Broken Barricades, and their final release Something Magic. All the while, Gary Brooker's voice and melodies were the focus of the Procol Harum saga. After the break-up of the group, Brooker put together his first solo project in late 1979, No More Fear Of Flying, for Chrysalis UK. Having been a tunesmith for so long, Brooker recorded other people's songs for the first time, including tunes from Mickey Jupp, Matthew Fisher [sic], Pete Sinfield and Murray Head. The LP was produced by famed Beatles producer George Martin. His next LP didn't come for three years. Brooker became an upstanding member of his neighbour Eric Clapton's touring band from 1980 – 82, and played on Clapton's LP Another Ticket (he also co-wrote the song Catch Me If You Can). Then, having stored away a catalogue of songs for so many years, Brooker released an LP written entirely alone, recorded with help from Phil Collins. The album, called Lead Me To The Water, was issued by Phonogram in UK in late 1982. Brooker had been in touch with the members of Procol Harum in the interim. "We had never been disassociated," he says of Keith Reid, "and for my next album I didn't want to go out looking for songs. It was nice to go back to someone who had a way with words." Soon, with Wilson and Fisher joining in, a renaissance was born. Along with the Procol mainstays, a trusted pool of musicians supported the album sessions, including Tim Renwick on guitar (ex of Sutherland Bros. and Quiver, Elton John, Joan Armatrading); bassists Dave Bronze and John Giblin (who's since joined Simple Minds); Henry Spinetti and Matt Lettley on drums; and Jamie Talbot, a young saxophonist who has previously played with the National Jazz Youth Orchestra. Rory Gallagher joined the recording of Echoes In The Night as well. He blends a beautiful slide guitar into the album closer, Trick Of The Night. A humane approach, a solid framework of music and lyrics, and a core of top-notch musicians continue the tradition of excellence for Gary Brooker on his new Mercury / PolyGram release. Old and new friends, together for a new beginning. Listen for Echoes In The Night. You'll want to hear it again and again. [Thanks to Ian Hockley for sending a copy of this release to Beyond The Pale]

10 comments:

Kadek55 said...

Thanks a lot!

I always liked Procol Harum and
Gary Brooker...

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi! Kadek55. Thamks for comment. For some inexplicable reason they never achieved the fame they deserved. All most people think about is "A Whiter Shade Of Pale!" Keep in touch Kadek55.

harding said...

Thanks for posting this, Gary Brooker's voice is one of the most identifiable in rock, and he still sounds good (see the George Harrison tribute concert). lr

A.O.O.F.C said...

Thanks for comment, harding. He was always a great vocalist with a voice you'd recognise anywhere. I've posted Procul Harum's "Home" album. In 1970, Gary's vocals were terrific on this classic album. Keep in touch..(A.O.O.F.C)

Anonymous said...

I fall into the "Whiter Shade" category but thanks to the internet, have been listening to other as well - belatedly but better late than never! Thanks for this, I didn't know he made solo albums.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi! anonymous. He made a few, all worth hearing. Brooker should be up there with the all time greats, and I will promote as much of his music (& Procol Harum)as I can on A.O.O.F.C. Thanks for comment, and please check back occasionally

Anonymous said...

Gary Brooker is amazing!
Thank you so much !!!

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi! Anonymous. I'd like to thank you for your comment. It is so pleasing to me that so many people appreciate the great man. Please keep in touch with A.O.O.F.C. There is more GB &/or PH music in the pipeline.

bulfrog said...

link is dead, will you please re-post, thanks

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,bulfrog. Try

http://oldishpsychprog.
ucoz.com/news/
gary_brooker_1985_echoes_in_the_night
/2010-02-05-16

All credit to that great blog. Thanks