Monday, May 7, 2012

For Some Signpost That Is Not There

Many bands would have called it quits after the departure of two major contributors.  In 1969, Matthew Fisher left Procol Harum after producing their third (and perhaps finest) LP - A Salty Dog.  As the second major songwriter and singer in the group, his presence would be greatly missed.  Then in 1971 lead guitarist extraordinaire Robin Trower left the band for a solo career.  However the band did soldier on successfully mostly due to the charisma of singer/songwriter/pianist Gary Brooker.  But I would be negligent if I did not mention the other long time member who stayed the course - their drummer, B.J. Wilson. In many quarters he is considered to be one the of top rock drummers of all time.  Luckily there are few live recorded videos of the post-Fisher/Trower Harum which give an inkling of just what a force of nature Mr. Wilson could be.

Here is a TV performance from 1971 with Dave Ball as lead guitarist.  His stay with the band was so short that he never appeared on any studio albums.  But he had chops sufficient to play Robin Trower's licks with fire and intensity.   And what better tune to do so than Shine On Brightly, with its deep space beacon/siren as accompaniment to a fine tale of descent into madness.   And best of all - B.J. Wilson putting on a clinic on how to be a rock drummer.


Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Another in a continuing series of posts showcasing great stuff that nobody else is playing!

You know the guy sitting where Fisher used to sit at the Hammond is great here too. Man but i have to say today i really enjoyed "in the wee small hours of 6 pence" -- perhaps that old retainer may have once been just as we are ...

Mister Pleasant said...

Thanks Who Am Us Anyway - glad you enjoy my little excursions into the realm of forgotten gems.

I am an enormous fan of Matthew Fisher - both as a songwriter and as organist. Luckily I was able to see him reunited with Gary Booker about eight years ago before the final split over songwriting credits for "Whiter Shade of Pale" ended their friendship.

Gotta agree that "In the wee small hours of Sixpence" is one great tune. And those organ licks really make it.