I’m on Day 33 of my new “100 Day Challenge” (click HERE) which, typically, I accomplish on my lunch time at Corporate Hell under the watchful scrutiny of Coach Tina the Cat. The upshot to this is that I get to reward my 13 minutes of planks, push-ups, crunches, lunges n’ stuff with a leftover pulled pork sandwich so, yeah, motivation? I have some. My soundtrack of choice then this afternoon is ‘A Salty Dog‘ album by Procol Harum.
This is another album about which I have no recollection how it ever got to me in my collection. In fact, the only thing I know about Procol Harum in the first place is ‘White Shade of Pale‘ (that, and they’re not really black) which is about all anyone probably knows about them I suspect, so I think this album, somehow, just magically materialized into my collection at some point.
Anyway, I’m making a point of rooting out these unknown albums in my collection lately as my time on the mat in the afternoon is the perfect vehicle for checking them out and really getting a chance to listen to them. I mean, what else are you going to do when you’re locked in the plank position for 3 minutes at a time?
Released in 1969, this album (their 3rd) was recorded at a time when tensions between Robin Trower and the rest of the band were beginning to grow. Ostensibly it has a very 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, a very pretty number I might add, is one of the best pieces of progressive rock ever heard, and a very succinct example at that at under five minutes running time – the lyric and the music combine to form a perfect mood piece, and the performance is bold and subtle at once, in the playing and the singing, respectively. It was also the first Procol track to use an orchestra, as would be referred to in the live album performance some three years later.
Other songs include ‘Juicy John Pink‘, a superb piece of pre-World War II-style country blues, while ‘Crucifiction Lane‘ is a killer Otis Redding-style soul piece, and ‘Pilgrim’s Progress‘ is a virtuoso keyboard workout.
All in all, I hugely surprised and rather disappointed in myself that I haven’t gotten around to this gem of an album sooner.
Shame on me.
P.S.> Kellogs even gets a credit on the album cover for providing “Bosun’s Whistle and Refreshments”.