November 12, 2013

101 Reel-To-Reel Tapes 20: Procol Harum ~ Grand Hotel

cover photo by Jeffrey Weisel
art work and design by Spencer Zahn
photo of album cover by Styrous©

In addition to my vinyl collection I'm selling, I have hundreds of reel-to-reel, pre-recorded tapes I'm selling. This is an entry about one of them that was for sale on eBay (see link below for others). I have the vinyl LP version of Grand Hotel by Procol Harum as well. Interested? Contact me by email, please, not by a comment.

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Although noted for its baroque and classical influence, Procol Harum's music also embraces the blues, R&B and soul. Grand Hotel was their sixth studio album; it reached No. 21 on the Billboard album charts. A Souvenir of London was banned by the BBC for its reference to venereal disease in the lyrics of the song.

A great song on the album, Fires (Which Burnt Brightly), featured Gary Brooker and Christiane Legrand doing the vocals. Legrand was the original lead soprano of the Swingle Singers (it comes through on this song) and was the vocalist who dubbed the part of Madame Emery in Les parapluies de Cherbourg, the music for which was composed by her brother Michel Legrand. The song amply demonstrates the classical aspect of the music of the group as well as the jazz influence; it's a pretty good song. Listen to it on YouTube (link below).

A Rum Tale is a delightful rock waltz.

But my absolutely favorite song on the album has to be, A Souvenir Of London, with it's duo guitars and banjo start and almost hoe-down feeling (the spoons at the end add to that feeling) with a great bass drum that drives it along at a wonderful strolling pace that makes it an absolutely delightful and quirky little ditty. It's such a great song I included the lyrics below; it's also another song that can be heard on YouTube (link below).

Near the bottom of this post there are links to the songs mentioned on YouTube so you can hear them for yourself, if you'd like. 

back cover photo by Jeffrey Weisel
photo of album cover back  by Styrous©

back cover detail
detail photo by Styrous©

back cover detail
detail photo by Styrous©

reel-to-reel tape
photo by Styrous©

reel-to-reel label detail
detail photo by Styrous©

A Souvenir of London Lyrics

Bought a souvenir in London
Got to hide it from my mom
Can't declare it at the Customs
But I'll have to take it home

Tried to keep it confidential
But the news is leaking out
Got a souvenir in London
There's a lot of it about

Yes, I found a bit of London
I'd like to lose it quick
Got to show it to my doctor
'Cause it isn't going to shrink

Want to keep it confidential
But the truth is leaking out
Got a souvenir in London
There's a lot of it about

Keith Reid; Gary Brooker

Published by


Side 1:

Grand Hotel - 6:10    
Toujours L'Amour - 3:31    
A Rum Tale - 3:20    
T.V. Ceasar - 5:52    
A Souvenir Of London - 3:23    

Side 2:

Bringing Home The Bacon - 4:21    
For Liquorice John - 4:27    
Fires (Which Burnt Brightly) - 5:10    
Robert's Box - 4:45


Chris Copping – organ
Alan Cartwright – bass guitar
B.J. Wilson – drums
Mick Grabham – guitar
Gary Brooker – piano and vocals
Keith Reid – lyrics
Christiane Legrand vocals for Fires (Which Burnt Brightly)

Music links:

A Souvenir Of London on YouTube 
Fires (Which Burnt Brightly) on YouTube
Grand Hotel (German television performance) on YouTube
A Rum Tale on YouTube

Procol Harum discograhpy

reel-to-reel listings on eBay

more reel-to-reel tapes on the Styrous® Viewfinder:
                                             reel-to-reel tape archive

What a great album! What a great group!

Styrous® ~ Tuesday, November 12, 2013

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