Lost in the Looking-Glass

Liner note

The purpose of this collection is twofold: to reflect the richness and diversity of the Brooker / Fisher / Trower / Reid repertoire – which has not been very searchingly explored in commercially-available cover-versions – and to reflect the interests and talents of the fans who have set out to play it. Our title, of course, comes from a Keith Reid lyric ... and if it has overtones of the wannabe cavorting in front of the bedroom mirror, so be it!

'The purpose of playing,' Hamlet claims, is 'to hold the mirror up to nature …': yet there are many types of mirror, and the Palers' Project presents the hallowed Procol originals from some unexpected angles and viewpoints, occasionally using distorting mirrors, multifaceted mosaic ones, or even specimens that are clearly 'cracked from side to side'. Be ready to enjoy both reassuring and radical re-interpretations!

The 40 tracks feature no fewer than 71 performers – from school-age players to academics at Yale, from studio virgins to musos who've jammed with John Lennon, from big bands through buskers to a solo bass-guitarist: many names will be familiar from the three audience-recordings released on CD by the Palers’ Band, or from 1998's Best of the Whalers album. The present tracks have been recorded with anything from a Walkman right up to a commercial 64-track studio: please read the full "who’s been doing what with who" here. However the stars here are the songs: we don't want visitors to our hall of mirrors to be fooled – Narcissus-wise – into getting too excited about the people behind each one. It's nice to note, though, that four families are represented here by more than one generation: the Procol legacy lives on!

155 minutes spent in the looking-glass realm of this double CD may well send us home – like Alice – to view the real world with fresh appreciation. That real world, in our case, is the original recordings by the members of Procol Harum. All their albums to date are represented here, as well as three of Matthew Fisher's – a wonderful body of work, to which this first collection from the Palers' Project is offered in affectionate homage.

Thanks for all sorts of help ...
to all the participants, who have 'played real good for free' ... and to Hermann Braunschmidt, Linda Clare, Martin Clare, Chris Cooke, Mark Fendt, Amanda Hysted, Axel Leonhardt, Karsten Overgaard, Peter Purnell, Jens Anders Ravnaas, Albert Ross, Piers Warren, John Wooff – Roland Clare, community midwife.

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