From Shadow to Shadow

Review Rob Barnes [UK]

I was in the right place (ringmaster Roland’s house) at the right time to be presented with my ordered copy of From Shadow to Shadow – the very latest Palers’ Project album.

"Album" does this no justice at all. Forty lovingly-crafted songs on two CDs for such a small price. What a bargain!

I have spent the hours driving 250 miles home, absorbing every track: to those whose copy is winging its way to you, you’re in for a real treat – and for anyone who has held off ordering, place your order NOW, you will not be disappointed.

I can’t say that I liked every one of the interpretations of these well-known and well-loved songs, that would be too much to hope for; but the sheer bloody inventiveness is stunning. Listen to the Bluegrass Geeks' So Far Behind, William Morris and the Travellers' SS Blues, and the Oakes Brothers' brilliant Typewriter Torment, and you’ll know just what I mean.

I’m avoiding a track-by-track dissection – and as I sang and played with more than a few of the contributors to this new set at the Palerfest in Guildford 2000, I know not to get the wrong side of some of these guys :-) !

I’m going out on a limb to highlight the roles of the lady Palers. Libby and Cindy Harding’s vocals on the Venezuelan version of Conquistador made for a setting which could have been the original. Fran Glendining’s Lime Street Blues will ensure that a great song is seen in a new light. Jane Clare’s backing vocals on Al Edelist’s neo-punk The Pursuit of Happiness are just perfect, and the Von Krapp Family Singers' chorale on Grand Finale really is the biz!

Putting my heart on my sleeve for a real favourite, my vote goes to Elizabeth Bryson’s truly stunning Toujours l’Amour. There’s a voice that I would gladly walk naked in a blizzard over broken glass to hear. I’m in North East UK, Elizabeth – I hope that you’re not too far away!

And remember that sales of From Shadow to Shadow go directly towards funding your Procol Harum website, so support those who make so much effort to perpetuate the legend. Make sure that all your friends know about this – and thanks to everyone associated with the music, you can be proud of yourselves – and final thanks to the BtP team who have ensured that the entire double CD presentation is a flawless work of art.

Robert Barnes, South Shields, England; 6 May 2004

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