From Shadow to Shadow

Review Alan Garmonsway [UK]

What we are hearing on this album is the ‘tip of the iceberg’ (great name for a PH song, eh?) as far as the contributors' thought, creativity, playing technique and sheer stamina are concerned! That needs acknowledging, as does the quality of the musicianship. Not only does subtlety abound in the music, but also in the interpretation of the songs. When you start recording a song you’re never quite sure what you’re going to end up with, and the end results on this album in terms of interpretation, feel and arrangements are really good and very professional.

The songs themselves: I’m left in wonderment at their flexibility to withstand the assault of all our interpretations and to come out smiling (or, in many cases laughing)! I’m also wondering why there aren’t more, or maybe even any, ‘popular’ cover versions of them around. Gary et al probably are as well, given royalty rates!

Reluctantly, I have come to the conclusion that it’s probably a sad reflection of the general population's difficulty in absorbing more than a three chord song with mono-syllabic words. Palers’ Emperor's New Clothes, for instance, would grace any popular classical concert, Lime Street Blues a top cabaret evening and The Angler any sell-out folk concert …and I can just see Richard Digance doing SS Blues at Cropredy Festival on Saturday lunchtime!

As for the Palers, I believe it is rapidly becoming a unique institution, encompassing musical & technical ability, creativity and organisation, all of which should make us very proud of this highly professional album. ‘Fans’ is too trite a term … perhaps we should be Procol’s ALternative Expressionists Recording Supersongs!

Alan Garmonsway, Thame, UK; 21 May 2004

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