Trace of a Feeling

Rob Barnes [UK]

The TOAFU Awards and More
All of you guys who have given your time, skills and passion to the new Palers’ Project album can be justly proud of your efforts. You are all exceptional, and I’m delighted to play for your team.

My very subjective assessment of the success of the songs covered on Trace of a Feeling is that the 'variation on a theme by ...' should doff its cap to the original, but equally that it should stand on its own feet, and indeed could always have been the original, if you didn’t know otherwise.

Trace of a Feeling is a success on all counts – not just a new and exciting set of variations on the theme of familiar songs, but beautifully and meticulously packaged. Thank you to Mission Control and his team for ensuring entire satisfaction on this point.

It is comforting to hear trademark themes returning – Allen Edelist’s growling bear, Elizabeth Bryson’s soulful voice and piano, the Oakes Brothers’ use of the Anglo-Saxon, Gary Shepard’s guitar, Roland’s eternal virtuosity, and the intervention of classical themes together with clever allusions to other Procol tracks in some bridge sections.

What sticks in my mind this time, amongst the overall excellence, are so many good harmonies and backing vocals – never usually in-built traits of the originals.

Apart from the usual reasons of musicianship, style of variation, and production quality, here are my personal TOAFU (Trace Of A Feeling Ultimates) Awards:

  • Butterfly Boysfor the Star Trek intro, general intelligence, and the professional interloper

  • Homburg – for Klaus’s simultaneous skills

  • Bringing Home the Bacon – for an 8-string and a 5-string bass in the same recording, and the BVs

  • Can’t You Feel My Love – for the soaring vocal and a magical bridge

  • The Dead Man’s Dream – for the living dead who sing again

  • Saw The Fire – for the Manilow-esque (did I really say that?) classical intro seamlessly fronting the song, and for the clarinet

  • Every Dog Will Have His Day – for a better organ-line than Dylan’s band would have managed

  • Weisselklenzenacht (The Signature) – for reminding us that Maf would have been one of the great English Church Music composers if born a few generations previously, and also for Ian’s pedals towards the end

  • The Devil Came From Kansas – for being just a great variation, and for that guitar break

  • About To Die – for the sound of an experienced band well on top of their game (dare I say I prefer it to the original?)

  • Pandora’s Box – for real ingenuity and for the Masters Matthews' well-spoken words 

  • Can’t You Feel My Love – a track on which I would love to have played and sung. Great song – great harmonies

  • Fires (Which Burn Brightly) – for another excellent South American contribution, and for a last track which keeps Palers’ fires burning bright until album #4.

Shine on,
Rob Barnes

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