Procol Harum @ NYCB Theatre at Westbury
960 Brush Hollow Rd. 8 p.m. $40-$60. 800-745-3000.
Far more than just a one-hit prog-rock wonder behind the epic Boomer ballad “Whiter Shade of Pale,” Procol Harum was and is a band whose unique fusion of blues, soul, classical and baroque influences made them symphonic rock pioneers. The reissue of expanded versions of the following quartet of latter-day albums by UK-based reissues specialists Union Square Music makes for an intriguing look back at this overlooked British outfit.
Grand Hotel – The first post-Robin Trower record leaned heavily on more orchestral arrangements that make for a very sophisticate listening experience. Highlights of the band’s Crysalis Records debut include the soaring and grandiose title cut and “A Souvenir of London,” a jaunty number about social diseases originally banned by the BBC.
Exotic Birds & Fruit – For this 1974 outing, the band stripped back the strings and came out of the gate with a grittier batch of songs that included “Nothing But the Truth,” a stirring opener goosed along by Chris Copping’s pounding organ, and the bonus cut “Drunk Again,” a full-out rocker punctuated by Gary Brooker’s vocal swagger and rollicking piano runs.
Procol’s Ninth – Pop songwriters Leiber and Stoller were tapped to produce this 1975 release and while originals like the marimba-laced opener “Pandora’s Box” make for good listening, cover versions of the producers’ “I Keep Forgetting” and The Beatles’ “Eight Days a Week” fall flat.
Something Magic – The band’s last album before reuniting for 1991’s Prodigal Son, this 1977 release crashed under the weight of disagreements with producers Ron and Howie Albert and “The Worm and the Tree,” a lumbering and pretentious musical suite penned by band lyricist Keith Reid that takes up the latter half of the record.