Wednesday, March 20, 2013

40 Year Itch: Tonight We Sleep On Silken Sheets

A real forgotten gem
 - The Mojo Collection

With guitarist Robin Trower's recent departure for a solo career, Procol Harum is now under the full artistic control of singer/ keyboardist Gary Brooker and Grand Hotel benefits from his single minded, somewhat excessive vision. In fact the album is one of Procol Harum's high points. Brooker liked to use orchestras and choruses; mandolins ( 22 of them on the title track) and piano runs. There's a full orchestra on many tracks including "Grand Hotel "which quotes the Russian "Chyornye Ochi" ( Black Eyes) song. Consistently good --and at times (the anti-war "Fires Which Burnt Brightly; the anti-television "TV Ceasar") verging on great. 

Miles better than what the Moody Blues were trying to do.

According to a Billboard Magazine article from 1973 Procol harum's new label, Chrysalis Records , sent radio stations and music critics 3,000 toiletry kits with every item embossed "Grand Hotel". Another thousand "Grand Hotel" towels were distributed to record stores to hang up as in-store posters. There were even radio contests involving Grand Hotel keys , only one of which would open a trunk containing tickets to the Bahamas.

Grand Hotel reached No 21 on the Billboard album charts

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