Procol Harum- Conquistador (written by G. Brooker and K. Reid and produced by Chris Thomas)
For a live recording, this was a great crate surprise hidden amongst a pile of 500+ seven inch discs. I’m only obsessed with two record companies of days past and present, Blue Note Records and A&M Records. This was an A&M pressing from 1972 so I had to pick it up even though I was unfamiliar with Procol Harum.
Fortunately, Robert, our record store music guru/adopted “father-in-law”, suggested that I would like it and of course asked where I found it. Every time I go into Garnick’s, I find stuff that Robert didn’t even know that he had. This was just gifted to me with several other 45’s when I was out and about shopping for Frank’s daughter at Christmas time as an early Chanukah gift. A&M Records was cofounded by Herb Alpert and that’s where the “A” comes from. He is a musical hero and groundbreaker to me, but I will get around to my Herb obsession soon enough.
As far as “Conquistador” goes, it’s a beautiful composition and has amazing sound for being live. It’s almost operatically lounge sounding, if that makes any sense. It definitely gives off an early 70’s jazzy vibe lyrically, but musically it is a rock interpretation of classic Mexican bullfighting chord progressions. I love the line “I see no place to unwind” as I often relate to that feeling of seeking solace from the constant bombardment of sensory stimulation. Somehow for a 4:16 running time, it has a less fleeting momentum of melody than most songs. Its structure creates a lasting sensation that makes the song seem longer than it is.
Now that I’ve had a sample, I’m on the hunt for more Procol Harum in the back of my mind when I’m out shopping for new records as I need to hear more.
– Mr. Richard
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