1 Nothing but the Truth - 3:13
2 Beyond the Pale - 3:03
3 As Strong as Samson - 5:06
4 The Idol - 6:39
5 The Thin End of the Wedge - 3:44
6 Monsieur R. Monde - 3:41
7 Fresh Fruit - 3:05
8 Butterfly Boys - 4:26
9 New Lamps for Old - 4:05
10 Drunk Again [B-Side][*] - 4:31
11 The Blue Danube [Extended Studio Version][#][*] - 9:12
After two albums that combined progressive rock with orchestral grandeur, Procol Harum returned to the basics on this 1974 outing. This time, the accent was returned to the thick electric guitar and swirling guitar on a batch of lushly textured but driving songs that covered everything from hard rock to moody prog and even a bit of music hall comedy. In the rock category, the most memorable numbers are the opener, 'Nothing but the Truth,' a punchy tune that displays the group's thorough grasp of rock dynamics as it veers between metallic riffing and rollicking keyboard flourishes over a stomping beat, and 'Monsieur R. Monde,' a bracing mid-tempo track that punctuates its guitar-heavy attack with some infectious cowbell accents from drummer B.J. Wilson. In the progressive arena, the most interesting tunes are 'The Idol,' a sumptuous epic that adds layer after layer of keyboard and guitar as it tells the story of a hero's fall from grace, and 'The Thin End of the Wedge,' an avant-garde tune that highlights Mick Grabham's guitar work as it creates a surreal, gothic atmosphere. Other memorable tunes include 'Beyond the Pale,' a tune about the search for the Holy Grail that mixes pop hooks with a Germanic folk song feel, and 'Exotic Fruit,' an amusing song that extols the virtues of its titular subject over a bouncy English music hall melody. It's a diverse group of songs and styles, but the group delivers them with aplomb and energy, and the album is further bolstered by a sumptuous, consistent Chris Thomas production that makes sure everything blends together smoothly. As a result, Exotic Birds and Fruit is one of Procol Harum's finest efforts of the '70s. [Trivia note: The 2000 reissue of this album on Repertoire Records added a single version of 'As Strong as Samson' and 'Drunk Again,' a non-album B-side and one of Procol Harum's finest and heaviest rockers. The album was issued again in 2004, this time through Friday Music, and featured 'Drunk Again' as well as an extended studio take of 'Blue Danube.']
|Decade :||60's ROCK, 70's ROCK|
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