Riffs: Procul Harum's 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' leaves Jimmie Dale Gilmour filled with an intangible yearning

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The Independent Culture
This is the most enduringly wonderful song, because it evokes a feeling that is so intangible. I have a theory that music is powerful because it touches emotions that you don't otherwise have, and we don't really have words for them. In this case, the record gives me a nostalgia for something I've never had. A pure sense of yearning.

The most striking thing, playing over what is a regular electric band, is the organ, which is a Hammond with a Leslie box, that quavering, church sound.

It's a studio recording but it has a real live feel, in the timbre . . . it's as if there's a subliminal roar in the background. The lyric is very, very vague, so it works like poetry for me, allowing you to put your own interpretation on it:

'We skipped the light fandango, / Turned cartwheels cross the floor, / I was feeling kind of seasick, / The crowd yelled out for more.'

The vocal is very clear and runs through a fair range, and the technique of the band is good, but you hardly notice it. The guitar, for instance, is just rhythm guitar, and it's buried in the overall sound.

The whole thing is very evocative in an abstract sense, but I don't want to get too literal about what 'a whiter shade of pale' could be. You would lose the magic, and to me, it wouldn't be music any more.'

Country singer Jimmie Dale Gilmour's CD 'Spinning Around the Sun' is out on Elektra

'A Whiter Shade of Pale' is on the 'Procul Harum Collection' (Castle Collector CCSCD 120)

(Photograph omitted)

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