For many listeners, Procol Harum’s legacy centres around their first three albums (1967’s ‘Procol Harum’, 1968’s ‘Shine On Brightly’ and 1969’s ‘A Salty Dog’) and the evergreen classic single ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’. Indeed, that would have been enough to secure them a place in the rock history books, but the ever prolific band released a further six albums between 1970 and 1977. While these albums were destined to only be heard by the more faithful fan, each one provided a selection of highlights, and while 1975’s ‘Procol’s Ninth’ doesn’t seem too inspirational in terms of either title or sleeve art, it is certainly no exception.
Greenslade’s self-titled debut from February 1973 introduced the world to an intricate world of double keyboard led prog, peppered with occasional elements of jazz fusion. It was by no means a perfect record – some of the tracks seemed over complicated for the sake of it and the production wasn’t as crisp as it could’ve been – but it gave the band something solid on which they could build, and just nine months later they returned with a follow-up. Released in the November, ‘Bedside Manners Are Extra’ is superior at almost every turn. Keyboard player/singer Dave Lawson mightn’t have the best voice in the world and occasionally the lack of guitar can be jarring, but the arrangements throughout the album are enough to make it stand up. Decades on, it’s easy to see how ‘Bedside Manners’ is a landmark recording for Dave Greenslade and really helped to make a name for the band in progressive rock fan circles.
Of all the second division prog bands of the 70s – those who never quite made it to household name status with Yes and Camel – Greenslade are, perhaps, the band who’ve most been relegated to history. Despite a few high profile BBC appearances and four albums released between 1973 and 1975, they’ve never quite been given their full dues. If Greenslade get mentioned at all, it’s for their second album ‘Bedside Manners Are Extra’, released at the tail end of 1973. ‘Spyglass Guest’ – released the following year – is arguably a much better album.