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Queen – First Procession (Gypsy Eye GE 242)

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First Procession (Gypsy Eye GE 242)

Golders Green Hippodrome, London, UK – September 13, 1973

(61:41):  Introduction, Procession, Father To Son, Son And Daughter, Ogre Battle, member introduction, Liar, Father To Son (long version), See What A Fool I’ve Been.  Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham, England – November 27th, 1973:  Procession, Father To Son, Son And Daughter, Ogre Battle, Hangman, Keep Yourself Alive

First Procession was released close to the end of Gypsy Eye’s run as the main silver manufacturer of Queen titles.  It contains the incomplete “In Concert” appearance at Golders Green Hippodrome on September 13, 1973.  Material from this tape was first issued on the famous vinyl Rogues And Scandles (Aftermath 8) which has “Procession,” “Father To Son,” “Son & Daughter,” “Ogre Battle” and “Liar” along with Hammersmith Odeon show on December 24th, 1975. 

Other pressed silver CD titles with this tape are Cry Argentina (OH BOY 2-9145), The Ultimate Collection Vol. 3 (Royalty Music  RM 007/008), Master Of Sheetkeekers and afterwards was included on disc two of Complete BBC Sessions 1973-1977 (Digital Queen Archives Q-001AB).

This is the broadcast without “See What A Fool I’ve Been” and the final rock and roll medley.  Better sounding and more complete editions exist on As It Began:  The BBC Archives (Godfather GR 225/226) and on Queen Will Be Crowned:  Live 1973 (Digital Queen Archives Q-005).  (A third version, sourced from the BBC transcription discs was issued on Pop Spectacular (Wardour-016)).  The sound quality of the Gypsy Eye tape is dull with the vocals buried in the mix.  They include two “bonus” tracks, and uncut “Procession” and “Father To Son” and “See What A Fool I’ve Been.”  Both come from vastly inferior sources.   

The tape begins with DJ Alan Black introducing “one of the brightest new bands around” before a primitive version of “Procession” followed by the first performance of “Father To Son.”  Afterwards Black says:  “well that opener from Queen is a new song called ‘Father To Son’ which will be, I understand, on the new Queen album when that comes out but that’s sometime in the future because the new album is still very much around and doing nicely.  The band asked me to point out they will not in fact, play the number that came off the first album as a single ‘Keep Yourself Alive.’” 

“Son And Daughter” is extended with the echoplex delay laden guitar solo that was imported from the old Smile track “Blag” and would be developed in “Brighton Rock” the following you.  “Ogre Battle” is a “Freddie Mercury composition” and contains a stab at the guitar chaos introduction.  Before “Liar” Black introduces the band including John Deacon as “Deacon John” as he’s credited on the first album and in the background Freddie is heard saying, “No, it’s not.”

The value of this release lies in the second half.  It is a surprisingly good twenty-five minute audience tape from the November 27th Birmingham show.  This was a tour where they were opening for Mott The Hoople.  At this point of their career the only album they released was Queen, their debut.  Yet the setlist is dominated by songs from the unreleased Queen II, covers, and even an unreleased song “Hangman.”   

Since it’s so short there are so few versions available.  It can be found also as bonus  material on A Night At The Court (Tarantula  TNT 007/8) along with the Earls Court 1977 show.

The show starts off with “Procession” leading into “Father To Son” and afterwards a very nervous Mercury says:  “Good evening.  We’re…we’re called Queen … and it’s nice to be in Birmingham … lovely.”  A six minute version of “Son And Daughter” follows which includes Brian’s guitar solo.  Freddie tells the audience it’s their first show in Birmingham (to audible heckling from the audience). 

“Ogre Battle” has a short reference to Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile” and Freddie remarks it’s “lovely” and mentioned how quiet the audience all around them are silent.  “Hangman” has a great vocal improvisation from Freddie.  The tape cuts out two minute into “Keep Yourself Alive.”

Birmingham is a fascinating early live document by Queen and makes having First Procession worth having.  Witness to this show, including Rob Halford, mention how Queen sort of won over a hostile crowd.  But Freddie’s nervousness is evident on tape.  His nerves got tot he point where he tripped over the equipment on stage and during the final number someone threw a ketchup smothered hot dog onto his face causing quite some embarrassment.  It is packaged in a standard jewel case with Queen II photo shoot outtakes and rare amateur photos from the first tour.    

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Queen - First Procession (Gypsy Eye GE 242), 2.5 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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