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The Paramounts      

The original UK issue EP   

A few years ago, when the value of a moderately collectable 1960’s record would typically be  £5 ~ £15, one would not usually be too discerning on the condition, as long as the disc played satisfactorily. Today, with many of the more desirable records now priced in excess of £50, the purist can be somewhat discriminative, and 'quite rightly so' . As a guide, singles that charted, particularly attaining the ‘top 10’, are generally worth around £4 ~ £6 in best condition, with the “used” variety normally not being required by the collector, but handy for juke boxes at £1 a throw.

Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” is a prime example. An excellent condition example of this classic but over-played (radio broadcast wise) single should not prove too elusive?  On catalogue for a considerable period, original 1960’s pressings have the matrix number on the label upside down. This criterion sits above the disc’s catalogue number DM 126. The ultimate pressing to own would be the 'Demonstration' label printing.

Gary Brooker, the vocalist and co-writer of this classic, had previously been a member of The Paramounts. This pop group released six singles during ‘63 ~ ’64 on the Parlophone label, with all but their first release, “Poison Ivy”, not attaining the top 50 chart! Near mint examples of all their singles are now changing hands for around £15 ~ £25 apiece. No Paramounts album was put together, but a now highly sought after EP, issued in May 1964, is currently valued at £200+.

In principle, the four recordings that make up this expensive Extended Play do not warrant the exorbitant price tag. Being covers of rock n’ roll and r&b numbers with added ‘pop beat’, they are actually the ’a’ and ‘b’ sides of their first two singles. However, as approximately 100 units only of this EP sold at the time, it is now highly collectible for its scarcity and the historical rock-file value, and also for having an attractive photographic sleeve, with Gary Brooker pictured on the far left, and the only UK disc depicting the band (no LP at the time was issued). Two of the other three Paramounts members depicted on the front cover were to later (mid ’67) rejoin with Gary in the first of Procol Harum’s reformations.

An interesting fact for residents of Devon is that the final live on-stage appearance of the first Procol Harum line-up was at Torquay on June 18th 1967, just two days after their other Devon appearance at the Tavistock Town Hall.

An original French issue EP

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  ©   Peter Rice Destiny One