Procol Harum: Salty Dog (1969)

July 12, 2007

“Salty Dog” has one of the most sophisticated and powerful chord progressions in rock n roll history. The progression has very little to do with rock, blues, country, gospel, or soul, but seems more neo-Baroque than anything. The shape carved in my mind by the melody climbs ever upward. The sound of the voice is itself “salty.” To me, his tone evokes that of someone who survived to tell the tale. There is a passionate insanity in his delivery.

And then, suddenly, in the middle, it’s as if a little fairy appears and flutters with a little lydian intermezzo, an interruptive reverie. And then back to the tale. And then the lydian bit returns at the end, and the final chord is that juicy C# F G chord that set the song in motion.

The drummer has beautiful moves; the kinetic energy of his stick work is magical.

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