Procol Harum

the Pale 

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Shine on Brightly

Reviewed online here by BadCat

This review is reproduced from here ... there is some strange stuff in the review below: read critically.

With drummer BJ Wilson having stepped in to replace  Bobby Harrison, Procol Harum spent late-1967 and early 1968 touring the United States three times.  Unfortunately, given their touring schedule and other outside pressures, the band never got around to releasing a follow up to their earlier A Whiter Shade of Pale mega hit.  As a result, by the time the 1968's Shine on Brightly was released much of their earlier momentum and name recognition had been lost. The delay proved even more unfortunate given that their sophomore release was considerably stronger than their debut. With lyricist Keith Reid and singer/keyboardist Gary Brooker again providing the majority of material, on the first side the title track, the Trower-fueled Quite Rightly So, and Skip Softly (My Moonbeams) found the band opting for a tougher, rock oriented sound.  In sharp contrast, the flip side was dominated by the 18 minute In Held 'Twas In I.   Notable as one of rock's first operas [sic], the effort was apparently intended as a sermon addressing the costs of ego. Unfortunately, pretentious didn't even begin to describe the resulting stew of spoken lyrics, backward tapes, dumbsh*t imagery and pointless instrumental segments.  Be sure to check-out Paul Williams hysterical liner notes. 


A strong commercial follow-up, the album hit # 24 on the US album charts. 

For hardcore collectors, the original UK release sported different cover art.


Shine on Brightly track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Quite Rightly So  (Gary Brooker - Matthew Fisher - Keith Reid) - 3:37

'Quite Rightly So' was inspired by singer Essra Mohawk (who opened for the band a couple of shows on the band's initial U S tour and subsequently became involved with lyricist Keith Reid).  The song sported their patented meld of Brooker's dry, crusty voice, Fisher's church organ, and Trower's stunning guitar chords, though it lacks the majesty of some of their other performances.  For anyone intersted [sic], Mohawk devoted part of her website [sic!] to the song's history: .   The song was tapped as a single throughout the world:


- 1968's Quite Rightly So b/w In the Wee Small Hours of Sixpence (Rega [sic] Zonophone catalog number RZ 3007)    YouTube has an interesting black and white performance clip of the tune:   rating: *** stars

2.) Shine On Brightly  (Gary Brooked - Keith Reid) - 3:30

If for nothing else than Robin Trower's chiming guitar and Reid's typically bizarre lyrics ("my Prussian blue electric clock"), Shine On Brightly served as another Harum classic.   I'm not sure where it was taken, but YouTube has a live performance of the tune.  I noted it featured the late Dave Ball replacing Robin Trower on guitar:   rating: *** stars

3.) Skip Softly  (My Moonbeams) (Gary Brooker - Keith Reid) - 3:43

Bouncy, but slightly ominous rocker hat [sic] sounds like something Oliver Twist's Fagen [sic] might have recorded  ...   When Trower's guitar solo kicked in around the 2:30 mark the tune jettisoned all progressive pretenses in favor of a hard metal attack, before closing out sounding like a cross between a circus and a Klezmer band.    One of my favorite tunes on the album.   rating: **** stars

4.) Wish Me Well  (Gary Brooker - Keith Reid) - 3:19

With the focus clearly on Trower, the blazing rocker Wish Me Well was one of the most mainstream things they ever recorded.  How in the world did he ever get that unique tone out of his guitar ?    rating: **** stars


5.) Rambling On  (Gary Brooker - Keith Reid) - 4:28

One of the band's prettier melodies, though Trower's guitar gave it a hard rock edge.   Another album highlight.  rating: **** stars

(side 2)

1.) Magdalene  (My Special [sic] Zonophone) (Gary Brooker - Keith Reid) - 2:48

The band at their most pretentious ...  at least it was a relatively short tune.   YouTube has a 1971 performance of the song for German television:   rating: ** stars

2.) In Held 'Twas In I  (Gary Brooker - Matthew Fisher - Keith Reid) - 17:51

 - Glimpses of Nirvana

Brooker's spoken word introduction going on and on with some laughable narrative which included such navel gazing insights as "In the darkness of the night, only occasionally relieved by glimpses of Nirvana as seen through other people's windows, wallowing in a morass of self-despair made only more painful by the knowledge that all I am is of my own making ... "  From there it was into lounge act piano-powered instrumental territory with both Fisher and Reid getting to spout nonsense.   At least you got to hear Trower [sic] on electric sitar.  rating: ** stars

 - 'Twas Teatime at the Circus (instrumental [sic])

English musical hall ...   rating: ** stars

- In the Autumn of my Madness

Matthew Fisher getting a shot at lead vocals.   Surprising how good he was.   Sure he lacked the gravatas [sic] that Brooker brought to the record, but in many ways Fisher had a far more commercial and mainstream voice.   This segment was actually pretty good; at least until it hit the sound effects and backward tape conclusion.   rating: *** stars

- Look to Your Soul 

This segment started out with Trower getting a moment in the limelight - complete with lots of guitar sustain, it made for the album's heaviest performance.  When Brooker took center stage the song became more predictable.   Always liked the harpsichord accompaniment.   rating: *** stars 

- Grand Finale (Instrumental)

Baroque influenced conclusion - even with Trower's chunky chords, the result was quite calming, though it would have been even better without the wordless chorus.   rating: *** stars


Shine on Brightly

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