Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale 

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Miscellaneous Keith Reid words

PH A-sides, B-sides, or not yet released


 
  Songs available on commercially-manufactured recordings
A Whiter Shade Of Pale *
Lime Street Blues *
Homburg *
Seem To Have The Blues Most All The Time *
In The Wee Small Hours Of Sixpence *
Long Gone Geek *
Drunk Again *
Il Tuo Diamante
Into The Flood
Alpha
Well I
('Count your blessings')
Backgammon
The Blue Danube
Albinoni's Adagio
 
* Keith Reid checked and amended these song-words for 'Beyond the Pale', February / March 1998

 
Songs heard in concert, or known to have existed, but not yet officially released
A Robe of Silk
Alpha
I'm A Reader and a Writer*
Last Train To Niagara
MacGreggor
One Eye On The Future*
So Far Behind
This Old Dog
Musical Fish
You Better Wait
A la Carte
Fish Dinner for Two
A Real Attitude
Stoke Poges
 
* indicates a conjectural title

Please mail us with contributions for this section: lots of rare songs' words still missing


A Whiter Shade of Pale (Brooker / Reid)*

We skipped the light fandango
turned cartwheels 'cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
but the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
as the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
the waiter brought a tray

And so it was that later
as the miller told his tale
that her face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale
She said, 'There is no reason
and the truth is plain to see.'
But I wandered through my playing cards
and would not let her be
one of sixteen vestal virgins
who were leaving for the coast
and although my eyes were open
they might have just as well've been closed

She said, 'I'm home on shore leave,'
though in truth we were at sea
so I took her by the looking glass
and forced her to agree
saying, 'You must be the mermaid
who took Neptune for a ride.'
But she smiled at me so sadly
that my anger straightway died

If music be the food of love
then laughter is its queen
and likewise if behind is in front
then dirt in truth is clean
My mouth by then like cardboard
seemed to slip straight through my head
So we crash-dived straightway quickly
and attacked the ocean bed


Lime Street Blues (Brooker / Reid)*

Lime Street in the afternoon
everybody crazy as a coon
I'm running round in my underpants
trying to find some kinda romance

Quarter past three [sic] on Lime Street
I got whipped right offa my feet
Didn't realize that I'd been caught
till I found myself in the County Court

'Mr Judge,' I said, 'Won't you please be kind
Have pity on me, a poor orphan child?'
Mr Judge he says with a long mean frown
'Orphan or not, you're going down!'

Well I screamed on my knees in the witness box,
'Lord have mercy on my golden locks.'
The judge I could see that he was snide
He says, 'The only kind of blonde you are's a peroxide!'

Oh Lime Street, Lime Street
Lime Street, that's where we meet


Homburg (Brooker / Reid)*

Your multilingual business friend
has packed her bags and fled
Leaving only ash-filled ashtrays
and the lipsticked unmade bed
The mirror on reflection
has climbed back upon the wall
for the floor she found descended
and the ceiling was too tall

Your trouser cuffs are dirty
and your shoes are laced up wrong
you'd better take off your homburg
'cos your overcoat is too long
The town clock in the market square
stands waiting for the hour
when its hands they both turn backwards
and on meeting will devour
both themselves and also any fool
who dares to tell the time
And the sun and moon will shatter
and the signposts cease to sign


Seem To Have The Blues Most All The Time (Brooker / Reid)*

The landlord's knocking on my door, he says he wants the rent
I'm sitting in the kitchen wondering where the money's spent
A whole lot of people treating me unkind
I seem to have the blues most all the time

I'm lying in my bed hatching million-dollar schemes
The cops are using radar trying to intercept my dreams
A whole lot of people treating me unkind
I seem to have the blues most all the time

I went to get a job 'cos I badly needed the pay
I got a warm reception: they said 'Bum! Go away!'
A whole lot of people treating me unkind
I seem to have the blues most all the time

Well I owed a lot of money; I was weak and easily led
I tried to rob a bank: the cashier shot me dead
A whole lot of people treating me unkind
But it don't matter now, 'cos I got peace of mind
Nothing matters now 'cos I got peace of mind.


In The Wee Small Hours Of Sixpence (Brooker / Reid) *

In the wee small hours of sixpence
and the lighted chandelier
stands a rusty old retainer
whose old eyes are filled with tears
for his master, Good Sir Galant,
who is now off to the wars
And although his eyes are crying
we know grief is not the cause
And if grief is not the reason
he must be of sterner stuff
and his sword though old and rusty
must be blunt as sharp enough

In the wee small hours of sixpence
and the broken window pane
stand the remnants of the evening
who are waiting all in vain
for the crowing of the cockerel
showing morning is not night
But the air is filled with silence
and the daylight is not bright
But still darkness is no reason
We are men of sterner stuff
and our swords though old and rusty
still are blunt as sharp enough.

In the wee small hours of sixpence
and the hat-stand in the hall
waiting only for the morning
shadows flitting 'cross the wall
And perhaps that old retainer
Whom now giving of his all
may have once been just as we are
and now has no face at all.
But still grief was not the reason
he was made of sterner stuff
and his sword though old and rusty
still was blunt as sharp enough.


Long Gone Geek (Brooker / Fisher / Reid) *

Weird goings-on at the County Jail
Prisoners reading the sheriff's mail
He's strapped down to a swivel chair
trying to swivel right out of there
Pin-striped Sweet's in Cell 15
Convinced his self it's all a dream
He's got a pet black tabby cat
that carries a gun and wears a Stetson hat

The door flies open, in strides Geek
Looking like the front page of Newsweek
He says to Lou in a voice of glee,
'What's the matter, ain't you glad to see me?'
Lou's on the floor 'cause he can't stand up
as green as a leaf in a tea-cup
When on to Geek's back jumps a Stetson-hatted cat
Which breaks Geek's neck like he was a rat

Long gone Geek!


This Old Dog (Brooker / Reid)

Drank a little too much wine last night
Drank a little too much wine last night
Got myself into one hell of a fight
Drank a little too much wine last night

Had a few too many nights without sleep last week
Had a few too many nights without sleep last week
Got myself on the edge of one hell of a losing streak
Had a few too many nights without sleep last week

Got to be a bit more straight these days
Got to be a bit more straight these days
This old dog has to learn some new ways
Got to be a bit more straight these days


Drunk Again (Brooker / Reid) *

I've been out of weeks for ages
I've been on and off the train.
I've been losing sheep
and counting sleep
And I've drunk too much again
But I'll take another cup
Even though it dry me up
Ooh, though I know that I should pass
I will take another glass

The cellar is empty, the cupboard is bare,
I'm joining the church and taking to prayer
The landlord's complaining
'cos the rent is outstanding
and Old Mother Hubbard's ran off with the chair
Though I know it's time to stop
I will take another drop
Though I know I'm very sick
I will take just one more sip

Come on Captain, punch my ticket
Call my mother's name
I once heard
that a fly can't bird
But I drunk too much again
Though I've really drunk a lot
I will take another shot
Though I know it's a time to pass
I will take just one more glass


Into the Flood (Brooker / Reid / Noble)

Tell you how the story stands
I'm a victim in your hands
Got me pleading on my bended knees
that's the way the picture reads
It's a horror show
It's a body blow
and it's gone too far

Tell me a reason
well give me a sign
somebody somewhere
throw me a line
somebody down there
looking for blood
Off with the horses
into the flood

Now you've made a big mistake
spoiled the icing on the wedding cake
killed the goose that laid the golden egg
This time babe you're going to have to beg
it's a crying shame
it's a dying flame
and it's gone too far

Tell me a reason
give me a sign
somebody somewhere
throw me a line
somebody down there
looking for blood
Off with the horses
yeah, into the flood

So you pulled the perfect crime
turned the water into wine
 
 
got me on my bended knees 
Now's the time to make me squeeze
Came in from the freezing cold
Turned the glitter into gold (from the Barbican)

It's a bloody mess
it's a body-blow
and it's gone too far (recycled words? See here)


Alpha (Brooker / Reid)

My parents must've disliked me. They left me in the lurch
Packed me in a basket which was left in a church
It was found by a nun
who took one peep and run
screaming 'There's an eye in the middle of his head!'

The man in charge reflected and then to me he said,
'All men are born equal. You can earn your daily bread;
Go now to the belfry
where the bats are blind and can't see
there's an eye in the middle of your head.'

I sat there in the gloom, thought about my lousy luck;
At least if your body's offensive then your clothes cover it up
But my forehead is quite smooth
except for one circular groove
and that's the eye in the middle of my head.

[The original recording has the word 'afflicted' instead of the 'offensive' , sung by Gary here]


Last Train to Niagara (Brooker / Fisher / Reid)
Spoken: a man gets on a train and starts having thoughts about his past, and a lot of references to old Procol Harum songs go through his head.)

'I'd been wandering around Manhattan for a couple of days, kinda lost; suddenly I found myself in Grand Central Station. I looked up at the board: there it was -- 'Last Train To Niagara 1:15': I just had to get on it. I had to get up there and find the answers ...'

(Salty Dog train noise / stomping waltz-time riff from In Held)

On the last train to Niagara, on the fast train to the Falls
I was heading into danger, I was climbing up the walls
I was feeling kind of empty, feeling kind of bleak
I was twice removed from yesterday, but halfway through next week

Well I tuned into the radio and flipped across the dial
I was searching for the missing chord, I'd missed it for awhile
Then they played a song from long ago, a picture through the glass
The story of a Spanish brave whose light was fading fast

(Conquistador intro, post-Edmonton)

The tracks were humming harder now, the room began to sway
The music turned much louder now, as the ceiling flew away (+AWSoP, + ASD)
A crowd of drunken sailor boys came in upon the sea
The Captain wanted action fast, the crowd was getting mean

(Climbing scale from Whaling Stories)

Then I smoked another cigarette, and fixed another drink
When you're out there in deep water, you just can't afford to sink
I was halfway through the looking glass, halfway up to Mars
It was getting close to morning time, somewhere 'neath the stars

(Excerpts from Strangers in Space, The Worm and the Tree, and the climbing theme from Rambling On)

Just then a passing mermaid came and took me by the hand
She gently soothed my fevered brow and led me back to land
When I heard the sound of laughter, woke up upon my knees
I was heading to that Preacher man, to give me my reprieve

(fragment of The Devil Came from Kansas)

Well the preacher-man said, he said 'Son, you won't find favour on the dark side of the street
Better straighten up your overcoat, and get back on your feet
No use looking to the future, if you keep on coming back,
And you know you're going nowhere, if your shoes don't fit your hat.'

(Excerpt from Homburg)

On the last train to Niagara, on the fast train to the Falls
I was heading into danger, climbing up the walls
I was feeling kind of empty, I was feeling kind of bleak
I was twice removed from yesterday, but halfway through next week.

On the last train to Niagara, on the fast train to the Falls
The last train to Niagara, the fast train to the Falls
Last train to Niagara, fast train to the Falls


Il Tuo Diamante
Words by 'Mogol' (Giulio Rapetti)
author of many texts for famous Italian singer Lucio Battisti: English translation

Ti avrei tenuto nel mio cuore
Ti avrei preso tra le mani
Illuminato io ti avrei
(con) Il sole c'era negli occhi miei
Per˛ aspettare tu non sai
Volevi vivere e tu vivrai
Il tuo diamante splenderÓ
Ma il cuore freddo resterÓ

Avresti avuto quel che ho
Non ti avrei detto mai di no
Potevi piangere con me
Potevi ridere con me
Per˛ aspettare tu non sai
Volevi tutto e tu l'avrai
Il tuo diamante splenderÓ
Ma il cuore freddo resterÓ

E quando tu ti accorgerai
Ritorna qui se tu lo vuoi
Che qualche cosa forse avrai
Ed il mio pianto dividerai
un po' piu' stanca ritorneraii
e la mia strada riprenderai
Il tuo diamante getterai
E il sole caldo troverai
Troverai - Yeah
Troverai - Yeah
Troverai...


Well, I ... (aka 'Count your Blessings') (Brooker / Trower / Wilson / Copping / Mundy) See also here
Ain't no doubt about it
Ain't no doubt about it
Ain't gonna shout about it: oh yeah
Gonna have to keep you guessing
Ain't no use in you confessing
Ain't no use for you to mumble
You know where [or 'nowhere'?] if you just fumble
You better start, start counting your blessings
Not one ... two ... three ...
It's a grumble, [greeble?], New York concrete jungle

(When PH aired this rare song on BBC Radio One's Sunday Show in 1970, it consisted of a one-chord riff and this single verse repeated no fewer than four times. I never caught that last word in brackets, mind!)


A Real Attitude (Brooker / Reid) performance account here

She's got friends in high places, her picture's in Vogue
She's seen at the races and walking the dog
She swallows the camera, she follows the press
She covers the angles, she's dressed for success

She don't bring me water
She don't give me food
All that she got is a real attitude

Her mood swings are violent, it can't be denied
She kisses the bridegroom and disses the bride
Godfather's baby who gets every wish
She drinks with the family, she's taking the Fifth

She don't bring me water
She don't give me food
All that she got is a real attitude


One Eye on the Future, One Eye on the Past (Brooker / Reid)

Best guess as to the words of a song heard once or twice in concert in 1977; this number is one of those missing from the Something Magic album; please mail us if you can decipher these words more clearly.

We'll raise our toast to pleasures past
They came so quick and went so fast
Idle boasts, crazy ghosts
We'll make our toast and drain the glass
We're know we're out of favour
We can't expect no saviour
We're looking to the future but we keep one eye on the past

Well time may heal, and absence mend
We'll raise our glass to absent friends
[ere] they dwell we wish them well
To those we wronged we'll make amends
We're know we're out of favour
We can't expect no saviour
We're looking to the future but we keep one eye on the past

It's time to change and start anew
To leave our home for pastures new
Where we go, ah, we won't know
It's something that we got to do
We're don't expect no favour
We can't expect no saviour
We're looking to the future but we'll keep one eye on the past


So Far Behind (Brooker / Reid)

Best guess as to the words of a song heard in concert (sometimes a 'soulful slowie', sometimes a rampant Tamla-flavoured rocker) in the mid-seventies, but probably written long before, from stylistic clues; this number is one of those missing from the Something Magic album; please mail us if you can decipher these words more clearly.

Your convent-cloistered, cluttered mind
[Calls] out for me but I'm behind
You cannot see into your room
Whose perfumed depths sing songs of doom

But I am cold and cannot see
A way out of this mystery

Wild horses couldn't change your mind
Or help you up and let you find
That I am here cold or blind
That I have something left to find

But I am cold and cannot see
A way out of your mystery

An Ali Baba you would be
In search of treasure endlessly
And like some jewel you'ld comfort me
And in your showcase I would be

But I am cold and cannot see
A way out of your mystery

''So Far Behind what, that's the question ...' said Gary Brooker, introducing this song at a great gig in Aylesbury, UK.


I'm a Reader and a Writer (Brooker / Reid)

Best guess as to the words of a song heard once or twice in concert in 1977; this number is one of those missing from the Something Magic album; please mail us if you can decipher these words more clearly.

I'm a reader and a writer
Not a lover or a fighter
When it comes to push and shove
I'm as peaceful as a dove

I'm a tiger in the night
When I'm talking of the fight
When it comes to trading blows
I'm the first one on my toes

I'm a leopard in a cage
When I'm on the printed page
When it comes to blood and gore
I'm the first one on the floor

I'm a tiger in the night
When I'm talking of the fight
When it comes to trading blows
I'm the first one on my toes

Well I'm a man of stern repute
When the opposition's mute
When I start to lose my grip
I'm the first one off the ship

I'm a tiger in the night
When I'm talking of the fight
When it comes to trading blows
I'm the first one on my toes

I'm a man of stern repute
When the opposition's mute
When I start to lose my grip
I'm the first one off the ship

I'm a tiger in the night
When I'm talking of the fight
When it comes to trading blows
I'm the first one on my toes

Sam Cameron notes: did Keith Reid get this from Philip Larkin's review of WH Auden where he quipped that Auden is "more of a reader than a writer" as his poetry was 'forced' rather than 'natural'? It is of note that KR said that Auden was one poet he really identified with, when he was interviewed in 1997 Ó propos the 30th anniversary celebrations. I assumed the title was a reference to the Chuck Berry song I'm a lover not a fighter that goes 'baby don't bell push me', which the Kinks did in their early days. [And let's not forget Gilbert O'Sullivan's album entitled I'm a Writer not a Fighter, which came out in the very early seventies]


 
 Words from other Procol Harum albums
Warning about copyright
Keith Reid's words outside Procol Harum

 
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