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Procol Harum - Shine On Brightly CD (album) cover


Procol Harum


Crossover Prog

4.06 | 387 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Procol Harum - Shine on Brightly (1968)

...and so is does, even in 2010! Thanks you progrules for this amazing vinyl!

The development of the progressive genre is a very important topic for most of us on PA. It has been a reason for a lot of debates on the forum and it has become an important factor for rating albums. Shine on Brightly is one of the key albums of the progressive/symphonic rock genre. I myself consider it to be the first progressive rock (genre) record, though music already had been Progressive (as in innovative, experimental) in '67 with releases from The Doors, the Beatles and Zappa.

Procol Harum has a recognizable sound. The piano-compositions of Gary Brooker are often adventurous with a lot modulations in the chord-progressions. His vocals are really good and singing along (when I'm alone) reveals the complexity of his melodic lines. The band has this classic late sixties rock sound projected on a symphonic/progressive vision. Extrovert electric guitars, the best of organs (sometimes very pastoral), ugly recorded piano (part of the concept!) and direct vocals. There are some very original influences on this album, for '68 that is. The rock-sound and song-writing came obviously from the Beatles, but the piano compositions are very influenced by classical music (with it's inventive modulation, going to other keys within one chord-progression) and the organs are very influences by pastoral church music. The vocals have that complaining blues sound which works amazingly well. Brooker is one of my favorite vocalists.

Side one has great, memorable songs with progressive influenced compositions. Side two has IN HELD 'TWAS IN I which can be seen as THE FIRST PROGRESSIVE ROCK EPIC. This is historical! A multi-part song of seventeen minutes with a logical emotional development, different atmospheres, a dark middle section, poems, some theatric vocals, innovative compositions and a memorable ending section. All elements of our nowadays epics are right there. Unbelievable!

Conclusion. This is must-have material and a cornerstone in the history of progressive rock. The influence of Procal Harum has been undermine, but I believe this record to be more important than many others that came in 1970. The second side of this record is without question very progressive whilst remaining very catchy and likable. It's a fun record to listen to. The production gave the album that adorable late sixties sound. Technically this is a four star album as a listening experience, but it's brave innovative approach in this early stage of rock music makes it an essential record for listeners of all progressive sub-genres. Five stars.

friso | 5/5 |


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