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Procol Harum - Shine On Brightly CD (album) cover

SHINE ON BRIGHTLY

Procol Harum

 

Crossover Prog

4.06 | 387 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Xonty
5 stars "Shine On Brightly" by Procol Harum is just so sublime and incredibly ahead of its time, considering it was written in 1967/68. Very underrated (and a beautiful piece of album artwork - the UK cover).

The first track "Quite Rightly So" is a great opening to the album, and the atmosphere and tone of the organ is blissful! The song has powerful symphonic baroque-sounding themes and chord changes, but still remains cheerful with elements of rock and blues in its backbone (as with most of the songs). The title track then follows, with blinding bright indescribable sounds and a nice steady piano rhythm beneath the thought-provoking lyrics.

The next song "Skip Softly (My Moonbeams)" is almost hypnotic (albeit quite predictable after a while) with its plodding chords and vamps with gospel-like backing vocals. The song also contains a majestic and unique anti-climax and hints of "The Sabre Dance" towards the end, building the pace back up and retreating to the more bluesy "Wish Me Well", letting Robin Trower shine as both the guitarist and a vocalist - another excellent and catchy song, though not enough baroque themes in my opinion (although it's nice to have a break from it all).

"Rambling On" then enters, with traces of the title track "Shine On Brightly", but with a more gentle and relaxed approach. The songs keep on building down until the quietest point "Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone)" which is more stripped back and sadder than the other songs, but still retains the previous themes, and with beautiful lyrics laid on top.

Finally, the magnum opus of the album "In Held 'Twas In I". Starting with "Glimpses Of Nirvana" at the beginning of the universe with a haunting drone starting the suite followed by Gary Brooker's bone-chilling words setting the whole scene. After a climax building up the chords, the piano slowly trots back down with sudden guitar squeals appearing on each starting quaver of the 7/8 bars. The sitar plays the unmistakable little hook line of the suite, giving it another fresh Arabian flavour. More intriguing words are uttered by Matthew Fisher (or Keith Reid?) before an ominous bell sounding the start of "'Twas Teatime At The Circus", adding another flavour to the epic with the circus music and cheering of the crowd, reminiscent of "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite" from The Beatles "Sgt. Pepper" album.

"In The Autumn Of My Madness" again contains more wonderous lyrics and music, along with the twisted "Look To Your Soul" intro which follows, with the fuzzy guitar tones clashing brilliantly with the organ chords before more of Gary Brooker's heavenly music and vocals, especially as he hits the high note, lighting up the song as it looks to be becoming darker. Then, at last, you arrive at "The Grand Finale" in heaven. Wow. A simply indescribably excellent ending to an almost-perfect album (in my opinion).

A(*). The essential Procol Harum album. Magnificently profound in almost every form - I wish there were more like this.

Quite Rightly So - ***** Shine On Brightly - ***** Skip Softly (My Moonbeams) - ***** Wish Me Well - ***** Rambling On - ***** Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone) - ***** In Held 'Twas In I - *****

Xonty | 5/5 |

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