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Procol Harum - Shine On Brightly CD (album) cover

SHINE ON BRIGHTLY

Procol Harum

 

Crossover Prog

4.07 | 320 ratings

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jammun
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Shine on brightly...

Second album from that Procol Harum crew. Lots of great Hammond work, as would be expected. Lots of great Trower wailing, as would be expected. Lots of great musicianship from the band, as would be expected. It's all very good, and for the time almost very sadly generic.

And, for a second album from a band that had produced one Massive hit from their previous album that resonates to this day, a bit of a disappointment. A bit too much effort to iterate the success of the first one, the Bach-ish organ flourishes, the bluesy guitar riffs. Still, considering the competition, not too bad.

I'm describing an average '60s album, so a few facts:

a) All things considered, this is pretty much a mundane follow up to that first album. Good songs, but you'd hear the equivalent from many a competent rock band at the time. b) In Held Twas In I negates everything stated above.

In the darkness of the night...

That's a cello or something droning deeply in there, a few Hammond overtones on top, maybe a few sitar notes, and assorted hanging about. These were the days of psychedelics, possibly reflected here. "Life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?" A bit of a flourish, then darker notes, again the sitar tones...the Gregorian chant...the regretful piano.

Held close by that which some despise...

The same solemn piano, little else. Nothing else needed. "Write it down it might be read."

Twas teatime at the circus...

Bells, and happy times again! calliope organ, jaunty piano, cheering crowds. A welcome relief from the darkness of the previous happenings, only broken up by roaring thunder, pounding rain, and a sense of forboding.

In the autumn of my madness...

Matthew Fisher's vocals, that melodic organ, and Trower's guitar wails, and yer Bachness of it all, until the little musical progressions that just crawl up the scales begin. They've figured out a new Baroque paradigm musically...what if we just keep going?!..and ride it up to madness, until it devolves rather quickly to hammering guitar notes and relative blues dissonance. Coming down, I'd say they are.

I know if I'd been wiser...

Ahh, we're back to more melodic pianos/harpsichords and B.J. Wilson's incomparable drumming. A Trower solo, nice and tense. Just look to your soul! . . . And as was Procol's wont, a bit of a postlude, replete w/ piano arpeggios and choir. And one more badass growl from Trower, with Fisher laying the foundation. As the song ends, the listener must feel it's almost relief.

Back in the era when this was recorded, many a band tried to "record" the experience of an acid, as in LSD, trip. Country Joe tried it (Section 43). Certainly The Grateful Dead (pick an album, any album) and Jefferson Airplane (After Bathing At Baxters) tried it. Creedence Clearwater tried it to explain it (Looking Out My Back Door). And I suppose in these later days many others have tried it.

I don't know if In Held Twas In I is the source of this, but it's certainly a very large vein in the motherlode.

Excellent music all around, for any one who cares to listen.

jammun | 4/5 |

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