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Procol Harum: Shine On Brightly

For those of you unfamiliar with British band Procol Harum, they released their self-titled debut way back in 1967 which included "Conquistador", one of their most popular songs. The '60s were coming to a close but not before the release of their sophomore effort Shine On Brightly in 1968. If you are interested in the early years of progressive rock Procol Harum will be a band worth investigating. Many consider their first couple of albums to be progenitors of the progressive rock movement (along with a few other albums) so these should be considered as important historical documents in the genre. Besides that, the music is really good.

Although Shine On Brightly is certainly a product of its time I will say it is an excellent album. These guys had such a great sound and there are really no weak links in the band which included David Knight (bass guitar), Mathew Fisher (Hammond organ), Robin Trower (lead guitar), B.J. Wilson (percussion), Gary Brooker (voice and piano) and Keith Reid (words).

The sound is predominantly organ and guitar driven rock music but on the ambitious pieces like the multi part epic "In Held Twas In I" progressive rock is highly prevalent. Here the band's sound travels along different musical paths where organ, piano, guitar twist and turn through a variety of soundscapes. The guitar work from Trower, both acoustic and electric is excellent and the same can be said of the piano and organ embellishments. At times the music builds upon said organ and guitar releasing stabbing leads while other moments are more serene and subtle. All the while Brooker's voice is in fine shape. I consider him to have one of the better voices to emerge out of the '60s. The lyrics are also a high point for me often being quite elegant and poetic.

The rest of the disc is composed of shorter tracks like the bluesy rock of "Wish Me Well", the balladic "Rambling On" with slow burning Hendrix-like lead guitar and the pretty "Magdalene" reminding me a little of The Moody Blues.

The recording quality is also very good especially considering the album is almost forty years old. As usual, Esoteric Recordings have done a wonderful job with this production as the entire package exudes quality.

Anyone who is remotely interested in the formative years of progressive rock needs to hear this band and there is no better place to start than Shine On Brightly. Highly recommended!


Track Listing:
1. Quite Rightly So
2. Shine On Brightly
3. Skip Softly (My Moonbeams)
4. Wish Me Well
5. Rambling On
6. Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone)
In Held 'Twas In I:
7. Glimpses Of Nirvana
8. Twas Tea Time at the Circus
9. In the Autumn of My Madness
10. Look to Your Soul
11. Grand Finale

Added: January 1st 2016
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1639
Language: english

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