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on 17 March 2009
Amidst all these reviews for earlier CD editions, I am going to give a review for the new June 2015 3-CD set edition of "Shine On Brightly" from the "Esoteric" label. It is superbly mastered and compiled. Very few possible inclusions are omitted, and I consider only one of them to be significant.
As Avid Procol Harum collectors know, the 1-CD expanded remaster from the "Salvo" label ran too fast, though that label was in denial of that fault.
Here, on the "Esoteric" label 3-CD edition, "Disc One" has the original stereo album at its correct speed, sounding excellent, and with 3 bonus tracks. Those bonus tracks are "Il Tuo Diamante"(an Italian Language version of "Shine On Brightly"). This was always a track with somewhat lower fidelity sound, yet here it sounds the best it has ever sounded. The Italian D.J.'s spoken introduction and outro(heard on Salvo's release) is omitted, but it's no great loss. The next two tracks are the UK single "Quite Rightly So" b/w "In The Wee Small Hours of Sixpence". Is "Sixpence" the correct take(as on the original UK single)? Yes it Is. Some of the few previous reissues of the Uk single version of "Sixpence"(like on the 1976 "Rock Roots" L.P. & a "Westside" label CD) were obviously dubs from vinyl. I don't know what source that "Esoteric" has accessed, but this is the best sounding CD release for this track ever. All 3 discs in this set feature cardboard mini-album sleeves. This one has the front from the original UK album.

"Disc Two"(which features the front of the original U.S.A. album cover) has the CD debut of the album's mono mix. This mix is new to me, since I'm in the U.S.A., where the album was only released in stereo. The mono mix of the album has a somewhat (perhaps intentionally) lower fidelity sound than the stereo mix. As for the question of whether it is a dedicated mono mix, or a "folddown" from the stereo, I'm inclined to say that it is a combination of both, depending on the song in question. There are no bonus tracks on this disc.

"Disc Three",whose sleeve has an outtake photo from the U.S.A. album cover photo session(I wonder where they found that?) is a collection of rarities & BBC tracks.It opens with the 1967 version of "Monsieur Armand" plus "Seem To Have The Blues(Most of The Time)". These tracks are still in mono sound, but with markedly improved sound over any previous release. Next is the 1967 version of "Magdalene(My Regal Zonophone)". when the "Westside" label issued this track, only an acetate was available. The "Salvo" label eventually found a tape source, and this is another upgrade, as it has a count off at the start. Next is the 1967 version of "Shine On Brightly", which has no guitar. This was found at the end of EMI's reel set for the Procol Harum debut album. A sonically inferior recording compared to the familiar 1968 re-make, it nonetheless sounds improved here. The more familiar second version of "In The Wee Small Hours of Sixpence"(the one that replaced the Uk single version on all 1960's releases subsequent to the Uk single) is represented here by the 1990's stereo remix from the "Westside" label stereo remix CD "Pandora's Box". A backing track version(or alternate backing track) for "Monsieur Armand" follows(it was previously offered on the "Salvo" label CD of "Shine On Brightly". "McGreggor"(already released by both "Westside" & "Salvo") follows, Then "The Gospel According To"(a 1990's remix of "Wish Me Well". The disc concludes with two complete Procol Harum BBC sessions. These 8 tracks are musically superb, have full fidelity sound, and only one of them ("Shine On Brightly") has a D.J. voice-over. Sometimes, when other labels issue BBC tracks, you get dodgy off-air tapings from bootleg CD's, but somehow, in recent deluxe editions(such as this set and recent 3-CD sets by The Artwoods & the early[1964-66] Moody Blues) the "Esoteric" label is accessing full fidelity sources for BBC tracks.
There are only a handful of items (released on Procol Harum CD's from the "Westside" & "Salvo" labels that could have been issued here, but aren't. One was a backing track mix(or alternate backing track) for "In The wee Small Hours of Sixpence" released by "Salvo". It is not essential, but collectors must hold onto the "Salvo" CD of "Shine On Brightly". The "Westside" label offered a breakdown take of a live-during-mono mixdown tambourine overdub on "Quite Rightly So", and a remix of "Quite Rightly So"(as it is on the multitrack tape, I.E. with no tambourine).
These two items are trivia/footnotes for completists only. Which brings me to the subject of the only significant omission: the Scandinavian single version of "Quite Rightly So". This was the first song recorded in these sessions, and was promptly issued in Scandinavia. When the group returned from their European tour and album sessions resumed, Gary Brooker & Keith Reid decided to revise the recording with a new lead vocal; one which reflected some changes to the lyrics. The two Uk mono mixes and the one stereo mix included in this 3-CD set have the revised vocal & lyric. Excepting the omission of the Scandinavian single version of "Quite Rightly So", the compiling decisions for this project were otherwise correct. The mono mix of "Version Two" of "In The Wee Small Hours of Sixpence" is available on many other CD's from "Westside", "Salvo", "A&M" & "Repertoire".
Esoteric has done a very high quality reissue of this album. If you've never owned this album on CD before, or have only owned the "Salvo" edition or some early(1980's) CD edition with no bonus tracks, then this 3-CD edition is the one to buy. It is very nearly definitive. It comes with three small cards(that reproduce concert posters), plus a mini-poster with the UK & U.S.A. album covers and complete lyrics for the main album tracks, and an attractive, informative booklet, all in a "Clamshell" box.
Undoubtedly, my review will be re-posted to several internet music forums where I'm no longer permitted to participate. I'm O.K. with that.
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on 7 July 2014
This album from 1968 is, quite simply, a masterpiece; the gorgeous chords emanating from Matthew Fisher's organ at the start of the superb 'Quite Rightly So' sets the scene for a wonderfully varied collection of psychedelic rock with the main players (Fisher, the wonderful pianist/vocalist Gary Brooker, powerhouse guitarist Robin Trower, drummer B.J Wilson and bassist David Knights) all making significant contributions throughout. The title track ('Shine On Brightly') is classic Procol - Keith Reid's lyrics are totally weird, but, frankly, who cares when the music is this good! Of the other shorter tracks, 'Rambling On' is a superbly crafted ballad whilst 'Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone) is another lovely song. The 17-minute 'In Held 'Twas In I' which closes the album is impossible to describe ~ think the Moody Blues at their weirdest and you're getting warm! Certainly this is Progressive rock at its most esoteric so just lie back and let Brooker & Co take you on a magical journey. Definitely an LP to buy if you love early Procol Harum.
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on 11 July 2017
This is a great album to listen to when stoned off my tree in America.
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on 15 May 2017
Good way to catch up with Procal Hare, from recent years
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I diligently picked up the reissues of Procol Harum's 60s and 70s catalogue when they were reissued in sequence in 2009 by Salvo Records of the UK - and dug their natty gatefold card sleeves and half-decent remasters. But just as soon as they had arrived - they seemed to be quickly deleted and almost instantly started to attract unhealthy price hikes right across the board. So along comes England's Esoteric Recordings (part of Cherry Red) in 2015 to rescue the British band's legacy and fan's wallets with a full on reissue campaign that practically doubles the preceding issues in size and scope (and in real style too). There is a lot on this chunky sucker so let’s to those glimpses of Nirvana (if you know what I mean)...

UK released 29 June 2015 (July 2015 in the USA) – "Shine On Brightly: 3CD Deluxe Edition" by PROCOL HARUM on Esoteric Recordings ECLEC 32500 (Barcode 5013929460041) is a 3-Disc Remaster in a 5" Clamshell Mini Box Set of their classic 2nd album from 1968 on Regal Zonophone Records (A&M in the USA).

Newly Remastered on all counts (BEN WISEMAN and ROB KEYLOCH did the expert transfers, noticably better to my ears than the Salvo issues especially with regard to the steady soundstage - speed issues fixed) – Disc 1 is the Stereo Mix of the 11-track album plus three extras - Disc 2 features the 11-track 'MONO' Mix on CD for the first time - while Disc 3 gives us 20 more Bonus Tracks – 7 of which are Previously Unreleased 1968 BBC Sessions from John Peel's "Top Gear" Radio One Series. Inside the Clamshell Box are three postcards repro'ing American Concert Posters – one for the San Francisco International Pop Festival 1968 and two for the "Grand Ballroom" shows in Detroit in May and October 1968. A fold-out double-sided colour poster features the album’s UK artwork on one side (a George Underwood painting) and the different USA A&M Records artwork on the other (a Guy Webster photograph that was deemed more 'appropriate') - as well as the lyrics and the Gary Brooker/Keith Reid blurb that accompanied the original UK trade advert.

On top of all that there’s a beautifully laid out 24-page colour booklet with liner note by HENRY SCOTT-IRVINE who authored the book "Procol Harum: The Ghosts Of The Whiter Shade Of Pale". The card sleeve for CD1 has the UK album artwork (Stereo), CD2 has the US LP artwork (Mono) and CD3 features a (unseen) variant of the US album artwork. A nice touch and real attention to detail is that the label for CD1 is Purple in colour and CD2 is Red – both reflecting the original Stereo and Mono label colours of the original 1968 LP issues - while Disc 3 is in Black. Page 19 of the booklet gives a good indication of the classiness on offer here – a 9-picture collage of rare European and Japanese 7" single sleeves for "Quite Rightly So". There is discussion on the impact of the album (Pete Townshend name-checks it as an influence on "Tommy"), concert photos, concert posters and publicity shots, paragraphs on the 'outtakes' etc. It’s very tastily done. Here is a detailed break down of each CD:

Disc 1 – STEREO MIX (49:36 minutes):
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)
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
Tracks 1 to 11 are their 2nd studio album "Shine On Brightly" – released September 1968 in the USA in Stereo Only on A&M Records SP 4151 and December 1968 in the UK on Regal Zonophone SLRZ 1004 (Stereo)

12. Il Tuo Diamante ("Shine On Brightly" Italian Version In Mono, Recorded September 1967) – a small chart hit in Italy in January 1968 on Nil Records 45NIL 9005
13. Quite Rightly So
14. In The Wee Small Hours Of Sixpence – Tracks 13 and 14 are the non-album A&B-sides of a March 1968 UK 7" single on Regal Zonophone RZ 3007

Disc 2 – MONO MIX (38:39 minutes):
1 to 11 as per Disc 1 - their 2nd studio album "Shine On Brightly" – released December 1968 in the UK on Regal Zonophone LRZ 1004 in Mono (No USA variant) - Previously Unreleased on CD

Disc 3 (53:06 minutes):
1. Monsieur Armand (Mono) – a 1967 recording that first appeared on the may 1976 UK LP "Rock Roots" by Procol Harum on Fly/Cube Records ROOTS 4. It was re-worked and re-recorded as "Monsieur R. Monde" for the 1974 LP "Exotic Birds & Fruit" on Chrysalis Records
2. Seem To Have The Blues (Most Of The Time) (Mono) - a 1967 recording that first appeared on the may 1976 UK LP "Rock Roots" by Procol Harum on Fly/Cube Records ROOTS 4
3. Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone) (1967 Version in Mono)
4. Shine On Brightly (1967 Version in Mono) – recorded October 1967
5. In The Wee Small Hours Of Sixpence (Stereo Mix) – recorded 6 December 1967. A mono version is on Disc 1 as the B-side to "Quite Rightly So"
6. Monsieur Armand (Stereo Backing Track) – recorded 11 October 1967
7. A Robe Of Silk (Stereo Backing Track) – recorded 12 January 1968
8. McGreggor – first appeared on the 1997 "30th Anniversary" CD Edition of "A Salty Dog" on Westside
9. The Gospel According To...[Wish Me Well] – recorded 19 March 1968
10. Skip Softly (My Moonbeams)
11. Quite Rightly So
12. Ramblin’ On
13. Shine On Brightly (tracks 10 to 13 are from "Top Gear" BBC Radio One Session, 14 February 1968) – PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
14. Skip Softly (My Moonbeams)
15. Wish Me Well
16. Long Gone Geek (tracks 14 to 16 are from "Top Gear" BBC Radio One Session, 19 August 1968) – PREVIOUSLY UNRELEADED
17. In Held 'Twas In I (Look To Your Soul/Grande Finale) (track 17 is from "Top Gear" BBC Radio One Session, 6 October 1968) – PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

Released in the run up to Christmas 1968 on both sides of the pond, Procol Harum’s 2nd album "Shine On Brightly" was produced by DENNY CORDELL and an uncredited GLYN JOHNS and featured the same line-up as their January 1968 self-titled debut album:

Piano and Lead Vocals – GARY BROOKER
Lead Guitar – ROBIN TROWER
Hammond Organ and Keyboards – MATTHEW FISHER
Drums and Percussion – B.J. WILSON
(Lyrics) – KEITH REID

As the Matthew Fisher organ sails in for the album opener "Quite Rightly So" - the new Stereo remaster on Disc 1 is immediate and powerful (the tambourine and Brooker's vocals have more clarity too). A huge fan favorite – the title track "Shine On Brightly" is also incredibly clean on that wailing Trower guitar and Fisher's Hammond. And even though the channel separation is harsh and that cross fading is gimmicky – the remaster still feels better than what was on the 2009 reissue. "Slip Softly (My Moonbeam)" has Trower's guitar and those treated keyboard sounds married well – and when it goes into that floating piano passage in the middle of the song and Trower comes in with that wicked solo – it's the best I’ve ever heard this track. Probably my personal crave and a groove I've loved for years – "Wish Me Well" is Funk for Procol Harum and feels like a great Joe Cocker track with The Grease Band. It has real power now and renewed clarity.

Side 2's "Glimpses Of Nirvana" is a talking-tale of hippy lore too far for me ("...life is like a beanstalk..." - yikes) – but what's not in dispute is that this remaster adds a huge power to the instruments as they build. The 1:19 minutes of "Twas Tea Time At The Circus" feels like a Small Faces madrigal – and again the remaster is amazing. Much was made in initial reviews of the threesome that finishes the album (like a suite of serious songs) – "In The Autumn Of The Madness", "Look To Your Soul" and "Grand Finale". You can hear elements of Gabriel's Genesis circa "Nursery Cryme" in all that melodrama – those heavy themes and sound affects while the heavy Prog guitars feel like Vertigo Spiral territory. A tiny bit hissy – still the opening Bass and Cymbal to "Grand Finale" is beautifully clear as Fisher's piano fades in and then those church-like vocals – superb.

I must admit the Mono Mix does little for me and actually makes tracks like "Rambling On" sound ever so slightly weird and less powerful somehow. The extras on Disc 3 are a motley crew of different mix rarities and genuine finds. "Monsieur Armand" opens proceedings strongly – the Mono mix on this song having a huge punch with Trower’s solo shining half way in. The very Jethro Tull "Seem To Have The Blues (Most All The Time)" thunders through your speakers with Trower's heavy grungy guitar offset by R 'n' B keyboards from Fisher as Gary Brooker bemoans his fate ("...whole lotta people treat me unkind..."). The vocal on the Mono "Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone)" is way back in the mix and gives it a more melancholy feel. But a genuine blast comes in the shape of the Stereo Mix of that beloved B-side "In The Wee Small Hours Of Sixpence" which puts Fisher's keyboard runs more to the fore (loving this).

Next we get a duo of fan-pleasers in the (vocal-less) Stereo Backing Tracks to "Monsieur Armand" and "A Robe Of Silk" where Procol sound like The Spencer Davis Group or even the Small Faces in their Immediate period on both cuts (very cool additions). The lament "McGreggor" is good but far better is the Bluesy and Funky groove of "The Gospel According To...(Wish Me Well)" where they sound almost like "Tons Of Sobs" Free with keyboards added – Trower trucking away on that guitar as the slow beat drives the song on (it ends abruptly at 3:35 minutes and you wish there was more). The BBC stuff is professionally recorded and packs an impressive punch – the soft piano and wild guitar soloing of Trower on the opening "Skip Softly" doing anything but skipping softly. The band sounds fresh and pleased with itself on "Quite Rightly So" – the drums well recorded too. "...Our local picture house is showing the Batman movie..." Brooker sings plaintively on "Ramblin' On" where a copper warns him that his newly purchased Batwings may not work if he jumps off a building like Adam West. The cheesy spoken intro of "...mind expanding sound...burn into your brain baby..." at the beginning of "Shine On Brightly" is 'so' Radio 1 DJ-speak (what a hoot!). The 2nd "Top Gear" set seems better recorded with superior Stereo imaging. The soft piano intro to "Wish Me Well" followed by Trower’s chugging guitar and the doubled vocals is wicked stuff and a real discovery. The 2:34 minutes of "Long Gone Geek" is the sound of a band finding its feet and thoroughly enjoying it – very cool little tune. And on it goes...

There are four x 2015 titles in Esoteric's 'Deluxe Edition' PROCOL HARUM reissue campaign so far and at this rate – all will be mandatory purchases for lovers of the band. “Shine On Brightly” is a superlative reissue and one that will please both fans and whet the appetite of the curious. Well done to all involved...

2015 PROCOL HARUM CD Reissues/Remasters by Esoteric Recordings:
1. Procol Harum – January 1968 UK Debut Album - 2CD Deluxe Edition UK released 17 July 2015 on Esoteric ECLEC 22497 (Barcode 5013929459748)

2. Shine On Brightly – December 1968 2nd Studio Album – 3CD Deluxe Edition UK released 29 June 2015 on Esoteric Recordings ECLEC 32500 (Barcode 5013929460041)

3. A Salty Dog – June 1969 3rd Studio Album – 2CD Deluxe Edition UK released 31 July 2015 on Esoteric Recordings ECLEC 22503 (Barcode 501392946348)

4. Home – June 1970 4th Studio Album – 2CD Deluxe Edition released 31 July 2015 on Esoteric Recordings ECLEC 22505 (Barcode 5013929460546)
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on 30 July 2009
I used to have this album on vinyl many years ago and probably wore it out over time and lost it along the way somewhere. So I was delighted to find it re-issued and re-mastered on CD. I was slightly apprehensive playing it for the first time in case it didn't sound as good as I remembered it from 40 years ago, but I wasn't disappointed. It is even better than I remember - a classic re-issue and recommended for all PH fans and those who want to know what they were all about.
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on 2 December 2010
The first four Procol Harum albums have, like the Move's, been remastered and released by the Salvo label. "Shine on Brighly" was Procol Harum's second album, and it is often regarded as perhaps their finest. With the new remastering the music has never sounded better, and another interesting feature is that it is now possible to play the songs from the long suite "In Held Twas In I" separately - an option I have often wished for.

The bonus-tracks are great too, some of them as good as the album-tracks. Especially the great B-side "In the Wee Small Hours of Sixpence" - a song I remember them playing in Denmark on their 1970 tour.

"Monsieur Armand" and "Seem to Have the Blues" are bluesy out-takes which have been released several times before, but I have never heard the sounding so great as on this release. "McGreggor" is another fine song, which probably never reached a finished stage - but a great recording anyway. "The Gospel According to" is actually an alternate version of "Wish Me Well" - and not very different from the album version.

The alternative version of "Magdalene" has been released before - but sounding pretty poor. The sound has been restored markedly for this release - but the chorus still sound pretty weird.

"A Robe of Silk" is a fine melodic instrumental, which the group decided to re-record for their "The Well's on Fire" album. Interesting too, to hear the acoustic guitar on the backing track of "In the Wee Small Hours of Sixpence".

Like the rest of the Salvo-releases this album has fine informative liner-notes.
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on 31 January 2010
Always liked Procol Harum since buying their (also brilliant) 1st LP. I find that their first 4 albums on Regal Zonophone are essential listening & some of the few albums i never get tired of hearing.
If i had to choose between the 4 then Shine On Brightly would JUST beat the others.
If you have not listened to these albums, especially this one, then treat yourself & enjoy!!!!!
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on 15 January 2010
I've always felt that Robin Trower's blues workouts sat rather uneasily with the more classical leanings of Matthew Fisher and Gary Brooker. Happily, there's really only one bluesy track here, and the keyboards dominate, so for me it makes this one of the band's more appealing albums.

It's something of a neglected 60s psychedelic classic, and those who've only heard The Single would be well advised to check it out. The sound quality is superb, one of the best reissues I've heard in ages. So for all those Procol Harum fans who've got this already and are thinking "do I really need to buy it all again?" the answer is - yes!
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on 22 January 2011
Mastered in the wrong speed, to bright and also compressed!
I strongly recommend the original release on the Castle label instead, linked below - it sounds perfect!
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