Keith Reid - Procol Harum Lyricist

reviewed by Moose74

Keith Reid is a non-performing member of Procol Harum who has written the group's lyrics for all their albums from 1967 through 2003.


Keith Reid - Procol Harum Lyricist 4

Reid is an admirer of Dylan, a fact that partly explains the lyrics to "A Whiter Shade of Pale" being called Dylanesque at the time. That song was, perhaps more than any other, the song of The Summer of Love. It hit #1 almost everywhere in the world except the USA where it reached #5.
Procol's first studio album was great, but, unfortunately, was recorded in Mono, limiting its impact. On it, Reid writes about themes such as mortality (Something Following Me) and alienation (Kaleidoscope) but not in a way that makes them sound dated. Their 2nd album, 1968's "Shine on Brightly" features some of Reid's most elegant lyrics. ("Quite Rightly So", "Magdalene") The album also includes an extended piece called "In Held 'Twas In I" which is about one man's spiritual quest, certainly a theme for that, or any, generation. Reid, normally considered a non-performing member, recites his own words in the second spoken part. He returns to the spiritual quest theme on their third album, "A Salty Dog" with the song "Pilgrims Progress."

In searching I forsook the paths of learning
And sought instead to find some pirate's gold
In fighting I did hurt those dearest to me
Still no hidden truths could I unfold

As a Baby Boomer (a term I'm not wild about; it's just a media construct which groups millions of people together in artificial ways), I can honestly say that I continue to return to the words of Keith Reid and am never disappointed. They refuse to become fossilized. Even when he does write more directly about "issues" such as in 1974's "As Strong as Samson" from "Exotic Birds and Fruit", the lyrics remain relevant.

Famine and hardship in true living colour
Constant reminders...the plight of our brother
Daily starvation our diet of news
Fed to the teeth with a barrage of views

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magellan commented 1419 days ago.
This is a great review.
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