Procol Harum

the Pale

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Verbal Variants

and Keith Reid's responses

While Keith was checking and changing the song-words published at 'Beyond the Pale'
he made the following observations about various verbal variants ...

Salad Days (Are Here Again) (Brooker / Reid)

We asked Keith for the full version of the variant verse fans have heard in concert, which goes (in part)

... the birds fly in the sky
The weeping willow turns my head
and one bird passes by

Keith Reid's response:
'Never wrote it.'

It now seems likely that these words belong to an unpublished Reid lyric beginning 'Take the ice-cream from my shoes', which Gary Brooker at one point used to sing to the tune of Salad Days (RC)

Quite Rightly So (Brooker / Fisher / Reid)

We asked Keith to check these variant words which are heard on the German version of the Quite Rightly So single (Polydor 59175), the 1997 Westside rarities CD, Shine on Brightly!, the 2000 Metro compilation, and a BBC session broadcast in 1968:  

And grief and laughter, strange but true 
Although they die, they seldom cry 

They're seldom meeting, I'm not competing 
It seems to me there's no retreat.

Keith's comment on the variant couplet:
'I don't know anything about these words and I never wrote them.'

It now seems likely that Keith has simply forgotten these words: in conversation (23 February 2007) with Roland from BtP, Keith said  ‘This must have been Gary improvising, and I nixed it’. Gary Brooker, however, said (24 February 2007) 'The song was probably put out in a rush for a European release, and I later re-did the lyric.' This is confirmed by a glimpse of his album of Reid's typed lyrics: ‘Them [sic] seldom meeting / I’m not competing / It seems to me there’s no retreat’ is typed in one text of this song, whereas another sheet replaces these with the more familiar lines (‘grief and laughter’), typed in stand-out capitals, as if to draw attention to them as a revision. (RC)

Click here to view a scan of a 1968 autograph version of the words, and here for a (mimed) performance of the variant lyric

Variant mix –
Rambling On

Into The Flood
a rewritten song?

Early mix variant –
A Dream in Ev'ry Home

Non-variant words from Procol Harum albums

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