Procol Harum

the Pale

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Rambling On and On

Variant mixes compared ...

It's well-known that a variant take of Quite Rightly So, with additional words that Keith Reid disavows, was released in Scandinavia: the sleeve is shown here.

'Beyond the Pale' wondered if the B-side, Rambling On, had equally significant differences from the familiar version. The question was kindly answered for us by Norwegian rock journalist Yan Friis, as follows:


OK Roland, now I've been through Rambling On, the 45. A bit disappointed at first. Yes, it is the same recording as can be found on the Shine On Brightly album. But the mix is radically different. Not just because it's in mono: I compared both versions back-to-back in mono. The first thing you notice is that Fisher's organ is more prominent on the 45, especially through the verses. He plays small licks right behind Gary's piano.

The next thing you notice is that the 45 is more powerful: it's got a punch that the album-mix lacks. This becomes really audible during the long outro of course, because the 45 does not fade out-in-out but stays on maximum volume until it finally fades, a good 1015 seconds later than the final fade on the album-mix.

Trower does amazing things on his guitar, and I do not understand why they destroyed this blistering ending by fading it out and in. The 45 lasts 1015 seconds longer, as mentioned, and Trower sounds as if he could go on forever, and you really wish he would.

Same recording, then, but the 45's powerful ending makes it sound like a completely different version. It struck me as strange that Keith Reid has corrected the lyrics printed at 'Beyond The Pale', because there are some minor 'mistakes' there, at least some words differ from the recorded version. [NB Keith's corrections at BtP do not claim to represent what Gary sings on the records, but rather how he wishes the words he wrote to be recorded on the website]

Quite Rightly So, the A-side, is the version with the different set of lyrics (the two last lines in the first verse). Gary's voice is a bit muddled, but I guess the words printed at 'Beyond the Pale' are the correct ones.

(I wonder if the British and European album versions of Rambling On are identical? Hmmm ...)

Maybe another visitor can answer Yan's final question about Rambling On? Please mail us.

Meanwhile Jens Anders Ravnaas asked Matthew Fisher about these European variants in an e-mail; this was Matthew's reply:

  • My memory is a bit rusty about this incident, although it does ring a bell. I think the Euro-release of QRS was rush-released. I do remember hearing the 'new' mix of Rambling On, with the fade-out, fade back in and fade out again, but I can't remember what other differences there may have been between that and the original mix. I think the thing was, we needed a quick B-side and so a rough mix of Rambling On was done. Later it was mixed with more time spent on it.

    That's all I can remember. So long.

  • Takayuki Fujii writes
    In Japan, the single Skip Softly c/w Rambling On was released in 1970. But the version Skip Softly included here was edited. 

    The construction of this song is: Intro ... 2 verse sing ... instrumental ... fade out. 

    But the edited version is
    Intro ... 2 verse sing ... 2 verse sing ... Fade out. 

    No instrumental part has this version !  This version was edited by King Records of Japan who the distributed Procol's records.  I think that this is a rare one!

    More picture sleeves

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