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Barclay James  Harvest - Gone To Earth CD (album) cover

GONE TO EARTH

Barclay James Harvest

 

Crossover Prog

3.37 | 132 ratings

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chessman
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I bought this on its release back in '77. It was the first, and to date, only BJH album I owned. The other day I purchased from Amazon the remastered cd, and it has brought back lots of happy memories for me. The opening track, 'Hymn' is very much in the Moody Blues camp, with its simple yet powerful acoustic guitars, catchy melody and nice, slow building harmonies. No wonder this band were compared to the Moodies; for me, that is a good thing. A magnificent song! 'Love Is Like A Violin' however, is nothing like the Moodies. The guitar is subtle and interesting, and the verse is atmospheric and slow paced, really lovely in fact, though the chorus lets it down a tad, being a touch pedestrian. A good song though. 'Friend Of Mine' is far closer to the Eagles in style, and in the vocal department. Almost akin to 'Take It Easy' by that band. Funny, I never noticed the similarities with the Eagles back in the '70s, but now I do. Still a decent track though, with a flowing, strong melody. Last track on the old side one is the classic 'Poor Man's Moody Blues' written in response to a journalist's carping about their influences. For once, this song is intentionally like the Moodies, in fact it is like 'Nights In White Satin', and it is a really fine song with even the chorus having the sort of choral effect that 'Nights' had. 'Hard Hearted Woman' has some simple but effective guitar riffing in it, and a solid melody, and this then leads to Wooly Wolstenholme's magnificent opus; 'Sea Of Tranquility' which starts off in a gentle, quite way, and builds wonderfully to a soaring climax. One of the highlights on the album. Another highlight is 'Spirit On The Water', with its infectious rhythm, atmospheric, spacey vocals, and very catchy verse and refrain. It also has more beautiful harmonies and backing vocals. One of my favourites. 'Leper's Song' has some really strong guitar work on it, as befits a track that rocks more than any other here. The musicianship throughout the album is very strong, if understated at times, and the band obviously know how to play! Mention must be made of Mel Pritchard's drumming, which is unobtrusive, yet fits perfectly into the Barclay's overall sound. The keyboards also soar on 'Leper's Song', and it is another highlight for me. 'Taking Me Higher' ends the album beautifully, with its soft, warm harmonies, almost ethereal in texture, flowing in and out of the track, which begins with a short verse before fading out (and up?) slowly. Uplifting in a ghostly way. On the remaster I have, there are some 5 bonus tracks. The first song, 'Lied' is a previously unreleased tune which is decent if unspectacular, whilst the second, 'Our Kid's Kid' was originally a B-side. This is another mid-paced, almost Eagles style song which is ok, though not breathtaking by any means. The next two tracks, 'Hymn' and 'Friend Of Mine' are single versions of the album tracks, and are unnecessary in my opinion, though, again, harmless. Finally comes the epic 'Medicine Man', which is a live track that originally appeared on an EP. This song is very powerful, very well played, and is rightfully regarded as one of the band's classics. A very strong way to end a fine album. For me, I could live without the bonus material (though I do enjoy the last track), but the remaster is very well done and only enhances the overall sound, which is warm and friendly. Four stars methinks.
chessman | 4/5 |

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