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Barclay James  Harvest - Once Again CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.80 | 232 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars What a great improvement in comparison with their first album ! BJH sounds here as they will do for several years. This is very nice symphonic prog music. Of course, no complex tracks, no intricate lyrics. No, what you'll get here is very pleasant music.

I mentioned in my review of their first album, that since I discovered them with their great "BJH Live", I did not really bother to buy their back catalogue (with only one exception). So, a few years ago, I purchased a double packaged and remastered CD with "Once Again " and "Baby James Harvest". A bargain, with lots of bonus umbers.

This album opens of one of preferred song of the band : "She Said". It is a pure jewel of symphonic music. Extremely beautiful and captivating. Keyboards and guitar are so emotionally played.

"Happy Old World" explores again some of the sounds of their debut album. Great verse with a very light mellotron in the back, the chorus is rather childish yet psychedelic. Very nice and peaceful piano to close the song. Jhon Lees has discovered his so unique guitar sound and which is so passionate. We'll get another example with "Song for Dying". A simple song, a bit mellow but with great vocal touches, and short guitar breaks. The final minute reminds KC and is very much ITCOTCK oriented. A tranquil song.

"Galadriel" is another of the very nice songs of this rather good album so far. One critic might be the use of some orchestrations (like on their debut album). I am not sure that these horns were necessary. The melody is just superb.

How much I have loved the next song ! Another jewel of harmony, sweetness, beauty and tranquility. The rhythm catches a bit at half time, but again the orchestration are useless. "Mocking Bird" is another typical BJH song. With these type of songs, BFH has definitely gain my admiration (but no adulation of course. Remember : no more heroes).

The last three numbers of this very good album will not be on par (but I admit it was not easy). "Vanessa Simmons" especially is the weakest number of the album. A folkish and passionless song. On the contrary, "Ball and Chain" is the heaviest song of the album (but do not expect a Purple song while reading this comment). It is a blues-rock oriented song, which brings a bit a diversity in this very quiet album. Something necessary, I guess.

Back again to the subtle and light music with "Lady Loves". Just another pleasant tune closing this melancholic album quite nicely, I must say.

The remastered version holds three "quad" version of existing numbers : "Happy Old World", "Vanessa Simmons" and "Ball and Chain". Since I do not own such equipment, I cannot really judge of the improvement. There will be a short and orchestral number which is rather useless and a "live" track called "Too Much On Your Plate". Again a blues- rock number in its start; with nice vocal arragements that Crosby, Stills and Nash wouldn't have denied.

Several BJH classic here, some good numbers as well. All in all a VERY pleasant album.

This second album holds all the BJH characteristics that will please their fans so much. They are delivering very accessible but beautiful music. Nothing complicated, just straight forward compositions. At least they have defined their own style and sound in this album (which was not the case in their debut one which was almost 100 % influenced by the Fab Four).

Even if some might find their work a bit "short", BJH belonged to one of my preferred band of the mid-seventies and I guess that lots of nostalgia invades me when I listen to those numbers. But these orchestrations are really too much.

Four stars.

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |


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