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Barclay James  Harvest - Barclay James Harvest Live CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

4.40 | 103 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

Polydor records wasted no time trying to recoup some money after taking over the debts of BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST following their demise from their former label. The band released just a few months after signing with POLYDOR the excellent studio album EVERYONE IS EVERYBODY ELSE mid-1974 and before the year ended, this double live album was in every record store just in time for those Christmas gifts, at least for the few ones who knew about the band.

A part of the deal striked between Polydor and Harvest records was the right for Polydor to use the old songs from the band for any potential live recording made in the future! And the future was not that far away in the clever minds of the Polydor brainstorm.A live album never cost too much money to produce and the benefits made out of it would help to balance a little bit the financial sheets.

This would be BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST first live album with many more to come such as the excellent LIVE TAPES in 1978 and the historic concert at the Reichstag of BERLIN in 1982. But 1974 was still the time when prog was king and of course this live album is their most ''proggish'' of them all. Not that it is very adventurous, (it can;t happen with BJH), but for the first time (and last time) the band decided to loosen up -a little bit- on some selections of this album.

Knowing BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST, one can expect the band to play their songs on stage the same way they sound on records, yes this is the case, but on a few occasions, here, the band let the music take off by itself and let it flow with no time restrictions. JOHN LEES is the one responsible for this ''adventurous'' spirit with SUMMER SOLDIER and especially an amazing 10mn rendition of MEDICINE MAN from ''BJH and other stories"" that bear almost ne ressemblance to the original version ,with long guitar solos, WOLSETENHOLME having some fun with his synth and this maniacal repetitive ''hard'' guitar riff. This track is the summitt of the album as it shows us another facet of BJH we wished to have heard more often.

Other songs benefiting of new arrangements are AFTER A DAY and MOCKINGBIRD sounding more simpler as the orchestra is no longer around, but still sounding majestic as the mellotron add a lush refined texture over the beautiful melodies.If you are a fan of this instrument, love the KING CRIMSON sound from their first 2 albums, you are for a treat with ''BJH LIVE''. This is a mellotron-drenched album from the first song to the last one.

The live versions of the 4 tracks coming out of EVERYONE IS EVERYBODY ELSE stand more faithful to the originals as the band was promoting this album during this tour this double live LPs was recorded and in no way would they ''experiment'' with them. You don't ''mess'' with a new product when your bank account is deep in the red.

BARCLAYJAMES HARVEST 'LIVE'' is a great testament of the musical abilities of a band whose artistic creativity was peaking around this time. This is also a great testament about a side of prog-rock music which can be melodic, harmonious well sung, well performed,always in good taste striving for beauty and deep emotions.

4.5 STARS.

febus | 4/5 |


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