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Barclay James  Harvest - Live Tapes CD (album) cover

LIVE TAPES

Barclay James Harvest

 

Crossover Prog

3.71 | 56 ratings

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febus
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST AT ITS ZENITH!

This is the second live album BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST released 4 years after ''BJH LIVE'' in 1974 .Of course, they weren't published for the same reasons. The first one was issued by Polydor trying to recoup some money from an indebted obscure band. LIVE TAPES on the other hand is an attempt at making (a lot of,if possible) money taking the advantage of the growing popularity of a band that was riding high back then artistically and commercially.BJH, even if they were not on the same commercial succesful level with bands like Genesis or Yes , were doing quite well in 1978, especially on continental Europe.

When you listen to LIVE TAPES, you can feel the financial means didn't come scarce for this project . The sound of the first live album was rather muddy and the production was awful.It won't happen here as this double LP comes with a wonderful crystal clear sound where you can hear every instrument distinctly, the voices can be heard as if you were part of the concert. To keep it short, a masterful sharp production!

No risks were taken either with the track selection! All the big ''classics'' from the ''classic'' period are present: HYMN , POOR MAN'S MOODY BLUES, CHILD OF THE UNIVERSE all sung powerfully by a JOHN LEES at his peak. Oh ! what a strong, yet beautiful voice! Even SUICIDE gets more emotional on LIVE TAPES than on OCTOBERON. LEES is crying his heart out on this track.

LES HOLROYD tries to level successfully with his partner with a better version of ROCK N ROLL STAR orTAKING ME HIGHER , definitely more energetic and livelier than the studio versions. Other favorites of mine like JONATHAN and ONE NIGHT from TIME HONOURED GHOSTS (my fave BJH album) are included making a happy man out of me!

LIVE TAPES can be considered like a best-of live and as such, there are always on this matter subjective personal appreciations about which tracks should be there and the ones that shouldn't. Songs like CRAZY CITY or POLK STREET RAG never did anything for me as i don't like JOHN LEES when he tries to play hard rock guitar.This is not for him!!He is not a rocker! I would have preferred MOONLIGHT or THE GREAT 1974 MINING DISASTER,but that's just me, i guess!

From the old times, only the grandiose MOCKINGBIRD made it so far in a edgier rendition, though still very pleasant.This song, i guess, is part of any BJH concert as it is still played by the band today though only through the eyes of JOHN LEES! LIVE TAPES is a pleasant album to listen to,the songs although not very different from the studio versions are played with more force, mor energy by a band that seems to have fun enjoying their growing fame!

LIVE TAPES is the perfect complement to the 1974 ''BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST LIVE'' as it showcases the evolution of a band through the 70s going from bankruptcy to stardom, but keeping true to themselves by producing tasty beautiful, melodic prog/rock songs.

4 STARS.

febus | 4/5 |

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