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Barclay James  Harvest - BJH Through The Eyes Of John Lees: Nexus CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.01 | 43 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

I guess long lasting chidhood friendships never die. When BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST was formed back then in 1967 JOHN LEES and WOOLY WOLSTENHOLME were already friends for a long time before joining forces with LES HOLROYD and MEL PRITCHARD who both grow together. And when the official band ceased to exist in 1997, the old friendships followed their natural paths. Wooly came back from musical retirement ( he is a farmer) to help JOHN LEES launch a new BJH version when MEL PRITCHARD chose to stay with his childhood buddy LES.

I was very happy about WOOLY WOLSTENHOLME playing again with John as these 2 musicians incarnated more the BJH spirit than the dull HOLROYD compositions. Woolstenhome in, Holroyd out, that was perfect for me! In a way BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST through the eyes of JOHN LEES sounded as a possibility to a return to past glories!

NEXUS cannot be compared as favorably as the classic works from the golden age such as ONCE AGAIN or TIME HONOURED GHOSTS but at least that was a step to the right direction following the boredom of RIVER OF DREAMS. To bridge the 2 periods, the band ( or the recording company marketing branch maybe!!!) decided to mix new songs with new readaptations of old classics.Surely a good idea to bring back home old fans who had deserted tha band since the eighties.

NEXUS is a good BJH album trying to recapture the sensations of the good old days. JOHN LEES shows he has no ego problem as WOOLY WOLSTENHOLME is credited as co-writer on all new tracks and shares the vocal duties equally with his pal. There is no interest wasting time to decide if the new arrangements of the classic songs are worthy or not, if they should have done this one or another song. It doesn't matter!!! That's old BARCLAY back in business.

Of course, you guess the band will perform MOCINGBIRD and you are right!A nice stripped down version with no orchestra, just WOOLY and his toys!! THE IRON MAIDEN is relatively a copy conform to the original and LOVING IS EASY is even improved. TITLES was never a favorite of mine, but is performed rather pleasantly to my ears on this recording.

The new tracks are good as well, almost reminiscent of the seventies spirit except BRAVE NEW WORLD which sound more ''modern days'' BJH .But tracks like FLOAT , THE DEVILS THAT I KEEP or STAR BRIGHT show that our 2 musicians haven't lost it: pure old BJH magic back! very nice melodies, wonderful haunting athmosphere created by WOOLY, beautiful guitar playing by JOHN LEES! What else do you want?? what i don't want for sure after that is another CHICAGO track performed by LES HOLROYD!! and thanks god, LES is nowhere to be heard on NEXUS.

NEXUS is not a masterpiece, but is a good BJH album released to pleasure the old fans, a work of collaboration between the 2 main musicians sounding like a band effort, not just 2 solo projects living under the same roof as it was for the past 2 decades.

3.5 STARS.

febus | 3/5 |


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