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

BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST

Barclay James Harvest

 

Crossover Prog

3.19 | 121 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Theo Verstrael
4 stars I got to learn this band through their superb 1974 album ´Everyone is everybody else´ and worked my way through their back catalogue since then. Which meant that I listened to their debut for the first time somewhere in the late seventies. It sounded great but also somewhat outdated. And it still does, albeit that the highlights on the album far outweigh the sometimes pompuous contributions like ´When the world was woken´ and ´The sun will never shine´. For me there are at least three songs on this album that surely make it essential for progressive music lovers. First there are the two ´small´ songs, ´Mother dear´ and ´The iron maiden´. These melodies are so great and the orchestra fits in so well, it is quite amazing that young lads in their very early twenties were capable of achieving this. They are true gems, nice, melodic, probably romantic. The third song that makes this an outstanding debut is of course the epic ´Dark now my sky´. It is haunting, with the harsh vocals (quite extraordinary for BJH!), the great guitar fills and the superb orchestral parts. It's only 1970 and there they are, far ahead of their time!

EMI decided to rerelease their BJH-albums with the addition of bonus tracks. It is incredible what they a good job they did with this first album. It is loaded with unreleased bonus tracks which give an splendid insight into the development of the band, from their first singles to the rocking 'Taking some time on'. The earliest attempts to write a hit song sound very, very outdated but how nice they still are! You can still imagine the all-green and friendly English countryside when listening to 'Early morning' or 'Eden unobtainable' and experience the first trials to sound more like a rock band in 'Poor wages'. The vocals are still a bit naive, as are the lyrics. But these nice, little songs already contain the big promise that this band was to make a difference in the near future. That did not turn out that way fully but surely some extremely nice albums were to follow.

This debut is in my opinion a 3,5 star in its original setting but because of the load of valuable bonus tracks (not very prog though!) it deserves a full 4 star.

Theo Verstrael | 4/5 |

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