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


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

4.41 | 117 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Barclay James Harvest Live : 1974

I believe this was the first live album BJH recorded and it was also my introduction to the band back around that time. The impact this album made on me as an impressionable lad was so huge that it is still in my collection today - much loved, and whenever one of these old songs comes up on the playlist on my iphone it still makes me smile with delight.

In terms of actual musicianship these songs aren't rightly what one would describe today as virtuoso in technical terms, and can't rightly be compared to the songs of bands such as Yes or King Chrimson or Dream Theater for tricky time signature or tempo wizardry, and likewise, the sound on the album isn't as polished as what one might expect from a highly edited live album of today. The songs are all fairly basic in terms of technical wizardry and played in standard 4/4 time signature which makes them all very easy to listen to, but at the same time, all very well executed with enthusiasm and power, great vocals, subtle drums and massive keys.

With the possible exception of "She Said" where someone got a bit too enthusiastic with the faders at the production stage and the song goes slightly into overload/distortion mode, there isn't really a bad moment on the album. There are plenty of little moments where the whole thing is a bit rough around the edges, but in comparison to many so called "live" albums which would be more appropriately described as being "Live in the studio" this is a real breath of vintage fresh air because it's a REAL live album, with warts and all. You can hear lots of little incidental moments and transitions, particularly in the guitar work where John jumps on a stomp box to change his guitar sound - it all sounds great to my ears.

With Woolly and Mel both gone, and John and Les still not talking to each other as far as I know, we will certainly never see the like of this again because the interband chemistry of these four was - for a few years at least - an entity close to song writing perfection for the time and their song writing partnership was their strength as a band lay.

In conclusion I can say that this is one of my all time favourite live albums and for anyone looking to investigate the earliy days of prog and who is as yet unfamiliar with BJH I would recommend this as a most excellent starting point.

Quite simply superb. Vintage, verging on antique excellence. 5 stars and I would give it 6 if I could. :)

LunarSea | 5/5 |


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