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Barclay James  Harvest - Early Morning Onwards CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.29 | 15 ratings

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4 stars Early Morning Onwards was originally released on the budget EMI Starline label in September 1972, a couple of months ahead of BJH's last album for the Harvest label (Baby James Harvest). This was actually the first ''progressive'' lp I bought, along with ELP's Pictures At An Exhibition. It too was a budget release and I was able to buy both together for the price of one full-price lp. Oh to be a teenager again. The initial batches of Early Morning Onwards had a simple dark sleeve displaying a group picture on the front, while the song lyrics were printed on the back cover. Super. However the album was re-issued soon after in a gaudy white cover with large orange lettering. Apparently the stylised lettering of the original cover was difficult to read. As to the music itself, this was a compilation of singles and album tracks, selected from the band's first three Harvest lps.

Early Morning was BJH's first A-side, released on the Parlophone label in 1968. It's a lovely pastoral ballad featuring Mellotron flute and strings. Poor Wages features a nice guitar solo (played by Woolly Wolstenholme!) and was the B-side of Brother Thrush. The band had moved from Parlophone to the more progressive Harvest label, and Brother Thrush was the first BJH release on the new label in 1969. Featuring some falsetto vocals, it was one of many songs that John Lees would write about birds. Mr Sunshine was on the flip-side of Early Morning; it features a recorder solo by Lees and deals with the subject of depression. Taking Some Time On and Mother Dear were both lifted from the band's debut album of 1970, and are a rocker and a ballad respectively.

The classic Mocking Bird was released as a single in 1971, as well as appearing on the acclaimed Once Again album. Song With No Meaning and After The Day featured on the band's third Harvest album, And Other Short Stories, also from 1971. I'm Over You was released as a single in 1972 and contains more superb Mellotron. Its B-side Child Of Man contains a religious theme, a theme that BJH would return to throughout the band's career.

This album was released as a means of introducing people to BJH almost four decades ago, so should not be viewed as a ''best of...''. Personally, I don't like compilation albums but this is really a very nice collection. It is from the halcyon days and is pure nostalgia for someone of my age, so I'll award it 4 stars.

seventhsojourn | 4/5 |


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