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Barclay James  Harvest - BJH Featuring Les Holroyd: Revolution Days CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

2.33 | 48 ratings

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2 stars I have to admitt that my expectations where far too high to not have been disappointed by "Revolution Days" first - Les Holroyd's talents as a songwriter and, concerning the years before, his abilities to save a whole album from mediocrity ( "Caught in the Light" ) in mind I expected a rather commercial but nonetheless enjoyable "BJH without John Lees" building up on Holroyd's strengths... perhaps more "Pop" than "Prog".

Instead of this my first impression was a shock: "It's my Life" offers Holroyd's voice in poor condition and the lyrics made me worry about the writer's state of mind, while musically it's as if Les Holroyd had taken John Lees' track "He said Love" ( from the 1987's "Face to Face" Album ), subtrated the melody and wanting to make a rocksong of it... but, although Holroyd's voice can make you worry throughout the album, "Revolution Days" doesn't really go on that way and - there's quite a lot you can do in the studio - delivers some fine if not great moments nonetheless.

My favourite track is "Sleepy Sunday", which is classic BJH with even Mellotron-sounds ( Sampled... I suppose ) at the end, "Missing you" is a fair and moody ballad.

The re-workings of "Life is for living" and ( go and buy the revamped edition with: ) "Love on the Line" may not really be as great as the original recordings but are well-made still... that's what I really like on "Revolution Days", and, yes, "That was then... this is now" rocks but it's only a torso of a song and, with many of the others, I'm waiting in vain for a real melodic flush... and I never really dug the "Prelude", sorry, while "January Morning" could have been gently flowing without the superfluous Electric Guitar-section stealing the original flow from the song and taking it into a pathetic low ( not high ). The title track doesn't sound finished, reminding me of the 2nd part of "Do you believe in dreams" ( on The "River of Dreams"- Album ) as well as some parts of "January morning", perhaps Les was running out of ideas, I don't know, "Quierro el Sol" has got an Eagles-Flair but isn't quite an essential song, too.

It was a nice move to pay tribute to Marlene Dietrich at the end, a legend ( and great actress ) indeed, but that simple song had deserved a less pathetic ending, too.

Mixed emotions about "Revo", though all in all I like it better than "River of Dreams". If only BJHFLH had, like John Lees and Woolly Wolstenholme, kept any promises left unfulfilled here in their concerts. Don't take the rating for granted, for Holroyd-Fans it's "one more star" at least, but not for Prog-Rock-Fans... I have a hard day understanding Mr. Holroyd anyway... one one hand he was always responsible for the more "poppy" and "commercial" side of BJH, on the other it was him wanting "more ROCK and CLASSICAL influences" ( as stated in an interview ), "Revolution Days" isn't much of any while a reunion with John Lees AND Woolly Wolstenholme could exactly be what Les Holroyd aimed for... if he's honest about it. But "go back into the past" he doesn't want. Contradictory... ridiculous... but NOT A BAD ALBUM here.

rupert | 2/5 |


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