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Barclay James  Harvest - Gone To Earth CD (album) cover

GONE TO EARTH

Barclay James Harvest

 

Crossover Prog

3.37 | 132 ratings

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rupert
4 stars Music is about emotion... if not for you then you've got something wrong. This review has to be an emotional review or else it were wrong because this album was the start of a life-long loveaffair ( and addiction ).

Way back in 1977 a 12-year-old german boy couldn't believe his ears there's music like this... a tedious boy, perhaps, lower middle- class and addicted to harmony, why not, I don't mind. "Gone to Earth" was the first BJH-Album I had come across and its music expressed ( and HIT ) my emotional world and yearnings with a beauty and purity I'd never heard before ! It made the 12-year old wanna die right INTO what he heard ( no fear of dying when you're sure to be reborn afterwards... ).

"Gone to Earth" is uplifting even when phlegmatic, it's music for the heart that can only be made from the heart of its creators ! Though this boy is 41 years old now and has certainly lived through many things so he can't claim to be the same person anymore ( I hope I became less tedious meanwhile... ) he's still in love with this music and recaptures the feelings it evoked back then each time he's putting on the album, still, cause this is where it started for him, a confessed addict to the very special feel you can only get with BJH, their ( finest ) songs, their harmonies and vocals... and you can get it full flavour by listening to "Gone to Earth", but you have to really LISTEN, cause, if you don't, you MAY get bored... don't blame it on the band then.

Surely, the critics weren't COMPLETELY wrong when the wrote about "stagnation" - but wasn't it stagnation on a high level to offer you gems like "Hymn", "Poor Man's moody Blues" and "Sea of Tranquility" ??? Those are the outstanding tracks on the album, but that doesn't make the others less affective or attractive, you can listen to the album in one go without regret, it's so fine... either you get the "feel" I'm talking about or you don't, there's no inbetween I suppose, but that feel is ever-present and once you've got it it won't let you go. The "soft sweet music" ( as sung in "Love is like a Violin" ) can surely make you believe, and it's a quite stunning variety you get from the 3 songwriters/leadsingers with a perfect sense of taste, don't you ?

In spite of things you'll discover later on ( if you - like me - start off with this album ) - for example that Les Holroyd is an even better songwriter than his contributions to "Gone to Earth" are showing ( but "Taking me higher" doesn't take me nowhere at all ! ), or that it's here where Woolly's arrangements appear to be "a bit to flourish" ( Mel Pritchard's opinion ! ) at times - this is an album to love or never dig and - for BJH- fans - a true 5-star.

After "Live Tapes" was to even increase the value of "Hymn", "Poor Man's moody Blues", "Hard hearted Woman" and "Taking me higher", I thought everyone in the world can't be anything less but mad about BJH but what did I know ? Instead of the expected ( and deserved ) praises the critics wrote them down for what I still think were false ideological reasons rather than different tastes !

Well, if "Rock'n'Roll" has to sound decadent at least ( if not destructive ) for you this is an album to leave out or hate yourself for feeling good with whatever harmony you're bound to fall in love with... but this is the opposite of being "unreal" or something, beauty and harmony are important parts of real life itself, so I think it's best to like what you like, enjoy it and not believe in a spirit of hate telling you absolute nonsens.

David Rohl, to me, proved to be the best ( co- ) producer BJH ever had, though Martin Lawrence wasn't far behind him on the next two studio-Albums... back to the songs: "Gone to Earth" was a definite high for John Lees as a songwriter ( just as "Eyes of the Universe" became a definite high for Les Holroyd ! ) but Woolly managed to outshine them all with his immortal "Sea of Tranquility", so even if you're ONLY after the proggy moments, then "Live Tapes" isn't quite enough to buy and the rating, like with "XII", meets you right in the middle... you can't be into BJH without being into "Gone to Earth", can you ?

Open up your hearts and ears and perhaps you'll understand that 12-year old german boy and never mind being an addict when the drug is so irresistible and doesn't mean to harm you at all ( no abuse, please ). It's a drug that can save your life ( mine it did, several times ! ) and if it's true that "In god alone we fly" ( "Hymn" ) this music is a blessed gift from above making you realise that somehow, somewhere you've got to have "wings of your own" ( Later...sung in "Life is for Living" ).

Finally: You've got to have the remaster not only because of the bonus-tracks, "Leper's song" f.e. sounds far better than before.

Rupert ( occasionally transformed into a butterfly and back without notable side-effects... weird he was before already ! )

rupert | 4/5 |

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