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Barclay James  Harvest - Baby James Harvest / Once Again CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.09 | 3 ratings

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3 stars This is one of those twofers - ie two for the price of one - albums where 2 old classics are put together in a single package. This one is particularly good value because EMI have paired the 'enhanced' versions complete with 15 bonus tracks into a 2CD boxset. Full reviews are available for each individual album, so I shall summarize.

Once Again (1971) is an absolute classic. From the magnificent opening She Said which is as Prog as you could wish, it proceeds with Happy Old World (juxtaposing apparently happy lyrics with a downbeat melody), Song For Dying with its soaring guitar, the pastoral Galadriel, another Prog classic Mocking Bird in all its orchestrated glory, a gentle wistful ode to former girl-friend Vanessa Symmonds and an aggressive and noisy Ball And Chain, before ending on the lilting The Lady Loves and its jaws harp solo! There are 5 bonus tracks tacked on to the end.

Baby James Harvest (1972) is a more patchy album as the band were having one of their little crises at the time, but it still reaches the heights with Summer Soldier - one of my all-time favourite songs with its 2-part structure and mighty guitar riff (this was the first thing I tried to imitate when learning guitar!). Moonwater, with Woolly singing over an orchestral arrangement, closes the album on a high, while the remaining 4 tracks are pleasant but not so strong. No less than 10 bonus tracks are added which is nice.

This set is still available (at the time of writing) on the internet (including the BJH fan club site) though I believe it is no longer in print. Please note that EMI, in their wisdom, have added copy protection to the discs which might not play in some PCs. Despite that, this has got to be incredible value for money considering how much top notch material is included, but I would recommend the more recent remastered originals.

Joolz | 3/5 |


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