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Barclay James  Harvest - Turn Of The Tide CD (album) cover

TURN OF THE TIDE

Barclay James Harvest

 

Crossover Prog

2.56 | 68 ratings

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alextorres
4 stars "Turn of the Tide" is BJH's second album following the departure of founding member Woolly Wolstenholme in 1979. Woolly was one of three writers in the band, with leanings towards classical music, and had brought that influence to bear on BJH's sound, particularly on their first four albums. By 1981 the band had become a major act in Germany and other countries of continental Europe;. This significant commercial success had been launched on the softer, more MOR sound of the "Gone to Earth" album, as compared with their earlier material. The scale of this success was never matched in the UK and the band developed the sound in subsequent albums to build on this new market, leaving many UK based fans from the pre-Woolly era trailing in its wake.

The album saw the band near the pinnacle of its fame: it sold over 250,000 copies in Germany and was no.1 in Switzerland. Despite the fact that the band never recaptured Woolly's unique keyboard sound following his departure, this album has, unquestionably, the BJH-hallmark sound. The songs are well crafted and the keyboard arrangements, provided by session musicians Kevin McAlea and Colin Browne, often provide the "texture" and feel that are unique to BJH.

The songs work well together to give the whole album a cohesive feel. As on all the best BJH albums, there is a good mix of styles: from the pacey, guitar-driven "Highway for Fools", through the jazzy-feel of "Back to the Wall" and syncopated "Doctor, Doctor" to the joyous, poppy "Life is for Living". My personal favourites are the luxurious "Echoes and Shadows" and "Death of a City", which is a revisit to the subject matter of "After the Day".

Unlike the best BJH albums, this one is missing a big, anthemic, classic number like "For No One", "Mockingbird" or even "Hymn". The final track, John Lees's "In Memory of the Martyrs" could have been that anthem but, on this occasion, the song lacks sparkle and remains just a good song. But, for all that, "turn of the Tide" remains a very good album. Unfortunately, it is currently not available to buy, but hopefully Eclectic discs, who are continuing to remaster and reissue a number of BJH albums, will soon get round to it - it does not deserve to be consigned to history just yet!

alextorres | 4/5 |

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