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Barclay James  Harvest - Caught Live CD (album) cover

CAUGHT LIVE

Barclay James Harvest

 

Crossover Prog

2.83 | 12 ratings

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Joolz
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Let's not beat about the bush - this is an essential look at the band in their heyday, designed to appease fans of the band starved of any other visual document of that era. It is sourced from the only known surviving copies of the two films. Though they have been treated to a wash-and-brush-up, neither can be considered as anything other than an interesting reminder of the past. While the main 1977 documentary is acceptable, footage of the Drury Lane 1974 concert is poor visually and diabolical aurally. But, the DVD must be bought on the understanding that you will not be getting pristine digital-age visuals and hi-fidelity audio. It is what it is, and doesn't pretend to be anything else.

The main feature 'Caught Live' is a film made in 1977 as BJH began to achieve commercial success, a fascinating look behind the scenes as they tour around Europe, including on-stage performances of several songs. There is no commentary, just a series of self-evident situations and cameos - in rehearsal, in transit, winding up, winding down etc, as well as an introduction to the members in their home environment and some of the support crew working and relaxing. We get a glimpse of band dynamics, and some of the by-play becomes more significant with hindsight. The short 'afternoon off' sequence is very illuminating: Woolly and Mel are shown at a zoo, where Woolly enthuses while Mel looks like he's thinking "what am I doing here?"; Les is shown disinterestedly stalking a skating rink; while John has his head in a book somewhere.

The Drury Lane footage is from the same vintage concert that forms the bulk of Live [1974] CD. It isn't very good but is still an essential 'must have' item for all lovers of that period in the band's history, if only for John's facial hair or watching Woolly bent over his Mellotron! It is a pity the CD sound couldn't have been overdubbed onto the film [technical and legal reasons]. You don't get much, but as soon as they launch into Crazy City the old adrenalin starts pumping.

One for the fans, then, and don't expect fireworks or great revelations of sordid 'rawk-n-roll' behaviour - BJH members are not noted for flashy showmanship or eccentricity either on-stage or off. What you get is a little window into the world of a quartet of consummate hard-working professionals going about their business. Copies of this DVD may be obtained from the band's website.

Joolz | 2/5 |

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