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Barclay James  Harvest - The Compact Story Of Barclay James Harvest CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest

Crossover Prog

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3 stars Just want to write a few words to this cause noone did... hey, at least 1 rating per bjh- release should be here ! This is a cd-only sampler trying to be a "Best of" up to the then recent release of "Victims of Circumstance", and there's a reason why the collector has GOT to have it inspite of most of the tracks delivered in well known versions and ( sorry, I've compared it ! ) inferior soundquality even to the NOT-remastered original albums... It's the same reason still you'll find only 3 stars rated ( instead of five ), because the Live-Version of "Poor Man's moody Blues" from their Wembley Show is unavailable on CD elsewhere... and that's why you should have it though this version is probably the worst of it ever... the 12" version of "I've got a feeling" was released for the first time on CD with this sampler but you'll find it in better sound quality on others now...

To the choice of songs: One each from the Albums from "Everyone is everybody else" ( Child of the Universe... Album Version... ) to Octoberon ( "Suicide?" ), two songs from "Gone to Earth" in Live-Versions, "Berlin" from "XII" and NOTHING from "Eyes of the Universe" ( WHY ? I think that "Eyes" is the best BJH-Album without Woolly Wolstenholme ! ) , "Mockingbird" in its fine "Berlin"-Version... those are the best, several single-edits/remixes from later on may be worth buying, too, and, as with any BJH-Best of-attempt, this is not bad but far too short, sadly, with PMMB, it's the reason for having the CD in your collection that is mostly disappointing, and you're better off with the Polydor or Polystar "Best of" compilation ! Rupert

Report this review (#64953)
Posted Monday, January 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars A little too compact in fact.

Actually this is the Compact (disc) story of BJH starting from when they left EMI's Harvest label in the mid 1970's. It therefore covers the period from their first Polydor album, "Everyone is everybody else". Unlike most stories, this one begins somewhere in the middle with a single edit of the title track from the "Ring of changes" album, the tracks being sequenced in a rather haphazard, and certainly not chronological order.

The Harvest years are represented only by a later live version of the perennial "Mocking bird" taken from their famous Berlin concert. (if there any BJH compilation which does not included a version of this track, I have yet to see it).

While there are undoubtedly some fine songs here, the collection is neither a good representation of the band's history, nor an essential compilation of their best tracks. Even their Polydor albums are poorly represented, with live versions of the two best tracks from "Gone to earth" instead of the originals, and far too little from "Everyone is everybody else", "Octoberon" etc. Elsewhere, for no obvious reason, single edits of the title tracks from "Ring of changes" and "Victims of circumstance" are used.

The overriding concern here is that the compilation purports to tell the "Story" of BJH. Anyone unfamiliar with their work would be somewhat misled if they took it at face value, and assumed it represented either their best tracks, or a reasonable cross section of their work. A pleasant enough compilation, but far from essential for either existing fans or inquisitive newbies.

Report this review (#65972)
Posted Sunday, January 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This, the first BJH compilation on CD, was a trawl through BJH's Polydor back catalogue at a time in the mid 1980s when the CD format was beginning to assume precedence over vinyl. It is an attempt at representing some of their best material up to the Victims Of Circumstance album but not necessarily in the most familiar guises. Thus we have inferior single edits [ie shorter] of Ring Of Changes and Victims Of Circumstance, a 12" version of I've Got A Feeling, live versions [from the 'Berlin' album] of Mocking Bird and Hymn, and a rare live version [from Wembley] of Poor Man's Moody Blues. The remainder are all familiar album tracks including 1970s classics Child Of The Universe, Jonathan, Suicide? and Berlin.

Together, these songs span the period of BJH's involvement with Polydor up to 1985, though the inclusion of a live version of Mocking Bird is a ploy to get this older classic onto the album. As always, the inclusion of alternative versions was designed to attract collectors, and 20 years ago The Compact Story might not have seemed a bad investment. Collectors apart, today there is little incentive for an average listener to seek out this album, as nearly all these songs are now readily available elsewhere, mostly in a better re-mastered condition.

Report this review (#96625)
Posted Wednesday, November 1, 2006 | Review Permalink

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