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Barclay James Harvest

Crossover Prog

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Barclay James  Harvest The Best Of Barclay James Harvest (1977) album cover
2.17 | 12 ratings | 4 reviews | 25% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ursula (The Swansea Song)
2. Brother Thrush
3. Poor Wages
4. Child Of Man
5. The Joker
6. Rock And Roll Woman
7. Good Love Child
8. Mocking Bird
9. Galadriel
10. Medicine Man
11. The Iron Maiden
12. Moonwater

Line-up / Musicians

- Les Holroyd / bass, guitars, vocals
- John Lees / guitars, vocals
- Mel Pritchard / drums, percussion
- Woolly Wolstenholme / keyboards, Mellotron, vocals

Releases information

LP Harvest SHSM 2013
LP Harvest ATAK 95 (1986)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Joolz for the last updates
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BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST The Best Of Barclay James Harvest (1977) ratings distribution

(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(17%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (25%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST The Best Of Barclay James Harvest (1977) reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by daveconn
3 stars "The Best of Barclay James Harvest" actually confines itself to the best of the band's early Harvest albums, and even then it's unlikely that so much of their "best" work appeared as nonalbum B sides. Maybe not a grab bag, but one with a lot of stems and seeds in it anyway. The perennial knock on BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST was that other groups did this sort of thing better: the MOODY BLUES, CS&N, The MOVE, YES, etc. "The Best of Barclay James Harvest" supports that criticism, tossing in crotch rock like "Rock & Roll Woman" (no match for URIAH HEEP) together with ungainly hybrids like "Child of the Man" (imagine CS&N produced by Tony Visconti).

The MOODY BLUES comparison grows mostly from BJH's attempts to pump up simple songs with the pomp of orchestra and mellotron, something that exposes the band's otherwise guileless intentions. At their best, BJH could pen a winning melody that covered the holes ("Brother Thrush", "Iron Maiden"), or immerse themselves completely in orchestral music with impressive results ("Moonwater"). But many a prog rock band has done this, and done it better, relegating BJH to bit players in the big picture. It's possible to applaud their ambitions even while noting their shortcomings, but only a little of "The Best of Barclay James Harvest" is on here, so neophytes be cautioned. For collectors, however, this album does contain some hard-to-find material, none of it negligible.

Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is the first volume of a trio of compilations released in the late 70s by EMI to cash-in on BJH's new-found success. Material is taken from the band's 'Harvest years' up to 1973, but it is a curious selection. Judging by the fact that the best tracks are spread fairly evenly over the three volumes, it clearly was never EMI's intention to issue a definitive 'Best Of' at this stage. In amongst some classic album tracks - Mocking Bird, Galadriel and Medicine Man - are some singles, including Rock And Roll Woman, the last BJH recording for Harvest. A mixed bag then, neither good enough to entice a casual buyer, nor obscure enough to entice exisitng fans. Today, all this material is available elsewhere so this long out of print vinyl only release is of interest only to collectors.
Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars I guess that their first label "Harvest" must have been quit PO to see the growing BJH success under Polydor. But, boy ! Releasing a second compilation five years after "Early Morning Onwards" is really exaggerated. On top of that, several of the same mistakes than on the previous one will be made.

The best and most progressive track of their debut album "Dark Now My Sky" is again omitted, as will "She Said" from their best album of that era "Once Again". At least this time, we'll get "Galadriel" which is a very nice and subtle piece of music and "Medecine Man", an elaborate and great track. To have repeated "Mockingbird" is a bit useless (although it is one of my fave of the band). I would also have expected "Happy Old World", one of their best poppish songs from those days.

Instead we'll get third class old singles tune like "Brother Thrush" and "Poor Wage" which were already featured on the fisrt "Harvest" compilation. And if you don't get enough of these, you'll get them as well on the remastered edition of their debut album, and on at least one or two further compilations of which "The Harvest Years" that will almost feature all the tracks of their first four albums !

I guess that BJH did not have a lot of control on such compilation efforts. It is obvious that "Harvest" wanted to cash in at a time that the band has never been so popular but I can hardly cope with this policy.

I fully understand that compilations have their value and I would consider one like "The Harvest Years" as the ultimate of that era and probably the only one worth buying if you want to discover how BJH sounded in their early years. My advice though is that you stick to their chef d'oeuvre of 1971 "Once Again".

Shame on you "Harvest". One star. Not only for their policy but also because the tracklist is very poor and redundant ("Mocking Bird").

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars In the late 70s, Harvest decided to capitalize on the success enjoyed by BJH after leaving their namesake label. This compilation LP gives us a taste of the good and the bad from the group. Many fine album tracks are present, like "Mockingbird", "Medicine Man" and "The Iron Maiden", and several surprisingly strong old singles, "Poor Wages" and "Brother Thrush". But too much from both departments is missing, while some very tepid singles ("Rock and Roll Woman", "Child of Man", and "The Joker") unfortunately see the light of day here. Taken on its own merits this is definitely worth 3 stars. But given the plethora of available retoolings out there, I cannot give more than 2 stars, the interesting sleeve notes notwithstanding. For collectors and analog snobs only.

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