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Barclay James Harvest

Crossover Prog

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Barclay James  Harvest The Harvest Years album cover
3.11 | 13 ratings | 4 reviews | 23% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1991

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (73:35)
1. Early Morning (2:34)
2. Mr. Sunshine (2:53)
3. Pools of Blue (3:09)
4. I Can't Go On Without You (2:13)
5. Eden Unobtainable (3:03)
6. Brother Tthrush (3:05)
7. Poor Wages (2:32)
8. Taking Some Time On (5:29)
9. When the World Was Woken (5:47)
10. Good Love Child (5:08)
11. The Iron Maiden (2:41)
12. Dark Now My Sky (11:58)
13. She Said (8:17)
14. Song for Dying (4:58)
15. Galadriel (3:13)
16. Mockingbird (6:35)

CD 2 (75:15)
1. Vanessa Simmons (3:46)
2. Happy Old World (quad mix) (4:39)
3. Ball and Chain (quad mix) (4:48)
4. Medicine Man (3:55)
5. Ursula (The Swansea Song) (2:53)
6. Someone There You Know (3:46)
7. The Poet / After the Day (9:37)
8. I'm over You (3:52)
9. Child of Man (3:20)
10. Breathless (3:07)
11. When the City Sleeps (4:12)
12. Summer Soldier (10:26)
13. One Hundred Thousand Smiles Out (6:05)
14. Moonwater (7:21)
15. The Joker (3:28)

Total Time 148:50

Line-up / Musicians

- Les Holroyd / vocals, bass, piano
- John Lees / vocals, guitars
- Mel Pritchard / drums, percussion, effects
- Woolly Wolstenholme / keyboards, Mellotron, vocals
- The Barclay James Harvest Symphony Orchestra
- Robert John Godfrey / conductor

Releases information

2CD EMI C2 96300

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST The Harvest Years ratings distribution

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST The Harvest Years reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The Barclay James Harvest Harvest years

This is essentially the first four Barclay James Harvest albums recorded for the Harvest label, minus a few tracks, but plus some rarer tracks in their place. Some of those rare tracks had already appeared on the "Early morning onwards" from the 1970s, while others have since been included as bonus tracks on the remastered re-releases of the four Harvest albums.

It's always a subjective process deciding which tracks to omit from compilations, and in this case those omissions seem somehow more apparent given the amount of material from each album which has been included. The first album for example sees the melodic "Mother dear" and the wonderful "The sun will never shine" omitted, but the overlong "Dark now my sky" included. Of the non-album tracks, the excellent single "The joker" is well worth seeking out, but most of the others are really more of purely historical interest.

I suspect in view of the expanded re-releases of the first four albums, this particular set is now deleted, but if you do come across it, it is worthy of investigation.

Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Harvest Years was EMI's response to the success of BJH's Polydor studio album Welcome To The Show the previous year. The band recorded four albums and a few singles for EMI's progressive label in the early 1970s and this compilation contains the bulk of the album tracks, including all of the obvious choices, some but not all of the early singles and three previously unreleased gems from 1968. These latter - Pools Of Blue, Eden Unobtainable and I Can't Go On Without You - were acquired as acetates by a fan from the old Harvest label boss, and passed to the Abbey road engineers who 'cleaned' them ready for this album.

Even today, this double CD is a nice little package that neatly encapsulates the band's early years. Inevitably, fans might rue the omission of a much loved song, but on the whole it is a good selection, well sequenced and satisfactorily packaged. It would make a good introduction to the band and an excellent compilation for the car, but all of these tracks, including the rarities and singles, are now included on one or other of the remastered studio albums which rather makes this collection redundant.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars Barclay James Harvest released four studio albums during their "Harvest" years.

Out of these, the recording company will release the first compilation as such from this period under the form of a single album called "Early Morning Onwards" (1972) just after BJH left Harvest for Polydor.

Another one of the same period will see the light in 1979 as "The Best Of Barclay James Harvest - Volume 2" and yes, Harvest will dare to release "The Best Of Barclay James Harvest - Volume 3" some two years later (1981).

This double CD compilation is actually intersting in the way that only one great song has been ignored : "After The Day" from "BJH And Other Short Stories". Even the long "Dark Now My Sky" is featured here. I would say that even if there lots of useless songs featured here it is an easy way to get hold of their best numbers during their early days.

"She Said", "Galadriel", "Mocking Bird", "Medicine Man", " Summer Soldier" belong to the best of BJH. Still, the best advice I can provide is to stick top their great BJH live 1974" which includes all their great songs from that era, plus several of their very good first Polydor album : "Everyone...". There is no other better choice, believe me.

Now, history will show that Harvest will re-released the four albums them in the form a of two double CD with lots of bonus tracks. This might also be a cheap alternative. And, would you believe that a quad CD box, with no bonus tracks at all will also be marketed in 1996 under the name "Four Barclay James Harvest Originals".

The last compilation to review these years is "The Best Of Barclay James Harvest" released in 1997. Not too bad from only four albums, right ?

Don't worry. Polydor will also be very extensive on the field of "Best Of" and compilations. I guess that BJH is one of the most prolific band in terms of compilation. together with ELO, Purple and Yes.

Three stars for this one.

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars This is as comprehensive a look at the early years of BJH as you can find in a single package. It includes many rare singles as well as an excellent selection from the 4 studio albums on the label. Being an early CD release, the sound quality may not be as good as the recent remasters, and you don't get all the live and alternate takes, but for signal to noise it simply can't be beat.

Most of the singles that have escaped from the vaults are here, and they have at least historical value, even if not all are as moving as the mellotron hymns "Early Morning" and "Pools of Blue", the sparse haunting "Poor Wages" or the uplifting "Brother Thrush". In particular, some of the singles released in between the albums are somewhat dry and creatively stunted, like "The Joker", or simply too B-side sounding to warrant much examination, like "Bombadil" and "Child of Man". That being said, "I'm over You" was a miniature gem that was thankfully included from this period, and "When the City Sleeps" is a pleasant Wolstenholme sung tune.

As far as the album tracks go, the emphasis on the "Once Again" material was well advised, this being by far the best effort of those years. Only "Lady Loves" is omitted, which is itself a decent ballad. From the debut album, "Mother Dear" is a notable omission; the highlights of Short Stories are all there; and only "Crazy Over You" is a notable no-show from Baby James Harvest.

It is hard to imagine any set of albums and singles from such a short period yielding such a bumper crop of releases and re-releases, certainly far beyond their import, even from a fan perspective such as my own. But if you need to start somewhere and come across this set for a decent price, do buy it and reap the rewards.

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