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BJH FEATURING LES HOLROYD: ON THE ROAD

Barclay James Harvest

Crossover Prog


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Barclay James  Harvest BJH Featuring Les Holroyd: On The Road album cover
2.17 | 4 ratings | 1 reviews | 25% 5 stars

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DVD/Video, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. It's My Life
2. Revolution Day
3. Yesterday's Heroes
4. Prelude
5. January Morning
6. Rock 'N' Roll Star
7. The Song (They Love To Sing)
8. That Was Then...This Is Now
9. Berlin
10. Life Is For Living
11. Marlene (from The Berlin Suite)
12. Love On The Line
13. Shadows On The Sky
14. Lebe Für's Leben

Recorded live on the Barclay James Harvest Featuring Les Holroyd tour of Germany, October/November 2002. Soundtrack is from the Bad Godesburg Stadthalle concert of 30th October, 2002, which also features on the Live In Bonn CD.

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Les Holroyd / bass guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboard, lead vocals
- Mel Pritchard / electronic drums and percussion
- Mike Byron-Hehir / lead guitar, backing vocals
- Ian Wilson / rhythm guitar, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
- Steve Butler / percussion, keyboard, backing vocals
- Colin Browne / keyboards, backing vocals
- Chris Jago / drums

Releases information

Currently available from Les Holroyd's website (www.barclayjamesharvest.co.uk)

Thanks to Andrea Cortese for the addition
and to Joolz for the last updates
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BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST BJH Featuring Les Holroyd: On The Road ratings distribution


2.17
(4 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
25%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
25%
Good, but non-essential (0%)
0%
Collectors/fans only (25%)
25%
Poor. Only for completionists (25%)
25%

BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST BJH Featuring Les Holroyd: On The Road reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Just in case there is someone who doesn't already know the story: BJH got together as a four-piece melodic Prog outfit from Oldham, England in the late 1960s, based on the signature sound of Woolly Wolstenholme's Mellotron, but when he left in 1979 the band went on to greater glory as an AOR outfit, selling millions of records and filling stadia. By the mid 1990s, with their best days behind them, the main songwriters were drifting apart, until sadly they agreed to go their separate ways, which is how we have ended up with 2 bands calling themselves Barclay James Harvest - this one is Barclay James Harvest Featuring Les Holroyd (BJHFLH), the other being John Lees' Barclay James Harvest (JLBJH). Confused?

I have mentioned this background because it is important to understand that they are quite different in the type of music they play. This version of the band - BJHFLH - is very straightahead melodic AOR, even tending at times towards a heavier classic rock approach. Sadly, it is the other version - JLBJH - which is most likely to be of interest to PA, as both John Lees and Woolly Wolstenholme (back with him) are prone to severe attacks of Prog!

So, this DVD is from BJHFLH, an AOR outfit, featuring Les Holroyd and Mel Pritchard from the original BJH, supported by, amongst others, 2 ex Sad Cafe members Mike Byron-Hehir and Ian Wilson, and long-time BJH side man Colin Browne. It was made during their tour of Germany in October/November 2002 and features a large selection from their studio album Revotution Days as well as a few oldies from Les's back catalogue.

While the audio is from a single concert - 30 October at the Bad Godesburg Stadhalle - the filming was done over a number of shows during the tour. Only a single broadcast quality Sony camera was used, so that camera took different angles at each venue, which have then been stitched together in the editing suite. You can probably foresee the problem - the lighting quality is different from show to show, which means, for example, that Les changes colour every time the angle changes! Not good. Aside from the continuity problem, there is also an issue with synching, especially with one angle on the drums, and a close-up angle on Les. Sound quality is good, but despite the equipment used, the picture quality is poor with some obvious digital artefacts showing up in some places.

One final problem with the DVD is the sound mix: the keyboard player is to the left of the stage but he is placed to the right on the soundtrack; and Mel Pritchard is barely audible throughout the entire film (he gets plenty of coverage from the camera but you cannot hear him). It is rumoured that Mel was not well at this time - and he does look rather lacklustre - which was why a second drummer was added to the line-up, but whatever the reason it is sad that Mel's last contribution (he died in Jan 2004) is not more memorable.

The band are a good tight professional unit who rock out well enough on the new songs from Revolution Days, with Byron-Hehir leading from the front on guitar. Although Revolution Days can in no way be construed as a Prog album, I happen to like most of its songs, so I am happy to see them unfold in the live environment. It's My Life and Revolution Day work very well, though That Was Then, This Is Now - my personal favourite on the studio album - seems to have lost its bite here. Both January Morning and Marlene sound more vibrant and dynamic than on the studio version. Generally, the new songs work better than the old ones, the exceptions being Shadows On The Sky and Yesterday's Heroes (both from the 90s) which are both excellent. The oldest tracks - Rock And Roll Star and Berlin - both lack the true BJH touch, and especially missing is John Lees' guitar.

Apart from Byron-Hehir moving around a bit, the band are quite stationary, and the lighting leaves a lot to be desired too. The only other comment to make is about Les's voice - to put it kindly, I have heard him sing a lot better than this!

Visually, there is very little to attract. It would have been better to release this as an audio only 2CD package [note: the CD 'Live In Bonn' is the same audio used for this DVD, but the DVD has 5 extra tracks] because the music is enjoyable. No Prog-ness though so 2 stars.

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Posted Thursday, May 04, 2006

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