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CAROL OF HARVEST

Prog Folk • Germany


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Carol Of Harvest biography
Founded in Cadolzburg, Bayern, Germany in 1978 - Alex Schmierer recorded under the revived moniker in 2008

One of the many German bands to release a single album on a private label and watch it grow into a collector's dream. Carol of Harvest played a dreamy blend of Progressive Rock and Folk with female vocals that might be compared with Mellow Candle and early Clannad mixed with Jane, Pentangle and Renaissance. The music has the added edge of long arrangements with Moog synth and acid guitar solos, and in reality has little to do with Krautrock.

Information on the band members is very hard to find, helping to shroud this hard to find album with an air of mystery.

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CAROL OF HARVEST top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.09 | 92 ratings
Carol of Harvest
1978
3.11 | 10 ratings
Ty I Ja
2008

CAROL OF HARVEST Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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CAROL OF HARVEST Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CAROL OF HARVEST Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

CAROL OF HARVEST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ty I Ja by CAROL OF HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.11 | 10 ratings

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Ty I Ja
Carol Of Harvest Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars For 30 years, CAROL OF HARVEST's sole album was regarded by many as a prog folk classic, all the more remarkable for overcoming a passe style even then. The spare and raw arrangements and the assured vocals of Beate Krause rose to the occasion for one glorious moment in time. So when an apparent solo album, under the original moniker, by guitarist Axel Schmierer emerged in 2009, accompanied only by a new young songstress Ewa Grams from Poland, I was a drooling skeptic. I listened once, maybe twice, and concluded that it was not at all worthy of the band's legacy, and shelved it until 2023 when I decided to start looking at comeback projects of this sort, mostly from the non Anglo world. I really thought this to be an open and shut FAST case but it has remained on rotation for several days and, while I still maintain that it lacks the luminescence of earlier vintage, it's actually an admirable effort in the realm of ambient pop with folk and prog accents. And yes, while Ewa might not have the Beate, she certainly won't be triggering calls to a gaffer any time soon.

Apart from a few guest lead guitar solo parts, Axel plays all instruments, many synthesized to sound like brass, but the flute on "Druga Szansa" is so convincing that I wonder if a credit was missed. Most tracks thankfully have little percussion, and a few subtle acoustic guitar touches glance over the atmospheric arrangements. The Polish vocals are actually caressing and the melodies often cycling and mesmerizing. A couple of numbers are more energetic without corrupting the mood. Axel sings on the appealing "In Between" and the rather silly "Lucky", which is PhD level compared to his narrated philosophy on "Zostane Tu", which nonetheless subsequently morphs into one of the more musically ambitious cuts, along with the title track. While none especially stands out, and a few are frankly banal, for the most part "Ty I Ja" gets a thumbs up, and suggests that not attempting to recapture the original magic with no other original band members was an inspired choice that more of this vintage should make.

 Carol of Harvest by CAROL OF HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.09 | 92 ratings

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Carol of Harvest
Carol Of Harvest Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

5 stars A German band from a semi-rural town immediately west of Fürth and Nuremburg, the band's members were right out of high school (except for late addition, singer Krause, who was only 16 years old when she joined the band--17 or 18 at the time of recording this album.) There are so many diverse influences in the psychedelic nuances to this prog folk music. With Beate's crystalline Celia Humphries/Jacqui MacShee/Sandy Denny-like voice singing in perfect British English, one could easily mistaken this music for something coming from the Isle of the Britons.

1. "Put On Your Nightcap" (16:02) synthesized or filtered wave/wind sounds provide the background for some standard blues chord construction with electric guitar over its two minute introduction. When the haunting voice of Beate Krause enters it is with surprising confidence and maturity. Bass and drums eventually join in as do layers of background vocals (provided, no doubt, by Ms. Krause). Annie Haslam-like vocalise in the fifth minute precede a shift into a second motif in which an interesting synthesizer solos over the foundational two chord rhythm section. Beate's confident, cleary British-accented English is also remarkable for its lack of German accent. Very nice lead electric guitar solo in the tenth minute before the song fades into electronic waves in order to make way for a new, more pastoral movement founded upon arpeggiated guitar chords from multiple guitars. Beate's vocal styling stolidly mimics that of Britain's finest female folk singers of the previous decade--especially those of Jacqui MacShee and Sandy Denny. In the thirteenth minute the band ramps up the pace and volume with a kind of "Just a Singer in a Rock 'n' Roll Band" motif within which keyboardist Jürgen Kolb goes a bit wild. Beate makes a final appearance in the final minute to both bring the uptempo passage to a close and then to usher out the song with a dreamy, lullaby-like melody. Wonderful stuff! (27/30)

2. "You and Me" (2:31) in this more traditional folk song Beate's voice sounds years older than her age would suggest--as if a wise woman singing about a long-time relationship. Remarkable. Two (or) more) acoustic guitars entwine their picking for the second half as Beate's lyrics peter out. (8.6667/10)

3. "Somewhere at the End of the Rainbow" (6:26) electric guitar arpeggiates four chords before Beate joins in with a plaintive voice. Accordion-like synth joins in and then bass and drums kick in to support the chorus as Beate drops her pitch a full octave. Wow! That was unexpected. Can this singer be truly only 17-years old? The music is very warm and engaging though not very technically sophisticated, but the vocal performance is remarkable. (8.875/10)

4. "Treary Eye"s (4:17) the guitar opening of this one sounds so British Folk! Very nice. I kept expecting it to slide into a JETHRO TULL song or something from Fairport Convention. When Beate enters her ethereal vocal moves the music more into the realm of the hypnotic Jacqui MacShee. She is a force! An excellent folk song. (8.875/10)

5. "Try a Little Bit" (9:59) the music is perhaps a little simplistic and one-dimensional but the amazingly confident singing of young Beate Krause illustrates how polished and dedicated the band was to its craft and songs. (18.75/20)

Total Time 39:15

A style and sound of Prog Folk that resonates very deeply with me. Ms. Beate Krause (later Sampson) deserves the credit and recognition lauded upon the great British folk sirens of the era.

A minor masterpiece of Prog Folk and one of my favorite Classic Era Prog Folk albums.

 Carol of Harvest by CAROL OF HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.09 | 92 ratings

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Carol of Harvest
Carol Of Harvest Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

4 stars One of those bands that formed, released a single album and faded into obscurity, CAROL OF HARVEST has had the luck of having its music resurrected from the vaults of history through word of mouth due to its unique psychedelic progressive folk sound that has steadily gained recognition over the following decades. The band was founded in 1976 and the creation of songwriter / guitarist Axel Schmierer who collaborated with his school buddies bassist Helmut Reinschlüssel and drummer Robert Högn in Fürth, Germany near the northern Bavarian city of Nuremberg. After streamlining a similar musical vision the trio quickly recruited Jürgen Kolb on keyboards who changed the band's sound and steered it more into the Krautrock and psychedelic arenas. Soon thereafter the band found the perfect lead vocalist with Beate Krause, a friend of Reinschlüssel who at a mere 16 years of age provided the perfect feminine vocal touch to the psychedelic folk music that the band would create for their first and only eponymous album that came out two years later. The unusual name came form a Walt Whitman book published all the way back in 1867. Instead of playing live gigs, the band spent ridiculous amounts of time honing their passions in the studio rehearsing which can be heard in the meticulous interplay between the musicians as well as the production techniques.

Despite the album cover looking like it came from 90s black metal or an apocalyptic post-rock band such as Godspeed! You Black Emperor, the music is actually a unique sort of psychedelic Krautfolk which blends aspects of Camel, Sandy Denny, Renaissance, Pink Floyd and Clannad with touches of German Krautrock which is dominated by Krause's powerful enigmatic vocal style which blends quite well with the arpeggiated guitar strolls and psychedelic atmospheres. The album is bookended by a lead and an ending track that are quite lengthy with three shorter tracks in the middle. The opening "Put On Your Nightcap" sets the tone for the album with spacey arpeggiated guitar parts, a Floydian bass line and cool keyboard effects that despite sounding like a British band finds a touch of their native land in their unique form of Krautfolk. While the general tempo is laid back and nonchalantly floats from one track to the next, the two longer tracks such as the opener and the ending "Try A Little Bit" find the pace picking up with more rocking segments that even include electric power chords adding a bit of heft to the rather hazy drifting through the psychedelic folk forest of sound.

Despite never attracting the attention they deserved, CAROL OF HARVEST did manage to woo the interests of the independent label Brutkastern Records who released a mere 200 copies of this first pressing and remains a nice little collectible for those who crave original issues. As the decades have passed and word of mouth interest has revitalized the album's legendary status as an obscure classic, the album has been released by a few select labels and finally found a remastered version on Prog Temple which includes three unreleased bonus tracks. After the recording of this album the band finally took on the promotion of it and scored a handful of gigs and actually won a band competition in Würzburg but ultimately encountered very little interest in their music which led Kolb to pursue more fruitful adventures. Unfortunately his departure caused a chain reaction and the band quickly dissolved thereafter despite a replacement filling the gap. The band found they couldn't rekindle that original motivation for making their unique brand of space folk and went their separate ways.

Upon first listen, CAROL OF HARVEST wasn't a band that blew me away by any means. Due to the reputation of greatness i found it a little ordinary and it was hardly love at first listen. However, after subsequent listens i began to appreciate the subtleties of the music as it's not about performing flashy prog workouts but rather atmospheric trance inducing mediations of sort. The album is reflective and focuses on emotional depth rather than technical chops. It is in effect a psychedelic album dressed in folk clothing. CAROL OF HARVEST doesn't sound anything like their German folk contemporaries such as Ougenweide or Parzival for example. It sounds more like a Sandy Denny meets Pink Floyd sort of gig with touches of symphonic prog and other influences. For me this was a grower but ultimately revealed its secrets to its enduring legacy as one of the forgotten classics.

 Carol of Harvest by CAROL OF HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.09 | 92 ratings

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Carol of Harvest
Carol Of Harvest Prog Folk

Review by fudgenuts64

5 stars I was first recommended the album on Steve Hoffman's music forum a few months ago. Upon first listen I knew this was something special, and I like to try to review albums that might not be particularly well known. Anyway, this is a prog folk album similar in vein to Renaissance, Camel, and Fairport Convention meshed into one. Beate Krause was 16 years old at the time of the recording, and sounds very mature for age and being German. On a track by track level, we've got two prog epics, a psych folk pop song, and two more pure folk songs. The album starts with Put On Your Nightcap, a dark, dreary piece that begs attention from the listener, but at the same times can easily wash over you due to it's length. With that said, it's a rather well constructed epic that goes through multiple mood changes while keeping the overall feeling very dark. The other musicians here can play very well, each getting to show off what they can do with their respective instrument on this track. Great track overall.

Next up is You and Me, a regular folk song. It doesn't do much for me, but it's so short and sounds okay enough it doesn't hurt the album. After that, we get the second "big" song on the album, Somewhere At The End of the Rainbow. This one is very much a psych pop track, with a catchy hook but that brooding mood captured earlier still is here in full force. Which leads nicely into Treary Eyes, a stripped down folk piece that succeeds in retaining the records mood and gives a feeling of depression that lingers through the album the entire way through. Fantastic song and shows that this band could definitely work with the less is more mentality well.

The last one, Try A Little Bit, is a 10 minute epic that almost feels like the cycle being broken. It's still dark, but Beate is rather confident in her singing and the refrain is almost a cry for breaking the cycle, to "try a little bit" as the title says. It all builds up to the symphonic closing section which is perfect for all the tension and sadness from the prior tracks. A very dreary album, depressive, but incredibly beautiful folk prog written by Axel Schmierer. A shame we didn't get any more records from this group (well, not with this lineup anyway) but as it is this is a long forgotten gem of progressive folk that needs to be in your collection. Maybe closer to psych folk, but that's a good thing. Five stars.

 Carol of Harvest by CAROL OF HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.09 | 92 ratings

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Carol of Harvest
Carol Of Harvest Prog Folk

Review by Luciana Aun

4 stars It´s been a long time that i don´t listen to such a gordeous record like this one! It´s German prog folk band with a beautiful female vocals performed by the soft voice of Beate Krause.

 In fact, the record includes some genres of progressive rock, passing through symphonic mixed with the softness of folk that, sometimes, sounds a bit acid. Guitar arrangments and solos are very well conducted by the competent Axel Schmierer, who leads the band with the same talent as he wrote all the lyrics of this record.

The first track, "Put On Your Nightcap" with 16 minutes became to me, one of the most beautiful tracks on Germany Progressive Rock scene. Fact!

The Moog and Hammond solos are executed with great skills by the unknow but terrifc keyboardist, Jürgen Kolb.

Collectors pay hundreds of dollars for the original edition released on vinyl in 1978. In 2001, The Second Battle Records reissued the record on CD with three live bonus tracks.

 Carol of Harvest by CAROL OF HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.09 | 92 ratings

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Carol of Harvest
Carol Of Harvest Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Ask most prog fans to guess who Carol of Harvest was, and they'd say something along the lines of "Er... was she an A&R rep at Pink Floyd's record label?". Nice guess, but nope - in fact, Carol of Harvest is an intriguing prog-folk band from Germany. J'rgen Kolb uses his keyboards and synthesisers to weave spacey textures and soundscapes into the delicate folk tapestry woven by the rest of the band, with Beate Krause's fine vocals adding the final embellishment to the mixture. As far as mellow, trippy space-folk goes, it's a very strong release indeed, and it falls into the category of "so-called lost classics that are actually sort of worth the hype".
 Carol of Harvest by CAROL OF HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.09 | 92 ratings

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Carol of Harvest
Carol Of Harvest Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A complete German obscurity,Carol of Harvest came from the city of Furth in northern Bavaria and were formed in 1976,led by main composer and guitarist Axel Schmierer.The line-up was completed with female singer Beate Krause, bassist Heinz Reinschlüssel, keyboardist Jürgen Kolb and drummer Robert Högn.Their self-titled debut was released on Brutkasten,a label which have released a fair amount of German obscurities from late-70's to early-80's.The 2001 CD re-issue of Second Battle includes also three live tracks.

A 16-min.long suite on the first side along with a short ballad followed by three mid-length compositions on the flipside see Carol of Harvest blending some typical Acid Psych/Folk with synth-driven instrumental prog in an awesome way.Pastoral folk acoustic explorations and psych-influenced vocal-based trippy musicianship is supported by professional,highly dynamic instrumental parts with an energetic rhythm section and superb synthesizers.The compositions follow mainly a low tempo,often dominated by Schmierer's spacey guitar playing along with some orchesteral mellotron sounds.What however pushes the album to another level is the majestic voice of Beate Krause,one of the most amazing,expressive and psychedelic female voices ever with a dreamy and ethereal voice,who additionally sings in almost perfect English.The three live cuts back from the early days of the band indicate a bunch of musicians playing with high energy,Krause's voice in full shape and the synths replaced by some really great organ waves.

Carol of Harvest disbanded shortly after this release,propably due to the low interest of the public in their music and the upcoming wave of commercial music.However the band left behind a really masterful album of majestic Progressive Folk music,which produces unmet trippy soundscapes.Highly recommended far beyond the typical lovers of Hippie Folk or Acid Psych Folk,the album heads to any serious music lover.

 Ty I Ja by CAROL OF HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.11 | 10 ratings

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Ty I Ja
Carol Of Harvest Prog Folk

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Carol Of Harvest has returned again after a very long break. This album is the first of many albums, if everything goes according to the plans outlined in the Carol Of Harvest interview. I am sure this will please a lot of people.

Carol Of Harvest has not changed much from the two albums. If you love the first album, you will probably love this album too. This time, the lyrics has been written in English and then translated and sung in Polish. That's a first, to my knowledge.

The ethereal beautiful vocals of Ewa Grams dominates this album. Music wise, this album is a mix of folk rock and unfortunate, electronic pop. The programmed drums is pretty annoying at times and a big mistake by Carol Of Harvest. The addition of the other instruments in addition to the acoustic guitars is a good choice, on the other hand. I wish Carol Of Harvest had relied more on their main strength and not on trying to become more commercial. The electronic pop stuff seems a bit too desperate commercial. In today's music business, this does not wash.

Song wise, the material is good, but nothing more. There is no outstanding tracks, but there is no real weak tracks too. If you really are into ethereal female vocals based albums, you will rate this album far higher than I do. But this album could had been a lot better if Carol Of Harvest had put it closer to folk rock instead of going of into all other places. I still think this is a good album and I welcome Carol Of Harvest back again. I am sure we will hear a lot more from them in the future.

3 stars

 Carol of Harvest by CAROL OF HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.09 | 92 ratings

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Carol of Harvest
Carol Of Harvest Prog Folk

Review by listen

4 stars A really nice record here. The sound is reminiscent of bands like Emtidi (Saat) or Holderlin (Holderlin's Traum/Hoelderlin). You get a similar feel, though there is more of a (prog) rock approach. It sounds like it came out of the early 70s too. The music is generally quite melodic, generally melancholic and or poignant, and contains common structural variations common in prog and instrumental sections and or solos as well as generally a very high level of musical skill. Beate Krause's vocals are beautiful and delicate yet confident and soulful."Put On Your Nightcap" is the best song here and is the most developed idea, with many parts and high quality musicianship and songwriting. My only complaint is that it ends randomly without any conclusion. It is a poignant and sorrowful song about war (it isn't ever graphic, you just have lyrics like "Who can decide when to love when to fight?" or "Preachers of god you have never understood" or the refrain "Close to the edge of the world"). The other four songs on this album sound a little unpolished songwriting-wise and for that reason sometimes sounding patchy or like unfinished or patched-together ideas. Those are my harshest criticisms. "You and Me" is a nice short upbeat song that concludes "side A". "Somewhere at the End of the Rainbow" is the most fully polished song on here and is a very nice melodic and meaty enough song (instrumentation/musicianship/songwriting-wise). "Treary Eyes" for me is the weakest track on here, though it is melodic and holds enough interest to get the listener across 4 minutes to the next song. The final song "Try a Little Bit" is a good one, with several very good parts, though it is slightly uneven in flow and quality. It is perhaps more ambitious than "Somewhere at the End of the Rainbow" but it is also more unfinished and less polished.

There are more than a few very good ideas in the three bonus tracks though they are not fully-formed songs, more like fragments or ideas, and they are played live and have a horrendous recording/sound at times. They are a nice addition and leave me wishing they recorded a second album.

This record is essential for fans of acid-folk of the 70's and the more melodic and melancholic sides of krautrock, and highly recommended to fans of progressive music, folk rock, and great female singing.

 Carol of Harvest by CAROL OF HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.09 | 92 ratings

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Carol of Harvest
Carol Of Harvest Prog Folk

Review by carol of harvest

4 stars Hallo all friends of carol of harvest. my name is Axel and I was the composer of all carol of harvest songs. After 30 years I publish a new record, coming out January 2009. Again I found a wonderful new voice singing on the record. The music is not so much different as the old carol of harvest record - but of course some things have changed. Ewa the singer is from polan and she is singing in her mother language - I find it really great cause its a wonderful language. There will be no reunion of the old band, but music from the creative head of carol of harvest. Hope you will enjoy the music Best wishes to all of you Axel
Thanks to Certif1ed for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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