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BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Barclay James  Harvest picture
Barclay James Harvest biography
Founded in Oldham, UK in 1966 - Split in 1998 as "John Lees' BJH" and "BJH featuring Les Holroyd" since 2002

In 1966 two R & B bands local to Oldham (UK) merged to form a blues outfit THE BLUES KEEPERS. With sponsorship from a local businessman (also their manager) they rented an 18th century farmhouse where they practised extensively, gradually moving towards a progressive rock style then beginning to emerge. On turning professional the name BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST was adopted, and the line-up stabilised as JOHN LEES (guitars, vocals), LES HOLROYD (bass, rhythm guitar, vocals), STUART "WOOLLY" WOLSTENHOLME (keyboards, vocals) and MEL PRITCHARD (drums). After releasing their first single in April 1968, the band joined the legendary progressive HARVEST label, quickly expanding their musical horizons, chiefly by experimenting with longer evolving song structures and orchestrations. Initially this involved the use of woodwind, strings and brass before acquiring a MELLOTRON, but by the time of the release of their first album 'Barclay James Harvest' in 1970 they were employing an orchestra, the grandly titled BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA led by ROBERT GODFREY who later became a member of THE ENID.

Though producing some of their best melodic progressive work at this time, the orchestra proved to be too expensive and very nearly bankrupted the band, but in 1973 a move to the POLYDOR label saw an upturn in their fortunes. With increasing commercial success, their music began to develop towards simpler song structures with stronger arrangements which caused detractors to dub them 'The Poor Man's Moody Blues'! By 1979 WOOLLY left the band because he had become disillusioned that they had moved away from their Prog roots. They continued into the 1980s as a 3-piece augmented by hired musicians, and with a string of melodic AOR albums finally made a commercial break-through in Europe, particularly in Germany where they played several major outdoor concerts, beginning with a massive free concert on the steps of the historic Reichstag in August 1980.

By the end of the decade the band's popularity was starting to wane. In the 1990s, a traumatic court case and widening musical differences between band members took its toll. In 1998 the two songwriters HOLROYD and LEES agreed to go their separate ways while continuing to work under the umbrella of the old band name. T...
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BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST discography


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

3.22 | 219 ratings
Barclay James Harvest
1970
3.83 | 298 ratings
Once Again
1971
3.26 | 164 ratings
... And Other Short Stories
1971
3.02 | 167 ratings
Baby James Harvest
1972
3.90 | 272 ratings
Everyone Is Everybody Else
1974
3.68 | 229 ratings
Time Honoured Ghosts
1975
3.79 | 284 ratings
Octoberon
1976
3.41 | 218 ratings
Gone To Earth
1977
3.54 | 172 ratings
XII
1978
3.00 | 135 ratings
Eyes Of The Universe
1979
2.60 | 118 ratings
Turn Of The Tide
1981
2.72 | 106 ratings
Ring of Changes
1983
2.29 | 99 ratings
Victims Of Circumstance
1984
2.59 | 92 ratings
Face to Face
1987
2.92 | 83 ratings
Welcome To The Show
1990
2.57 | 75 ratings
Caught In The Light
1993
2.26 | 70 ratings
River Of Dreams
1997
3.05 | 55 ratings
BJH Through The Eyes Of John Lees: Nexus
1999
2.34 | 48 ratings
BJH Featuring Les Holroyd: Revolution Days
2002
3.00 | 3 ratings
Barclay James Harvest Through the Eyes of John Lees - Festivale
2002
3.06 | 55 ratings
John Lees' Barclay James Harvest: North
2013

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

4.50 | 2 ratings
Stereo Pop Special - 32
1973
4.50 | 2 ratings
Stereo Pop Special - 77
1974
4.40 | 124 ratings
Barclay James Harvest Live
1974
3.75 | 89 ratings
Live Tapes
1978
3.19 | 76 ratings
A Concert For The People (Berlin)
1982
2.93 | 32 ratings
Glasnost
1988
3.30 | 22 ratings
BJH Through The Eyes Of John Lees: Revival - Live 1999
2000
3.59 | 29 ratings
BBC In Concert 1972
2002
2.05 | 11 ratings
BJH Featuring Les Holroyd: Live In Bonn
2003
3.00 | 11 ratings
Hymn: The Best Of Barclay James Harvest Live
2003
4.00 | 14 ratings
BJH Featuring Les Holroyd: Classic Meets Rock - Live
2006
4.03 | 18 ratings
John Lees' Barclay James Harvest: Legacy - Live At The Shepherd's Bush Empire
2007
3.67 | 12 ratings
High voltage 3CD set
2011
3.38 | 13 ratings
John Lees Barclay James Harvest: Live In Concert At Metropolis Studios, London
2012
4.20 | 5 ratings
25th Anniversary Concert - Live In London 1992
2012
4.33 | 3 ratings
John Lee's Barclay James Harvest: The 50th Anniversary Concert.
2018
4.50 | 2 ratings
John Lees' Barclay James Harvest: The Bloomsbury Theatre, London, 30th October 2009
2018

BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.88 | 16 ratings
Caught Live
2002
3.24 | 10 ratings
BJH 25th Anniversary Concert
2003
2.44 | 6 ratings
The Ultimate Anthology
2004
2.32 | 6 ratings
BJH Featuring Les Holroyd: On The Road
2005
3.14 | 9 ratings
Glasnost And Victims Of Circumstance
2006
3.53 | 10 ratings
BJH Featuring Les Holroyd: Classic Meets Rock
2006
4.46 | 14 ratings
John Lees Barclay James Harvest: Legacy - Live At The Shepherds Bush Empire (DVD)
2007
4.10 | 11 ratings
Berlin - A Concert For The People
2010
4.22 | 9 ratings
Classic Rock Legends
2011

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

3.33 | 19 ratings
Early Morning Onwards
1972
2.25 | 17 ratings
The Best Of Barclay James Harvest (1977)
1977
2.82 | 15 ratings
The Best Of Barclay James Harvest - Volume 2
1979
3.25 | 5 ratings
Mocking Bird - The Early Years
1980
2.59 | 14 ratings
The Best Of Barclay James Harvest - Volume 3
1981
2.33 | 10 ratings
The Compact Story Of Barclay James Harvest
1985
2.66 | 9 ratings
Another Arable Parable
1987
1.91 | 13 ratings
Alone We Fly
1990
3.13 | 4 ratings
Twice As Much
1990
3.12 | 15 ratings
The Harvest Years
1991
4.06 | 9 ratings
Barclay James Harvest / Once Again
1992
3.56 | 10 ratings
And Other Short Stories / Baby James Harvest
1992
2.82 | 13 ratings
The Best Of Barclay James Harvest (1992)
1992
3.40 | 5 ratings
The Best of BJH
1992
4.50 | 2 ratings
Twice As Much
1992
2.20 | 6 ratings
Sorcerers And Keepers
1993
3.63 | 8 ratings
Four Barclay James Harvest Originals
1996
3.05 | 6 ratings
Endless Dream
1996
4.00 | 3 ratings
Premium Gold Collection
1996
2.60 | 7 ratings
The Best Of Barclay James Harvest (1997)
1997
2.17 | 4 ratings
Master Series
1999
2.49 | 8 ratings
The Collection
2000
2.17 | 4 ratings
Millennium Edition
2000
2.25 | 5 ratings
Mockingbird
2001
3.34 | 7 ratings
BJH Through The Eyes Of John Lees: Brave New World
2002
2.14 | 3 ratings
BJH Through The Eyes Of John Lees: Echoes Of A Brave New World
2003
3.21 | 5 ratings
Baby James Harvest / Once Again
2003
3.00 | 4 ratings
BJH Through The Eyes Of John Lees: Gold Collection
2003
4.13 | 11 ratings
All Is Safely Gathered In - An Anthology 1967-1997
2005
3.34 | 10 ratings
After the Day: The Radio Recordings 1974-1976
2008
3.67 | 3 ratings
Welcome To The Show - The Best Of Barclay James Harvest
2008
4.25 | 4 ratings
Sea Of Tranquillity - The Polydor Years 1974-1997
2009
5.00 | 1 ratings
Starboulevard
2010
4.22 | 9 ratings
Taking some time on (The Parlophone-Harvest years 1968-73)
2011
3.24 | 6 ratings
Child Of The Universe, The Essential Collection
2013

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

3.04 | 4 ratings
Early Morning / Mr. Sunshine
1968
2.25 | 5 ratings
Brother Thrush / Poor Wages
1969
3.13 | 4 ratings
Taking Some Time On / The Iron Maiden
1970
4.04 | 4 ratings
She Said
1971
3.19 | 7 ratings
Thank You / Medicine Man
1972
4.50 | 2 ratings
I'm Over You
1972
4.00 | 3 ratings
Rock And Roll Woman / The Joker
1973
4.25 | 4 ratings
Child of the Universe / Crazy City
1974
4.50 | 2 ratings
Poor Boy Blues / Crazy City
1974
3.75 | 4 ratings
Titles
1975
3.50 | 2 ratings
Sweet Jesus / Hymn for the Children
1975
4.00 | 1 ratings
Time Honoured Ghosts
1975
4.00 | 1 ratings
Rock 'N' Roll Star
1977
3.00 | 2 ratings
Gone to Earth EP
1977
3.25 | 9 ratings
Hymn / Our Kid's Kid
1977
4.60 | 5 ratings
Live EP
1977
3.00 | 3 ratings
Friend of Mine / Suicide
1978
3.00 | 2 ratings
Loving is Easy / Polk Street Rag
1978
3.00 | 1 ratings
Sip of Wine / Hymn
1978
2.05 | 2 ratings
Love on the Line
1979
2.05 | 2 ratings
Capricorn / Berlin
1980
3.57 | 7 ratings
Life Is For Living
1980
3.00 | 1 ratings
Time Honoured Tracks
1980
2.00 | 1 ratings
Waiting on the Borderline / Doctor Doctor
1981
5.00 | 1 ratings
Mockingbird
1981
2.00 | 1 ratings
Child of the Universe / Back to the Wall
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
French Tour 82
1982
2.00 | 1 ratings
Just a Day Away
1983
2.00 | 1 ratings
Ring of Changes
1983
3.00 | 1 ratings
I've Got a Feeling
1984
3.00 | 1 ratings
He Said Love
1986
3.00 | 1 ratings
Panic / All My Life
1987
3.00 | 1 ratings
John Lennon's Guitar
1990
3.00 | 1 ratings
Cheap the Bullet
1990
3.00 | 1 ratings
Halfway to Freedom
1990
3.00 | 1 ratings
Welcome to the Show
1990
3.00 | 1 ratings
Stand Up
1992
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Origin of Pieces
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Strangely Mixed
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
Au Naturel
2001
4.00 | 1 ratings
Bob Harris Session (5th july 1971)
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
Bob Harris Session (15th march 1972)
2010
4.50 | 2 ratings
John Lees' Barclay James Harvest: Ancient Waves
2014

BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Child Of The Universe, The Essential Collection by BARCLAY JAMES  HARVEST album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2013
3.24 | 6 ratings

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Child Of The Universe, The Essential Collection
Barclay James Harvest Crossover Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review N 743

"Child Of The Universe, The Essential Collection" is a compilation album of Barclay James Harvest released in 2013. It has tracks from eleven studio albums from the band. It has two tracks from "Once Again", four tracks from "Everyone Is Everybody Else", four tracks from "Time Honoured Ghosts", three tracks from "Octoberon", three tracks from "Gone To Earth", three tracks from "XII", three tracks from "Eyes Of The Universe", one track from "Turn Of The Tide", two tracks from "Ring Of Changes", two tracks from "Face To Face" and one track from "Welcome To The Show".

So, "Child Of The Universe, The Essential Collection" has twenty-eight tracks. "Child Of The Universe" is a classic of the band. It's one of their most known songs and one of their most performed live. It's emotional and personal with a proper dramatic sense. "Crazy City" is a superb song with great guitar riffs and nice vocal harmonies. It's a rock song very well sung. "Negative Earth" is a melodic and accessible song with an oriented pop style. "The Great 1974 Mining Disaster" is a nice interesting song with beautiful guitar moments, especially a great guitar solo. This is the original mixed version. "She Said" is an emotional love song with nice and interesting instrumental passages, especially the very beautiful flute passage in the middle of the song. This is the 1974 live version. "Mocking Bird" is a great song with excellent melody. It's one of the major parts of the band's repertoire that still is part of the live sets thirty years later. This is the 1974 live version. "Titles" is a nice song well arranged, with beautiful and powerful chorus, well done and with very good taste. It's a simple song with a simple tune. "Jonathan" is a nice ballad mellow and beautiful. It has an impressive guitar performance, beautiful keyboards complemented by the drums. "Hymn For The Children" is a love and melancholic song that continues a dear theme to John Lees. "Moongirl" is a beautiful song. It's a simple low song with a beautiful melody and harmony. The vocal harmonies are also one of its highest points. "Ra" is a piece inspired by the Ancient Egyptian God of the Sun. It's also inspired by Gustav Mahler's first symphony. This is one of the finest compositions of Stuart Wolstenholme. "Rock'N'Roll Star" is a nice rock song with great keyboards and good guitar work. It's a beautiful song nice and pleasant to hear. "Suicide?" is a dark song about the suicide of a man. The song is sweet, beautiful and melancholic from the beginning to the final act of it. "Poor Man's Moody Blues" is one of their best songs, one of the most beloved songs and one of their most performed live songs. "Taking Me Higher" is a nice love song performed almost on piano and organ with tender and beautiful vocals. It's a very calm and harmonious ballad. "Science Fiction: Nova Lepidoptera" is a true majestic piece, a reminiscence of their earlier musical era. John Lees and Woolly Wolstenholme are brilliant. "Berlin" is mainly a beautiful and emotional ballad performed essentially by Les Holroyd on piano and Woolly Wolstenholme on keyboards. "In Search Of England" is a song about the conflict of youthful inexperience versus the wisdom of age. It's the last great composition by Woolly Wolstenholme to the band. "Love On The Line" is a good song well arranged. It has grandiosity and splendour, instilled by massive synthesizer performances and great guitar riffs. "Sperratus" creates a perfect ambience. It's a symphonic progressive song with a perfect and distinct energy of pompous rock. "The Song (They Love To Sing)" starts beautifully with a theme performed by a synthesizer played in a percussive way. It's a beautiful song well sung. "Hymn" is a great and powerful song with great melody, instrumentation and a luxurious arrangement. "Life Is For Living" was written for the Berlin concerts. It's a well written pop song clearly influenced by the sound of the 80's. "Fifties Child" is a nostalgic number with a great string intro leading to a full orchestra intro before the band joins. The orchestra arrangements are a revival of their most symphonic days. "Ring Of Changes" is composed almost entirely of synths and drums but the arrangement of the track is dynamic. It has a good melody, with a repetitive chorus. "Alone In The Night" starts calmly with a soft voiced melody backed up by an acoustic guitar that explodes in a rockier way with good energy. It features a good guitar work in the old vein. "All My Life" is bursting with tension, a piece of 80's pop style. It sounds like a disco song, like Roxy Music in the time of "Manifesto" and "Flesh + Blood". "Cheap The Bullet" addresses society's cycle of violence and its effect on our youth, a powerful thrusting rocker taking a strong stance against a modern "gun culture". This is an upbeat song.

Conclusion: "Child Of The Universe, The Essential Collection" is a very interesting and a relatively well representative compilation album of Barclay James Harvest. Some of their best and most iconic studio works are represented here with several of their best tracks. My only complaint is the absence of three albums that belong to the band's earlier days, the albums that were released to the Harvest label. Of those four albums, only one is represented here, "Once Again", which is the best, really. However, I still miss the presence of tracks of the other three albums, "Barclay James Harvest", "...And Other Short Stories" and "Baby James Harvest". Those albums have tracks good enough to be here.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Mocking Bird - The Early Years by BARCLAY JAMES  HARVEST album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1980
3.25 | 5 ratings

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Mocking Bird - The Early Years
Barclay James Harvest Crossover Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review N 727

'Mocking Bird ' The Earlier Years' is a compilation album of Barclay James Harvest that was released in 1980. It has tracks from three of their first four studio albums. It has four tracks from their second album 'Once Again', two tracks from their third album '...And Other Short Stories' and three tracks from their fourth album 'Baby James Harvest'. So, it has no tracks taken from their eponymous debut studio album. The compilation has also two non-album's tracks.

So, 'Mocking Bird ' The Earlier Years' has eleven tracks. 'Mocking Bird' is truly a majestic piece that became as one of the best compositions of Barclay James Harvest. It's a great song with excellent melody and the use of an orchestra is present. This is the best known song on 'Once Again' and that became as one of the major parts of Barclay James Harvest repertoire and that would still feature in the live sets thirty years later. 'The Joker' was originally only released as the B side of their single 'Rock And Roll Woman'. Later it appeared as a bonus track on 'Baby James Harvest'. This is a short and simple song with short lyrics too, but nice to hear. It features childish and mellow vocals. 'Rock And Roll Woman' was originally only released as the A side of their single with the same name. Later it appeared as a bonus track on 'Baby James Harvest'. It's a short calm rock piece a bit repetitive without great developments. This is a poor rock song, really. 'One Hundred Thousands Smiles Out' is about the isolation of an astronaut lost in space. It's a song inspired by the space race and where the lyrics recount the isolation of a fictional astronaut. The space race was always in the news since the first expedition to the Moon in 1969, and that interest was reflected in many other songs from many other artists, in that time, such as 'Space Oddity' of David Bowie and 'Rocket Man' of Elton John. It's a calm and nice song well arranged. It's a typical example of what would be the music direction that the group would take in the next future. 'Thank You' is the rocking song on 'Baby James Harvest' and its lyrics were written as a tribute to their road crew and to many other people who influenced the band's life. This isn't a great song and it represents one of the weakest points on that album. It's hard for me to understand why it was chosen to be released as a single and not 'Delph Town Morn', which is a better song. 'Medicine Man' is a John Lees' classic opener which was inspired by the Ray Bradbury's novel, 'Something Wicked This Way Comes'. It's a superb song to open '...And Other Short Stories' with beautiful vocals and with a fantastic and memorable orchestral arrangement. This is a song that represents one of the highest musical moments on that album. 'Ursula (The Swansea Song)' is a song written about a failed love affair. It's a simple and beautiful song with nice melody and a beautiful Mellotron work. It has a lovely poetry work, is very well played and is carefully arranged. After so many years it still remains nice, fresh and pleasant to hear, even in our days. 'Song For Dying' is a powerful song with a strong anti-war message with very morbid and dark lyrics. This is, without any doubt, one of the best songs on 'Once Again' featuring a great and powerful guitar work by John Lees. 'Crazy (Over You)' is the song chosen to open 'Baby James Harvest' and is a nice and typical Les Holroyd song. Here we haven't the usual musical orchestration which was substituted by the Mellotron work. This is a simple but very effective composition featuring excellent guitar and keyboard workings. We may say that this song is one of the first efforts and a typical example of what would be the musical direction that the group would take in their next future. 'She Said' was a musical composition that initially comprised two songs and that by suggestion of Woolly Wolstenholme the two tunes were combined in only one track. It's a great emotional love song with nice and very interesting instrumental musical passages, especially by a very beautiful flute passage in the middle of the song. This is really one of the best and most progressive songs written by Les Holroyd. 'Galadriel', as its name indicates, was inspired by a character with the same name that appears on 'The Lord Of The Rings' saga. It's a very beautiful and simple evocative song with nice guitar work and nice vocal performance too. The main characteristic of this song is a beautiful and superb musical orchestral arrangement, which demonstrates effectively how an orchestra can be perfectly used on a progressive rock album.

Conclusion: As happened with the first compilation albums released by the band, despite this one be only released in 1980, 'Mocking Bird ' The Earlier Years' is only focused in the earlier days of Barclay James Harvest, the years of the releases to the Harvest record label. However and strangely, it has only tracks that belong to three of those four works, 'Once Again', '...And Other Short Stories' and 'Baby James Harvest', leaving out tracks from their eponymous debut studio album. That was a pity because 'Barclay James Harvest' has some great stuff that could be perfectly part of this compilation album, such as, 'The Iron Maiden' and 'Dark Now My Sky'. We can say that 'Mocking Bird ' The Earlier Years' is a good compilation album of the band and a nice mirror of the first musical era of Barclay James Harvest, especially if we add the two non-album's tracks, especially 'The Joker'. It's a compilation album that deserves 3 stars.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Twice As Much by BARCLAY JAMES  HARVEST album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1990
3.13 | 4 ratings

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Twice As Much
Barclay James Harvest Crossover Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review N 723

"Twice As Much" is a compilation album of Barclay James Harvest released in 1992. "Twice As Much" has tracks from their first four studio albums. So, it has two tracks from their eponymous debut studio album "Barclay James Harvest", six tracks from their second studio album "Once Again", nine tracks from their third studio album "...And Other Short Stories" and six tracks from their fourth studio album "Baby James Harvest". It has also plus six non-album's tracks.

"Twice As Much" has twenty-eight tracks. "Mocking Bird" is a great piece, one of their best compositions. It has a great melody and the presence of an orchestra. "Delph Town Morn" is very beautiful, one of the few songs to include horns. The inclusion of these instruments adds another different dimension to their music. "Song For Dying" is a powerful song with a strong anti-war message with morbid and dark lyrics. It's one of the best songs on "Once Again" featuring a great and powerful guitar work. "Ursula (The Swansea Song)" is a true simple song with a nice melody and a beautiful Mellotron work. It has a lovely poetry work, is well played and carefully arranged. "Someone There You Know" is a nice song with a catchy melody, good guitar and keyboard works and some inspired harmony. It's a pleasant and romantic ballad. "Crazy (Over You)" is a song without the usual orchestration replaced by the Mellotron work. It's an effective composition featuring some excellent guitar and keyboard works. "Song With No Meaning" is a typical English pastoral acoustic song where Les Holroyd plays almost all instruments. It's a simple and nice song, slightly laconic. "Brother Thrush" was released as the A side of the single with the same name. It's a beautiful song with falsetto vocals sounding to the 60's. "Medicine Man" is a great song with a nice vocal performance and a fantastic and memorable orchestral arrangement. "Little Lapwing" is an acoustic song in the vein of the songs on "Barclay James Harvest". It's a nice and simple song where Les Holroyd plays not only bass but almost all instruments. "I'm Over You" was the A side of the single with the same name. It's a nice song, one of my favourite bonus tracks on their album "Baby James Harvest" on my release. "Harry's Song" is a simple song sounding as a rocking number. It isn't very inspired and the final result isn't very convincing. "She Said" is an emotional love song with nice and interesting instrumental passages, especially the nice flute passage in the middle. "Child Of Man" was released as the B side of the single "I'm Over You". It's a short track but remains a fine song. "Mother Dear" is a pleasant song that features nice string arrangements. It sounds to the 60's but it doesn't matter because it's very beautiful. "Ball And Chain" is a powerful rock song with a good instrumental performance and a real curious and strange vocal performance by Woolly Wolstenholme. "Summer Soldier" is a classic band's track that begins as an acoustic song with the second part arranged by Woolly Wolstenholme. This is one of the highest moments on "Baby James Harvest". "Vanessa Simmons" is a simple soft acoustic ballad with only acoustic guitar and voice. It's a relaxing and pleasant song. "The Joker" was released as the B side of the single "Rock And Roll Woman". It's a short and simple song with short lyrics too. "The Iron Maiden" is a short, simple song with nice harmony and beautiful chorus. It's a quiet and celestial ballad, one of the highlights on "Barclay James Harvest". "One Hundred Thousand Smiles Out" is a calm and nice song, well arranged. This is another example of what would be the direction of their future music. "Rock And Roll Woman" was released as the A side of the single with the same name. It's a short calm rock piece a bit repetitive without great developments. "Galadriel" is a nice and simple song with good guitar work and a beautiful vocal performance. It has a superb orchestral arrangement. "Blue John's Blues" is a nice rock song with good guitar work, nice piano and John Lees' rocking vocals. It shows a side of the band not revealed until that moment. "Early Morning" was released as the A side of the single with the same name. It's a short melodic ballad with a romantic atmosphere dominated by Mellotron and a nice flute work. "The Poet" is a great mini-epic orchestral piece. It proves the skills of Woolly Wolstenholme as a brilliant composer and performer and the influences of the classical music on him. "After The Day" is a great song with a good guitar work and a majestic Mellotron performance. It has an irreproachable orchestral arrangement too. "Thank You" is a rocking number, a tribute to their road crew and many other people who influenced the band's life. This isn't a great song. It represents one of the weakest points on "Baby James Harvest".

Conclusion: "Twice As Much" is a good compilation album of the band that is exclusively focused on the first four studio albums of Barclay James Harvest in the beginning of their career, the Harvest years. Thus, it has only tracks that belong to those albums plus some tracks that never were released on any of their studio albums but only released as singles. All of this makes that "Twice As Much" is a nice and interesting compilation album of Barclay James Harvest with some of their best and most prog tracks that belong to some of their best and most prog studio works too, mainly "Once Again". So, "Twice As Much" is a good representative of the band and is a nice showcase of their earlier career.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Gone To Earth by BARCLAY JAMES  HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.41 | 218 ratings

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Gone To Earth
Barclay James Harvest Crossover Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review N 716

"Gone To Earth" is the eighth studio album of Barclay James Harvest and was released in 1977. The album's name has a curious and interesting signification. The album's title, "Gone To Earth", refers to the fox hunter's cry used to indicate that the quarry has returned to its lair. It was a big successful album, their most successful and popular album, and it was housed in one of the most beautiful die-cut covers ever. It became the band's largest selling album until today, eventually selling more than a million copies worldwide. On "Gone To Earth", Barclay James Harvest dropped all ambitions about being complex as they never were the band for that anyway. Instead, they were focused on what they did best, writing sweet, symphonic and strongly melodic tunes without any interrupting elements or unnecessary turns.

"Gone To Earth" has nine tracks. The first track "Hymn" written by John Lees is a religious song describing briefly the life of Christ. However, the meaning of the song is dubious and leaves for everyone the true meaning of the song. It's a very powerful song with great melody, incredible instrumental work and it has also a true incredible and luxurious arrangement. This is, without any doubt, a great song, one of their best, one of the most beloved songs by their fans and it's also one of the most performed live on their concerts. The second track "Love Is Like A Violin" written by John Lees is an extremely beautiful song with an ethereal melody that suddenly turns into a rock song. It's also a song with beautiful verses and nice chorus. It represents also one of the best musical moments on the album, indeed. The third track "Friend Of Mine" written by Les Holroyd is, in my opinion, a true surprising track. It shows a country rock side of the group, rarely seen on the band until now. It seems to me that this song reflects yet some influences of the American west coast sound, taken by them when they were in San Francisco. This had been much noticed on their studio album, "Time Honoured Ghosts". This is the weakest track on the album, until now. The fourth track "Poor Man's Moody Blues" written by John Lees is a song that contains two meanings. It's a personal homage of the group to The Moody Blues and their song "Nights In White Satin", and it's also, at the same time, an ironic song whose title song reflects the accusation made to the group, that for many years their music was considered very similar but inferior to The Moody Blues music. As "Hymn", it's also one of their best, one of the most beloved songs by their fans and it's also one of the most performed live on their concerts. It's interesting to note that if Justin Hayward's song is a masterpiece, this John Lees' version is also a great version. The fifth track "Hard Hearted Woman" written by Les Holroyd is a nice song. It's a pleasant song to hear with great bass work, performed by Les Holroyd. It's almost a funky and danceable song but sincerely it doesn't contain anything exciting enough to be considered a true great song. The sixth track "Sea Of Tranquillity" written by Woolly Wolstenholme represents one of the typical pieces of music of him. It's a very pretty piece of music, full of some great bombastic keyboard work and is very well accompanied by great vocal performance performed by him. It's a very progressive song, probably the only totally progressive song on the album. This song represents another high musical moment on the album and gives to it the progressive touch that it needed. The seventh track "Spirit On The Water" written by Les Holroyd is an environment protest song with some good lyrics. The vocal harmonies by the backing vocals are very beautiful and remind me Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young or the Eagles. Still, being a nice and pleasant song to hear, it hasn't, in reality, anything special to be considered a great song. The eighth track "Leper's Song" written by Jon Lees is a rocker song, the only truly rock song on the album. This is an interesting song with some nice guitar work. However, despite being a good and nice song of John Lees, it represents, without any doubt, his weakest contribution to this musical work. The ninth and last track "Taking Me Higher" written by Les Holroyd is a nice love song performed almost on piano and organ with tender and beautiful vocals that closes the album in a very soft and quiet way. It's a very calm and nice ballad that finishes the album nicely and harmoniously.

Conclusion: I know that lots of the fans list "Gone To Earth" as their favourite studio album of Barclay James Harvest, mainly because it contains two of the best and most beloved tracks from the band, "Hymn" and "Poor Man's Moody Blues". However, I'm convinced that there are better tracks on their other studio albums. Being "Gone To Earth" a very pleasant and accomplished album, it isn't, in my opinion, a very cohesive and balanced album. It has two great songs, "Hymn" and "Poor Man's Moody Blues", two very good songs "Love Is Like A Violin" and "Sea Of Tranquillity", but the rest is pretty much standard musical material from Barclay James Harvest, actually nothing truly noteworthy, especially the material composed by Les Holroyd is unusually bellow from the quality level in which we were used to. So, my rating of 4 stars is only because "Gone To Earth" has some of the best material ever composed by the band, indeed.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Octoberon by BARCLAY JAMES  HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.79 | 284 ratings

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Octoberon
Barclay James Harvest Crossover Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review N 681

"Octoberon" is the seventh studio album of Barclay James Harvest and itwas released in 1976. After the success of the release of their previous studio album "Time Honoured Ghosts" that was recorded at the His Masters Wheels studio in San Francisco, Polydor, suggested that the next studio work of the band should also be recorded in the same place and with the same producer, Elliot Mazer. However, it wasn't possible because he was engaged in work on other musical projects, and so Barclay James Harvest recorded "Octoberon" in their own land, at the Strawberry Studios, Stockport.

"Octoberon" has seven tracks. The first track "The World Goes On" written by Les Holroyd provides the album's opening track and is the first song that use an orchestra on a Barclays James Harvest studio album since "Moonwater" from their fourth studio album "Baby James Harvest". This is a more orthodox Barclay James Harvest song, completed with a full orchestration. It's a beautiful and an introspective ballad that shows perfectly well the taste of Les Holroyd for soft and melodic songs, very simple and melancholic too. On the song, I think that deserve special highlights the orchestral arrangements which are totally irreproachable. The second track "May Day" written by John Lees is an anti-extremist song that criticized two sides of the policy, the politically extreme left wing and extreme right wing schools of political thought. It's a great song with some complex, beautiful and perfect choral arrangements, sung by the Capriol Singers, which provides to the song a great final climax to this lengthy, grandiose and epic piece of music. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever composed by John Lees. The third track "Ra" written by Woolly Wolstenholme represents the traditional and only personal contribution of Woolly Wolstenholme to this album. This is a piece of music inspired by the Egyptian God of the Sun, of the Ancient Egypt. It's a song also inspired by Gustav Mahler's first symphony and it's perhaps one of his finest musical compositions. It's a completely different piece of music, compared with "Maestoso (A Hymn In The Roof Of The World)", the song recorded to be part of "Everyone Is Everybody Else" but that was never part of it and "Beyond The Grave" of "Time Honoured Ghosts". "Ra" was build from a quiet start to an epic and grandiose ending. The fourth track "Rock & Roll Star" written by Les Holroyd is an obvious reference and a tribute to The Byrds' song "So You Want To Be A Rock'N'Roll Star", included on The Byrds' fourth studio album "Younger Than Yesterday". It's a magnificent rock track with great keyboards and nice guitar work. This is a very beautiful song, not a great song and not the best song on the album, but nice and pleasant enough to be heard as a beautiful piece of music. This is also a song that reminds me strongly the sound of the Eagles. The fifth track "Polk Street Rag" written by John Lees is a song that takes its name on Polk Street, which is a street in San Francisco, California, where John Lees conceived the song. It takes its inspiration on the most famous porno film of all time "Deep Throat", where participated the famous celebrity female porno film star, Linda Lovelace. This is another standard rock track without any type of choral or orchestral accompaniment. This is probably a song influenced by the American west coast rock, when the band was in San Francisco. It's a good song, but like the previous song, it isn't for sure one of the best moments on the album. The sixth track "Believe In Me" written by Les Holroyd is another song that also it seems to have been inspired by the American west coast rock. This is another good song with a beautiful final, a nice light tune and with beautiful backing vocals, despite the voice of Les Holroyd. It's also a song with fine harmonies, good keyboard work and a hand of good rhythm guitar riffs. The seventh and last track "Suicide?" written by John Lees is a song built around a description of someone committing suicide by jumping from a tall building. This is a very dark song that relates the suicide of a man, with ironic observations such as the guy who wants to move is car out of the way before the jump. The concept of the song is very original and interesting and sincerely I think this is one of the highest points of this album. The music is sweet, beautiful and melancholic from the beginning to the final act. The track closes with the special effects of the disturbing sound of a body hitting the ground. This is a great close to the album, really.

Conclusion: I know "Octoberon" since it was released and I have a vinyl copy of it since that time. "Octoberon" was always my favourite album from Barclay James Harvest and I've always been convinced that "Octoberon" is their best studio album and that it's also their most progressive work. However, "Octoberon" isn't a masterpiece. In my humble opinion, despite I like very much of Barclay James Harvest, they never released any studio album as a masterpiece. Still, "Octoberon" was very close of being one. "Octoberon" is an excellent album, very cohesive, very well balanced, and is one of the most progressive and sophisticated albums of Barclay James Harvest. The band would never again be more focused than they were on this album, and it represents the band at their peak in the 70's. It's an amazing album.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Time Honoured Ghosts by BARCLAY JAMES  HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.68 | 229 ratings

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Time Honoured Ghosts
Barclay James Harvest Crossover Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review N 666

"Time Honoured Ghosts" is the sixth studio album of Barclay James Harvest and that was released in 1975. After the release of their previous studio album "Everyone Is Everybody Else", it was agreed that the next studio work of the group should be recorded is USA. So, "Time Honoured Ghosts" was recorded at the His Masters Wheels studio in San Francisco. It's a quite decent album, with a bit generic formulaic. Despite it has nothing new, just the usual mix of sweet symphonic songs relieved by some more acoustic and down to earth tracks, it seems better than their previous one.

"Time Honoured Ghosts" has nine tracks. The first track "In My Life" written by John Lees is a great and powerful opener for the album in the same vein of the song "Child Of The Universe" of their previous studio album "Everyone Is Everybody Else". It's a very beautiful song, very melodic and with good lyrics, a great guitar performance with a great guitar riff and it has also a great and nice Mellotron work. The second track "Sweet Jesus" written by Les Holroyd is a very religious oriented song and mainly for that reason displeases many of us. Sincerely, I can respect those ideas and live with that. Musically, it's a song dominated by the acoustic guitar, Hammond organ and nice vocal harmonies that reminds me Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and the Eagles. I like the song and sincerely think that we are in presence of a nice and pleasant song to hear. The third track "Titles" written by John Lees is a lyrical tribute to The Beatles that interwoven some titles of The Beatles songs to make up the lyrics. It's a very beautiful song very well arranged, with beautiful and powerful chorus, very well done and with good taste. It's, in reality, a very simple song with a simple tune as only John Lees can do so well. It's, in reality, a very nice and honest tribute to John Lees' heroes. The fourth track "Jonathan" written by Les Holroyd was inspired by Richard's Bach book "Jonathan Livingstone Seagull", a novel about imposing limitations upon one's self, which used a metaphor of a seagull to illustrate that. Musically is a very nice and delicate ballad extremely mellow and beautiful. It has a very impressive guitar performance, some acoustic and electric, beautiful keyboards in the background and is also very well complemented by drums. The fifth track "Beyond The Grave" written by Woolly Wolstenholme is the contribution to the album from him. It's a very powerful and epic musical composition, probably the most powerful song ever created by the group. It's a magnificent piece of music that grows and grows from an almost inaudible start to an incredible crescendo and in the end the song ends abruptly. It's, without any doubt, one of the best tracks on the album and is for sure the most progressive track on it. The sixth track "Song For You" written by Les Holroyd is typically a rock song. The mainly reference on this song is the electric guitar. Here, the electric guitar can be surprisingly razor and aggressive. This is probably the best contribution of Les Holroyd to the album, although some weak vocal performances from him especially on this song. The seventh track "Hymn For The Children" written by John Lees is a love song written in the spirit of everybody love each other and making of the world a better place. I'm a free mind and I've no problem with the lyrics and the spirit of songs like this. This is a melancholic song which continues a very dear theme to John Lees, especially touched with "Child Of The Universe" included on their previous studio album "Everyone Is Everybody Else". The eighth track "Moongirl" written by Les Holroyd is a very harmonic and beautiful song. This is a true impressive song because is a very simple song which have at the same time a great deep musical quality. It's a very slow song giving us time to enjoy its beautiful melody and harmony. The vocal harmonies are also one of the highest points of this song. The ninth and last track "One Night" written by John Lees is a song which touches the subject of prostitution from the eyes of a world weary client. It tells the story of one night stand with someone with a prostitute view through the eyes of John Lees. This is another John Lees' strong song, mostly acoustic, with interesting and allusive lyrics, and as is usual most often, they're also a bit provocative. This is another fine John Lees' song which closes magnificently this beautiful and well balanced album, in my humble opinion.

Conclusion: As I wrote before when I reviewed "Everyone Is Everybody Else", "Time Honoured Ghosts" is a better studio work than "Everyone Is Everybody Else" is, because it's a more cohesive and a well balanced album. I know "Time Honoured Ghosts" since it was released and I even have a vinyl copy of it purchased in those times. Barclay James Harvest was always a band that I always liked very much, and in addition to "Time Honoured Ghosts", I also have vinyl copies of other albums from them, "Octoberon", "XII", "Eyes Of The Universe" and "Turn Of The Tide", also purchased in those times. By the other hand, "Time Honoured Ghosts" was also my first introduction to Barclay James Harvest. It has certainly improved with age. There are some pretty songs here and Woolly's keyboard playing is in great form. So, in my humble opinion, "Time Honoured Ghosts" is, without any doubt, one of the best works made by them.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Everyone Is Everybody Else by BARCLAY JAMES  HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.90 | 272 ratings

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Everyone Is Everybody Else
Barclay James Harvest Crossover Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review N 657

"Everyone Is Everybody Else" is the fifth studio album of Barclay James Harvest that was released in 1974. This was the first album from the band released for Polydor label and represents a subtle change into their music. This was their first album not to feature any orchestral arrangements and the final result was a more rock oriented sound and the early similarities with The Moody Blues became less apparent. It showed the band had a better and more polished production than the albums on the Harvest Records, and this actually helped them to develop a sound that was more of their own.

"Everyone Is Everybody Else" has nine tracks. The first track "Child Of The Universe" written by John Lees is a song about the violence in Northern Ireland and Vietnam and the apartheid in South Africa and is a classic theme of Barclay James Harvest. It's also one of the most known songs of the group and is also one of the most performed live by them. It's a very emotional and personal song perfectly treated with a proper dramatic sense. The second track "Negative Earth" written by Les Holroyd and Mel Pritchard is a song based on the disastrous 1970 Apollo 13 space mission, that in spite of everything and in the ending, the space crew returned safely to Earth. This is a very melodic and accessible song perfectly identified with the more oriented pop style of Les Holroyd. The third track "Paper Wings" written by Les Holroyd and Mel Pritchard is another melodic song but with a more rock and frenetic rhythm, especially because the drum attacks at the end of the song. It's a good song very easy to here and that doesn't require too much attention to listening. The fourth track "The Great 1974 Mining Disaster" written by John Lees seems to be based to the Bee Gees song of a very similar name. Deconstructing the lyrics of the Bee Gees "New York Mining Disaster 1941", it retold the story of the 1974 UK miner's strike that led to the downfall the British government. It's a very nice and interesting song with beautiful guitar moments, especially its great guitar solo. The fifth track "Crazy City" written by Les Holroyd is a superb song with great gritty guitar riffs and nice vocal harmonies and that was therefore released as a single. It's the rockiest song on the album and is also very well sung. It's one of the most commercial songs of the band, but sincerely I think that it isn't necessarily a bad thing. The sixth track "See Me See You" written by John Lees is, as usual, another very melodic track with nice and fine musical parts which gives us a great moment of relaxing pleasure. This is a song with some musical complexity and one of my favourite songs of the album. The seventh track "Poor Boy Blues" written by Les Holroyd and the eighth track "Mill Boys" written by John Lees are two simple and beautiful folk songs with nothing of special to offer. They're two songs with a country rock feel that seem a little out of the place in the context of the album. They aren't bad songs but both represent, without doubt, the weakest point of the album. The ninth and last track "For No One" written by John Lees is an anti-war song like "Child Of The Universe" and a great song to close the album. It's a powerful song with clean vocal harmonies, dense and simplistic Mellotron and great guitar performance and where John Lees pleading vocals, carry the song to an impressive climax. In my humble opinion, "For No One" is with "Child Of The Universe" the two highest points of this great album. Both remain two excellent tracks, even today.

My "Everyone Is Everybody Else" version has five bonus tracks. Usually I don't review bonus tracks. However, this time I'm going to do an exception with "Maestoso (A Hymn In The Roof Of The World)" written by Woolly Wolstenholme. The recording sessions produced this track that would remain locked for about twenty years because Polydor didn't agree with the inclusion of this symphonic piece on the album, with the argument that it has a very different style from the rest of the album. This is an epic track with the lyrics telling the story of a chance meeting between a Russian and an American mountaineer at the top of the World, in Mount Everest. Woolly Wolstenholme later recorded it on his debut solo studio album "Maestoso". It was a shame this track hasn't been included because it would have been the only real progressive song on the album. This is also one of the best and most spectacular compositions composed by the band.

Conclusion: "Everyone Is Everybody Else" is one of the best Barclay James Harvest studio albums, indeed. However, I don't consider it their best studio work. Sincerely, I'm absolutely convinced that they have better studio works, such as, their two next studio albums, "Time Honoured Ghosts" and especially "Octoberon". "Everyone Is Everybody Else" isn't as cohesive and well balanced as "Time Honoured Ghosts" and "Octoberon" are. It has especially two weak songs "Poor Boy Blues" and "Mill Boys" that constitute the Achilles' heel of this album. By the other hand, it's completely inexcusable the editor's decision of not include one of the greatest music pieces composed by Woolly Wolstenholme, "Maestoso (A Hymn In The Roof Of The World)". If that hadn't happened, "Everyone Is Everybody Else" would be a better album. Still, for many persons, "Everyone Is Everybody Else" remains BJH's most solid and consistent release.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Baby James Harvest by BARCLAY JAMES  HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.02 | 167 ratings

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Baby James Harvest
Barclay James Harvest Crossover Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review N 641

"Baby James Harvest" is the fourth studio album of Barclay James Harvest that was released in 1972. It was the last album released to their record label, the Harvest Records. In most BJH favourite charts, Baby James Harvest scarcely gets a mention. After the pomp of their eponymous debut first album, the brilliance of "Once Again" and some majesty of "Barclay James Harvest And Other Short Stories", it was a huge disappointment. In reality, it isn't a bad album, but there is a lack of sparkle and drive and it feels as if the band was simply going through the motions. But in general, it remains a disappointment. Overall, the sound is pretty depressed and it just doesn't seem to particularly go anywhere.

"Baby James Harvest" has six tracks. The first track "Crazy Over (You)" written by Les Holroyd is the song chosen to open the album and is a nice and a typical Les Holroyd song. Here we haven't the usual musical orchestration which was substituted by the Mellotron work. It's a very simple but very effective composition featuring excellent guitar and keyboard workings. We may say that this song is one of the first efforts and a typical example of what would be the musical direction that the group would take in the future. The second track "Delph Town Morn" written by John Lees is a nice and beautiful song that seems to be released first as a single. However, it seems that it hasn't been the choice, because it was "Thank You" that got the honour to be that. It feature thirteen musicians that formed a brass ensemble section and they weren't members of the orchestra that usually worked with them. However, this is one of their few songs to include horns, and the inclusion of these musical instruments adds another different musical dimension to their music. I don't know if it's because of that, but this song reminds me Supertramp. The third track "Summer Soldier" written by John Lees is a classic John Lees' song that was to become the most frequently performed live piece of music from the album. It became also one of the first political songs composed by John Lees. It refers the futility of violence and a plea for peace. It seems that was inspired by some events in Northern Ireland, although we can consider that its sentiments could equally be applied to any type of conflicts. The song begins as an acoustic song and in the second part the song was arranged by Woolly Wolstenholme. It represents one of the highest musical moments on the album and it remains as one of their best songs from this musical period. The fourth track "Thank You" written by John Lees, as I said before, would be chosen as the next Barclay James Harvest single. It seems that this song was the late addition to the album. This is the rocking song on the album and its lyrics were made as a tribute to their road crew and to many other people who influenced the band's life. This isn't, in reality, a great song and it represents, for me, one of the weakest points on the album. It's hard for me to understand why it was chosen to be released as a single and not "Delph Town Morn", which is, in my opinion, a better song. The fifth track "One Hundred Thousand Smiles Out" written by Les Holroyd is about the isolation of an astronaut lost in space. It's a song inspired by the space race and where the lyrics recount the isolation of a fictional astronaut. The space race was always in the news since the first expedition to the Moon in 1969, and that interest was reflected in many other songs from many other artists, in that time, such as "Space Oddity" of David Bowie and "Rocket Man" of Elton John. It's a very calm and nice song, well arranged, and like the first track "Crazy Over (You)", is another typical example of what would be the music direction that the group would take in the next future. The sixth and last track "Moonwater" written by Woolly Wolstenholme is the great magnum opus of the album. It's a perfect way to close the album with a great and dramatic final. It's a fantastic piece of music with an incredible and beautiful orchestral work. This song represents one of the highest points in the musical career of Woolly Wolstenholme as a great composer and it's also, in a certain way, a logical extension of another song released on their previous studio album, "The Poet". With those two songs, Woolly Wolstenholme proved that he was a great composer and that he could have followed a promising musical career as a classical composer, if he has chosen that path, really.

Conclusion: "Baby James Harvest" is, without any doubt, the weakest of the all four first studio albums released by Barclay James Harvest, the four albums released to their first record label, the Harvest Records. However, we can say that it isn't a bad musical piece. In reality, it has two great songs, "Summer Soldier" and especially, "Moonwater". However, the other four songs, despite being good songs, they don't have, in my humble opinion, the same quality level of the others, and I even can say that they're weaker than was usual in this musical phase of the group, especially "Thank You". Probably, the main reason for some lower quality of the album, is because the band were physically split during the recording sessions, with John Lees, Les Holroyd and Mel Pritchard at Strawberry, in Stockport, and Woolly Wolstenholme mostly working with the orchestra in London, to the point that in some songs, John Lees and Les Holroyd play some keyboard instruments. "Baby James Harvest" is a good album, but it isn't nothing more than that.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 ... And Other Short Stories by BARCLAY JAMES  HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.26 | 164 ratings

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... And Other Short Stories
Barclay James Harvest Crossover Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review N 633

"Barclay James Harvest And Other Short Stories" is the third studio album of Barclay James Harvest that was released in 1971, such as happened with their previous studio album "Once Again". It represents their third album released to Harvest Records. With this album, essentially the formula is still unchanged. The classic Barclay James Harvest sound is in place, with harmonies and orchestra and the Mellotron and the stuff in general are all in place. However, in relation to their previous album, "Once Again", we can say that it represents a step back in relation to the prog rock music and even in its quality. The overall feel of the album is one of peace and tranquillity, emphasised by the use of the orchestra.

"Barclay James Harvest And Other Short Stories" has nine tracks. The first track "Medicine Man" written by John Lees is a John Lees' classic opener which was inspired by the Ray Bradbury's novel, "Something Wicked This Way Comes". It's a superb song to open the album with beautiful vocal performance and also with a fantastic and memorable orchestral arrangement. This is a song that represents one of the highest musical moments on the album. The second track "Someone There You Know" written by Woolly Wolstenholme was a song written about a failed love affair. It's a nice song with a very catchy melody, good guitar and keyboard works, inspired harmony, and the final result is a pleasant and romantic ballad to hear. The third track "Harry's Song" written by John Lees was inspired after the death of a much-loved family pet, a blue Amazon parrot. It's a simple song made to sound as a rocking number. It isn't a bad song, but I sincerely think it isn't a very inspired song and the final result isn't very convincing. John Lees wrote much better things in his career. The fourth track "Ursula (The Swansea Song)" written by Woolly Wolstenholme is another song written about a failed love affair, and represents a particularly traumatic time in his life. It's a simple and beautiful song with nice melody and a beautiful Mellotron work. It has a lovely poetry work, is very well played and is carefully arranged. After so many years it still remains nice, fresh and pleasant to hear. The fifth track "Little Lapwing" although the song is credited to Les Holroyd, John Lees wrote the lyrics and once more he returned at which seems to be one of his favourite themes on this album, birds for inspiration. This is an acoustic song composed in the vein of much of the songs of their eponymous debut studio album. It's a nice and simple song where Les Holroyd not only played bass but also performed almost of the musical instruments. The sixth track "Song With No Meaning" written by Les Holroyd is another song composed in the same vein of the previous. It's essentially a typical English pastoral acoustic song where Les Holroyd once again played almost all the musical instruments. It's another simple and nice song, slightly laconic and probably represents the weakest musical moment on the album. The seventh track "Blue John's Blues" written by John Lees is a song based in the point of view of John Lees about the music business and the position the band found itself at the time. It's the other song of the album written to sound as a rocking number. It's a nice rock song with some good guitar work, nice piano and John Lees rocking vocals, which shows a side of the band not revealed by them until that moment. The eighth track "The Poet" written by Woolly Wolstenholme is in reality a fantastic mini-epic orchestral piece. It's a small but at the same time a perfect and majestic piece that proves the skills of Woolly Wolstenholme as a brilliant composer and shows perfectly well his musical influences of the classical music. This is a great song that makes the perfect bridge to the next and the final song of the album and forms a terrific two part ending of the album. The ninth track "After The Day" written by John Lees is an apocalyptic song that shows John's vision of Armageddon, which literally closes the album in a great and very bombastic style. It's a great song with a fantastic guitar work and a majestic Mellotron work. It's truly a symphonic piece of music with an irreproachable orchestral musical arrangement. This is a song that represents a perfect way to close this very interesting and nice album of Barclay James Harvest.

Conclusion: "Barclay James Harvest And Other Short Stories" is a good studio album of Barclay James Harvest and is also very interesting too. It's true that it isn't as good as "Once Again" is, but it's as good or probably even better than "Barclay James Harvest" is, but it's definitely better than "Baby James Harvest". Relatively to "Once Again", it hasn't the same quality level and the brilliance of "Once Again" and it also doesn't include some of their best and most known tracks such as "Song For Dying", "She Said" and "Mockingbird". In relation to "Barclay James Harvest" it isn't as cohesive and balanced as it is, but musically it's one step ahead of it and is more progressive and has also three great tracks "Medicine Man", "The Poet" and "After The Day". Finally, it's better than "Baby James Harvest" because "Baby James Harvest" isn't also very cohesive and balanced and their tracks are in general weaker and only two of them deserve some special mention, "Summer Soldier" and "Moonwater". So, "Barclay James Harvest And Other Short Stories" is definitely not an essential purchase, by any meaning, but it's a good album for lovers of prog melodic music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Eyes Of The Universe by BARCLAY JAMES  HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.00 | 135 ratings

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Eyes Of The Universe
Barclay James Harvest Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

5 stars 1. Love On The Line extra-terrestrial intro, which comes from the wormhole of the cover...and a conventional tune, ah too bad yes well they were starting to be exhausted since their debut; voices that of Les here which will explain their separation... too; in short a good aerial entry and a guitar solo from John bordering on bluesy funky which melts, the synth from Kevin, a good studio musician who loves old sounds (Moog and Hammond) doing better than to defend himself; the most this solo which never ends and which pleasantly fills 2. Alright Down Get Boogie with John on vocals for the unstoppable fresh, fruity, heady tune and this riff which could be heavy if it weren't for the delicacy; a nugget that moves away from melodic prog; one of the tracks that I can listen to non-stop even though there's not much extraordinary in it, a prog paradox, well it ends the way I don't like 3. The Song (They Love To Sing) fortunately fits together this song with its majestic intro, still spatial and grandiloquent; between electronics like TANGERINE DREAM from the 80s, with tuba from Peru, with Les who enchants with his calm voice, yes I have a slight preference for him whatever people say; the soaring air, I said, also heavy, the chorus surrounded by layers of synths, we feel placed on an ethereal cloud; the keyboards resume, the castanets also for a slow monolithic descent which maintains majesty and dignity, BJH was also simply that! 4. Skin Flicks yes VANGELIS you recognized too, well from afar but still; hop the verse... cut short with and the most comes from these percussions punctuated by the bass, dong dong dong yes far from the dinos with their piles of convoluted notes; well there's a bit of a trap... yes a bit of WHO there, you have to find something... that's what prog is, a cut, something you don't expect; the djembe add the South American atmosphere, you dance but it's prog it doesn't f... ah la la we won't change those who criticized this group during the 70s; well a title that is worth its weight musically speaking and minimally speaking! Don't forget the final solo, always very fresh and sharp. 5. Sperratus side B, don't forget, a solo that starts out almost spleen, with morbid beauty; a defeatist voice at the highest level to deepen the dark atmosphere... ah a saving chorus, they got us, a title where hope is not far away in the end with a guitar still very high; the symphonic finale as one imagines with still this spurt of guitar solo, perhaps a little too late, but wasn't that precisely their trademark? 6. Rock 'N' Roll Lady for the BEATLES or the ROLLING STONES at the start; a de facto rock'n'roll air that draws on simple rock-pop artists, without a progressive drift; well one of the 2 which should have stopped me from giving a 5 I understand (but I will keep the souvenir point as well!) 7. Capricorn and his starting arpeggio guitar, on a TRUST, have a good laugh; a slow, predictable climb; the chorus more pompous than it seems and the riff always sharp and energetic, well-positioned which snatches the title; too bad there are no more breaks and other convolutions like in previous albums. 8. Play To The World with the neo-classical intro, magnetic violin worthy of a JMJ; the piano clap setting the tone, the calm guitar solo adds, the voice itou; everything is done to melt, to languish even this keyboard which takes me back to the 10CC, yes for those who follow me you understand; this stack of hyper symphonic drum pads and this guitar solo, simple and bluesy, perfect and chiselled, in short an easy title that had to be created, which only BJH could do; Alan's sax adding a touch of nostalgia to the dino era which was ending, and this perceived tatapa which gives you a layer of it, just beautiful which is not bad.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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