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Barclay James  Harvest - And Other Short Stories / Baby James Harvest CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.55 | 9 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars BJH's first two albums are so gorgeous - especially Once Again (1971), best known for its perennial 'Mockingbird' - that it's hard for me to understand why these next albums are so much poorer to my ears. There are some fine tracks on both albums, though only very few comparable to the level of Once Again, and then there are several totally uninteresting ones with terribly lousy vocals.

The most ambitious track on Baby James Harvest must be Woolly Wolstenholme's Mahler-inspired 'Moonwater' scored for symphony orchestra, but I'm sad to say it doesn't really work. It remains pathetic and boring, and the frail falsetto vocals make any friend of 'real' orchestral vocal music (in which Gustav Mahler IS the greatest of all) shake his/her head. The second most ambitious track, 10-minute epic 'Summer Soldier' is among the cream of BJH, though as a bit shorter it would better keep the spirit up. In all the Baby album is very short with only six tracks, the rest four being of quite normal size. Three of them bore me to death and 'One Hundred Thousand Smiles Out' is pretty fine but somehow half-baked despite its grandiose lost-in-the-space melancholy.

And Other Stories is the better one of these. 'Medicine Man' - inspired by Ray Bradbury's novel Something Wicked This Way Comes - is a fantastic BJH classic that succeeds well in catching the spellbound atmosphere. Other highlights are 'Ursula (The Swansea Song)' which one could imagine to be a charming little Moody Blues song penned by Ray Thomas, and especially the final sequel of two songs, 'The Poet/ After The Day'. Here they reach the lyrical and emotional heights they did on Once Again and seem to be very uninterested of in the rest of these albums.

And Other Stories: ***+ / Baby James Harvest: **-

Matti | 3/5 |


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