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Barclay James  Harvest - Baby James Harvest CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.03 | 168 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

BABY JAMES HARVEST is the band fourth and last album for their...Harvest label. BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST was not very successful yet, yes they had a strong growing fanbase, but more on the ''cult'' side. Also their stubborness to use the orchestra in the studio and on the...road would eventually put a drain on the finances of the band which would lead to their departure to Polydor records for their next album (without the orchestra!)

BJH does give the impression with this album not being sure which road to drive musically. You have a lot of things going on here heading in very different directions. There are only 6 tracks featured on BABY JAMES HARVEST giving it a ''proggish'' look including the ''epic'' 10mns long SUMMER SOLDIER, the last expanded track the band would ever write. This is one of the first ''political'' song JOHN LEES penned, i guess it was the time of the IRA armed rebellion in Northern Ireland. This is not a complex epic with time changes and instumental solos virtuosity, but as usual with BJH, this is very tasty with great vocals and a great guitar-driven symphonic final to make the piece sound grandiose, but not pompous at all! Very tasty, i told you!

THANK YOU is on the opposite very basic rocker, i don't know if it was meant for a single, but this song don't bring anything worthy to this album. A typical lush ballad from LES HOLROYD 'One HUNDRED THOUSNAD SMILES OUT'' follows , the kind HOLROYD will compose by the dozens in the future; That's a sweet song, sweet delicate voice,nice arrangements and all, but i can't ever remember the melody when it's over.

DELPH TOWN MORN is another ballad, this time from JOHN LEES whose voice sounds more affirmed , more personal album after album. We are getting finally the ''classic'' voice of LEES and the same goes for LES HOLROYD with its ''sweet voice''. The strangest part of this song is the apperance of a ...saxophone, an instrument i don't recall hearing with this band before and after. Not bad, but this song won't be featured on any best-of.

This album also marks the end of the major influence within the band of WOOLY WOLSTENHOLME as the 2 others write now their own songs and cover the lead vocals themselves. WOOLY comes only with one track, his swansong i would say, MOONWATER a 7mn piece of.....classical music with no other members of the band involved. This is only WOOLY singing accompanied by a 60 members of a symphonic orchestra . This is nice to hear, but there is nothing mesmerizing on MOONWATER . This is of course well played , kind of pompous ''grandiose'' orchestrations at the end, but rather forgetable.

BABY JAMES HARVEST marks the end of the first era of the band, the end with any kind of orchestral experiments . This could be described as the WOLSTENHOLME era where BJH was as its most proggish with some great artistic achievements and a few mishaps, but that would happen in the future as well. BJH wil with their next album straighten out their songs, forget about any adventurous endeavour, keep it short but would deliver their best works as well!

2.5 STARS.

febus | 3/5 |


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