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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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Prog Reviewer
3 stars "Baby" brings to the fore some of the band's worst tendencies, notably their knack for imitation minus the original source's inspiration. Thus you get the classical aspirations of the MOODIES without their artful melodies on "Moonwater", a partial pretender to KING CRIMSON's throne in the second half of "Summer Soldier", and The BEATLES' Bungalow Bill taken prisoner for "One Hundred Thousand Smiles Out". Not to suggest that these songs aren't enjoyable on some level, but it's hard to praise a musical magpie that builds its nest from other peoples' business.

The opening "Crazy (Over You)" is spared from that assessment, a tuneful track that ranks with the best of their early originals. The folk rock "Delph Town Morn" is another winner, though John Lees' songs are beginning to sound the same from album to album. Either song would have made for a good single, but inexplicably it was "Thank You" that got the honor, a thankless nod to people and feats we'll never connect, delivered with the dated glam gilding of Elton John or T. Rex. It's admirable that BJH still boasts three unique songwriters, yet the results are remarkably uneven this time. (At six tracks, even one stinker can sink the ship). In between the overkill introduction of "Summer Soldier" and the classical "Moonwater" should be an ocean of albums rather than a stream of two songs. Their last record flowed better thanks to the continued presence of tasteful orchestration, which "Baby James Harvest" instead pours into its last act. While I find the original album wanting, the problem is easily sidestepped by picking up both this and their last record on the 2-for-1 repackages made available in the '90s.

daveconn | 3/5 |


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