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Barclay James  Harvest - Once Again CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.81 | 254 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars "Once Again" is Barclay James Harvest's classic second album, recorded in 1971. It is a brilliant album, criminally underrated by the rock press but universally loved by their fans, irrespective of the era during which they actually came to know the band.

It contains some timeless classics, of course: there's the brilliant "Mocking Bird" - heard here in its original form with Robert Godfrey's vibrant orchestral arrangement - the song which was to become one of the band's best loved and an ever present in the live set (they're still performing it now!); the gorgeously atmospheric and peaceful "Galadriel", also performed with the orchestra and also still to be heard live today; and the powerful opener "She Said", which brings the album to life with its powerful guitar chords and catchy chorus before introducing a beautifully melodic recorder (yes, recorder!) solo, which leads into a stirring lead guitar solo from John Lees as the song once more builds to a crescendo in the finale. Stirring stuff!

The melodic writing is first class and is the thread that unites these songs together, whether they be rocky, like "Ball and Chain", tending towards folky like "Vanessa Simmons " and "Lady Loves" (which features Alan Parsons guesting on jews harp) or the orchestral numbers already mentioned.

The album also features a couple of "conscience" songs, something that would become a trademark of BJH with at least one such number featuring on most of their studio albums. On this album we have an "environmental" song, "Happy Old World", with its clever key change in the chorus, and "Song for Dying", a short but powerful anti-war song - both were to be recurring themes in BJH's long history.

It would be wrong not to mention Norman Smith's excellent production of the album - BJH always benefited from having a strong producer overseeing their work and the fact that this album of diverse songs sounds such a cohesive piece of work is surely down to Norman.

It's a splendid album - if you're new to the band then buy it without hesitation! The sound on this remastered recording is excellent. The many bonus tracks add a certain interest but should be listened to separately from the album itself as they don't really fit in with the heavenly experience of the original.

alextorres2 | 5/5 |


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