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Barclay James Harvest

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Barclay James  Harvest BJH Through The Eyes Of John Lees: Revival - Live 1999 album cover
3.29 | 20 ratings | 7 reviews | 15% 5 stars

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Live, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. A Devilish Intro (0:42)
2. She Said (8:33)
3. Festival! (4:32)
4. For No One (5:35)
5. The Iron Maiden (3:21)
6. Hors D'Oeuvre (0:54)
7. Mocking Bird (7:36)
8. Harbour (2:15)
9. River Of Dreams (3:43)
10. Poor Man's Moody Blues (8:18)
11. New Song (Old Story) (5:00)
12. Brave New World (6:47)
13. Galadriel (3:22)
14. Loving Is Easy (6:47)
15. Star Bright (7:04)

Total Time: 74:32

Disc 2: Bonus tracks on 'limited tour edition'
1. Suicide?
2. Brother Thrush
3. Mr. E
4. Hymn

Line-up / Musicians

- John Lees / lead guitar, vocals, recorder
- Woolly Wolstenholme / keyboards, 6 and 12 string acoustic guitar, vocals
- Craig Fletcher / bass, backing vocals
- Kevin Whitehead / drums
- Jeff Leach / keyboards, backing vocals

Releases information

CD Eagle EAGCD120 (2000)
2CD Eagle EDGTE120 (2000) ('limited tour edition' reissue with bonus tracks)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Joolz for the last updates
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BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST BJH Through The Eyes Of John Lees: Revival - Live 1999 ratings distribution

(20 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
Good, but non-essential (55%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST BJH Through The Eyes Of John Lees: Revival - Live 1999 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As a live album from the duo Lees-Wolstenholme Revival is a good one, although remains that newly-differently-arranged verions of the classic Hymn and Loving Is Easy (two songs that did not need any change!). The last is now curiously sang by Wolstenholme like in the Nexus album. Here you can listen to part of the new remarkable songs from that 1999 work, as, for example, Festival!, Brave New World (of this one you can hear also the original 1971 demo version in the 2002 EMI's remastered edition of the album BJH And Other Short Stories) and Star Bright. You can also hear some of the greatest BJH contributions to thr world: Poor Man's Moody Blues (1977), Galadiel (1971) and the superb (and my personal favourite) For No One (1974) with an interesting vocal duo by Lees and Wolstenholme.

Good live album!! P.S. I recommend this one than the Nexus album in which there are too much important classics completely re-arranged!

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars She said "Woolly's back"

With Woolly Woolstenholme back in the John Lees version of Barclay James Harvest ("Through the eyes of John Lees"), the band toured their traditional fan base of mainland Europe, and especially Germany, in 1999.

The tracks on this album were captured mainly in Nurnberg and Bern, with a few from other dates on the tour. Predictably, the selected songs are mainly from the "Nexus" album, their current studio release at the time. That album did though include a number of reworkings of old tracks such as "Mocking Bird" and "The Iron maiden", and these appear here in the adapted format used for "Nexus".

Other old songs are dusted off too, notably "She said" which John Lees reminds us has not been performed live by the band since Woolly's departure. Another classic from the "Everyone is everybody else" album is "For no one", a wonderfully pompous, symphonic blast which still sounds as good today.

The newer song sit well alongside their illustrious peers, although those such as "Festival" and "Brave new world" can tend to leave you hoping that the next track will be from the old school.

The recording quality here is excellent, and the band are clearly enjoying themselves. Whether this release offers anything new or different though is, at best, questionable.

Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars As live albums go this one has some stiff competition! It is probably fair to say Revival Live is unlikely to be preferred to Live (1974) or Live Tapes (1978), both of which are superb examples of the mother band in their Progressive prime. For me, and probably for most BJH supporters on PA, John Lees' version of BJH represents the more interesting current lineup, especially with Woolly Wolstenholme back in the fold, bringing his own eclectic outlook.

So, how does Revival Live compare? Well, it stands up surprisingly well actually! It has an interesting setlist covering some old favourites and newer songs from Nexus, both songwriters well represented and both performing well. Sorry to say this but Pritchard and Holroyd are not really missed too much. Both Fletcher and Whitehead do a sterling job, recreating the bass and drum parts while adding a little something of themselves.

Both John and Woolly are on form, but there are a couple of minor niggles. John's singing voice sounds as strong and assured as ever, but his guitar work is a little forced on a couple of underwhelming solos where the phrasing doesn't seem to flow as well as it should and one of the solos seems a touch uninspired. Woolly's playing is fine as always, but sometimes he struggles to project his voice, especially on lower notes, though harmonies and upper registers are no problem. Harbour is perhaps the low point vocally.

Material is a good selection of songs old and new. It's great to hear new renditions of three of the best songs ever written - She Said, For No-One and Galadriel - none of which stray too far from familiar territory though For No-One suffers from a gutless limp production. Even after all these years, the opening chords of She Said can still bring up the old goosebumps! One or two of the new Nexus songs stand-out too: a spirited romp through Festival works really well, while by contrast, the mellow spacey Star Bright just gets better with every listen.

My main criticism has to be that much of this material is too close to the originals. While dynamics may be slightly different in places, and some are fleshed out a little to allow for a solo, otherwise songs are presented more or less unchanged from their original arrangements, thus offering few new insights into the music. Consequently, while it is a very enjoyable hour-or-so trip through some of the best of BJH's back catalogue, Revival Live is less essential than it might otherwise have been. BJH fans should love it. Others would be better advised to look elsewhere.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Seven out of twelve songs featured on their previous studio album (which featured six old songs, but remixed) are sitting on this live album; of which three new ones : "Festival", "Hors d'Oeuvre" and "Star Bright" (do you follow me ?).

I was rather cautious about the new material from "Nexus" and the live renditions here are just there to confirm. Below average.

For this review, I'll just undertake a nostalgic trip in the past and remind me BJH when I was fifteen (in 1974). I guess that you might know about which songs I am going to talk about, right ?

First of all, "She Said". One of my favourite BJH song. It is maybe not so strong in this version (but this will be a general feeling) but what a nice trip back ! This song is timeless. "For No One" is the second of the great BJH songs. Of course, if you would put both versions side by side, the '74 one would easily be the best choice. But my emotion is very high, I admit. So, I am rather keen on forgiving some vocal imperfections.

The journey continues with "Mocking Bird". I have not counted the different versions available for this song. Who cares ? It is ALWAYS a pleasure to listen to it. Thirty-three years old images passed in front of my eyes and in my brains when I start to remember how much I have loved all these songs...

The last of that kind (of that time), is "Galadriel". Another sublime song. I am just voiceless.

Second category, now. Post "Live '74" songs. Only a super one (on par with their very old classics) : "Poor Man's Moody Blues" of course. Absolutely in-line with their best production. And this version just confirms it.

Thanks guys for this great travel in time. Three stars. Just because the other songs are just not on par at all, although I understand that the goal was not to re-create this jewel of live prog music.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Old songs (new story)!

After several mediocre studio albums in the 80's and 90's, John Lees and Les Holroyd went their separate ways. But, somewhat surprisingly, this did not lead to the demise of Barclay James Harvest. Instead, these two principle songwriters each formed their own version of the band! While drummer Mel Prichard followed Holroyd into 'Barclay James Harvest featuring Les Holroyd', John Lees recruited old member Woolly Wolstenholme (who had originally left the band in the late 70's) for his own 'Barclay James Harvest Through The Eyes Of John Lees' (later just 'John Lees' Barclay James Harvest'). The latter group released a studio album in 1999 called Nexus which contained both new songs and remakes of older songs. Given the expectations that naturally came with the return of Woolly to the fold, Nexus was a disappointment. None of the new songs were up to par with the classics and the somewhat lame remakes offered nothing new for the fans.

The present live album was recorded on the tour in support of Nexus and features some of the new songs from that album in addition to a large number of classic Barclay James Harvest tunes, many of which had not been performed live since Woolly was in the band i.e. since the 70's. If Nexus had been a disappointment, the return of the band to the stage proved to be a much more interesting event. The expectations raised by Woolly's return were finally met!

The set list included such old standards as She Said, For No One, Mocking Bird and Poor Man's Moody Blues plus some unexpected old numbers like The Iron Maiden, Harbour and Galadriel. Several songs feature Woolly on lead vocals to great effect. Despite the band name, this is as much Woolly's band now as it is John's and the two gentlemen sympathetically share the limelight "democratically".

The new songs from Nexus like Festival! and Brave New World work slightly better live than they did in studio form and River Of Dreams, originally from the album of the same name (which was the last album before the Lees/Holroyd-split), is improved here in comparison with its studio counterpart and becomes here a surprisingly moving Lees-led piano ballad.

This version of the band had continued till the present day and as can be seen on the very good recent live DVD called Legacy, the emphasis on older material has become even stronger. For those who (rightly!) lost faith in the band in the late 70's/early 80's, I would thus recommend this live DVD over the present live album. Revival though is true to its title and was at the time of its release easily the best release, live or studio, from the band since the 70's. Who would have thought they still had it in them after all those years?

Latest members reviews

4 stars No, Les Holroyd's NOT in the Line up... and you may miss him ( and his songs apart from "She said" ) as well as Mel Pritchard, but don't miss out on the Album if you love the music of BJH... no. In spite of some mistakes made ( Woolly singing "Harbour" not to full perfection a.o. ) the fee ... (read more)

Report this review (#65458) | Posted by rupert | Thursday, January 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars BJH have built up something of a tradition of live albums during their thirty-plus-year career. Revival is the band's fifth over the years, although it's not strictly a true BJH album. The band have had a far steadier line- up over the years than many of their contemporaries, but the last few yea ... (read more)

Report this review (#22744) | Posted by Andy Long | Monday, January 31, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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