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Barclay James Harvest

Crossover Prog

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Barclay James  Harvest BJH Featuring Les Holroyd: Revolution Days album cover
2.34 | 48 ratings | 9 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. It's My Life (5:12)
2. Missing You (4:54)
3. That Was Then...This Is Now (5:42)
4. Prelude (3:50)
5. January Morning (7:01)
6. Love On The Line (4:29) *
7. Quiero El Sol (6:11)
8. Totally Cool (5:54)
9. Life Is For Living (4:37)
10. Sleepy Sunday (7:10)
11. Revolution Day (5:15)
12. Marlene (from the Berlin Suite) (7:10)

* Bonus track on 2003 reissue

Total Time: 67:25

Line-up / Musicians

- Les Holroyd / lead vocals, bass, guitar, piano, keyboards
- Mike Hehir / lead guitar
- Colin Browne / keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
- Mel Pritchard / drums, percussion
- Roy Martin / drums
- Steve Butler / backing vocals
- Ian Wilson / backing vocals

- Steve Pigott / keyboards, programming
- Rabbit Bundrick / keyboards (8)
- Grant Ainsworth / programming
- Justin Richards / programming

Releases information

CD M Records ‎- MREC 001 (2002, UK)
CD Pure Music Ltd. ‎- 219-0101-0012 (2003, UK) With a bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST BJH Featuring Les Holroyd: Revolution Days Music

BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST BJH Featuring Les Holroyd: Revolution Days ratings distribution

(48 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(17%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (40%)
Poor. Only for completionists (10%)

BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST BJH Featuring Les Holroyd: Revolution Days reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Turn, turn, turn

With BJH's two main songwriters and singers firmly entrenched in separate camps while sharing joint custody of the BJH name, releases under the BJH name are now either by "BJH Through the eyes of John Lees" or "BJH featuring Les Holroyd". It would be reasonable to expect such releases to contain songs which are faithful to the tenets which identified an album as being by BJH. To that extent, this offering by the Les Holroyd BJH (which includes the late Mel Prichard, but excludes Lees and Woolstenholme), is indeed a bona fide BJH album.

One of the strengths of the band when they were a foursome however, was the fact that Holroyd's softer vocals were complimented by Lees deeper, often rougher voice. With all the tracks here being sung by Holroyd, his vocals are not really strong or interesting enough to sustain a whole album. He might have been wiser to pursue BJH's early orchestral leanings more, with longer more progressive pieces in the way of "Dark now my sky". Instead he goes for a generally more commercial sound, even veering towards ZZ Top on "That was then.. this is now".

Unfortunately, the songwriting is not strong enough make the tracks commercially appealing to a new audience. Holroyd does chose to rework one older BJH number "Life is for living", but its hard to see why. Initially, it sounds like a demo version of the song, and certainly adds nothing to the original which appeared on "Turn of the tide".

A pleasant, but ultimately disappointing BJH badged album. The sooner Holroyd and Lees patch up their differences and decide to produce some memorable BJH work again, the better.

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars It's My Life is a good intro to that album by Les Holroyd. It reminds me of the 1983 BJH song Ring Of Changes. A good quasi-symphonic one is Prelude with interesting varied arrangements. The last song Marlene (From The Berlin Suite) remind of Berlin (1978) and it's a sort of tribute to the memory of the famous holliwoodian german actress Marlene Dietrich. I rate this one with three stars while I've rated Nexus only with two! That's because in this one Holroyd presents many new tunes when the duo Lees-Wolstenholme has made some interesting new songs, but re-offering too much old material (differently arranged...I don't like that pieces very much...).

2.5 stars

Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is Barclay James Harvest Featuring Les Holroyd, one of two bands now using the old band's name and the least interesting to Proggers, formed by BJH founder and bassist Les Holroyd with a couple of ex- Sad Cafe persons Mike Byron-Hehir and Ian Wilson to continue the AOR road pursued by later BJH. Forget about Prog - though a couple songs display a form of 'progression', there are not many who would claim this band has any connection with Prog. Byron-Hehir, an excellent guitarist, brings a gutsier, harder edge to Holroyd's songs, aided by an expansive production with a modern powerful sound, much more punchy and dramatic than most BJH albums.

So far so good, but what of the music? Well, Les's songwriting has long given over to clichés, both musically and lyrically, but here the changed environment has perhaps rejuvenated him, at least in part. A powerful rock arrangement of It's My Life starts us off in belligerant mood ["it's my life / and I'll do what I want / be what I want to be / it's my life"] but our optimism is soon dispelled by the insipid Missing You, one of several slow ballads. The rest of the album proceeds in a similar vein - some fine rocking moments from an excellent tight band and scintillating licks from Mike B-H are accompanied by a number of slow ballads, sung in Les's increasingly strained impassioned manner mostly backed by lush synthesized strings.

A preponderance of those slow ballads in Les's work, past and present, must mean there are people out there who like them. To me they are too numerous and too similar and here they ruin what might otherwise have been a strong album. If you like Les's work with BJH, particularly the later material, you might go for this, but there is precious little connection left with the old band. Taken on its own merit, a couple of good rockers and one reasonable ballad isn't enough to make it interesting to anyone other than a fan.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars Instead of grouping forces (which they should do), their two leaders decided to go each in their own direction. Each of them joining with another founding member. Mel in this case and Woolly with John Lees. Woolly's departure (1978) signified the end of their progressive and bombastic approach which culminated in their fabulous "Live '74" release.

An extremely long period of weak albums followed (although commercial success was high, particularly in Germany) with here and there some good songs featured. But most of those ones were signed by John. So, I really was expecting the worse from this album.

Actually, this won't be as bad as could have imagined. While this BJH plays rock ballads, it is mostly OK, even if Les's voice might be a bit mellow throughout a whole album. Pleasant mellotron is even present at times which will definitely bring you to their most brilliant days. Both "It's My Life" and "Missing You" are really pleasant.

The first poor one though is "That Was Then... This Is Now". This attempt to a more rocking sound is real bad. But this is not a new given fact. I thought the same already in some songs of their Harvest days. Some thirty years before this release, so...

A song like "Prelude" also belongs to the nice moments of this album while "Quiero El Sol" is another poor country music type of song. Press next or escape to avoid it and discover "Totally Cool" which is a good and aerial rock ballad with good background keys. One of my fave here.

The highlight of this album is "Sleepy Sunday". A very good composition : emotional vocals, sublime backgroound keys (but this is a tendancy that the listener will discover all along this album) and nice guitar. It really belongs to the best that BJH has produced since the last fifteen years (of this release). Vibrant. The guitar solo at the end of "Marlene" is very good as well. Emotion again (as you might know already, I like these...).

Now that Mel has passed away (RIP), I believe that it is best for BJH (whatever brand) to concentrate on live albums. Unless (who knows) that a reunion of the trio could take place. Might be interesting.

I really can't say that this album is a good one (only half of the songs only). Just average because of to many tracks lowering my scoring (the acoustic "Life Is For Living" or the dull "Revolution Day" for instance). But it is better than what I expected.

Two stars.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars "That Was Then... This Is Now"

Like Wishbone Ash and Asia and some others, Barclay James Harvest too split into two separate bands existing simultaneously. John Lees and Woolly Wolstenholme (the latter sadly no longer with us) toured and recorded under the (somewhat pretentious) moniker of Barclay James Harvest Through The Eyes Of John Lees while Les Holroyd and Mel Pritchard did the same under the more conventional name Barclay James Harvest Featuring Les Holroyd. The present album is by the latter incarnation of the band and this is clearly the inferior one, at least from a Prog perspective. While Lees and Wolstenholme kept the progressive spirit alive, at least in the live setting, Holroyd and Pritchard focused on the more commercial aspirations that had increasingly dominated the band from the 80's onwards.

The present album is the latest studio release to date (by any of the two versions of the band). Revolution Days is about as far away from revolutionary as you can get. Filled with lightweight Soft Rock and Pop, this album is a dull experience. There is nothing offensive here, but also nothing exciting. There are several longer tracks, but anyone looking for anything progressive or even slightly unconventional will draw a blank. If 80's and 90's Barclay James Harvest was a watered down version of 70's Barclay James Harvest, Revolution Days is a watered down version of 80's and 90's Barclay James Harvest! Most of the songs have a tempo so slow that it feels like listening in slow motion, and when they raise the tempo somewhat and try to "Rock out" they fall flat like of the very repetitive That Was Then... This Is Now. Holroyd's voice is also too weak to carry the band for a whole album, and you get tired of it long before the end.

This is only for completionists

Review by kev rowland
2 stars When I was doing my degree I spent a lot of my time in record shops, and was intrigued by a double cassette of a band named Barclay James Harvest. I bought the tape, and 'Time Honoured Ghosts' and 'Octoberon' could often be heard blasting out from my room. I quickly purchased a lot of BJH albums and I was particularly taken by the fact that there were two songwriters who didn't write together, but produced songs that were complimentary. John Lees played guitar and provided lead vocals on his songs, while Les Holroyd played bass and sang lead on his songs. It wasn't until I received this album that I realised that all has not been well in the BJH camp as this album has been released by Barclay James Harvest (Featuring Les Holroyd). Apparently there has been a major split and Les and Mel Pritchard (drums) are in one version of the band while John Lees and Stuart "Woolly" Wolstenholme (keyboards, who had actually retired from the band some years before) are in another.

There is a stylised butterfly on the front cover (all BJH covers have a butterfly on them somewhere), but a bit like the record it isn't the real thing. Les always provided the softer material, and while this is a good album it misses out by not having John's songs to play against. It is an album that obviously all BJH fans have to buy but it is a bit like yin without the yang. I enjoyed it, but it is definitely missing something, and that something is John. They have been together for many years and I sincerely hope that they will patch up their differences and yet again delight concert goers the world over. It isn't bad, but if you want an introduction to the band then pick up 'Concert For The People' or 'Live Tapes'.

Originally appeared in Feedback #67, Apr 02

Latest members reviews

3 stars Les Holroyd has always been the mellow part of Barclay James Harvest. His ballads are the most wellknown, with 'Life is for living' and 'Berlin' as long time live favourites of both the band and the fans. So what to expect of his first 'solo' album? To be honest, I was quite scared that Les wou ... (read more)

Report this review (#113979) | Posted by Theo Verstrael | Thursday, March 1, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have been a fan since the early days but sort of went off them as they tended to lose their way over the years. I was pleasantly surprised then on hearing Revolution Days even though it was just a Les Holdroyd offering. I love 'totally cool' 'sleepy sunday' and 'missing you' all dreamy trac ... (read more)

Report this review (#82968) | Posted by | Thursday, July 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I have to admitt that my expectations where far too high to not have been disappointed by "Revolution Days" first - Les Holroyd's talents as a songwriter and, concerning the years before, his abilities to save a whole album from mediocrity ( "Caught in the Light" ) in mind I expected a rather ... (read more)

Report this review (#66086) | Posted by rupert | Sunday, January 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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