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Barclay James Harvest

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Barclay James  Harvest Mocking Bird - The Early Years album cover
3.25 | 5 ratings | 1 reviews | 40% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Mocking Bird (6:34)
2. The Joker (3:23)
3. Rock and Roll Woman (3:09)
4. One Hundred Thousands Smiles Out (5:46)
5. Thank You (4:20)
6. Medicine Man (3:50)
7. Ursula (2:50)
8. Song for Dying (4:56)
9. Crazy (Over You) (4:05)
10. She Said (8:12)
11. Galadriel (3:10)

Total Time: 51:00

Line-up / Musicians

- Band line up could not be verified.

Releases information

EMI Electrola (CDP 538-7 91243 2)

Thanks to TCat for the addition
and to TCat for the last updates
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BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST Mocking Bird - The Early Years ratings distribution

(5 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(40%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST Mocking Bird - The Early Years reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nš 727

'Mocking Bird ' The Earlier Years' is a compilation album of Barclay James Harvest that was released in 1980. It has tracks from three of their first four studio albums. It has four tracks from their second album 'Once Again', two tracks from their third album '...And Other Short Stories' and three tracks from their fourth album 'Baby James Harvest'. So, it has no tracks taken from their eponymous debut studio album. The compilation has also two non-album's tracks.

So, 'Mocking Bird ' The Earlier Years' has eleven tracks. 'Mocking Bird' is truly a majestic piece that became as one of the best compositions of Barclay James Harvest. It's a great song with excellent melody and the use of an orchestra is present. This is the best known song on 'Once Again' and that became as one of the major parts of Barclay James Harvest repertoire and that would still feature in the live sets thirty years later. 'The Joker' was originally only released as the B side of their single 'Rock And Roll Woman'. Later it appeared as a bonus track on 'Baby James Harvest'. This is a short and simple song with short lyrics too, but nice to hear. It features childish and mellow vocals. 'Rock And Roll Woman' was originally only released as the A side of their single with the same name. Later it appeared as a bonus track on 'Baby James Harvest'. It's a short calm rock piece a bit repetitive without great developments. This is a poor rock song, really. 'One Hundred Thousands Smiles Out' is about the isolation of an astronaut lost in space. It's a song inspired by the space race and where the lyrics recount the isolation of a fictional astronaut. The space race was always in the news since the first expedition to the Moon in 1969, and that interest was reflected in many other songs from many other artists, in that time, such as 'Space Oddity' of David Bowie and 'Rocket Man' of Elton John. It's a calm and nice song well arranged. It's a typical example of what would be the music direction that the group would take in the next future. 'Thank You' is the rocking song on 'Baby James Harvest' and its lyrics were written as a tribute to their road crew and to many other people who influenced the band's life. This isn't a great song and it represents one of the weakest points on that album. It's hard for me to understand why it was chosen to be released as a single and not 'Delph Town Morn', which is a better song. 'Medicine Man' is a John Lees' classic opener which was inspired by the Ray Bradbury's novel, 'Something Wicked This Way Comes'. It's a superb song to open '...And Other Short Stories' with beautiful vocals and with a fantastic and memorable orchestral arrangement. This is a song that represents one of the highest musical moments on that album. 'Ursula (The Swansea Song)' is a song written about a failed love affair. It's a simple and beautiful song with nice melody and a beautiful Mellotron work. It has a lovely poetry work, is very well played and is carefully arranged. After so many years it still remains nice, fresh and pleasant to hear, even in our days. 'Song For Dying' is a powerful song with a strong anti-war message with very morbid and dark lyrics. This is, without any doubt, one of the best songs on 'Once Again' featuring a great and powerful guitar work by John Lees. 'Crazy (Over You)' is the song chosen to open 'Baby James Harvest' and is a nice and typical Les Holroyd song. Here we haven't the usual musical orchestration which was substituted by the Mellotron work. This is a simple but very effective composition featuring excellent guitar and keyboard workings. We may say that this song is one of the first efforts and a typical example of what would be the musical direction that the group would take in their next future. 'She Said' was a musical composition that initially comprised two songs and that by suggestion of Woolly Wolstenholme the two tunes were combined in only one track. It's a great emotional love song with nice and very interesting instrumental musical passages, especially by a very beautiful flute passage in the middle of the song. This is really one of the best and most progressive songs written by Les Holroyd. 'Galadriel', as its name indicates, was inspired by a character with the same name that appears on 'The Lord Of The Rings' saga. It's a very beautiful and simple evocative song with nice guitar work and nice vocal performance too. The main characteristic of this song is a beautiful and superb musical orchestral arrangement, which demonstrates effectively how an orchestra can be perfectly used on a progressive rock album.

Conclusion: As happened with the first compilation albums released by the band, despite this one be only released in 1980, 'Mocking Bird ' The Earlier Years' is only focused in the earlier days of Barclay James Harvest, the years of the releases to the Harvest record label. However and strangely, it has only tracks that belong to three of those four works, 'Once Again', '...And Other Short Stories' and 'Baby James Harvest', leaving out tracks from their eponymous debut studio album. That was a pity because 'Barclay James Harvest' has some great stuff that could be perfectly part of this compilation album, such as, 'The Iron Maiden' and 'Dark Now My Sky'. We can say that 'Mocking Bird ' The Earlier Years' is a good compilation album of the band and a nice mirror of the first musical era of Barclay James Harvest, especially if we add the two non-album's tracks, especially 'The Joker'. It's a compilation album that deserves 3 stars.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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