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Barclay James  Harvest - Barclay James Harvest CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.25 | 183 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars This first BJH album sounds pretty outdated. None of their legendary numbers are featured on this first effort. I was a huge fan of the band in the early mid-seventies when I discovered the band with their wonderfull "BJH Live". Since this one featured most of their great song, I did not bother to but their entire back catalogue. I only purchased one (I think it was "BJH And Other Short Stories").

BJH made a temptative attempt to psychedelic rock with "Talking Some Time On" which is deeply inspired with the early Floyd sound (Barrett era). "Mother Dear" and "The Sun Will Never Shine" with their string arrangements sounds a bit Beatlesque, but the melody can not really compete with the Masters. A bit childish.

Same feeling with "When The World Was Woken" : a poor melancholic song with lots of orchestration (horns, violins). Really too much. I have never been a fan of those combinations. It sounds almost classical and it is definitely not my cup of tea. Dull.

The rock number " Good Love Child" brings a bit of variety in this ocean of romanticism. The Fab Four also used to produce some rock numbers : no need to say that this one is sub-par as well. BJH comes back again with a soporific ballad "The Iron Maiden" : again a rather poor song.

Fortunately, the closing number "Dark Now My Sky" is really good. It features a very good guitar soli like John will be used to later on. Even some orchestration parts are not so annoying. This track really saves this album. It gives an indication to what the band will be offering later on : true symphonic music. This song features a nice and long instrumental intro (five minutes). After that, we'll as well the most symphonic instrumental breaks surrounding the vocal parts. These guitar breaks are very nice and so emotional (which will be another BJH trademark).

The year of this release is remote of course (1970). The proof of time has been devastating for this album.

I purchased the remastered version of this album while I was reconstructing my discography some four years ago. It features an awful lot of bonus tracks which, really, do not add anything great to the original album.

There is an edited version of "Dark Now My Sky" which is cut down to a mere 3'42" but which again is the best of all the bonuses. Actually "Night" is also a decent number (thanks to its psyche mood I guess). "Eden Unobtainable" has some early Crimson reminiscence (their symphonic side of course). Not bad either.

On this album there is one excellent song. Hopefully it is the longest one (just over twelve minutes). A true progressive epic. I grant BJH to have produced such a brilliant number so long ago. But one great song (even if it last for about a third of this album) does not make a great album. The opener is also above average (but it is not difficult).

I really do not recommend this album to the ones that would like to discover BJH. It is by no means representative of their later work (as most debut albums in these ancient times). They will produce several very good albums later on (but some very poor ones as well, unfortunately). But we'll discover them one by one.

Two stars.

ZowieZiggy | 2/5 |


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