Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Barclay James  Harvest - Caught Live CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

2.88 | 16 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Encore?

Released in 2002, this DVD consists mainly of a documentary about the band recorded in 1977. While they would go on to find greater success in mainland Europe, especially Germany, this therefore finds them pretty much at their peak in their native United Kingdom. Originally only available in cinemas, the film is a treasure trove of live performances, interviews, and backstage footage.

From the outset, despite the 5.1 Dolby surround, the sound quality is dubious, with frequent distortion and poor mixing. The track list of the live set focuses on the band's then more recent albums such as "Everyone is everybody else" and "Octoberon", with only the ubiquitous "Mocking bird" from their early years. The performances show BJH to be brimful of confidence, and playing to a devoted audience. Lees and Holroyd alternate lead vocals on their own songs, but it is Woolstenholme who shines through as being the most under-appreciated member of the band. His lead vocal on "Mocking bird" and his keyboard dexterity have always been criminally underplayed. He comes across as being the only band member who is actually enjoying himself, Lees appearing aloof and arrogant, while Holroyd is an a constant trance like state behind his double headed guitar. The late Mel Prichard on drums is so fresh faced, you have to assume his guardian is waiting in the wings to whisk him home by his bed time.

The film includes some low key but superfluous theatrics, such as the small boy standing at the stage during "Child of the universe". Each of the band members is filmed up north in the Saddleworth and Oldham area of England, with sound bites from them dubbed over film of their native area.

The music is classic BJH, with an extended "Hard hearted woman", and an overwhelming wall of sound on "Polk Street Rag". Significantly (for me) the film runs for a mere 55 minutes, almost exactly the same length of time the band played for in Glasgow the first time I saw them. Of course I bear no grudges for this, or the fact that they did not come back for an encore(!).

As a "special feature", the DVD offers several tracks from a 1974 concert in London by the band. The mixing here is even worse, with Lees' guitar solos being all but inaudible. Nevertheless, it is essential viewing for BJH fans.

In all, this is a wonderful time piece, which captures the essence of the band, and provides a riveting insight into their modus operandi at the time. The funniest bit has to be when the support act for a gig calls off, and one of the roadies has to step in and do a solo spot. The audience reaction to his performance is kindly edited!

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password


Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.