Barclay James Harvest – Barclay James Harvest
Label: Harvest/SHVL 770 | Release: 1970 | Genre: Progressive-Rock
Vinyl | LP Cover (1:1) | FLAC | 24bit/96kHz & 16bit/44kHz
BJH had been around for a while before this their first album was released. Their previously unsuccessful singles had given little indication of the talent and sophistication which was to reveal itself over the coming years. Until recently, those singles (A&B sides) had only been available on budget label compilations such as “Early Morning onwards”. They are now however among no less than 13 bonus tracks on the remastered version of BJH (or “Their first album” as it is unnecessarily titled on the remastered version). These bonus tracks are worthwhile, but inevitably now sound dated.
As for the original album, it is often credited as being good but reflecting the fact that the band had yet to establish a clear direction for themselves. The diversity of the album is however in many ways what make it so endearing. Each side (of the original LP) starts with a straight ahead rock track. Both “Taking some time on” and “Good love child” are loud, abrasive songs, with a driving pace and a wall of sound. Other tracks range from the delightful, almost commercial, “The sun will never shine”, to the symphonic “Dark now my sky”. The latter has heavy orchestration, interrupted by a very soft vocal section. It is by far the longest track on the album, and was certainly a brave piece to include on a first album.
For me, the best track is “When the world was woken”, a beautiful, uplifting track, with soaring strings and a haunting melody. The subtle complexity of this track is not immediately apparent, but the structure is truly magnificent.
An excellent first album, with the promise of plenty more to come.
A1 Taking Some Time On
A2 Mother Dear
A3 The Sun Will Never Shine
A4 When The World Was Woken
B1 Good Love Child
B2 The Iron Maiden
B3 Dark Now My Sky
– Les Holroyd / bass, acoustic guitar, lead vocals
– John Lees / guitars, lead vocals
– Mel Pritchard / drums, percussion, effects
– Stuart Wolstenholme / keyboards, Mellotron, backing vocals
– The Barclay James Harvest Orchestra conducted by Robert Godfrey