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Thread: 22 Essential Barclay James Harvest Songs

  1. #1

    22 Essential Barclay James Harvest Songs

    Sleeping at home is killing the hotel business!

  2. #2
    Nice list, but no Titles? No Hymn?

    I like Barclay James Harvest as well and have everything till Ring of changes.

  3. #3
    I'm no longer much of a fan, although I still like Everyone Is Everybody Else and the ensuing double live record. I believe these are the two albums I've kept, having owned a dozen-or-so of them.

    But alas when they hit the mark, they really did - "Negative Earth" was probably about as sombre and harmonically delicate as British 70s song-based "symphonic" rock/pop ever got. I guess what I'm trying to say is that they always struck me as unusually uneven. Never aiming for flash, and that's perfectly fine, but to me their melodic finesse was highly inconsistent too.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  4. #4
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    Totally love their Live ('74) Album. I think I bought some Studio ones also, that I might still own. But they never did much
    to me.

  5. #5
    Thanks for the feedback! I know the band is not for everyone, but what band is?
    Sleeping at home is killing the hotel business!

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    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilcox660 View Post
    Thanks for the feedback! I know the band is not for everyone, but what band is?
    The Moody Blues.........for those who can afford it.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by wilcox660 View Post
    Thanks for the feedback! I know the band is not for everyone, but what band is?
    I'm another one who has heard BJH songs here and there but never really got into it. From the perspective of a fan and someone who really knows the group, can you recommend one of their albums that would pique my interest enough to keep exploring?
    No matter what anyone says, you are the decider of how you will listen to music.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Splicer View Post
    I'm another one who has heard BJH songs here and there but never really got into it. From the perspective of a fan and someone who really knows the group, can you recommend one of their albums that would pique my interest enough to keep exploring?
    Once Again, Gone To Earth & Time Honoured Ghosts are all strong choices.
    Sleeping at home is killing the hotel business!

  9. #9
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    Beyond The Grave,that track hit me because i heard it soon after the suicide of Woolly Wolstenholme.
    I wonder if they ever played this live.

  10. #10
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    I don't think it was played live. It's not on their live albums. I like the song but I'm not sure it fits that well on Time Honoured Ghosts. It's a fan favourite, but I tend to think producer Elliot Mazer softened their sound a little too much on that album. I prefer the live versions of some songs on the Live Tapes album.

    Once Again is perhaps the best introduction for a 'prog' fan. The first track:


  11. #11
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    I've got all their albums, plus all the albums since the split (My favourite is Les Holroyd's Revolution Days, mainly as it sounds good and I like all the songs, but North has some great songs, especially the title track.) I've never been a huge fan of Hymn or Titles. Most of that list is good, can't disagree with it! Song For You is a lost gem in their back catalogue.

    Very patchy band. When they are good (Once Again, EIEE, Octoberon are my favourites) I love all the songs on the albums, but there's a lot of stuff that really isn't great on most of their albums and some stuff that's downright dreadful. They're 'proggish' but always seemed to have a diverse range of 'influences' including the Floyd, Beatles, Eagles and Chicago (Les Holroyd in particular) and the albums towards the end of the seventies become increasingly less interesting, although I adore Woolly's 'Harbour' on XII, his last album with them.

    Eighties stuff is quite 'odd', with Ring of Changes being quite consistent but sounding like the Moody Blues (As does Victims of Circumstances), and Turn of the Tide having a very strange 'cold war' feel to it with a lot of synths. (Marred by some dreadful tracks, such as Doctor, Doctor). I've never liked Face to Face.

    Welcome to the Show is a decent collection (1989/1990?) of songs, and their last album was a bit of return to form although sagged in the middle. (Les's Final Track is a bit Floydian.)

    I never used to like their other 1990s album (Caught in the Light) until the Esoteric Remaster came out, which made me reappraise it.

    As a band, though, they adapted to the times quite well and managed to remain popular in mainland Europe (I think the were still fairly popular in the UK during the 1980s). By the 1990s they were two songwriters working on their own material, though, and hardly played on each other's tracks.

    I actually prefer their live versions to some of the studio material. BJH Live has cracking versions of Summer Soldier and Medicine Man on it. This was the first album of theirs I heard, and when I got round to getting the albums I was surprised at how different they were!

  12. #12
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    Once Again is perhaps the best introduction for a 'prog' fan. The first track:

    That's the first one they reissued on vinyl. And oh yeah, Robert John Godfrey did the orchestrations on it.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  13. #13
    How could they not include For No One?

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by flowerking View Post
    How could they not include For No One?
    I agree. The whole "Poor Boy Blues/Mill Boys/For No One" suite is the band's pinnacle.

    And leaving out "Hymn" is also absurd.

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