Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Barclay James Harvest|
Genres: Pop, Rock
2003 remastered reissue of the British progressive rock act's 1976 album includes 5 bonus tracks, 'Rock N' Roll Star' (Early Mix), 'Polk Street Rag' (First Mix), 'Ra' (First Mix), 'Rock N' Roll Star' (Recorded at Marque... more »
2003 remastered reissue of the British progressive rock act's 1976 album includes 5 bonus tracks, 'Rock N' Roll Star' (Early Mix), 'Polk Street Rag' (First Mix), 'Ra' (First Mix), 'Rock N' Roll Star' (Recorded at Marquee Studios) & 'Suicide?' (First Mix). Features 12 tracks in all & a 16-page booklet. Polydor. 2003.
The best by BJH
Raj | Mumbai, India | 08/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BHJ has never bettered this album. An amazing masterpiece of carefully crafted songs. BJH has different tempo on different songs as the band members write their own songs rather than colaborate on songs just like 'Queen' giving different feels on the same album.
The main song writers are guitarist John Lees and bass player Les Holroyed who alternately share the writing credits and vocals for most songs. Wooly Wolstenholm on keys usually contributes to one song on an album and the songs by him are really amazing like 'Ra' on this one which is a classic. Mellow yet extremely complex with great orchestration, melody and a lovely haunting tune on the guitar by Lees.
This song alone makes the album special but what makes it a classic is the fact that all the other songs like 'May Day', 'Rock & Roll Star' (commercially the best known), 'world goes on', 'believe in me' and the intriguing 'sucide'(totally unlike Thin Lizzy's song) with its classing ending are great.The thing about the album is that on different days with different moods you will have a new favorite. 'Polk Street Rag' may be the only average song which is not all that bad.
It's hard to classify the music by BJH though I've heard the nearest would be some songs by 'Moody Blues' or 'Procol Harum'.
The band is good, this album is an absolute masterpiece.
An amazing effort--timeless
Bartleby1945 | New Britain, CT USA | 01/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This review comes with a caveat--I have never heard the remastered version the previous reviewer finds offensive. He may very well be right. I bought the original CD about twenty years ago--actually one of my first CD's--and my comments pertain only to that Polydor release (821-930-2)
The album, musically and lyrically, is superb. I knew very little about BJH beyond "Mockingbird" when I first bought this, and it took me a little while to appreciate it. I think I was more taken by surprise than reluctant in any way, but I remember hearing "Suicide?" for the first time and being blown away by its complexity, its harmony, its plot, and its method of narration. It truly is a masterpiece--one which most people will never hear and never hear of.
Anyway, the original "unremastered" version is more than worth the price if you can find it. I paid $4.98 at a now defunct music shop that sold used CD's. It's worth ten times that amount. Well, five anyway."
Another nice album by Barclay James Harvest
Jeffrey J.Park | Massachusetts, USA | 05/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This pleasant 1976 release continues in the tradition of richly arranged symphonic pop that characterized much of their output. In contrast with previous releases however, the arrangements seem a little more elaborate and even include the use of an orchestra and a choir. The overall feel of the album is a bit sad and somewhat dark.
The lineup on this album included Les Holroyd (bass; acoustic guitar; and vocals); Woolly Wolstenholme (Hammond organ; mellotron; synthesizers; and vocals); Mel Pritchard (drums and percussion); and John Lees (electric and acoustic guitars; vocals). In general, the one thing that really stands out on this album are the vocal harmonies, which are superb. I also love the use of synthesizers which add a great deal to the symphonic aspects of this album.
The seven tracks on the album range in length from 4'21" to 7'57 and are all excellent examples of symphonic pop. Arrangements are lush and the instrumentation emphasizes acoustic textures, although there are a few up-tempo and electric sections. One of my favorite moments on this album is during the choir section (augmented with a celestial, "churchy" sounding organ), whereby a smaller chorus of male voices sing in a completely different key and meter than the rest of the choir. Although the effect is subtle, I found the dissonance to be pretty cool. In large part however, the pieces are very well arranged songs that feature pleasant melodies and excellent vocal harmonies. In addition to the more lavishly arranged pieces, there are a few straightforward pop songs on here, e.g. Rock and Roll Star, that are vaguely reminiscent of American west coast soft rock (think Eagles here). There is a unifying mood to all of the pieces and that is one of melancholy. In fact, the last song describes someone committing suicide (complete with sound effects I might add). I think that it is this emotional sophistication that really makes the band work for me.
This remastered version is just great and features loads of liner notes, pictures of the group, and lyrics. The bonus tracks on the album include remixes of the same tracks included on the original album and do not add too much.
All in all, this is a great album of symphonic pop with a lot of emotional sophistication. Recommended along with Everybody is Everybody Else (1974) and a few other albums that are somewhat similar in texture including a few by the Strawbs (Hero and Heroine, 1974; Ghosts, 1975); and a few by The Alan Parsons Project (Tales of Mystery and Imagination, 1976; and I Robot, 1977)."