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Torres, Alex: The Fifties Child - A Social History through the Songs of Barclay James Harvest (Book)

Rock journalist and long-time BJH fan Alex Torres has certainly picked a weighty topic for his first book. Far from being a straight forward 'warts and all' biography of the mellow soft rockers, The Fifties Child is a detailed analysis of the bands lyrics and specifically those with a social theme. Across a career spanning more than four decades the three songwriters have, at least by the author's calculations, penned more than 125 songs that have taken their inspiration from post-War social events. These range from relatively simple matters such as family life in England during the 1950's to Vietnam, the Cold War, Northern Ireland and even good old sex, drugs and rock n roll.

At more than 370 pages Torres detailed level of research is painstakingly apparent and this is not for those looking for a quick and dirty coffee table read. It certainly helps if you are familiar with a sizeable percentage of the material that BJH have released over the years as a potted history of the band itself only appears as an appendix. A further appendix / Anoraks corner goes as far as to breakdown the sociological songs by writer - John Lees coming out on top with 65 to Woolly Wolstenholme's 37 and 28 attributed to Les Holroyd. This has clearly been a labour of love for the author who has proven not only to be an authority on the band themselves but also the themes and influences that have inspired their work. With published material on BJH scarce, for their loyal following The Fifties Child has to be considered essential reading.

Added: February 24th 2013
Reviewer: Dean Pedley
Related Link: Book Website
Hits: 2533
Language: english

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