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Barclay James Harvest: Barclay James Harvest Live (Remaster)

This was Barclay James Harvest's  first live album, recorded in June 1974.  And with the Moody Blues era folksy / proggy / mid-tempo soft progressive rock they played in the early to mid 1970s,  the band was arguably at the pinnacle of its musical career.  I saw them live in 1972 and heard the premier of at least two of the songs on this compilation, and what an awesome show it was.

Some of the music from that era has lasted well - while some - including about half of the songs on this record - sound frankly dated.  So you have to go into this CD understanding that it's old music, and that it was played live.  You won't find the perfection of their studio albums, but you will find a wonderful remastering job, excellent CD inserts, and a nostalgic trip back to the cradle of prog as we know it today.  And you have to keep reminding yourself that it's a live record because there isn't much audience interaction.  Some of the tracks stray somewhat from their studio cousins, although the songwriting itself and the musicianship remain solid.

"Medicine Man" is a simple song that evolves into a mostly instrumental, jazzy, jamrock piece. Maybe one of the best on the CD if only because it's so different from the rest.  There's a Bee Gees cover, slightly modified, "The Great 1974 Mining Disaster", and one of the all-time best Barclay James Harvest songs "Mockingbird" is an essential inclusion - albeit without the full orchestra that featured in some of their live shows and on the LP. "After The Day" is another perennial in the band's live and best-of compilations.  If you know the original piece, you'll find the delivery here - with guitar lines reproduced faithfully and Mellotron replacing the orchestra - is one of the most impressive on the record.

With the classic 1974 Lineup of John Lees, Les Holroyd, Wooly Wolstenholme and Mel Pritchard, Barclay James Harvest  was a band that could do no wrong. This live compilation will explain the rave reviews we've all heard about that era. Recommended for BJH fans and completists.

Track Listing:
  1. Summer Soldier
  2. Medicine Man
  3. Crazy City
  4. After The Day
  5. The Great 1974 Mining Disaster
  6. Galadriel
  7. Negative Earth
  8. She Said
  9. Paper Wings
  10. For No One
  11. Mockingbird

Added: August 23rd 2005
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Barclay James Harfest's Web Site
Hits: 2786
Language: english

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