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Barclay James  Harvest - ... And Other Short Stories CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.25 | 119 ratings

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3 stars After establishing a sound that blew the socks off contemporaries on "Once Again", BJH decided to stretch themselves out again. While the results are not as sketchy as on their debut, "Short Stories" is definitely the beginning of a retrenchment that would last, at least in terms of studio releases, until the switch to the Polydor label. My review is based on the original LP.

The main difference between the self-titled album and this one is that here we are treated to several excellent songs, that remain classic reference points for BJH, in particular the opener and closer, "Medicine Man" and "After The Day". The latter is wed almost inextricably to the sublimely orchestrated "The Poet". In between are featured a most eclectic mix in terms of styles if not quality. "Someone there you Know" and "Ursula" are the two highlights, but" Little Lapwing", "Harry's Song" and "Blue Johns Blues" show that the individuals of the band were not quite ready to write their own material. The songs were not so much group efforts anymore, except those sung by Willy, who seemed best at bringing together the disparate influences of John and Les. The mellotrons remain front row center especially on "After the Day" which seems like a more succinct and down to earth version of "Dark Now my Sky".

Like written short stories, this recording is somewhat hit and miss, sadly showing that the phenomenon of the previous album was less like "Once Again" and more like "One Time Only".

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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