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Barclay James  Harvest - Barclay James Harvest Live CD (album) cover

BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST LIVE

Barclay James Harvest

 

Crossover Prog

4.41 | 96 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars There is a point on side 2 of this double disk in which the members of the band are introduced to a propitious beat and little touches on the various instruments. It precedes one of the most powerful songs herein, the live version of "After the Day", that really sets the hairs on end, but the first moment of promise is the introduction of Woolly Wolstenholme on...mellotron! Not keyboards, not piano and synthesizers, not XXX,YYY, and mellotron, but simply mellotron.

While I do believe he plays a few other electronic keyboards, the tron is clearly the dominant instrument in his arsenal and indeed on this landmark live recording. For its use here as an accompanying and lead instrument, the disk cannot be awarded less than 4 stars. Add the fiery and creative versions of "Summer Soldier", "Medicine Man", "She Said", and "Mockingbird" and we are getting close to 5 stars.

Ultimately the lack of acoustic guitars is palpable given the folky nature of so much of their material, and this problem would plague other live efforts. Sure, "Galadriel" is sweet, and a welcome break from the decibel level, but BJH didn't have the extra manpower to include the acoustic guitar as well as the lead guitar. While John Lees' prowess is undeniable, over the course of 11 extended songs, the formula of riveting leads set to a wall of mellotron starts to lapse into sameness. In addition, the sound on this live recording is somewhat thin.

As a collection of souped up renditions of the best Harvest material and the more concise and accessible "Everyone is Everybody Else", this recording is recommended to newbie and longtime fans alike. It provides an effective summary of the first phase of the BJH saga, without revealing too much about what would come next.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |

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