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Barclay James  Harvest - The Harvest Years CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.09 | 12 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars This is as comprehensive a look at the early years of BJH as you can find in a single package. It includes many rare singles as well as an excellent selection from the 4 studio albums on the label. Being an early CD release, the sound quality may not be as good as the recent remasters, and you don't get all the live and alternate takes, but for signal to noise it simply can't be beat.

Most of the singles that have escaped from the vaults are here, and they have at least historical value, even if not all are as moving as the mellotron hymns "Early Morning" and "Pools of Blue", the sparse haunting "Poor Wages" or the uplifting "Brother Thrush". In particular, some of the singles released in between the albums are somewhat dry and creatively stunted, like "The Joker", or simply too B-side sounding to warrant much examination, like "Bombadil" and "Child of Man". That being said, "I'm over You" was a miniature gem that was thankfully included from this period, and "When the City Sleeps" is a pleasant Wolstenholme sung tune.

As far as the album tracks go, the emphasis on the "Once Again" material was well advised, this being by far the best effort of those years. Only "Lady Loves" is omitted, which is itself a decent ballad. From the debut album, "Mother Dear" is a notable omission; the highlights of Short Stories are all there; and only "Crazy Over You" is a notable no-show from Baby James Harvest.

It is hard to imagine any set of albums and singles from such a short period yielding such a bumper crop of releases and re-releases, certainly far beyond their import, even from a fan perspective such as my own. But if you need to start somewhere and come across this set for a decent price, do buy it and reap the rewards.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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