SHSM 2013 The Best of Barclay James Harvest
Previously released material
Released on January 1977
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
SHSM 2013 cover  

T he Best of Barclay James Harvest actually confines itself to the best of the band’s early Harvest albums, and even then it’s unlikely that so much of their “best” work appeared as nonalbum B sides. Maybe not a grab bag, but one with a lot of stems and seeds in it anyway. The perennial knock on Barclay James Harvest was that other groups did this sort of thing better: the Moody Blues, CS&N, The Move, Yes, etc. The Best of Barclay James Harvest supports that criticism, tossing in crotch rock like “Rock & Roll Woman” (no match for Uriah Heep) together with ungainly hybrids like “Child of the Man” (imagine CS&N produced by Tony Visconti). The Moody Blues comparison grows mostly from BJH’s attempts to pump up simple songs with the pomp of orchestra and mellotron, something that exposes the band’s otherwise guileless intentions. At their best, BJH could pen a winning melody that covered the holes (“Brother Thrush,” “Iron Maiden”), or immerse themselves completely in orchestral music with impressive results (“Moonwater”). But many a prog rock band has done this, and done it better, relegating BJH to bit players in the big picture. It’s possible to applaud their ambitions even while noting their shortcomings, but only a little of The Best of Barclay James Harvest is on here, so neophytes be cautioned. For collectors, however, this album does contain some hard-to-find material, none of it negligible.

SHSM 2013 back cover
SHSM 2013 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. URSULA (THE SWANSEA SONG)    (Mel Pritchard/Les Holroyd/Wooly Wolstenholme/John Lees)
  2. BROTHER THRUSH    (Barclay James Harvest)
  3. POOR WAGES    (Barclay James Harvest)
  4. CHILD OF MAN    (John Lees)
  5. THE JOKER    (Les Holroyd/John Lees)
  6. ROCK AND ROLL WOMAN    (Les Holroyd)
  7. GOOD LOVE CHILD    (Barclay James Harvest)
  8. MOCKING BIRD    (Barclay James Harvest)
  9. GALADRIEL    (John Lees)
  10. MEDICINE MAN    (John Lees)
  11. THE IRON MAIDEN    (Barclay James Harvest)
  12. MOONWATER    (Wooly Wolstenholme)

CREDITS

return to BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK January 1977 Harvest LP/CS SHSM 2013/054-06 276  
UK August 1986 Harvest LP ATAK95  

 

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