PD 6517 Time Honoured Ghosts
Produced by Elliot Mazer
Released on October 1975
UK CHART POSITION #32
Find it at GEMM
PD 6517 graffitoed cover  

H ooking up with veteran producer Elliot Mazer (Neil Young, etc.), Barclay James Harvest continues their homage to The Beatles by way of Crosby, Stills & Nash with Time Honoured Ghosts. The album’s most noteworthy (or is it notorious?) track is “Titles,” which takes as an ingratiating melody as the band has committed to vinyl and blows it on lyrics comprised almost entirely of titles from Beatles’ songs. It’s a cute gimmick, but still a gimmick, and the melody deserves better. There remain shades of The Moody Blues, mostly when Wooly’s mellotron is in attendance, as on “Jonathan,” and an obvious nod to King Crimson on the not-so-cleverly disguised “Moongirl.” While the material is generally enjoyable, BJH’s willingness to subvert their own identity in favor of established acts sells their own skills remarkably short. When the band steps away from idolatry to follow their own muse, there are moments when they can hold their own with the best of them -- take the introduction to “Beyond the Grave” as exhibit A. Aside from the aforementioned Wolstenholme song, the album alternates between tracks from Lees and Holroyd. When Holroyd gets some vocal support he does a pretty fair job, especially for The Who-like first half of “Song for You,” but his voice sounds weak much of the time (following as it does Wooly’s Pete Townshend impersonation on “Beyond The Grave”) Although the harmonies are fewer, the arrangements less cluttered, and the mellotron often absent, this streamlined approach better suits the simple love songs that have always been at the core of their music. It’s unclear if that was the rationale behind hiring Mazer to produce, or if it was another case of the band’s starstruck nature, but the result is pleasant if not exactly ambitious.

PD 6517 back cover PD 6517 lyric sleeve
PD 6517 back cover PD 6517 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. IN MY LIFE    (John Lees)    4:42
  2. SWEET JESUS    (Les Holroyd)    3:40
  3. TITLES    (traditional arranged by John Lees)    3:38
  4. JONATHAN    (Les Holroyd)    4:59
  5. BEYOND THE GRAVE    (Wooly Wolstenholme)    4:08
  6. SONG FOR YOU    (Les Holroyd)    5:20
  7. HYMN FOR THE CHILDREN    (John Lees)    3:39
  8. MOONGIRL    (Les Holroyd)    4:56
  9. ONE NIGHT    (John Lees)    5:22

CREDITS

LES HOLROYD -- bass & acoustic guitars; vocals
JOHN LEES -- electric & acoustic guitars; vocals
MEL PRITCHARD -- percussion
WOOLY WOLSTENHOLME -- keyboards; vocals
Elliot Mazer -- recording engineer
Jeremy Zatkin -- recording engineer
Bill Dare -- design, illustration

return to BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK/GER October 1975 Polydor LP/8T 2383 361/3820 161 lyric insert
US 1975 Polydor LP/CS PD 6517 picture sleeve
FRA 1975 Polydor LP 2442 140 gatefold cover
UK August 1983 Polydor LP SPELP12  
UK 1983 Polydor 2LP 2683 079 repackaged w. OCTOBERON
GER 1998 Polygram Int'l CD 831 543 repackaged w. OCTOBERON

 

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