817 950-1 Victims of Circumstance
Produced by Pip Williams
Released on April 1984
Find it at GEMM
817 950-1 cover
[high resolution scan]

K RONOMYTH 16.0: PIP PIP PUREE. Circumstances led producer/arranger Pip Williams from Long Distance Voyager to The Present to this piece of plastic. Swelled with strings, synthesizers and extra vocalists, it’s another harvest of songs simply conceived and artfully executed. The sum effect of Circumstance is similar to latter-day Moody Blues, Alan Parsons Project, Supertramp or Pink Floyd after the draining of Waters: missing its original teeth, still easy to swallow after all these years. BJH was no longer a progressive rock band swimming in the psychedelic moonwater of the 60s, but a commercial concern trying to stay afloat in the 80s. A music video for the title track reveals how out of their element they were, white knights in a dark world fighting the sleeping dragons of television (“Sideshow”) and war (“Victims of Circumstance”). That the core trio of Lees, Holroyd and Pritchard is still standing is encouraging; that they need to be propped up by Pip Williams, strings, synthesizers and singers is discouraging but not a disaster. On their own, the little bit of magic in “Rebel Woman” or “For Your Love” might have fizzled, but with some stagecraft behind them they sparkle. As I’ve earlier mused, Lees and Holroyd are simple balladeers at heart; you probably wouldn’t have scored a record contract in 1984 with “I’ve Got A Feeling” and “Hold On” in hand. Yet for more than a decade, Polydor has faithfully pumped out product under the BJH brand, fanning the flames of Europe’s faithful. While Voyager and Present are better albums, Victims of Circumstance shares many of the same high-value production touches (the album is digitally recorded). The cover is apparently a play on the Madame Butterfly theme and continues a longstanding tradition of really, really crappy BJH album covers.


  1. SIDESHOW    (John Lees)    4:54
  2. HOLD ON    (Les Holroyd)    4:25
  3. REBEL WOMAN    (John Lees)    4:23
  4. SAY YOU'LL STAY    (Les Holroyd)    3:53
  5. FOR YOUR LOVE    (John Lees)    5:28
  6. VICTIMS OF CIRCUMSTANCE    (Les Holroyd)    6:00
  7. INSIDE MY NIGHTMARE    (John Lees)    4:31
  8. WATCHING YOU    (Les Holroyd)    4:33
  9. I'VE GOT A FEELING    (Les Holroyd)    6:02


LES HOLROYD -- vocals, bass, additional keyboards
JOHN LEES -- vocals, guitar
MEL PRITCHARD -- drums, percussion
Bias Boshell -- keyboards (Yamaha DX7, Roland JP8 and JX3, Steinway grand piano)
Vicki Brown -- backing vocals
Stevie Lange -- backing vocals
Frank Ricotti -- L.A. percussion
Joy Yates -- backing vocals
Pip Williams -- orchestral arrangements
David Katz Strings -- orchestra
Gregg Jackman -- engineer
David Jacob -- digital assembly
Cream -- design and artwork
Ian Kay -- illustration
Mike McCraith -- art direction

return to BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST discography

UK April 1984 Polydor LP POLD-5135 lyric sleeve
GER 1984 Polydor LP/CD/CS 817 950-1/2/4 lyric sleeve
JPN 1984 Polydor LP 28MM-0362 lyric insert


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