841 751-1 Welcome To The Show
Produced by Jon Astley and Andy MacPherson
Released on March 5, 1990
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
841 751-1 cover
[high resolution photo]

A t this stage, the “show” was relegated to a continental cult of listeners whose musical tastes belonged to a bygone era. And it was for them that BJH continued to release fresh works every year or so, covering familiar ground while availing themselves of what new bells and whistles they could lay their hands on. Welcome To The Show sounds modern by Barclay’s outmoded standards, suggesting any number of artists whose prog sensibilities had long since succumbed to the allure of well-crafted albeit timid pop music (e.g., Mike + The Mechanics). The final product is remarkably inoffensive, as if the band set out with the goal of not writing bad songs rather than writing good ones. Alternating between compositions from John Lees and Les Holroyd, it appears that neither really has anything important to say. The closing “Halfway To Freedom” addresses the post-Wall Germany (Halfway to Poland would have been way funnier), “Cheap The Bullet” addresses society’s cycle of violence and its effect on our youth, but these social issues were well handled themes by 1990. The remaining material deals with generic topics (love, being in a rock band) plus a pair of tracks (“John Lennon’s Guitar,” “African Nights”) tantamount to diary entries. Pleasant harmonies and pretty melodies aren’t the problem, lyrics are. BJH has always held a brittle command of their mother tongue, suggesting a too literal translation from German into English (which may explain their appeal to non-English speaking audiences). Rhyme schemes are often absent, and some lines are simply embarrassing. Case in point, take this line from “Love Is King” (please): “If music be the food of love / Then someone ate the crown.” I don’t even want to know what that means. If the cover suggests latter-day Pink Floyd, the analogy holds within as well. Welcome To The Show is more interested in keeping the machine going by slapping a new coat of paint on the body rather than rebuilding the engine. Here, they let their creative engines idle, a ploy which implies the band knew they were running out of gas.

841 751-1 back cover 841 751-1 lyric sleeve
841 751-1 back cover 841 751-1 lyric sleeve


  1. THE LIFE YOU LEAD    (Les Holroyd)
  2. LADY MACBETH    (John Lees)
  3. CHEAP THE BULLET    (John Lees)
  4. WELCOME TO THE SHOW    (Les Holroyd)
  5. JOHN LENNON'S GUITAR    (John Lees)
  6. AFRICAN NIGHTS    (Les Holroyd)
  7. PSYCHEDELIC CHILD    (John Lees)
  8. WHERE DO WE GO    (Les Holroyd)
  9. IF LOVE IS KING    (John Lees)
  10. HALFWAY TO FREEDOM    (Les Holroyd)

    CD/CS bonus tracks


LES HOLROYD -- guitars, keyboards, vocals
JOHN LEES -- guitars, vocals
MEL PRITCHARD -- drums, percussion
Jon Astley -- Fairlight programming
Andy MacPherson -- engineer
Michael Haas -- additional engineering
Nexus -- sleeve design, photography
Peter Chatterton -- photography

return to BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST discography

UK March 5, 1990 Polydor LP/CD/CS 841 751 lyric sleeve
GER 2000 Polygram Int'l CD    


I've noticed Shakespearian references elsewhere in BJH's catalog (e.g., Octoberon), so it's perhaps no surprise that Lady Macbeth would serve as an inspiration here. Likewise, the line "If music be the food of love..." (from "If Love Is King") is drawn from the immortal bard. If you haven't read it in a while, Macbeth is a wicked good work. You can probably find a used copy cheap on GEMMbooks by clicking on this link for Macbeth.


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