Barclay James Harvest — XII
(Polydor 065 571.2, 1978/2003, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2006-05-01Keyboardist Wooly Wolstenholme’s last studio recording with BJH was a mixed bag of ideas that showed how he had reached a cross roads with the group he helped form in 1968. Songwriting style changes were a key element to fragmenting the ten year old act as pop songs became more important as the group wanted to consolidate its European audience (primarily in Germany) where the band had a sales stronghold. The likely deal breakers were Les Holroyd’s songs including the ode to the people of “Berlin,” a sincere piano based ballad that was counterbalanced by his simpler rock pieces: “Turning in Circles,” “Giving It Up,” and the ill fitting “Sip of My Wine.” Wolstenholme’s own compositions “Harbour” and the epic “In Search of England” however are among his best and most consistent songs. Guitarist John Lees’ song craft is also at a high level with his folkish piece, “Fact: The Closed Shop” featuring precious recorder parts. “A Tale of Two Sixties” is a word play which includes various song title references including those by David Bowie and Arthur Lee’s Love. Five bonus tracks have been appended to the disc including three original mixes. Of these, the instrumental version of “Nova Lepidoptera,” is notable as it emphasizes the sad watery piano and clever backwards acoustic guitar effects. Overall it’s still a balanced recording that ended the original line-up on not necessarily an up note.
Related artist(s): Barclay James Harvest
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more
Bill Bruford's Earthworks - Random Acts of Happiness – It has been said that jazz is all about Swing. I’ll go along with that — as long as I get to define Swing my own way. Swing is more than just a particular rhythmic feel; Swing, to me, is... (2005) » Read more