Exposé Online banner

Barclay James Harvest — XII
(Polydor 065 571.2, 1978/2003, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2006-05-01

XII Cover artKeyboardist 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.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 33, 2003 releases, 1978 recordings

Related artist(s): Barclay James Harvest

Latest news

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Herbie Kritzer - The Tree Lizard – Californian Herbie Kritzer is clearly someone who enjoys having fun with music. Even his name sounds a bit cartoon-ish, and there’s certainly a streak of sly wit and boy-ish playfulness to many of...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues