Why review a reissue of a live album that was originally released in
the year 1974. Well first of all Barclay James
one of the pioneers of the Symphonic Rock. And in my opinion this album
is one of the best live albums of the seventies. At that time the band
lost their record contract with Harvest, had no manager and had a hugh
debt to EMI. After a complex deal Polydor released this double live album
for a special price and it became the band's first ever chart record,
making number 40 in the UK album chart. It was recorded at the Liverpool
Stadium and at London's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. The Drury Lane performance
was close to perfection ... only the Mellotron was speeding up and slowing
down in the middle of songs and producing some interesting if unmusical
wailing sounds. The decision was made to salvage everything possible
from the Drury Lane tapes, mixing down the offending Mellotron as far
as practicable, overdubbing a minimum of new parts in the studio, and
to use the Liverpool tapes only for songs which could not be saved from
the Drury Lane concert.
Lees - Lead guitar,
Les Holroyd - Bass guitar, Rhythm guitar, Vocals;
'Woolly' Wolstenholme - Mellotron, Electric Piano, Moog, Vocals;
Pritchard - Drums
The album opens with one
of my favorite
Broad Mellotron strings and melodic guitar solo's that gives you a shivering
that runs down your spine. One of the classic
upbeat and has that great Moog solo of
The sound could be compared with the Moog solo's of
in the early days of
The music is working towards a big climax.
believe the opening of side two of the double album. The vocal refrain
influences. The instrumental
parts are always building up towards a climax. And that could also be
a melodic vocal part.
has a very emotional
opening with a soaring guitar part and that great Mellotron carpets.
After a slow delicate vocal part the passionate guitar and the Mellotron
strings return in this very melodic track. This live album was a kind
of best of album in those days.
1974 mining disaster”
for me one of the classic
A slow vocal opening is followed by a delicate melodic guitar solo.
a short and delicate ballad where the vocals are put on top of a layer
of Mellotron strings that reminds of the early
is also a typical
with a lot of melody and delicate vocals. A song in the tradition of
the later albums that brought the band commercial
success. It goes seamless into the beautiful love song
the electric guitar of
again with the Mellotron of
plays the recorder on this track. Next is
. After the sad opening this piece reminds me again
But that has to do with the sound of the Moog. In those days you had
only the Hammond, the electric piano, the Mellotron and the first Moogs.
For me the golden era of progressive rock. Amazing to hear the emotional
and intense music of those days. And after the beautiful
is time for my favorite
. A piece with
broad Mellotron sounds and melodic guitar work. The strength of the composition
is that the tension of the music is very slowly building up towards a
great climax. After more than 30 years it can still bring me into tears.
It is so beautiful. What does this mean? ... well it must be a great
piece of music ... if it has such an impact after more than 30 years.
For me this CD reissue
(a 24 Bit digital remastering from the original master tapes) is one
of the most valuable re-releases of the begin period of progressive rock.
Barclay James Harvest Live is one of the best live albums of those days.
For Mellotron lovers it is an essential album. For me the highlights
are the opener
“Summer Soldier” and the last track
“Mockingbird”. For a lot
BJH fans this first album is still their finest live album. Because
of the unforgettable interplay between
Woolly's epic keyboard soundscapes
John's soaring lead guitar.
author - date - rating - label
Douwe Fledderus - February 2006 -
- Eclectic Discs