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Fact File

Released 1976
Label Polydor
Catalogue Number 2442-144
Producer Barclay James Harvest
Recorded when: 1976
Recorded where: Strawberry Studios, Stockport

Track Listing

Track Title Time Written By Rating
1 Rock 'n' Roll Star   Les Holroyd 6.75
2 Polk Street Rag   John Lees 6.50
3 Believe In Me   Les Holroyd 6.50
4 Suicide?   John Lees 7.50
5 The World Goes On   Les Holroyd 7.00
6 May Day   John Lees 7.25
7 Ra   Woolly Wolstenholme 6.75

Average Rating 6.89

Composer Songs Time Total Points Average
John Lees 3   21.25 7.08
Les Holroyd 3   20.25 6.75
Woolly Woolstenholme 1   6.75 6.75

Personal Review

Octoberon is notable for two (or should that be one and a half) of BJH's best songs. May Day and Suicide? rank with the best the band ever came up with.

Suicide? has the kind of lyrics that John Lees excells at. It is a mysterious and complex piece full of atmosphere and suspence. Behind the simple melody is Lees' cutting guitar work. The sharp and direct guitar is underpinned by Woolly's understated keyboards and there are some lovely harmonies towards the end.

May Day starts in the vein of so many of John's songs before building to a stunning choral work from almost nowhere. I know that some fans of the band do not like this but I believe the textures have an almost surreal effect. It's Jerusalem, Abide with Me, Land of Hope and Glory all mixed together. The rest of the track seems to come straight from And Other Short Stories and reminds me of Harry's Song.

Elsewhere we have Woolly's Ra which is up to his usual standards and Les weighs in with two of his better numbers Rock n Roll Star and The World Goes On. These are good jaunty pieces with singalong choruses.

Overall the album has a lovely pastoral feel with some excellent guitar work. To me this is one of the best BJH albums and one I return to regularly.

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