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Barclay James Harvest and Other Short Stories

Fact File

Released 1971
Label Harvest
Catalogue Number SHVL 794
Producer Wally Allen
Recorded when: 1971
Recorded where:  

Track Listing

Track Title Time Written By Rating
1 Medicine Man   John Lees 9.00
2 Someone There You Know   Woolly Woolstenholme 6.75
3 Harry's Song   John Lees 6.75
4 Ursula (The Swansea Song)   Woolly Woolstenholme 6.75
5 Little Lapwing   Les Holroyd 7.25
6 Song With No Meaning   Les Holroyd 6.75
7 Blue John's Blues   John Lees 6.50
8 The Poet   Woolly Woolstenholme 9.00
9 After the Day 5.08 John Lees 9.00
  Total     67.75

Average Rating 7.53

Composer Songs Time Total Points Average
John Lees 4   30.75 7.69
Les Holroyd 2   14.00 7.00
Woolly Woolstenholme 3   22 7.33

Personal Review

The first thing that strikes you about this album is the wonderful production which sounds as good today as it did in the early seventies.

To me this album represents the true original BJH sound and all these songs feel like comfortable personal friends that have grown with me over the years.

The album kicks off with one of BJH's best songs - Medicine Man - which still sounds fresh. Woolly's Someone There You Know is much more of a straightforward song and simpler than the classical pieces that he is better known for. Harry's Song sees John Lees in an aggressive tone of voice and this is a contrast to the beautiful Ursula (The Swansea Song) one of the most stunning and evocative songs ever written by Woolly.

Little Lapwin is a simple and effective Les song and he follws this with the whistful Song with No Meaning.

The only weak link is the rather strident Blue John's Blues where John's vocals are reduced to a shriek. But the best is saved to last with the double header The Poet/After the Day. Two individual songs, they dovetail brilliantly and many fans take them as one. The Poet is Woollie's most stunningly poetic song and After the Day is John's apocalyptic prophecy. The first time I heard these two was at a concert in 1971. They finished the evening to them in a flurry of dry ice and grinding noise. One of the strongest ends to a concert I have ever seen.

The overall feel of this album is one of peace and tranquility, emphasised by the orchestra which almost brought about the band's financial ruin. Virtually the only thing wrong with the album are Roy Hollingworth's dreadful sleeve notes.

Return to Barclay James Harvest Discography page