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Fact File

Released 1978
Label Polydor
Catalogue Number 821 941-2
Producer Barclay James Harvest and Martin Lawrence
Recorded when: March and July 1978
Recorded where: Strawberry Studios, Stockport

Track Listing

Track Title Time Written By Rating
1 Fantasy: Loving Is Easy 4.00 John Lees 7.00
2 Berlin 4.47 Les Holroyd 7.25
3 Classics: A Tale of Two Sixties 3.34 John Lees 6.25
4 Turning in Circles 3.30 Les Holroyd 6.00
5 Fact: The Closed Shop 3.46 John Lees 6.25
6 In Search of England 4.12 Woolly Woolstenholme 7.75
7 Sip of Wine 4.22 Les Holroyd 6.00
8 Harbour 3.42 Woolly Woolstenholme 7.00
9 Science Fiction:Nova Lepidoptera 5.45 John Lees 8.00
10 Giving It Up 4.35 Les Holroyd 6.00
11 Fiction: The Streets of San Francisco 5.41 John Lees 7.00
  Total 47min 54sec   74.50

Average Rating 6.77

Composer Songs Time Total Points Average
John Lees 5 22min 46sec 34.50 6.90
Woolly Woolstenholme 2 7min 54sec 14.75 7.37
Les Holroyd 4 17min 14sec 25.25 6.31

Personal Review

For me XII has more highs than lows - although at times it falls just short of top drawer BJH material.

I always believe the best BJH albums are those where there is a particular character or where John Lees in particular stretches himself. John has the ability to take an average song and add something special.

His songs can be full of surprises and power whereas Les Holroyd sticks with a more formula-led way of songwriting.

There are some genuinely interesting moments here, however. In Classics: A Tale of Two Sixties John cleverly interweaves album and group titles and Fact: The Closed Shop sees him in determined political mood. Nova Lepidoptera not only provided the title for the band's fan club newsletter but also a slightly whimsical feel strong on melody.

Berlin is one of Les' best songs and also one of the fans' favourites, but two songs by Woolly Wolstenholme illustrate how much he would be missed when he left the band shortly afterwards. "Harbour" is a tuneful close harmony piece and "In Search For England" sounds like classical Genesis.

I find "Turning in Circles," "Sip of Wine" and "Giving It Up" disappointing and merely filler fodder from Les' pen.

Overall the album has a pleasant feel about it.

Return to Barclay James Harvest Discography page

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