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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

John Lee’s Barclay James Harvest

Legacy-Live at Shepherds Bush 2006

Review by Gary Hill

I really haven’t followed this band much. In fact, other than a DVD I reviewed, I haven’t really ever heard them before this album. So, I was a little surprised by the alternate name. As it turns out there are basically two versions of Barclay James Harvest out there. So, I guess that earns this a separate artist listing. Either way, though, this live set is quite good. I really enjoy pretty much everything here. Remember, as I mentioned, that I’ve really not heard much of them at all. If I like it this much, I’m betting fans of the band will like it more. This comes with a DVD of the concert along with some behind the scenes stuff as a bonus.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Valhalla (Introduction)

Cool atmospheric elements lead off in a rather dark and moody introductory piece.

For No One
A cool soaring and triumphant sounding prog jam opens this piece. It works out from there into some folk based prog rock. It has a rocking sound and some cool strings in the mix. It’s an evocative jam that works pretty well.
Child of the Universe
With more of a dreamy trippy atmosphere, this is soaring melodic prog rock. It does have some suitably spacey stuff, too.
The Iron Maiden
A mellower cut, this makes me think of Genesis quite a bit for some reason. It’s very symphonic in sound, too.
The Great 1974 Mining Disaster
This song is so pretty and so evocative. It’s packed with psychedelia in a lot of ways. Yes, it has a lot of folk music in the mix, too. There are definitely Beatles-like things here, too. This is without question one of my favorites of the set. I love the keyboard sounds on this thing, but I really love just about everything about it.
Poor Man's Moody Blues
Here we get another great folk prog song. This one is a mellower and more melodic, yet complex and intricate piece. I can see where the title comes from because in a lot of ways this does call to mind The Moody Blues. It’s so beautiful and so effective. The balance between mellow sections and more rocking ones is great, too. It includes some sections that are very closely tied to “Nights in White Satin,” too.
Suicide?
The journey of this song seems to move from sad hopelessness to hope. It starts mellow and rather sad. As it builds later, there is a rather triumphant tone to it. It’s a powerful piece of folk prog.
Medicine Man
High energy and more rocking, this is really some stellar prog rock for certain. At almost ten minutes in length, this is a rather epic piece, too. There is some great rocking guitar work and some stellar sounds beyond that, too. The instrumental section later is pretty amazing stuff. It really rocks.
In Search Of England
Powerhouse melodic progressive rock with a healthy helping of folk music is the concept here.
Poor Wages
A harder rocking and powerful jam at the start, this is great stuff, too. It works out to more folk rock based stuff for sections, but also includes more of that powerful prog music.
Mocking Bird
Mellow and very pretty, this is very much a folk music based prog piece. It’s quite balladic in a lot of ways. It’s another that calls to mind The Moody Blues quite a bit. Mid-track they move out into a neo-classical styled jam to continue. Then it shifts toward more hard rocking prog. Horns bring some jazz into the arrangement after a time. They bring it back to a more powered up version of the earlier sections around the six and a half minute mark.
The Poet / After the Day
The first four minutes of this are set in a very mellow, balladic approach with a lot of strings. Then it moves into a full classical treatment as a transitional segment. From there it evolves to more of a killer prog jam with some great electric guitar soloing. The strings still provide a lot of emphasis. The peaks around the six minute mark, and it starts to work forward from there in a mellower motif. The vocals return and it’s similar to the opening section. By around the eight and a half minute mark it drops back down and then works to another powered up prog jam. The vocals return over the top of this energized arrangement. It works out to a killer finale. This piece is of epic length, more than eleven minutes.
Hymn
This starts mellow and grows out organically. It’s a very folk oriented progressive cut that really works well. It’s evocative and gets quite powerful.
 
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