Exposé Online banner

Barclay James Harvest — XII
(Polydor 065 571.2, 1978/2003, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2006-05-01

XII Cover artKeyboardist Wooly Wolstenholme’s last studio recording with BJH was a mixed bag of ideas that showed how he had reached a cross roads with the group he helped form in 1968. Songwriting style changes were a key element to fragmenting the ten year old act as pop songs became more important as the group wanted to consolidate its European audience (primarily in Germany) where the band had a sales stronghold. The likely deal breakers were Les Holroyd’s songs including the ode to the people of “Berlin,” a sincere piano based ballad that was counterbalanced by his simpler rock pieces: “Turning in Circles,” “Giving It Up,” and the ill fitting “Sip of My Wine.” Wolstenholme’s own compositions “Harbour” and the epic “In Search of England” however are among his best and most consistent songs. Guitarist John Lees’ song craft is also at a high level with his folkish piece, “Fact: The Closed Shop” featuring precious recorder parts. “A Tale of Two Sixties” is a word play which includes various song title references including those by David Bowie and Arthur Lee’s Love. Five bonus tracks have been appended to the disc including three original mixes. Of these, the instrumental version of “Nova Lepidoptera,” is notable as it emphasizes the sad watery piano and clever backwards acoustic guitar effects. Overall it’s still a balanced recording that ended the original line-up on not necessarily an up note.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 33, 2003 releases, 1978 recordings

Related artist(s): Barclay James Harvest

Latest news

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Arti e Mestieri - Tilt & Giro di Valzer per Domani – Much ink has been spilled about the drumming of Furio Chirico and for good reason: the guy is phenomenal. He is all over the place using all available musical space yet is never bombastic or...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues