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

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Various Artists - Burning Shed Sampler Two – Burning Shed is an independent U.K. label that tries its best to span many genres. The label’s second sampler puts an emphasis on chilling out as ambient is the forte with a few notable...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues