Monday, May 05, 2008
Barclay James Harvest was an English art-rock band from the late '60's/early '70's who fell through the cracks. With their sophisticated, classically-tinted arrangements and memorable melodies, they should have been a lot more popular than they were, but, even though they toured with a string section and at times sounded very much like Pink Floyd, they were never pretentious enough to have the success of bands like Gentle Giant, Genesis and the Nice.
They were also way too ironic, going so far as to record a self-referential song called "Poor Man's Moody Blues."
Another problem was that they came along at a time when art rock in England was undergoing a metamorphosis and the paradigm was changing from Pink Floyd to Roxy Music. And as smart and potentially post-modern as they were, at that point they were too set in their ways to conform to the new mold.
Despite all that, their music sounds surprisingly fresh, probably because they brought a pop sensibility to the serious high mindedness of their chosen genre which prevents them from sounding dated.
(It didn't hurt that they recorded their first few albums at Abbey Road, under the production direction of Norman Smith, the Beatles engineer and Pink Floyd producer.)
Barclay James Harvest - Hymn
Barclay James Harvest - Life Is for the Living
Find out more about Barclay James Harvest at http://www.bjharvest.co.uk/
(Among other things, you will discover the BJH did not go quietly into the night, but rather stuck around making records well into the '90's.)