Barclay James Harvest -
Ring Of Changes

(CD 2012/1983, 61:17, Esoteric Recordings, ECLEC 2332)

The tracks:
  1- Fifties Child(4:18)
  2- Looking From The Outside(5:18)
  3- Teenage Heart(4:31)
  4- High Wire(5:04)
  5- Midnight Drug(5:16)
  6- Waiting For The Right Time(6:19)
  7- Just a Day Away(4:13)
  8- Paraiso Dos Cavalos(5:52)
  9- Ring Of Changes(7:22)
Bonus Tracks:
10- Blow me Down(4:56)
11- Waiting For The Right Time(3:28)
12- Ring Of Changes(4:39)

Barclay James Harvest Website        Cherry Red Records

In the seventies I used to listen a lot to Barclay James Harvest (BJH). Back then my favourite albums were Time Honoured Ghosts (1975), Octoberon (1976) and the excellent double live record Live Tapes (1978). Now Esoteric Recordings remastered a couple of their albums from the eighties and to tell the truth, I've never heard these records before. After listening to Ring Of Changes (1983) I have to be honest and I must say that this album is not the good old BJH, I used to know and cherished. In fact the album contains pop-like music and I sadly miss the guitar solos and melodies of John Lees as the nine songs on this album almost totally lack guitar work!

At the time BJH consisted of John Lees (guitars, vocals), Les Holroyd (bass guitar, vocals) and drummer Mel Pritchard. Now, almost thirty years later we now that Mel Pritchard died of a heart attack in 2004 and former keyboardist Stuart John 'Woolly' Wolstenholme committed suicide in 2010. Ring Of Changes sold exceptionally well in Germany and it also featured a couple of hit singles. But still I can't really get into the BJH of the eighties as most of the songs on this album are tiresome. Just listen to Teenage Heart, the utterly boring Waiting For The Right Time, Just A Day Away with trumpets, the very sweet song Paraiso Dos Cavalos, larded with strings or the title track which lasts over seven minutes, but wherein musically nothing interesting happens. The only acceptable songs are Fifties Child and High Wire, an almost classic BJH song holding a kind of mid-tempo melodic rock with finally a nice guitar solo. No, this is definitely not my favourite album of BJH!

** Martien Koolen (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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