Barclay James Harvest

Barclay James Harvest (BJH from now on) was/is a progressive rock band from the UK. They were formed in the north west of England in 1966, as a four piece, as so often from other bands.

The line up was:

Wolstenholme, Pritchard, Lees, Holroyd

Les Holroyd (bass guitar and vocals)

John Lees (lead guitar and vocals)

Mel Pritchard (drums)

Stuart Wolstenholme (keyboards, guitar and vocals), often known as Woolly.

After a couple of singles that received radio play but modest success, they released their first album in 1970.

BJH were signed to EMI and were on their progressive Harvest label. Some say the label took the name from the band, some say it didn’t. Mostly, it doesn’t matter.

It’s an interesting album, rather immature. You can tell it’s prog rock from all the Mellotron, and also the orchestra. There are a couple of rather duff filler tracks, Good Love Child being the main offender, but elsewhere there’s the final track, Dark Now My Sky, with orchestra, ‘choir’ and definite Mahler influences. Les and mostly Woolly share the vocals, and the song writing is credited to the whole band.

This album attracted some attention, and they were regulars on BBC radio.

1971 saw the second album, Once Again, in a similar vein with fan favourite Mocking Bird, written by Lees. EMI though enough of it to release a quadraphonic version, and even Alan Parsons plays on it. You know it’s prog rock because of the Mellotron.

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