Barclay James Harvest 1970 Debut Gets Expanded

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In April 1968 the British band Barclay James Harvest released their first single, “Early Morning,” on EMI’s Parlophone label and became the first signing to EMI’s progressive label Harvest Records (named after them) the following year. The band–John Lees (guitars, vocals), Stuart Wolstenholme (keys, vocals), Les Holroyd (bass, vocals) and Mel Pritchard (drums, percussion)–released their self-titled debut album in June 1970, and saw the band successfully fuse an orchestra with rock to create a unique, sometimes pastoral, form of symphonic progressive rock.

Produced by Norman Smith (also famed for his work with Pink Floyd and the Pretty Things), Barclay James Harvest was dominated by the 12-minute epic “Dark Now My Sky.” Though the album didn’t sell particularly well, it established Barclay James Harvest as one of Britain’s most unique groups.

Barclay James Harvest received an expanded edition in 2002. But today (March 28), Cherry Red Records announced a new, further expanded 3-CD/1-DVD reissue, coming May 25 on the Esoteric Recordings label.

The set is newly re-mastered from the original master tapes and featuring an additional 33 bonus tracks drawn from new 5.1 surround sound and stereo mixes from the original multi-track master tapes and BBC radio sessions from 1968 and 1971. It will also include that first single, “Early Morning,” (and others) plus a rare Wolstenholme solo demo from 1969 of “The Sun Will Never Shine,” along with the 1968 short film Mr. Sunshine. Pre-order the title here.

Listen to “Dark Now My Sky”

The self titled album is also being made available. This expanded reissue has been newly remastered from the original master tapes and also includes nine bonus tracks, including “Early Morning,” “Brother Thrush” and “Taking Some Time On” singles and four tracks recorded in August 1968. The lavishly illustrated booklet features previously unseen photographs and an essay by BJH specialists Keith and Monika Domone. Pre-order the CD here.

Listen to the studio version of “The Sun Will Never Shine”

John Lees’ Barclay James Harvest have tour dates in the U.K. and Europe. Tickets are available on their website and here.

Related: Fellow British prog rockers Yes were inducted into the Rock Hall in 2017


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