Author:Keith & Monika Domone/Andrew Wild
Barclay James Harvest are one of those bands who enjoyed a reasonable level of success in the UK, but became absolutely huge in mainland Europe, particularly, in this case, in Germany, where their 1977 effort Gone To Earth managed over three years in the album charts. Their mix of gentle rock and pastoral prog maybe sounds somewhat of its time now, but their best seventies work, such as the aforementioned Gone To Earth and Octoberon still make good listening, musically interesting and easy on the ear. The last of their best work, 1978’s XII, coincided with the departure of vocalist/keyboardist Woolly Wolstenholme, and for me the band was never the same after the loss of one of its core founding members. Their eighties and nineties output became much more bland and one album pretty much became indistinguishable from another, the sound dominated by synths and the production techniques in vogue at the time, all of which sound a bit dated now. They ended up, rather like Wishbone Ash, by splitting into two separate versions of the band, neither of which were as good as the original line up in their pomp. The authors are a husband and wife team who ran the band’s fan club and then their websites, and this book provides a good potted history of this now much neglected group. Dig out their seventies albums and remember fondly the music of these time honoured ghosts.
Crosby, Stills and Nash (with a little help from a certain Neil Young) produced a stunning catalogue of work in their heyday. Albums such as their 1969 self titled debut set, Déjà Vu and Four Way Street showcased their great song writing skills and sublime harmonies, and are still played regularly almost fifty years later. Subsequent albums though were very much a mixed bag, as personality clashes in the ranks led to some disjointed releases where the nuggets were sometimes hard to find among the grit. Indeed, I’d say their career followed a gradual but steady decline after their initial key albums with some good songs scattered among some pretty patchy efforts. The book also covers solo albums and other recordings by various configurations of the band members, which produced numerous songs that worked their way into the CS & N live repertoire over the years. This is an interesting read written by an author who clearly knows his stuff, incorporating many quotes from articles and interviews over the years, and delving into the plethora of alternate versions and unreleased songs
Length of Read:Short
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
The careers of these artists.
One thing you’ve learned
Both books follow the standard format of looking at each album track by track while following the history of the bands as they make their musical journeys.