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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Barclay James Harvest - Everyone Is Everybody Else (Deluxe Edition)

This 2-CD/DVD consists of Barclay James Harvest’s fifth album released in 1974 entitled Everyone Is Everybody Else. Originally released in the summer of that year on the Polydor label and reissued by Esoteric Recordings, the group parted with their previous label Harvest Records after putting out four orchestrated and symphonic albums and received word-of-mouth. The band were signed to Polydor as they had to pay off their debt to their old label due to using an orchestra on tour.

Recorded for only a month from March to April at Olympic Studios with Rodger Bain who’s best known for his work with Budgie, Black Sabbath, and Judas Priest, wanted the band to give it a strong and powerful sound and move away from their orchestral roots that was shown from their EMI days. You can imagine both Bain and the group didn’t get along and never saw eye to eye with one another. And while there was tension between the two of them, the album is a real gem.

You have their own take of the Bee Gees psychedelic-era with The Great 1974 Mining Disaster. You could tell John Lees has amazing ideas of constructing the melodies of New York Mining Disaster 1941 and going into a mainstream approach and dealing with the political commitment of the 1974 UK Miners’ Strike. The Rhodes riff gets down and dirty as Woolly lays down the rhythm for a dramatic and haunting take before the mellotron swings in to soar of take of the disastrous mission of the Apollo 13 on Negative Earth.

It reminded me at times of a band called Jonesy and their song Mind of the Century and it has these riffs that I can imagine BJH took that as an homage on the riff and take it into the voyage of Space and the crew members decided to head on home. Then, Barclay head into a hard rock approach with power riffs between organ and guitar followed by ascending ‘trons and folk-rock acoustic melodies as it deals with being in with the people that were pretty now are nuts in this Crazy City.

The soaring guitar lines up into the heavens gives me chills with their touch of the Beatles as an homage featuring Woolly’s Mellotron taking the angelic sounds with the harmonic wonders. Lees takes a bit of the Harrison and Lennon-sque guitar styles of the Abbey Road sessions followed by Pritchard’s drumming following to reach the climatic end on See Me, See You.

Barclay James Harvest take into the styles of Jackson Browne as Les takes over on vocals on the deals of the working-class man with the acoustic country rock that would have given the Eagles a bowing down moment with Poor Boy Blues while the closer For No One is chilling and filled with emotions and the deal for peace. Lees’ sings “Then lay down your bullshit and your protests/then lay down your governments of greed/take a look of what lies all around you/then pray God we can live in peace.

It hits you hard in the gut because the lyrics are true and powerful of not of what happening, but happening right now and the struggle for peace is still out there and there’s no hope, but the fight will live on. Lees and Woolly take you share hands and raise up to sing-along this amazing composition and its closes the album off with a powerful chorus and hypnotic wah-wah solo that Lees’ does that will make you just be in amazement.

The new stereo mixes which are on Disc 2 and on the DVD for the 5.1 mix, which are done by Craig Fletcher and the authoring of the DVD done by Ray Shulman of Gentle Giant, is very interesting to hear. Now the multi-tracks on For No One, are missing, which is a bummer, so what we have are 8 tracks of the new mixes including the bonus ones. It's almost very much as if a piece of the puzzle is missing on here.

I can hear some parts on the opener, Child of the Universe that I never heard before including the swooshing Moog, Bells, and the crashing of the cymbals from what I’m hearing and while it didn’t make it on the original mix, it still is powerful and gives it a moving melody on the loss of a violent ways of man. The Mellotron comes in front and Lees’ guitar in the rhythm for Negative Earth as Mel’s drums gives it a real punch of the dramatic pulse of the rhythm.

The acoustic guitars are coming left and right for Les’ rhythm picked guitar on Poor Boy Blues and the same thing with on the situation of the local mining and cotton industries with a dosage of Pink Floyd’s Fat Old Sun homage on Mill Boys. The bonus tracks on here contains the U.S. single versions along with a new mix and a remake of Child of the Universe, the original mixes of The Great 1974 Mining Disaster and Negative Earth.

But one of the bonus tracks which features the late great Stuart “Woolly” Wolstenholme to take over. Maestoso (A Hymn in the Roof of the World) which was recorded at Olympic and mixed at Trident Studios, is a powerful and symphonic rock with an epic sound as Woolly himself takes a shining and roaring beauty that just sends chills down the spine.

When the album was released, it was the first album not to include any songwriting from Woolly himself so that’s why when he wrote this, Producer Rodger Bain felt it was “out of place”. Woolly would later do an expanded version of the song after he left Barclay to pursue a solo career with his 1980 album, Maestoso. The group went on tour on May 31st to promote the album along with Rare Bird from Newcastle City Hall and right into June where they recorded the Live album at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane on June 30, 1974.

The late great radio DJ John Peel was very impressed of what he heard and he would mark each track of the album as a standout. Listening to both the original and new stereo mixes of Everyone is Everybody Else is one of Barclay James Harvest’s masterpiece. The 20-page booklet contains photos of the band, promos, and sleeve notes by Keith and Monika Domone who have done other liner notes for the Esoteric reissues of the Barclay catalog.
It also includes a poster of the upcoming album that the back cover includes the lyrics also

Here, listening to this album again shows why they were overlooked and ahead of their time in the history of the genre of the Progressive Rock movement.

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