CD BBC in Concert 1972 (CD 944515),
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BBC in Concert 1972

  • 1. Intro - (studio)
    2. Mocking Bird - (studio)
    3. Medicine Man - (studio)
    4. Galadriel - (studio)
    5. Summer Soldier - (studio)
    6. Poet - (studio)
    7. After the Day - (studio)
    8. Moonwater - (studio)
    9. Dark Now My Sky - (studio)
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 5829112

  • Credits

    BBC in Concert is one of those miraculous archival finds that one just can't anticipate and dares not hope for. Apart from Yes (always the exception to a lot of rules), very few progressive rock bands managed to get themselves recorded live under optimum conditions, much less so early in their careers. This release shouldn't be an ideal representation of a Barclay James Harvest concert, as the September 1972 BBC performance was recorded directly onto 1/4" open-reel tape, rather than being captured on much wider multi-track tape -- the way an actual professional concert recording would be done, which would have allowed remixing later on -- but the work done on the surviving archival material comes out extraordinarily well; indeed, this is a great-sounding CD, period. The Barclay James Harvest Orchestra -- formerly the London Sinfonia -- which is present here, was a fixture of their concerts in those days, and would remain so for another few months. The resulting CD, and the performance itself, resemble Renaissance's Live at Carnegie Hall, which also featured a prominent orchestra and freely mixed the band instruments and the orchestra in the spotlight, although the results here are better: There's no lack of presence for Stewart Wooly Wolstenholme's Mellotron or John Lees' guitar amid the winds, reeds, brass, and strings. The experience is far more impressive than, say, listening to Emerson, Lake & Palmer's belated efforts at recording live with orchestra -- mostly because Barclay James Harvest had been recording and touring with the orchestra for an extended period; they had all of their balances worked out, and this was their actual sound on-stage during this era. "After the Day" or "Moonwater" may seem overly dramatic, but this was the way that they did the songs in concert in the early days, and they're valid on that basis. The whole CD is a welcome reminder of the band's exceptionally bold early concert efforts, and of an extraordinary (and exceptionally beautiful) period of the progressive rock era, and the only real complaint is that it runs but an hour in length. Additionally, fans of the Mellotron will want to make a special point of buying it, just for Wolstenholme's performance on the instrument, especially when it's playing full-blast alongside Lees' guitar. ~ Bruce Eder

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