Barclay James Harvest Album Portfolio

Barclay James Harvest Album Portfolio

Time Honoured Ghosts

Time Honoured Ghosts album cover

LP: Polydor 2383 361, October 1975
MC: Polydor , October 1975
8-Track: Polydor 3820 161, October 1975
LP: Reissue, Polydor SPELP 12, August, 1983
MC: Reissue, Polydor SPEMC 12, August, 1983
CD: Polydor 831 543-2, April 1987
CD: Remaster with 1 bonus track: Polydor/Universal 065 400-2, 2nd June, 2003


Side 1
In My Life (John Lees)
Sweet Jesus (Les Holroyd)
Titles (traditional, arranged by John Lees)
Jonathan (Les Holroyd)
Beyond The Grave (Woolly Wolstenholme)

Side 2
Song For You (Les Holroyd)
Hymn For The Children (John Lees)
Moongirl (Les Holroyd)
One Night (John Lees)

Bonus tracks on remastered CD:
Child Of The Universe (John Lees) [Remake for planned U.S. single]

Recording Details

Recording Studios:
"His Masters Wheels" studio in San Francisco.

Recording Dates:
May to July 1975

Producer:
Elliot Mazer

Engineers:
Jeremy Zatkin, Elliot Mazer (recording engineers); George Horn, Phil Brown (mastering engineers)

Title

The unusual title was suggested by the wife of Harvey Lisburg. Harvey was BJH's manager at the time, and the band liked the idea. It's believed that she, in turn, was quoting from elsewhere, but we haven't found the original source as yet.

Sleeve

'Harvest' by Maxfield Parrish
Time Honoured Ghosts sleeve

Bill Dare designed the sleeve, which has become one of the best-loved of all the band's album covers. The album credits acknowledge the genius of American artist Maxfield Parrish, on whose original painting, "Harvest" (above) the picture was based. Original copies of the LP came with a yellow inner sleeve with lyrics and a photo of the band by Alex Agor, although the photo is missing from the CD booklet. The LP label heralded the debut appearance of Geoff Halpin's "winged woman" logo.

Elliot Mazer

Best-known for his work with Neil Young, but also produced Janis Joplin, Linda Ronstadt and David Soul (!). Asked why he had agreed to produce BJH, Mazer told Sounds, "because I get very pissed off with wasted talent. I'd seen the band overpowered by an orchestra and working these terrible arrangements at the Festival Hall but I didn't produce them then basically because of a four month over-run on Neil Young's Time Fades Away. I'm a great believer that good songs make good records and the skills of Barclay James Harvest match up to any of the great artists."


In My Life

As ever, John would prefer that fans interpreted the lyrics in their own way, and is reluctant to explain meanings in any detail. Even Woolly candidly admits that he has no idea what this one is about! I'd guess that it could be about the iniquities of the music business, but that's just a shot in the dark. Any suggestions?

Lyrics:
In my life I have seen so many things
Some were true and some were not what they seemed
In my life I've seen love and I've seen loss
There've been times when I did not count the cost

I have been to a place where chaos rules
In the caves of the talking stoned the fools
Seen the stars plant their seeds and watch them grow
Just to keep mister reap but never sow

In my life I've seen greed and I've seen hate
Seen the first to accuse the last to praise
Tried so hard to find just one saving grace

But I was young did not know
Grace is for God
Greed is to know
Mister middle of the road
Reaps what you sow

[John Lees, © RAK Publishing Ltd]


Sweet Jesus

Unusually for Les, a song which seems to have a strong Christian influence. The very sparse arrangement is one of its strengths, and John's wonderful "one-note" solo is the icing on the cake!

Lyrics:
Where's the lady and the time I used to know
I think that I've been on the road too long
Scenes of better days are pictured in my head
And haunting me those old familiar songs

Oh sweet Jesus hear me cry
Let me see a clearing sky
For tomorrow I may be back home again
So take the shadow from my eyes

Sunday morning comes I'm feeling kind of down
I can't see back to where it all began
And I know you'd help me if you only could
I don't know why or where or who I am

Oh sweet Jesus hear me cry
Let me see a clearing sky
For tomorrow I may be back home again
So take the shadow from my eyes
Take the shadow from my eyes

[Les Holroyd, © RAK Publishing Ltd]


Titles

A musical and lyrical homage to The Beatles, using many of their song titles along with musical quotations to tell its story. I won't list the songs here, as they are probably very familiar to you anyway. The original concept and arrangement were devised by John and Woolly.

Lyrics:
The long and winding road that leads to your door
Here comes the sun it's alright people shout for more
But were you trying to deceive telling me
All you need is love to succeed

Across the universe one after nine 'o' nine
I got a feeling for you blue and I feel fine
I tried so hard to make believe that I'd see
All you need is love to succeed

CHORUS:

Lady Madonna let it be
Something in the way you moved me yesterday
All you need is love so they say

[traditional, arr. by John Lees, © RAK Publishing Ltd]


Jonathan

Inspired by the novel Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach. The book, first published in Britain in 1972, was a kind of modern-day fable about self-imposed limitations, and used the allegory of a seagull breaking free from physical constraints to make its point. Regrettably, for the film of the book, the soundtrack was commissioned not from Les but from Neil Diamond! Les's original idea was for the 1972 Windsong film soundtrack, which was never produced. It was to have been a film featuring a fictional rock group, with BJH playing the band, and the line "like the windsong on the breeze he seems to sigh" came from that.

Lyrics:
Circles in the sky
White as paper fly
Sound of seagulls crying fills the air
High above the lonely one is there
Jonathan he cares
To feel better

Like the passing wind
Swooping down again
Waitin' for the sun to turn to night
Find him miles away in endless flight
Longing to be free
Telling you and me

Give me wings to fly
Tell me why, tell me why
The answer must be heard
And from a lonely bird
He's giving us a reason to believe

See the painted silver sunlight on his wing
As he sails upon the wind and slowly skyward
Flying as to music you can hear him sing
Like the windsong on the breeze he seems to sigh

Give me wings to fly
Tell me why, tell me why
The answer must be heard
And from a lonely bird
He's showing us the way we can be free

[Les Holroyd, © RAK Publishing Ltd]


Beyond The Grave

Woolly always felt that the American studio and producer didn't do the song justice, as it wasn't "rawk and roll" as they knew it! The lyrics were completed on the 'plane on the way over to the States, and the title came from an old horror comic. The original recording went on much longer, but, rather than have a fade-out at the end of the album side, the rather abrupt ending was achieved by the simple expedient of stopping the tape!!

Lyrics:
We will survive beyond the grave
And as we sleep we will be saved
Life in its essence will endure
Whilst still on earth we can be sure
All our endeavours surely must return to dust

We will survive beyond the grave
And as we sleep we will be saved
Though storm and tempest ravage all
And all is darkness where we fall
Like brave Explorers bold and free
We sail forever on the sea!!

Above the seven seas is one
The sea of life we drift upon
Our spirits living in the waves
Survive beyond the grave!

Woolly Wolstenholme, © RAK Publishing Ltd


Song For You

A song of two halves, to coin a phrase, with the explosive opening giving way to an almost elegiac main theme. In a bid to capture the band's sound faithfully, a deliberate decision was made to record as much of the album as possible "live" in the studio. However, this method had its disadvantages: for the gentler second half of this song, Woolly turned around to switch from organ to piano, whilst John had to put down his electric guitar very carefully, tiptoe across the studio, and pick up the acoustic without making any extraneous noises. After many attempts, he finally made it in silence, only for Woolly to play a bum note! John's anguished curse was, fortunately, wiped from the tapes...

Lyrics:
As the sounds of the morning
Roll on out of the night
The thoughts of a dreamer
Asking and telling me why
Lady awaken the morning is taking
Your bad dreams away from your eyes
Nothing's forsaken the new day is breaking
So come now it's time to arise

As the sounds of the morning
Rise up out of the blue
A voice keeps on saying
Hold on, hold on to you
Lady awaken the morning is taking
Your bad dreams away from your eyes
Nothing's forsaken the new day is breaking
So come now it's time to arise

Is it my life, is it my song
That makes me feel something's wrong?
You know me well, the tale I tell
Is only halfway there, 'cause you
You made me smile when I was down
And you, you made me happy, being around
So I'm always gonna sing for you

Is it the time, flying along
That makes me feel that it's wrong?
You know me well, the tale I tell
Is only halfway there, 'cause you
You made me smile when I was down
And you, you made me happy, being around
So I'm always gonna sing for you

[Les Holroyd, © RAK Publishing Ltd]


Hymn For The Children

John [Sounds, November '75] : "Hymn For The Children" is like a follow up to "Child Of The Universe" which is a follow-on from "Summer Soldier" which is a follow-on from "Dark Now My Sky" - there's always one statement-type song on each album.' This song is an attack on racism and discrimination on any other grounds; a plea for equal treatment for all mankind, regardless of colour or creed.

Lyrics:
Their spirits soar on high
They wing with birds that float on by
Your love and mine

Their spirits with the breeze
That gently plays the summer leaves
Your love and mine

Life is a bird in the sky
Life is the breeze blowing by
Time picked the words
Time picked the songs
But we sang them wrong

Their spirits with the rain
That feeds the wheat and weeds the same
Your love and mine

The sun their spirits light
That feels and warms both black and white
Your love and mine

Life is the rain from on high
Life is the sun in the sky
Time picked the words
Time picked the songs
We were the choir
But we sang them wrong

Their spirits bless the cruel
The intellectual, the fool
Your love and mine

Their spirits point the way
But who has noticed, who will say
Your love or mine?

Life is a soft lullaby
Soothing a child as it cries
But it cries in pain
Time wrote the songs
We hear the cry
And still we sing wrong

[John Lees, © RAK Publishing Ltd]


Moongirl

A beautifully evocative song from Les' pen, highly thought-of by fans even today. It still has a timeless, romantic feel to it, despite Woolly's typically irreverent on-stage introduction of it as being "about groupies - you know, the sort of women who wander around in see-through negligés"! Unfortunately the joke was rather lost on the audience, as the band were playing in Germany at the time!

Lyrics:
Voices in the air, drifting from afar
Evening finds her waking, dancing with the stars
And when I'm waiting for the moon to smile upon my face
Moongirl's softly sleeping, daylight dreams away

Silence stepping by, lightly on the ground
Moving like a butterfly, never makes a sound
And when I'm waiting for the sun to shine so I can see
Comes the dancing moongirl, watching over me
(Love of my life)

Moongirl shines her light on me
Moongirl, she's the one I see
Takes me to the places where I long to be
She moves me, she moves me

[Les Holroyd, © RAK Publishing Ltd]


One Night

The album's closing song tackles the unusual subject of prostitution from the point of view of a customer. John takes a non-judgemental approach, leaving listeners to adopt their own moral stance, and describes the man's feelings with sensitivity and psychological insight. The world-weary flavour of the words finds its counterpart in the music, where the sparse arrangement is set off by some unexpected chords and carefully-woven vocal harmonies.

Lyrics:
You took all my money
I left you no name
My love and my money
Did you think I would chase it in the rain?

My eyes are now open
But what do I see?
One ride after midnight
Had I thought it would mean that much to me?

CHORUS:

Everybody needs someone to love
Everybody needs a friend
Everybody needs someone to care
Do you think you can make it in the end?
Do you think that you can make it, my friend?

I thought it was easy
But what did I know
Of old men and first blood
Or the drunk who gets taken blow by blow?

The dice are all loaded
You pay by the throw
But you pay the loser
Seems the rain is turning into snow

CHORUS

We stand round your doorways
You hang on the walls
Your frames are your windows
Put your bodies on the stalls
You take all our money
We leave you no name
We're dealt just the one card
But the dealer plays in every game

CHORUS

[John Lees, © RAK Publishing Ltd]


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