Barclay James Harvest Album Portfolio

Barclay James Harvest Album Portfolio

Turn Of The Tide

Turn Of The Tide album cover


LP: Polydor POLD 5040, May 1981
MC: Polydor, May 1981
CD: Polydor 800 013-2, May, 1983
CD: Digipack remaster with 2 extra tracks, Esoteric ECLEC 2371, 28th January, 2013



Side 1
Waiting On The Borderline (Les Holroyd)
How Do You Feel Now? (John Lees)
Back To The Wall (Les Holroyd)
Highway For Fools (John Lees)
Echoes And Shadows (Les Holroyd)

Side 2
Death Of A City (John Lees)
I’m Like A Train (Les Holroyd)
Doctor Doctor (John Lees)
Life Is For Living (Les Holroyd)
In Memory Of The Martyrs (John Lees)


Bonus tracks on remastered CD:
Shades Of B Hill (John Lees) [single B-side]
Life Is For Living (Les Holroyd) [single version]



Recording Details

Recording Studios:
Marcus Music, London (except for "Life Is For Living", which was recorded at Polygram, September 12th, 1980)

Recording Dates:
September 1980 to March 1981

Producer:
Barclay James Harvest and Martin Lawrence

Engineer:
Martin Lawrence, assisted by Liz Biddiscombe



Title

Taken from the lyrics of "Back To The Wall":
	He’s been waiting on the other side,
	He’s been waiting for the turn of the tide
The choice of title also expressed an optimism about the future, that the tide of misfortune which had nearly swamped the band in the seventies had begun to turn in their favour.



Sleeve

The art direction was by Alwyn Clayden, but the photography and design which illustrated the title so aptly were by Bob Carlos Clarke, then a relative unknown, but now one of the world’s most famous portrait and fashion photographers. The front and reverse of the single sleeve are mirror images, both literally and metaphorically, showing a parched city-scape shimmering in a heat haze on the front, and the same landscape reversed on the back, now flooded and with heavy storm clouds above. Memorable imagery, complete with the obligatory butterfly, which has made the sleeve very popular amongst fans.



Guest Musicians

Kevin McAlea made his second appearance on a BJH album, assisting on keyboards, and the new boy on Turn Of The Tide was Colin Browne on guitars, bass, keyboards and backing vocals. Colin had already played live with BJH on their 1980 tour and at the Berlin concert, so it was a natural progression for him to play on the new album as well.


Waiting On The Borderline

Les’s opener is about the hurt and recriminations surrounding the end of a relationship. The repetitive rhythm and the keyboards provided by guest musician Kevin McAlea give the song a hypnotic feel.

Lyrics:
Going down with a troubled mind
You leave me waiting on the border line
I'm thinking it's a waste of time
Taking me for a ride
You say that you're good for me
Was a time when I'd let it be
But now there's no reality
Do you think that I' m blind?

Get back to your own side of the highway
You're straying across the line
I know you're a heart breaking lover
Isn't any other time to take a ride
Get back in the long grass
Get back to the street
Go take another walk
Don't bother me

Good loving is hard to find
You keep playing the same old rhyme
Got the feeling that you're gonna be
Travelling down the line
You play in another key
Go tell your friends that I set you free
I know the way it used to be
Watching you hitch a ride

Get back to your own side of the highway
You're straying across the line
I know you're a heart breaking lover
Isn't any other time to take a ride
Get back in the long grass
Get back to the street
Go take another walk
Don't bother me

[Les Holroyd, © St. Annes Music]


How Do You Feel Now?

One of John’s most personal, autobiographical songs, written on the birth of his daughter, Esther, in July 1980, and it remains one of his own favourites. The piano-led backing gives the lyrics prominence, and the sentiments are delivered with an affecting simplicity, even though John is on record as saying that he never felt that his performance did the song justice.

Lyrics:
How do you feel now
We've got a reason to go on
Newly born
Seems like I've waited for a lifetime
But honey I believed in you

When I saw her face I had to cry
I don't know why
Is she real?
Seems like I've waited for a lifetime
But honey I believed in you
To make my dreams all come true
We've got a child

I tried and tried to talk it over
Seemed like we'd waited a million years
Then you conceived our child was born
And we were one
Picked her up put her by your side
Saw the smile that you couldn't hide

I tried and tried to talk it over
Seemed like we'd waited a million years
Then you conceived our child was born
And we were one
Picked her up put her by your side
Saw the smile that you couldn't hide

How do you feel now
We've got a reason to go on
Newly born
Seems like I've waited for a lifetime
But honey I believed in you
To make my dreams all come true
We've got a child

[John Lees, © St. Annes Music]


Back To The Wall

Apart from supplying the album’s title, this song was apparently inspired by the situation in Berlin and the band’s free concert there. There is a double meaning here, in that the phrase, "to have one’s back to the wall" means to be in a desperate situation, whilst at the concert the band literally had their backs to the Berlin Wall.

Lyrics:
Stranger at the gate let him in
Stranger at the gate let him in
Stranger at the gate let him in
Won't you let him in

He's been waiting on the other side
He's been waiting on the other side
He's been waiting for the turn of the tide
Won't you let him in

Promises leave you with nothing to show
Destiny leaves you with nowhere to go

Back to the wall
Have you seen the light?
Is your soul worth saving?
Back to the wall
Can you pay the price
Then your life is waiting

Down by the shore
We can help you no more
Standing with our back to the wall

Is your soul worth saving?
Have you seen the light?
Then your life is waiting
Can you pay the price?

Promises leave you with nothing to show
Destiny leaves you with nowhere to go

Back to the wall
Have you seen the light?
Is your soul worth saving?
Back to the wall
Can you pay the price
Then your life is waiting

Down by the shore
We can help you no more
Standing with our back to the wall

[Les Holroyd, © St. Annes Music]


Highway For Fools

Possibly an early pointer towards John’s current dissatisfaction with the music business, this no-nonsense rocker attacks the "diamond love" mercenary approach to music, making his point with the lyrically punning "that kind of rock don’t appeal". There were several occasions in the 1980s when John seriously considered his position within the band, and the immediate post-Woolly period seems to have been one such occasion for soul-searching.
Lyrics:
You got the groove
I got to move
Cause suddenly something's unreal
I got to go
Get up and go
Cause you ain't the way that I feel

I know what I like
And it ain't looking at you
If I have to believe
I believe in myself and nobody else
Your kind of love ain't for real

I got the wheels
I got the deals
But suddenly you ain't so cool
Great God above it's diamond love
But that kind of rock don't appeal

I know what I like
And it ain't looking at you
If I have to believe
I believe in myself and nobody else
Your kind of love ain't for real

I got to change it's feeling strange
And strange is a highway for fools
If it's diamond love that makes you feel good
Then that kind of love I can steal

I know what I like
And it ain't looking at you
If I have to believe
I believe in myself and nobody else
Your kind of love ain't for real

[John Lees, © St. Annes Music]


Echoes And Shadows

A beautifully atmospheric work, with some evocative, mystical lyrics, apparently about a love affair, although they could equally be interpreted as a reflection on the impermanence of material things. The way in which the vocal fades before the rest of the music makes for a very effective ending.

Lyrics:
Here lie the towers so tall
Strange, they tumble and fall
Time softly playing the chord
Could be lost in the void
Do your eyes see it all?

Gone like the dreams that you made
Sad how memory fades
Drawn by the mystical sight
There's a voice in the night
And your eyes see it all

Stay with me
All I want from you
Just stay with me
All I want to do
Is look in your eyes
And sail on through the night

Echoes and shadows
Drift through tomorrow's
Dreams that you follow
In the dark

Fools are entranced by the dawn
But the wise man misses it all
He laughs and the pages are torn
While the intellect scorns
As he clutches the straws

Stay with me
All I want from you
Just stay with me
All I want to do
Is look in your eyes
And sail on through the night

Echoes and shadows
Drift through tomorow's
Dreams that you follow
In the dark

[Les Holroyd, © St. Annes Music]


Death Of A City

This song’s genesis dates back to 1968! Although large parts were rewritten for the album version, many lines are there in their entirety on the original 1968 demo. Several of John’s songs from this period share a similar apocalyptic theme of destruction, and it’s no accident that one of the new lines refers to "after the day".

Lyrics:
I look down the street but there's no one there
In the cold, in the dark, in the night air
I call out for life but my heart feels despair
There's no sign of a light in the cold dismal night

The lights have all gone the clothes are all torn
The people are gone but the victory's won
I call out for life but it's after the day
Now the people are gone just the city alone

Eyes look from the second floor
Down to the street below
Calm now the wind is slow
See posters once on the wall
Now washed away in the rain
Peeling from buildings tall

I'll follow you friends to where life never ends
Make our mistakes again as our life lines descend
Time is like dust and the dust is like snow
As it covers the ruins of the life that you know

Trees once green now turned to stone
Objects that look like ghosts
All of them overgrown
Mist all sight and mind is blurred
Lie on your back and cry
Words uttered never heard

I look down the street but there's no one there
In the cold, in the dark, in the night air
I call out for life but my heart feels despair
There's no sign of a light in the cold dismal night

The lights have all gone the clothes are all torn
The people are gone but the victory's won
I call out for life but it's after the day
Now the people are gone just the city alone

[John Lees, © St. Annes Music]


I’m Like A Train

By way of contrast, Les pitches in with one of the album’s brighter songs, describing the start of a love affair and the radical changes in lifestyle that it brings. Mel helped out with some of the lyrics.

Lyrics:
Look around
And cry aloud
Seems so much is happening
But I have found
When you awake
The sky will shine
Even on a cloudy day

Want to be
Where I can see
Oh so much is happening
To you and me
Will it end?
Will day turn black
Will we ever see things right
And how can we make it through the night?

I'm like a train
That's jumping the track
Caught up in the slide
And I'll never come back
I turn around and look for a way
Nothing that I can do
Nothing that I can say

What a life
I was living before
Hard to see
If you can't find a door
Seen the turning
Know it's burning me
To be with you

I'm like a train
That's jumping the track
Caught up in the slide
And I'll never come back
I turn around and look for a way
Nothing that I can do
Nothing that I can say

[Les Holroyd, © St. Annes Music]


Doctor Doctor

This album was the band’s first digital recording, and, whilst it occasionally sounds rather clinical, certain parts leap out of the speakers, particular the fine "plucked" bass playing on this track. The song extols the virtues of love as "a natural panacea", but also offers an insight into the depressive phase that John was going through.

Lyrics:
Doctor Doctor tell me if you can
What is wrong with me
I can't seem to find the key
Doctor Doctor I'm begging on my knees
Won't you tell me please
What could be my malady?

When I'm down feeling kind of low
I don't want to be the last to know
When I'm down crawling cross the floor
I don't want to be, I can't stand to be
The last to know

Doctor Doctor help me through the day
Give me something natural I can depend on
Doctor Doctor it's something that I need
It's a natural panacea
Like a cure for every fear
It's some of her sweet love
Mixed up with her young blood
True love and devotion
What a wonderful potion
Tonight, tonight

Doctor Doctor why am I alone
Listening to my heart
Beating through the cold dark night
Doctor Doctor I'm shaking in the gloom
Could this be defeat
Please don't stop, don't miss a beat

When I'm down feeling kind of low
I don't want to be the last to know
When I'm down crawling cross the floor
I don't want to be, I can't stand to be
The last to know

Doctor Doctor help me through the day
Give me something natural I can depend on
Doctor Doctor it's something that I need
It's a natural panacea
Like a cure for every fear
It's some of her sweet love
Mixed up with her young blood
True love and devotion
What a wonderful potion
Tonight, tonight

[John Lees, © St. Annes Music]


Life Is For Living

One of the Barclay’s most enduring favourites, which Les wrote specifically for the 1980 concert in Berlin, where it made its live debut. Released as a single to trail the album, it became the band’s most successful single, reaching the Top 3 in Germany and Switzerland.

Lyrics:
You and me, our life is drifting along
Watching the world as it's singing its song
High above, someone is calling to me
Life is for living and living is free

You to me, are like the sun in the sky
See how you fly you have wings of your own
You and me, our love will last without end
Ride with the wind won't you follow me home

Turn around and see the circles we spin
And we're taking our chances on where we begin
Up above, the rain is falling on me
Life is for living and living is free

You to me, are like the sun in the sky
See how you fly you have wings of your own
You and me, our love will last without end
Ride with the wind won't you follow me home

Taking up time trying to write a line till the break of day
Given a sign can you make it rhyme tell me what to say
Making it fine can you ease my mind help me drift away

Turn around, and see the circles we spin
Taking our chances on where we begin
Up above, the rain is falling on me
Life is for living and living is free

You to me, are like the sun in the sky
See how you fly you have wings of your own
You and me, our love will last without end
Ride with the wind won't you follow me home

[Les Holroyd, © St. Annes Music]


In Memory Of The Martyrs

The other song performed live for the first time at Berlin was John’s "In Memory Of The Martyrs", which refers to those who lost their lives attempting to cross the Berlin Wall. Originally planned to be a double A-side single with "Life Is For Living", but the plan was changed for some unknown reason, possibly because it is nearly eight minutes long, and would have been difficult to edit without losing the epic sweep of the original. Philip John Ireland, to whom the song is dedicated, was John’s cousin, who was tragically killed in a road accident in Germany.

Lyrics:
Life is like a tall ship
Drifting gently from the shore
Time is like a fair wind
With a lifetime to explore
The beauty that surrounds you
Was meant to be adored
The problems that surround you
Were meant to be ignored
We are love, we are, we are love
We are love, we are, we are love

I dreamt I held a baby
I dreamt I held a child
I dreamt I held a young man
A prisoner in my hand
My hand I could not open
The man grew up inside
A prisoner without reason
Just on the other side
We are love, we are, we are love
We are love, we are, we are love

The blood red rose of summer
Grows elegant and tall
In memory of the green grass
Beyond the guardian wall
The green grass grows forever
Beneath the bloody sky
In memory of the martyrs
She'll cover when they die
We are love, we are, we are love
We are love, we are, we are love

[John Lees, © St. Annes Music]


Shades Of B Hill

Bonus track on remastered CD: B-side of UK "Life Is For Living" single, POSP 195, 1980

Something of a departure from John’s normal style, this “crooner” appeared on the B-side of “Life Is For Living”, and the enigmatic title is explained by the uncanny resemblance of the bassline to Fats Domino’s “Blueberry Hill”...

Lyrics:
Dreamer, you have a lot to say
About her love, you let it slip away
You're a dreamer, she's a schemer
Dream on, dream on
Your heart couldn't stand the strain
When she went away
And let you love in vain
You're a dreamer, she's a schemer
Dream on, dream on

Tell her your secrets
And she'll tell you her lies
Open up your heart and let her in
Tears in your pillow now
And tears in your eyes
A broken heart and you lose again

Dreamer, she'll just make you wait
Then she'll give you love
Then she'll make the break
You're a dreamer, she's a schemer
Dream on, dream on...

[John Lees, © St. Annes Music]


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