Barclay James Harvest Album Portfolio

Barclay James Harvest Album Portfolio

Victims Of Circumstance

Victims Of Circumstance cover

LP: Polydor POLD 5135, April 1984
MC: Polydor, April 1984
CD: Polydor 817 950-2, April 1984
Remastered 2CD: Esoteric ECLEC22330, 25th June, 2012


Side 1
Sideshow (John Lees)
Hold On (Les Holroyd)
Rebel Woman (John Lees)
Say You’ll Stay (Les Holroyd)
For Your Love (John Lees)

Side 2
Victims Of Circumstance (Les Holroyd)
Inside My Nightmare (John Lees)
Watching You (Les Holroyd)
I’ve Got A Feeling (Les Holroyd)


Bonus tracks on remastered CD:
Victims Of Circumstance [Instrumental] (Les Holroyd)
I've Got A Feeling [12" Single Version] (Les Holroyd)
Victims Of Circumstance [Single Version] (Les Holroyd)


Bonus second CD with remaster: Live At Wembley Arena 13th October 1984
Rebel Woman
Waiting For The Right Time
I've Got A Feeling
Rock 'N' Roll Lady
Paraiso Dos Cavalos
Victims Of Circumstance
Life Is For Living
For Your Love
Poor Man's Moody Blues
Child Of The Universe
Hymn



Recording Details

Recording Studios:
Recorded at Wisseloord Studios, Hilversum, Holland

Recording Dates:
September 1983 to January 1984

Producer:
Pip Williams

Engineer:
Gregg Jackman



Guest Musicians

Bias Boshell played keyboards (Yamaha DX7, Roland JP8 and JX3 and a Steinway grand piano). The orchestral arrangements were written by Pip Williams and performed by the David Katz Strings. Stevie Lange, Vicki Brown (the mother of Sam Brown, who sang with the band on the subsequent tour and later went on to a successful solo career) and Joy Yates provided some backing vocals.



Title

Originally taken from the lyrics of John’s "Rebel Woman":
I see the victims of circumstance
Convicted without a crime
Les was inspired by this to pen the title song.

Sleeve

The very striking sleeve is closely based on a poster for a Berlin cabaret club and bierkeller called Senta Söneland, painted by the famous illustrator Jo Steiner in 1912. John had suggested the design after seeing it in a book of posters, and the only significant change which was made was the addition of the teardrop in the clown’s eye.



Gregg Jackman

Gregg was born in Kingsbury, London, in 1953, and is the son of a musician. He became a balance engineer, then Chief Engineer at RAK Studios where he met Pip Williams. He joined Handle Artists in 1980 and engineered for The Moody Blues’ as well as BJH.


Sideshow

Following both thematically and musically closely in the footsteps of "Fifties Child", John’s opener tackles the subject of the media and its overriding preoccupation with disasters and bad news. Considering the ill-informed criticism that BJH themselves have had to endure from the media, it’s commendable that they don’t turn it into a personal diatribe, but rather a lament for lost innocence. The song is also notable for being a rare example of John and Les both singing lead vocals on one song.

Lyrics:
I have seen the streets and alleyways
Of a million faceless towns
The camera comes, the camera goes
Filming our blues for the late night news
We gather round

Never searching for our innocence
Our faith, our truth, our love
They're only there when things go wrong
Filming our blues for the late night news
We gather round

Show us peace and understanding
Brother love for fellow man
Cure us, we are sick from violence
In your sideshow of life

Impartiality is like
A coin they have to spend
The currency of the chosen few
They place their bets
Switch on your sets

There's world disasters by the minute
They tell us on the hour
And when we think we've paid our dues
They've filmed our blues for the late night news
We gather round

Show us peace and understanding
Brother love for fellow man
Cure us, we are sick from violence
In your sideshow of life

Sideshow of life

When it's late at night and you're all alone
With the one you love
Turn on the late night news and cry
Tears for all the lost and lonely people
Innocents in prime time

(Tragedies) of our life
(Tragedies) of our life
(Tragedies) of our life

[John Lees, © BJH Ltd/Handle Music Ltd]


Hold On

This rocker from Les became a regular in the band’s live shows with its driving rhythm and catchy chorus. The song captures the atmosphere of frenetic nightlife and club culture.

Lyrics:
There's a girl that lives in the shadows
Of the street where music plays
There she waits and looks from the outside
There's an angel in her face
But from her glass she sips a little comfort
From the boys she takes a little more
And she knows just how far she can take it
In a moment she's out on the floor

Hold on - she's got to keep a-moving
Hold on - dance with the light
Hold on - got to keep a-moving
Hold on - into the night

In her eyes they thought they saw a question
Maybe she is looking their way
As the night gets older are they wiser?
Who will take her? - no-one can say
Does she know just how they feel about her?
Can't she see she's driving them insane?
Could it be she doesn't even notice?
When the music starts playing again
They're saying...

Hold on - she's got to keep a-moving
Hold on - dance with the light
Hold on - got to keep a-moving
Hold on - into the night

[Les Holroyd, © BJH Ltd/Handle Music Ltd]


Rebel Woman

Not, as some fans suggested, a critique of Margaret Thatcher, although some of the lines could well apply! The subject was actually Mother Russia in the days before glasnost and perestroika and the collapse of the Communist system, and the song was written after the shooting down of a Korean airliner.

Lyrics:
They say that hell hath no fury
A fact that I can't deny
I see the victims of circumstance
Convicted without a crime

Call it aggressive behaviour
Call it the need to be free
Call it the cry of the innocent
That no-one can believe

Rebel, rebel woman, I know you well
Rebel, rebel woman, I know you well

They say there's truth in the old truths
No reason to cheat or lie
We're caught in the crossfire
Convicted without a trial

This mother's scorn is a strange thing
She pays her children for love
She heeds the cry of their innocence
They pay her with their blood

Rebel, rebel woman, I know you well
Rebel, rebel woman, I know you well

They say that hell hath no fury
A fact that I can't deny
I see the victims of circumstance
Convicted without a crime

Another plane in the ocean
Another wall in the sky
The victims of circumstance
Convicted without a trial

Rebel, rebel woman, I know you well
Rebel, rebel woman, I know you well

[John Lees, © BJH Ltd/Handle Music Ltd]


Say You’ll Stay

An escapist love song from Les, evoking a dream-world of romantic fantasy. The song also contains quite a barb with a side-swipe against the "little people" who tell him what to do. Back to the band’s critics, perhaps?

Lyrics:
Dreams and castles
We build them constantly
Who will see what we've done?

Thoughts that follow me
Fools of destiny
This is what we've become

Say you'll stay with me
I just want to be
Here with you
Say you'll stay with me
I just want to be here

Taking chances with
Time that passes us
Who can tell what will be?

Words that call to me
Eyes that try to see
Make it all mystery

Say you'll stay with me
I just want to be
Here with you
Say you'll stay with me
I just want to be here

Can you hear those little people
Tell me what to do?
They cannot see there's no tomorrow
But for me and you

Say you'll stay with me
I just want to be here...

[Les Holroyd, © BJH Ltd/Handle Music Ltd]


For Your Love

Not a conventional love song, in fact, but a direct message to the fans from John. "Light up the flame of love" is intended not only in the metaphorical sense, but also refers to live audiences’ habit of waving lighted matches and cigarette lighters. A torch song?!

Lyrics:
For your love I cry
The long lonely hours
Before the dawn
In my dreams I try
To hold back the dark
To hold back my fear

But I'm not alone tonight
So help me turn the tide
Light up the flame of love
And let it shine

I have hope, I pray
That someday we'll all
Have love of our own
In the long lonely night
I'll hold to the fire
That's burning so bright

But we're not alone tonight
So help me turn the tide
Light up the flame of love
And let it shine

We're not alone tonight
So help me turn the tide
Light up the flame of love
And let it shine

Let it shine

Let it shine

[John Lees, © BJH Ltd/Handle Music Ltd]


Victims Of Circumstance

A complete change of mood, now, for the opening track of the second side. This is an anti-war song, with some very bitter words for the politicians and leaders who keep their people in the dark and ignore their wishes. The lyrics are set to a deceptively innocuous melody, contrasting sharply with the message. Released as the first single from the album, it became their only Number 1 single to date when it reached the top of the pile in France.

Lyrics:
Saw the paper the other day
Started to read
Seems they've got a new way
Of fighting all their wars
Just what we need
When will you stop playing all your games?
Won't you listen when we say
I don't remember anyone asking me about it
Or don't we matter anyway?

Victims of circumstance that's what we are
Hidden from light so we can't see
Victims of circumstance that's what we are
You and me, you and me

Those mistakes that you all made in the past
You never seem to see
Do you have to bring your ships across the water?
Please let us be
Master, master, I really want to live!
Do we always have to plead?
Looks like you've put us in the frontline once again
Won't you stop this insanity?

Victims of circumstance that's what we are
Hidden from light so we can't see
Victims of circumstance that's what we are
You and me, you and me

[Les Holroyd, © BJH Ltd/Handle Music Ltd]


Inside My Nightmare

John’s manic vision of the aftermath of a car crash in which the driver’s girlfriend is killed was prompted by reading about just such a tragedy which happened in his local area, and imagining how it would feel to be in that situation. The song was performed live to great effect, and some of the musical themes resurfaced in lighter vein in 1990’s "Psychedelic Child".

Lyrics:
Flashing lights in the club
Memories of our wild affair
The first night we met
I just can't forget

Flashing lights, I was cool
What a fool, didn't realise
I just threw the dice
With my baby's life

Talk about a dream, I'll talk about an angel in white
Making all my wildest dreams come true

I remember driving wild
She was laughing by my side
One small mistake, too late to change
Now I live inside my nightmare

Flashing lights in the night
Memories of the girl I loved
I still feel her touch
I never loved so much

Flashing lights in the night
Memories of the cold despair
Just like a man insane
My tears fall like rain

Talk about a dream, I'll talk about an angel in white
Making all my wildest dreams come true

I remember driving wild
She was laughing by my side
One small mistake, too late to change
Now I live inside my nightmare

I was flash, driving fast through the night
Never saw the sign
Bad road, bad bend
I never felt the end

Flashing lights brought me back
But they left my baby there
Those blue, blue lights
In my blue, blue nights

Talk about a dream, I'll talk about an angel in white
Making all my wildest dreams come true
Talk about a fool, you're looking at the man that she loved
Who'll never find another girl like you

I remember driving wild
She was laughing by my side
One small mistake, too late to change
Now I live inside my nightmare

[John Lees, © BJH Ltd/Handle Music Ltd]


Watching You

This song seems to describe the beginning of a relationship, but the writer is very wary, preferring to play a watching and waiting game before making any commitment. Les certainly echoes the thoughts of many fans when he sings "I could write you a song that would make your heart fly".

Lyrics:
Try to see it from the other side
Keep on looking for a place to hide
You don't have to tell me
It's easy to find
If you're trying to make your dreams come true
Then just keep on doing what you do
And if you don't break the rules
It's going to be fine

So I'm just sitting here
Waiting for the dawn to break
Just sitting here
Waiting for the time it takes
I'm sitting here
Searching for a clue - watching you

Here, this is me
I'm living my life through the night constantly
Or so I've been told
Hope I can make it before I grow old
With love on my side
I could write you a song that would make your heart fly
So good for your soul
But there's something about you
That's leaving me cold

So I'm just sitting here
Waiting for the dawn to break
Just sitting here
Waiting for the time it takes
I'm sitting here
Searching for a clue - watching you

[Les Holroyd, © BJH Ltd/Handle Music Ltd]


I’ve Got A Feeling

A wistful ballad about a parting from a loved one. The song was remixed and some saxophone parts added when it was lifted as the second single from the album; the 7" was an edited version, but for some strange reason the full-length 12" was only pressed up for promotional use. This long version was later made available on The Compact Story Of Barclay James Harvest compilation CD.

Lyrics:
And though I think of you tonight
I cannot hope to hold you tight
But I've got this feeling in my heart

And when tomorrow I'll be gone
How can I hope to carry on?
I've got a feeling in my heart

I can no longer see
What's making things go wrong
You've stayed away before
It always seems so long

But wherever you go
Whatever you do
You know I'll always be with you
'Cause I've got this feeling deep in my heart

I can no longer see
What's making things go wrong
You've stayed away before
It always seems so long

But wherever you go
Whatever you do
You know I'll always be with you
'Cause I've got this feeling deep in my heart

Baby, you're in my heart

[Les Holroyd, © BJH Ltd/Handle Music Ltd]


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