Barclay James Harvest Album Portfolio

Barclay James Harvest Album Portfolio

Welcome To The Show

Welcome To The Show cover design

LP: Polydor 841 751-1, 5th March, 1990
MC: Polydor 841 751-4, 5th March, 1990
CD: Polydor 841 751-2, 5th March, 1990
CD: Remaster with 3 extra tracks, Eclectic ECLCD 1051, 23rd October, 2006
2CD digipack: Remaster with bonus disc, Eclectic ECLEC 22541, 15th April, 2016


The Life You Lead (Les Holroyd)
Lady Macbeth (John Lees)
Cheap The Bullet (John Lees)
Welcome To The Show (Les Holroyd)
John Lennon’s Guitar (John Lees)
Halfway To Freedom (Les Holroyd)
African Nights (Les Holroyd)
Psychedelic Child (John Lees)
Where Do We Go (Les Holroyd)
Origin Earth (John Lees) [on CD and MC only]
If Love Is King (John Lees)
Shadows On The Sky (Les Holroyd) [on CD and MC only]


Bonus tracks on 2006 remastered CD:
John Lennon’s Guitar (John Lees) [live at the Town and Country Club, February 14th, 1992]
Alone In The Night (John Lees) [live at the Town and Country Club, February 14th, 1992]
Poor Man's Moody Blues (John Lees) [live at the Town and Country Club, February 14th, 1992]


Bonus tracks on 2016 remastered 2CD:
Disc 1: Stand Up (extended version)
Disc 2: Mockingbird; Hold On; Alone In The Night; On The Wings Of Love; Cheap The Bullet; Medicine Man; Play To The World; Child Of The Universe (all recorded live at the London Town & Country Club, 16th February, 1992)



Recording Details

Recording Studios:
Digitally recorded (cover should read "DDD") at Revolution Studios, Cheadle Hulme

Recording Dates:
March to September 1989

Producer:
Jon Astley and Andy MacPherson

Engineer:
Andy MacPherson. Additional engineering by Michael Haas



Jon Astley

Co-produced albums by The Pretty Things, The Who (Who Are You) and Eric Clapton (Just One Night), before branching out as a solo artist in his own right with two excellent albums on Atlantic, Everybody Loves The Pilot (Except The Crew) (1987) and The Compleat Angler (1988). More recently, he has been busy remastering the entire back catalogue of The Who for CD reissues.



Andy MacPherson

Andy did the bulk of the work on this album, especially on the engineering side. His previous credits include co-production work with Jon Astley for Sad Café and Jon’s own solo albums. Andy owns Revolution Studios, where the album was recorded.



Guest Musicians

Ritchie Close (previously worked with BJH and Mandalaband) on piano, Steve Pigott of Living In A Box on additional keyboards; Ian Wilson (Sad Café) and Steve Butler sang backing vocals, Andy Hamilton played saxophone, Darrin Tidsey assisted Jon and Andy with programming and Mike Hehir (Sad Café) provided some guitar sounds.



Sleeve

Designed by Storm Thorgerson for Nexus. Storm is best known for his work with Hipgnosis for Pink Floyd and others. The band photos were taken at the University of London Observatory in Hendon, North London (http://www.ulo.ucl.ac.uk/), whilst the landscape shots are of the band's local area of Saddleworth Moor, including the war memorial on the hill known as Pots And Pans, above the village of Greenfield. The "BJH" lettering was designed by Les, and the butterfly is based on a map of air routes!



The Life You Lead

Les’s medium-paced opener had the working title "Choices", and concerns the choices we make in our relationships and everyday lives which affect our future.

Lyrics:
There's a life that burns
When the night has come
Makes me understand
You're the one I see
And I can't say no
Take me by the hand

Can't believe that you want it to be
Just the game and we're playing the parts
Such a feeling, it won't let me be
Like an arrow that's straight for the heart

'Cause the one you want
Is the one you lose
That's what people say
And the life you lead
Is the one you choose
Help me on the way

Tell me why you fill up my life this way
Take me high, together we'll fly away
Can't believe that you want it to be
Just a game and we're playing the parts
Such a feeling, it won't let me be
Like an arrow that's straight for the heart

'Cause the one you want
We need someone
Is the one you lose
Help us along
That's what people say
Too many people can't find a way
And the life you lead
We need someone
Is the one you choose
To carry on
Help me on the way
Helping us on the way

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


Lady Macbeth

Having been criticised for being too literal in the lyrics of "John Lennon’s Guitar", John "went away and wrote a very devious one". There has been much speculation about the identity of the subject of this wonderfully sinister song, but John has never confirmed or denied any of the rumours, except to say that it was definitely not about Margaret Thatcher!

Lyrics:
Like a jester dressed
In a silly gown
Something evil came to town
At the darkest hour
In the dead of night
All who'd listen gathered round
From the uninspired
From the tortured sounds
No one noticed what she'd done
By the pricking of my thumbs
Something wicked this way comes

Like a fool possessed
Evil grabbed the blade
Dripping blood upon the keys
With her cheap disguise
No-one realised
How this jester could deceive
From the uninspired
From the tortured sounds
No one noticed what she'd done
By the pricking of my thumbs
Something wicked this way comes

From the uninspired
From the tortured sounds
No one noticed what she'd done
Time knows the truth
And her lies linger on
By the pricking of my thumbs
Something wicked this way comes
By the pricking of my thumbs
Something wicked this way comes
This way comes
This way comes

Hush now children
Don't you worry
Lots of young ones
Singing Mahler
Lies so deadly
Wrapped in sugar candy

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


Cheap The Bullet

"What price your life now, how cheap the bullet" was the original line that John thought up and scribbled down to turn into a song later. The resulting rant against violence was the rockiest BJH song for many years, and made a fine taster for the album when it was issued as a single in the UK with a very well produced (and expensive) video to accompany it. Unfortunately, the German record company decided that it was too heavy for their market, and the single didn’t get anywhere in Britain.

Lyrics:
The streets run red with the blood of the innocent
Why, why, why?
We stab our knives in the back of humanity
Why, why, why?
There's never peace just a spiral of violence
Why, why, why?
We'll shoot you down for a difference of opinion
Why, why, why?

Cheap the bullet, easy the gun
Sons and daughters, lost and gone
Cheap the bullet, easy the gun
No talk, no thought, just shoot and run

Our children wake to the bomb and the bodysearch
Why, why, why?
We fill their ears with the drums and the battle cries
Why, why, why?
They burn your car when you stray it's a game they play
Why, why, why?
They're fed on hate it's a circle we don't want to break
Why, why, why?

Cheap the bullet, easy the gun
Sons and daughters, lost and gone
Cheap the bullet, easy the gun
No talk, no thought, just shoot and run

I'm baptised in your prejudice
I'm confirmed with your hate
I'm ordained into violence
I'm a child of the modern world
Of the media world
Of the TV world
Of the modern world

Cheap the bullet, easy the gun
Sons and daughters, lost and gone
Cheap the bullet, easy the gun
No talk, no thought, just shoot and run

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


Welcome To The Show

This song was chosen as the first single in Germany. Les has often said that for him the lyrics are secondary to the melody, but here he excels himself with some acid reflections on the superficiality of the music business and current attitudes in general. Les also played the Dire Straits-ish guitar at the end. The song was heavily played by German radio and, although it didn’t chart, certainly helped the album to do so.

Lyrics:
We can't all be right
We can't all be wrong
It's a long journey
We travel on
Gypsies of the night
Riders of the storm
Though it's heartbreaking
We must go on

Wrong place
Wrong face
Somewhere on the road
Keep playing
And saying
Welcome to the show

Those who laugh the first
Must cry later they say
As the stage curtain
Brings on the girls
And they surely do well
For the politicians who sell them
On TV today
Makes me uncertain
Of who runs the world

Wrong place
Wrong face
Somewhere on the road
Keep playing
And saying
Welcome to the show

My friends, all the trends that have gone
Are as one in the minds of today
With their eyes open they can't see the signs
And the moment belongs to the video songs
Leading nowhere at all
And the fools talking, the blind lead the blind

Wrong place
Wrong face
Somewhere on the road
Keep playing
And saying
Welcome to the show

We started something
Now we can't get away from it all

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


John Lennon’s Guitar

This song was based on an incident which occurred whilst BJH were recording "Galadriel" for the Once Again album at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios, when Norman Smith got one of John Lennon’s guitars out of a cupboard where it had been left after a recording session at the studio. Lennon was one of John Lees’ heroes, so our John was delighted to have the chance to play the blond Epiphone guitar.

Lyrics:
Back in the autumn of seventy
On the night shift at Abbey Road
Four young men were recording a song named "Galadriel"
For an album they'd call Once Again
The producer was Norman Smith
Who'd engineered with The Beatles and John
Whose guitar was to be instrumental that day
When I came to play

I remember it well, as if it was yesterday
The day that I played John Lennon's guitar
I remember it well, as if it was yesterday
The day that I played John Lennon's guitar

Back in the autumn of seventy
As I played on my borrowed guitar
How could I know The Beatles would split the next day
My heroes break up and go their own way

Now autumns they came and they go
But my friends and my memories remain
And my heroes, well some of them fell from the stage
But their light still remains

I remember it well, as if it was yesterday
The day that I played John Lennon's guitar
I remember it well, as if it was yesterday
The day that I played John Lennon's guitar

I remember the day
I remember the day
I remember the day
I remember the day
The day that I played John Lennon's guitar
I remember the day, as if it was yesterday
And I know that the memories will never fade
I remember the day, as if it was yesterday
The day that I played John Lennon's guitar

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


Halfway To Freedom

Les’s anthem to the people of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc proved prophetic, because, between the song being written and the album being released, events had overtaken everyone and the Berlin Wall had been breached. In the album’s sleeve notes, Les dedicated the song to the people of Germany, and the song was later showcased at a TV show called Guten Abend, Deutschland ("good evening, Germany") recorded in East Berlin and broadcast live across East and West Germany, the first time this had happened since the division of Germany.

Lyrics:
You - got to sing a new song
'Cause the way that we're going
Is far too long
Alone, when you can't hear a sound
And you're halfway to freedom
It can't be found
But we've got the love
And the feeling's strong
And we're going on
And we can't go wrong

Halfway to freedom
Sing out the word
Tables are turning
We're learning
Our voice can be heard
Towers are falling
See how they burn
Hope for each other
Our brothers
All over the world

Love like a cry in the night
We reach out for each other
Peace to find
Hear, when the bells start to chime
And you're halfway to freedom
It's hard to find

Halfway to freedom
Sing out the word
Tables are turning
We're learning
Our voice can be heard
Towers are falling
See how they burn
Hope for each other
Our brothers
All over the world

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


African Nights

This album has a strong backward-looking flavour, and here Les reminisces about touring South Africa in September and October 1972. The "friend whose name was Farr" was Gary Farr, a singer-songwriter who supported BJH on that tour and who released a number of solo albums between 1969 and 1984.

Lyrics:
Driving down the road
Under the southern light
Looking back to see
Where we've come from
As we watched the sun go down
Rain it fell like diamonds
From Kimberley mines

On the road to Jo'burg
With the dying light
Farewell Durban
City of Natal
Stopped a while to stretch my thoughts
As we crossed the borderline
And into Transvaal

I saw the sun go down
Under the southern skies
Over and over
I'll always remember
Those beautiful African nights

In the old VW
We'd count the miles
We travelled with a friend
Whose name was Farr
The stories that he told us
Talked of faces
Times and places
Sang and played his guitar

Driving down the road
We hear the morning rise
Leaving all the past
So far behind
The sound man played the Eagles
As we listen
"Take It Easy"
Echoes on through our lives

I saw the sun go down
Under the southern skies
Over and over
I'll always remember
I still hear them call
No matter how far
Those beautiful African nights

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


Psychedelic Child

John’s turn to look back, this time on the hippy era of the late sixties. The lyric is a "stream of consciousness"-type listing of references to the period. Most are fairly obvious, but a few which may be unfamiliar to younger readers include: "My Little Red Book", the first single by American band Love in 1966, The UFO Club, a well-known psychedelic venue in London and "Ballad Of A Thin Man", which is a track from Bob Dylan’s 1965 LP Highway 61 Revisited.

Lyrics:
My Little Red Book, Day Tripper, UFO Club
Pink Floyd, Soft Machine
Talk about a heavy scene
I'm a psychedelic child
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, flower power, oki poki
Bells and beads, bell-bottom jeans
Talk about a heavy scene
I'm a psychedelic child

Talk about love
And the power of a rock and roll dream
Talk about love
On a bad trip, hear my scream
I'm a psychedelic child

Exotic eastern mysticism, Vietnam and kaftans
The Grateful Dead, The Charlatans
Heavy scene, so heavy man
I'm a psychedelic child
Ballad Of A Thin Man looking for a Crawdaddy
Hippy shit and LSD
Talk about a heavy scene
I'm a psychedelic child

Talk about love
And the power of a rock and roll dream
Talk about love
On a bad trip, hear my scream
I'm a psychedelic child

Talk about love
And the power of a rock and roll dream
Talk about love
On a bad trip, hear my scream
I'm a psychedelic child

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


Where Do We Go

Les’s beautiful ballad of lost love proved very popular with fans, and it’s rather disappointing that the song has never been performed live. Musically, Les’s admiration for Chicago’s big ballads is apparent, with a new dimension in Andy Hamilton’s sax solo.

Lyrics:
When you're all alone
And the dreams are waiting at your door
By the telephone
No-one to talk to any more

Where did we go wrong
Waited far too long

When you're worlds apart
All feelings seem to disappear
And the night is dark
You used to make it all so clear

Where did we go wrong
Waited far too long

Where do we go
And where is the love you once gave me?
I want to know
Where is my life, can't you save me?
Oh, I thought you were a woman of love
Oh, we could have been in heaven above

Where did we go wrong
Waited far too long

Where do we go
And where is the love you once gave me?
I want to know
Where is my life, can't you save me?

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


Origin Earth

Step forward fan club founder-member Kev Goodman, who gave John a copy of the science fiction novel Eon by Greg Bear and inspired a song! The tale concerns a mysterious structure which appears in orbit around the Earth, and turns out to be not from some alien civilization, but from the future of Earth itself.

Lyrics:
Lost generations out of place
Hidden from our eyes
Your beauty, your grace
Lovely visions from before our birth
And the pictures say origin Earth

I never lost my heart to anyone
But I lost my heart today
And now your secret's ours
We've got to try
Somehow we must find a way

Dreams, fields of green and blue, blue sky
Rivers of gold and mountains so high
Visions haunt now like an ancient curse
And the pictures say origin Earth

I never lost my heart to anyone
But I lost my heart today
And now your secret's ours
We've got to try
Look for the sun star, no matter how far
Somehow, we'll find a way
Somehow, we'll find a way
Somehow, we'll find a way
To go home

Star bright, your light
Guiding us back to a new tomorrow
Star bright, your light
Bringing us peace and an end to sorrow

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


If Love Is King

OK, we have to confess ourselves beaten by this one - we haven’t got a clue what it’s about! John would prefer it if we made up our own minds as to its meaning, so I’ll throw it open to you. All suggestions gratefully received...

Lyrics:
A blind man in the night
Looking for a way down
Prophet of an unknown
Just looking for a way home
A rich man taking fright
Looking for the lowdown
Guru of the jet set
Just looking for a safe bet

If love is king, who wears the crown?
If music be the food of love
Then someone ate the crown

A no count in the light
Looking for a way out
Saviour of the closed door
Just looking for a cool floor
And you're out feeling great
Shooting for a high break
Prisoner of the real king
Just looking for a sure thing

If love is king, who wears the crown?
If music be the food of love
If love is king, who wears the crown?
If music be the food of love
Then someone ate the crown

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


Shadows On The Sky

Here we’re on surer ground: Les explained that the song is about big game such as elephants and rhinos being hunted to extinction in Africa. It’s possible to see for great distances across the plains, and animals look like shadows on the horizon. The guitar solo had a "backwards" effect, and for live shows the song has developed into a big audience participation finale, closing the set in fine style.

Lyrics:
See the river deep and wide
Could be free on the other side
Oh, cross the water
When the gun and the knife have gone
Who'll be here when tomorrow comes
Oh, living in fear

Sunrise, sunset, sunrise
Over the rainbow they fly
Shadows on the sky

Hear the sound that fills the skies
Killer man with dollar eyes
Oh, bringing disaster
You can stand, you can run
When you hear the sound of a gun
Moving closer

Sunrise, sunset, sunrise
Over the rainbow they fly
Shadows on the sky

And as far as the eye can see
Black as night is the cloud you're under
There's a chance that it cannot be
Hear the cries like the rolling thunder

Sunrise, sunset, sunrise
Over the rainbow they fly
Shadows on the sky

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


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