Barclay James Harvest Album Portfolio

Barclay James Harvest Album Portfolio

XII

XII album sleeve

LP: Polydor POLD 5006, 29th September, 1978
MC: Polydor, September 1978
CD: Polydor 821 941-2, 30th July, 1984
CD: Remaster with 5 bonus tracks, Polydor/Universal 065 571-2, 2nd June, 2003


Side 1
Fantasy: Loving Is Easy (John Lees)
Berlin (Les Holroyd)
Classics: A Tale Of Two Sixties (John Lees)
Turning In Circles (Les Holroyd)
Fact: The Closed Shop (John Lees)
In Search Of England (Woolly Wolstenholme)

Side 2
Sip Of Wine (Les Holroyd)
Harbour (Woolly Wolstenholme)
Science Fiction: Nova Lepidoptera (John Lees)
Giving It Up (Les Holroyd)
Fiction: The Streets Of San Francisco (John Lees)


Bonus tracks on remastered CD:
Berlin (Les Holroyd) [Single edit]
Loving Is Easy (John Lees) [Single version]
Turning in Circles (Les Holroyd) [First mix]
The Closed Shop (John Lees) [First mix]
Nova Lepidoptera (John Lees) [Ambient instrumental mix]



Recording Details

Recording Studios:
Strawberry Studios North, Stockport

Recording Dates:
March to July 1978

Producer:
Barclay James Harvest and Martin Lawrence

Engineer:
Martin Lawrence



Title

Pretty obvious, really, but it only works out as BJH's twelfth album if you ignore the Starline compilation Early Morning Onwards, which was deleted by then, and include live albums and EMI's The Best Of Barclay James Harvest. The title was also appropriate because the band members had been working together for twelve years. At one point, the working title was High, and the sleeve would have been based on Woolly's sunset photograph which eventually adorned his solo album, Męstoso.



Sleeve

The concept was by Maldwyn Reece Tootill, who also designed Gone To Earth, and the actual artwork was by Chris Clover. The LP should also have contained a large fold-out poster with the cover design on one side and lyrics and credits on the back. Polydor UK omitted the posters from the whole of the first batch, adding them and "includes free poster" stickers later. Originals have an embossed sleeve, whereas later pressings had a smooth glossy cover and no poster. Issues from other countries, e.g. Germany, included the lyrics not on a poster but on a smaller folded insert.



Martin Lawrence

When recording began, David Rohl was producing, but was replaced by Martin half-way through after several differences of opinion. Martin was primarily an engineer at Strawberry, but has since co-produced several BJH albums and worked with artists as diverse as 10cc and Joe Longthorne.
Biography


Fantasy: Loving Is Easy

All of John's songs on this album have titles like sections in a library, although this would, perhaps, have been more effective if Les and Woolly had followed the same pattern. In its single version, "Loving Is Easy" had its lyrics censored, but here they appear in their full smutty glory!
Lyrics:
Even the bad times are good when you're around
Darlin', you kiss away all my blues
Even the hard times are easy to face
'Cause I know that your love will come through

You light up my flame, then you drive me insane
There ain't nothing that you cannot do
Then you rip up my heart, you just tear it apart
As I shoot all my love into you

Lovin' is easy with both eyes closed
You know that's the best way to feel it
Lovin' is easy with both eyes closed
Just get a hold and watch how it grows

Even the bad times are good when you're around
Darlin', you kiss away all my blues
Even the hard times are easy to face
'Cause I know that your love will come through

You tear up my soul and then fill up the whole
Of your being, your love, your desire
Then you grab for my heart and just tear it apart
As I shoot all my love in your fire

Lovin' is easy with both eyes closed
You know that's the best way to feel it
Lovin' is easy with both eyes closed
Just get a hold and watch how it grows

[John Lees, © St. Annes Music]


Berlin

Les's classic was inspired by the plight of the city of Berlin, which, at the time the song was written, was divided by the infamous Wall separating East and West Berlin. The western half of the city was an "island", entirely surrounded by the Communist German Democratic Republic (DDR).
Lyrics:
Came to your border
Looking back into the night
Falling down on the city lights far away

Tell me the answer
Who knows the wrong from the right?
Years may come and years they go
You've seen your bridges burning
And the wheels of time keep turning

Like a ship in the night
You passed along the highways of my life
And now my mind you're always in
And the ten-thirty flight will soon be headed my way
As she sails across the skyway of Berlin

Thought I heard your bells cry
Bringing the life to your face
The time for tears has passed away
Can't you see the night is lifting
And the sands of time are shifting

Like a ship in the night
You passed along the highways of my life
And now my mind you're always in
And the ten-thirty flight will soon be headed my way
As she sails across the skyway of Berlin

Oh, and to think of all the changes you have seen
Oh, and reflect upon the way it might have been

Like a ship in the night
You passed along the highways of my life
And now my mind you're always in
And the ten-thirty flight will soon be headed my way
As she sails across the skyway of Berlin

[Les Holroyd, © St. Annes Music]


Classics: A Tale Of Two Sixties

John's affectionate look back at some of his early inspirations: the title is a pun on Charles Dickens' novel, A Tale Of Two Cities. The less well-known artists etc. referred to include Easy Rider, a film whose soundtrack included The Byrds, Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue and Arthur Lee of the band Love, whose classic Forever Changes album contains "Andmoreagain". "Chairman Young", whose thoughts were said to have inspired the song, worked with John Crowther and introduced BJH to the music of bands like Love.
Lyrics:
I'm hitting the road to heading nowhere
Got no place to go
I'm stuck inside my generation
Round and round I go

I'm sick of the sound of Rolling Thunder
Times they were a-changing
And rock 'n' roll died with Easy Rider
Tearing up my traces

David Bowie was Hunky Dory
Aladdin quite insane
Give me the sound of Arthur Lee with
Forever Changes, I'll remember
Andmoreagain, don't leave me ever
Buddy Holly say "Baby, please be mine"
All the time

I'm cutting out now before the New Wave
Takes my surf board flair
Remember the time when Zappa said
"Punk, where you going with that flower in your hair?"

There's so many who's whos Rolling Stones
Rod Stewarts and Small Faces
And Tommy's the king of the pinball flings
That chased my generation

David Bowie was Hunky Dory
Aladdin quite insane
Give me the sound of Arthur Lee with
Forever Changes, I'll remember
Andmoreagain, don't leave me ever
Buddy Holly say "Baby, please be mine"
All the time

[John Lees, © St. Annes Music]


Turning In Circles

A straightforward love song from Les with a similar lyrical theme to "Hard Hearted Woman"; in some ways it has the feel of a precursor to "Life Is For Living".
Lyrics:
How come you happened to be hanging around
When I was looking for a good time?
I thought I always had my feet on the ground
I've got the feeling that it won't be for long

Take it easy, you're moving too fast
You're gonna make it, but let's make it last
The way you're dancing ain't good for my soul
The situation's getting out of control

(You've got me)
Turning in circles
Where do I go?
Turning in circles
Crazy I know

How come you happened to be hanging around
When I was looking for a good time?
I thought I always had my feet on the ground
I've got the feeling that I'm spinning and spinning
(You've got me)
Turning in circles
Where do I go?
Turning in circles
Crazy I know

[Les Holroyd, © St. Annes Music]


Fact: The Closed Shop

The "closed shop" was a controversial practice whereby workers were barred from certain jobs unless they belonged to a particular trade union. John, although by no means anti-union, felt that the closed shop was a destructive force at a time when some people felt that British unions wielded too much political power. The closed shop was later outlawed by legislation and union power severely curtailed.
Lyrics:
Born a poor worker's son
Taught to fight for all his rights
Life for him's just begun
Union might is the leading light

It's a shame and it's a sin
They don't know the mood they're in
Until they strike for what is right
Not what has been

Shop floor, that's where he's at
Back to back, bring out the rack
Squeeze them 'til they retract
Wield the gun, see how they run

It's a shame and it's a sin
They don't know the mood they're in
Until they strike for what is right
Not what has been

All out for freedom, all out for more
Show them we mean it, tell them the score
Brother for brother, that's what we're for
Don't give us your reasons
Our reason has gone out the door

Born a poor worker's son
Taught to fight for all his rights
Life for him's just begun
Union might is the leading light

It's a shame and it's a sin
They don't know the mood they're in
Until they strike for what is right
Not what has been

[John Lees, © St. Annes Music]


In Search Of England

Woolly: "This is a song about youth and principles on one hand and the voice of experience on the other, a kind of father and son thing. Despite the order in which they appear on the album, this was the last song I recorded with BJH."
Lyrics:
THE BOY
I was cast adrift, without a hope
My only friend is my old boat
With an empty sea and an open sky
A void no man can justify

THE OLD MAN
Your sacrifices will ensure
A port of refuge ever more
Lost and drowned
We'll wait 'til England's found
Again

THE BOY
I was torn between what was good and right
And those who told me when to fight
So they left me here and they sailed away
To sink or swim 'til Judgement Day

THE OLD MAN
Your sacrifices will ensure
A port of refuge ever more
Lost and drowned
We'll wait 'til England's found
Again

THE BOY
I was cast adrift

[Stuart John Wolstenholme, © St. Annes Music]


Sip Of Wine

A cautionary tale of the perils of being seduced by groupies! Les's tongue-in-cheek song includes one of my favourite pieces of BJH wordplay, "I held her breath and she was holding mine!". Disgusting!
Lyrics:
On the road and I'm feeling low
Got a ticket for my way back home
I start to feel like a rolling stone
Without company

Down in the bar talking to the trees
I found a lady hanging on my sleeve
I said, "I thank you but I have to leave"
She said, "Stay with me, I need company...
Take a sip of my wine
It's gonna make you feel fine
Come tomorrow, leave it all behind."

I didn't see a warning sign
I held her breath and she was holding mine!
I think I'll be here for a long, long time
If you stay with me, got to be
Take a sip of my wine
It's gonna make you feel fine
Come tomorrow, leave it all behind."

[Les Holroyd, © St. Annes Music]


Harbour

Woolly: "This is about coming home on a 'plane from some monstrous tour or from America. At one stage it was considered as a single and was recorded really fast, then slowed down as just an album track, losing some attack in the process."
Lyrics:
To our fore the harbour lights
Shining out like beacons burning
They can stop this endless night
They can stop the wheels from turning

Faces in a setting sun
Say again that we soon will be one

Starlight rakes the silver wing
Bringing home its sons and daughters
No-one knows the state I'm in
Spinning swift above the waters

Faces in a setting sun
Say again that we soon will be one

[Stuart John Wolstenholme , © St. Annes Music]


Science Fiction: Nova Lepidoptera

The morse code at the beginning of the song spells out "U.F.O.", and the lyrics are made up from cut-up titles and phrases from John's collection of science-fiction novels.
Lyrics:
Silver, drifting on high
Deep range star lords
Rebel land of black night
Float by your stars

Mistress of fear see me towards always
Nova bright shine far beyond all time

Beings of the fourth kind
Night time wanderers
Ring worlds timeless in ice
Deep inside gods

Mistress of fear see me towards always
Secret mood of corridors in hyperspace
Nova bright shine far beyond the barriers of night
Take me through the laser beams
The moving sands of Mars to see

Silver, drifting on high
Deep range star lords
Rebel land of black night
Float by your stars

[John Lees, © St. Annes Music]


Giving It Up

Another atmospheric love song with massed choirs courtesy of Les and John, multi-tracked.
Lyrics:
I give up my world
And giving it up, it ain't easy
I give up my life
And giving it up, it ain't easy
I give up everything I have
Even give this heart of mine
I would give up my soul
Giving it all for you

I give up my time
And giving it up, it ain't easy
I've made up my mind
And making it up, it ain't easy
Give up everything I have
Think about this heart of mine?
I would give up my soul
Giving it all for you

[Les Holroyd, © St. Annes Music]


Fiction: The Streets Of San Francisco

Based on the American film and TV series of the same name starring Karl Malden. Haight is a suburb of the city, and the Golden Gate is the famous suspension bridge across "Frisco Bay".

Lyrics:
On a cold misty night
At the corner of Haight
She stood with a Colt 45

The gun in her hand
Awaiting her man
A victim to take by surprise

She's the Golden Gate Park killer
She's the scourge of 'Frisco bay
Where she got herself beat up and left for dead
By a man she felt true love for
But who left her out of hand
Now she's out to take revenge on every man
As she stands there with a pistol in her hand

The victim arrives
She looks in his eyes
He goes for the gun in her hand

Karl Malden was great (unlike the film, though)
But just a bit late (this was the real show)
And got it right between the eyes

She's the Golden Gate Park killer
She's the scourge of 'Frisco bay
Where she got herself beat up and left for dead
By a man she felt true love for
But who left her out of hand
Now she's out to take revenge on every man
As she stands there with a pistol in her hand

[John Lees, © St. Annes Music]



Woolly: "Things seem to have happened in twos; I felt that Other Short Stories was overshadowed by Once Again, and XII was overshadowed by the success of Gone To Earth, although sonically they are more of a pair. I personally think that some of the songs on XII are better.

Right, that's me finished - can I go down the pub now?"


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