Barclay James Harvest Song Index

Barclay James Harvest CDs

Barclay James Harvest - Mini-LP CDs


As CDs began to replace the vinyl LP as the primary mass-market format for albums, one of the main criticisms was that the packaging of the smaller discs didn't do justice to the artwork. This was particularly the case with reissues, where many fondly-remembered albums had originally boasted fold-out sleeves, cut-out designs, embossing or lavish booklets which made the whole experience of acquiring a new record much more memorable. Most early CDs came in identical fiddly plastic cases with a slim booklet and little attention paid to artwork and packaging.

As the market matured, simply making an album available on CD was not necessairly enough to tempt the punters; packaging became more adventurous, albums were remastered to improve sound quality,bonus tracks added and expanded booklets with extra information and photos became the norm. It still wasn't quite the same as the original LP, though, so in the mid-1990s the Japanese, with their love of miniaturisation, hit upon the answer - a complete replica of the original vinyl LP package, including gatefold sleeves, lyric inners, and added extras, but reduced to CD size and containing a high-quality remastered CD instead of the original vinyl LP.

Barclay James Harvest Mini-LPs

The first BJH CDs to appear in this form were Everyone Is Everybody Else and Time Honoured Ghosts, issued in March 2001 as part of Universal Japan's "British Rock Legends" series. These have exactly the same tracks as the original LP, and the UK artwork, with white paper inner and red Polydor label for Everyone, and the pale blue winged woman label and yellow lyric inner sleeve with Ghosts:

Everyone Is Everybody Else Japanese mini-LP (first issue)Time Honoured Ghosts Japanese mini-LP (first issue)

Click picture for larger photo of sleeve

One well-known large Japanese chain of record shops, Disk Union, took the concept one stage further, offering the CDs with a free replica "obi" (the printed paper sash which Japanese releases generally have wrapped around them) which was an exact reproduction of the one sold with the original Japanese LP release:

Disk Union copy with free replica obiDisk Union copy with free replica obi

Polydor Remasters

In April 2006, Polydor Japan issued mini-LP versions of all five BJH studio albums which had been issued as remastered CDs with bonus tracks in the UK. These included new mini-LPs of Everyone and Ghosts, easily distinguishable from the original card sleeve copies because of the bonus tracks and new catalogue number. The pink obi also now says "Rock Legend Series" rather than ""British Rock Legend Series". All five are beautifully executed, faithful reproductions, including details such as the embossing on Octoberon and XII and the cut-out sleeve and reversible inner sleeve of Gone To Earth:

Everyone Is Everybody Else Japanese mini-LP (second issue) Time Honoured Ghosts Japanese mini-LP (second issue) Octoberon Japanese mini-LP cover Gone To Earth Japanese mini-LP cover XII Japanese mini-LP cover

The Disk Union shops offered the complete set of five CDs in an exclusive Octoberon design box, together with replicas of the original LPs' obi strips:

Disk Union box for Barclay James Harvest Polydor mini LPs

Click picture for larger photo

EMI Releases

After BJH's Harvest label albums were remastered and issued in Europe with bonus tracks, EMI-Toshiba in Japan followed suit with mini LP aditions of all four, faithfully reproducing not only gatefold sleeves, where appropriate, but also tiny details such as replicating the textured surface of the debut album's LP sleeve:

Barclay James Harvest Japanese mini-LP sleeve Once Again Japanese mini-LP sleeve
Barclay James Harvest and other short stories Japanese mini-LP sleeve Baby James Harvest Japanese mini-LP sleeve

Once again (!), Disk Union offered the set of four CDs in an exclusive box, this time featuring the design from, you guessed it, Once Again:

Disk Union box for Barclay James Harvest EMI mini LPs

Click picture for different view

Russian Counterfeits

So far, so good, but the picture is clouded by the appaearance in recent months of Russian-made counterfeits of many of the Japanese mini-LPs. Fortunately for collectors, it's fairly straightforward to tell the difference, at least close up. In every case seen so far, the disc itself of the Russian version has a picture of the relevant album cover on it. The genuine Japanese discs reproduce the original LP label: the green Harvest design in the case of the EMI releases, red Polydor for Everyone and the pale blue "winged woman" label for the other Polydor issues:

Genuine Japanese CDs:

Genuine Japanese EMI CD Genuine Japanese Polydor CD

Russian Fakes:

Russian counterfeit EMI CD Russian counterfeit Polydor CD

Generally, the Russian CDs have lower-quality printing, and spelling mistakes tend to creep in, for example the spine of the Russian Other Short Stories CD reads "Other Shot Stories"! Another giveaway is the location of the seller and/or the price: if the CDs come from Russia, Latvia or somewhere similar, and the price is too good to be true, than it probably is too good to be true.

Finally, a Russian CD which can't strictly be described as a counterfeit, since no Japanese mini-LP of this album has been released yet: Eyes Of The Universe is only available in this format as an unauthorised Russian release, and, whilst by no means perfect, they've not done a bad job on it:

Russian mini LP of Eyes Of The Universe

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