(U.K 1967 - Present)
There has always been some debate over the title XII, and what it meant, by a stretch it could be seen as their twelfth together, but the more commonly held explanation is that it marks their twelve years of making music together. However, this would turn out to be the last release before Woolly Wolstenholme packed up his Mellotron and left the band in June 1979, marking the end of one era of the band’s history.
The album struck a chord with the record buying public thanks to tracks such as ‘Berlin’, ‘In Search of England’, ‘Nova Lepidoptera’ and more, and its popularity continues to endure.
By the late 1970s, Barclay James Harvest’s prog roots were increasingly only evident in the somewhat nebulous ‘concepts’ that they used to loosely tie their album tracks together with, and the vaguely mystical sleeve art. The music itself seemed to have been smoothed off and simplified to compete with the soft-focus, radio-friendly charms of Journey, REO Speedwagon et al.
You could tell Woolly Wolstenholme was not long for this band, as he was clearly withholding his “A” material (saving it up for his post-BJH solo album Mæstoso, no doubt). “Harbour” is by far the weakest song he’s written for BJH, but “In Search of England” is one of the album’s high points. Elsewhere, John Lees is responsible for the vast majority of the best stuff on this album (going by the song titles, it looks like he was envisioning a sort of concept album, but forgot to tell the other guys in the band!).
Les Holroyd sounds really disinterested this time: “Berlin” is the only song here he contributes that’s anything better than mediocre (amazingly, it was the song that established them as superstars in Germany). And what is up with all the crude attempts at sexual imagery, the infamous “shoot all my love into you” line from “Loving Is Easy” and the entire song “Sip of Wine,” which I am convinced is about oral sex! [thanks to Progbear]
This post comes with MP3's (320kps) ripped from my vinyl (another Bazaar treasure) along with full album artwork and label scans. In pristine condition, this rip surpasses any quality you can get from CD and literally jumps out and grabs you while playing. Must be something to do with it being a German pressing I think. Enjoy
01. Fantasy: Loving is Easy (4:05)
02. Berlin (4:58)
03. Classics: A Tale of Two Sixties (3:35)
04. Turning in Circles (3:33)
05. Fact: The Closed Shop (3:50)
06. In Search of England (4:18)
07. Sip of Wine (4:31)
08. Harbour (3:46)
09. Science Fiction: Nova Lepidoptera (6:00)
10. Giving it Up (4:47)
11. Fiction: The Streets of San Francisco (5:49)
Barclay James Harvest were:
- Stuart "Woolly" Wolstenholme / vocals, electric piano, Moog, Mellotron
- Les Holroyd / vocals, bass, rhythm guitar
- Mel Pritchard / drums
Barclay James Harvest XII Link (112Mb)