A superb album already, Barclay James Harvest's 1977 Gone to Earth got a lot better in this reissue edition. For starters (before we even get to the bonus tracks that nearly double the running time of the original LP), there's the sound -- the state-of-the-art remastering puts all of the instruments practically right in your lap, but most especially John Lees' various guitars and Stewart Wooly Wolstenholme's keyboards, which get a really close sound. What's even better is the warmth of the overall sound -- the vocals and the playing may be intense, but there's an engaging, seductive richness to all of it, from Lees' electric lead guitar runs on "Love Is Like a Violin" or Wolstenholme's Mellotron on "Poor Man's Moody Blues," which offers some of the richest textures ever heard from that too-often-forgotten instrument. The bonus tracks open with an enjoyable outtake, "Lied," a previously unissued song that's a good showcase for Lees' playing; "Our Kid's Kid" is a catchy, upbeat B-side, with a great melody and a gorgeous overall texture mixing electric/acoustic guitars on lead and rhythm, which might've just worked as a "play" side; a previously unreleased single-edit of the album opener, "Hymn," follows, that might just be even prettier than the LP version, and heralds the single version of "Friend of Mine," which is still one of the most hummable pieces of music ever to come out of the whole art rock boom. It all ends with an 11-minute live rendition of "Medicine Man" that showcases not only Lees' playing, but also Les Holroyd's killer bass work and a performance by drummer Mel Pritchard that's as dazzling to us as it must've been exhausting to him. All of that, coupled with well-written and detailed annotation, plus the lyrics, make this a must-own disc even for relatively casual fans of the band -- indeed, this could be the best showcase of BJH's overall range as any hits compilation that one is likely to find.
Performance CreditsBarclay James Harvest Primary Artist
Technical CreditsBarclay James Harvest Producer
John Lees Contributor
Mel Pritchard Contributor
David Rohl Producer,Engineer
Mark Powell Liner Notes,Reissue Producer,Reissue Research
Maldwyn Reece Cover Design