Barclay James Harvest's expanded Once Again hits the big fan target

Barclay James Harvest's orchestral prog classic Once Again: now repackaged with a series of not-for-newcomers mixes

Barclay James Harvest - Once Again cover art
(Image: © Esoteric)

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In the same way that you wouldn’t go to, say, the Velvet Underground for jazz chord progressions or songs in 11/8, you wouldn’t go to Barclay James Harvest for deep lyrics. 

BJH would be a good destination, however, for minor-key songs pumped up with Mellotron and sweeping orchestral washes and swells, which the band were at their best at on this second album. Standouts are the musically rather beautiful Mocking Bird and Galadriel, and overall the album is a fine example of 70s orchestral prog dripping with bucolic Englishness. 

Now there’s even more of it – including more of the same – on this 51st (belated 50th) anniversary edition. In another of those not-for-newcomers expansions, you get the original stereo mix, a new stereo mix, SQ quadraphonic mix and, on Blu-ray, a 5.1 surround-sound mix. 

Also in there somewhere are a live performance recorded for a Radio 1 John Peel show in 1971, a gaggle of bonus tracks and an illustrated booklet. Of course, you need to be quite the BJH fan in order to wallow in slightly differentsounding mixes of the same tracks, and the quadraphonic mix could be a bit challenging/ pointless if you do all your music listening on a phone, but as big-fan packages go this one hits the target.

Paul Henderson

Classic Rock’s production editor for the past 22 years, ‘resting’ bass player Paul has been writing for magazines and newspapers, mainly about music, since the mid-80s, contributing to titles including Q, The Times, Music Week, Prog, Billboard, Metal Hammer, Kerrang! and International Musician. He has also written questions for several BBC TV quiz shows. Of the many people he’s interviewed, his favourite interviewee is former Led Zep manager Peter Grant. If you ever want to talk the night away about Ginger Baker, in particular the sound of his drums (“That fourteen-inch Leedy snare, man!”, etc, etc), he’s your man.