Child of the Universe: The Essential Collection

Barclay James Harvest

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Child of the Universe: The Essential Collection Review

by Timothy Monger

Throughout the '70s and '80s, England's Barclay James Harvest were one of prog rock's most enduring acts, releasing a steady string of well-crafted albums for Harvest Records and Polydor while never quite breaking through to the mainstream success enjoyed by similar acts such as the Moody Blues, Jethro Tull, and Pink Floyd. Their strong harmonies, sparkling keyboard work, and quality songcraft were best emphasized on their mellower ballads, which became one of the group's hallmarks over the years. Following their split with Harvest Records in 1973, they signed a long contract with Polydor, a relationship that lasted almost two decades. Covered here on Universal's two-disc set Child of the Universe: The Essential Collection are highlights from the group's expansive Polydor catalog, culling tracks from 1974's Everyone Is Everybody Else all the way through 1990's Welcome to the Show. It's a well-curated anthology representing the most active portion of BJH's long career, consisting largely of studio material along with two songs from their Harvest era ("She Said" and "Mockingbird"), which appear as live renditions on the first disc. The Essential Collection is a solid introduction to a band that has made a lasting, if understated, impact in British rock history.

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