Given I first 'discovered' BJH one frosty winter's night when out walking the dog, for on my 'pocket trannie' was BJH live at a BBC session, it seems appropriate that their first album now comes remastered and with BBC sessions I've never heard. To my ears, there are three outstanding tracks here: the deceptively simple melodies of 'Mother Dear' & 'Iron Maiden' whose lush melodies cloak darker, mysterious lyrics, and the epic majesty of the soaringly apocalyptic 'Dark Now My Sky', driven by an orchestral tempest, and John Lees anguished guitar. Two other tracks follow the partnership with orchestra, the melodically driven 'The Sun Will Never Shine' and 'When the World was Woken', but these are weaker lyrically. The remaining two tracks are simple rock numbers, which sit less well in the overall context of the album.
If this were all there were, I'd give four stars, given the excellence of the best bits, but the exciting discovery for me and I'm sure other BJH fans, is the bonus tracks added. Certainly the simply lovely 'Early Morning', 'Poor Wages', 'Mr Sunshine' and 'Brother Thrush' all featured on a BJH album called 'Early Morning Onwards', but even more exciting are the tracks added from BBC sessions. Although a few of these are of variable quality, the majority are worthy additions to the BJH canon, including an orchestra-free version of 'Dark Now My Sky' with different lyrics and melody. If you're a fan, this album is clearly a must-have; if you don't know BJH, but enjoyed Moody Blues, King Crimson or Genesis in the 70's, check out the samples. A quite wonderful surprise.