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Octoberon


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Amazon's Barclay James Harvest Store

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Product details

  • Vinyl
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: POLYDOR
  • ASIN: B00449AID2
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,859,826 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By David Mantripp on 14 July 2003
Format: Audio CD
It's very nice to see Polydor finally re-issueing BJH's classic mid-70s albums. Probably most buyers will be old gits like me revisiting their past, but what else are CDs for ? As a teenager I was a big BJH fan. Later I was a bit embarassed about it. Now I can take a balanced view! "Octoberon", like so many BJH albums, has got "almost but not quite" written all over it. If _only_ they had worked with a good strong-willed producer who could have curbed their indulgences they could have really cleaned up (sounds mad but John Cale would have been an interesting choice). Octoberon has got some absolute classic songs on it - "Rock'n'Roll Star", the best of BJH's series of "West Coast" songs has a cool, persistent vibe and a bittersweet theme which easily matches up to the Eagles. "The World Goes On" and "Mayday" are early BJH updated with a pared-down sound (despite the orchestra & choir). "Mayday" is probably one of John Lees' best songs. The rest, well Polk Street Rag lets Lees show that he can inspire air guitar as well as anyone. "Believe in Me" is just sweet. "Suicide?" is...well finally what is it ? It has to be at least part tongue in cheek - the "please for god's sake let me move my car" line for example! Which leaves "Ra". Hmm. By this point every BJH album had to have a Wooly Wolstenholme track which was way out of touch with the rest. Ra is actually pretty good in parts - the middle part has some organ which Pink Floyd would be proud of - but the intro / outro are awful over the top dirges that the rest of the band must have cringed at. Clearly WW has frustrated and trying to cram a whole album into one song. When he had space, on his solo "Maestoso", he produced some gorgeous stuff, but at this point with BJH he was a fish out of water.
Anyway, buy this album if only to hear some of the best work of one of most underated guitarists in British rock.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P Bungay on 8 April 2002
Format: Audio CD
I am surprised that i am the first person to review this underground classic. From the sweeping majesty of World goes on to the heartbreaking beauty/sadness of Suicide this album never fails to impress. Clearly a product of it's time it nevertheless creates an ambience all of its own, a slow burning, smokey candle of an album that demands to be listened to again and again. Lyrically and musically provocative, "Felt the hand push, felt the air rush, felt the sidewalk, fell in line". Classic!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Murun on 19 Oct. 2004
Format: Audio CD
If, like me, you're already familiar with this album but decided to purchase it for the improved sound quality then you won't be disappointed. All instruments and vocals are crystal clear, as you'd expect from a modern remastering, though at times it's like a different album after years of listening to an inferior copy.
If you're just interested in the bonus tracks then I'd save your money. To be honest I couldn't tell much difference from the original versions, with the exception of the TOTP recording of Rock 'n' Roll Star. In fact I began to think they'd put the same tracks on twice by mistake.
Highly recommended for the sound improvement but loses a star for the bonus tracks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. B. Young on 25 Mar. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It has taken many years to replace my record collection onto CD; all the essential ones I had already replaced, however there were a few that were questionable! One of which being this BJH classic. Barclay James Harvest were always a bit of a unusual band with a knack of being able to cross-genre; to me they were a bit folky orchestral, prog-lite or even poppy at times. However if classy prog is your thing then this is definately an album for you. The first three tracks are superb prog tracks that can comfortably sit beside some of the best 70s prog, (even with a bit of orchestra on the first track, a choir at the end of the second and keyboard heavy on the third). The fourth track, Rock 'n Roll Star was there biggest hit on this album and despite the title its still quite a mellow track, Polk Street Rag is the heaviest track and is probably the weakest, (the lyrics are a bit too cringworthy). Believe in me, although the shortest track is another superb prog number, this leaves the last, the weird but compelling Suicide. The bonus tracks are throwaway, only listened to once.
I have forgotten how good this album is and personally I would only recommend two other 70s BJH albums; Everyone is everybody else and Gone to Earth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Pots TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Jan. 2014
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
This, their seventh studio album, with so much going for it that, with a harder-handed producer, could have have been astounding. The self-indulgent creativity of the band seemed to be its very weak point. As with others of their mid-career albums, we have a track that doesn't seem to belong anywhere - in this case Ra. Its overblown opening and mad ending are interesting but jar badly with the rest of the album. That said, with several compensating high points - The world Goes On, Mayday, Polk Street Rag, and the slightly comic final track, Suicide - it's an album that delivers much.

BJH never did hit the really big time, but they came close. In 2014, mention of BJH may get the reply "Who?" but back inn the 1970s, BHJ was a significant player. This release on CD, which has been out for a while now, offers a chance for us older folks to listen back to what was, and what might have been.,
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