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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In defence of a victim of circumstance....
This album of Barclay James Harvest's, despite not being well liked by the band's English core fan-base, is one of my favourites of theirs. I can understand people's reticence at liking this album: when I first bought it on its release, I disliked it intensely and sold it after only a couple of airings, my reconciliation with it not occurring until some 10 years...
Published on 9 Nov 2007 by alextorres

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3.0 out of 5 stars Some Good Moments
I was never really sure about Victims of Circumstance, but returning to it after some time it is a reasonably pleasant surprise. The band introduced female backing singers and the result is not as bad as might be expected. Indeed there are some good songs on this album - particularly For Your Love and the rocky Inside My Nightmare - both from John Lees. Recorded in...
Published 7 months ago by Mr. Peter Steward


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In defence of a victim of circumstance...., 9 Nov 2007
This review is from: Victims of Circumstance (Audio CD)
This album of Barclay James Harvest's, despite not being well liked by the band's English core fan-base, is one of my favourites of theirs. I can understand people's reticence at liking this album: when I first bought it on its release, I disliked it intensely and sold it after only a couple of airings, my reconciliation with it not occurring until some 10 years later.

What is it then that made me, and still makes other BJH fans, dislike this album so much? The answer will sound petty to most people - it's simply that the album has a commercial sound edging towards the pop-end spectrum of rock. What's worse, sin of holy sins, the band employed female backing singers to assist them with the album and the corresponding tour! Absolutely unheard of on a BJH album, either before or since "Victims...", and to many fans, as it was for me in 1984, it was a step too far.

So....true to its title, the music was never really given a fair chance to be heard.

My reconciliation happened as a result of two things.

First, I had just invested in a CD player for the first time and was looking to play some BJH music on it: the first BJH CD that I bought was a compilation called "Alone We Fly" and one of the songs that I loved on it, "Sideshow" I initially thought I hadn't heard before. I had - it was taken from "Victims...".

Second, about the same time I also purchased a video of the band recorded live on the Victims of Circumstance tour - again, there were a few songs in the set-list that I loved and thought hadn't heard before: "Rebel Woman", "For Your Love" and "Victims of Circumstance" itself. Of course, that last was the clue that these are all songs from the maligned album.

These two experiences taught me that I had clearly not given it a fair opportunity in 1984 and so I sought the album out again, buying it for the second time.

I have loved it ever since: the songs that I've already mentioned deserve to be ranked amongst the band's very best. "Sideshow", a strong John Lees song about the power of the media to skew reality is given a golden edge with Les Holroyd taking over the vocals for the last verse; the juxtaposition of their voices has always benefited the few songs in the repertoire where it occurs. "Rebel Woman" has a great guitar riff overlying it, "Victims of Circumstance", a Les Holroyd song about injustices perpetrated by politicians on behalf of the populace, that he was inspired to write by hearing the "victims of circumstance" lyric on John's "Rebel Woman" song, has a classic BJH-feel to it whereas "For Your Love", with its "let it shine" refrain in its last phase is anthemic.

The remaining five songs do not come up to the same standard but Pip Williams's production manages to tie the whole together such that even the out-and-out pop of "Say You'll Stay", "Watching You" and "Inside My Nightmare" feels as though it belongs on this album, making the whole a very enjoyable listen.

Unfortunately, its low standing with the core fan-base means that it has not yet been re-released and is currently unavailable as a CD. However, broadband users can still obtain it via download from such sites as War Child Music.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Catchy!!, 15 Sep 2007
By 
Michael Bermingham "mjbermingham" (Birr,County Offaly,Ireland.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Victims of Circumstance (Audio CD)
I can still remember buying this album on vinyl when it was originally released in '84.This is a much more commercial sound from BJH then their earlier classics but for all that...still superb.
Opening with the gorgeous 'Sideshow' from John Lees it just gets better as is develops.Favourite track for me is 'Say You'll Stay' but there isn't a weak track here.Wonderful lyrics combined with beautiful vocal harmonies make this an outright classic.It seems to be not widely available at the moment which is a shame.Another classic from around the same period 'Ring Of Changes' also seems to be generally unavailable.One for the BJH collection...highly recommended!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great remaster of an AOR classic, 21 Mar 2013
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Well Esoteric have outdone themselves on most fronts here. The sound, booklet notes, photos, bonus tracks, everything a collector could want. My only complaint is the cardboard packaging, wish it was a jewel case !! The album itself is an AOR classic full of memorable hooks and melodies. Fans of Journey / Kansas etc need to investigate BJH 80's material urgently.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Some Good Moments, 12 May 2014
By 
Mr. Peter Steward "petersteward" (Norwich, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Victims of Circumstance (Audio CD)
I was never really sure about Victims of Circumstance, but returning to it after some time it is a reasonably pleasant surprise. The band introduced female backing singers and the result is not as bad as might be expected. Indeed there are some good songs on this album - particularly For Your Love and the rocky Inside My Nightmare - both from John Lees. Recorded in Holland it was an attempt by the band to increase their appeal to a wider audience. I don't think it was strong enough to do this, but it is an album that does have its moments.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early again, 21 April 2013
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This review is from: Victims of Circumstance (Audio CD)
Came earlier then they said so very happy with service. Nothing more to be said then really. Well done and thanks
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