Barclay James Harvest – Once Again remastered album box-set review

12 12 2022

Cherry Red are releasing a 3CD/Blu-Ray Remastered & Expanded version of Barclay James Harvest’s second album, Once Again on 27 January 2023.

Barclay James Harvest "Once Again" album cover


Originally released in February 1971, Once Again was recorded at Abbey Road studios and was produced by Norman Smith.

This new expanded edition features three CDs and an all-region blu-ray disc and comprises 44 tracks on the box-set. The set features the original UK stereo mix remastered from the original master tapes and also includes new 5.1 Surround Sound and stereo mixes by Stephen W. Tayler, a new remaster of the 1972 SQ Quad mix of the album and a multi-channel version of the 1972 Quad mix.

In addition, there is also a rare live performance recorded for BBC Radio One’s John Peel show in February 1971, and seven further rare bonus tracks, including an early version of Mockingbird and the full version of the unreleased piece White Sails (A Seascape).

This release includes a lavishly illustrated booklet with a new essay from Barclay James Harvest experts Keith and Monika Domone and a replica of a 1971 promotional poster.

The original album contains a remaster that is faithful to the original mix along with two bonus cuts and three live John Peel Sunday Concert performances. If you already know and love the album, there’s not much to add that you don’t already know, other than this is the album presented in its original form, sounding at it’s best.

Barclay James Harvest "Once Again" advert


Once Again was described by Prog magazine in 2020 as one of the fifty ‘most influential albums in the development of Progressive Rock’. The album includes an early BJH progressive classic in Mockingbird and one of the first recorded appearances from Alan Parsons, before he engineered Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon and recorded the hugely successful Alan Parsons Project album series.

The remasters from the original master tapes were carried out by Ben Wiseman at Broadlake Studios in Hertfordshire.

The new Stereo Mixes and 5.1 Surround Sound mixes are by Stephen W Tayler at Chimera Arts, Real World Studios, Box, Wiltshire.

Much like the recent Bill Nelson’s Red Noise box-set, the new stereo mixes by Stephen W. Tayler offer the biggest surprises and rewards. The scene is set with the expanded to 10 minutes opening track. The mixes are very different, whilst keeping the feel and the mood of the original songs. With a wider mix, the album asserts itself further as a progressive classic.

The main difference is the removal of the hard-panning of the original tracks, and more prominent and powerful vocal mixes, meaning that I am drawn to these new stereo mixes. I love that Tayler has totally turned the mixes on their head, whilst avoiding the temptation to move the songs into a more modern setting, so the overall feeling remains faithful to the era.

Barclay James Harvest promotional photograph


Song For Dying, always one of the stronger tracks, uses new instrumentation that gives the song a different pace. Galadriel is more faithful to the original arrangement, but parts of the song, such as the horns, are noticeably more prominent.

Mockingbird is a revelation. With reverb adding to the percussive power, whilst keeping the performance intact, there is an added power to this career highlight from the band. The strings and vocal harmonies lift this new mix to unheard highs, removing the fog of time from the original mix.

Ball and Chain also benefits from the production tools available in 2022, with a widescreen production. The bonus tracks also benefit from the wider technological palette, with this early 70s rocker given more colour and depth.

White Sails (A Seascape) clocks in at just under the 12 minute mark, with aching strings giving the song a timeless feel. This abandoned from the original album piano and strings instrumental acts as a beautiful prelude to the second version of Mockingbird, Stephen W. Tayler’s reimagining of the powerful May 1970 version of the song.

The third disc offers a stereo mix of the quad version, with the 4th disc (not supplied for review) featuring a blu-ray containing the 96 kHz / 24-bit new 5.1 Surround Sound mix / new Stereo mixes /original stereo mix & 1972 Quadrophonic Mix.

The stereo quad mix adds further volume to the vocals and instrumentation, which is at it’s most effective on Mockingbird, with an added potency to the percussion.

The Cherry Red box-set is the definitive version of Once Again, and even if you own the original album, the new Stephen W. Tayler stereo mixes deliver a powerful, welcome additional version of these classic well-loved songs.

Pre-order Barclay James Harvest Once Again box-set from Amazon

Pre-order Barclay James Harvest Once Again box-set from Burning Shed

Tracklisting

DISC ONE

Once Again – The original stereo mix remastered

She Said
Happy Old World
Song for Dying
Galadriel
Mocking Bird
Vanessa Simmons
Ball and Chain
Lady Loves

Bonus tracks

Too Much on Your Plate
Happy Old World (Take One)
She Said (BBC John Peel Concert 1971)
Mockingbird (BBC John Peel Concert 1971)
Dark Now My Sky (BBC John Peel Concert 1971)

DISC TWO

Once Again – The new stereo mixes

She Said (new stereo mix)
Happy Old World (new stereo mix)
Song for Dying (new stereo mix)
Galadriel (new stereo mix)
Mocking Bird (new stereo mix)
Vanessa Simmons (new stereo mix)
Ball and Chain (new stereo mix)
Lady Loves (new stereo mix)

Bonus tracks

Mocking Bird (first version – May 1970)
Too Much on Your Plate (new stereo mix)
White Sails (A Seascape) (complete version)

DISC THREE

Once Again – The 1972 SQ Quadrophonic mix

She Said (1972 SQ Quad mix)
Happy Old World (1972 SQ Quad mix)
Song for Dying (1972 SQ Quad mix)
Galadriel (1972 SQ Quad mix)
Mocking Bird (1972 SQ Quad mix)
Vanessa Simmons (1972 SQ Quad mix)
Ball and Chain (1972 SQ Quad mix)
Lady Loves (1972 SQ Quad mix)

Bonus tracks

Galadriel (non-orchestral version)
Mocking Bird (non-orchestral version)

DISC FOUR (Blu-ray)

Once Again
96 kHz / 24-bit new 5.1 Surround Sound mix / new Stereo mixes /original stereo mix & 1972 Quadrophonic Mix

She Said
Happy Old World
Song for Dying
Galadriel
Mocking Bird
Vanessa Simmons
Ball and Chain
Lady Loves

Bonus tracks

Too Much on Your Plate
White Sails (A Seascape) (complete version)

Pre-order Barclay James Harvest Once Again box-set from Amazon

Pre-order Barclay James Harvest Once Again box-set from Burning Shed








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