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



Once Again – The original stereo mix remastered

She Said
Happy Old World
Song for Dying
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)


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)


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
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

Al Stewart: Year Of The Cat 45th Anniversary Limited Edition Box Set / 2 CD Remastered & Expanded Edition

24 01 2021

Al Stewart is releasing a 45th Anniversary limited edition box-set of his 1976 Year Of The Cat album, on 26 February 2021 as a 3CD/1DVD edition and a 2CD expanded version.

Year Of The Cat is newly re-mastered for the very first time from the original first generation master tapes by original producer Alan Parsons.

As well as the remastered album, the set includes a new 5.1 Surround sound mix from the original multitrack tapes and a previously unreleased concert recorded at the Paramount Theater, Seattle in October 1976, which is spread over 2 CD’s.

This is the definitive version of the album. Year Of The Cat has always sounded majestic, and was often the album used for hi-fi demonstrations, it sounded that good. Alan Parson’s remaster sounds so much more sympathetic than the previous 2001 remaster, which was a little too loud and forced. This is a lovely warm and colourful mix. Strings sound fresh and luscious, with amazing clarity.

One of the highlights of the album is the guitar work from longtime Al Stewart sidekick Tim Renwick, who also contributed stellar performances on the recent Sutherland Brothers & Quiver box-set.

On The Border is as good as the more well-known title track, and shines even brighter with this remaster. The Rhodes throughout Midas Shadow and the drums and percussion from Stuart Elliott (who also worked with Kate Bush on five of her early albums) sound wonderful.

In hindsight, If it Doesn’t Come Naturally, Leave It has a hint of the E-Street Band in it’s arrangement, especially the piano, but obviously not the vocals! I could go on and on about this album, but if you are reading this you probably know and love Year Of The Cat, so rest assured this is a must have version. Perfectly capturing a gently progressive meets pop sound, that sum up this aspect of the mid 70s airwaves, this is an album that fans of seventies music will have to add to their collection.

The other two CD’s in this deluxe reissue feature live recordings, which considering they are from 1976, are of very high audio quality, and offer lots of song explanations between tracks from Stewart.

The final disc (not supplied for review) contains the new 5.1 Surround Sound Mix & Original 96 Khz / 24-Bit Re-Mastered Stereo Mix By Alan Parsons. The set also comes with a 68-page book with a new essay featuring an interview with Al Stewart and a facsimile promotional poster plus a set of four postcards.

A cut-down version is also available – consisting of the remastered album plus a second disc with nine live tracks and without the 5.1 version.

Buy Year Of The Cat: 3CD/1DVD 45th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Boxset on Amazon

Buy Year Of The Cat: 2CD Remastered & Expanded Edition (the remastered album plus nine live tracks recorded at the Paramount Theater, Seattle in October 1976) on Amazon

Al Stewart: Year Of The Cat 45th Anniversary Limited Edition Box Set

Disc One:

Lord Grenville
On The Border
Midas Shadow
Sand In Your Shoes
If It Doesn’t Come Naturally, Leave It
Flying Sorcery
Broadway Hotel
One Stage Before
Year Of The Cat
Bonus Track
Belsize Blues
(Recorded At Abbey Road Studios September 1975)

Disc Two:
Live At The Paramount Theater, Seattle – October 1976
Previously Unreleased

Apple Cider Re-Constitution (Live 1976)
The Dark And The Rolling Sea (Live 1976)
One Stage Before (Live 1976)
Soho (Needless To Say) (Live 1976)
Not The One (Live 1976)
On The Border (Live 1976)
Broadway Hotel (Live 1976)
Roads To Moscow (Live 1976)

Disc Three:

Live At The Paramount Theater, Seattle – October 1976
Previously Unreleased

Nostradamus (Live 1976)
Sirens Of Titan (Live 1976)
The Post World War Two Blues (Live 1976)
Year Of The Cat (Live 1976)
Sand In Your Shoes (Live 1976)
Carol (Live 1976)
If It Doesn’t Come Naturally, Leave It (Live 1976)

Disc Four:

Year Of The Cat: New 5.1 Surround Sound Mix & Original 96 Khz / 24-Bit Re-Mastered Stereo Mix By Alan Parsons

Lord Grenville (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
On The Border (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
Midas Shadow (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
Sand In Your Shoes (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
If It Doesn’t Come Naturally, Leave It (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
Flying Sorcery (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
Broadway Hotel (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
One Stage Before (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
Year Of The Cat (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)

Andrew Gold: Lonely Boy – The Asylum Years Anthology review

15 06 2020

Lonely Boy – The Asylum Years Anthology is a 6 CD / 1 DVD collection from Andrew Gold, released by Esoteric Recordings via Cherry Red on 24 July 2020. The collection features all of the solo albums released by the singer – songwriter on the Asylum label between 1975 and 1980.

Prior to his solo career, Andrew Gold worked with Linda Ronstadt, as multi-instrumentalist and arranger for her 1974 Heart Like a Wheel album.

The Lonely Boy anthology contains the studio albums Andrew Gold (1975), What’s Wrong With This Picture (1976), All This And Heaven Too (1978) and Whirlwind (1980). The studio albums are all newly re-mastered from the original Asylum Records master tapes, and have never sounded better.

Disc 5 is titled Out-Takes And Unreleased Recordings, with disc 6 consisting of Live Recordings – Released 1976 / 1977 whilst the final disc is a DVD of promotional videos and live recordings / interviews (including quite a few from the legendary Old Grey Whistle Test TV show).

The debut album perfectly captures the mood and the sound of 1975, with a mixture of early 70s Laurel Canyon and late 60s Beatles inspired harmonies, particularly on Heartaches in Heartaches and Hang My Picture Straight.

The most familiar song on Gold’s debut is Endless Flight, that was famously covered by Leo Sayer on his best-selling 1976 album of the same name.

What’s Wrong With This Picture? contains Gold’s most famous song, Lonely Boy but is a solid mid-70s rock/pop album in its own right. Highlights include the bittersweet ballad Passing Thing, the mostly acoustic and country tinged Firefly plus a playful cover of Maurice Williams’s Stay (that was also recorded a year later by Jackson Browne, in slightly rewritten form, on Browne’s Running On Empty album).

All This and Heaven Too is the most rewarding of Gold’s solo albums from the Asylum years period. How Can This Be Love has hints of 10cc (Gold would later record with 10cc and form Wax with Graham Gouldman).

The charming space-themed Oh Urania (Take Me Away), the sparse but haunting beauty of Looking for My Love and the masterpiece that is Genevieve are career-highlights. This is the beauty of box-sets such as this, discovering songs that never made it onto mainstream radio at the time, and certainly do not feature on 70s or 80s themed radio stations now but are lost classics, crafted with love and deserving of our attention.

Most people will know the two big hits from this album, Thank You for Being a Friend (the theme to NBC sitcom The Golden Girls) and Gold’s biggest hit in my neck of the woods, Never Let Her Slip Away, which features background vocals from J. D. Souther, Timothy B. Schmit (Poco / Eagles) and rumour has it, an uncredited Freddie Mercury. Never Let Her Slip Away is one of my favourite singles from the seventies, and a perfect pop song.

The Asylum years ended with the Whirlwind album, released as the new decade began. More guitar-heavy than previous Gold albums and more in-step with current trends such the new-wave infused pop of The Police and Joe Jackson, highlights include the nods to his earlier work with Sooner or Later and the slide-guitar driven Make Up Your Mind.

The live recordings disc, with performances from 1976 and 1977 is overflowing with memorable performances, and the quality is pretty good, considering the age of the recordings.

The out-takes and unreleased recordings disc is a fascinating dip below the artist’s engine, with excellent alt-takes such as a must-hear version of Lonely Boy and a sublime bossa-nova instrumental version of Genevieve.

The sleeve-notes, lyrics and an informative essay on Gold’s work from Don Breithaupt add to the value of this essential collection for lovers of 70s music.

Lonely Boy – The Asylum Years Anthology is an excellent collection, that provides the best of the 70s work of Andrew Gold, and also serves as a charming snapshot of this period in rock and pop music.

Buy Lonely Boy – The Asylum Years Anthology on CD

Climax Blues Band – The Albums 1973 – 1976 boxset review

3 07 2019

Esoteric Recordings are releasing a 4CD clamshell boxed set by the Climax Blues Band, titled The Albums 1973 – 1976. This release is the second collection of Climax Blues Band albums and features their work issued between 1973 and 1976, consisting of the albums FM Live, Sense of Direction, Stamp Album and Gold Plated.

The first disc contains FM Live, a recording of a concert that was broadcast on WNEW-FM in New York in 1973. FM Live gave the band their first major US success. The album highlights the more blues orientated sound of their late 60s / early 70s output.

The original UK release was a single album – this version is the USA double vinyl running order. Highlights on this live album include the wonderful harmonies on I Am Constant and the high-octane, Bo Diddley influenced Shake Your Love.

Disc two in the set is where it gets more interesting for me, with the 1974 studio album Sense of Direction. At this point the band are heading off in a more rock and jazz fusion direction and providing the sounds that would blast out of classic rock / FM radio stations for the next few years.

Amerita / Sense Of Direction opens the album, with a 6 minute track that owes more to the sound of artists such as America or Chicago than to the Climax Blues Band’s Chicago blues origins.

Reaching Out is one of my favourite tracks on this collection, with the song served up on a lovely early 70s groove, with some great guitar lines from Peter Haycock. At this point in their career, the band were really stretching out and hearing this music now instantly transports you back in time to those heady seventies times.

Bonus tracks on this disc consist of the single version of Sense of Direction and a rawer, less polished version of Shopping Bag People.

The third disc is the Stamp Album from 1975, where the band headed further towards a more mainstream sound. From the Rhodes piano and sax driven Using The Power, to the pop-reggae of Mr. Goodtime, the band were now inhabiting the same musical universe as contemporaries such as the Average White Band and the mid-70s work of Robert Palmer.

The smooth harmonies of I Am Constant and the Doobie Brothers style funk of Running Out Of Time are another two early album highlights. The addition of new member Richard Jones opened up the bands pallet at this point, with an added emphasis on keyboards that is really noticeable on the fusion of Rusty Nail / The Devil Knows. The album closes with the expansive arrangement of Cobra, a short instrumental.

The final disc is the bands most successful album, Gold Plated from 1976. Notable for giving the Climax Blues Band their biggest hit, Couldn’t Get It Right, which peaked at No10 in the UK and No3 in the US, the shift to a more pop-friendly sound continued.

The dual guitar and clavinet of Together and Free finds the band setting out their stall early on. Couldn’t Get It Right remains the bands signature tune to this day, and has appeared in film (and game) soundtracks.

Bonus tracks for this album include an extended version of Chasing Change and a rare (and very short) Climax Blues Band ballad, Shadow Man, which reminds me a little of mid-period 10cc.

The Albums 1973 – 1976 is a good introduction to the music of the Climax Blues Band, which will be of interest to lovers of early to mid-70s rock music. This collection houses each disc in replica album sleeve wallets and also includes a new poster.

Buy The Albums 1973-1976 at Amazon

Also available:

The Albums: 1969-1972

Tracklisting for The Albums 1973-1976

Disc One

FM Live (1973)

  1. All The Time In The World
  2. I Am Constant
  3. Flight
  4. Seventh Son
  5. Standing By A River
  6. So Many Roads
  7. Mesopopmania
  8. Country Hat
  9. You Make Me Sick
  10. Shake Your Love
  11. Goin’ To New York (Full Version)
  12. Let’s Work Together

Disc Two

Sense of Direction (1974)

  1. Amerita / Sense Of Direction
  2. Losin’ The Humbles
  3. Shopping Bag People
  4. Nogales
  5. Reaching Out
  6. Right Now
  7. Before You Reach The Grave
  8. Milwaukee Truckin’ Blues (Chipper’s Song)
    Bonus Tracks
  9. Sense Of Direction (Single Version)
  10. Shopping Bag People (Alternate Version)

Disc Three

Stamp Album (1975)

  1. Using The Power
  2. Mr. Goodtime
  3. I Am Constant
  4. Running Out Of Time
  5. Sky High
  6. Rusty Nail / The Devil Knows
  7. Loosen Up
  8. Spirit Returning
  9. Cobra

Disc Four

Gold Plated (1976)

  1. Together And Free
  2. Mighty Fire
  3. Chasing Change
  4. Berlin Blues
  5. Couldn’t Get It Right
  6. Rollin’ Home
  7. Sav’ry Gravy
  8. Extra
    Bonus Tracks
  9. Fat Mabellene
  10. Together And Free (Single Edit)
  11. Chasin’ Change (extended take)
  12. Shadow Man

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours [35th Anniversary 3CD Deluxe Edition]

2 02 2013

Fleetwood Mac - RumoursAn album I’ve previously bought on vinyl, cassette and CD, and now a 3 CD deluxe edition. So it’s clearly an album I like, along with over 40 million purchasers of this album!

Disc one of the 3CD Deluxe Edition is the remastered version of the original album, including extra B-side track Silver Springs. This remaster is the 2004 one, which did not need improving.

Dreams is one of my favourite songs, I never tire of hearing this track. Unless it’s the version by The Corrs, who just lobbed a shed-load of flutes and an Everything But The Girl Missing beat over the top. Avoid.

Sorry about that – back to Fleetwood Mac. If you don’t own Rumours, and are a casual fan, the single disc version will be enough for you. If you are a die-hard fan, for a few pounds more, the 3-disc edition is the definitive version.

Rumours, originally released in February 1977, was a staple of FM radio in the late 70s, and you will be surprised at how many of these songs you know if you grew up in that golden era.

You Make Loving Fun is sprinkled with lovely harmonies, and driven by chunky rhythm guitar and crystal clear solos by Lindsey Buckingham.

Fans of Formula One racing on the BBC in the late 70s / 80s will recognise the iconic bass line towards the end of The Chain, one of the album’s strongest songs.

The remaster brings elements to the fore that I had missed on earlier incarnations, such as the highly percussive multi-layered guitar, and intricate harmonies (? underpinned by accordion) on Never Going Back Again.

This edition of the album ends with Silver Springs, which was originally the b-side to Go Your Own Way.

Disc 2 is a live collection, recorded during the 1977 Rumours tour in Oklahoma, Tulsa, Nashville and Columbia. Several non-Rumours tracks feature, the highlight being Rhiannon clocking in at nearly 8 minutes.

Another longer-than-the-album take is Gold Dust Woman, with its wonderful Rhodes v chorused guitar intro. The live Go Your Own Way has a great new-wave guitar intro, and the live disc ends with Christine Mcvie’s Songbird.

Fleetwood Mac "Rumours" 3-CD Deluxe Edition

Disc three is made of up alternative versions, demos and out-takes from the sessions. These tracks often contain tape hiss, sparse instrumentation, in-song chatter and are no way near the fidelity of the studio album. However, what they lack in audio quality they certainly make up for by offering a peek into the creative process.

My favourite is Dreams (take 2) – built around electric piano and rough guitar, the backing music sounds nothing like the album version, but the vocal melody is intact, and it’s a moving performance by Stevie Nicks.

Never Going Back Again [Acoustic Duet] is more fully formed than some of the tracks on disc three. Keep Me There [With Vocal] is interesting, as it includes the famous outro (a shortened version) that was later added to The Chain.

Fleetwood Mac

Silver Springs [Early Take] contains another fine Nicks vocal, and an echo laden backing track that differs enough from the finished version to make it an intriguing listen.

Planets Of The Universe [Demo] is a piano and vocals version of the track that later appeared on the Stevie Nicks Trouble in Shangri-La album. The lyrics are very raw and direct, and I prefer this version to the Trouble in Shangri-La studio version that was released in 2001.

I’m glad I bought this new version of Rumours – and I’m now embarking on a Big Mac of the Fleetwood variety binge. I’ve ordered the expanded Tusk re-issue and 25 Years – The Chain 4-CD compilation.

Buy Rumours [35th Anniversary Edition] – 3CD Deluxe Edition from Amazon

Buy Rumours [35th Anniversary Edition] – single disc edition from Amazon

Watch a live version of Dreams from 1977:

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