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barclay james harvest`s first album for polydor in 1974 is quite superb, gone is the overblown production and whimsical songs, in comes courtesy of roger bain, tight,sparse arrangements and a clutch off all-time classic bjh tunes. it starts with the magnificent "child of the universe", lyrically still as relevant today as the day it was recorded. the track concludes with a lovely understated john lees bluesy guitar solo. elsewhere, "the great 1974 mining disaster" is both a bee gees deconstruction and social commentary on the handling of the miners strike. les holroyd`s excellent "crazy city" ups the pace a bit, "mill boys/poor boy blues" takes things in a folk/country direction and segues straight into "for no one", a seminal bjh track. woolly creates a wall of sound on the mellotron, les and mel keep things tight, john lyrically bemoans the isolation of man and right at the end, lets rip with a multi-tracked solo which hendrix fans would approve of and possibly have dave gilmore running for cover. barclay james harvest have made many fine albums but this is their finest.
As with any artist who has a great debut album, there were expectations, and some fears, for this follow up. Although I loved "Let Go", I was worried that UNDER MY SKIN would be unable to do itself justice. I am glad to be have been proven wrong. Chances are, if you liked her debut, you will love this album. While Avril is still only a young lady, UNDER MY SKIN shows how much she has grown up and how much her writing ability has matured. UNDER MY SKIN sees her exploring more complex situations than on LET GO: for example, how to react to a man who is only caring to get what he wants from you. My personal favourites are: TOGETHER and MY HAPPY ENDING, but there truly are no bad songs on this album. A great second album - if her talent continues to grow in this way, her third album should be phenomenal.