09 October 2008

John Lees' BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST signed for ROSfest 2009

RoSfest is extremely honored and pleased to announce John Lees' BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST to our stage as our Sunday night headliner on May 3rd 2009. Founder Barclay James Harvest members John Lees (vocals, guitar) and Stuart "Woolly" Wolstenholme (vocals, keyboards, mellotron, guitar) return to the concert stage with a five piece band to perform a set drawn from the long career of BJH and such classic albums as Once Again, Everyone is Everybody Else, Time Honoured Ghosts, Octoberon, Gone to Earth and XII.

Barclay James Harvest was formed in Oldham, England when John Lees and Woolly Wolstenholme teamed up with Les Holroyd and Mel Pritchard. In the summer of 1967 the band turned professional and adopted the name. Under the patronage of a local businessman who became their first manager, they moved into an 18th Century farmhouse in the Saddleworth area in North West England to write and rehearse. A one-off single deal with EMI's Parlophone label resulted in the release of the single "Early Morning" in April 1968, leading in turn to a full contract and the band becoming one of the first signings to the legendary Harvest label.

From the very beginning, BJH had experimented with musical ideas, going beyond the traditional guitar, bass and drums format to utilize a Mellotron to simulate the sound of an orchestra. By the time their debut album, Barclay James Harvest, was recorded the band had their own 48 piece orchestra and undertook a short orchestral tour to promote the album. Working with former Beatles engineer Norman Smith, classic albums such as Once Again and Barclay James Harvest and Other Short Stories saw them perfecting their fusion of rock and classical music.

Upon signing to Polydor in 1974 the band enjoyed much greater commercial success. 1974's studio set, Everyone Is Everybody Else, was followed later that year by Barclay James Harvest Live, a double album which became their first UK chart album. Time Honoured Ghosts in 1975 (recorded in San Francisco by Neil Young producer Elliot Mazer) and Octoberon in 1976 saw the band build on their achievements and sell out the now-traditional autumn tours of the UK, whilst exploring new territories abroad with tours of Europe and the USA.

1977's Gone to Earth heralded the beginning of major success in Germany, where the album eventually reached platinum selling status. In 1978 the second live set, Live Tapes, paved the way for a new studio album, XII, and an extended tour of Britain and Europe. As rehearsals began for a new album, Woolly Wolstenholme announced his departure to pursue a solo career. He subsequently released an album, Mæstoso in 1980, and toured with his Mæstoso band before retiring from the music business to live and work on his own organic farm.

The remaining trio resolved to go it alone and following the release of Eyes Of The Universe, the band enjoyed spectacular sales in Europe, particularly in Germany where it rapidly went platinum. On August 30th 1980 the band performed a free concert on the steps of the Reichstag, in the heart of the divided city of Berlin to 175,000 people. 1981's Turn of the Tide album led to yet more touring and 1982's Berlin - A Concert For The People (recorded at their historic Reichstag concert) went straight to No. 1 in Germany and reached number15 in the UK. In early 1987 the album Face To Face marked a return to the traditional BJH sound, and this was confirmed on another massive tour of Britain and Europe, including several major festivals. One of these took place in East Berlin's Treptower Park on July 14th, 1987 in front of an estimated 170,000 fans, the first time that a western rock band had performed an open-air concert in what was then East Germany; a live recording was released as the album and video Glasnost in 1988.

After the release of 1997's River Of Dreams disharmony in the ranks of the band led to an announcement in March 1998 that the band would be taking a sabbatical, in effect marking the end of the original Barclay James Harvest, and that the members of the band would be pursuing solo projects. John Lees immediately teamed up with Woolly Wolstenholme for the first time in twenty years to record the album Nexus, marking a return to the "classic" sound of BJH. More recently the 2006 John Lees' Barclay James Harvest All is Safely Gathered In tour (with Craig Fletcher on bass and Kevin Whitehead on drums) was a huge success and resulted in the live album and DVD Legacy, recorded at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire and released the following year on Esoteric Recordings. The release of both titles gained further attention in Germany where the band was honored in March 2008 by being bestowed the "Lifetime Achievement" award at the annual Radio Regenbogen Awards (the equivalent of the UK BAFTA awards).

2009 sees the band invited to perform in America as headliners at the Rites of Spring Festival in Glenside, PA and plans to perform further US shows and to tour Japan in May. The American visit is the first by any Barclay James Harvest members since 1976. The 2009 concerts are the start of the welcome return to prominence of the Barclay James Harvest name and feature the very best music recorded by the band. Prepare to sit at the table and sample the fruit.

John Lees' BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST website - http://www.barclayjamesharvest.com/
John Lees' BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST Myspace - http://www.myspace.com/jlbjh
Barclay James Harvest website - http://www.bjharvest.co.uk/index.htm
Check out the bands bio and MP3 - http://www.rosfest.com/Performers-2009/John_Lees_Barclay_James_Harvest.htm

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