Barclay James Harvest Album Portfolio

Barclay James Harvest Album Portfolio

Gone To Earth

Gone To Earth album cover

LP: Polydor 2442 148, September 1977
MC: Polydor, October, 1977
CD: Polydor 800 092-2, May, 1983
CD: Remaster with 5 bonus tracks, Polydor/Universal 065 398-2, 2nd June, 2003
LP: Heavyweight vinyl reissue, Polydor "Back to Black" 535 145-4, 1st September, 2014


Side 1
Hymn (John Lees)
Love Is Like A Violin (John Lees)
Friend Of Mine (Les Holroyd)
Poor Man's Moody Blues (John Lees)

Side 2
Hard Hearted Woman (Les Holroyd)
Sea Of Tranquility (Woolly Wolstenholme)
Spirit On The Water (Les Holroyd)
Leper's Song (John Lees)
Taking Me Higher (Les Holroyd)


Bonus tracks on remastered CD:
Lied (John Lees) [Previously unreleased]
Our Kid's Kid (John Lees) [B-side of "Hymn" single]
Hymn (John Lees) [Single edit]
Friend of Mine (Les Holroyd) [Single version]
Medicine Man (John Lees) [Live EP version]

Recording Details

Recording Studios:
Strawberry Studios, Stockport

Recording Dates:
March to June 1977

Producer:
Barclay James Harvest; co-producer: David Rohl

Engineer:
David Rohl, assisted by Richard Scott

Title

Gone To Earth really stemmed from the artwork, which suggests an animal's retreat from which it can watch the world outside. "Gone to earth!" is, of course, the traditional hunters' cry when a fox manages to reach its home.

Sleeve

The cover was designed by Maldwyn Reece Tootill, and the original LPs had the entrance to the fox's earth cut out so that the full-colour inner sleeve showed through. This had the famous owl against the moon on one side, or, if reversed, showed the same scene by day. The inner bag also included full lyrics (more than full, in fact, as there is an extra verse on "Love Is Like A Violin" which did not appear on the finished recording!). A few copies of the LP escaped without the hole having been cut out, so the centre of the front cover is merely an enigmatic white blob!

Later pressings of the LP dispensed with the cut-out sleeve and simply printed the owl as an integral part of the design, and this is also how all cassette and CD copies have appeared. The montage on the back of the sleeve was put together by the band with David Rohl, and the photos were taken by Christopher B.Roberts.

A later reissue of the album from Korea was retitled Poor Man's Moody Blues and had a completely different cover.


Hymn

The song which has come to be regarded by many as the BJH classic, rivalled only by "Mocking Bird", had an inauspicious start to its career when, back in the summer of 1971 (sic) it was presented, in much the same form, for possible inclusion on Barclay James Harvest And Other Short Stories - and rejected! Fortunately, John persisted with the song, and it was finally accepted for this album. Originally titled "Hymn For A White Lady", the song is primarily about the dangers of drug abuse, contrasting their illicit thrill with the spiritual "high" of Christianity, although many DJs and listeners have taken it for a straightforward Christmas song. The now traditional shouts of "yeah!" from the fans at the finale of the band's live shows date back to early performances of the song, where John dedicated it to rock stars who had fallen victim to drugs, saying "let's hear it for Jimi Hendrix... Paul Kossoff... Janis Joplin..." etc., and fans responded with a roar of approval.

Lyrics:
Valley's deep and the mountain's so high
If you want to see God you've got to move on the other side
You stand up there with your head in the clouds
Don't try to fly you know you might not come down
Don't try to fly, dear God, you might not come down

Jesus came down from Heaven to earth
The people said it was a virgin birth
Jesus came down from Heaven to earth
The people said it was a virgin birth

He told great stories of the Lord
And said he was the saviour of us all
He told great stories of the Lord
And said he was the saviour of us all

For this they/we killed him, nailed him up high
He rose again as if to ask us why
Then he ascended into the sky
As if to say in God alone you soar
As if to say in God alone we fly.

Valley's deep and the mountain's so high
If you want to see God you've got to move on the other side
You stand up there with your head in the clouds
Don't try to fly you know you might not come down
Don't try to fly, dear God, you might not come down

[John Lees, © St. Annes Music Ltd]


Love Is Like A Violin

A straightforward love song from John's pen. As mentioned previously, the verse beginning "Love was like a summer breeze", which is printed on the inner sleeve and the CD booklet, does not appear on the recording. Memories differ as to whether it was actually recorded, but we haven't been able to track down a longer version.

Lyrics:
Love was like a violin playing soft and low
In your heart you held the strings, in my heart the bow
Together we made soft sweet music, together we believed
In every day in every hour our love was everything

Love was like a summer breeze, after pouring rain
Blowing all the clouds away, bringing sun again
Together we made soft sweet music, together we believed
In every day in every hour our love was everything

First dance you were mine, first dance we made it
Last dance, last chance, you know I know you were wrong
You know you were wrong, you know for every feeling there's a song

You were like a mountain stream, flowing fast and free
You were like the autumn leaves blowing from my tree
Together we made soft sweet music, together we believed
In every day in every hour our love was everything

After all the leaves had gone, you were winter snow
You were so cold and far away, I had to let you go
Together we made soft sweet music, together we believed
In every day in every hour our love was everything

[John Lees, © St. Annes Music]


Friend Of Mine

Les's up-tempo, country-influenced number was chosen as the follow-up single to "Hymn", and has, perhaps because of the general quality of writing on this album, been rather neglected. The song can be interpreted as being about the end of a relationship, but the lyrics can equally be applied to the band's fans.

Lyrics:
When the lights are fading slowly on another show
And the crowd has gone, the people cease to shout for more
You'd better run, stop from crying all the time
Don't you know it's got to end, I thought you were a friend of mine

Goodbye bright light city heading for the sun
Where the southern girls are pretty and there's two for one
You'd better run, stop from crying all the time
Don't you know it's got to end, I thought you were a friend of mine

[Les Holroyd, © St. Annes Music]


Poor Man's Moody Blues

Incensed by reviewers' constant comparisons of BJH with The Moody Blues, John took his revenge by de-constructing the Moodies' best-known hit, "Nights In White Satin", discarding everything but the basic chord structure and building a completely new song out of it. Even the title was a quote from a review of BJH in the music press. Ironically, the song has become one of the most popular in their repertoire, and not just amongst Moodies fans!

Lyrics:
All the nights that I've missed you
All the nights without end
All the times that I've called you
Only needing a friend
Now your eyes shine with beauty
That I missed long ago
Guess the truth is I love you
I can't say any more
'Cause I need you
Yes I want you
Yes I love you

As I look from my window
To the streets where you stand
I am gazing through dark glass
We can't walk hand in hand
Though your friends try to tell me
Though your friends you defend
They keep my heart from your heart
We must be in the end
'Cause I love you
Yes I need you
Yes I love you

All the nights that I've missed you
All the nights without end
All the times that I've called you
Only needing a friend
Now your eyes shine with beauty
That I missed long ago
Guess the truth is I love you
I can't say any more
'Cause I need you
Yes I want you
Yes I love you

[John Lees, © St. Annes Music]


Hard Hearted Woman

Another live favourite in its day, with some nifty guitar work grafted onto a tale of being bewitched by an unfeeling siren - it's a hard life!

Lyrics:
She's a hard hearted woman
See the way that she's watching you
Victims falling before her
And there's nothing that you can do

Love comes, holding on to us all
Love comes, holding on to us all

See the hard hearted woman
Watch the way that she's dancing now
Eyes are flashing before you
Break her spell, please tell me how

Love comes, holding on to us all
Love comes, holding on to us all

[Les Holroyd, © St. Annes Music]


Sea Of Tranquility

Woolly's only contribution to the album is generally reckoned to be one of his best. With the benefit of hindsight, it's not difficult to see that the lyrics, ostensibly about the futility of the space race in the 1960s and 1970s, can also have a meaning which is somewhat closer to home. Lines like "Our hopes ever high that the songs we sing and the words we bring should never die" speak of a "star-struck" optimism, whilst "We sold our souls for senseless gain and brought our harvest home in vain" reflect the bitterness of disillusionment. Whilst this was not Woolly's final album with the band, there can be little doubt that he was already well on the way to his decision to leave.

Lyrics:
We steered our ship to the Sea of all Tranquility
The only sound our voices, as star-struck we fly
Our hopes ever high
That the songs we sing and the words we bring
Should never die

We set our sights on the Sea of all Tranquility
Our pointless flight betraying now fallen we are
(Gods of old now broken and defaced)
Compared to a star
And the final reach to that barren beach
Is much too far

Yesterday our songs of glory shone
A dream of ages every one
We sold our souls for senseless gain
And brought our harvest home in vain
(Above the seven seas is one)

Yesterday our songs of glory shone
A dream of ages every one
We sold our souls for senseless gain
And brought our harvest home in vain

[Woolly Wolstenholme, © St. Annes Music]


Spirit On The Water

Continuing the Barclays' tradition of environmental concern which can be traced right through from "Dark Now My Sky" to "Stand Up", "Spirit On The Water" takes a swipe at the exploitation of animals in general and the fur industry in particular.

Lyrics:
There's a spirit floating on the water
There's a shadow lying down by the shore
Wasn't he there a year before?
A sacrifice for the coat he's wearing
A 'paradise' for the lady

Who dares colour him red upon the snow?

We carry the burden upon our shoulder
We carry their lives in the palm of our hand
Don't you care about the state you're in
Or don't you understand?

See the spirit floating on the water
See the shadow lying down by the shore
Wasn't he there some years before?

We carry the burden upon our shoulder
We carry their lives in the palm of our hand
Don't you care about the state you're in
Or don't you understand?

[Les Holroyd, © St. Annes Music]


Leper's Song

A song based on two novels: Graham Greene's A Burnt Out Case, which deals with the so-called burn-out syndrome affecting people who cannot deal with the pressures of their jobs, and Joseph Conrad's An Outcast Of The Islands, which has a similar theme of one man's alienation from the society in which he finds himself.

Lyrics:
Well I feel like I've come to the end of a long long road
My body's tired and my mind's got no place to go
The end of the line's where I'm at, 'cos there's nothing left to be
Just a burnt out case, God, the leper and me

Well i feel like I've come to the end of a long long day
The victim of a life that I tried to give away
A prisoner of the isles where there's nothing left to be
Just a burnt out case, God, the leper and me

Well I feel like I've come to the end of a long long road
My body's tired and my mind's got no place to go
The end of the line's where I'm at, 'cos there's nothing left to be
Just a burnt out case, God, the leper and me

[John Lees, © St. Annes Music]


Taking Me Higher

To finish, a simple love song from Les which closes the album on an uplifting note.

Lyrics:
Used to be a dreamer
But you know I've found
A better way - you
Thought I was a loser
But you proved me wrong

You're taking me so much higher
You're taking me so much higher

Higher and higher

[Les Holroyd, © St. Annes Music]


Last words from Woolly: "a lot of good things came together on Gone To Earth - some of John's best, like "Poor Man's Moody Blues" and "Hymn" and Les's "Spirit On The Water". There was a nice balance, the artwork was good and somehow everything happened at the right time."


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